best pellet grills 2013 | The Dangers Of Pellet Grilling Too Much

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.

— May 4, 2018

6 thoughts on “best pellet grills 2013 | The Dangers Of Pellet Grilling Too Much

  1. Tom

    Loved the article and read the entire thing. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such an in-depth piece to help the rest of us out. With that said, I now want one of each!! It’s really so difficult to purchase one without being able to compare the taste side by side for each. We also just bought one of the Traeger’s on the last day of a Costco show. We have LOVED the taste, and aren’t looking back, from a pellet perspective that is. However, we’ve already had a couple of issues that concern me from a longevity and a safety perspective. So we’re going to return it, and ‘upgrade’ to something more substantial. I was leaning pretty hard toward Yoder, and then after reading the article, the Memphis really intrigued me (could have something to do with being born there, and raised on southern pulled pork). And then, Fast Eddy came into the picture. Any advise on how to make a decision without being able to conduct taste comparisons, which is really the most important thing. (We’ve been smoking a brisket and pork shoulders every week, with the occasional steak and veggies. So we’d like something that does both smoking and grilling, so both important, with the smoking component being the feature we’ll use a bit more of.)
    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.
    The biggest benefit of using a pellet smoker is the ease of use. Rather than trying to get charcoal up to a certain temperature and keep it there for hours, a using pellets gives you an even consistent heat that lasts for many hours.
    Though the Memphis Pro works great as a high heat, sear, and direct flame grill, I chose to do some IBP ribs and a couple all natural pork loins I picked up from the store. I won’t go into too much detail on the pork loin and rib prep here, suffice it to say that I was very impressed with the smoke output I got from this unit, which I filled with a full compliment of CookinPellets Perfect Mix Pellets.
    Hopefully this guide has helped you understand a little bit more about the pros and cons of cooking with a pellet grill, and helped you pick out the right model for your budget and needs. Happy smoking!
    There’s a smoke level adjuster, which lets you adjust the flavor of your meat by ratcheting the chimney up or down. This is a smart way of doing it and considering I love a real smoky frankfurter, it’s an option I really appreciated.

  2. Any grills with moving parts and electrical components can break down (a risk not associated with charcoal or wood grills). If exposed to moisture, pellet fuels will disintegrate. People who live in humid climates must keep their pellets dry, preferably indoors in airtight lidded containers.
    Additionally, David Bouska of Butcher BBQ won the 2012 Las Vegas’s World Food Championships BBQ division. His first place overall victory propelled him into 2013. David cooks on a pellet smoker and he adds Mojobricks to his pellet smoker for that added touch of good smoke lovin flavor.  
    Just like your kitchen oven, a pellet grill must keep a consistent temperature in order to produce great food. To get tender brisket, the temperature needs to stay as close as possible to 250°F for the entire 12-plus hours its cooking. A pellet grill’s ability to do that is largely determined by its control board, which is essentially the brains of the pellet grill. There are different types of controllers, and their precision and consistency varies. Most can hold a consistent temperature in ideal conditions, but not all controllers can maintain a tight temperature in the cold, wind, and rain.
    There have been some reports from some customers that the temperature gauge may not work properly for smoking purposes because it does not hold a steady temperature as it swings wildly from over one hundred to over three hundred regardless of the temperature being set to 225. There have also been some complaints about the product rusting in some spots.

