are pellet grills worth it | smoker grills minnesota

I have found that using the upper shelf gets more airflow around the meat than the lower shelf. I asked the AmazingRibs.com science advisor Prof. Greg Blonder about the problem (he has a MAK 1 Star). He explained that smoke sticks to cool surfaces and wet surfaces, and the surface of meat warms and dries out after a few hours. When he wants more smoke flavor he uses a strong smoke wood like hickory or mesquite, he starts with cold meat, and then he keeps the meat moist by painting or misting it with apple juice or a mop like Lexington Dip or East Carolina Mop or Texas Mop Sauce. A awter pan can help because the water condenses on the cool meat and attracts smoke. Read his detailed research on the subject in my article on the Science of Wood and my article on Basting.
My cousin and I went on a rowing trip at Tonto national forest, Arizona. He got a 10 feet boat. Not much room for gear, but I insisted he take his grill along. Traeger BBQ 155.01 Bronze Tailgater Pellet Grill w/EZ-Fold Legs& Digit Thermostat is small enough to fit into that small boat along with us. He was scared his smoker might get tipped into the lake, but that first night that we set it up and smoked a whole brisket he knew it was worth the extra weight. This is the length Grills Forever will go to test all the best smoker grills in every place we can think of so you don’t have to.
Hi Craig, you are on the right track, the direct flame is a little limited with any pellet grill. A way to solve this is to employ grill gtates. Great heat retention and searing. Some active movement of proteins and veggies will be required if you want direct flames to impact them.
The Woodwind grill contains “Smart Smoke” technology that guarantees the most accurate temperatures. This digital gauge will ensure you maintain constant heat at temperatures you want. No more burning food and awkward barbeques!
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.
As time passed, a thermostat was added to the equation, and the production BBQ smokers fueled by pellets working in “set it and forget it” fashion was in full force. From this point, several manufacturers of pellet grills began to pop up, with a few key names like Yoder Smokers, Mak Grills, Green Mountain Grills, and Fast Eddy’s Cookshack grills being among the most notable.
Thank you so much for the kind words! I think you would be very happy with a smaller pellet grill / smoker. The wording changes depending on how you are using the device. For instance, if you are cooking at low temperatures you will get a stronger smoke profile then if you burn a pellet smoker / grill at its higher temperature range. One thing you could do for steaks is cook them at the higher range thus being able to get a sear much like you would on a direct heated Grill service, for instance on your Weber. Another option would be to cook the steak in the reverse see your method, by bringing it up to temperature at a lower smoker setting and adding some smoke flavoring that way, then removing it and bringing the smoker up to its higher settings so you can finish off the steak with some of the effect you would achieve on direct flame. I normally do this by bringing the steaks up to about 15 degrees below where I want them to finish. Then, I finish them off at the higher temperature to where they are about 5 degrees below my target. This usually means a few minutes on each side but I use a Thermapen to be sure.
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.
Kevin- I’m in the process of researching to get my husband a grill for Christmas. I’m torn between the 820 you mentioned above and the Traeger Pro Series. As far as I can tell they are basically the same except that you get a larger cooking area on the pit boss for the same price you pay for a small cook space in a traeger. I would like to spend around $600 on the grill but would possibly go up to $800 and want 500 sq in cook space or greater. Which do you prefer? Pit Boss, Traeger or another brand?
You have some solid reviews out there. I have been in pursuit of getting exactly what I want for about 25 years now LOL. Started with a Weber Kettle cooked some great meals on it and made that tasted more like eating a chunk of lump coal 🙁 Over the years I have built a couple 55 gal barrel smokers they were challenging to hold the temp, an old Kenmore stove oven into a propane starter wood smoke unit, a monster 24″ pipeline pipe 5′ long and a warming oven, a 40″ stainless grill made from an industrial engine catalyst that I could direct and indirect cook on and a few other small grills. Working in the oil & gas business and having poor welding skills with a good welding machine in the garage made for some great experiences. Most generally have cooked for 2 to 4 people but have fed up to 70 a time or two.
Competition: If you are buying a smoker for participating in any competition, then pellet smokers are your best choice. Gas or electric smoker grills are not allowed in any competition as they are using automation. Though you are getting temperature control and electronic start in pellet smoker it is accepted in competition.
We have all kinds of friends here at Grills Forever and one of those friends, who we shall not name for his own sake, is not a handyman. If something can be put together wrong or broken, he will find a way. He put together this grill in an afternoon and by late that night his family and friends were enjoying the best bbq chicken I’ve ever had.
