MAK Grills: Sells four American-made pellet grill models, from the 1-Star General ($1600) to the 4-Star General ($8000). The trademarked “FlameZone” attains temperatures of 500 degrees and can be used for direct grilling.
Although it’s hard to lift the lid when shopping online, do your research. Read reviews and compare specs. And don’t be afraid to call and ask questions. Anyone selling pellet grills should be able to tell you all you need to know about a particular grill and how it compares to other models.
Many new developments are underway and soon will be released in the market. However, some are already with us! So here are some of the biggest things to look forward to while buying your next pellet smoker.
Today, all serious players in the pellet smoker market have switched to digital thermostatic controllers that dictate pellet-feed commands based on a temperature sensor inside the cooking box. Just like with the oven in your kitchen, you set the desired cooking temperature, and the heating system kicks on and off to maintain that set point. An LED display shows your set temp, and most models allow you to toggle between set temp and actual temp readings from the internal thermostat. Actual temperatures will fluctuate a bit as the controller switches on and off to hover around your set temp, but many sophisticated touch-pad controllers can maintain tighter tolerances than your indoor oven. Some pellet controllers also have integrated probes that let you monitor the internal temperature of whatever you’re smoking. Wireless remote control and monitoring from your smartphone or tablet are also increasingly common. (You can learn more about pellet smokers on AmazingRibs.com.)
Some pellet grills even come with a thermostat so that you can actually set the instrument on the exact temperature you desire. It’s an obvious plus when compared to charcoal and propane cooking which can sometimes uneven and unpredictable heat. Nothing is worse than serving one of your guests an overdone steak and the other a barely cooked steak, especially when all you want to do is enjoy your company and have a relaxing night.
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.
Well said John, I have had my Rec Tec 680 for a year now, first pellet smoker. At first I was going to buy a Yoder, but for $1500 I had to do more research, I didn’t need a 350 lb tank I wanted a pellet grill ( I have a 450 lb stick burner). Rec Tec came out on top, warranty sold me. My ignitor rod went out, I called CS on a Sunday, left a msg and they called me back within an hour and FedEx me a new ignitor rod. I have called CS several times for advice, and the always help
This pellet smoker will take your outdoor cooking experience to an entire new level with its massive 560 cubic meter cooking area that comes with a removable rack. Its temperature range of up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit make it an excellent choice for grilling, smoking, braising, baking, roasting and barbecuing. Reasonably priced, it’s a great investment. It’s made of high-grade materials and the most advanced digital controls, including an auto pellet feeder and LED controls. Cleanup is also 60% less demanding because of the convenient trap door for burn pot cleaning. With this efficient pellet smoker, every penny you spent will be worth it.
A. The main difference is that pellets produce smoke flavor that is milder than a traditional offset and cleaner. Pellets burn cleanly making the flavor and smoke more purified. The food hence will have a lighter flavor and no heavy smoke produced.
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.
No gas, charcoal and propane solutions here. This grill uses only wood pellets, letting you serve that pro-like, rich smoky flavor that your guests will enjoy. Do you want to cook more recipes? The Z Grills website features dozens of recipes for your indulgence.
Control boards with inputs for meat probes – Some pellet grill controllers have outputs for meat probes. You just plug one end into the control board and insert the other into the meat. At a glance, you can track the internal temperature of your food on the digital display without opening the lid.
When was the last time you actually got to sit back with your family and friends and chat away over the recent events? While it is understandable that work is important, that is it crucial to put the bread on your table and that you do it to make the lives of your loved ones more comfortable and fulfilling, but it is in no way to live. There is nothing sadder than have to work on presentations on the weekends while you kids wait behind your desk to finish up and take them to their soccer practice. Nothing is worse when you cannot make time to visit your old folks and best buddy because you have to run to the banks and attend the same old meetings.
I have used a pellet smoker for about five years, and looked at, or used, many different brands. I have added auxiliary smoke generators, and tried almost every way possible to create authentic BBQ on a pellet smoker— It can’t be done. When the vendors, or users, refer to subtle smoke they mean virtually no wood flavor. Do yourself a favor and try a simple test: go to a really good BBQ joint, or BBQ competition; try some of their Q and then compare it to pellet meat. There is no comparison. I wanted the pellet unit to produce good Q in the worst way because of the ease. You cannot duplicate the smoke created in a wood, or wood/charcoal firebox with compressed sawdust. It pains me to say it but it is true.
As a conclusion, it’s a very good pellet smoker & grill. Main advantage is the sear box that runs on propane, allowing to reach temperatures of up to 900 degrees F. Definitely a very useful feature during cooking. Another interesting feature is Smart Smoke Technology, which allows to create much more smoke while maintaining the desired temperature.
Speaking of competition cooks, you’ll find that many competition BBQ pitmasters who use Pellet grills as their primary means of cooking are among the more well rested come Saturday. The next step we’ll cover in this selection of Pellet Grill Reviews is getting your pellet grill / smoker up and running. Again, what you may not see in may Pellet Grill Reviews is repeated mention that you’re not going to get that “deep smoke” flavor profile using a pellet smoker. Though, this can be achieved by using something like the Amazen Pellet Tube Smoker 12″.
