Flavor – another advantage, pellet burners have a great influence on the flavor of your food. With use of good quality hard wood pellets you create smoke that gives your food a characteristic wooden flavor.
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
The Benefits of the Pellets: Pellets work so well with the ease of use of a pellet grill because they’re 100% all-natural. They don’t have binders, chemicals, fillers, or petroleum products within them. They serve as a source of compact energy (8,500 BTU per pound) and smoke flavor. Most importantly, there’s little to no ash from them. Compared to coals, there are no flare-ups involved.
Well built and compact, this smoker and grill still has a 300 square inch cooking space, and is generally big enough to fit a small turkey inside, so it’s ample for six to eight people. It’s really easy to use, with an automated electric start, front mounted thermometer and idiot proof digital controls that make this so simple, an absolute beginner could walk up to it, have a quick play around and start cooking.
They had the field to themselves for a few years, but the idea was too good to go un-imitated, and soon competitors began popping up. In the early days, most pellet smoker controllers had only three settings—low, medium, high (LMH)—and there was no temperature probe in the oven to create a feedback loop. So, whether you were smoking a few slabs of ribs on a scorching summer day or six pork butts during a blizzard, the controller only knew pellet-feed on and off times for its standard settings. It had no information on the actual temperature inside the cooking chamber.
Once it reaches the ideal temperature, it uses an Internal Temperature Sensor to maintain it throughout the cooking process. Forget about checking on the status of your grilling every few minutes, this unit makes sure your food is cooked thoroughly and evenly — no babysitting needed here! This way, you can enjoy your time with your friends, which is what a BBQ party should be.
Pellet smokers can be quite large, and if you don’t have the room for a unit, it can become a hassle. Always make sure to look at a unit’s weight and dimensions; this gives you a good idea of how mobile the unit is. If you’re going to be moving your unit a lot, you probably want to get a smaller unit that can be easily moved. If you plan on leaving your unit in one spot, then you need to buy a unit that is the right size; you don’t have to put as much consideration into its weight and mobility features.
A good digital thermometer keeps you from serving dry overcooked food or dangerously undercooked food. They are much faster and much more accurate than dial thermometers. The Thermopop (above) is about $30. The Thermapen (below), the Ferrari of instant reads, is about $99.
If the price isn’t a deal breaker for you though, the convenience is really amazing. Get used to throwing a brisket on, setting the temperature and then just get about your day (or sleep through the night) without a worry.
Oh yeah, it also has a built in bottle opener. At first, I found this hilarious, but once I cracked my first brew whilst I was standing directly in front of this thing, I started to wonder why it wasn’t
Thank you so much for this very informative post!! My husband and I just bought the Traeger Select Elite Pellet Grill On Cart yesterday as a somewhat impulsive buy on a Costco shopping trip. It was the last day in the road show so I figured we could always return it if we have buyer’s remorse. Having no past experience with pellet smokers/grills, I am doing my due diligence in researching the reputation of this company and comparing to others in the market. The selling point for us with this particular Traeger grill was the ability to convert this to a built in unit by simply taking off the right side shelf. The sales rep at Costco had a picture of one that his parents had built into an attractive brick surround and we liked the option, however, after reading your post and several other sites, I am finding that Traeger may not be the best investment comparatively and with a purchase this expensive, long-term quality is extremely important to us. In staying within the same price range, I am very interested in the Rec-Tec and it’s stainless steel build. My question is, do you know if the Rec-Tec or another pellet grill @ the $1000 price point can be made to look “built-in” and if so, are there any dangers or potential problems with this.
The Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker comes with Smart Smoke Technology, which lets you set and forget your grilling. It accurately sets and maintains the desired temperature using an automated electric feed system, heating your unit from 180 degrees F to 450 degrees F. We’ve gotten used to smokers taking around 30-40 minutes to heat up, but with this unit, it took only 20 minutes for the temperature to settle in!
Included meat probes and whether they’re programmable – Not every grill that can accommodate a meat probe comes with the probe. Some require you to buy it separately Also, not all meat probes and the control boards they connect to are created equal. Some are just for monitoring temperatures. Others are programmable—you can actually program the pellet grill to lower the heat when your food reaches its finishing temperature.