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wood pellet grills
Some pellet grills allow you to regulate temperatures in 5-degree increments, giving you pinpoint heat control. A thermostat in the cooking chamber sends precise signals to the controller and regulates pellet delivery.
No review of REC TEC would be complete without commenting on the striking and appealing look of this smoker. With its bright red powder-coated hood and shining, micro-polished stainless steel bull-horn handles and nose-ring towel holder, it’s a mighty cool-looking cooker that’s a pleasure to use.
Electricity causes the auger to start pushing pellets into your burn pot and begins to heat up the glow rod until it’s red-hot, which in turn ignites the pellets in the burn pot. Air is pushed into the burn pot via the holes you see around it – allowing for a maximum efficiency burn.
To solve this problem, several companies have come up with alternative ways to expose food to the flame by allowing you to use the small area directly above the fuel pot. It’s still not as good as charcoal or sear burners, but better than the designs that are strictly indirect. Check out the Memphis Elite, Fast Eddy’s by Cookshack PG500, and the Yoder YS640 for this feature.
The Dyna-Glo Compact Charcoal Bullet Smoker boasts versatile The Dyna-Glo Compact Charcoal Bullet Smoker boasts versatile cooking options and thorough heat distribution in a compact space. The removable middle section offers grilling and smoking functionality. This smoker offers a maintenance free cooking experience with a high capacity galvanized steel charcoal and ash chamber. For easy internal access simply …  More + Product Details Close
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Hey Jeff! Great questions. If you’re looking for a solid built in pellet grill, I definitely recommend giving Memphis Grill a hard look. I really enjoyed the Pro Series grill I tested for this review. Just a really solid performing machine. Anything else like a kit and and brick etc would definitely be my back up plan rather than my primary focus.
People who like easy and hassle-free smoking: Do you enjoy hassle and stress-free living? If you want to enjoy the juicy smoked BBQ ribs with your friends and family without feeling disturbed, then the automatic smoker is perfect for you. The automatic smoker, a pellet smoker, makes for an ideal choice. Do you know why it has it has earned the reputation as an easy to use smoker? You will find the automatic features incredibly easy to use and this convenient product’s simplicity stands out.
With a temperature probe for the meat inside the chamber, this allows you to keep an eye on the temperature of your meat without opening the grill. Nothing ruins a brisket or roast faster than the grill who constantly fiddles with the meat on the grill. Opening the chamber lets the heat out and that can quickly make for some tough meat. This handy feature takes the guesswork out of how ready your meal is.
Honestly, I can’t think of anything negative to say about the Memphis Pro. The only thing I can see that sets the MAK pellet grill apart from this Memphis Pro is that it has the built in cold smoking ability that this Memphis Pro model does not.
Shipping cost is an important consideration to keep in mind. To that end, if you don’t have a supplier local to you where you can just go pick up your BBQ pellets, consider looking for online options that are in your neck of the woods. Many of these pellets available at Amazon come with Free Shipping for Prime members!
The second video comes from Big Jake BBQ and showcases the “cold smoking” feature the MAK Grills 2 Star General smoker has to offer. This is a great value add in my opinion, as it really steps up your game in terms of what you’re able to smoke. Cheese, nuts, cold smoked salmon… getting some ideas? I know I am!
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.
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.
Novices: Do you consider yourself a novice with a smoker grill? If so have no shame, in fact, look at me, I started as a novice too! Realistically, no one becomes a geek in 2 weeks of studying or research. So as a beginner you must look for an easy to use smoker grill. Well, the primary concept of a pellet smoker lies in its easy to use features. Set it and forget represents the motto and the main aspect you crave, right?
Couldnt you add a wood chips, small chunks, directly to the burn bowl before you start cooking? I get you cant feed it thtough the hopper, but it seems like there should be an opportunity to add directly to the bowl.
Thanks Kevin for the reviews and content. Like many of the folks I too will be purchasing a pellet pooper. I have narrowed my choices to a MAK 2 star and a Memphis Elite. One of the earlier posters indicated on the Memphis that the effective direct grilling space was about 1 square foot. I am assuming that with the smaller footprint of the MAK that the direct “flame zone” is less than that. I’m just wondering how much less.
Honestly, it solely depends on what type of upgrade you need. If you do not get the desired amount of smoke, you need then check your induction fan. Maybe it does not function properly and changing one will cost you around $30 – $40, problem solved.
