Second, more people know about them. More manufacturers are realising the advantages of pellet smokers and hopping on board, the market is expanding, and with the advantage of the internet putting all the info at our fingertips, even someone who hasn’t got the first clue about smokers and grills can find out everything they need in just a few minutes.
They had the field to themselves for a few years, but the idea was too good to go un-imitated, and soon competitors began popping up. In the early days, most pellet smoker controllers had only three settings—low, medium, high (LMH)—and there was no temperature probe in the oven to create a feedback loop. So, whether you were smoking a few slabs of ribs on a scorching summer day or six pork butts during a blizzard, the controller only knew pellet-feed on and off times for its standard settings. It had no information on the actual temperature inside the cooking chamber.
Bigger isn’t necessarily better, especially if you’re just paying for space you never use. The best pellet grill is the one that suits your needs. For an average size family, a pellet grill with a primary cooking area of 450-500 square inches should be sufficient. Singles and couples can go smaller, while larger families and those who like to entertain should consider larger pellet grills.
Wood pellets are an all natural product. No petroleum products in them, no fillers, chemicals, or binders. They are an excellent source of smoke flavor and compact energy, 8,500 BTU per pound. No hot coals, no flareups. There is also very little ash: 10 pounds of pellets will produce about 1/2 cup of ash. All the rest is converted to energy and combustion gases. I clean out the bottom of the ones I tested after about 10 cooks. At high temps there is very little smoke, at low temps the pellets smolder and produce superb but understated smoke flavors. Click here for more about pellets.
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.
Pellet smokers heats up faster than charcoal grills, but slower than gas grills. It reaches satisfying temperatures of up to 500 degrees F ( with more expensive models it’s even up to 600 degrees F ), of course it’s much less than gas grills. But the upside is that pellet smoker can maintain low temperatures even at 160 degrees F for many hours. Some of the models are equipped with a gas powered sear box that heats up even up to 900 degrees F.
A. yes it is possible to use it in a cold weather season. It is however important to consider that some pellet smokers work better in cold weather conditions than others. Pellets grills that have been tuned into ideal conditions use a standard non-PID controller making them to lose their temperature range maintenances ability in windy or cold weathers. The PID controller though after measuring the temperatures of the pellet smoker, it maintains the heat produced to achieve the desired temperatures in all conditions.
A pellet grill often comes with many facilities that are usually not available on any other grilling appliances. One of them is its temperature control and settings. This is a huge advantage for inexperienced cooks who do not have the understanding and years of experience of pit masters who know how to cook different foods on different temperatures. This also means that you do not have to fiddle and fidget around with the heat every 2 minutes after slapping on the steak on to the grills.
Once you start paying more than $500, you’re looking at a big boy professional level machine. It’s going to be big enough that you don’t have to worry about having the neighbours over as well as the family. You’re also looking at more expensive sensors and thermostats, so you get a more consistent temperature, which leads to a much better end result, and there’s generally some sort of cleaning assist built in, which makes cleanup and putting it away at night so much easier.
The grill offers one of the best sear boxes on the market. It can reach up to 900 degrees F giving your food a crisp and perfect sear. The 16,000 BTU stainless steel burner also contains a built-in ignition. The sear box offers grill masters another state of the art tool in their arsenal. While the sear box is an awesome feature, it bumps up the price compared to the PG24.
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.
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.
Pellet grills are available in a range of sizes for a variety of needs—everything from portable models for tailgating to extra large commercial units and built-in pellet grills for outdoor kitchens. When considering grill size, look at the cooking area as well as physical dimensions to choose one that fits your space and lifestyle.
It is easy to see why I am so passionate about pellet grilling. In fact, I’m working on building a commercial-grade pellet grill to use at moto and iNG. Not only are pellet grills efficient, easy to use, and flavorful, they are also cost-effective and don’t involve potentially dangerous chemicals like propane. It’s just Mother Earth’s all-natural goodness… and you can taste it in every delicious and succulent bite!
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!
Great information! Thanks for providing it. Like others, I am about to purchase a pellet grill and I have narrowed it to the Yoder 640 and to one from Blaz’n Grill Works. My question for you concerns Blaz’n Grill; have you evaluated one of those grills/smokers?
Hey Kevin great article. I too am currently looking for a pellet smoker. I’ve narrowed it down between a Yader, Memphis Pro and the Rec Tec. The Green Mountain did not seem very well built. The wheels looked liked the would break on the first roll and the stainless steel door was flimsy and did not have a good seal. I know the Rec Tec has a 6 year warranty. Do you know how long the warranties are on the other two?
