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Smokers that use wood pellets have a little more going on than your average grill or smoker. Since they use athermostat and a mechanism to fee pellets into the fire, you’ve got a bit more to consider than size and BTUs.
Since there are a lot of choices when you’re looking for the best pellet smoker/grill, we got the best of the best pellet grills on the market reviews by America’s Top Chefs and narrowed down the list to the Top 5 Pellet Smokers on the market right now.
“It’s easy—maybe a little too easy,” I told the crowd of Barbecue University students gathered around the first wood pellet grill many had seen. People nodded—we had an understanding, right? Smoking and barbecuing are supposed to be hard work. If not chopping wood, then at least breathing in charcoal dust and smoke and laboring to maintain a steady temperature during a barbecue session that could last the better part of a day. Or night. Certainly no self-respecting pit master would subscribe to a “set it and forget it” philosophy. Pellet grills are a fad, I thought to myself, that will flame out fast.
Watch out for any grill with electrical components and moving parts. These will tend to break down one way or another, like electrical components shorting out due to moisture exposure or moving parts wearing themselves out.
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.
The Secret Life Of Pellet Grill
Second, It would be just my wife and me BBQing so I’m looking small. I’m considering the REC TEC Mini Portable Wood Pellet Grill (RT-300) after reading your reviews. Having only ever BBQed with hard wood coals on a Webber, is there going to be a taste fall-off going to the pellet grill as far as charring and/or smoke? I’d hate to spend that kind of money and get bland steaks. Really, steak is all we ever cook outside, though that would probably change with a nice grill.
I live in Florida (Ocala), and I would like to grill, but I am undecided what to buy. I would not use the grill everyday. I am not a ‘griller’, but I do enjoy grilling simple meats, hamburgers, pork tenderloin and chicken; perhaps smoking a 12 lb. turkey for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I have no knowledge as to grill veggies or fish. I am an ignoramus! I tried, but I couldn’t detect them among the ashes!
You fuel it with cylindrical food-grade wood pellets—each about an inch long and 1/4-inch wide—composed of compressed hardwood sawdust. The sawdust is subjected to high pressure and heat, which activates lignin—a natural glue in wood. With the exception of vegetable oils to aid the extrusion process or carry flavor, the pellets contain no additives. They burn cleanly, leaving remarkably little ash.
Excellent article, but I have an off beat question. What about cleanup and maintenance of the pellet smokers you have reviewed? Is anyone better or easier for ash cleanup? I have a friend who has Yoder and his only complaint is the amount of time and complexity of cleaning up the pellet ash. Thank you in advance.
Remote Accessibility: This level of control and observing is critical on the grounds that the container does not generally sustain the pellets into the wood screw accurately and the fire in the firepot can go out. The Davy Crockett will tell you that the container is not sustaining wood pellets and that the temperature is dropping. The Davy Crockett application will reveal to you something isn’t right.
The Select Elite has over 500 square inches of cooking space and can be easily moved around on the caster wheels it sits on. This grill also incorporates a storage cabinet beneath the grill, providing some extra storage space. Porcelain grates really round out this premium grill by giving users a non-stick surface that’s easy to clean and maintain.
Pellet Smokers are built for easy clean up. Cook Shack’s PG 500 come apart easily and the inside is removable for the most part. Making clean up a breeze. If you like to grill out every night and cook your regular meals on a smoker buy a Fast Eddie PG 500 by Cook Shack First.
Hi – my husband and I are really interested in a pellet smoker. We came across some when we were at a fair and are trying to find more information about the Traeger brand because the price seems affordable compared to all the others you mentioned. You started out talking about the Traeger but never gave any feedback on it? Little help please:) Thanks!
The bottom line? We now have several pellet grills at Barbecue University and some students love them. Of course, there are still a lot of purists (or masochists) out there who insist on burning charcoal or wood.
Hey Reid – thanks you for your question. You can use any pellet brand you like in a Traeger grill. I really like what the folks at Cookin’ Pellets bring to the table both in their 100% Hickory and their Perfect Mix blends (fruit wood/hard wood mix). Have been very pleased with them. You can check out their stuff here.
Decided that moving these beasts was a little challenging so I bought a Backwoods Party 10 years ago and loved it. But basically have about worn it out. And as I got older I don’t enjoy getting up at 2 AM and then having to get up every couple of hours, after the 45 minutes of getting it ready at 2 AM, to check it and feed it. I also bought a smaller lightly used Open Range, The Good One. Used their recommended method the first time I cooked with it and hated the Q off of it so bad most of it was wasted, wife hated it too and the son ate most of it. It was extremely ash/strong smoke flavored!
As far as how they burn… Doodles, I wouldn’t necessarily call it “inefficient”. First, fan speed – the fact you are feeding air to the pellets means they are going to burn thoroughly. The amount of air you feed to them will determine how hot/quick they burn. Slowing the speed just slows thier burn slightly. Second, goes to the pellet. The hardwood pellets are denser wood, and have more BTUs, and stronger “smoke”. (think hickory vs. apple, or peach vs. oak)That’s why cooking with sticks, you see a difference when using a fruitwood, vs. oak, hickory, etc. The same is true for pellets. The wood in them matters, and how they are made… For some pellets use oils to flavor them, and they do not produce the same BTUs via use of softer woods…
Lastly the customer support is spot on. When I got my Bull the freight driver said they lost my pellets and told me to call the shipper .So I did and before the truck left down the street I was getting a email confrimation that another order of pellets was on its way with no questions asked.
