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charcoal vs pellet grills
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Comparing Charcoal vs Pellet Grills

Charcoal vs pellet grills? How are they different and which one is right for you? Grilling is an art form, and while anyone can learn to do it, you may find it helpful to compare the two types of grills in order to decide which one is best for you. Whether you are just now getting into the grilling game or have been lighting cooking fires your whole life, it’s essential to understand which grill will provide the flavor you crave and suit your cooking style. Juniper has put together three key differences between two popular types of grills- charcoal options such as the Kamado Joe®, and pellet grills such as Memphis Wood Fire Grills®.

Do You Prefer a Woody or a Smoky Flavor?

If you’re looking for that juicy wood flavor in your meat or fish, then pellet grills should be placed at the top of your list. Pellet grills, such as Memphis Wood Fire Grills, use wood pellets as a primary fuel source, creating that mouth-watering wood flavor in your food.

The pros at Memphis Wood Fire Grills swear that cooking with hardwood infuses your food with far more flavor than gas or charcoal. In comparison, many people prefer charcoal grills that use lump wood coal or charcoal briquettes as fuel sources. A Kamado Joe grill will infuse your food with a more smoky flavor, along with a nice sear on your meat. If you wish, you can add wood chips to your Kamado Joe grill to achieve that woody taste. 

Cost Comparison Breakdown Between Charcoal vs Pellet Grills

Pellet grills tend to be the more expensive choice when comparing charcoal vs pellet grills. A pellet grill that has gained immense popularity is the Memphis Wood Fire Grill. A free-standing Beale Street™ Memphis grill will start at $1799 and other models range up to $5999. 

Charcoal grills are affordable, with several options to choose from, from kettle grills to cart-style grills. A typical kettle-style charcoal grill will cost between $50-$250. Hooded charcoal grills on a wheeled cart start at $150, and larger models can cost more than $300. A premium ceramic-style cooker such as the Kamado Joe will start at $499 and range up to $1999 for a larger Big Joe® model.

Charcoal vs Pellet Grills: Ease of Use

Pellet-style grills such as the Memphis Wood Fire Grill are easy to use, but keep in mind they do need a source of electricity. Fill the hopper with wood pellets and select the desired cooking temperature. An electrically powered auger feeds the pellets into a cooking chamber.

Turning up the temperature causes the pellets to feed through at a faster rate, raising the temperature. Pellet grills get up to about 500°, whereas charcoal grills can get much hotter. A pellet grill may be a good choice if you like the idea of being able to easily set things up, press a button and be ready to start cooking.

Charcoal grills can be more challenging to use, from lighting them to maintaining a high cooking temperature. These grills take longer to heat up and reach the proper cooking temperature, around 15 to 20 minutes on average.

However, the Kamado Joe’s ceramic grill is known for its thick-walled, heat-resistant ceramic shell which retains heat for extremely even cooking and smoking. It also can reach temperatures of up to 800°, which is great for searing.

One advantage of a kamado-style grill is its versatility. You can use it as a convection oven, smoker, and grill.  If you love playing with fire and building it up and controlling it, a charcoal grill may be for you. 

Looking for some help and guidance in choosing your next grill? The folks at Juniper can be a great resource to you when you are comparing charcoal vs pellet grills. We carry both Memphis Wood Fire Grills as well as Kamado Joe charcoal grills and are happy to share our experiences with each. 

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