Hey Ben! Cool re: your Camp Chef! Pellet smokers produce a light smoke as compared to stick burners, gravity fed smokers, Ugly Drum Smokers, etc. Most feel that the smoke provided is enough. If you need more – check out the Amazn Tube Smoker. You can find the Tube Smoker and Cookin’ Pellets via this link. Look for the Pellet Smokers and Pellets links.
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….
The Louisiana Grills Country Smoker Whole Hog is a great pellet smoker for those who need some serious space. At seven feet long overall and with over 1700 square inches of grill space, the Whole Hog really can handle the whole hog plus some.
It’s built pretty solidly, which is what you want with a portable system as it’s obviously being moved around a lot more. I’d say it’s similar in build quality to the Traeger Junior Elite, which as a top of the line smoker says all that needs to be said. If something does go wrong, there’s a two year warranty. I’d have liked more, but it’s there, and that’s good enough.
The unit comes with a stainless steel meat probe that lets you display the internal meat temperature on the LED screen. While it won’t be as reliable some third party thermometers it’s much better than a dome thermometer.
Remote Accessibility: This level of control and observing is critical on the grounds that the container does not generally sustain the pellets into the wood screw accurately and the fire in the firepot can go out. The Davy Crockett will tell you that the container is not sustaining wood pellets and that the temperature is dropping. The Davy Crockett application will reveal to you something isn’t right.
With this grill, you will have no use for charcoal or gas again! The Traeger Grill uses wood pellets that offer your food a delicious taste. Barbecue, roast, smoke, bake, braise, or grill your food to succulent precision with this six in one versatile Texas Elite 34 Pellet Grill that offers slow cooking with low heat of quick cooking with high heat. This pellet grill allows you to grill your food to precision each time with an Integrated Digital Elite Controller that retains temperatures inside +/- twenty degrees Fahrenheit and makes setting the grill temperature as simple as spinning a knob. It provides 646 sq. in. of cooking space, which is capable of holding up to six chickens, nine racks of ribs, or twenty-four burgers.
It can be said often enough: the best pellet grill is the one that’s best for you. Ultimately, you’re the one paying for it and you’re the one who will be cooking on it, so make sure whatever pellet grill you choose is the one you’ll be happy with. Just because you’re friend has no qualms paying top dollar for the most advanced grill on the market doesn’t mean you should feel bad about spending half as much on a grill that does the things you want it to do. The best advice: do your research, be informed, and know what you’re purchasing. If you can do that, you’re unlikely to experience buyer’s remorse.
I’ve had the Traeger for two years and have had a great time with hams, ribs, chickens, etc. My Grandson also appreciates the Traeger because he ended up with my fairly new stainless steel Charmglow gas grill. There’s tons of great recipes out there that you will enjoy from various manufacturers and venders including Kevin Sandridge, himself!.
These are great changes but the pellet controller is still the old 10-position unit and of course we know that a lot of other makes have moved to much more sophisticated technology, improving temperature precision and maintenance. But it could be the guys at Traeger figure ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’.
The digital elite controller makes setting up this grill as easy as turning on your oven. The controller will maintain a precise temperature within 20 degrees and will allow you to cook low and slow or as fast as you want at a maximum temperature of 450 degrees. You can read our full Traeger Junior Elite Pellet Grill Review here.
As people learn about pellet grills, they quickly realize that there are a number of brands offering a variety of models. So how are they different? And how do you know which pellet grill is right for you? With more options than ever, shopping for a pellet grill can be confusing. In a market filled with grills that claim similar capabilities, it can be difficult to discern what separates one from another. However, if you know which factors to consider and what features to look for, choosing the best pellet grill for you is a whole lot easier.
The adjustable chimney top gives you the power to adjust how much smoke flavor gets into your meat. And with Smart Smoke Technology the grill will automatically maintain the optimum temperature range to produce the most smoke possible.
It also has the standardized dial-in digital control with LED readout (not to the point that it has WiFi like the Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Pellet Grill, but still quite convenient). However, it’s rated low on this list because of poor quality control. Too many customers ended up with bad Pit Bosses that have inconsistent temperature control (going all the way to 615° Fahrenheit).
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.
