Due to the lower oxygen at 9200 FASL, I cannot keep the smoker hot and I cannot get it above 250 Deg. F. I seem to be limited due to the diameter of the smoker…just can’t get enough coals and air to get and maintain temps. Therefore, I want to buy a new smoker, on that will regulate temperature at temperatures of 200 – 450 deg F. Any experience or guidance for a smoker brand and type (wood pellet, charcoal, or electric) at high altitudes? i am looking for a smaller size smoker unit.
Louisiana Grills have come out of the Bayou and have taken over the market. These grills are an engineering wonder. Get a Louisiana and get a lifetime of great cooking, Move your electric stove out and cook on a Louisiana!
As far as the choice of pellets… I’ve tried hickory, apple, cherry. mesquite, etc, etc, but found “Perfect Choice” cooking pellets to be economical and a nice choice for all of our needs. Besides, it’s not that convenient to change pellets in a pellet grill.
Pellet grills are available at a wide range of prices, from inexpensive bargain-priced models that cost as little as $399 to premium high-end models that cost $5,000 or more. In general, though, a medium-sized pellet grill of decent quality starts at around $699. If you’re willing to go smaller, you can get a quality pellet grill for under $500. If you want more cooking space, expect to pay more money. As you add features PID temperature control, a direct grilling option, meat probes, WiFi, and stainless steel construction, the price tag goes up.
The adjustable chimney top gives you the power to adjust how much smoke flavor gets into your meat. And with Smart Smoke Technology the grill will automatically maintain the optimum temperature range to produce the most smoke possible.
The big structure makes it great for searing large amounts of meat at the same time. When it comes to high temperatures, you need to know that it only reaches 450~ degrees F. It’s not a lot, but you have to know that the main characteristic of this grill is maintaining low temperatures for a long time which allows for reliable, easy and slow meat searing.
To sear a steak you need direct radiant heat. I don’t care if you can heat the air to 1000°F, it is still indirect heat and that does not deliver as much energy as direct radiant heat. It’s physics, but not hard to understand. In short, heat is not the same as temperature. It feels hotter at 80°F if the sun is shining on you than if it is 80°F in the shade. I discuss the concept in more detail in my article on thermodynamics of cooking.
Basically, Cookshack keeps to Ed Maurin’s simple design – using a dual layer of thick 304 stainless steel separated by high temperature insulation to hold in heat. Heat is provided by an electronically controlled 36,000 BTU pellet burner fed from an external hopper (you can add more pellets without opening the smoker).
Wattage – With the right amount of wattage by your side, you will easily reach the temperature required, and it will stay there provided that you are providing enough pellets for it to make use of. Anything north of 1200W will easily be able to cover all your requirements, but as a rule, it’s ideal to be sheltered than sorry, so it can’t hurt to purchase a unit with a bigger Wattage than you might suspect you’ll require.
For a portable pellet smoker, it’s fairly heavy for the average person. It’s also a little awkward to carry around. The DC is small, which we’ve mentioned, and for some the 12″ deep x 16″ wide primary cook surface is a problem. But there are a lot of people who love it because of the compact size. As they say, one man’s basting is another man’s poison!
Hey Britt… If you’re looking for the smaller footprint pellet grill, you’ll be happy with either the GMG or the Rec-Tec. I like the fold out legs of the Rec-Tec mini over the GMG DC legs. For Traeger, I’d recommend their Pro Series units they sell via their dealer networks.
3-Position Controller – 3 position controllers, also called LMH controllers, have just 3 temperature settings—low, medium, and high—which correlate to roughly 225°F, 325°F, and 425°F. They feed pellets in fixed cycles that are determined by which setting you choose. With just three settings to choose from, though, you have less control over cooking temperatures than more advanced controllers. These controllers are often found on lower priced pellet grills.
A well built pellet grill is not only more durable, but it will also perform better. When quality materials are used the grill is able to retain heat better. As a result the grill will perform in a more efficient manner no matter how hot or cold it is outside.
Pellets are available from a number of sources because they are popular for use in home heaters, so if you are worried that you will be buying a gizmo that might be worthless someday if the pellet supply runs out, it is unlikely. As more and more pellet grills appear, and word of their excellence spreads, sources for pellets will become numerous. I’ve even heard of a few Home Depot’s carrying them. The bad news is that I have tried several brands and I always return to BBQr’s Delight. They seem to have the least sawdust, so they are less likely to clog the auger, and they have a higher percentage of the flavor wood on the label.
