The pellet grill is a fantastic tool for cooking and grilling food. However, it’s easy to make mistakes when you first get your hands on one. Here are four common beginner pellet grill mistakes. Try these pellet smokers.
Mistake #1: Failing to Clean Your Pellet Grill
Most people love having a new toy, but they rarely use it correctly or thoroughly clean it afterwards. This can lead to problems with the pellet grill, including poor performance, rusting, and even fires. The best way to avoid these issues is to keep your pellet grill cleaned regularly and to remove any debris that accumulates in the area of the heat source.
This includes dust, sawdust, leaves, pine needles, dead insects, etc. If you have hardwood pellets, be sure to take them out after every use. A little bit of wood ash is fine, but if you want to cook something really well, it’s important to leave some ash behind.
Keep an eye out for grease buildup as well. You should never run oil through the grill. Grease will not only affect the performance of your grill, but also can cause serious damage to its interior.
Mistake #2: Using Too Much Charcoal With Your Pellet Grill
People often think their pellet grill can handle more charcoal than it was designed for. While this may work initially, a problem soon arises. It’s important to always start off with just half of the recommended amount of charcoal. Most manufacturers recommend using enough charcoal to fill about a third of the grill cavity.
Once you have used up the charcoal, you can add more later on. Be careful not to overload, though. Overloading the grate causes it to warp, which makes it difficult to light your grill. Also, too much charcoal will cause the temperature of your grill to spike, making it harder to control and potentially leading to a fire. On top of all that, excess charcoal can clog up the air flow vents, which means less airflow over the meat.
Mistake #3: Not Using a Water Tank For Your Pellet Grill
While most pellet smokers come with a water tank, many users don’t know how to properly set it up. There are two main ways to set up a water tank: horizontally and vertically. In either case, there are several different variations. The first step is to put the water tank on the bottom rack of the grill, so that it sits directly below the heating element. Many tanks come with holes that allow you to attach the tank to the racks, while others do not.
Next, fill the tank with cold water. If you are using a horizontal tank, you should place it so that the water comes within 1-2 inches of the heating element. Once the tank is full, it should sit completely submerged under the water.
With the vertical tank, you simply need to set it above the heating element and let it sit completely submerged in water. Then, place the lid on the grill and adjust the thermostat to the desired temperature. If you want to raise the temperature, you can open the door at the back of the grill and allow more air into the box to increase the oxygen level inside the chamber. When done grilling, close the door and turn off the smoker.
Mistake #4: Not Making Sure That Your Pellet Grill Is Level Before Using It
If you have ever used a traditional gas grill, you already know that it’s important to make sure that the grill is level before turning it on. This ensures proper air circulation throughout the entire surface of the grill. When you first purchase a pellet grill, it’s important to make sure that everything is level before putting it to use. If you aren’t sure whether your unit is level, you can check by placing a few bricks in the middle of the grill and seeing if the bricks line up horizontally.
You might want to invest in a leveling kit if your grill isn’t already level. These kits can be found online for anywhere from $10-$30. They usually include a pair of metal bars that you can use to adjust the grill until it’s completely level.