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Food simply tastes way better when smoked with a pellet smoker. The wood pellets used to power the burn give the food a wonderful aroma, smoke the food at an even temperature, and make it difficult to oversmoke.
So that brings me to the one thing I have learned in all this that I basically read when I was getting started. One of the biggest keys is “Temperature Control”! If you want consistent food make sure you get that under control. It is the key to solid consistent food! Once you get your food consistent you can experiment with a lot of other things. But if you can’t get that down, you will always be looking for another magic bullet. The number one magic is temperature!
The Camp Chef Woodwind Pellet Grill is one of their best grills, offering outdoor cooks over 500 square inches of cook space and the ability to cook at temperatures from 160 to 500 degrees. To really get things done right, the Woodwind includes a sear box that can reach temperatures up to 900 degrees, allowing you to really lock in the flavors.
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…
The size is ideal and fits most backyards perfectly. The cooking area is 418 square inches, which is enough to prepare food for several people. If you need a lot of area, though, check out the bigger model ( Texas Elite 34 ) or Rec Tec.
Pellets look like rabbit chow. They are about the width of a pencil and as long as a couple of erasers. If they get wet they turn into a pile of sawdust. The beauty of pellets is that they have none of the additives and fillers in charcoal briquets, so they combust almost completely. Almost zero ash. The pellets provide the heat as well as flavor. No need to add wood chips. Surprisingly, they do not produce overly smoky food. If anything, the food is undersmoked to some people because the combustion is so complete.
To solve the problem, several pellet burners have come up with ways for you to expose food to the flameand can actually get a nice sear. Still not as good as charcoal or sear burners in my opinion, but a lot better than the ones that are strictly indirect. Check out the Memphis Pro, Cookshack Fast Eddy, and MAK 2 Star.
Do some research and find out how many pounds of pellets per hour the smoker burns. Anything up to a pound per hour, at smoking temperatures, is OK. For example, Bruce Bjorkman of MAK claims that his barbecues only use about ½ a pound per hour on the smoke setting.
In 2008 there were only two consumer pellet grill manufacturers. Today there are more than a dozen. The market for these relatively expensive devices is small but growing fast. Not all of these small manufacturers will survive. Forget the warranty and ask “When it breaks will the manufacturer still be in business?” They do not have repair shops near you. When it breaks will they be able to diagnose the problem over the phone? They may be able to figure it out, but then you have to buy the replacement parts and do the repair work yourself. Are you up to the task?
Pellet grill uses various types of flavored wood pellets to flavor the food by infusing smoke into it. Pellets of numerous flavors are available on the market: hickory, strawberry, oak and olive are just to name a few. Many pellet grill companies also manufacture wood pellets alongside the pellet grills that go hand in hand with their respective grills. So know your options, and be sure to spend a few extra bucks into buying a good quality wood pellet for your pellet grill as this is what will set apart your smoked exotic BBQ from the mainstream flavors out there.
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Cooking surface – Whole 702 square inches at our disposal, which is a lot. But if this is still not enough for you, you can buy a second shelf and expand the cooking surface by extra 352 square inches. That’s the total of 1052 square inches of meat grilling or smoking space. I think when it comes to this pellet grill, you can’t complain about insufficient space.
Though it is technically a grill, you can carry out so much cooking styles in it. It can be used to sear meats and other food to a perfect golden crusty perfection; it can be used to bake quiches just like you would in a normal indoor oven. This is absolutely a trademark appliance that can also be used to smoke food, it can also be used to slow braise food, making it ideal for cooking up winter stews and casseroles. And very obviously you can grill in this thing. The lid on the pellet grills also aid in fast cooking by trapping smoke and heat and allowing the food to cook and flavor through quickly and more evenly.
This is the bigger version of the smaller and mobile REC TEC Grills™ Mini Portable Pellet Grill. However, it’s more than just the Mini Portable Pellet Grill but bigger. This one has Smart Grill Technology™. What that means is that it allows you to adjust by 5° Fahrenheit increments temperatures that can go from 180° Fahrenheit to 550° Fahrenheit.
Looking at the history of the pellet grill, Traeger Pellet Grills were the very first smokers available. It was patented in 1986 and production began in 1988. Because of its patent, Traeger had zero competition for 20 years. But in 2006 the patent expired, and new (and possibly better) pellet grills hit the market.