This smoker comes with a cooking area measuring 560 cubic inches, large enough to allow you smoke food for the whole family or a group. It also has a handy warming rack where you can keep your smoked food warm while your waiting for your whole meal to come together or that one couple who always arrive late for the party.
Mo’s Smoking Pouch is essential for gas grills. It is an envelope of mesh 304 stainless steel that holds wood chips or pellets. The airspaces in the mesh are small enough that they limit the amount of oxygen so the wood smolders. Put it on top of the cooking grate, on the burners, on the coals. It holds enough wood for about 15 minutes for short cooks, so you need to refill it or buy a second pouch for long cooks like pork shoulder and brisket. Meathead says his has survived more than 50 cooks and he likes it better than the smoker tubes.
Rubbery skin has very little to do with the type of heat (direct vs indirect). Rubbery skin is a result of too low a cooking temperature. Take your smoker/grill or whatever you use and get the temperature in the mid 400’s or even higher and you will get crispy skin. One thing though never let the internal temperature of your bird get over 150 or you’ll have crispy skin and dry crunchy meat too. Take it off the grill and let is rest a full 30 minutes. Best bird you’ll ever eat no matter which grill, smoker, 50 gal barrel, etc you cooked it on.
We took the job of finding you the best pellet smoker very seriously. We read reviews, spoke to pit masters and backyard BBQ enthusiasts and the choice was unanimous. The REC TEC RT-680 Wood Pellet Grill came out on top. The sturdy construction, smart grill technology, excellent digital controller and dare we say it, its good looks, made this pellet grill our No.1 choice.
Remember that the most important thing in those pellet grills is to maintain a fixed temperature. It’s a necessary condition for peaceful cooking. Such grill will easily let you smoke meat for many hours without the risk of burning it in an uncontrolled too high temperature.
Pellets look like rabbit chow. They are about the width of a pencil and as long as a couple of erasers. If they get wet they turn into a pile of sawdust. The beauty of pellets is that they have none of the additives and fillers in charcoal briquets, so they combust almost completely. Almost zero ash. The pellets provide the heat as well as flavor. No need to add wood chips. Surprisingly, they do not produce overly smoky food. If anything, the food is undersmoked to some people because the combustion is so complete.
Yoder’s Variable Displacement Damper is another unique feature: Essentially, it’s a metal plate that may be moved from left to right along the lower smoke box. Positioned all the way left, it concentrates heat directly over the fire pot for conductive searing with optional aluminum GrillGrates. Move it back to the right for even heat across the entire smoke box. Yoders are sold primarily through independent retailers.
MAK Grills: Sells four American-made pellet grill models, from the 1-Star General ($1600) to the 4-Star General ($8000). The trademarked “FlameZone” attains temperatures of 500 degrees and can be used for direct grilling.
The shorter the cooking time, or the lower the temperature, the less likely you will create those chemicals that can increase the cancer risk. Processed meats like sausages or fish take much less time to cook on a pellet grill than pork or beef. However, if you don’t want to give up your favorite piece of brisket or pork shoulder, you could always part cook the meat in your oven or microwave, and finish off the cooking using your pellet grill. The effect of this is similar to marinating. The outside of the meat is sealed before it comes into contact with the smoke from our pellet grill, and thus the harmful chemicals cannot penetrate into the food.
As such, if you don’t see one of your favorites listed here and would like to offer up a review – please contact me via any of the social media links at the top of this blog’s sidebar, and we’ll see about getting a post up.
Easily create a barbecued masterpiece. Put your ribs or brisket on the grill, set a low temperature and leave it. With our grill’s extremely low heat setting and reliable even heating, when you return your meat will be slow-cooked to mouth-watering perfection.
Thank you for a very comprehensive review and all the helpful advice. I would like to know your thoughts about having the burn pot in the center area as in the Rec-Tec, or on the side. My only interest is smoking, not grilling, and I prefer even heat throughout the cooking chamber. How much difference does the location of the burn pot make? Thank you very much.
