You are currently viewing Can You Use A Pellet Grill in Competitions?

Can You Use A Pellet Grill in Competitions?

  • Post author:
Affiliate Disclaimer: Some of the links on this website may be affiliate links, meaning that I may receive a small commission if you click on the link and purchase the item. This helps to support my website and keep my content free for everyone.

There’s been a lot of debate lately about whether or not pellet grills are allowed in BBQ competition.

Some people say it’s an unfair advantage, and others say they’re just working smarter.

So what’s the truth? Can you use a pellet smoker in a competition, or are you breaking the rules if you do? 

In this article, we’ll take a look at pellet smokers and how they work, as well as traditional smokers and how they work.

We’ll also discuss the benefits of using a pellet smoker in competition, and why some people think it might be unfair to use one.


What Is a Pellet Grill?

A pellet grill is a type of BBQ smoker that uses wood pellets to create smoke, which translates to more flavor.

Pellet grills combine elements of several different types of grills, from the convenience of gas grills, to the low and slow flavor enhancement of wood and charcoal grills.

They’re often much more expensive to use, and require a specific type of wood or charcoal pellet for fuel. 

How Does a Pellet Grill Work? 

To use a pellet grill properly, it’s important that you understand how the machine works first.

Pellets burn very hot when they’re ignited – this makes them ideal for smoking food because they produce so much warmth while also providing plenty of heat from combustion (burning).

If left on its own without any air flow or draft control over time, it will eventually go out due to lack of oxygen but not before reaching temperatures as high as 500 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The pellets are fed, using gravity, into an electric auger, which transports them into a firebox or burn pot.

They are then heated up inside the firebox through an electric igniter, which then causes them to smolder and release smoke into the cooking chamber. 

Pellet grills also have electronic controls that allow you to set a temperature for your grill (sometimes via an LCD display touch-screen).

Temperatures are controlled by way of an electrically powered fan, which stokes the burning pellets inside the burn pot, allowing you to sit back and relax, while technology does the work.

Can You Use Pellet Grills in BBQ Competitions?

Yes, there are some BBQ Competitions you can use pellet grills in. Let’s explore thjose more as well as discussing where you cant use a pellet grill in cometitions.

This is a question that has been on the minds of many BBQ enthusiasts from all over.

The answer, however, is not so black and white. There are pros and cons to using pellet smokers in competition BBQ circuits, which we will explore in this article. 

First, let’s take a look at what pellet grills are and how they work. A traditional smoker uses charcoal or wood as its fuel source.

The heat from the burning charcoal or wood is used to cook the meat indirectly, by heating up a cooking chamber or box that the meat is placed inside of.

This allows for more even cooking temperatures and prevents flare-ups (when juices from the meat hit the flames, causing flames to shoot out).

The cooking chamber is usually airtight, which allows the meat to retain its moisture. 

In a pellet grill, wood pellets are used as fuel. These wood pellets are placed into an auger inside of the grill and get fed into the firebox when needed to maintain heat levels.

The temperature on a pellet smoker can be controlled through controls that adjust how many pellets are being released at once, and how much air gets to them.

This makes for easier control of internal temperatures and can even allow you to smoke meat at lower temperatures than what’s possible with traditional smokers. 

How A Competition Rules See Pellet Grills

In BBQ competitions that use judges from Kansas City BBQ Society (KCBS) or other similar organizations, there are strict rules about what you can use to cook your competition meats. 

The rules provide that as long as the heat that cooks your meat is produced by wood, wood pellets, or charcoal, it doesn’t matter what type of grill you use. In a pellet grill, the heat comes from the wood pellets.

This means that pellet smokers are allowed in these competitions, and many BBQ enthusiasts are choosing to use them because of the benefits they offer.

Benefits of Using a Pellet Grill

One of the biggest benefits is temperature control – pellet smokers are much more accurate than traditional smokers, meaning your meat will come out cooked perfectly every time. 

They also have a built-in thermostat that keeps track of internal temperatures, so you don’t need to constantly check on things or adjust the heat.

This can be really helpful if you’re cooking for a competition and have other things you need to worry about.

Pellet grills also produce less smoke than traditional smokers, meaning your meat won’t taste as smoky (although in a pellet grill, the heat comes from the wood pellets – they are just ignited electronically), so your backyard pellet grill just graduated into a BBQ competitions pellet grill!

Why Pellet Grills Offer an Advantage in Competitions

The BBQ competition rules state that you can use any type of grill or smoker. So technically, there’s nothing wrong with using a pellet grill in BBQ competitions.

But some people think it offers an unfair advantage over other contestants who are using a traditional smoker, or WSM (Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker). 

A major part of perfecting the art of smoking and barbecuing meats is the constant attention to temperature for hours on end.

With traditional smoking methods, you would have to stay up late, wake up in the middle of the night, and wake up early in the morning to stoke the fire – just to maintain a constant temperature throughout the cooking process. 

Pellet grills offer an advantage over the traditional smoking methods simply because they can maintain a constant temperature as long as they have pellets in the hopper.


If you’re looking for a smoker that is allowed in BBQ competitions, pellet grills are a good option.

Pellet grills use pellets to produce heat, which cooks the food, making them fair game in most competitions.

They come in many different sizes and styles, and they offer many advantages. So, you will definitely be able to find one that fits your needs.


Lover of the outdoors and great food. If I'm not in my backyard cooking up a feast, I'm deep in the backcountry camping....and cooking up a feast! Follow along and let's create something great.