There is no party like a backyard grill and BBQ party on a hot summer weekend with some good music on the back, and of course the centerpiece: the food. You see, food is a universal language. It is a way to say how much you appreciate and care for one another; a way to people’s hearts. And there is nothing more comfortable, warm and heart than some good old open grill and BBQ cooking on your pellet grill. And this is the reason you need an expert pellet grill review.
While the Camp Chef can get almost up to 500°F (hot enough to produce crispy skin on a chicken), it’s never going to compete with a dedicated grill for searing. This is something that all pellet smokers struggle with though.
While it doesn’t seem to effect everyone, some people experience an issue with the temperature sensor failing after only a few uses. Camp Chef have good support though so if any issues do crop up they should be easy to resolve.
Costly – That’s the main darn thing that may hold you from purchasing this. However, this grill barbecues delectable meat makes utilization of smart heat technology and will keep going for a considerable length of time. Also, yes you will be a grill master among your friends.
Use of the P settings in smoke mode is easy to understand. But one can also use them as a dual function feature in cook mode. Remember, in cook mode the auger idles when the temperature is correct, but the P settings continue to function in idle mode. Ortech recommends the P2 setting as the default idle rate in cook mode. However, as one gains experience, the P settings can be used to improve the grills performance. For example, when using high temperature settings, select P1 or P0 to reduce auger off time and maintain strong, steady heat. If you have trouble hitting low temperatures on a sweltering day, increase the P setting to increase auger off time. It does not have a significant effect on smoke production. The basic rule remains: Low heat = more smoke, high heat = less smoke.
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.
With the traeger, rec-tec or cam chef smokers all seem to burn 1-2lbs per hour. But for a long 18hr brisket it seems like I will have to continue to use pellets the whole time to keep the heat in range over over 200 which will mean I am using almost a 20-40lb bag depending on the time year per smoke. This is even more expensive than the bradley seems even with the wasted briquette. IS this correct or is there something I am missing?
I consider Traeger Texas Elite 34 to be a good choice if you need a smoker for cooking large quantities of food. The price is a little high but you get a basic product that is easy to use, well-built and very efficient.
Hello John. Thank you for your comment and questions here! In short, you will not get the same smoke profile on a pellet smoker that you do with your BGE or PBC. That said, I do think there are some ways to mitigate this. Yes, I do feel the Smoke Tube and Mojo Cubes add smoke flavor that is detectable. Fred at Mojo Bricks does good work, and I recommend his products without reservation. This said, I have been happy with the smoke level I see in the pellet smokers I’ve used. Starting low does and ramping up later is a technique I’ve used with success when extra smoke is desired. The Rec-Tec grill gets high reviews across the board. I have no hesitation backing them, along with Green Mountain Grills. Both are made in China, but the companies have great customer service support and strong user communities. I believe each has a well-contributed Facebook group or two.
A good spring cleaning of your pellet smoker is going to take a little elbow grease. Remember to use non-toxic degreasers and cleansers like Simple Green. We use it at our house as we, like the author of this article, have dogs who seem to love to be around the process of cleaning a pellet smoker.
Green Mountain pellet smokers offer innovation and good quality as well as relatively low price points. The Daniel Boone model is the midsized version. It boasts an advanced digital touch-pad dual-probe controller and stainless steel grates and drip pan, and, with 13.5 inches of headroom, Daniel Boone can accommodate large turkeys and roasts. Although the WiFi option adds a hundred bucks to the bill, no other pellet smokers anywhere near GMG’s price range offer WiFi control. Download the GMG app to your smartphone or tablet for a point-to-point connection, enabling you to remotely turn Daniel Boone on and off; monitor and control the internal meat temp, cooking temp, and timer; and even store the time- and temperature-based profiles of your favorite recipes. (For example, you can set your Daniel Boone to “Tri-Tip Beef Roast” and have it start out cooking at 225°F until the internal meat temp hits 110°, then crank to 500° for browning until the meat registers 135°, then drop the temp to 150° to keep it warm.)
Overall, for such a cheap pellet smoker, the Traeger digital elite comes with a lot of options that make it ideal for the home user. That’s why in our opinion it’s the best budget pellet smoker out there.
This is in stark contrast with the likes of Traeger TFB29LZA and Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett where you have to feed their hopper loads of pellets continuously, thus taking the fun and convenience out of smoking and grilling meats. It’s also fuel efficient since its auto pellet auger dispenses pellets only when needed, so they don’t run out so easily.
