best pellet smoker under 500 | 7 Things I Learned After Pellet Grilling For A Year

Though the Traeger TFB29LZA Junior Elite Wood Pellet grill is compact in size, it has 300 square inches of wood fire grilling room. You could easily fit 12 burgers or three racks of ribs on the grill.
Camp Chef’s ash can and grease management systems make clean up on this smoker the easiest on the list, and any pellet burners that have a similar feature are twice as expensive. There’s a hopper clean out and pellet purge system as well, making it much simpler to drop the wood pellets out of this when you want to put it away for the night.
My new Yoder YS480 is being delivered today. Great size for the home smoker. I chose the Yoder after talking to a couple of buddies that have them and tasting their smoked meats. Living 30 miles away from the factory doesn’t hurt either.
The Yoder YS640 is 32 inches wide, weighs 313 pounds, and is said to have a cooking range of 150 to 600°F. Yoder is known for heavy-duty competition smokers, and the thick, 10-gauge-steel cooking chamber on this model is durable and great for heat retention. It comes with a sophisticated proprietary digital controller, which Yoder asserts is not based on any off-the-shelf temperature controller of any sort. Yoder states that it designed the board from scratch around a general-purpose micro-controller chip and wrote its own code from the ground up in an attempt to provide superior flexibility, efficiency, and accuracy.
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..
PID Controller– Proportional Integral Derivative Controller is a recent technology that many manufacturers have yet to include in their products. It helps the smoker maintain an accurate and precise temperature while cooking.
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.
REVIEW: Pellet Pro Cpg-627 Pellet Grill Traeger Junior Elite Pellet Grill with Digital Thermostat Controller Review: REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill with Smart Grill Technology REVIEW: Traeger Lil Tex Elite 49 inch Bbq Pellet Grill TRAEGER Junior Pellet Grill Review REVIEW: Traeger Junior Pellet Grill How To Buy The Best Smoker Grill Selecting The Best Gas Grill To Buy
Pellet smokers, sometimes called wood pellet grills or pellet grills, are a combination of grill, barbeque and smoker that uses tiny little compressed pellets of sawdust to smoke meat, automatically dropping them into the cooking area whenever the temperature starts to drop.
The amazing Karubecue is the most innovative smoker in the world. The quality of meat from this machine is astonishing. At its crux is a patented firebox that burns logs above the cooking chamber and sucks heat and extremely clean blue smoke into the thermostat controlled oven. It is our favorite smoker, period.
One-Touch Non-PID Controller – Featuring a LCD display and one-touch buttons for setting the cooking temperature in 5° or 10° increments, these controllers allow you to more accurately set a desired cooking temperature. However, like multi-position controllers, they use fixed cycles for delivering pellets and so are limited in accuracy to +/-15–20°F. These controllers may have inputs for meat probes that monitor the internal temperature of food.
That being said, many cut-rate pellet brands don’t de-bark their wood, creating inconsistency in the pellets. That can prevent the pellets from burning cleanly, resulting in excessive ash that may interfere with airflow and cause temperature fluctuations. In fact, often when people are having trouble with their pellet grill, cheap pellets are the culprit. How do you know which pellets are okay? Be wary of any pellets with a price that seems too good to be true. A 20 pound bag should cost in the neighborhood of $16 – $23. If you see a bag priced significantly less, be skeptical of the quality.
Before buying, please note that most pellet smokers need access to electricity to run the digital controller, the auger that transports the pellets to the firebox, and the convection fan that circulates the air in the cooking chamber. These cookers can use a lot of pellets at high temps. At high temps there is little or no smoke, and at low temps smoke is unavoidable. So if you want to cook, say, a chicken breast low and slow to retain juices, but you don’t want any smoke flavor, you’re outta luck. If you want to torch a thin burger to get a crunchy crust and add a little smokiness, you’ll get great smoke flavor, but it is hard to get the crust. But if you want killer ribs, bacon, smoked salmon, etc., pellet burners are hard to beat for convenience and quality.
The Cookshack PG500 Pellet Grill is the one pellet grill currently on the market that utilizes charbroiler technology, which lets you get the same great taste as any high-end commercial grade charbroiler. This pellet grill is constructed from stainless steel. The nickel plated grates are made from 3/8 304T stainless steel. T
This pellet grill is guaranteed to take your cooking game to a whole new level. The versatile grill offers endless options for grilling, smoking, baking, roasting, braising, and barbequing anything your heart desires. The pellet grill can reach temperatures anywhere from 160 F to 500 F! Talk about a whole lot of grill power. We gave it the 2nd spot on our list doesn’t mean it has less number of features than PG24 (INFACT IT HAS MORE). The main reason we chose this grill as our second pick to the Camp Chef PG24 is its price which is on the higher side.
You should make sure the pellet smokerhas all the features you want. The control board is a feature used to input meat to the grill. Some pellet smokers though have an outdoor control board for meat probes. Some other important features include Wi-Fi capability, direct grilling option, secondary cooking racks and included probes. A computer, tab or mobile phone connectivity is also another important consideration because it helps with regulating heat.
The Digital Control dial-in control gives you complete control over the temperature of the grill. It has a temperature range of 170 Fahrenheit all the way up to 600 Fahrenheit. You simply set the temperature and the grill will do the rest.
BBQ fan – If you’re a more demanding person, grill a lot of different meat using different methods. Then pellet grill will work great for you. Especially when it comes to smoking meat for many hours, all you have to do is set the temperature and do whatever you please in the meantime. You can leave it for the entire day with no worries and after a specified time expect very good results, as a pellet smoker is very good at maintaining desired temperature. To put it shortly, a pellet grill will make it easier for you to prepare a top quality meat at home.
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.
Nothing says “you are welcome to my home” than some delicious and succulent baby back ribs; some beer can whole chicken cooked your special spice mix, and some wood smoked salmon. There is no better way to wins the appreciation of your favorite people than cooking up some wood grilled steaks and baked potatoes. But there is a catch, there always is.
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.
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. 
Hopper – That’s where you put the fuel, or pellets, which is them sent through a special auger to the place where pellet is burned. Resupplying pellets in the hopper is a very easy and quick task, often quite different in the case of grills with different type of fuel ( such as propane tanks ).
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.
We have all kinds of friends here at Grills Forever and one of those friends, who we shall not name for his own sake, is not a handyman. If something can be put together wrong or broken, he will find a way. He put together this grill in an afternoon and by late that night his family and friends were enjoying the best bbq chicken I’ve ever had.
REC TEC grills are built of 304 stainless steel in America and come with a 6-year limited warranty. I have yet to meet a person that owns a REC TEC and isn’t happy with its performance. It’s super high quality and durable.
Even and fast cooking – this is the common feedback of the new and past users of this pellet grill cooker. Although some of them would say that the temperature is inaccurate, they can still manage to adjust everything well by means of its digital temperature controller. Additionally, you may need to add more pellets if you will set the temperature on a high setting.
Barbecuing and grilling meats to the perfect temperature, texture and doneness is a skill that is acquired over years and years of practice. There is a lot that goes into making a good BBQ than just good seasoning and fresh meat, and any pit master will agree. There are just so many aspects you have to learn how to control: the temperature, the smoke, the placement, the ratios and so on. But you are lucky that this is new of yesterdays.
Maintenance for this grill is simple and you don’t have to clean it thoroughly after each use. It’s equipped with a drip bucket to hold all the drippings from your meat for easier disposal. Using it is also very easy and offers a lot of conveniences.
There is also an included sear box that can reach up to 900° F so you can sear your meat to perfection. Once you are done grilling your steaks, burgers and chicken you can transfer them to the sear box so they can get the nice and crisp caramelized sear.

