Once you have finished cooking, don’t switch off the smoker immediately. Let it go to high heat for a while to burn off any food or fat residue left in the smoker. Once it has reached a high temperature use a brass wire brush to clean the grates of any leftover foodstuffs or amassed dirt and soot residue. It is now time to switch off the smoker and let it cool down. Remove the grease bucket or trap you may have been using, and set it aside. With a damp rag, wipe any grease or fat deposits that may have accumulated on the outside of the smoker. Once the grease bucket is cool enough to handle, replace the aluminum foil in the drip pan, and discard the old. A build-up of grease in the smoker could lead to an unwanted fire. Don’t forget to clean out any pellet ash once things are cool inside your smoker.
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.
Hi Jennifer, the Traeger grill you purchased should serve you well. You can see a picture of one of them installed here. I think this is the grill style you bought. One thing the sites you’ve researched (including my own article above) might not have stressed is that Traeger recently hired a new CEO and is actively working to attain the name, reputation, and reputation for quality that they once had. I’m confident should you have any problems with your unit that they will stand behind it and take care of them for you.
Turn it on to “Smoke” mode and use the P settings, or cook mode by selecting a temperature. When you select smoke or a temp setting you start the ignition sequence. The fan, igniter and auger motor turn on. The fan stays on until the smoker is turned off. The auger motor continuously delivers pellets to the red hot igniter rod in the firebox for two minutes under normal conditions. Then the igniter rod shuts off and the pellet fire burns with only the assistance of the auger and the fan.
Hey Tom! First, thank you so much for commenting on this article. I hope it’s proved useful to you and helping you make your pellet smoker buying decision. I took a look at the smokers you mentioned in your comment, and they appear to be similar in build to those made by Yoder. I can verify that Yoder does exceptionally good work with both the build quality and the heavy gauge steel Construction of their smokers. I don’t know much about the manufacturing practices of the smokers you mentioned. I do like the fact that their controller automatically dropped down to a warming temperature after your food reaches the programmed temperature setting. That’s a feature that I’ve only seen in higher-priced pellet grills like the Memphis Pro Series that I talk about in this article. However, more grills are starting to utilize this in the programming aspect of their controllers. In any case it’s a great feature. To be honest with you I’m not sure that the auger mechanics are going to be all that different between smokers. I’m sure there are differences, but I don’t feel that they are dramatic enough to offer a distinct selling Advantage for the manufacturer. If you haven’t looked at them yet, you might consider taking a look at the Traeger Pro Series pellet grills. You can’t find it on Amazon, but you can find them at different retailers listed on the main Traeger site. A friend of mine has one major competitions using the pro series models.
Editor’s Note: If you’re looking to upgrade your backyard cooking setup this summer, you’re probably in need of a little advice. We’re longtime admirers of the folks behind AmazingRibs.com, the site dedicated to unraveling the science of barbecue and grilling. Please welcome back Max Good, the only person in the world whose full-time job is testing, rating, and reviewing grills and smokers. The database he maintains includes over 500 grills and smokers, ranging in price from $30 to $50,000. When it comes to barbecue equipment, nobody knows it better.
True blooded grill sweethearts out there might value this item. It is a minimized, full-included pellet barbecue that can take care of their grilling needs. You may need the item that accompanies all that you may require. When you have warmed it up, you can anticipate a perfect temperature and warmth in view of what you have chosen. Much the same as when you have found a reasonable latte machine for you, you would feel pleased with yourself for picking an extreme item that stays aware of your needs. Another element you may acknowledge in the item is that can keep the correct temperature all through the barbecuing or cooking process—regardless of whether you burn, grill, smoke or prepare. The cooking instrument is an exact griller that won’t make you stressed over any temperature variance. So whether you are an amateur or a pit ace, you might need to investigate this item that can take your grilling to the following level.
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.
Nothing else comes close in terms of features and portability at this price point. The WiFi control via tablet or smart phone is an awesome feature that lets you control the temperature of your grill remotely (handy if you’re lying by the pool).
I see a lot of opinions about Traeger not being good at maintaining a desired temperature. It is very important if we’re planning very long and slow smoking of the meat. Unless you have a time and will control the temperature.
Since we are barbecuing experts, our top pick will definitely be a pellet smoker that is appropriate for almost everyone looking for a pellet grill. Camp Chef PG24 Pellet Grill and Smoker BBQ is built to help the outdoor cooking buffs take their backyard cooking venture to a whole new level.
The porcelain grill grates, their surface is effective at preventing rust from appearing and food from sticking. They are much easier to clean, after each cooking just clean them with a delicate brush and that’s it.
