Not only are they easy to use, but pellet grills are also some of the most versatile grills on the market. When you use a pellet grill you get all the flavour of a traditional grill without the headaches.
Be that as it may, if your concern mainly lies on something that can be carried on a truck to an open-air grilling party or to a friend’s place, it’s positively a decent proposal. Aside from portability, it also gives you a cooking adaptability as you can grill, prepare, smoke, grill and braises with no bothers. The grill highlights full-size functionalities in a convenient bundle, henceforth a decent decision for anybody searching for versatile decision.
Move it around a bit so you can feel the weight. Is it heavy or flimsy and light? While a pellet grill doesn’t need to be overly hefty, you don’t want it to be too light on its feet either. The grill should feel sturdy and there should be no visible gaps or spaces that will allow heat to escape.
This grill has full automation from start to clean the ash off. If you want that type of automatic smoker, you need to increase your budget over 900$ – 1000$. Camp chef PG24 is special because of its comparative low cost.
‘ve divided this guide into 2 price points, under $500 and under $1000. I believe that you shouldn’t spend more than that on a home-use pellet smoker, unless you’re planning on catering large events on a regular basis.
Pellet grills rely on advanced digital technology working in concert with several mechanical parts. The grill is lit and the cooking temperature is programmed using a digital control board. It uses an algorithm to calculate how many pellets are needed to reach the desired temperature and how often those pellets need to be fed to the fire in order to maintain the temperature. A rotating auger then automatically feeds the pellets from the hopper to the fire, where a fan stokes the flames and distributes heat and smoke throughout the grill. To help maintain an even temperature throughout the entire grill and prevent flare-ups, a diffuser plate sits between the fire pot and grill grate. While the food cooks, the pellet grill continues to drop the perfect amount of pellets needed to maintain the desired temperature.
Rubbery skin has very little to do with the type of heat (direct vs indirect). Rubbery skin is a result of too low a cooking temperature. Take your smoker/grill or whatever you use and get the temperature in the mid 400’s or even higher and you will get crispy skin. One thing though never let the internal temperature of your bird get over 150 or you’ll have crispy skin and dry crunchy meat too. Take it off the grill and let is rest a full 30 minutes. Best bird you’ll ever eat no matter which grill, smoker, 50 gal barrel, etc you cooked it on.
Here’s my long term review of the GMG Daniel Boone grill purchased in Nov of 2010, about six and a half years ago. My model has the stainless steel lid. Assembly was straight forward and only required attaching the legs and folding side table as I recall. Operation was straight forward and the grill heated quickly to any desired temperature from 180 to 500 degrees usually in ten minutes or less. The temperature was maintained consistently within +5/-5 degrees as long as the hopper had pellets. This grill was truly a dream to cook with which we did 3 – 4 times a week from March through October. That is the good part.
You have some solid reviews out there. I have been in pursuit of getting exactly what I want for about 25 years now LOL. Started with a Weber Kettle cooked some great meals on it and made that tasted more like eating a chunk of lump coal 🙁 Over the years I have built a couple 55 gal barrel smokers they were challenging to hold the temp, an old Kenmore stove oven into a propane starter wood smoke unit, a monster 24″ pipeline pipe 5′ long and a warming oven, a 40″ stainless grill made from an industrial engine catalyst that I could direct and indirect cook on and a few other small grills. Working in the oil & gas business and having poor welding skills with a good welding machine in the garage made for some great experiences. Most generally have cooked for 2 to 4 people but have fed up to 70 a time or two.
Royall Grills is manufactured by a furnace company. They know about engineering a wood fire system to burn pellets. Royall Grills was engineered by a frustrated husband who wanted to come up with a better cooking system.
Overall, I think you would be happy with the smaller smoker / grill. I really like what Green Mountain grills has done with the Davy Crockett model, and that is the unit I have personally. That said,Rec-Tec makes a great product, and some people prefer the cart stand it comes with rather than the fold up legs that Green Mountain grills uses on the Davy Crockett modeling. Either choice would be good for you if you are looking for a smaller unit. I am of course speaking about the mini version of the Rec-Tec. The larger version is excellent as well.
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.
I noticed a question on the use of pellet grills in cold weather… living in Minnesota we have an abundance of cold weather. The warm up takes a bit longer but once the grill is going the upper temp ranges seem to hold true. In below zero temps. I throw an asbestos blanket over the grill to save on pellets.
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.
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.
Thanks to Smart Smoke Technology you can set it, forget it and go take care of something else while the grill does all the work. The digital temperature controls and automatic auger will feed premium hardwood pellets into the grill so the temperature always remains just right without any assistance from you.