As you can see in this selection of pellet grill reviews, the act of heating pellets and generating smoke in any pellet smoker is pretty much the same. Yes, some pellet grills use thicker metal, have better thermostats, air flow, racks, drip flow, etc. But the ask any professional BBQ cooker who uses a pellet grill, and they’ll tell you that the quality of your smoke really does come down to the pellets themselves. Here’s what one very astute BBQ pro had to say over at the Pellet Smoke Ring:
Might start with the simple small one and see how much i like it and the pellet process overall, but if i DO stick with it, i’m going for one of those Yoders. I can tell my wife that unlike guitars, i will not need to keep buying smoker after smoker, like i do my Fenders and Gibsons.
My budget range is $1200-$1500. The same as the cost of the XL Primo or BGE. I’ve looked at the Rec-Tec. They look like a great deal. I did notice that they were made in china. Also read they assemble them in Ga. I have concerns with the durability of the lower priced ones. I looked at the Fast Eddie PS 500 also. Now that one is cool. Those are the two I have looked at. The Yoders are getting above what I want to spend.
It’s true that even the entry-level models of pellet smokers are a bit pricey. But I’ve never met an unhappy pellet smoker owner, even if they paid a few hundred bucks more than the cost of their neighbor’s grill. While many folks struggle trying to get cheap offset and bullet smokers to work, with a pellet smoker, it’s easy to make the best smoked ribs, brisket, and pulled pork in the neighborhood.
Tell me that’s not one of the most killer Made In America intro videos you’ve ever seen! Really speaks to the mindset Yoder has regarding quality and durability, not to mention the company’s pride regarding operating from the heartland of Kansas in the good old USA.
On Tabletop Models: I didn’t include them here because though extensive, this post is more of an overview of a few select makers of Pellet Smokers I think do a fine job with both manufacturing and product support. The one exception is that I did include a link to where you can find the Rec-Tec mini. That’s Rec-Tec’s answer to the smaller, tabletop or tailgating models.
I have ate a few peoples cooking that have won at the Royal, Houston and Memphis in May. They have all had one thing in common, I didn’t put one drop of sauce on them and they had not been sauced on the Q before serving! The restaurant Cackle and Oink is just a ways from where we live and the owner Aaron Vogel is there regularly. I have tasted all his sauces and they are very good, but the 3 times I have been there, his sauces never touch my ribs and brisket! Aaron does say, if you like this you need to try my competition food (which I will at one of the competitions he is in locally). None of the KCBS, Houston or Memphis in may winners Q had even a hint of ash or bitter smoke flavor. They also had a very light smoke profile. They also all say they cook over well burned down wood.
This pellet smoker is loaded with great features, and easy to find for way below list price. It has an older-style notched digital controller, like what Traeger uses, but Camp Chef adds a dual LED readout for the included meat thermometer so you can toggle between cooking temperature and internal meat temperature. Pellet smokers are known to produce light smoke flavor. If you want more, Camp Chef’s controller includes two low-temperature settings that allow the wood pellets to smolder and produce extra smoke. Although pellets don’t create much ash, it does need to be removed periodically, which is always a pain because the greasy grates and drip pan must be lifted out to get at the burn pot. The DLX is one of the few models on the market with an ash-removal system that deposits ash in a cup under the smoke box for easy disposal.
YOYO Grills have a simple and innovative design. It gives you multi-fuel options to create temperature-controlled grilling possibilities. Its temperature is controlled by a LED digital system and can vary heat from 180 degrees Fahrenheit to 475 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s also very easy to use and BBQ novices will find it very convenient. You simply get the right temperature for grilling your BBQ by making an adjustment.
Editor’s Note: If you’re looking to upgrade your backyard cooking setup this summer, you’re probably in need of a little advice. We’re longtime admirers of the folks behind AmazingRibs.com, the site dedicated to unraveling the science of barbecue and grilling. Please welcome back Max Good, the only person in the world whose full-time job is testing, rating, and reviewing grills and smokers. The database he maintains includes over 500 grills and smokers, ranging in price from $30 to $50,000. When it comes to barbecue equipment, nobody knows it better.
You must have thoughts in your mind centered around the thousands of pellet smokers and why Camp Chef PG24 is our no 1 choice. We will list the detailed features, pros and cons of this smoker. First, let me tell you why this smoker grabbed the number 1 spot on our list.
I have owned a Memphis Elite (built-in) for 16 months now. It is a very high quality product, and couldn’t be easier to use. The direct flame area is arguably a little small (effectively a bit smaller than 1 sq ft), but it does a great job. The temperature control is phenomenal, and includes a meat probe control that can put the grill into “hold” mode once the meat reaches the target internal temperature. A very happy owner here!

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