This is the single main advantage of a pellet smoker. Unlike charcoal, gas or wood fired smokers you don’t need to do anything with fuel except make sure it’s full when you start. This means no more having to go back and check fuel levels, no fluctuating temperatures, no spending ten minutes setting up charcoal and getting it at the right temperature, and no random heat variance giving you oddly cooked food ’cause you set it all up wrong.
GrillGrates(TM) amplify heat, prevent flareups, make flipping foods easier, keep small foods from committing suicide, kill hotspots, are easier to clean, flip over to make a fine griddle, and can be easily removed and moved from one grill to another. You can even throw wood chips, pellets, or sawdust between the rails and deliver a quick burst of smoke to whatever is above. Every gas grill needs them.
Pellet grills are every lazy man’s dream appliance. These grills need absolute zero to minimal maintenance. You just need to lightly wipe through it after every use, and maybe thoroughly clean it 2 to 3 times a year! All pellet grills now come with a drip pan that catch the accumulating oils that drops from the food. They are also made with good quality raw materials that enable them to withstand the outdoor atmospheres all year round. If this does not entice your lazy bones, no other appliance will, and that is a fact. Period!
They’re like instant cameras compared to classic film cameras, but in the end they’re more like DSLRs. These grills have not flamed out fast. According to the Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association (HPBA), the pellet smoker or grill is one of the hottest trends of the barbecuing industry.
First, it’s really easy to use, with an electric auto ignition and shutdown system, plus LED controls that make setup idiot proof. Once it’s up and burning, the built in temperature sensor and meat probe make knowing what’s going on inside simple, especially considering that the thermometer is one of the most accurate I’ve seen, with only around 10 degrees variance. It’s got multiple settings if you’re using it as a meat smoker, as well, so you can control your flavor.
Third name to make it to my list of the best pellet grill review is The REC TEC Wood Pellet grill. It has a trademark Smart grill Technology, which maintains precise temperature. This amazing pellet grill has a whopping 702 square inch cooking area, and a 40 pound capacity pellet hopper. It is made out of high quality stainless steel. It comes with a drip pan.
As people learn about pellet grills, they quickly realize that there are a number of brands offering a variety of models. So how are they different? And how do you know which pellet grill is right for you? With more options than ever, shopping for a pellet grill can be confusing. In a market filled with grills that claim similar capabilities, it can be difficult to discern what separates one from another. However, if you know which factors to consider and what features to look for, choosing the best pellet grill for you is a whole lot easier.
Central to all pellet cookers is a digital controller similar to the controllers on modern indoor ovens. You select a temp you want, and there is an LED display that tells you the actual temp. Some of the controllers also are programmable so you can cook at a certain temp for a determined time. Some have leave-in meat probes that can dial back the ovento a holding temp when the meat hits its mark.
But overall, out of these minor and manageable drawbacks, many customers were recommending this product because of its superb performance, distinctive features, and reasonable price. So if you want to save more time, money, and effort, this pellet grill cooker is the perfect choice that you should consider as early as now!
The Elite’s digital control panel is a sophisticated touch-pad PID controller that holds set temps with more accuracy than most kitchen ovens. It’s simple to operate and offers an integrated meat probe and some useful programming options. For example, you can set it to cook your brisket up to 200°F and then drop to a lower cooking temp to keep it warm without overcooking.
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!
Kevin, appreciate your reviews and insights. I am currently looking for my first pellet cooker which will be primarily used for camping, therefore I will likely purchase a portable unit. Your review on the GMG Davy Crocket answered some questions for me. I was initially contemplating the Traeger Junior Elite and GMG Davy Crocket, but after doing some homework I’m now considering the Rec Tec Mini as well. I can purchase the Traeger and GMG now for $350 and the Rec Tec for $500. My dilemma is that I (like many others) take very good care of my gear/equipment, so whatever I purchase, I expect to get a great deal of use out of. With that said, making the wrong decision could be a 7-10 year mistake. There are aspects of each that I like, I guess my question is whether spending another $150 on the Rec Tec, in your opinion, would be worth it to you? I understand if you would rather stay away from specific recommendations, and if that is the case, any other thoughts you have would be appreciated.