That being said, many cut-rate pellet brands don’t de-bark their wood, creating inconsistency in the pellets. That can prevent the pellets from burning cleanly, resulting in excessive ash that may interfere with airflow and cause temperature fluctuations. In fact, often when people are having trouble with their pellet grill, cheap pellets are the culprit. How do you know which pellets are okay? Be wary of any pellets with a price that seems too good to be true. A 20 pound bag should cost in the neighborhood of $16 – $23. If you see a bag priced significantly less, be skeptical of the quality.
Hi Jennifer, the Traeger grill you purchased should serve you well. You can see a picture of one of them installed here. I think this is the grill style you bought. One thing the sites you’ve researched (including my own article above) might not have stressed is that Traeger recently hired a new CEO and is actively working to attain the name, reputation, and reputation for quality that they once had. I’m confident should you have any problems with your unit that they will stand behind it and take care of them for you.
Camp Chef PG24 has a compact weight of 124 pounds and a pellet hopper with a 20-pound capacity. That’s large enough that you don’t have to worry about getting more before your meal is done. This set it and forget approach to cooking gives you the ultimate cooking experience. Each time the temperature drops down, a wood pellet is dispensed. This convenience is impossible to find in a gas, wood or charcoal unit.
For home models, get at least a 10 amp, 12 gauge, three prong cord (oddly, 12 gauge is higher capacity than 14 gauge). That’s more than you need, but better safe than sorry. Commercial models may have different requirements.
What I like about this grill is its robust construction, and the amount of smoke it puts out compared to other pellet grills. There is a built in temperature swing that guarantees that every so often, a strong but not overpowering amount of smoke will enter the cook chamber.
The Pit Boss Grills 340 Wood Pellet Grill is a great grill with dial-in digital control and led read-out. Pellets are 100% natural hardwood. This grill has got an automatic start and cool down. It’s heavy duty with 16 gauge steel construction. It’s easy to assemble. It’s a little expensive. However, other grills are more expensive and seeing that I would recommend this to anyone.
For the outside of the smoker, you can use hot soapy water, with a spray cleaner for any painted or stainless steel surfaces. Allow at least 24 hours after cleaning before cooking, and make sure the pellet hopper is completely dry before reloading it.
Often called smoker pellets or bbq pellets, the food-grade wood pellets that fuel a pellet grill are produced from 100% hardwood. Made of compressed sawdust sourced from lumber yard, sawmills, and trimmed treetops and limbs, the food grade pellets are all-natural and contain no fillers, although some pellets use vegetable oil as a lubricant.
Traeger really pulled the trigger on this one this time around, delivering the Traeger TFB65LZBC Texas Elite 34 Series Wood Pellet Grill. It’s fueled by 100% pure hardwood pellets to give you real wood flavor out of your meat (rather than artificial or gimmicky ones).
Traeger makes the most well known brand of pellet grills. Joe Traeger invented the pellet grill in 1985 and gave his name to it. Because of a patent, it was also the only pellet grill available for years. Since the patent expired, many different pellet grill brands on the market with more becoming available every year.
PID Controller – one of the best controllers. Precisely maintains the temperature you set at intervals of +/- 5 degrees. Perfect when it comes to long and slow meat smoking at low temperatures. You can leave such a pellet grill for the entire day without worries and forget about it. When coming back after many hours, you’re sure that your meat has been cooked at the fixed temperature that you set.
Green Mountain Grills have give a lot of BBQ Teams a grill over the years. Right now Newman BBQ has 4 of them on there team. Green Mountain makes a real good pellet grill. I has to be the third one listed on my list because it is used so much in BBQ Competition.
The Justin Bieber Guide To Pellet Grill
Versatility – Cook and bake like on a regular grill or braise and sear meat at low temperatures for many hours. All of that is possible with this one grill, additionally the food is enriched with a wood-fired taste.
Pellet grills rely on advanced digital technology working in concert with several mechanical parts. The grill is lit and the cooking temperature is programmed using a digital control board. It uses an algorithm to calculate how many pellets are needed to reach the desired temperature and how often those pellets need to be fed to the fire in order to maintain the temperature. A rotating auger then automatically feeds the pellets from the hopper to the fire, where a fan stokes the flames and distributes heat and smoke throughout the grill. To help maintain an even temperature throughout the entire grill and prevent flare-ups, a diffuser plate sits between the fire pot and grill grate. While the food cooks, the pellet grill continues to drop the perfect amount of pellets needed to maintain the desired temperature.