Louisiana Grills was one of the first companies to muscle in on Traeger’s one-brand show. The smallish CS 450 is one of its more popular models. In 2014, Louisiana upgraded all of its pellet smokers to include digital touch-pad controllers with integrated meat probes. Set it and forget it; the thermostat will maintain cooking temperature just like your indoor kitchen oven does. As a safety feature, the meat probe can be set for your desired target temp. When the internal meat temp rises to within 10°F of the target, the controller automatically drops the smoker down to 170°F to avoid overcooking.
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.
The Traeger is made of solid steel, and it uses wood pellets to accurately maintain temperature throughout the cooking process. When you turn the unit on, you simply need to set the temperature; the unit will automatically dispense pellets when they are needed.
The grill offers one of the best sear boxes on the market. It can reach up to 900 degrees F giving your food a crisp and perfect sear. The 16,000 BTU stainless steel burner also contains a built-in ignition. The sear box offers grill masters another state of the art tool in their arsenal. While the sear box is an awesome feature, it bumps up the price compared to the PG24.
John’s concern here is the same as mine – while my Bradley pucks are compressed wood, they create a crap ton of smoke. Anyone know how it would compare to the Bradley? Does a pellet smoke box create a comparable amount of smoke?
Don’t be fooled by an attractive pellet grill exterior. Even if there is plenty of stainless steel on the outside, the manufacturer may have cut corners and used cheap materials that will rust on the inside.
Hey Jay – Yoder makes a great product. Price not being an option, I’d probably go MAK, Memphis Pro (I go back and forth between the two personally!), then the Yoder. I’ve heard good things about the Louisiana pellet grills, just haven’t featured them here so haven’t done a lot of in-depth research. I’m inclined to rate it below the ones I just mentioned – but not by tons. I will say that if American Made is a factor, MAK, Memphis, and Yoder are a go there.
Shipping cost is an important consideration to keep in mind. To that end, if you don’t have a supplier local to you where you can just go pick up your BBQ pellets, consider looking for online options that are in your neck of the woods. Many of these pellets available at Amazon come with Free Shipping for Prime members!
Digital control panel – Elaborate and all-embracing panel allows for a great temperature control. Set the desired temperature for yourself and the smoker will automatically supply pellets to the grill in order to maintain the temperature you set. The regulation range is 160 degrees F all the way to 500 degrees F.
I would make that decision based upon desired temperature. Very few of the smokers on your list can surpass the 485 to 500 degree mark. You’ll read a lot of discussion about grill grates helping you get into those higher temperatures and that product does work. I would simply pick a smoker that can get to the desired temperature you want like the Louisiana and the Memphis. Both can exceed 500 degrees and both can hit 600 degrees without problems.
In terms of downsides, pellet smokers can be a pain in the ass to clean, but no more than any other type of smoker that takes solid fuel. More expensive pellet smokers normally have some sort of cleaning mechanism built in, as well, which makes cleanup a lot easier.
Pellet Hopper – One of the reasons we all buy a pellet smoker for is the long cooking time. It’s an automated grill, but it needs to be provided with the right amount of pellets in the hopper. Those grills are used for long, often all night long meat smoking. That’s why it’s important for the pellet container to be very big. Here you get a 40 pound hopper capacity. You can be sure you won’t run out of fuel during longer cooking.
Manufacturers advertise that these are both smokers and grills, but it is best to think of these devices as superb indirect heat convection smokers, not grills. Most just don’t do as good a job of searing a steak as a charcoal grill or even a gas grill with a sear burner. I can sear steaks better on a $20 hibachi than on most pellet smokers.
