Speaking of competition cooks, you’ll find that many competition BBQ pitmasters who use Pellet grills as their primary means of cooking are among the more well rested come Saturday. The next step we’ll cover in this selection of Pellet Grill Reviews is getting your pellet grill / smoker up and running. Again, what you may not see in may Pellet Grill Reviews is repeated mention that you’re not going to get that “deep smoke” flavor profile using a pellet smoker. Though, this can be achieved by using something like the Amazen Pellet Tube Smoker 12″.
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.
As you start to learn about pellet grills you will quickly realize there are hundreds of brands and even more models that you can choose from. This makes choosing the right grill a very difficult task.
The little cooking space is sufficiently sizeable to help you cook meat for a little gathering of individuals or a family. It can without much of a stretch hold 12 burgers, 2 chickens, 18 wieners and 3 rib racks advantageously. Generally on the off chance that you’ll be grilling for a bigger gathering, then you might need to consider a greater BBQ. Traeger BBQ 155.01 is composed of a side table for comfort when you have to place things on a surface. This grill is among many grills with a front mounted rack, yet in the event that you like a grill with a front shelving, simply ahead and get it.
The Davy Crocket is a highly portable grill with fold up legs and an overall weight of under 60 pounds. At around 32 inches long, 16 inches wide, and 21 inches tall, it will fit in most car trunks and stow easily in a truck or SUV.
It’s built pretty solidly, which is what you want with a portable system as it’s obviously being moved around a lot more. I’d say it’s similar in build quality to the Traeger Junior Elite, which as a top of the line smoker says all that needs to be said. If something does go wrong, there’s a two year warranty. I’d have liked more, but it’s there, and that’s good enough.
To be sure, there are pure “smoker” and pure “grills” but there are some exceptionally well-designed hybrids. I bought a Memphis Elite last year, and it is AWESOME! I made a pulled-pork masterpiece two months ago that was absolutely delicious… 8 hours on low temperature (225) then an hour on open flame (switching from a “smoker” insert to an “open-flame’ insert at 700 was easy) and it was awesome!
I have the larger Traeger smoker and have really liked it but not from the start. I had issues with the heating unit but the Traeger help people managed to get my “mechanical blondness” through this and all is well. The assistance center people at Traeger weres super supportive so I’m a loyal fan today. One thing I suggested to Traeger, and all who have a Traeger smoker, is to make the grill surface in two parts so it fits into a dishwasher. I cut my grill in half allowing it to fit in my dishwasher. Easy peasy to clean now!
A Mainstream Product: At present, pellet grills are mainstream products, with pellet refills filling the market versus having to find timber, sticks, and charcoal to start a fire (since these pellets are made of sawdust, it’s easier for them to cast fire and completely combust into smoke with minimal residue). Old school pit masters dislike this product mostly because it’s too easy to use, like a microwave versus an oven.
Hey Tom, first, thank you so much for reading the article and expressing your approval of it. It means a lot to me that the information posted on this site is useful for the people. To your question about pellet grills, yes. You must always use BBQ grilling pellets with these cookers. You cannot use raw wood with them. However, should you find yourself with access too hard woods like Hickory or maple, or fruit woods like apple, cherry, or peach – this is something that could be readily used in a charcoal smoker.
Thank you all for a great site and an informative discussion. I am a newbie to smoking and presently have a charcoal grill for when I have more time and a gas grill for a fast meal. Its time to replace my gas grill so I am looking at alternative options. Is a pellet grill overkill, or a timely expedition, if I want to grill a couple steaks or chicken breasts during week nights? I’d also be interested in smoking larger hunks of meat (and ribs!) less often, but am wondering if a pellet grill can cover both? How long does it take a pellet grill to get to temp (e.g. 450°)? With the indirect heat, can you get char marks on your meat? Thanks in advance for the info!
Z GRILLS: Z GRILLS or Z Grills is a maker of smokers, grillers, and stainless steel prep work tables galore. It entered the world of pellet grills recently and launched an IndieGoGo campaign in order to fund its “affordable wood pellet grill” for $500,000 and currently gives even Traeger’s economical offerings a run for their money with its ability to accept all types of pellets and do all sorts of cooking styles.
I can think of few things that will give you a solid idea of what Fast Eddy’s Pellet Cookers are capable of than a testimonial by Todd Johns of Plowboys Barbecue Team, Grand Champion of the 2009 American Royal Invitational.
REC TEC’s revolutionary Smart Grill Technology™ automatically adjusts the rate at which REC TEC Premium Hardwood Pellets are introduced into the fire pot to maintain a constant temperature without the constant monitoring that other grills require. The result is the simplest and most convenient way for backyard barbecue enthusiasts to cook, bake, roast, grill or slow smoke their favorite foods while adding flavor profiles that can only come from a real wood fire. Just set your temperature and let your REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill take all the guesswork out of your next cookout.