7 Things You Have In Common With Pellet Grill

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.
A. The brand of the pellet does not matter when cooking in a grill. The quality of the pellets matter. Most pellet smoker companies would recommend for a buyer to use pellets from their own models. This is because they want to insist on use of quality pellets and selling their products too. Though any good quality pellet can be used to cook in model of a pellet smoker and cooker.
While this Davy Crockett smoker does not have a roller beneath it, it does have 2 foldable legs which can be converted into handles. And at only 69 lbs, it is very easy to take this grill with you on a road trip; you just fold the legs up, put it in your car boot and go! I actually always keep this smoker in the trunk of my car because it is the perfect camp time smoker.
Hey, thanks so much for letting me know what you guys finally decided on buying! The Memphis is a great all around cooker. I loved the Memphis Pro series model I tried out at home. Dead on accurate and quality all the way. Congrats on your purchase. I know you guys will be happy!
As you can see, Rob is very thorough in the way he breaks down the parts of this Yoder pellet smoker. To get a real feel for what you’d be in for should you choose to buy this particular Yoder pellet smoker, head over to his article to read more.
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.

— June 12, 2018

6 thoughts on “best pellet smoker under 500 | 7 Things I Learned After Pellet Grilling For A Year

  1. “We love pellet grills but didn’t like the designs of the models on the market. They are more like an oven than a grill. MAK Grills are designed to be the best in class. You get outstanding BBQ flavor and safe cooking with real wood, along with an automatic lighting and fuel feed system. Simply turn the grill on and you’re cooking in minutes! Our direct heat FlameZone ® feature is pioneering the industry for “gas grill like” cooking without the hassle of flare-ups and burned food.” — MAK Grills
    A standard digital controller feeds a predetermined amount of pellets to the fire in order to achieve the desired temperature. No matter what the grill’s internal temperature reads it will keep feeding that same amount of pellets. They can maintain a temperature within +/- 25°F. Most of the pellet grills on the market, particularly entry-level models, feature this type of controller.