A few other mentionable features are that it has a highly durable temperature proof textures powder coat finish, it features auto start. The REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill accommodates temperatures from 180 degrees Fahrenheit to 500 degrees Fahrenheit with 5 degrees increment. This amazing temperature control features let you be in control of how much heat you want to cook your food in, without having to worry about it getting dry or burnt. This low increment allows you to cook delicate meats like fishes and seafood as well! It smart grill tech makes sure that the temperature you set is always consistent and constant. It also has an “Extreme” smoke feature from the 180 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit setting that intensifies the smoke in the grill.
The Traeger TFB29LZA Junior Elite Grill stakes its claim as the best pellet grill with its functionality as a roaster that’s a bit easier to use than your average grill. However, it has issues with quality control, with customers complaining that they got a used grill instead of a brand new one. It also presents a bit of a learning curve.
I have cooked on traegers, Louisiana Grills, Country smokers, FECs, FE Grills, but have not gotten to cook on a MAK or Yoder yet – both seem pretty cool, so I can’t wait to put them through the paces.
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.
The cooking temperature matters a lot for the flavor of your cooking, Tailgater makes it possible to regulate the temperature through its digital LED thermostat. The thermostat automatically controls the cooking temperature at each stage so that you can obtain the best flavor and even cooked barbecue. The heating mechanism of the grill is very innovative and modern. After turning on the igniter, the pellets get heated up and supply the heat to the fire pot through the auger. The auger then creates a shield of heat with an induction pan which then distributes the heat evenly according to the current settings for thoroughly cooked food.
With this unit, meat can be smoked at a temperature of 150F for hours. You can also set the temperature to 500F for a searing and grilling. The heat is evenly spread using convection, thus removing cold and hot spots on the grill.
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.
AUTO-START SYSTEM: Automatically lights the pellets every time you turn on the power switch. You’re cooking in just minutes! No Flare-ups: Our exclusive, patented E-Z Grease Drain System transports grease drippings out of the cooking chamber into a galvanized catch bucket. There’s less chance of frustrating flare-ups developing, while you cook.
Like the Z GRILLS Wood Pellet Smoker, the REC TEC Grills Mini Portable Pellet Grill is capable of going up or down by 5° Fahrenheit increments, leading it to heat up from 180° Fahrenheit to 550° Fahrenheit. At full power, it can reach a temperature of 600° Fahrenheit. The mini size is enough to fit in a turkey or maybe three slabs of ribs, so that’s portability without sacrificing quality and capacity too much.
There are a few brands that make WiFi pellet grills (e.g. Memphis Grills and the Traeger Timberline). Some pellet grills with WiFi capability allow you to connect directly to your grill—in essence, the pellet grill becomes the network, giving you control within a limited range. Better WiFi pellet grills allow you to connect your grill to home your network, giving you the ability to control your grill via a cloud-based app or web page anywhere you have internet access.
Three stage controller – there are three options to choose from, smoke ( or low), medium and high. It’s an old and very poor controller. It only has three options to choose from, it’s very poor at maintaining temperature. It doesn’t take weather and other factors into account. The result is that the temperature inside the grill can significantly rise or drop without you knowing. Such solution makes it impossible to set a precise temperature and limits the cooking options.
It’s hard to beat the cooking versatility of a pellet grill. Look for a combination pellet smoker and grill if you want to charbroil, smoke, bake, roast and braise, all over the same flame. Thinking beyond the burger – recipes like baby back ribs and wood-fired pizza can now be a part of your menu.
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.
Now, this is only a portable smoker, and obviously you pay for that in size and power. It has a great temperature range, but unfortunately the cooking area is quite small, only just over 200 square inches, which is about enough for two racks of ribs.
One of the higher end pellet smokers you might want to check out, and one I’ve had the opportunity to try out myself, is the Memphis Pro Pellet Grill. This pellet grill is not for the faint of heart price wise. However, I can attest to the fact that it is one of the most robust, versatile, and pleasurable pellet grills I’ve used.
It’s still a great pellet smoker and it manages to get to a sizzling 500°F pretty darn quickly. We also had one of the tastiest meals from this grill. We can’t say (or verify) if it was because of the Pit Boss or if we had managed to get our hands on the best meat purchases, like ever!
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!