The Fast Eddy’s by Cookshack PG500 Pellet Smoker is a collaborative design from respected smoker manufacturer Cookshack and competition-barbecue-circuit pro “Fast Eddy” Maurin. The FEC (Fast Eddy’s by Cookshack) line has been popular with competitive teams for years. While most FEC models have a utilitarian appearance, the beautifully crafted stainless steel PG500 fits right in with your shiny outdoor kitchen.
I can honestly admit I hate cleaning, I think most people feel the same. You have to know, though, that keeping your pellet smoker clean is a very important task. People who designed this grill handled this task perfectly, making cleaning a much easier and quicker task.
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.
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.
No. Although both use electricity, they are different. Electric smokers cook food using a heating element and use wood chips or wood chunks to add smoke. They also tend to have a limited temperature range compared to pellet grills, making them good for smoking and slow-roasting at low temperatures, but not grilling, searing, or anything that requires higher temperatures.
Wood-pellet grills were first introduced onto the market over 20 years ago by Traeger Pellet Grills LLC. They’re all-electric: No fluids, no lighters, and no gas. Instead, a pellet grill is powered by pellets of wood shaped much like a large pill capsule. Unlike charcoal grills, which take up to 30 minutes or more to heat up, wood pellet grills can give off an even heat quite quickly. And, unlike propane grills which heat up quickly but lack flavor, foods cooked on pellet grills are rich in smokiness and succulence.
Thanks Kevin. I am about to buy both a 5 burner gas grill and a smoker for a new bbq island. Rather than buy both, will one of these higher end pellet grills take the place of a traditional propane grill? I can apply the funds for the gas grill to a higher end pellet if it can really do double duty. It has to be able to cook burgers and dogs and steaks etc. Just like a gas grill though. Thoughts?
Once a year, or at the end of the barbecue season before you stow away your pellet grill for the winter it’s wise to give it a thorough clean. To start with fill a large plastic container with hot soapy water, and a cleaner recommended for barbecues. Remove the grill rack and chimney dome and pop them into the water to soak. Remove the foil from the drip pan and flame deflector. If there is any debris or cooking residue on them, scrape it off. Once the majority of the dirt has been removed, put them into the hot soapy water too. Clean out the grease bucket and add that to the container. With a little elbow grease scrub the parts as well as you can to remove any dirt or debris and allow them to dry. Clean out the grease shoot if your smoker has one with a stick or wooden spoon. You will be surprised how much dirt and detritus will be inside the chimney, and it is best to scrape that out too. Using a vacuum cleaner remove any dust, dirt, soot or debris from the inside of the smoker, not forgetting the firepot. Give the whole interior a wipe down with a damp rag using a natural cleanser. Make sure the temperature probe is clean and not contaminated with soot or dirt. Its next time to reassemble your pellet smoker.
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?
Hi John, I believe the information in this article to be current still. The only addition I’d make and probably should make is to put GMG and Traeger in as being comparable with Rec-Tec. Traeger specifically has been coming back with a vengeance of late with their Pro Series models.
Pellet smokers are fast proving to be more than just a fad. While some old timers claim they’re little more than an ‘expensive oven’ for more amateur to enthusiast smokers the convenience of use and quality of the food they produce can’t be past up on.
Food simply tastes way better when smoked with a pellet smoker. The wood pellets used to power the burn give the food a wonderful aroma, smoke the food at an even temperature, and make it difficult to oversmoke.
So if you need a portable pellet grill , consider this one ( especially if you really like Traeger products ). The foldable legs allow to easily bring it along anywhere you want. A small downside might be the price, but it makes up for it with a pretty big cooking area for a portable pellet smoker.
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.
Pellet cookers usually have an auger or another feed mechanism that pushes the pellets into a burn pot typically about the size of a beer can ripped in half. An igniter rod sits in the bottom of the pot and when you turn on the grill it glows like the element on an electric stove.
The Camp Chef Woodwind Pellet Grill is one of their best grills, offering outdoor cooks over 500 square inches of cook space and the ability to cook at temperatures from 160 to 500 degrees. To really get things done right, the Woodwind includes a sear box that can reach temperatures up to 900 degrees, allowing you to really lock in the flavors.