If you’re in the market for a pellet grill but don’t know what size to get, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about choosing the right size pellet grill for your needs, so you can spend less time stressing and more time savoring those juicy, smoky flavors. Let’s get cooking!
As a general rule of thumb, you need 72 inches of cooking space for each person you plan to cook for. This means that a family of four can function with a grill that has about 4 inches of cooking space.
But if you regularly grill for more people or plan to cook lots of large cuts of meat like a whole turkey, then obviously, you might have to take a few more aspects into consideration before you buy.
Read on to learn all about pellet grill sizes and the one you should consider purchasing for your family!
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Why Pellet Grill Size is Important
As you shop for pellet grills, you might think that the “bigger is always better” concept applies here. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
Large pellet grills require lots of pellets and power to operate. This means that a massive pellet grill designed to cook for 7 people will be a costly endeavor for a family of 2. Not only that, but you’ll need more space to store your pellet grill, which you may not have on hand.
On the other hand, if you buy the smallest pellet grill possible in the interest of saving money, you will have to cook in shifts, or you may not be able to make the large cut of meat you want to cook.
This is why you need to consider the size of the pellet grill that you need before you buy.
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How to Pick the Right Size of Pellet Grill
As you are shopping for your pellet grill, you need to consider the following things to ensure you purchase the right size pellet grill for your family.
1. What Size Is Your Family?
It is critical to pick a large enough pellet grill that you can cook for your family on a regular basis. If you don’t, your pellet grill is more likely to sit there unused because you can’t feed everyone on a daily basis.
When considering your family size, it’s best to estimate 72 inches per person in your family. So a family of four needs at least 288 inches of cooking space, while a family of 6 needs at least 432 square inches of cooking space.
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2. What You Like to Cook
Are you always tossing burgers on the grill or a round of chicken breasts? Then grill size doesn’t matter much to you besides having enough room to cook for your family. But if you are the type of person that always wanted to make their own prime rib, or maybe a Boston butt, then you need to look at the clearance and space of the grill.
The average turkey(15 lbs) and Boston butt can fit in a grill with at least 9-10 inches of clearance inside the lid. If you truly want to make these large cuts of meat with regularity, then it’s a good idea to visit a store that sells grills to measure the clearance, as this isn’t always outlined online.
Also, take into account that if there are multiple shelves in the grill, this can cut into your turkey space. Always ask if these shelves are removable or not and take this into account.
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3. Will You Be Cooking for Parties?
Is your home the go-to for family celebrations? Or maybe there are regular block parties, and you’re in charge of the grill.
Either way, if you plan to cook for crowds regularly, then it might be worthwhile to upgrade to a slightly larger grill. This way, you won’t be grilling for the entire duration of the block party and can cook the meat in one or two shifts!
4. The Space You Have to Store Your Grill
Let’s face it, even if you cook for your neighbors all the time, if you live in an apartment with a balcony, this will play a large part in your grill decision. You need to measure the space you have available for a grill before you buy. Make sure to measure the height, width, and depth.
You also want to take into account where you plan to store your pellet grill. If it will live outside, finding space for it is a no-brainer. But if you need to wheel it into your garage from time to time, you’ll want to check the dimensions you have available here too.
How Big of a Pellet Hopper Do I Need?
Besides just ensuring you have enough grilling space to cook food for your family, you also need to consider the size of the pellet hopper you need. Larger pellet grills tend to have larger hoppers which can come in handy when your plan to do a lot of smoke sessions unsupervised.
To estimate the size of the hopper you need, start with your longest cooking item. So if you plan to smoke a turkey a few times a year, your longest cook time will likely be about 12 hours. Next, take the pellet burn rate of your pellet grill (usually 1-3 pounds per hour) and multiply it by the burn time.
So if your pellet grill burns 2 pounds of pellets per hour, you will need a 24lb hopper for you to smoke a turkey in one go.
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Of course, we assume that you will be able to check in on your pellet grill at least once during the cooking time, but most people like a pellet grill they can leave for 8-10 hours while they are at work and come home to a read to eat meal. If this sounds like you, then you likely want to look for a pellet grill with a larger hopper (as well as a pellet grill with wifi connectivity!)
Remember, if you just plan to cook burgers regularly, then a 9lb hopper is probably fine. Just know you won’t be able to leave the pellet grill unattended for a full workday if this is the size of hopper your grill has!
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What is the Average Size Pellet Grill?
As you can see, finding the perfect size pellet grill for your family can take a lot of work and forethought. If you truly don’t know where to start, know that the average-size pellet grill has 400-500 square inches of cooking space and that this is enough for most families and amateur smokers.
If your family has more than 6 members, however, you will need to look for an above-average pellet grill or else plan to cook everything in shifts! And if it’s just you and a partner, then feel free to purchase a slightly smaller pellet grill.