Great reviews. I have been lately looking into pellet poopers. I currently own a large Big Green Egg and a Pit Barrel Grill. My Egg has limited space. On the PBC (Pit Barrel Cooker) I can cook a ton of food as it uses hanging meat method. But it has zero temperature control on it. A set lower vent and that’s it. You have to adjust the lid to get the temps up. I have adjustable rings for my Egg that allows for increased capacity. Eggs are great smokers, grills and ovens. I do have a FireBoss temp controller for the Egg which will allow a set it and forget operations. Wifi controls also. With that being said, I am looking for increased capacity in my cooks. I was seriously considering a XL Primo Oval or a XL BGE. Then I found these pellet poopers. After reading this blog and other reviews I found some limitations. One the lack of smoke flavor. Now with my Egg I add chunks of wood into the lump for smoke flavor. Same with the PBC. The PBC has different smoke flavor as the fats and juices from the meat drip on the hot coals which ignite (according to PBC’s website) and produce a smokey flavor in the meat. I’ve read two ways to increase the smoke flavor in Pellet Poopers. One is to start at a lower temp for a few hours, then crank it up to cooking temps. Two is the smoke tubes or Mojo Bricks. My question is do these techniques work? One review on the smoking tube said that they really didn’t make that much of a difference. Another issue was for grilling and the lack of direct heat. Grill Grates would eliminate this concern correct? My understanding of Grill Grates is that they provide a way to direct grill in an indirect environment. That’s a limitation with both of my cookers. The Egg can Indirect or Direct grill. Not both. Yes I can remove the indirect piece and set up the Egg for direct grilling, but you risk burnt fingers even with welders mitts on. Wouldn’t the Grill Grates on a Pellet Pooper solve this problem? Allowing you to slow cook that steak to say 10 degrees shy of your temp range then sear it on the grill grate for the a couple of minutes on each side to get it to your desired temp range? Or go the other way, sear first for a few minutes per side then indirect cook it to the desired temp?
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.
Many people misunderstand a pellet grill of consuming a large amount of power for its working. But it is not even remotely true. While it is true that a pellet grill will use up a good amount for power initially, but it only uses that to come to temperature and form. Once it is ready and in form, it power consumption drops so dramatically that some pellet grills use almost as little power as a light bulb; an ideal choice for keeping power costs to a minimum.
Larger, more expensive smokers run anywhere up to 900 square inches, which will basically let you feed your whole street. It’s also a whole lot more convenient when you’re planning on cooking multiple things to be able to throw every single sausage, joint of meat and rack of ribs on at once, flip ’em around and move things to the edge when they’re done.
Rating: This is an 8.5 out of 10 grill. It could’ve gotten a higher rating or at least a rating like its sibling Pit Boss, but too many quality control complaints brought its rating down many notches.
This smoker is one of the only smokers that includes Sense-Mate, which is a thermal sensor system that continuously monitors the internal grilling temperature and keeps the internal temperature within 5ºF of the set temperature. Quite impressive, if you ask me!
Hi Mark – I’ve not personally used the Smoke Hollow Pellet Grill you mention here. The base model pellet smokers I see at stores like Sam’s and Costco are going to do fine for most backyard cooking preparations. I’d look into what the Smoke Hollow folks offer customer service wise. When you buy at the lower end, understand that the unit might not enjoy the longevity or durability of other mid-tier or higher end models.
These are great changes but the pellet controller is still the old 10-position unit and of course we know that a lot of other makes have moved to much more sophisticated technology, improving temperature precision and maintenance. But it could be the guys at Traeger figure ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’.
Hey Ben – thank you for your comment. From a retail user standpoint, I think you’d be happy with either a Yoder or FEC. I really like the PG 500 for the purpose that you’re looking at. Best of both worlds it seems the more I’m looking at it. You can see how they approach grilling steaks in this video. You can incorporate the use of GrillGrates in either pellet grill. Both companies make their units in the USA. Both have great reputations. I’m just partial to Cookshack’s pellet smokers over Yoder as I know more folks who use them.
Only two companies manufactured pellet grills or smokers back in 2008, and they’re MAK and Traeger (both of which are based in Oregon). This changed when Traeger’s original patents expired and the floodgates for competitors opened.
At Grills Forever, we are passionate about outdoor cooking. We don’t just tell you things we’ve read rather we go the extra mile, making us the go-to team for all your smoker grill needs. Throughout our journey from four BBQ novices to barbecuing experts, we have developed some of the best strategies for picking a pellet grill and testing it before recommending it to our audience.
Stick burner vs Pellet… it’s time tending the fire question for me. Pellet poopers are way less work, but you can up your smoke or lower it with a great deal more variability with a stick burner. If you have the money, I’d go Yoder.
Thanks for posting this article, i am in the market for a pellet grill and am doing the research now. I saw a comment up above regarding the Traeger and am wondering if you did have the chance to review their product yet? Not sure on the date the question was asked originally.
Hi Brad – sorry for my delayed reply. I’ve heard good things about the Woodwind model from Camp Chef. The trap door for clean out is a plus for sure. It might be a good option for you to start out with. You can always upgrade to the Yoder at a later date.