How to Cook With Wood Pellets

by Om Paramapoonya ; Updated September 28, 2017

Wood pellets are a byproduct of many wood-related industries. Basically, they are compacted sawdust with an extremely dense texture and low-moisture content. They were first developed and marketed in the 1990s and now have become popular as an alternative fuel for heating and cooking. To cook with wood pellets, you need to have a wood pellet grill. Normal barbecue grills will not suffice. Wood pellet grills are available in various models and sizes, are convenient to use and easy to clean up. Plus, they also add that true smoky, woody flavor to your food.

Open the pellet hopper in the rear of your wood pellet grill and fill it with wood pellets. Close the hopper lid.

Turn the cooking mode switch to "Cook."

Turn the feed control or temperature setup to "Ignite." Press the "Start" button.

As the start-up cycle is running, the grill will begin producing smoke. Close the lid and wait until the smoke has cleared. When it is ready, the flame will be visible in the burn pot area.

Turn the feed control to "Preheat." Wait 10 to 15 minutes.

Adjust the feed control to the desired temperature. The high heat setting will cook at about 500 to 550 degrees F, perfect for steaks, burgers and lamb chops. The medium or ignite setting will give a temperature of approximately 350 degrees F, suitable for ham, chicken and pork. The low setting will operate at about 310 degrees F; use this setting for turkey or slow-cook ribs. If you want to smoke the meat, simply change the cooking mode switch to "Smoke."

Once you finish cooking, turn the feed control to high heat and let the grill burn off food residue for five to 10 minutes. If you use the smoke cooking mode, turn it back to the normal cooking mode first before letting it burn off. Finally, turn off the feed control.


  • You need to “season” a new wood pellet grill before using, in order to prevent rust and sticking. Remove the cooking grid and wash it thoroughly with dish washing liquid; a new grid is usually coated with protective wax for shipping purposes. Apply vegetable shortening or olive oil to the entire grid. Preheat the wood pellet grill for about 15 minutes. Put the cooking grid back on, close the lid and let the grill operate at medium heat for about an hour. Turn the grill off and let it cool completely. Now your wood pellet grill is ready for use.

    Choose wood pellets carefully. There are many types of barbecue wood pellets; each type will give a different flavor to your food. For example, mesquite wood pellets create a delicate and subtle flavor, which is great for chicken and seafood. Cooking with hickory wood pellets, on the other hand, can result in a strong tangy taste, more suitable for red meat.

About the Author

Om Paramapoonya holds a Master of Arts in creative writing from California State University, Sacramento. She has been an online writer since 2008. Healthy cooking is her expertise, but she also writes on other topics including fashion, travel, home decor and personal finance.