  2. Jo

    The Camp Chef Smokepro is a really solid wood pellet smoker, and I mean that in all possible ways. It performs well, with a large cooking area and good temperature range and stability, and it’s built like a bomb shelter. It also holds 18lbs of pellets, which is enough to last almost an entire day of cooking.
    Easy Storage: Another convenient thing about them is that they are quite small compared to a lot of gas grills and can easily be stored in a garage or shed during the off-season. If your storage area is well-ventilated, you can even use them during the cold months if you want to.
    Tell me that’s not one of the most killer Made In America intro videos you’ve ever seen! Really speaks to the mindset Yoder has regarding quality and durability, not to mention the company’s pride regarding operating from the heartland of Kansas in the good old USA.
    This is an affordable product that provides a lot of benefits to your cooking. It is also easy to assemble as well as clean and maintain. This Z Grills Wood Pellet Smoker offer versatility. This product has various mixed reviews. However, there have been reports that there are significant internal temperature swings.
    Louisiana Grills have come out of the Bayou and have taken over the market. These grills are an engineering wonder. Get a Louisiana and get a lifetime of great cooking, Move your electric stove out and cook on a Louisiana!
    I’ve wanted a pellet grill for many years now, I didn’t realize how many different manufacturers there was until a couple weeks ago. Your review was very informative. Was wondering what if anything you have heard about Traegers new Timberline series?

  3. Its warming rack gives you an additional cooking or heating space in addition to the primary cooking area. The cooking height of 32.5 inches allows you to cook a variety of meats and foods, and makes full utilization of its large area. It can work in temperatures from 160F to 400F, which gives you a large range of cuisines and dishes to cook. Cleaning this smoker is easy due to the removable ash can and the grease drain system that collect the waste automatically.
    Temperature Control: All the good to topnotch pellet smokers have some sort of digital or analog temperature control system, some of which come complete with a thermostat. The way it works is that at the push of a button, the probe keeps the temp consistent by controlling pellet distribution.
    The versatility of the grill allows you to prepare all of your favorite dishes to your specifications. The hardwood pellets bring out natural and juicy flavors of your food. Additionally, the grill uses convection heating that circulates the burning pellets throughout the grill. The combination of these techniques draws out the best flavors and gives your meat the perfect cook.
    3 position controllers: These controllers are generally found on cheaper pellet cookers, and have 3 settings – low (225°F) medium (325°F) and high (425°F). They are also known as LMH controllers. They feed the pellets into the burner in fixed cycles so you don’t have a great amount of control over the temperature.
    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.
    Camp Chef PG24 features tons of built-in features, designed to facilitate the cooking process. It is a smoker for cooks who are serious about getting the real taste of barbecues from their smoker grills. It is worth every penny. Let’s look at its amazing features.
    Made of rugged 1/8″ thick aluminum, 20″ long, with four serious rivets, Meathead says his shows zero signs of weakness after years of abuse. He uses it on meats, hot charcoal, burning logs, and with the mechanical advantage that the scissor design creates, yiou can easily pick up a whole packer brisket.
    If you’re a member of the Rockefeller family and price isn’t an issue then you’ll definitely find pellet grills over the $2000 mark but, if you’re more the ‘other fella’ with a budget in mind, then the Rec Tec is one of the best-priced grills, available for under $1,000. There’s also a Rec Tec mini grill which comes in under $750. 
    For beginner outdoors chefs and guys buying their first smoker, that’s an invaluable bit of knowledge. Knowing that no matter what you do, as long as you follow the standard set up, you’re going to produce professional quality meat with ease, which is why smokers like the ones below are the best choice for anyone looking at buying their first pellet smoker.
    Everyone loves grilled food, especially if it has been cooked on an outside grill to give it that deep rich roasted flavor. Since their introduction a couple of decades ago, pellet grills have become the simple way to give a distinct flavor when cooking to your steaks, burgers, and roasts.