  3. I purchased a Traeger Lil Tex 22 yesterday. I “grilled” a whole chicken. It overshot the temperature by nearly a hundred degrees which wasn’t a bad way to crisp up the bird but I was afraid it was going to melt itself down so I shut it down. I was up by 5 this morning to smoke a pork butt for pulled pork sandwiches. My wife’s family is coming over for dinner tonight and time being a concern I fired up the “smoker”. It snowed 12 inches last night so the next hour I was shoveling my walks. Imagine my surprise when I checked on the Traeger and it had shut itself off . The meat was colt to the touch. I read through the instructions to make sure I started it up correctly and I did. I removed the meat and restarted the smoker. It smoked for awhile then quit. The temperature never got above 140. I called Traeger technical support twice and each rep gave me a different answer as to why it wasn’t working. After 3.5 hours I gave up on the Traeger for a more conventional method. I purchased the Traeger for the the set and walk away feature. It let me down!! It is 34 degrees outside today so I will wait until it warms up to try again. Should it fail me again I will sell it for scrap! So far I am not impressed. My wood smoker takes time but it is reliable.
    Hey David – in my opinion, you’re going to find hot spots in any entry level pellet grill/ pellet smoker. I include GMG, Rec-Tec, Traeger, etc. When you start moving into the higher pellet smokers/grills – Memphis Grill, MAK, etc, you can minimize these to some extent. If you experience higher heat on one side, put the thicker cut of meat (pork butt, point of brisket) near that part.
    Who doesn’t want to experience the tastiest grilled food, and one of the simplest ways to do that, and make sure your meat is more healthy for you is to marinate the meat before grilling or smoking. A marinade will add a plethora of new flavors to your cooking, and it also forms a protective barrier around the food to stop any harmful chemicals penetrating into the meat.
    If you’re gonna set it and leave it to do the magic, you’re going to have to be careful, too. A major contributor to how long you can leave a smoker is how many wood pellets the pellet hopper holds. Pellet smokers run the gamut in how much fuel they use per hour, with anywhere from half a pound to two pounds of pellets being standard. Always check how much the model you’re looking at holds, and make sure that it’s going to last long enough, especially if you plan on leaving your smoker to cook whilst you do other things, especially if you’re going away from home. It’s simple math, and better that than coming home to a bunch of chargrilled ashes.
    As far as the choice of pellets… I’ve tried hickory, apple, cherry. mesquite, etc, etc, but found “Perfect Choice” cooking pellets to be economical and a nice choice for all of our needs. Besides, it’s not that convenient to change pellets in a pellet grill.
    I had a Traeger and I can say with all seriousness, they are crap. Nothing but problems. Paint peelling, electronics replaced 4 times, no heat management. I sold is yesterday, and lost my ass. Like the set it and forget feature, taste was OK, but quality was just dismal. Looking at either a cookshack or a fast eddy.
    Are you’re asking which unit creates the strongest smelling smoke or the unit which creates the most smoke? I figure all pellet cookers are creating the same strength of smoke since they all use the same technology of burning pellets. The other question is which one creates the most smoke? I’ve not seen a pellet cooker that kicks out more smoke than the MAK. It’s already a legend in that respect and I hear the 1 star kicks out more than the 2 star if that’s even possible!
    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.
    On top of that, the construction is designed in a way that makes all the fat and grease drip to the bucket on the side. That way you can quickly and easily replace the bucket with a new one or quickly clean the old bucket.
    Everything you need to smoke meats and veggies! Sportsman’s Warehouse has a large selection of Electric Smokers as well as Pellet Grills from leading name brands. Don’t forget to pick up all the accessories you need like rib racks pellets and a cover to keep your smoker nice for years to come. 
    Manufacturers advertise this piece of equipment as both a smoker and a grill, but it’s best to think of it as a superb indirect-heat convection smoker, not a grill. Most models just don’t do as good a job of searing a steak as a charcoal grill or even a gas grill with a sear burner can. You’ll sear steaks better on a $20 hibachi than on most pellet smokers.

  4. I had hung my hat on the Yoder and had even contacted the factory and a couple of distributors in the DFW area. Then I did my usual, search craigslist and see if anyone is moving and selling their unit. Low and behold a Memphis Pro!!! Story was brand new, bought for a built in and now cannot use it now. Brand new but you may not have a warranty though. Price… wait for it! $1600!!! You got to be kidding! Scam?? Ok well I will contact him. Surprisingly he had it advertised for a few weeks and only had a few contacts but none serious. Ok, I will come look and if you can plug it in and show me the controller works I will take it. Called the factory and they were quite responsive. They said we probably won’t warranty the controller because we don’t know the history but it will depend on the failure. Everything else we will cover. So right before Thanksgiving headed to Dallas and it basically all looked brand new, plugged in and it did everything you could do without burning pellets.
    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.
    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.
    The Camp Chef Pellet Grill & Smoker Deluxe is one of the most-trusted products currently available on the market. I would recommend this smoker grill who wants to invest in a grill that is made of heavy-duty materials that will last. It has dimensions of 19.5 x 22 inches, which give you a cooking area of 429 square inches- enough for cooking 20 burgers simultaneously. It also has a secondary rack that can be used for smoking or warming with the dimensions 6 x 24 inches or an area of 144 square inches. It uses a match-free ignition that works with an electronic auto start.
    The Camp Chef ticks all the boxes you would expect from a pellet grill at this mid price point. You’ll enjoy the set it and forget it style cooking, clean flavor and minimal ash to clean up. All of the main parts are built with heavy gauge stainless steel and feel sturdy.