I have the RecTec RT680 and i am very happy…..it is primarilly a smoker but can be used for burger and steaks as well as brisket and turkey’s……always performs well with little or no attention……my wife has been using the weber little smoky joe for 10 yrs plus and really did not know or want to know about the RecTec……well, i bought her a weber performer premier 22” charcoal grill…..it has become our go to for burgers and steaks and bbq chicken…..the RecTec has become out smoker….this combination is the best of two worlds…..Remember, “a happy wife is a happy life”….hehehehe…..
Hey Pete, first thanks for your kind words. Traeger pellet grills fell off a bit quality wise over the past several years. That said, they’ve hired a new CEO – formerly from the Skull Candy Head Phone company – who brought that company’s valuation up considerably. I see them making moves to get back to their roots… aligning themselves with some of the more well known names in BBQ again. From a build quality, they’re making solid pellet grill bodies using fairly heavy steel. The area I’d like to see them improve on is the controllers they use. Right now, GMG is making great strides in claiming some of the entry level pellet smoker market share away from Traeger. This is due to a superior PID controller, advances in built in Wi-Fi monitoring, and outstanding customer service.
Kevin- I’m in the process of researching to get my husband a grill for Christmas. I’m torn between the 820 you mentioned above and the Traeger Pro Series. As far as I can tell they are basically the same except that you get a larger cooking area on the pit boss for the same price you pay for a small cook space in a traeger. I would like to spend around $600 on the grill but would possibly go up to $800 and want 500 sq in cook space or greater. Which do you prefer? Pit Boss, Traeger or another brand?
Yes, there are several ways to update older Traeger models. Traeger’s new controllers can be retrofitted to older models. You can also upgrade to a stainless steel fire pot, heat diffuser, and drip pan, which last longer and resist corrosion. Traeger also offers the option to upgrade the cooking and hopper lids to stainless steel.
All of this is run on electricity, which more than one professional Pellet Head BBQ pitmaster will tell you is of premium importance during competitions – and is not always easy to come by! Let’s continue with some Pellet Grill Reviews 101 and talk about heat delivery.
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.)
It includes heavy-duty all terrain wheels as well as a rust proof cover and additional racks. With the automated electric feed system, the internal temperature is regulated so the product does not require frequent attention.
Smart Smoke Technology – This solution makes sure that the temperature is close to the selected one. But the difference from the target temperature are higher, varying from 10 to 15 degrees F. This way much more smoke is created which has a significant impact on the taste of your food.
This pellet smoker by Pit Boss offers a wide cooking surface which is 700sq inches of cast iron which can hold rather large pieces of meat or any other food for that matter. It offers a wide range of cooking temperature for you to choose from (from 180 degrees to 500 degrees Fahrenheit). Thanks to its digital control board and the standard flame boiler you can easily select your preferred cooking style. With this smoker, you do not need to have natural gas or propane to run it. This pellet smoker is versatile and durable for the fact that it is made of heavy gauge steel components. You can smoke, bake, grill, roast, braise, and barbecue with this pellet griller.
As we’ve already said temperature control is the key to getting a moist succulent piece of meat. This pellet smoker comes with a built-in thermostatic control with a digital thermometer, so you can exclude any guesswork while barbecuing. If the temperature sensors detect a drop-in temperature they feed more wood pellets into the burner. This allows you to place your meat on the grill and then let the smoker do the work while you relax.
Addresses in the following State Codes AK, HI, AE, AP, AA, PR, GU, MP, PW, AS, VI, FM and APO/FPO addresses with U.S. ZIP Codes will ship for free with value shipping. You will see this noted in checkout.
Is usually reserved for tender cuts of meat, that can be cooked at a high temperature relatively quickly. All meat contains animal fat, and it is inevitable that during grilling the fat will hit the fire and burn. A small number of harmful chemicals called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are formed. These substances are released into the air within the grill and can permeate any meat that is above the fire. Animal studies have shown that eating food containing these chemicals can increase the chances of getting cancer. To avoid contamination by these substances, it is best to prevent any flare-ups, where the flames rise and bathe the food on the grill, and to make sure the meat is not over charred. Meat that has been over charred does not only taste bad but is unhealthy.
The digital controller is the brains of the pellet grill. It’s the computer and uses a chip, sensors, circuits, and an algorithm to regulate the pellet grill’s temperature and make sure it accurately maintains the temperature programmed into the control board. The controller is probably the single most important part of your pellet grill, and how good the controller is usually determines how well the pellet grill performs.
PID Controllers- PID Controllers are the most sophisticated type of controller you will find on a pellet grill. They use complex algorithms to help you achieve your ideal temperature within a few degrees.
