When most of us think about using a pellet grill, we think of the classics: something like a slow-smoked, bark-covered brisket or savory pulled pork. Many of us are pellet grill fanatics who can’t get enough of the umami goodness they bring. However, if you’re not a big meat eater or barbecue thrower, you may be wondering, are pellet grills worth it? Well, it turns out that there are a number of creative ways to use a pellet grill that even the most seasoned pit masters won’t expect.
Burgers, Bacon, and Buns
Okay, maybe this is what you’d expect on a pellet grill- but not in the way you think. Imagine cooking the burger, searing the bacon, smoking the cheese, caramelizing the onions, and grilling the bun, all on the same appliance. This is a key benefit of a pellet grill versus an electric smoker. The best pellet grills of 2023 will offer you that kind of versatility. Whatever you choose to throw on the pellet grill, you can enjoy the look of their signature grill marks- which serve also as a mark of your pellet grilling prowess.
Rainbow of Vegetables
Grill vegetables on your wood pellet grill for a rainbow on your plate. Grilled corn, brussels sprouts, peppers, shallots, cherry tomatoes, asparagus, and zucchini would make for a colorful grilled vegetable medley. Add a sprinkling of mushrooms for an earthy undertone.
Pellet grills cook vegetables evenly, allowing them to retain moisture without drying them out too much. Since vegetables are much finer and more delicate than meats, it’s best to cook them at moderate temperatures. Use grill grates to increase the cooking surface area of your grill to accommodate a large number of vegetables.
The Many Forms of Fruit
There’s a lot you can do with fruit on a wood pellet grill. You can smoke pineapple or jackfruit and add it to tacos or fish for a complex tropical topping with a smoky undertone. You can add smoked apples to a turkey wrap for a smoky twist on a classic combination. You can also caramelize and grill different fruits such as apples, pears, or peaches with cinnamon sugar, then top them off with cool vanilla ice cream.
Additionally, not only can you grill, smoke, and caramelize fruit- you can dehydrate it too, for a sweet hint atop yogurt or jumbled into trail mix. Simply add the desired fruit of your choice and smoke it for a longer duration of time (around four to six hours.) The smoke will remove the water content and preserve the fruits much longer, making it the perfect hiking or camping snack!
Avocados- Improving Upon Perfection
Technically, avocados are also fruits- but they sort of fall into a category of their own, right? These versatile, savory fruit anomalies can be used to make guacamole, spreads, salads, dips, toppings, and much more! It really is the perfect food- so is it possible to improve upon perfection? Well, in this case, yes. By grilling avocados, you can simply elevate their natural creamy and savory properties while imbuing in them a charred and smoky overture. Dress an avocado half with lime juice and salt, grill it up, slide some into a burger, and then get transported to another dimension of savory flavor, all thanks to the versatility of pellet grills.
DIY Gourmet Cheeses
Yes, you read that right, you can cook cheese on a wood pellet grill! The trick is to smoke the cheese to alter the flavor. You can get really creative with the types of cheese and how you choose to dress them up. Take something like gouda or cream cheese and create some cross lines with a butter knife or chopstick.
Next, brush on some honey, maple syrup, or sauce of your choosing. Then, sprinkle on herbs, spices, or seasonings. Finally, if you’re feeling really bold, wrap the whole chunk in some prosciutto, throw the whole thing in tin foil, and let it absorb all the smokiness. There are countless combinations of flavors to experiment with here. The possibilities range from fine, delicate honey-rose smoked goat cheese to a bold and kickin’ chili lime mesquite smoked cream cheese.
Dressing and smoking your own cheese allows you to become an artist of flavor, creating specialized complex tones on sandwiches, burgers, and more. The end result will be an array of unique, one-of-a-kind homemade cheeses to serve with a charcuterie board at your next party.
Some grilling fanatics would grill every meal if they could. While it’s not recommended to grill a salad, you can certainly incorporate grilled components into it. If smoked cheese masterpieces are a beauty to behold, we might as well add them to our salads. You can also smoke olives for a highly unique umami taste. Add these bad boys to your leafy greens, along with grilled figs and smoked goat cheese, and you’ll forget that you’re eating something healthy!
Spice Up Your Spices
Believe it or not, you can actually use your grill to enhance spices! It is believed that smoking food and spices are an ancient practice used by humans centuries ago to preserve them. By smoking cinnamon sticks or vanilla beans, you’ll add a hint of smokiness to the ingredient but also keep it fresh for a longer period of time. Steep them in ciders and cocktails for an extra explosion of unexpected flavor. Picture a smoky cinnamon stick garnish in your White Russian or a smoky vanilla surprise to your apple cider. Serve these up for a mind-blowing twist of rare flavor pairings! We won’t blame you if this image conjures up the urge to take a gander at some of the best pellet grills of 2023.
Oils: Transporting Flavor
Just when you thought we’d reached the boundaries of what a pellet grill can do, we’re expanding them even further. To easily infuse that beloved, coveted smoky flavor into anything you cook, opt for smoked olive oil. Buying a bottle of smoked olive oil is pretty expensive, so it would be advantageous to concoct your own special blend. The process is fairly simple, but the key is to smoke it just enough without acquiring too much heat and obscuring the flavor. To achieve this, cold smoking your olive oil is the way to go.
Begin with some fresh, extra-virgin cold-pressed, unrefined olive oil, and then smoke away! Oil is a phenomenal way to get a strong flavor across since fats are the mode through which flavor is transported. If flavors were emotions, oil would be a love letter. If flavors were music, butter would be the instrument. You get the point. Drizzle your smoked olive oil over any savory dish to introduce a dynamic edge, or use it as an injection to smoked meat to inundate your senses with smoky goodness.
Going Nuts, Planting a Seed
You can introduce another element of smokiness to an understated umami protein: nuts and seeds. Coat deshelled nuts in salt, sugar, or spices and let them soak in the smoke for about two hours at around 200 degrees. Sprinkle them over desserts for a unique barbecue flare, create your own candy bars, or just eat them as-is! This is a great route for those who crave smoky flavors so much that they would even pair them with desserts. If the idea of a unique smoky and sweet fusion appeals to you, start looking into some top-notch pellet grill brands to determine which grills and accessories will cultivate your ideal setup.
Compliments to the Condiments
If you can’t get enough smokiness on your taste buds, you can infuse even more of it through your condiments. Just take your favorite hot sauce, mustard, or any condiment, put it in a grill-safe bowl, cover the top in tin foil, and let it smoke for about an hour. Every 15 minutes, lift the foil to stir the condiment. If you want to take it a step further, make your own sauce from scratch by smoking your own mustard seeds or tomatoes. Homemade smoky hot sauce? That’s one way to make your burger the smoke show of the evening!
Get Ready with the Best Pellet Grills of 2023
Grill, sear, caramelize and smoke your food to perfection with pellet grills. The bounds of your culinary imagination and creative expression are limitless when it comes to pellet grill creations. Revel in the art of cooking and rejoice in the ancient ritual of sharing food with others. Whether at a barbecue party, on a camping trip, or in the backyard, your gifts from the grill are bound to bring people together for conversation, laughter, and good times.
To bring your mouthwatering masterpieces to life, check out these pellet grill brands and choose from the best pellet grills of 2023. Be sure to get all the right accessories to prepare you for pellet grilling glory:
We hope these 10 ideas inspire you to get creative with wood smoking and pellet grilling on your journey to pit mastery!
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