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If you can move up from there cost wise, I’d go with the Yoder pellet smoker. While the Rec Tec looks like a beast, the YS640 absolutely IS one. Weighing in at 315 lbs and boasting solid control components and features, you won’t ever need another pellet smoker in your life unless you just want another one.
Hi i would like to buy my boyfriend a good quality smoker but can’t seem to find one that’s small for people just starting out with smoking for our small backyard. Does anyone have any suggestions? I don’t want to invest too much to start incase it’s too difficult to use or we find we don’t like it. I’ve read some reviews on little smokers that catch on fire and that worries me since we live in a townhouse. I figured someone on here would know of a well made brand that is on the smaller/less expensive side.
Hey Bill! I think you’d be very happy with a Yoder pellet smoker. From a product and manufacturing standpoint, they’re great pellet smokers. If you’re looking at spending $1,700 and can perhaps go a little higher, you can then consider either a MAK grill or a Memphis Grill Pro Series. These are fantastic pieces of equipment. They are insulated at the point where the lid touches the body at closing, and provide superior convection cooking. Anytime you feel you want some extra smoke, you can always throw in an Amazn Pellet Tube or use a Mojo Cube. These will amp up your smoke profile in a manner you can predict and keep under control. I would NOT recommend adding anything foreign to your burn pot ever. Just keep things from the main pellet smoker function working as per the manufacturer’s design.
Fast Eddy’s Cookshack pellet smokers are no joke. Seriously. At least two of the more recent winners of the Jack Daniel’s Invitational won cooking on these bad boys.Derrick Riches, BBQ and Grilling editor over at The Spruce does a great job of explaining what makes Fast Eddy’s pellet smokers so great.
Brad Barrett at Grill Grates makes a fantastic product. Reverse searing 2″ steaks and chops (or thicker) works great on pellet smokers as you can get the internal temp up to 10-15 degrees below your desired finish temp, remove them and loosely wrap / cover in foil, crank up the smoker with the grates on to say, 400 degrees, and then sear off your protein getting great grill marks with little to no sticking at all. Huge fan of Grill Grates.
The 36 in. Wide Body LP Gas Smoker The 36 in. Wide Body LP Gas Smoker from Dyna-Glo is the perfect solution for year-round backyard cooking. The dual cast iron burners provide 20 000 total BTUs for reliable cooking performance in any weather while the pre-installed door seals help retain heat and minimize smoke loss for improved cooking …  More + Product Details Close
Kevin: I have a gas smoker but would like a wood pellet smoker. I’m looking at Traeger Lil Tex (due to price) but I read about Blazn Grill Works, Grand Slam, made in USA, stainless steel grates and a control unit that is very good. Cost about $1195, can’t find dealers so called and talked with the owner. What I read on web site sounds good. He claims on his short video that his auger is the best and doesn’t put torque on the drive due to the design. Any thoughts on this unit? Any advice would be appreciated. Still looking at the Yoder YS640 as price is very similar.
Another one of America’s finest home-grown products comes from MAK Grills Pellet Smokers. Based out of Dallas, OR, MAK started out as a steel fabrication company back in 1990 and ventured into making pellet smokers with the goal of making a pellet smoker that’s more like a grill than an oven.  Said in their own words…
The cooking temperature matters a lot for the flavor of your cooking, Tailgater makes it possible to regulate the temperature through its digital LED thermostat. The thermostat automatically controls the cooking temperature at each stage so that you can obtain the best flavor and even cooked barbecue. The heating mechanism of the grill is very innovative and modern. After turning on the igniter, the pellets get heated up and supply the heat to the fire pot through the auger. The auger then creates a shield of heat with an induction pan which then distributes the heat evenly according to the current settings for thoroughly cooked food.
I talk with a lot of teams out there, and I know for certain that some of them have turned to my buddy Fred Grosse’s MojoBricks to boost their smoke profile when using pellet grills. In fact, of the teams who win with Pellet Smokers – I’d wager at least a quarter of them to maybe half have used MojoBricks to round out their final product. I really like Fred as well – which makes it a pleasure to include his products in this grouping of pellet grill reviews.
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wood pellet grills
Tags: BBQr’s Delight Pellets, CookinPellets.com, Grilla Grills, Lumberjack BBQ Pellets, Memphis Grills, Pellet Grill Reviews, Pellet Grills, Pellet Smoker Reviews, Pellet Smokers, Traeger Pellet Grills, Yoder Pellet Smokers Categories: Pellet Grills
Camp Chef offers a state of the art pellet grill with digital temperature controls, a patented ash cleanout, and perfected sear box offering up to 900 degrees F! The stainless steel grill is visually pleasing and guaranteed to bring flavor to your food.
