Before we get into my pellet grill reviews, it’s important to cover as much about how Pellet grills work, what brands of Pellet smokers are most reliable, and exactly what type of BBQ end product you can expect to achieve using Pellet smokers.
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.
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.
You fuel it with cylindrical food-grade wood pellets—each about an inch long and 1/4-inch wide—composed of compressed hardwood sawdust. The sawdust is subjected to high pressure and heat, which activates lignin—a natural glue in wood. With the exception of vegetable oils to aid the extrusion process or carry flavor, the pellets contain no additives. They burn cleanly, leaving remarkably little ash.
The cooking area is 300 square inches. It is the smallest portable version of a pellet smoker from Traeger, so the cooking area is much smaller. Of course, it is not among the smallest, it still offers enough place to prepare tasty food except you can bring this grill along, like when camping.
Hey Boyd, it’s really great hearing from you here. I am becoming a much bigger Traeger fan then I was in the past. They have done some excellent work of late on their Grill models. I really think they’re doing a lot of work too improve and restate their original value proposition. Their Pro Series models are excellent, and I believe that the directions the company is taking especially with getting back into the competition world will benefit both it and its customers… Like you… Long into the future.
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.
Hey John! Thank you so much for your kind words. I try to do a good job here, and am pleased you are enjoying the site. Regarding electric smokers, I have friends who own them and love them. I’ll try to get a post out this summer on them. Folks seem to like Bradley smokers a good bit, so you might want to check them out. You can find a good selection of them on Amazon.com here.
How? I just sold my house and left the Traeger with it. Now in Mexico and thinking of buying a Green Mountain. I would like to get a little more smoke flavor than what I was able to with my Traeger (which I loved). So how can you use other hard wood to enhance the smoke flavor? Also comment on how to use the tube smoker in one of these pellet fed grills. With 1 1/2″ rib eye, I would smoke for 45 minutes then crank up the heat to about 350 for 13 minutes and it would provide a perfect rare steak every time.
But if you are on a budget and find yourself grilling only when you have small get-togethers, then you should go for the Traeger Pellet Grill. Traeger is one of the most popular barbecue brands on the market and will if not let you down.
Barbecuing is supposed to be hard. It should involve chopping wood, breathing in charcoal dust, and hours upon hours to keep a constant temperature from your grill. A pit master would never subscribe to the “leave it and forget it” philosophy that a pellet smoker brings to the table, right? The best pellet smoker reviews shows that this isn’t necessarily the case.
The digital controller is the brains of the pellet grill. It’s the computer and uses a chip, sensors, circuits, and an algorithm to regulate the pellet grill’s temperature and make sure it accurately maintains the temperature programmed into the control board. The controller is probably the single most important part of your pellet grill, and how good the controller is usually determines how well the pellet grill performs.
Consistency is the key to having the best results. If you want a tender brisket, your cooking temperature should be close to 250 F during the whole 12 hour period of cooking. The control board is responsible for precision. There are one-touch Non-PID, PID multi-position, and 3-position controllers. Check out the different types of controllers for the one that is right for you.
My new Yoder YS480 is being delivered today. Great size for the home smoker. I chose the Yoder after talking to a couple of buddies that have them and tasting their smoked meats. Living 30 miles away from the factory doesn’t hurt either.
Pellet grills are also special because they give you the option of playing with different types of wood, all of which give off a unique smoke and flavor. There is a great deal of variety woods available — think oak, hickory, apple, maple, cherry, mesquite, and peach. Each wood will give your food a different smoke and bite, and it’s really fun to be creative and play with different combinations. (One suggestion: Most people advise against using conifer wood such as pine and the like).
All in all I really love the RecTec for its warranty, ease of use, customer service and ability to get calls from the owner when you need help either late at night or on the weekends….weber customer service is good also, but it is just a matter of personal choice……$1500 is more than a “few hundred” more than the Yoder……thats $500…….that is a lot on money..IMHO……but again, its just a matter of what you like best in all the models……I prefer RecTec and the Weber as back up for the wife….