Download an iOS or Android app and connect using WI-FI. The app enables to do many different things such as remote control of the grill temperature, control of temperature inside the meat or the ability to check the amount of pellets inside the hopper. You can get the temperature higher or lower while away from the grill. You can learn more about how this function works on the manufacturer’s official website.
In any case, bargain BBQ pellets are out there to be had. One tip is to search for B&B BBQ Pellets (seen above) if you have a local Academy Sports and Outdoors store in your area. Rumor has it that these “may” be re-branded BBQr’s Delight pellets offered at a much lower cost. In any case, it might be worth giving them a try.
Some cheaper models, such as the Brinkmann, have a controller with only three settings, Low, Medium, High (LMH), and there is no temperature probe in the oven to create a feedback loop. We do not recommend these units. You actually have less control over temp than you do on a gas or charcoal smoker. The whole reason to buy a pellet grill is because it is set-it-forget-it and it hits a temp and holds it regardless of the ambient air temp outside, winter or summer. On these LMH controllers, the temp fluctuates widely and it cannot correct itself for the weather. They just aren’t as smart as a digital device. Whether you’re smoking a few slabs of ribs on a scorching summer day, or six pork butts during a blizzard, the three position controller only knows auger on and off times for Low, Medium, and High. It has no information on the temperature inside the cook chamber.
There’s also the bonus that pellet smokers can almost always be used as multi role cookers, with pretty much every models also functioning as a grill, barbeque and sometimes more, whilst electric smokers are pretty much only ever smokers.
However, some issues that customers can encounter with this grill include rusting, warping of the grill, and igniter malfunction. Also, there have been some customer complaints that portability is not as easy as it may seem. In order to move the product, there cannot be any wood pellets in the grill and you must fold in the legs.
Just putting a stamp on your info and recommendations. The Pro is definitely a Pro! Consistent, excellent temp control, juicy and great flavor. Smoke ring, some of my ribs are pink all the way through and dripping with juice. Smoke profile, good, not over powering. I have used 45# of hickory so far, 20# of cherry and a few pounds of apple and pecan. Have not tried anything but Lumberjack but that will be the next experiment. I have tried the smoke tube and it is ok. I was worried about getting an ash or bitter taste as the smoke is fairly heavy and a little acrid smelling if you let it burn from bottom to top. So I lay it down and light on my wife’s Weber gas grill side burner and get the whole thing burning good and then blow it out. If it smells acrid your meat will get some of that taste. Starting the tube this way it is still going an hour later.
Just started shopping around for a pellet smoker. Am also going to need a new gas grill soon. Stopped in at the local BBQ supply store today and they showed me the Memphis Pro and said it would function well for both smoking and cooking steaks/burgers. Price point on that one is pretty high. Would any of the others reviewed above offer similar functionality? Do you have a recommendation of which will work well for both functions? I live in KS so kind of like the idea of sticking with the local guys from Yoder, but Fast Eddys in OK isn’t too far away either. Thanks.
While all controllers are digital and utilize algorithms, they aren’t all the same. Some are more sophisticated than others, allowing for better temperature control. Some have knobs, while others have one-touch buttons. Some allow you to set temperatures in 25°F increments, while others can be programmed in 5°F increments. Controllers also differ in how well they maintain that temperature.
Its burn system is also digitally controlled and the cast iron grids are porcelain coated to boot to make them as durable as possible. The heat is exact and consistent plus it is fueled 100% by natural wood pellets, which means you’ll end up with a consistent burn every time with little ash residue afterwards.
All of this is run on electricity, which more than one professional Pellet Head BBQ pitmaster will tell you is of premium importance during competitions – and is not always easy to come by! Let’s continue with some Pellet Grill Reviews 101 and talk about heat delivery.
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.
A lot of people will grill vegetables alongside any meat on the grill as its always nice to have an accompaniment. However, the grilled vegetables can be a meal on their own. They can easily hold the smoky flavor you get from using your pellet smoker so why not give it a try.
Mike this is a GREAT question, and something I probably should have included in this post. Seriously, thank you for asking it. I’m going to add videos and information to the sections for smokers listed above as I find them. Check back later today and refresh the page, and I’ll have something for you then. 🙂
Hey Kev, I was wondering about that cooking surface and its capacity. Have you found the 16×20 to be sufficient for a brisket and/or other large chunks of meat? This is my biggest concern as we love to cook a good amount of meat at one time.
The advantages of this pellet smoker allow to put it first on my list. It’s a smoker that is medium tier in terms of price. It is not too expensive, and it’s not one of the cheapest ones, either. Still, it has plenty of solutions that allow it to stand out as number one among dozens of other pellet smokers.
More important than the brand is the quality of the pellets. Many pellet grill makers state that you have to use their pellets on their grill (some even say you’ll void your warranty if you use another brand). This is their way of ensuring only use quality pellets (and selling some pellets in the process). However, any high-quality food-grade pellet will work with any pellet grill.