No. Although both use electricity, they are different. Electric smokers cook food using a heating element and use wood chips or wood chunks to add smoke. They also tend to have a limited temperature range compared to pellet grills, making them good for smoking and slow-roasting at low temperatures, but not grilling, searing, or anything that requires higher temperatures.
Hey DS – You’re dead on correct re: Grilling vs. Smoking. Most to nearly all Pellet Smokers are used as “smokers” in the truest sense. Louisiana Pellet Smokers boast a direct fire feature for grilling, as do Yoder smokers. However, I’m with you in that a grill is a grill and a smoker is a smoker. GMGs are very popular down here on the FBA circuit. However, most folks do find that they don’t produce the amount of smoke preferred for competition meats (which, in truth is a complaint about many pellet smokers). This is why stick burners and “some” gravity feds get a boost in rep among competition cook teams. That said, I do see folks happily using pellet smokers, and some win with them. One “trick” I see used now and again to boost the smoke output on a pellet smoker is to use one of those smoke tubes… like the A-maze-n Tube Smoker. Thanks for your comment, and for stopping by to read this blog post! – Kevin
Finally, a PID (Proportional–Integral–Derivative) controller uses a more sophisticated algorithm and a feedback loop to precisely maintain its temperature. A PID controller constantly checks the grill temperature, compares it to the set temperature, and adjusts the pellet feed as necessary, allowing it to maintain a desired temperature within a few degrees.
Using accurate digital thermometers to monitor cooking and internal meat temperatures is essential to being all that you can be in the backyard. Unlike the caveman-era heat estimators built into the lids of most grills and smokers, modern pellet smoker LED displays will give you the real story of what’s happening in your smoker. Of course, if your smoker doesn’t come with a dual-display system that monitors both cooking and meat temps, you’ll still need an accurate digital meat thermometer.
To solve this problem, several companies have come up with alternative ways to expose food to the flame by allowing you to use the small area directly above the fuel pot. It’s still not as good as charcoal or sear burners, but better than the designs that are strictly indirect. Check out the Memphis Elite, Fast Eddy’s by Cookshack PG500, and the Yoder YS640 for this feature.
The first name to kick start our list of the best pellet grill review is the Camp Chef PG24 Pellet grill. It measures 45 inches by 21 inches by 51 inches, in dimensions. This pellet grill weighs 127 pounds and capacitates a 550 cubic inch cooking surface. It has a removable upper rack, and it comes with a stainless steel food probe. Camp Chef PG24 Pellet grill comes with an LED digital temperature control system, and has a patented down cleaning system. It can provide temperatures from 160 degrees to 500 degree Fahrenheit, and has an internal sensor.
I am glad your review of the Rec Tec included commentary on the accuracy and performance of the temperature controller. I would have liked to read similar comments about the other five grills in your reviews because this is such an important feature.
Make sure you’re loaded with enough fuel. Pellet smokers all have hoppers to hold the wood pellets before they’re delivered into the machine, with fuel loads that last anywhere from a few hours to the entire weekend.
To ensure you always maintain a clean burning flame this Pit Boss grill comes with an electric ignition and fan forced air. Once the air has been fan forced into the grill it gets channeled around by the flame broiler.
The Camp Chef Woodwind Pellet Grill has 570 square of cook space so you can quickly and easily prepare food for a family of four or for a party of 50. You could literally feed the whole neighborhood with this grill if you had to.
There’s a smoke level adjuster, which lets you adjust the flavor of your meat by ratcheting the chimney up or down. This is a smart way of doing it and considering I love a real smoky frankfurter, it’s an option I really appreciated.
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.
One thing that really makes this grill stand out is its versatility and real wood flavor that saturates anything you’re cooking on the grill. Whether you want to smoke a big slab of ribs or charbroil a steak, with the Pit Boss you win with every meal.
Kevin, I have a Traeger Li’L Tex and I am very happy with it. I bought it on a factory special ($750?) that included a recipe book, a few bags of pellets along with 4-5 bottles of BBQ sauce and rubs. Since then, I’ve added the fold-down front shelf.
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.