Wood pellets aren't just for heating your home. They can also fuel your barbecue and add flavor to your favorite recipes! Popular south of the border for several decades, barbecue pellets are now making inroads into Quebec, much to the delight of grill masters.
A relative novelty for consumers, BBQ pellets are enjoying a growing popularity among chefs. The distinct features of this type of grilling make it a wise choice for all kinds of cooking.
In fact, barbecuing with pellets offers significant advantages over its two main competitors, charcoal and propane gas, namely a variety of incomparable flavors, ease of use, and unparalleled cooking consistency.
Much like wood pellets used in heating systems, the BBQ pellet is a clean burning biomass product made of wood residues such as sawdust and wood scraps. The manufacturing processes used by Quebec pellet producers guarantee the highest quality standards.
Wood pellets for barbecue are similar to heating pellets, with the main difference being in design. BBQ pellets are made of food grade products and come in a variety of different flavors. They may contain mesquite, hickory, cherry, apple, walnut and maple, among others. Some producers also offer special combinations flavoured with whiskey, for example. Whatever it takes to stimulate your taste buds!
Wood pellets release their essences during combustion to give a smoky taste to your food. Much like charcoal barbecues, the longer your meat is exposed to the heat and smoke, the more flavourful your grilled food. So why use pellets instead of other energy sources? It is easier to control the temperature when barbecuing with pellets thanks to electronic equipment as well as the grill’s combustion chamber.
Wood pellets for BBQ are sold at all good retailers in Quebec, in 20 lb (9 kg) bags. One bag of pellets will give you about 10 hours of cooking time, based on an average grilling temperature.
Most pellets are produced by innovative Quebec companies that are experienced in designing pellets for cooking. Click here to consult a list of retailers.
Contrary to what you may believe, it is possible to enjoy the benefits of pellets with a propane or charcoal barbecue as well.
Place two cups of pellets on a sheet of aluminum foil, carefully wrap them and punch small holes in the top of the foil.
Place this foil pouch on the burner, below the grill and preheat the barbecue to smoke the wood pellets. The resulting smoke will provide a woodsy taste to your favorite grilled foods!
Of course, the full experience of cooking with BBQ pellets requires the use of a grill specially-designed for pellets. Here is how they work.
The pellet grill uses a hopper which distributes the pellets using an auger to move them to the combustion chamber located under the grill. The fire burns under a metal plate, so the flame is usually never in direct contact with the food. There are no flame bursts. However, some grills have a removable flame guard to allow grilling over a direct flame.
On some newer models, a thermometer controlled by an electronic panel allows you to change the temperature remotely, without having to adjust the knobs on your grill, using an app on your smartphone. A great feature for year-round consistency in cooking. Chefs who are otherwise busy as their food cooks will enjoy and appreciate this remote temperature management feature.
Pellet consumption is comparable to other types of cooking fuels. A pellet grill consumes an average of 1 lb /0.45 kg per hour of cooking at normal temperatures.
Are you ready to buy a pellet barbecue? Good news! A wide variety of pellet grills are available, with different features and an equally broad price range. Just like buying a charcoal or propane grill, you’ll find something for every taste and budget.
Here are a few curated examples :
Of course, just like with traditional barbecues, wood pellet grilling is not perfect. There are pros and cons to consider before choosing. Here's what you need to know :
Thanks to their versatility and originality, pellets will appeal to all BBQ enthusiasts. Grill masters young and old will enjoy cooking with BBQ pellets for a new, heightened taste experience every time.