Do Pellet Grills Work in Cold Weather? 8 Tips to Use Pellet Grill in Winter

Do Pellet Grills Work in Cold Weather? Yes, you can use a pellet grill all year round, even in the cold weather. A lot of people will double the amount of fuel they use, require good quality wood pellet, limit opening up the grill, and take strategies like using a grill cover or weld blanket.

Pellet grills are a type of smoker that is an open-air grill and is popular amongst outdoor cooking enthusiasts. Unlike other types of grills, pellet grills do not use charcoal or propane. Instead, they use wood pellets to provide the heat for cooking your food on it.

A lot of people invest a significant amount of money in their pellet grill/ smoker. Limiting its use to only the summer months of the year would be upsetting.

The idea that cooking outdoors is only for the summer months needs to be put to rest. Don’t let a little sleet or snow stop you! Just cook what you love & keep everyone warm & satisfied!

Your cravings for your favorite cooked meats & BBQ side dishes won’t wait till winter’s over, so bundle up and take advantage of the following tips and enjoy grilling in winter.

pellet grills work in cold weather

Do Pellet Grills Work in Cold Weather?

Follow these tips for using your pellet smoker in winter and all year long.

1: Stack-On Wood Pellets

As the ambient temperature outside decreases, the rate of combustion for your pellets will increase. Specifically, if you live somewhere where it consistently gets below 35 degrees Fahrenheit, this rate will also increase.

When it’s cold outside, your pellet grill metal body will cool down and result in a lower cooking temperature. In turn, the grill will stay cool inside. To maintain your burn cup oxygen, your grill must suck in some air.

Even though it’s trying to warm up, it’s pulling in cold air. This means you will need to have plenty of fuel.

You will need two times as much fuel as you would in summer to grill in winter using a wood pellet.

2: Use 100% Virgin Hardwood Pellets

It’s best to buy high-quality wood pellets that last you longer instead of having to buy low-quality pellets that need replacing more often.

Look for pure 100% hardwood pellets without any chemical fillers or recycled wood materials. This will be found in lower-quality wood pellets that burn quicker and cost you more as you have to use more of them. A high-quality pellet should have only virgin hardwood because it burns the hottest and most efficiently.

3: Use Insulated Thermal Pellet Grill Covers

Providing heat-resistant insulation is critical for your pellet smoker to be able to maintain a consistent temperature, regardless of the outside temperature. This will make it possible for you to cook food regardless of the weather.

Here are a few more recommendations. Just make sure that whatever material you’re using is heat-resistant.

A ‘pellet grill blanket’ offers the utmost heat resistance, and it is meant for your specific model of the pellet grill/smoker. Grilling with an insulated blanket means you’ll be able to preheat the grill quicker, remain in temperature stable for longer, and use less fuel.

This is one of the main recommendations considering that the blanket will be made specifically for your grill model, meaning less heat will escape.

One option that you could also try is a welding blanket. A welding blanket usually consists of a durable, heat-resistant fiberglass cloth that can be placed as insulation over your grill. You will need to configure the welding blanket at least once before it can be used for the first time.

No matter what option you chose, just remember that you should put some type of insulation on the grill when you are grilling in the cold weather. Preheating time and temperature stability are hugely important when it comes to grilling in winter. By using a grill blanket, you can considerably decrease your preheating time and keep your grill at a stable temperature for hours on end.

There are many awesome pellet grills on the market, for example, the Traeger Timberline, where the entire cooking chamber is insulated. Traeger’s Timberlin is made from steel tubing with a powder-coated finish and steel legs. It has a sealed stainless steel lid and can be a perfect option for grilling in cold weather.

Here is a list of double-wall insulated Pellet Grill.

5 Best Double Wall Pellet Grill

Insulated pellet grills are more expensive than uninsulated ones, but they can help you save on fuel and provide a quality cooking experience.

How do Pellet Grills Work in Cold Weather?

4: Type Of Controller Does Your Pellet Grill Have

A PID (Proportional, Integral, Derivative) pellet grill controller performs better in cold weather. You can control your grill’s temperature with a PID Controller. It will, for example, turn the heat on and off without you having to do anything, which means you can open up the hood whenever around the grill.

The Complete Guide to Pellet Grills/Smokers with PID Controller

You can find many modern pellet grills with this mechanism that will monitor the temperature within the grill and makes adjustments to maintain it.

Previous generations of pellet grills used time-based controllers. To maintain a set temperature, they constantly turn the auger/fan on and off for a set amount of time. This is because time-based control panels are not perfect for dealing with sudden changes in the outside temperature, especially in cold weather.

The best way to cook on a grill in cold weather is to fire it up to the maximum temperature and then lower it for the desired cooking temperature.

5: Don’t open the lid of the Pellet Grill

Many people find it difficult to use a grill in cold weather. One of the most common questions is whether they should open the lid of the grill.

The answer is no, you should not open the lid of the grill. The average person cracks open the lid on pellet grills about 10% of the time to check their food or see how it’s coming along, meaning this one small action will waste 90% of the heat. If you check your food every 15 minutes, your grill will have to work much harder and burn more fuel.

The best thing to do while grilling in winter is to use a wireless thermometer that can be activated via Wi-Fi or a Bluetooth connection to your phone.

The wireless thermometer will alert you when the desired temperature is reached, so you stay warm & cozy in the house while your steak cooks to perfection.

6: Use Cast Iron Pots and Grates

One challenge of using pellet grills in cold weather is how to keep the food warm once it finishes cooking. You don’t want your steak to cool down too quickly when you take it off the rack while you are waiting for a few other batches to finish cooking first.

The cast iron! It’s well-known for its heat-retaining properties. One option is to put a cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven with a cover in your grill or oven for a few minutes to heat it up

Ensure you have a heated cast-iron pot or oven-ready to place the food in cold weather before moving it inside.

7: Try the cold smoking technique

Winter is the perfect time for this technique! Cold smoking is a process where the temperature inside the smoker is kept colder than what it would be for hot smoking.

This process is often used for meat, fish, cheese, vegetables, and fruits. The meat is chilled but not frozen before it goes into the smoker.

8: Longer cooking time

Assume the grill will take an additional 50% longer to reach its desired temperature in cold weather. Also, plan on cooking your food 10-25% longer when it’s cold and windy outside.

You will need to hold onto your patience when grilling in cold weather or winter.

How cold is too cold for pellet grill?

I say it is never too cold to smoke!!! You can use your pellet grill/smoker at below zero temperatures, for example, if you are living in Colorado.

A pellet grill is really good at maintaining the heat. Sure, it takes a little bit longer to get up to temp and eats more pellets, but it works just fine. Without a thermal jacket or welding blanket though, the pellet consumption is crazy. I now leave it on year-round with no problem.

Conclusion And Wrap Up

Just like you and I would do to our winter attire and other surfaces we interact with in cold weather, we should prepare for changes when it comes to the use of a pellet grill in cold weather.

So in conclusion, when it comes to pellet grills, all models will work in the winter. If you have a budget pellet stove from an older or cheaper brand or a time-controlled digital control panel, please prepare for cold weather.

I hope this article has made you understand that using a pellet grill in cold weather is not only possible but also fully safe. If you would like to learn more such as how do wood pellet grill works or the types of pot we can use on the grill check out 5 Best Pots And Pans To Use On The Grill.

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