The biggest cleanup issue is the buildup on the heat deflector under the cooking grates. You’ll need good gloves and an apron. On most models, a thorough cleanup means a 30 minute process of taking out the greasy grates and the gooey deflector plate, scraping them and washing them. You should do this when the carbon and grease cover the deflector plate. Stainless parts can go in the diswasher, but I wouldn’t do it. That grease is like tar and it could get all over the insides of the dishwasher and hang on for dear life. I use a handheld steamer like the Steamfast SF-320 Portable Steam Cleanershown here.
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.
They had the field to themselves for a few years, but the idea was too good to go unimitated, and with the digital age came the electronic controller that allowed Traegers and others to create a system that had a thermostat in the cooking chamber that would tell the fan and auger when to do their thing. Today there are more than a dozen manufacturers making increasingly sophisticated machines.
If you really need the best, the Memphis Grills Elite Wood Fire Pellet Smoker Grill really delivers. While it doesn’t come cheap, the Memphis Grills Elite packs a set of world class grilling features into a durable stainless-steel package for long lasting durability.
A few people mentioned assembly being difficult. Some commented on the lid, saying it would need to be replaced at some point because of sun damage and a few mentioned the grates don’t fit properly, which isn’t necessarily a deal breaker, just annoying. One reviewer gave it a good grilling (bad pun, sorry) but he’s been one of a handful. Actually he’s been one.
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.
To be sure, there are pure “smoker” and pure “grills” but there are some exceptionally well-designed hybrids. I bought a Memphis Elite last year, and it is AWESOME! I made a pulled-pork masterpiece two months ago that was absolutely delicious… 8 hours on low temperature (225) then an hour on open flame (switching from a “smoker” insert to an “open-flame’ insert at 700 was easy) and it was awesome!
A variation on the standard controller utilizes limits to tighten the temperature as needed. When the grill goes too far above or below the set temperature, reaching a predetermined limit, the grill will modify its auger cycle slightly to increase or decrease the amount of pellets fed to the fire. This is similar to how a typical kitchen oven works. These controllers can maintain about +/-15°F.
As a guide, a pellet grill with a 40 pound hopper will give you around 40 hours of cooking time at standard smoking temperatures. Considering some cooks take around 20 hours, an 18 pound hopper, for example, is going to be problematic.
Before you buy, remember, pellet smokers need access to electricity. Maintenance is also an issue. There are moving parts on these grills. Moving parts eventually break. There is an auger with a motor, and a fan with a motor. There are proprietary electronics systems on these babies. Augers clog. Motors burn out. Electronics have bugs or fail. Especially when exposed to rain, snow, hot, and cold. When they fail, will the manufacturer have a replacement part?
Hey Adam, between the two, I’d go with Yoder. It may take a little more time to get to temp than the Rec-Tec, but you will appreciate the build quality over the long term that comes with the Yoder brand. Heavier metal construction on the Yoder will serve you well on those longer cooks.
This presumably has the most exact temperature perusing of any grill right now available. Accompanying a cookbook, a simple get together, and a decent outline, the PG24 is definitely justified even despite the cash. I enjoyed the decision of a wood screw framework rather than a suction framework, since it spares cash on pellets, and manages temperature better. For those needing to get into pellet grilling, this would be an astounding decision.
The digital PID controller gives you extremely accurate temperatures and control. While this unit doesn’t come with an integrated meat thermometer, we actually consider that a plus because if you’re spending this much on a smoker you are definitely going to want to invest in a good wireless thermometer
Many of the rest of the manufacturers have come to the grill industry having first built home heating devices that burn pellets. This is a technology particularly popular in the Northeast and Northwest, but selling furnaces is seasonal, so they all seem to be making grills on the side now.
You can find pellet grills in a variety of different sizes. There are portable models that are great for tailgating or larger models that are great for outdoor kitchens or those who love to entertain a lot of guests.
Every now and then the pellet grill manufacturers come out with deals and discount packages. It would be foolish to not take advantage of these offers. Take a look at some of the current offers available below.
Temperature – we’ll start from that since I believe that it is something we should pay attention from the start. This smoker is phenomenal at handling maintaining a fixed temperature. Forget about constantly monitoring the temperature, it’s completely unnecessary here. Just set the temperature and forget about control.
The Rec Tec Wood Pellet Grill will automatically light and heat to your pre-selected temperature with a simple press of a switch. When the Grill has reached its selected temperature, it will maintain this temperature throughout the cooking process. By using the accurate temperature control, you are capable to bake, sear, smoke, and grill your food. Subsequently, all of the heat originates from real wood, so you acquire the value of wood aroma.
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.
PID controllers: PID controllers are considered by many to be the gold standard of grill controllers. Using complex algorithms, temperatures are accurate to within a few degrees. The pellet feed is constantly adjusted to maintain the correct temperature, and this type of controller can even accommodate programmable meat probes that work in tandem with the controller to lower the temperature when the meat is done. They also feature LCD and one touch buttons.
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.
Choosing the one perfect pellet grill that could change your cooking experience is easier said than done. There is just so know you have to know before committing to it. Though I did give you a run-through of all the basic and important things to look for in a pellet grill before buying one, it is still a scratch on the surface. It is tiring to have to go from store to store to find the quality ones that you can choose from. So, to come to your rescue once again, I will now give you the some pellet grill review.
Keep them far from water, which is one of its greatest adversaries. The reason is that they are made with electronic parts, for example, a blower or fan, a computerized controller, and a mechanized wood screw.
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.
