Jamie Oliver

forum: Chicken

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#1 Mon 21 Jul 08 11:38am

Ivan.Zhidlovsky

Member
Member since Mon 21 Jul 08

wood pellet grill

I am out looking at BGE and Primo ceramic grills today. At the Primo dealer, I was looking at the oval and the round and asking questions. The salesperson asked if I had seen a Traeger wood pellet grill. I had not so we took a look. I have to say that I was impressed. It is not a flashy BBQ but the design is elegant and simple. I like that the wood pellets can be purchased in different types of woods such as oak , cherry, mesquitec. (found in one of the articles on wood pellets resource).  Starting up the Traeger seems to be almost as easy as a gas grill. Turn it on and an auger starts moving pellets into the burn cup and lights them, after a few minutes it is ready to go. The cooking is all indirect/IR/convection. They claim it can get up to 450 degrees for grilling a steak or burgers. The price is comparable to a ceramic grill. Maintenence and cleanup seem to be a little less than a ceramic grill. I imagine the cost of pellets could run about the same as running a gas grill at ~$18 per bag. The ceramic grill is probably more economical on its use of lump charcoal. MFG's Link:Traeger website

I searched the forum hoping to find info and maybe personal experience here about the Traeger but very little popped up. Is it not a good option for BBQ or is not not very well known, or better suited as a smoker? They have supossedly been around for 15-20 years and I have not heard of them until today. Anyone else used/considered a wood pellet grill?

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#2 Mon 06 Dec 10 10:54pm

Jonmutley

Member
Member since Mon 06 Dec 10

Re: wood pellet grill

If you search all over the UK it's very unlikely that you'll find anyone using wood pellets for cooking.

Wood Pellets are very much new to the UK as a method for heating and hot water (let alone cooking with them) - soon to replace oil and gas boilers as they are financially incentivised by the UK Government under the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI).

If you need to buy wood pellets or learn more about getting a wood pellet heating system installed for FREE under the RHI then look up WoodPellets2U - they appear to be market leaders in this field.

It won't be too long though before us brits have wood pellet inserts for cookers and barbeques!  big_smile

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#3 Tue 15 Feb 11 5:05pm

Chris__M

Member
Member since Tue 15 Feb 11

Re: wood pellet grill

I realise the original question is a bit old, but thought I would chip in, after the previous reply.

While not common in the UK, there are certainly a number of people using pellet grills, including myself.

I have the Traeger Lil' Tex, which is one of the smaller grills, and I have had it about 3-4 months. It is very easy to use, and I have had some excellent results from it; which seeing I was a smoking novice when I got it, is saying something!

A few things worth noting.

The Traeger (and other pellet grills) are best suited to slow and low cooking - smoking a brisket or pork shoulder for 8-10 hours. It can pretty much be left to its own devices, particularly if you also invest in a decent remote meat thermometer. You fill the hopper up with pellets and set it going, and it feeds the pellets  into the burner as required. Because of this mechanism, and the electronics, it does need electricity to run, although all the heat for the cooker comes from the pellets themselves.

It does also have a high setting, which can be used for burgers and sausages and such. But the heat isn't as high as you would get on a charcoal grill - it cooks lovely juicy burgers, but you won't get a sear mark (correction: see note below). For this reason, I tend to use the Traeger for smoking and slow cooking, and use a Weber charcoal kettle for grilling sausages.

On the highter setting, the Traeger does make incredibly nice pizza - if you think about it, it is the equivalent of a wood-fired oven.

Regarding the wood pellets - you shouldn't use wood pellets sold for heating systems, as they may have impurities and binders in them that are not good (or safe) for food. So you should ony use pellets sold for use with a pellet grill. There are not as many sources of food grade pellets in the UK as there are in the US, but there are a couple of companies out there.

Don't be put off by the bags of BBQ wood pellets you see in garden centres, which cost a fiver or more a pound. These are intended to be used with Charcoal grills, and are pure flavourwood (apple, cherry etc). Pellet grill pellets tend to be about 30% flavourwood, 70% alder or oak; and sold in 20lb bags from specialist outlets (I buy mine online), and cost approximately one pound per lb. I use between half and a pound of pellets per hour, so it is fairly economical.

Hope that answers some questions.

[Edit: I spoke too soon. I have since found that by giving the grill long enough to get up to full heat, I can get excellent sear marks]

Last edited by Chris__M (Tue 19 Apr 11 2:48pm)

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#4 Tue 28 Jun 11 11:33am

Priestyworld

Member
Member since Tue 28 Jun 11

Re: wood pellet grill

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the detailed info on Trager grills, they sound right up my street. I've been looking for a UK outlet for Traeger and smoke pellets but haven't had much luck so far. Any info you can give me would be much appreciated.

Alex.

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#5 Tue 28 Jun 11 11:52am

Chris__M

Member
Member since Tue 15 Feb 11

Re: wood pellet grill

I bought my Traeger from the American BBQ Company and can recommend them. They are a UK company, now based in Hertfordshire.

This forum does not allow links, but a web search will find them.

Suggest you give them a ring, as they have a number of new products, and are very helpful.

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#6 Fri 26 Aug 11 12:23pm

Chris__M

Member
Member since Tue 15 Feb 11

Re: wood pellet grill

Thought I would update this here with a bit more information about Pellet Grills, for anyone interested - I thought it made sense to post this to the original topic.

The Pellet Grill market in the UK is still small, but it is growing, which has got to be good for any existing users, and anyone interested in smoking with pure wood, but with the ease of a gas BBQ.

For a while now, there has been a second brand available, other than the Traeger. Louisiana Grills have the usual range of small and larger pellet smoker/grills, and these are available from a number of outlets. They seem to have been marketed more thoroughly than Traeger, in that I have even seen them in Garden Centres. I haven't cooked on one, but understand that they are excellent grills, albeit more expensive than the Traeger.

There is soon to be a new brand on the market - Green Mountain Grills (GMG). This is another US manufacturer, who are about to launch in the UK. Again, their grills come well recommended in the US (again, I have no personal experience of them), and from what I hear, they should be more affordable. The American BBQ Company, who I mentioned earlier, is to be the UK dealer.

It seems that the American BBQ Company has ceased its relationship with Traeger, but I have heard rumours that Traeger are planning a relaunch here in 2012.

In general, for a small Pellet Grill, you are talking about somewhere between 600 and 800 pounds. This sounds a lot, next to a top end kettle BBQ at 150-200 quid max, but I think that is not a fair comparison. Pellet Grills are in the same market as the higher-end gas grills, to my mind. A small grill can cook easily for 6-8 people - with some preparation, and an added shelf, I have catered for over a dozen guests, with no problems.

On the fuel front (the little wood pellets these run on), there has been some changes as well. although most wood pellets are still around 18-20 per 20lb bag, Liverpool Wood Pellets (who specialise in *heating* pellets, are now importing food grade wood pellets and selling them for half that price. Looks like they have spotted a new market that they are exploring. As a rough guide, a small pellet grill uses 0.5lb of pellets per hour when smoking, and up to 1.5lb of pellets per hour when grilling on high. So it now compares well with both charcoal and gas for fuel costs.

Please note that I am just a Pellet Grill user, and have no association with any of the companies I have mentioned.

If anyone has any further questions, feel free to ask.

Last edited by Chris__M (Fri 26 Aug 11 12:30pm)

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