I believe the little Green Mountain Davy Crockett is the best portable pellet smoker currently on the market. Surprisingly, many of the portables out there still have an antiquated LMH controller, while Davy Crockett employs Green Mountain’s advanced digital touch-pad controller, with an integrated meat thermometer that lets you check internal meat temp with the flick of a switch. Furthermore, it includes adapters to run the electronics from your car battery or cigarette lighter. And Green Mountain is aggressively—ahem, hello price cut—promoting its WiFi capabilities, which enable you to monitor Davy Crockett from your smartphone or laptop.
Costs more to get a reliable unit compared to other types of smoker – You can pick up excellent charcoal, gas or electric smokers between $200-$500 while a good pellet will run you between $400-$1000+
Very often you can upgrade the controller on an older pellet with an updated controller from the same brand. For instance, you can update an old Traeger 3 position (low-medium-high) controller with a newer Digital Elite or Pro Series controller. However, with some brands, new controllers may only work with specific models or models made after a certain year, so be sure to look for any exceptions or exclusions.
The Camp Chef Smoker Pro Pellet Grill and Smoker is the perfect starter grill. This smoker is packed with extras that will allow the novice to cook like a pro. It offers a large cooking space of over 560 cubic inches. The removable upper racks and square back allow for greater room for cooking. It has digital controls that are one of the most striking features of this grill & smoker by Camp Chef. Do you know someone who isn’t the best cook? Someone who needs all the help they can get in the kitchen or on the grill?
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!
When you buy the best pellet smoker, you get a unit that automatically controls the temperature of your food; this is great for people who don’t want to sit around and keep a careful eye on their unit all day. The units come with many accessories, so you have many choices when it comes to what you want your unit to do.
This is really a good smoking equipment that you can opt for amongst the various wood pellet grills in the market today. It features an automatic heating which means all you will have to do is simply press a button and the grill will heat up to the desired temperature on its own. The good thing is that once the grill achieves the desired temperature it maintains throughout the cooking session. The other impressive feature that you will like with pellet smoker is the fact that its flower pot has got a blower fan with a heat deflector to help prevent hot spots on the meat that is being cooked.
It is definitely something different than an electric, gas or charcoal grill. If you prefer gas grills click here to see buyers guide for gas grills or if you love charcoal smoke flavor, check out my buyers guide for charcoal grills.
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Hey Rob! First, I really appreciate you reaching out. That’s what The BBQ Beat is for! To your question, I own a Davy Crockett Tailgate Model pellet smoker and really like it. Full disclosure, it was given to me by the company to test and Jason Baker of GMG said I could just keep it. But, I get a good number of products to review sent to me and a whole lot of them don’t make it onto the blog. I’d rather “omit” than “detract” – keep things positive sharing the stuff out there that I can get behind.
If you are not fully satisfied with your REC TEC, let us know within 30 days and we will refund your purchase price and pay to have it shipped back to us. We are that sure you will love your new REC TEC Grill.
The PID controller come in handy when using this grill seeing they help correct any errors or changes in the desired temperature. I love the WIFI capability, which makes it easy to control the temperature from my phone. Once I set the temperature, it maintained it, and whether I’m smoking salmon, ribs, or chicken, the results are always excellent.
With this grill, you will have no use for charcoal or gas again! The Traeger Grill uses wood pellets that offer your food a delicious taste. Barbecue, roast, smoke, bake, braise, or grill your food to succulent precision with this six in one versatile Texas Elite 34 Pellet Grill that offers slow cooking with low heat of quick cooking with high heat. This pellet grill allows you to grill your food to precision each time with an Integrated Digital Elite Controller that retains temperatures inside +/- twenty degrees Fahrenheit and makes setting the grill temperature as simple as spinning a knob. It provides 646 sq. in. of cooking space, which is capable of holding up to six chickens, nine racks of ribs, or twenty-four burgers.
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.
Pellets are made from different woods, each of which imparts a distinctive flavor to the meat. Hickory, oak, maple, alder, apple, cherry, hazelnut, peach, and mesquite are among the flavors available. For more about pellets, read my article, The Science of Wood. There is a pretty good forum for people who have pellet cookers at PelletSmoking.com and of course our Pitmaster Club has a lively discussion on them with many active users.
** Memphis Wood Fire Grills: Stylish design, sophisticated electronics, and great thermodynamics. This is one of the few pellet grills that lets you remove the top of the burn chamber so you can direct grill over a wood pellet fire.
People choose pellet smokers because they are easier to use than conventional smokers; once you set a temperature, they will automatically dispense pellets to maintain it for as long as you need to cook your foods. When people see the benefits of cooking with pellets, they often rush out to buy the first smoker they see.
The Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker comes with a primary cooking surface of 513 square inches, plus a second cooking rack with 187 square inches. Its large cooking space makes it ideal for large events, letting you grill, smoke, bake, roast, sear, braise, barbecue and char-grill all sorts of food at once.