OK. I’m rambling a bit. To your point regarding Traeger. I think that the models you can buy at big box stores (Costco etc) are OK. I still hear a few complaints about blistering paint etc. But… their Pro Series Models are a different story. The new management at Traeger has come a long way in their efforts to reaffirm the Traeger brand as a legitimate BBQ Pellet Smoker brand that everyone from the backyarder to competition pitmasters can get behind. To that end, they only allow specialty retailers carry the Pro Series models, which are built with a bit more heft and better PID controls, electronics, etc. You can find these at Ace Hardware stores, places like the Whiskey Bent BBQ Supply store we have here in Lakeland, FL (there is now one in Odessa, FL) as well. You can find a Traeger Pro model by going to http://www.traegergrills.com/dealers.
It’s also super easy to clean. The auto shutdown cycle keeps the system’s induction fan running for ten minutes after you shut it off which shifts ash out of the fire pot, then shuts it all down automatically when it’s done. Clearing the leftover grease is as easy as anything, too, draining out simply and easily. No spills, no mess.
This smoker has dual-LED temperature displays- one is for the internal cooking temperature while the other is to tell you the temperature of the food kept inside it. Selecting the desired temperature or smoke settings in this model can be done with ease. It automatically dispenses the pellets as they are required, which helps keep the smoker efficient and aids in the optimal utilization of pellets. Additionally, this is also what helps maintain the desired temperature so that you can set the smoker to the required setting and relax while it does the rest for you. The pellet hopper used in it has a large capacity, so you can spend less time refilling and more time smoking your favorite meat.
Larger, more expensive smokers run anywhere up to 900 square inches, which will basically let you feed your whole street. It’s also a whole lot more convenient when you’re planning on cooking multiple things to be able to throw every single sausage, joint of meat and rack of ribs on at once, flip ’em around and move things to the edge when they’re done.
Notwithstanding cooking – the unit has a convection warming procedure helped by the enlistment fan which courses hardwood smoke in the whole cooking chamber to make an even dispersion of warmth and an epic flavor.
This is perfect for someone who wants all the perks of the high-end grills and a reasonable price. It will be worth the money you spend. You will be feeding your friends and family from this smoker for years to come.
I know, I know, no one likes to read the instruction manual, but even as an expert you see the advantages learning the specifics of your grill. Reading the manual is key. Generally, you should not use water to clean the pellet smokers, so keep your hose pipe far away. These smokers have digital controllers, a motorized auger, a fan and an igniter rod for the fire pot. These parts will get destroyed if they come into contact with water. You should gently dry scrub the dirt off these parts, making sure not to disassemble any parts. Cleaning the thermostat will also prove essential; otherwise, it may read temperatures inaccurately.
Memphis has a pellet shoots that are in the back of the grill so it has the appearance of a gas grill. It is a slick way of not having the pellet box off to the side and the control is on the shelf side. It hides it well. There is a dealer in Augusta Georgia, Fireside Outdoor Kitchens and Grills that swears by them and he is an honest man. These pellet grills can get as high as 700 degrees Fahrenheit. Buy a Memphis Grill for your back yard and enjoy a great cooker for years to come. Check out their resume:
Lauded for its amazingly accurate cook temperatures and times and for affording cookers a real “unfair advantage” at competitions (according to those who lose to them) – Fast Eddy’s Cookshack Pellet Smokers rank among the very best available on the market today. I love the history of Fast Eddy’s pellet grills. In 1986, Ed Maurin (Fast Eddy) – a retired KCMO Fire Fighter – cooked his first American Royal event. From that point on he was hooked on BBQ and on coming up with the very best way to ensure its production. By 1998 the first of his Fast Eddy’s pellet smokers was released to the market, and he was off to winning competitions and helping those who bought his cookers do so as well.
Hey David, Is there a particular reason why the Grilla grills interest you? I tend to find they’re great smokers, just expensive for what they are. If you’re working with limited space (say smoking on a condo balcony) then the Grilla models vertical footprint can make all the difference between having a smoker or not. But for the price, and for a standard model smoker, the Traeger models tend to be better all around.
Once all the bits have been removed, use hot soapy water to wash down the inside of the smoker. Then attack the cooking grate and the other parts you removed from the smoker using a rag and the hot soapy water to clean them too. Once you have removed the built-up of grease rinse the surfaces and allow to dry.