I’ve had the chance to use one the the Traeger Grills Pro Series grills now for some time, and I find it to be a great pellet grill. They really beefed up the chassis of this model, with a stronger, wider-stance sawhorse base, larger wheels, a nice strong side lift bar, and an upgraded Digital Pro Controller with Advanced Grilling Logic that keeps temps steady, but allows for a temp swing of about 15 degrees. I mention the temp swing here as a positive, rather than a negative. By allowing a tiny bit of temperature fluctuation, I find the grill actually puts out a bit more smoke throughout the cook as pellets are fed in to regulate temps.
Hey Adam, between the two, I’d go with Yoder. It may take a little more time to get to temp than the Rec-Tec, but you will appreciate the build quality over the long term that comes with the Yoder brand. Heavier metal construction on the Yoder will serve you well on those longer cooks.
This was a great article and so glad I found it. I have been looking at pellet grills for a year now since I am not very happy with my electric smoker and want something that creates a more authentic smoke ring and taste.
Hello, I’m also interested in pellet burn rate per hour per brand. Even just rough estimates would be nice since I’m a penny pincher. I did read that the Rec Tec burns about a half pound per hour but that’s all I’ve been able to find regarding burn rate. Thanks for all the info!
First, we are just like you. We love smoking and grilling. We were once novices like you, but now, through years of practice and research we are the genuine kings of the grill. We have our own favorites like the Camp Chef pellet grill and we want you to find your favorite too.
By the way, Max is the only person in the world whose full time job is testing, researching, rating, and reviewing grills and smokers. He laments that most manufacturers continue to include cheap bimetal dial thermometers mounted in the top of the lid. They are frequently off by more than 50°F! The new PK360 has a high quality Tel-Tru bi-metal thermometer mounted down by the cooking grate that is surprisingly accurate, but this is an exception. Most grills typically have an antiquated heat estimator placed far from where the cooking actually takes place. “Without accurate digital thermometers you’re guessing what the cooking temp is, guessing when the food is done and asking for over or underdone embarrassment.” warns Max. He recommends that you budget for a good digital oven thermometer and a separate digital food thermometer. We also have a database of reviews for more than 130 of them.
For sure MAK does a fantastic job blending stainless steel fabrication with precision design and craftsmanship. Their temperature control system (called “The Pellet Boss”) is hands down the best in the business, according to Meat Head over at AmazingRibs.com. Hey, if Meat Head says it’s so… then it’s so!
DS, I have a green mountain grill. besides that for any pellet smoker cook your chicken at a high heat otherwise the skin will be rubbery. doesnt have to be a direct flame to get it crispy. I set my GMG to 425 flip it after 8 mins pull it at 170 crispy perfection. if you want more smoke flavor, smoke it at 150 for an hour then crank it up to 425 to finish it. I was upset with my rubbery skin when i first used it as well but i got some good advice from the pros. chicken doesnt need to be cooked low and slow to tenderize it like pork and beef does. it doesnt have the tissues or muscles that need to be broken down like beef and pork
Cleaning up is a huge part of the grilling experience that no one likes to think about. Take comfort in knowing this grill has a simple and easy clean out process. The grill contains a patented clean out container that simply requires you to twist and dump. No need to take apart the grill here!
Hey John – great question. My experience is that I use maybe 8 lbs of pellets for a 7 or 8 hour cook at 275 degrees. Pellet grills are relatively fuel efficient. The brand of pellet you choose will play into this. Cost for pellets varies by manufacturer, similar to charcoal. I think you’ll find them very efficient if you’re just firing them up for high heat, shorter grilling sessions.
Buckle up – your backyard barbecue experience just got more delicious. Wood pellet grills operate much like a smoker and traditional grill combined, but many offer a number of other cooking options to choose from. When your cooking repertoire is broad and your guests love each and every one of your recipes, you’ll love having the freedom to bake pizzas, sear steak and more with a single outdoor appliance on your patio.
Yesterday’s cook. Breaking in the Grilla Grills Silverbac, with a 2lb hunk of brisket flat. I’m new to pellet cookers, and the Silverbac is exactly what I need to keep my large family full of BBQ. I gotta tell ya, this thing is an amazing cooker! Set the temp, insert the probe, and off you go. No need to lift the lid, you can check everything …Read More
Pellet grills are fueled by small pieces of hardwood such as mesquite, hickory or cherry. Each of these hardwoods has their own unmistakable wood smoked flavor. For convenience, most models include a hopper that stores the pellets and automatically feeds them into the grill as needed. 
We love recommending and reviewing wood pellet smoker grills, but we also want you to get the most out of them once you purchase. Without proper care and maintenance, even the best pellet smoker is bound to have a shorter lifespan. Therefore, how you use your smoker and how you maintain it after use greatly determines how long it will serve you. A little bit of work will go a long way to extending the life of your smoker. A thorough cleaning of the smoker should occur at least once a year. If you frequently use it, you should have it done at least three times a year. Buying quality pellets will extend its life as well.