I have used Bradley, Masterpiece, Green Egg, New Braunfels, Oklahoma Joe, Weber and now Traeger. So there is some experience in these comments. The “set it and forget” it is a misnomer and should not be used with Traeger (or any smoker/grill.) With Pellet Drive before you buy Read up on Er codes. The worst is when the fire pot fills up with pellets because the fire can’t keep up with the auger push and the whole cook is ruined or delayed. You have to pull everything out and basically start over while your expensive prime brisket is trying to be saved in the oven. Doesn’t matter what the weather is or wind conditions. Doesn’t matter if you stare at it and stir the hopper continuously. It will happen. Customer support at first was well you are at fault (didn’t leave the lid open on fireup for exactly 2 to 4 minutes or didn’t vacuum out the firepot between every cook) which is crazy. Finally, after so many calls over the past 6 months they are trying to make it right. Problem is, DO NOT believe the “set it and forget it.” That does not exist with any good cook. I have replaced the controller the fan and now getting a new probe. Do not waste your money. Unless someone out here in BBQ land can give me a recommendation on a product that won’t do this stay away from Pellet Drive?
Thanks Kevin. I am about to buy both a 5 burner gas grill and a smoker for a new bbq island. Rather than buy both, will one of these higher end pellet grills take the place of a traditional propane grill? I can apply the funds for the gas grill to a higher end pellet if it can really do double duty. It has to be able to cook burgers and dogs and steaks etc. Just like a gas grill though. Thoughts?
Eric, I’m sorry for the trouble you’ve had with your Traeger. Not sure this will help, but here is how I make sure I don’t have the problem you had. When I start after a long previous cook or any cook at all really, I vacuum out all the dust and vacuum out the burn pot. Then, I put a handful of pellets into the burnt pot, insert the heat deflector, the drip tray, and grate. I find that this keeps things working well. Sometimes, the burn pot will get too full of ash and this can cause the problems that you had. Give it a try. If it works, please let me know.
I always encourage consumers to get to know a little bit about a brand and company before purchasing a product from them. What differentiates a smart consumer from a consumer is preparedness. Get to know about the company history, its commitment to consumers, its consumer service, after-sales services and warranty. It is also a great idea if you can go through consumer ratings and reports the company’s pellet grill review before buying it. Do not just fall for intelligent marketing and chic packaging. Get you facts checked; remember it is your hard earned money on the line.
Set it and forget it. It does not require you to stay while the food is being cooked as you can set a timer and temperature so you can do other things, like prepare the side dishes or drink beer with friends while the grill is doing its job. Most pellet grills use electronic controls to regulate the grilling according to your preferences. You have a choice to choose the level of smoke aside from choosing your desired temperature.
Dating back to the early 1980s, Joe Traeger’s company first experimented with using wood pellets as fuel for a BBQ smoker as an offshoot of the home heating furnaces he was selling locally that used pellets.
With this unit, not even a single pellet goes to waste. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about your pellets running out in the middle of cooking. The pellet hopper can hold up to 20 pounds of pellets and the digital thermostat control ensures that each pellet is efficiently used. Thus, it helps save a lot of money and allows you to smoke your food for a long time without refilling the pellets.
Pellet grills or smokers use an electronically controlled thermostat and feeding system to feed wood pellets into the smoker. This allows the smoker to keep an even, predictable heat by adding wood as needed.
First, we are just like you. We love smoking and grilling. We were once novices like you, but now, through years of practice and research we are the genuine kings of the grill. We have our own favorites like the Camp Chef pellet grill and we want you to find your favorite too.
One great thing about this smoker is its temperature flexibility. Cooks can smoke, grill, or bake at temperatures ranging from 180 to 700 degrees Fahrenheit. An included ITC temperature probe lets you quickly track your food’s progress.
Kevin- super helpful article. Thanks! I just moved from a big city small apartment with no grill to a house in the country. Most essential purchase is the grill. I’m really on the fence. I like the idea of a pellet grill, but in reality- I’m mostly cooking burgers, fish, steaks, scallops, and veggies. The brisket and ribs will be more of a special occasion. From an economical perspective, am I better buying a gas grill and just getting one of those smoke tubes to add some flavor? From many of the online comments, it seems like the pellet grills benefit from additional smoke anyway, and though you can get additional grates for searing, seems like a square peg in a round hole. The gas grill is sort of the tried and true, and way more economical. Those $500 entry level pellet grills seem a little scrawny, and the next level up is a cool $grand. I’m really on the fence, and getting pressure to “just buy the darn thing” to consummate the move to the country! However the pellet grills seem like the new shiny object and have my curiosity. Any advice? PS- love the website! Thanks, Cary
This large grilling area lets you cook for a large family, for a party or a gathering and cook large pieces of food. Grill steaks, smoke large pieces of fish or roast pounds of poultry; you will save time and effort plus impress your guests with your great cooking skills.
