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    Loulou's Avatar
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    Pellet Grills?

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    I am looking to buy a new BBQ. We had a propane grill but it broke. The husband is thinking about a pellet grill but I am a little afraid of what is in the pellets. Does anyone have a pellet grill? What do you guys think is the best/healthiest type of outdoor grill? (Charcoal, Propane, Pellets or any other suggestions) Thanks!

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    tplank's Avatar
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    I know some knowledgeable people very fond of the pellet grills, but I have no experience. And no clue about what might be in the pellets, though I bet they are just wood with an innocuous binder.

    As far as healthiness goes, all grills are healthy as long as you don't char the meat. My idea of the healthiest grill is the grill that gets you grilling the most because I am a big believer in grilled food.

    Which comes back to my own personal preferences which are definitely toward charcoal and the Weber Kettle grills in particular. I grill a lot. Like three to five times a week, 52 weeks a year. The Weber Kettle gives me the ability to cook over indirect heat and add a little smoke if desired, without the need to fire up my big manly smoker. It is also flexible enough to allow grilling, though I seldom use direct heat. I actually have two kettles so that I can cook at different temperatures or different types of smoke in a single meal.

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    That info helps a lot, thanks for your reply!

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    I use lump charcoal. No binders and no questions as to what's in the fuel, as you can usually see the wood in several of the pieces. I like Cowboy brand lump, myself. I won't use gas or briquets, simply because I feel the flavor either produces is inferior to lump. I use an Aussie Runabout square charcoal grill, which I believe I got at Lowes... It doesn't get the intense searing heat of a Weber kettle grill, but that means a careful cook can use it to slow roast OR grill.
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    I love my Weber Kettle grill. I've had it for over 20 years and it's still in good shape, I've replaced the charcoal grate and switched out the wood handles for plastic because they started to degrade. I do use briquets, because it's difficult to fine lump charcoal in my area, but we do use a chimney starter rather than fluid. I'm not crazy about gas, it just makes me nervous and I think food cooked over charcoal tastes better.

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    I love lump charcoal in my smoker, but with the Kettle I can the low temps I want with old fashioned Kingsford briquettes. As far as "intense searing heat of a Weber kettle", I have to tell you that this is misleading. Yeah...you can build a hot fire in one if you want, but the ability to control the temperature and cook at lower indirect temperatures is the real selling point of the grill. For example, on Saturday night, I slow cooked some pork shoulder...four hours on the grill with one fire and no adding fuel. That is about the outer limit for not adding fuel, but as you can see, it can get you close to real BBQ with a little experience. The key is using the vents to control the air flow and not building to big of fire.

    But...I am weird. My entire family lives for the grill. We are not typical.

    And if you (or anyone) is considering buying a kettle, spend the extra and get the "Gold" model with the ash catcher. Easily worth the extra. I personally want one of the newer 26" models, but haven't cooked on one yet.

    And you are right Lynna: they do hold up well. Though with our higher volume of cooking, I'm getting more like 5 or 6 years out of one. But, I go through multiple grill grates. Close to one a year per kettle.

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    Wow thanks everyone for your input. We cook out on the grill almost every night, all year round. I want to get something that is going to last at least a few years and that slow cooks also.

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    The Pellet cookers are really BBQ smokers. Great for slow cooking brisket, pork shoulders. chickens, buffalo turds, etc.
    You would still want a Weber kettle for grilling steaks, hamburgers, etc.

    I 'Que with a Weber Smoky Mountain which is a lower cost smoker that does a great job.

    Edit to add:
    If you have the funds the ceramic Egg style cookers do a great job of smoking and grilling.
    Last edited by springnr; 07-02-2012 at 05:15 PM.

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    It doesn't get the intense searing heat of a Weber kettle grill, but that means a careful cook can use it to slow roast OR grill.

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    Just another observation. You can see I am an incredible master of the obvious here, but so much of grilling and barbecue (or life I suppose) success is just simple experience with the tools. I'm sure most people could take the cheapest grill, be it charcoal, gas or whatever, and learn to do some excellent food with it. Same for an expensive grill. If price were no object, I'd try one of those pellet smokers in a heartbeat. But, my big ole conventional smoker and Webers will have to do. Not that I view that as a huge compromise because I'm happy with my toys, but in man's eternal quest for more power, I too could fill my garage with outdoor cooking hardware. I suspect, however, it might not do much to improve my finished product.

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