  5. Am considering adding a pellet grill to my fleet, have champagne taste on a beer budget. Have a smoke hollow smoker (lp) that works awesome, a cheap charbroil gril, and a holland I picked up used. Tried the holland because I got tired of flareups but it is slow, a coffee can over the stacks until it warms up helps but you don’t want to walk away from it that way. I like the idea of something you don’t have to baby sit. Any reviews on the traeger grills? I like the looks of the traeger jr, has nice features, portable and enough room for most of the things I want. Also are these grills affected by wind and do they work in cold weather? I live in ND and like to use them in the winter as long as the temp is above 10 degrees or so.
    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
    Grilling options: In the past, a drawback of pellet cookers was their lack of grilling capability. Some manufacturers have made grilling possible, either by removing part of the diffuser plate, or by providing a dedicated grilling area within the cooker.
    Hey Greg! Sorry so long for my reply. Man, so cool about your Yoder! I’m sure you’ll love it. Everyone I talk to who owns one loves theirs. I agree 100 Percent on pellet quality and cook time. I’ve had luck cooking at lower initial temps and ramping up after the first couple of hour. I’ve also used the A-Maze-N Tube with success.
    Manufacturers advertise that these are both smokers and grills, but it is best to think of these devices as superb indirect heat convection smokers, not grills. Most just don’t do as good a job of searing a steak as a charcoal grill or even a gas grill with a sear burner. I can sear steaks better on a $20 hibachi than on most pellet smokers.
    Can you comment on the Camp Chef entry level pellet grill. I’m of limited funds but would like to purchase one of these type grills. I’ve been using an electric smoker and I personally don’t like the creosote taste I’m experiencing with it! So I guess my question is will I regret purchasing one of these “cheap” pellet grills?
    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!
    On the other hand, if you purchase a cooker that has all the bells and whistles, but you never use them, you will have wasted your hard earned cash when a more basic cooker, that cost less, would likely have done the trick.
    Another pellet grill from Camp Chef. This time a much bigger one with new features. Sadly it’s much more expensive too, although it’s worth its price. It’s an comprehensive pellet grill & smoker, which allows you to smoke meat, grill or even baking.
    As it stands now I think you would be fine with a GMG Daniel Boone if the size is big enough for you. They have great customer service and I am happy with the little Davy Crockett unit I have from GMG. This way you can stay within your price range comfortably and have a reliable product. Hope this helps.

  6. Everything you need to smoke meats and veggies! Sportsman’s Warehouse has a large selection of Electric Smokers as well as Pellet Grills from leading name brands. Don’t forget to pick up all the accessories you need like rib racks pellets and a cover to keep your smoker nice for years to come. 
    You are eligible for a full refund if no ShippingPass-eligible orders have been placed. You cannot receive a refund if you have placed a ShippingPass-eligible order. In this case, the Customer Care team will remove your account from auto-renewal to ensure you are not charged for an additional year and you can continue to use the subscription until the end of your subscription term.
    Max is the man in charge of finding the best products for the AmazingRibs.com Equipment Reviews section. Max loves barbecue so much that he took his barbecue sauce recipes, had them bottled, and now sells Black Swan Premium, All-Natural Sauces around the world.
    Comes with a 633 square inch main grilling surface, but also includes a 280 square inch removable upper cooking rack (total cooking area: 913 square inches). Includes a digital thermostat and gives you precise heat control from 170 Fahrenheit to 600 Fahrenheit (5 degree increments).
    It comes with plenty of new BBQ tricks that can’t be found on other grills. The developers designed it keeping the idea of functionality as well as fashion in mind. It uses wood granules purely derived from natural wood pellets as fuel. This is particularly important to give your barbecue the flavor you long for. Its grills are built using porcelain and cast iron materials, which never add undesirable flavors to your barbecue.

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