Brought it home and set it on my prep table with the controller in a cubby hole with all intentions of building a cart for it later. So I have made a killer rib eye on it and tried to burn it down with a couple rib eyes cooking at 600 F. Gotta figure out a little better method of catching drippings as they will catch on fire and you have a runaway! But you can make a great rib eye. Ribs, every set has turned out awesome, everything from low and slow to a high temp cook process on them. Probably made 8 racks of great ribs. Wasn’t impressed with the hamburgers on it but will try again later. Made a pretty good brisket but used Rudy’s rub as I like their store sandwiches and I don’t have the method down. Next one will be back to salt and a touch of pepper. Chicken thighs (thighs are the perfect chicken part for Q, their rather uniform thickness makes getting them all consistent and cooked even a slam dunk) with a light coat of mustard and Tony Chachere’s lightly sprinkled is to die for. Simply squeeze them when they should be close and if the juice is clear, no pink or red they are perfect. If you cook the juice out, well they make decent tasting blotter paper 🙁 Pretty much killed a spatchcocked turkey for Thanksgiving, good thing the wife made an over baked one too. It did make great gumbo though as does the blotter paper chicken if you ruin any thighs or the whatever chicken. Also have a pile of hot links I put on at 180 for 2 to 3 hours. They are great for reheat with sauerkraut and roasted pabs or in the gumbo. Hot links should be a staple, ha ha! Gotta try my great pulled pork on it and we do Prudhomme pizza sauce on a Brown Eyed Baker crust and this Pro should rock it!
Chicken, beef, pork, and more are the ones that are ideal for a pellet grill. Fish is also good as long as you should clean the grill after use because the smell of a fish may affect the taste of meat you will cook next. Looking for inspiration? Take a look at these pellet grill recipes or these to get your juices flowing.
The pellets used for smoking contain all natural materials; they are compacted units of sawdust. Unlike charcoal, pellets don’t contain any additive or fillers, so you always know that your food will come out safe and perfectly cooked. When you cook with a pellet smoker, you never need to add extra wood chips or flavoring agents, the natural pellets produce a smoke flavor that rivals all conventional smoking methods.
Pellet grills come in every size, including portable pellet grills that are compact enough to be taken camping, tailgating, or just about anywhere, as well as extra large pellet grills that can be used for catering or a small business.
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.
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.
The Camp Chef Smoker Pro Pellet Grill and Smoker is the perfect starter grill. This smoker is packed with extras that will allow the novice to cook like a pro. It offers a large cooking space of over 560 cubic inches. The removable upper racks and square back allow for greater room for cooking. It has digital controls that are one of the most striking features of this grill & smoker by Camp Chef. Do you know someone who isn’t the best cook? Someone who needs all the help they can get in the kitchen or on the grill?
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.
Regarding your question about a decrease in smoke flavor when using the pellet grill / smoker, I do believe you will experience a little bit of a drop off. This said, many people find the flavor from pellet grills / movers to be adequate. If you require a stronger smoke profile, you can always use one of the tube smokers that sits inside of the cooking chamber.
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.
Find out which ones come standard and which ones are optional. If you are trying to save money keep the features to a minimum. Here are 6 popular features you should look for when shopping for a pellet grill.
Have a big family? Get a grill with a huge cooking surface to fit a lot of meat. A big pellet hopper would be useful so that you don’t worry about running out of pellets within few hours. Your pellet smoker will be automated, and you’ll have time for your guests instead of controlling the temperature or fuel level all the time.
Turn it on to “Smoke” mode and use the P settings, or cook mode by selecting a temperature. When you select smoke or a temp setting you start the ignition sequence. The fan, igniter and auger motor turn on. The fan stays on until the smoker is turned off. The auger motor continuously delivers pellets to the red hot igniter rod in the firebox for two minutes under normal conditions. Then the igniter rod shuts off and the pellet fire burns with only the assistance of the auger and the fan.
Or the fact that it lives up to its “Ultimate Tailgating Grill” moniker for all you campers out there. You need to watch your roast closely so you won’t have to finish your pork butt in the oven. It’s not quite a “set it and forget it” kind of smoker grill because you still have to make sure that there’s a steady supply of pellets so that it won’t shut down.
No. Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines, but a pellet grill shouldn’t need to be seasoned. Seasoning a grill or smoker is way to coat and protect parts that are vulnerable to rust, such as cast iron grates. However, most pellet grills are made from powder-coated steel or stainless steel, eliminating the need for seasoning. Some pellet grills often include instructions to run the grill cook at around 350°F for an hour or so, but this is just to burn off any manufacturing oil, not to season it.