My Summer of Smoke and Fire
Why buying a pellet grill was a great decision
This summer I needed a grill. We had been without one since moving across the country to Washington state, and I had been getting the craving for that smoky flavor of flame-seared beef, chicken, and pork. Those quiet nights of home life, watching the bottles of beer bead sweat on the back porch amid the ambience of a neighborhood settling down and the sounds of distant music, kids laughing, meat sizzling as the smoke drifts lazily on the breeze. Man! Nothing beats it.
As the summer months began to roll by, I kept finding myself tempted to buy a grill from my place of employment. Previously, we had owned a gas grill. In the move, it had not survived, and honestly, I didn’t think it was well made or worth the hassle of buying a new one. I was much more interested in purchasing a charcoal grill. Before owning a gas grill, I had owned a small cheapo charcoal one, and really enjoyed it. To me, charcoal grills produce much better flavor and are easier to maintain. However, a friend of mine suggested that I buy one of the newer sensations to come around, something I had never really heard of: a wood pellet grill.
The more he talked about the benefits of choosing a wood pellet grill, the more I was convinced it was worth the extra expense. You got the double bonus of being able to flame sear your food, or smoking it. The wood pellets produce very little ash and are extremely affordable, not to mention that you might go through a bag of them PER SEASON. This is much much cheaper than propane gas, and better for the environment. The wood pellet grills are made to last, built from heavy steel, and they are easy to operate. And then, there’s the taste. Of course this is a matter of personal preference, but wood smoke not only provides that campfire-like feel of the American rustic west, there’s also a variety of types of flavor profiles to choose from in wood pellet options.
I made my decision. I purchased the cheapest available version of wood pellet grill, the Lexington model made by Pit Boss. There are several brand names out there making these grills now. The most popular, and a much more expensive option, is the Traeger. But, I am more than happy with the one I chose to buy. Honestly, this has been the best decision I’ve made in a long time. I am now a pellet grill advocate, and I’m never going back!
Since putting it together, my wife and I have enjoyed the freedom of cooking at home more than we ever have before. This is especially beneficial right now, during these trying times of isolation and limited dining out availability. We have grilled the usual American backyard menu: hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken breasts, porkchops, etc. For extra pizazz we have also opted to purchase fresh cut steaks from our local butcher, which I highly recommend. We have char-grilled fresh vegetables ranging from squash, zucchini, Brussels sprouts, etc, and we have baked things like potatoes and corn on the cob. All of this has been out of this world delicious.
But the best part of having a wood pellet grill is the smoking option it provides. Yes, it is more of an investment of your time to smoke meat, but the payoff you get from the taste it produces is so incredibly worth it. Trust me on this. I have smoked racks of ribs, beef brisket, chicken, and pork loin. All of these have been amazing, and I have still barely scratched the surface of the potential options! The best meals I have made so far were the St. Louis style ribs and the marinated chicken breasts. As far as recipes go, there are literally endless variations online, and you could probably try a different one every day of your life and never get to the end of them or ever get bored.
So, if you have been looking at these grills and wondering if the investment would be worth it, my answer to this question is YES, OMG. What are you waiting for? Get rid of that fossil fuel consuming dinosaur, and say hello to the best tasting meals you’ve ever dreamed of eating. Believe me, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do this sooner. You’re welcome.