One thing we humans tend to forget amidst hustle bustle of our fast paced and commercial lives is that we should earn to live, not live to earn. So I think it is high time you ditch your shoe-box of an office behind for a day and live. Spend a day with your family at the park, or maybe catch up with your childhood friend over a beer or two and start doing barbecue. You cannot even begin to imagine how much spending some quality time with your loved ones can help you and them, revive and replenish the monotonousness. And there isn’t a better way to mingle than over a small get-together with some amazing food and great company cooked on your pellet grill.
What are your thoughts about the Kalamazoo hybrid grills? From what I’ve found online, you have the choice of gas, charcoal and wood for cooking or combinations of all. I have no first hand experience with Kalamazoo but it seems very versatile? At the moment after a month of researching, I’m leaning towards a Mac/Yoder or a Webber spirit & egg or a Memphis….so in other words, I’m no closer to a decision than when I started. I currently have a 9 yr old treager that won’t break, seriously, I’ve only repainted once with rustolium….dang thing won’t break so I can get a new toy. I sear in a skillet in the kitchen. My treager has the smoke/med/high switch and I want more control, I’ve maxed what I can do and it’s a challenge in cold weather and wind but it was a great start when they were made to last, more than got my money’s worth. I cook at all levels from smoking to grilling. I do love pellets and don’t want an egg but enjoy the food as much as the process of preparing it. Ok probably to much info but money aside, will you list your recommendations of what you think is best for me?
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?
Smoke Hollow’s pellet smoker does the job, but just has nothing to define it. It’s still a good smoker, but compared to the three above, there’s no real standout reason to pick this, especially when the Camp Chef Smokepro does exactly what this does, but better.
Meanwhile, it also has a 15-pound pellet capacity comparable to Camp Chef SmokePro (not as large but big enough to eliminate continuous wood pellet refills) and folding legs for better portability. However, certain users who’ve already bought their own REC TEC Grills Mini Portable Pellet Grill have complaints about it, like inconsistent heat distribution of the grill and poor quality control (certain grills break down easily).
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.
Only use food-grade wood pellets on your pellet grill. Never place wood chips or chunks on or around the fire pot. The fire could grow out of control, producing excessive heat that may damage vital electronics on the grill.
Solid construction that’s built to last is what the Rec Tec is all about, from their proprietary PID temperature control algorithm and Smart Grill Technology to the grill’s powder coated high strength carbon steel and 304 stainless steel for all of its critical parts.
In searching for a good video review of this smoker I actually came across two of them. The first video is from MAK Grills themselves but is hosted by Jonathan Martinez (JM) of CelebrityGrills.com. He does a great job of highlighting some of the innovative features MAK Grills brings to the table.
There are two other smokers that are quite comparable to this in terms of features and price. The first is the masterbuilt 20070910 30 inch smoker – you can read the full review here. The second is the Bradley 4-rack smokers. We have just updated out 2018 top 5 Bradley Smoker list here.
Couldnt you add a wood chips, small chunks, directly to the burn bowl before you start cooking? I get you cant feed it thtough the hopper, but it seems like there should be an opportunity to add directly to the bowl.
Brad Barrett at Grill Grates makes a fantastic product. Reverse searing 2″ steaks and chops (or thicker) works great on pellet smokers as you can get the internal temp up to 10-15 degrees below your desired finish temp, remove them and loosely wrap / cover in foil, crank up the smoker with the grates on to say, 400 degrees, and then sear off your protein getting great grill marks with little to no sticking at all. Huge fan of Grill Grates.
Where the Rec Tec outshines, or rather, outcooks other pellet grills, is their temperature control. The grills all come standard with a P.I.D. Controller (Proportional-Integral-Derivative) algorithm, the ‘secret’ to the grill maintaining its precise temperature.
So if you want more of a smoke profile, cook at longer and lower temps in your pellet pit. I have found that is the best way to get a more distinct smoke profile in your food. Cook at 180-190 for the first several hours.
Ever wanted to arrange your BBQ party at a friend’s place, but couldn’t? Well, Traeger BBQ 155.01 Bronze Tailgater Pellet Grill w/EZ-Fold Legs& Digit Thermostat makes your dreams come true. The manufacturers of this grill designed it so you can bring the party anywhere. While at the beach, tailgating or even camping you can enjoy your favorite smoked meat.
Temperature: Most of all, you have to pay attention to whether your pellet grill maintains a chosen temperature. People buy a pellet smoker because it makes it possible to smoke meat for long at fixed low temperatures. Very convenient and simple, and a grill that always maintains a selected temperature guarantees that the meat will be perfectly cooked.
Hey Chris, IMHO the Blazing Pellet Smoker looks like a solid unit. There’s a good review of it here. I think between the units I might give them a run. Yoder makes quality stuff, and if made in the USA is important to you, they fit as do the Blazings. All this said, if you’re basically using the pellet smoker like a Cambro, you could opt to save a little money and go with the Rec-Tec. Good customer service and solid following.