The built-in cords on outdoor cooking devices are often not long enough, and although regular household extension cords will work for rotisserie kits, they will not carry enough juice to keep you pellet smoker or electric smoker going. They could become a fire hazard as they heat up trying to deliver power to the unit. To extend the cord you need a large capacity cable as measured in amps. Here’s how to figure out what you need:
Hey Corry – GMG and Traeger have shown that they support their brands very well of late. In many cases, they both provide parts support even when warranty limits run out. If you’re considering a Traeger, I’d urge you to go with their Pro Series 22 or 34. Sounds like that’s what you’re probably looking at where they are concerned if you’re looking at a dealer.
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The computer controlled system maintains the smoker temperature with a high degree of precision so you don’t have to deal with fluctuations. With the optional (definitely a must) temperature probe you can put your meat in the smoker, set the desired target temperature and the FEC will take it from there. Once the target temperature is reached the smoker temperature will drop into a holding position until you are ready to remove your barbecue.
Hey Vernon – Yoder warranty is is 1-year on the igniter, 3-years on the control system and 10-years on the cooking body. Products manufactured by Memphis Wood Fire Grills carry a seven (7) year Limited Warranty from the date of purchase by the original owner against defects in material and workmanship. Electronic and electrical components carry a three (3) year replacement warranty when subjected to normal residential use. Limited Warranty does not apply to burn pot, meat probe, grill cover gaskets or damage caused by corrosion. The meat probe is under Warranty for 30 days from the date of purchase. (Both warranty blurbs were pulled from the respective company websites) Yoder: http://www.yodersmokers.com/pellet-frequently-asked-questions.html Memphis Grills: https://memphisgrills.com/warranty/
These are the same knives used at famous steakhouses like Peter Luger, Smith & Wollensky, and Morton’s. Machine washable, high-carbon stainless steel, hardwood handle. Meathead says the ones he uses at home have been through the washing machine more than 100 times and the blade is like new. And the manufacturer has printed the AmazingRibs.com name on it!
Hey Todd – what pellet grill do you have? Also, by short cooks, how long are you talking? Have you looked at the burn pot? If it’s overfilled, you may need to vacuum it out, along with the interior of the cooker. Then, put 10 or so pellets into the burn pot and start it up again. See if that helps. There should not be much if any ash in the food chamber area or on the food. At least not in my experience.
3. Be sure to have a good probe thermometer. You can use the ChefAlarm by Thermoworks, a personal favorite. I also use their ThermaPen or ThermoPop for quick on the fly temp reads. (Find more about Thermoworks here.)
Hey Dan – I think you’d really up your versatility with a good pellet smoker. Smoke profiles seem to depend largely on the quality of pellets used and then also on the burn consistency of the fire pot. What I mean here is that many pellet smoker users tell me that they prefer models that cycle over faster with frequent temp checks rather than those with longer wait times between temp checks. Cycling faster means that pellets burn more consistently and do not rest to a “charred” state and they “reactivate” This latter problem sometimes results in less than optimal flavor. Yoder smokers cycle very fast and are preferred by many due to this and their thicker metal construction.
If you get it that BBQ is more than burning hotdogs on a propane grill, you could likely benefit from The BBQ Beat podcasts. Kevin interviews the best Pitmasters in the country. They share their knowledge, stories, and experiences. There is something to be learned in each podcast. So if you’re serious about your bbq, check out these podcasts. They are time well spent.
Wi-Fi enabled! With the download of an app, you can connect your iPhone or Android device to this little beast via Wi-Fi and control your cooking experience! This means you don’t have to touch… hell… you don’t even have to see your smoker to grill with it: you can be in the next room having fun! Disclaimer: just make sure that the app is compatible with your phone so that you can actually use this feature.
The MAK 1 Star General boasts our favorite digital controller: It’s highly programmable and easily accessed via the internet from anywhere in the world. Made entirely in the USA, the 1 Star General is solid-feeling, with a heavy-duty powder coat. The hood is a rolltop, meaning that, unlike a lot of its competitors, the 1 Star doesn’t need much rear clearance, and there’s plenty of room inside. The 1 Star includes a 214-square-inch slide-in upper rack, and an additional rack is offered as an option. Our only criticism: Not only is it built like a tank, it kinda looks like one, too.
The good news is that if you are stuck with one of these dogs, Ortech makes a controller that can be used to upgrade Brinkmann and Traeger controllers. If you own another brand and are interested in upgrading to a digital controller, contact the manufacturer of your smoker or Ortech.
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.

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