Hello Mark! Thanks for commenting here. The Kalamazoo Hybrid Grill looks like a BEAST! If you can swing it, I’d go for it. I truly enjoyed cooking on the Memphis Grill, which is to date the most high end pellet grill I’ve used. It offered a nice blend of professional grade convection with the wood fire taste of the pellets. The Kalamazoo hybrid really does seem to offer one step beyond with the addition of charcoal and wood chunks. I see that Derrick Riches of About.com stands behind the Kalamazoo brand. You’re hard pressed to get a better endorsement of a grilling product than that! Keep me posted at email@example.com and let me know how your search goes! 🙂
If you have faced or currently face the problem with common things like pellet feed jamming or wear and tear of your smoker, then replacing the exact component will solve your problem. Thus, without changing your whole smoker you can continue with some $40 – $50 changes. It might seem complicated for you if you face a problem with your digital control system. Adding the element of professional knowledge will help tremendously. Solving problem with $150 is much better than spending $500, right?
Pellet grills are every lazy man’s dream appliance. These grills need absolute zero to minimal maintenance. You just need to lightly wipe through it after every use, and maybe thoroughly clean it 2 to 3 times a year! All pellet grills now come with a drip pan that catch the accumulating oils that drops from the food. They are also made with good quality raw materials that enable them to withstand the outdoor atmospheres all year round. If this does not entice your lazy bones, no other appliance will, and that is a fact. Period!
The Memphis Grills Elite Series pellet grills and smokers are the absolute best you can have. They are more expensive than your backyard pellet grills but built to last and they come with Wi-Fi which gives you the freedom to control your grill from anywhere you desire.
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.
One of the higher end pellet smokers you might want to check out, and one I’ve had the opportunity to try out myself, is the Memphis Pro Pellet Grill. This pellet grill is not for the faint of heart price wise. However, I can attest to the fact that it is one of the most robust, versatile, and pleasurable pellet grills I’ve used.
It’s also worth double checking the precision of the controls. Less expensive smokers sometimes have cheap control panels that only allow you to set the temperature to a few discrete settings, for example just low and high. This is, generally speaking, awful, and leads to improperly cooked meat and a whole host of other issues. Avoid it if you can.
Multi Position Controller – With a multi position controller you use a knob to set the temperature to where you want it to be. The temperature ranges from 180°F all the way up to 420°F and can be adjusted in 25° increments.
Even if you’ve got a meat thermometer at home, it’s not a bad idea to pick up a smoker with one built in. This is because the built in thermometers send their readings straight to the smokers computer and it automatically adjusts how it’s cooking based not just on how hot it is inside, but how this affects what you’re cooking. Now, unless you’re Gordon Ramsey you probably can’t tell what’s going on inside that turkey you’re cooking, so this is obviously a major plus.
A. pellets can easily be affected by humidity and moisture, making the user to be very careful when storing the pellets. A dry place with extremely no moisture or humidity is conducive. Moisture and humidity can cause difficulty or no lighting of the pellets when one is cooking. The pellets can hence swell causing jam in the cooking grill.
Interesting Factoids I Bet You Never Knew About Pellet Grill
Many other features like its automatic control, built in meat probe etc. have made us select this smoker as no 1. And the most amazing fact is the price. In the price range (see the price here), we never thought that we could get all these features and benefits. We have used high-end smokers like Rec Tec smokers, but this Camp Chef PG24 can beat all through its performance and affordability.
Hi i would like to buy my boyfriend a good quality smoker but can’t seem to find one that’s small for people just starting out with smoking for our small backyard. Does anyone have any suggestions? I don’t want to invest too much to start incase it’s too difficult to use or we find we don’t like it. I’ve read some reviews on little smokers that catch on fire and that worries me since we live in a townhouse. I figured someone on here would know of a well made brand that is on the smaller/less expensive side.