Keep your Pellet Grill and Smoker fired up Keep your Pellet Grill and Smoker fired up with Camp Chef’s Premium Hardwood Pellets. Made of 100% natural hardwood these food grade pellets are an excellent way to add that unique smoky flavor. Choose from 4 distinct flavors. Smokehouse Hickory impart a rich and smoky bacon-like flavor to all meats … More + Product Details Close
Many other features like its automatic control, built in meat probe etc. have made us select this smoker as no 1. And the most amazing fact is the price. In the price range (see the price here), we never thought that we could get all these features and benefits. We have used high-end smokers like Rec Tec smokers, but this Camp Chef PG24 can beat all through its performance and affordability.
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!
Your choice of pellet can also dictate how much cleanup you’ll have to deal with (even though generally 10 pounds of pellets can produce at most half a cup of ash, but this varies from pellet variant to pellet variant). Just be warned that when the temperature is high, there’s not much smoke happening, so you need to smoke out your meats at lower temperatures to get that smoky flavor.
Yoder pellet smokers maintain a very strong reputation for quality and precision. Based out of Hutchinson, KS, the company prides itself on producing a 100 percent Made in America product that is one of the sturdiest and most reliable brands of smokers available. Check out this Yoder Smokers promo video to get an idea of how they are branding themselves.
I know, I know, no one likes to read the instruction manual, but even as an expert you see the advantages learning the specifics of your grill. Reading the manual is key. Generally, you should not use water to clean the pellet smokers, so keep your hose pipe far away. These smokers have digital controllers, a motorized auger, a fan and an igniter rod for the fire pot. These parts will get destroyed if they come into contact with water. You should gently dry scrub the dirt off these parts, making sure not to disassemble any parts. Cleaning the thermostat will also prove essential; otherwise, it may read temperatures inaccurately.
The Traeger Pellet Grill BBQ155.01 19.5K BTU Pellet Grill is one of the most trusted pellet smoker grill available in the market, and you can pick this one if you are looking for a large wood-pellet grill. It has dimensions of 44” x 19”, which come together to give you a cooking area of 836 square inches. This area is sufficient for holding 16 rib racks, 40 burgers or 12 chickens at once without any difficulty! The Trager Pellet Grill comes with an electronic auto-start feature, which runs on regular 110V AC household current. The users only need to press a switch to ignite the grill.
Though they are marketed as “grills,” you won’t get grill marks or a dark sear, as the units run on fan-driven indirect heat. In my opinion, these are smokers—not grills. You can increase the amount of caramelization you get on the outside of food by preheating a cast iron grill grate, skillet, griddle, or plancha directly on the grill grate for 20 minutes before cooking.
If you begin to get hooked on meat smoking, you will find yourself doing this cleaning on a fairly regular basis. Occasional cooks may see that this could be incorporated with the annual cleaning session. Before you start, make sure your pellet smoker is cold, preferably wait at least 24 hours after a cook before starting the cleaning process. If you are using an electric pellet smoker, make sure it is unplugged from a power source. If it uses gas, it would be an excellent time to uncouple it from the gas bottle to check the connections.
It also utilizes the pellets put inside it with utmost efficiency. Its hopper can hold around 18 pounds of pellets, dispensing them automatically throughout the process. The digital thermostat works to ensure that they are not wasted. The smoker-grill can reach temperatures around the range of 500 F without any trouble, which makes this single unit capable of grilling and smoking with ease.
Kamado smokers are great and very versatile. GMGs are super reliable and offer easier up and ready performance. I can see an argument for owning a Kamado and a pellet grill. I’m partial to GMGs over Yoders for lower cost of ownership. Can’t beat GMG’s customer service.
Best of all, with a pellet grill, you can “smoke” your food at a very low temperature to create fall-of-the bone tender items like ribs or ham. This gives you a huge range of options when it comes to the types of meals you can prepare with your grill. You certainly will not be limited to just burgers and dogs! Think Cornish game hens, smoked turkey legs, lamp chops, smoked salmon, fish tacos, pot pie, and even pizza or cornbread. Some people even use their pellet grill to make desserts such as cookies or bread pudding.
We are a completely independent team of four outdoor cooking buffs dedicated to helping you get the best BBQ experience. Throughout the years, we have had many adventures, while building our expertise in barbecuing and smoking. Our research also involves reading reviews and getting opinions from the renowned BBQ experts. We will go anywhere and be doing anything to bring you the newest and best information on smoker grills.
Like other grills, pellet grills list cooking area two ways: primary cooking area, which refers to the main cooking grate, and total cooking area, which is the main cooking grate plus any secondary racks. However, since pellet grills are primarily indirect cookers, there really is no difference between cooking on the main rack or the upper rack&em;the temperature should be the same. Therefore, a smaller pellet grill with a primary grid of 450 square inches and an upper rack of 125 square inches may be a better option than a larger grill with only a 500 square inch primary grid.