Kevin- super helpful article. Thanks! I just moved from a big city small apartment with no grill to a house in the country. Most essential purchase is the grill. I’m really on the fence. I like the idea of a pellet grill, but in reality- I’m mostly cooking burgers, fish, steaks, scallops, and veggies. The brisket and ribs will be more of a special occasion. From an economical perspective, am I better buying a gas grill and just getting one of those smoke tubes to add some flavor? From many of the online comments, it seems like the pellet grills benefit from additional smoke anyway, and though you can get additional grates for searing, seems like a square peg in a round hole. The gas grill is sort of the tried and true, and way more economical. Those $500 entry level pellet grills seem a little scrawny, and the next level up is a cool $grand. I’m really on the fence, and getting pressure to “just buy the darn thing” to consummate the move to the country! However the pellet grills seem like the new shiny object and have my curiosity. Any advice? PS- love the website! Thanks, Cary
While people always want a black and white answer, the truth is that the best pellet grill is the one that best fits your needs. Depending on budget, location, family size, and usage, that answer can change from person to person. Read more about how to choose the best pellet grill for you.
Looking at the history of the pellet grill, Traeger Pellet Grills were the very first smokers available. It was patented in 1986 and production began in 1988. Because of its patent, Traeger had zero competition for 20 years. But in 2006 the patent expired, and new (and possibly better) pellet grills hit the market.
Thank you for stopping by to read this article pertaining to Pellet Grill Reviews. If you’re here, it’s likely you’ve already read a few reviews about pellet smokers. As such, you’re in the process of figuring out whether Pellet Smokers are a good choice either for personal backyard BBQ cooking or as a means of getting started on the BBQ competition circuit.
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There’s an okay size cooking area at 440 square inches, around the same size as the Camp Chef Smokepro above, and it keeps a consistent temperature that guarantees good end results. The digital LED controls are simple to understand and use, and a digital temperature gauge keeps you updated as to how your cooking is going.
When you’re buying a pellet smoker vs a wood smoker, what you’re buying is convenience and simplicity of use. Whilst electric smokers are arguably more convenient than pellet based smokers because they start quicker, only need a power point and a handful of wood chips, pellet smokers are still incredibly easy to use and far more convenient than wood smokers.
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.
It can easily cope with up to 60lbs of meat at a time, which is three or four entire turkeys or multiple full racks of ribs, so no matter how many people you have over or amount of food you need, this has it handled.
I did a lot of research, and ended up buying the Camp Chef DLX24. It was at a price that fit my budget, (under $500) and had a lot of features the others didnt. The pellet trap door for quick dumping of the pellet hopper into a bucket, and the ash cleanout under the drum was a clincher. Being able to pull a lever and dump the ashes into an easily removable cup is a great feature that all grills should include.It has a digital temperature controller, and dual probes (one inside the smoker for grill temp, one for the meat) and overall good quality construction. The second shelf inside is standard (you pay extra for that on other grills). If your budget allows, would suggest purchasing the propane powered sear box ($199) which attaches to the side of the grill and allows for reverse searing meat..
Sometimes an inexpensive, less efficient pellet blend might be just fine for burgers or chicken breasts. Other times, you may want to step it up with a premium flavored pellet where whole turkeys, prime rib roasts, or a nice brisket can really shine. No matter what you read in any grouping of pellet grill reviews, know this: pellets are not all made equally. You will wind up with one or two “go to” brands over time that you simply prefer – sometimes for their efficiency (leaving little ash), others for their flavor.
My first days on the Bull have been at or below 35 degrees with rain and wind , it didnt care . It stays true to temp and didnt burn more than 1/4 pellets in over 10 hour total run time . My Weber gas grill would had burned almost a tank and blown out in the wind trying to cook down low.
Grilling for a large group of people, such as family and friends, is possible with this grill through the ultra-wide grilling area, so everyone will get their bite once the cooking is done. To get the best grilling performance, Camp Chef Pellets are recommended since they produce better and convenient grilling heat. The pellets are pure wood, so it is assured that your flavor won’t be affected in any way.
It’s so easy to clean as well, the internal light can actually be removed and washed in water, and a lot of people recommend putting foil into the drip pan, so cleanup there is as easy as swapping over a piece of foil.
Where the Rec Tec outshines, or rather, outcooks other pellet grills, is their temperature control. The grills all come standard with a P.I.D. Controller (Proportional-Integral-Derivative) algorithm, the ‘secret’ to the grill maintaining its precise temperature.
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.
We all know about Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone, but Traeger is the true pioneer of pellet smoking. This company introduced the first pellet smokers, and it remains the best-known brand, although competition is growing. There’s nothing fancy here. Instead of a touch-pad controller, Traeger employs an older-style digital dial controller. No WiFi or meat probes; just no-frills schmokin’ from the industry leader.