The best thing about pellet smokers is that unless you’re buying the absolute cheapest models, there are no bad choices. In this list for under $500, you’ll find pellet smokers and grills perfectly suited for dropping a few burgers at home use like the Traeger Junior Elite, for throwing in the back of the van and using anywhere like the Green Mountain Davey Crockett, or for cooking whole turkeys when you have ten people round on Thanksgiving, like the Camp Chef Smokepro.
We ended up going with the Memphis Pro. We were fortunate enough to be able to see all of the manufacturers and models I was most interested in, at Sam’s NW BBQ. (Yoder, MAK, Fast Eddy, GMG’s, a few others, and then, the one we ended up with, Memphis.) Sam took a good amount of time, providing us fantastic information about each model. We ended up with the Memphis Pro for the following reasons: 1) The construction, mainly the double-walled construction; 2) the preciseness of temperature, and being able to hold the temperature (due to reason #1); 3) the extreme ease of changing from smoking to grilling without a lot of effort or reconfiguration; 4) the double hoppers; 5) and another BIGGIE, the fact that grilled or baked foods taste like that, and not like smoked cookies, bread, pizza, etc.
If you’re a member of the Rockefeller family and price isn’t an issue then you’ll definitely find pellet grills over the $2000 mark but, if you’re more the ‘other fella’ with a budget in mind, then the Rec Tec is one of the best-priced grills, available for under $1,000. There’s also a Rec Tec mini grill which comes in under $750.
Thermostatically controlled pellet smokers are usually more accurate than your kitchen oven. So you can leave it running all night and wake up to delicious barbecue without worrying about any temperature flare ups
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.
These pellet smokers grills in the description I would recommend and give the BBQSuperStars Guarantee on. None of the others. Pellet Grills can break down. The auger that brings the pellets in, the eye that burns the wood. The temperature probe in the cooker and get knocked off or damaged by the exchange of BBQ in and out of the grill. These four listed above have less problems. Cook Shack is the best ever made, Royall and Yoder are even in a clear second. When buying a pellet cooker avoid those countries that build in China. Do your homework even on the grills listed. China made pellet grills have a lot of problems.
But you cannot burn home heater pellets in a cooking grill. Cooking pellets are hardwoods. Heater pellets often contain softwoods such as pine, they can have treated lumber and other chemical contaminants in them. The smoke they put out is potentially hazardous in food.
I have cooked on traegers, Louisiana Grills, Country smokers, FECs, FE Grills, but have not gotten to cook on a MAK or Yoder yet – both seem pretty cool, so I can’t wait to put them through the paces.
So don’t buy a random pellet grill. This article will help you pick a good one that meets your needs and lasts for years. Check out the comparison table below and read our expert pellet grill reviews to pick the best pellet smoker for your budget and needs.
Kevin: I have a gas smoker but would like a wood pellet smoker. I’m looking at Traeger Lil Tex (due to price) but I read about Blazn Grill Works, Grand Slam, made in USA, stainless steel grates and a control unit that is very good. Cost about $1195, can’t find dealers so called and talked with the owner. What I read on web site sounds good. He claims on his short video that his auger is the best and doesn’t put torque on the drive due to the design. Any thoughts on this unit? Any advice would be appreciated. Still looking at the Yoder YS640 as price is very similar.
If you want the best, go with the original. Traeger Grills came up with the first pellet grills in the mid-1980s and the same innovation that led to the first pellet grills, has kept Traeger at the top of the pellet game.
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.
The manufacturers of the Rec Tec Grill firmly stand behind their decision to not include a remote control in their smoker. They argue, “This is a grill. You gotta go outside and put the meat on the grill. Is it too much to ask to press a button? And to lift the lid and see if you got pellets?”
Some cheaper models, such as the Brinkmann, have a controller with only three settings, Low, Medium, High (LMH), and there is no temperature probe in the oven to create a feedback loop. We do not recommend these units. You actually have less control over temp than you do on a gas or charcoal smoker. The whole reason to buy a pellet grill is because it is set-it-forget-it and it hits a temp and holds it regardless of the ambient air temp outside, winter or summer. On these LMH controllers, the temp fluctuates widely and it cannot correct itself for the weather. They just aren’t as smart as a digital device. Whether you’re smoking a few slabs of ribs on a scorching summer day, or six pork butts during a blizzard, the three position controller only knows auger on and off times for Low, Medium, and High. It has no information on the temperature inside the cook chamber.
When you’re buying a pellet smoker vs a wood smoker, what you’re buying is convenience and simplicity of use. Whilst electric smokers are arguably more convenient than pellet based smokers because they start quicker, only need a power point and a handful of wood chips, pellet smokers are still incredibly easy to use and far more convenient than wood smokers.
FireCraft: Made in the USA, the awesome FireCraft Pellet-Q450 Pellet Grill sells for about $900 and allows for both direct and indirect grilling. It also includes a trademarked “Pellet Exchange” feature, giving you the ability to quickly switch out pellet flavors.
The Grilla Model I have is their flagship pellet smoker, and it’s different in both design and smoking ability. Once look at its upright footprint and swinging door access, and you can see what I mean by a fresh take on pellet smoker styling.
What Does It Really Mean To Pellet Grill In Business?
The porcelain grill grates, their surface is effective at preventing rust from appearing and food from sticking. They are much easier to clean, after each cooking just clean them with a delicate brush and that’s it.
Honestly, it solely depends on what type of upgrade you need. If you do not get the desired amount of smoke, you need then check your induction fan. Maybe it does not function properly and changing one will cost you around $30 – $40, problem solved.
Thank you so much for the kind words! I think you would be very happy with a smaller pellet grill / smoker. The wording changes depending on how you are using the device. For instance, if you are cooking at low temperatures you will get a stronger smoke profile then if you burn a pellet smoker / grill at its higher temperature range. One thing you could do for steaks is cook them at the higher range thus being able to get a sear much like you would on a direct heated Grill service, for instance on your Weber. Another option would be to cook the steak in the reverse see your method, by bringing it up to temperature at a lower smoker setting and adding some smoke flavoring that way, then removing it and bringing the smoker up to its higher settings so you can finish off the steak with some of the effect you would achieve on direct flame. I normally do this by bringing the steaks up to about 15 degrees below where I want them to finish. Then, I finish them off at the higher temperature to where they are about 5 degrees below my target. This usually means a few minutes on each side but I use a Thermapen to be sure.
Are you’re asking which unit creates the strongest smelling smoke or the unit which creates the most smoke? I figure all pellet cookers are creating the same strength of smoke since they all use the same technology of burning pellets. The other question is which one creates the most smoke? I’ve not seen a pellet cooker that kicks out more smoke than the MAK. It’s already a legend in that respect and I hear the 1 star kicks out more than the 2 star if that’s even possible!
Mention a pellet smoker and what comes to mind is the rich taste of BBQ, better control and convenience. These are exactly what the best pellet smokers should give you. To find out the best, among the many that are out there, you must consider all the various features. A burner that can give you control, convenience, long service and great flavor for your food are just some things the best pellet smoker should have. Let’s take a look at all the factors you need to consider when making your purchase.