Thanks for the great information and the research you did. I am a retail store owner in Boise, Idaho area and we sell a pellet grill smoker in our store. I would like to encourage to look at the Sawtooth Pellet Grill. It is made local here and is American Made. It is an excellent grill for the price with an awesome company backing it. You can find their website at sawtoothpelletgrills.com. Again thanks for the information and if you do another publication regarding pellet grills, I would love to see what your opinion of the Sawtooth would be 🙂
While the Camp Chef can get almost up to 500°F (hot enough to produce crispy skin on a chicken), it’s never going to compete with a dedicated grill for searing. This is something that all pellet smokers struggle with though.
Yoder had to be second on my list. Yoder is a top of the line Pellet Smokers Grill. Its tuff, its good quality, it maintains a great temperature. Yoder is one of the best cooker companies in the world. Offset Smoker, Pellet Grills just look at there resume.
Instead of logs, the pellet smoker is fed with food-grade cylinders of wood pellets that are an inch long and ¼-inch wide and are made of compressed hardwood sawdust. According to the best pellet smoker reviews, pellet grills are easy to use because it’s easier to maintain its temperature because of these sawdust pellets that are subjected to great heat and high pressure, which ignites lignin (natural wood glue).
Something you may not have read in other Pellet grill reviews is that there are two key concerns: flavor and fuel consumption. As previously stated, pellet smokers are not known for producing a strong smoke flavor, no matter what pellets you use. Though, some brands can be more pronounced than others. Hardwood pellets provide longer overall burn times per pound than fruit wood pellets. 1oo percent fruit wood pellets will also be more expensive on average.
Less effort cleaning up – Charcoal smokers can make a bit of a mess every time you cook. With a pellet grill you might have to clear out the firepot every now and again but it’s rare (think once every 60 usages).
Wood-pellet grills were first introduced onto the market over 20 years ago by Traeger Pellet Grills LLC. They’re all-electric: No fluids, no lighters, and no gas. Instead, a pellet grill is powered by pellets of wood shaped much like a large pill capsule. Unlike charcoal grills, which take up to 30 minutes or more to heat up, wood pellet grills can give off an even heat quite quickly. And, unlike propane grills which heat up quickly but lack flavor, foods cooked on pellet grills are rich in smokiness and succulence.
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It is great when it comes to smoking meat at low temperatures, regular grilling, baking or roasting. You can have problems, though, if you want to sear your meat, it requires much higher temperatures. Sadly, a regular pellet smoker cannot reach them. In that case look around for a pellet grill that comes with an additional sear box that is gas fueled and can heat up to 900 degrees F.
Apart from the primary cooking area, there is also the smoke stack at the back of the unit, which leaves the right side for working on. Thus, unlike other smokers, you have the entire grill grate to work with if you are using the Camp Chef Smoker Pro SE Grill-Smoker. It has a functional warming rack and comes with an ash-catcher that allows for easier cleaning up of the unit. For beginners, not only is using and cleaning this smoker made easier, but a recipe book is also given with the unit to help them get started. I recommend this unit to all my friends who are just starting out or who need things as simple as possible when it comes to grilling.
Its warming rack gives you an additional cooking or heating space in addition to the primary cooking area. The cooking height of 32.5 inches allows you to cook a variety of meats and foods, and makes full utilization of its large area. It can work in temperatures from 160F to 400F, which gives you a large range of cuisines and dishes to cook. Cleaning this smoker is easy due to the removable ash can and the grease drain system that collect the waste automatically.
You should make sure the pellet smokerhas all the features you want. The control board is a feature used to input meat to the grill. Some pellet smokers though have an outdoor control board for meat probes. Some other important features include Wi-Fi capability, direct grilling option, secondary cooking racks and included probes. A computer, tab or mobile phone connectivity is also another important consideration because it helps with regulating heat.
Depending on the type of cooking you want to do, temperature range can be important. Every pellet grill is good at indirect cooking and most have no problem hitting any temperature from 180°F to 425°F, which is adequate for smoking, roasting, baking, and grilling. However, it’s not enough for searing, which requires a temperature of 500-550°F.
Hi Joe, I might if there will be great time between cooks. At minimum get a good grill cover. The pellets do expand a lot if exposed to liquid. Some buy a small shop vacs just ton use for pellet removal. If your grill has a dump door, use that and vacuum out the dust etc. Rubbermaid tubs or the like make for good air tight storage.
Hey Mike – yes, I’ve looked at and used the Traeger Pro models, and I like them. I’ll be doing a review of the Traeger Pro 22 that I now own. Definitely go with the Pro Model, which you can find at Ace Hardware stores or any of the locations you find via the Traeger Grills store locator here.
Hey Tom – I really like two books for pellet smoking. Project Smoke by Steven Raichlen as a good overall book on smoked BBQ preparation and The Complete Wood Pellet Barbeque Cookbook by Bob Devon for a mix of smoking and grilling.
Hey David – You might find this amount of space a bit limiting for your needs. My advice is to always overshoot your needs a bit in terms of cooking capacity. Consider the next size up for the amount of cooking you’ll be doing.
This is the smallest of the Traeger pellet grill series and this makes it an ideal choice for people who are going on vacation or camping because of its small and compact design. Even though it also comes with a number of features similar to the larger Traeger models, it features a rather small cooking surface which is less than 300sq inches. This, however, doesn’t mean that you won’t have some plenty of room to prepare your meats. It also comes with a digital thermostat so that you will have control over the temperature. Because it can be set to extremely low or high temperatures it can be an ideal pellet smoker for braising or slow cooking and also grilling and baking.
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More and more pellet grills are being manufactured now as the benefits of “pellet grilling” are being discovered and it’s a smart choice to go with if you want the taste and flavor of the wood grill and the convenience of a gas grill.