  4. Is the size of the pellet smoker fit for the selected cooking area? This is a question everyone should have in mind when selecting the best pellet smoker. They comes in different sizes. Big and small. Getting a big pellet grill that is bigger for the set cooking area will inconvenience the buyer. On the other side getting a smaller pellet smoker that is less fit for selected space will make it look unfit.
    Pellet grills are available at a wide range of prices, from inexpensive bargain-priced models that cost as little as $399 to premium high-end models that cost $5,000 or more. In general, though, a medium-sized pellet grill of decent quality starts at around $699. If you’re willing to go smaller, you can get a quality pellet grill for under $500. If you want more cooking space, expect to pay more money. As you add features PID temperature control, a direct grilling option, meat probes, WiFi, and stainless steel construction, the price tag goes up.
    This grill has a modern heating mechanism that adds to the convenience of using it. When the igniter is turned on, it heats the pellets that feed the fire pot via the auger. This auger creates a heat shield with the induction pan that evenly heats the surface as per the settings and ensures that the meat is thoroughly cooked. For efficient temperature management, this pellet smoker grill has a Digital Pro Controller that can be used to alter the temperature or keep it consistent while cooking as desired. The controller has a detector that keeps track of the number of pallets fed to the fire pot. There are also manual controls that can be used for setting the temperature to high, smoke and medium as desired.
    When looking at a pellet grill also consider the material its made from. A majority of pellet grills on the market are made from painted steel. However, the quality of that steel and the paint can vary. A good high-temp powder coat paint can stand up to high heat without blistering or flaking. This is essential, because once the steel is exposed, it will rust. Even if the grill body is painted well, you have to look inside. The fire pot and diffuser plate have the potential to corrode and are two of the most common parts that need replacing. With some painted steel grills, such as Traegers®, you can can upgrade the grill and hopper lids to stainless steel, as well as the firepot, diffuser, and drip pan.
    The grill is plated with beautiful stainless steel that gives the grill a refined and impressive look. The huge cooking area includes 570 square inches of surface area. That’s enough to hold 20 burgers or 4 rib racks! It also contains a second warming rack and bottom shelf that provides the grill stability and extra storage. Additionally, the legs are built with extreme thickness giving the grill a grounded base. The caster wheels add portability to the grill so you can find that perfect place in the backyard.

  5. You can’t cook as hot or generate as much smoke – You won’t get quite as good a sear as you could with a charcoal grill. And you won’t get that dominate smokey flavor you would get with an offset stick burning smoker.
    It can run off a 12V with no problem so plug it into your car’s cigarette lighter. It also works 120AC so it’s perfect for home or camping, tailgating, hunting, house-boating, music festivals or anywhere you can take it!
    Perhaps what will attract you the most with this pellet grill is the fact that it will offer all those features of the more expensive pellet grills but you not have to break the bank to purchase it. It has a varying cooking temperature that can go all the up to 500 degrees. It has got an easy to use controller which features a digital readout. This pellet grill can easily be used by novices but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have those features that expert grillers use. The cooking features are easy and fun to use and the digital temperature control is just so impressive. This pellet smoker will give you a more steady smoke and temperature needed to cook your food perfectly well.
    Retail pricing for the Traeger Grills Pro Series pellet smokers come in at $799 for the 22 in. and $999 for the 34 in. At this time, they’re available only through approved Traeger retail locations. If you’re in the Central Florida area, Whiskey Bent BBQ Supply in Lakeland, FL is a Platinum Traeger Dealer. Otherwise, you can find a list of approved Traeger dealers via their network locator page.
    Even and fast cooking – this is the common feedback of the new and past users of this pellet grill cooker. Although some of them would say that the temperature is inaccurate, they can still manage to adjust everything well by means of its digital temperature controller. Additionally, you may need to add more pellets if you will set the temperature on a high setting.
    Easy Storage: Another convenient thing about them is that they are quite small compared to a lot of gas grills and can easily be stored in a garage or shed during the off-season. If your storage area is well-ventilated, you can even use them during the cold months if you want to.
    Another way to put it – is it the quality of smoke that is an issue with the pellet smokers, or the quantity? The upgrade to a pellet smoker is a big investment – tough to do without testing. Any assistance would be much appreciated.

  6. Hey Todd – what pellet grill do you have? Also, by short cooks, how long are you talking? Have you looked at the burn pot? If it’s overfilled, you may need to vacuum it out, along with the interior of the cooker. Then, put 10 or so pellets into the burn pot and start it up again. See if that helps. There should not be much if any ash in the food chamber area or on the food. At least not in my experience.
    Easily create a barbecued masterpiece. Put your ribs or brisket on the grill, set a low temperature and leave it. With our grill’s extremely low heat setting and reliable even heating, when you return your meat will be slow-cooked to mouth-watering perfection.
    Your friends and neighbors will not be able to resist the urge to gather at your house when you fire up your REC TEC. Don’t be surprised when you inevitably get a call from someone asking you to REC TEC some meat for them. This is a common occurrence that happens to nearly every REC TEC owner.
    Thanks Kevin for the reviews and content. Like many of the folks I too will be purchasing a pellet pooper. I have narrowed my choices to a MAK 2 star and a Memphis Elite. One of the earlier posters indicated on the Memphis that the effective direct grilling space was about 1 square foot. I am assuming that with the smaller footprint of the MAK that the direct “flame zone” is less than that. I’m just wondering how much less.

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