Hands-Free Grilling – Due to superb temperature maintenance you can set it and overlook it. This permits you to stop for a moment to talk with your friends, and you don’t pass up a great opportunity for those chuckles.
With over 600 square inches of cooking space, this smoker has plenty of room to cook for a crowd. The Traeger Texas Elite is also capable of temperature of up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, giving you plenty of power to cook just about anything.
The Bulls exterior is made out of stainless steel from the bucket hook to the controller shelf. This feature not only adds to the grill’s durability but also ensures its components do not easily bend or break.
The major issue is the size. It’s the smallest smoker at this price range, and barely bigger than the Junior Elite. Considering the price difference in the two, it’s hard to justify the extra expense, and when you compare it to the other smokers at this level, the Lil Tex seems more than a little lackluster. There’s less cleaning options, less automation, less cooking space. Just less of everything.
Wood pellets are an all natural product. No petroleum products in them, no fillers, chemicals, or binders. They are an excellent source of smoke flavor and compact energy, 8,500 BTU per pound. No hot coals, no flareups. There is also very little ash: 10 pounds of pellets will produce about 1/2 cup of ash. All the rest is converted to energy and combustion gases. I clean out the bottom of the ones I tested after about 10 cooks. At high temps there is very little smoke, at low temps the pellets smolder and produce superb but understated smoke flavors. Click here for more about pellets.
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.
Yesterday I had some ribs prepped and ready to go on the smoker. When I went to turn it on the heating element on the Masterbuilt was not firing up. The Masterbuilt was a Christmas present and have never been happy with it. Needless to say I’m officially do with it and that was my last straw. On top of it all I am in need of a new grill too.
When you have owned your smoker grill for 5-6 years you start wondering about owning a new one. This might happen because you are facing problems with your machine and not getting the desired result. The first and primary advice in this situation remains to clean up your grill thoroughly. Open up each and every part then proceed to doing a thorough cleaning. Most of the problems like temperature inconsistency or jamming will get solved this way.
Pellet grills are primarily indirect cookers that use convection to cook food rather than the heat of a direct flame. A deflector plate sits between the fire pot and cooking grate to help keep temperatures consistent throughout the girl while also cutting down on hot spots and eliminating flare ups. Some pellet grills do have a direct grilling option, which allows you to grill over an open flame through an opening in the deflector plate.
Firstly, pellet smokers are the easiest type of smoker to use, because they’re controlled almost exactly the same as your kitchen over. Just like we’ve explained above, it’s as simple as setting a temperature, letting it fire up, then throwing on the meat and leaving the system to do all the hard work.
Hello, I’m also interested in pellet burn rate per hour per brand. Even just rough estimates would be nice since I’m a penny pincher. I did read that the Rec Tec burns about a half pound per hour but that’s all I’ve been able to find regarding burn rate. Thanks for all the info!
“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
Easy to operate: The best pellet grills are also very easy to operate. Most are fully-automated, so all you need to do is program how long you want them to cook and what temperature you want them to cook at, put the meat on the grill, then close it and walk away. The pellets will automatically be added to the fire to keep it at a consistent temperature.
The hassles of trying to bring out the real flavor from a steak are long gone. Over the past few years, pellet grills have undergone a substantial advancement to make them a suitable alternative for those who want to create restaurant-quality grills right from their backyard.
Green Mountain has been known for ease of use. It has a pressurizer in the pellet chamber to reduce blow back by the fire part of the grill. Green Mountain is good quality. If you want to buy a Green Mountain Grill just hit the link above.
Where else can you easily find a grill with a 6-year warranty and a HotFlash ceramic ignition system? Not to mention, REC TEC is a leading manufacturer in the pellet smoker industry, and this product is among their best releases thus far. The Bull is very appealing and spacious enough considering it has a nine-inch headroom. The RT-680 might be affordable, but this smoker is something else. I’m going to shed light on this product’s features as well as some of the reasons why you should purchase it for your cookouts.
I am trying to compare the Rec Tec 680 and the Green Mountain Jim Bowie; they seem to be of similar size and both priced well. Is there a reason to choose one over the other? Is there a story that the spec’s don’t tell?