GrillGrates(TM) amplify heat, prevent flareups, make flipping foods easier, keep small foods from committing suicide, kill hotspots, are easier to clean, flip over to make a fine griddle, and can be easily removed and moved from one grill to another. You can even throw wood chips, pellets, or sawdust between the rails and deliver a quick burst of smoke to whatever is above. Every gas grill needs them.
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.
Hey Kev, I was wondering about that cooking surface and its capacity. Have you found the 16×20 to be sufficient for a brisket and/or other large chunks of meat? This is my biggest concern as we love to cook a good amount of meat at one time.
Can you comment on the Camp Chef entry level pellet grill. I’m of limited funds but would like to purchase one of these type grills. I’ve been using an electric smoker and I personally don’t like the creosote taste I’m experiencing with it! So I guess my question is will I regret purchasing one of these “cheap” pellet grills?
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).
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!
The better a pellet grill’s temperature range, the more it can do. Performance pellet grills have upper ranges of 500°F- 700°F, which is hot enough to get a great sear and fire-bake pizza. Many of those pellet grills also offer a direct grilling option that allows you to cook over an open flame in addition to cooking over indirect heat.
Excellent article, but I have an off beat question. What about cleanup and maintenance of the pellet smokers you have reviewed? Is anyone better or easier for ash cleanup? I have a friend who has Yoder and his only complaint is the amount of time and complexity of cleaning up the pellet ash. Thank you in advance.
Works best when using cheaper cuts of meat, that need to be cooked for a long time at a low temperature. This allows the connective tissue in the meat to break down, making the food tender moist and flavorsome. Smoking relies more on indirect or radiant heat to cook the foodstuffs rather than flames, and works at a much lower temperature, the formation of HCAs is far less of an issue. The heterocyclic amines are present but in much lower concentrations. The smoke you get from the wood being used in the smoker can be the source of harmful chemicals. These are the same chemicals that add the pleasant smell from the wood to the meat. The compounds are called polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and are a known carcinogen. These PAHs are present in a wide variety of commercially made processed and cooked meats but have higher concentrations in meat that has been home-smoked.
As you can see in this selection of pellet grill reviews, the act of heating pellets and generating smoke in any pellet smoker is pretty much the same. Yes, some pellet grills use thicker metal, have better thermostats, air flow, racks, drip flow, etc. But the ask any professional BBQ cooker who uses a pellet grill, and they’ll tell you that the quality of your smoke really does come down to the pellets themselves. Here’s what one very astute BBQ pro had to say over at the Pellet Smoke Ring:
There’s no hotter product in BBQ than pellet grills. Thanks to better marketing, increased exposure and widespread availability in big box stores, more and more people have been introduced to these do-everything set-it-and forget-it cookers. Automated, versatile, and unlike any grill people have used, pellet grills are the perfect one-grill solution, allowing you to smoke authentic BBQ, slow-roast a turkey, grill a steak, or bake pizza all on the same cooker. Yet, for a product billed as the answer to your every backyard cooking need, pellet grills raise plenty of questions.
The Davy Crockett smoker is a competitively priced, comes with a lot of great features and offers a great BBQ experience: when you buy this smoker, you can rest assured that your money is well spent. The portability and the power source of this smoker make it the ultimate grill for tailgating! So let’s take a closer look at some of the features that this smoker has to offer:
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.
Pit Boss Wood Pellet Grills are filled by all regular BBQ wood pellets. The computerized control board lights the grill and permits you to set the cooking temperature from 180° to 500°F. Fan constrained convection cooking takes out the requirement for a rotisserie and makes an adaptable situation for grilling, simmering, smoking, braising and preparing. The Pit Boss 340 has 340 sq. in. total cooking surface with porcelain covered cooking grids. With complete structural quality and strength, the Pit Boss 340 is made to last.
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?
By opening the lid you cause the heat to quickly escape. Remember that the most important thing is to always maintain a fixed temperature inside the grill. With this solution, you can easily control the meat’s temperature without losing the heat inside the grill.
Hey Boyd! Thank you for the post. Your process is pretty much what I do with our GMG. I do hit it with Simple Green every other month or so. Just to get the grease and stuff mucked out and cleaned up. Thanks so much for commenting, sir! Stop by often!
I noticed a question on the use of pellet grills in cold weather… living in Minnesota we have an abundance of cold weather. The warm up takes a bit longer but once the grill is going the upper temp ranges seem to hold true. In below zero temps. I throw an asbestos blanket over the grill to save on pellets.
As I mentioned at the start of this post, there are a few pellet grills that lead the pack in terms of name recognition. The ones featured here are those that come most highly recommended by friends of mine on the professional BBQ circuits with KCBS and FBA.
Green Mountain pellet smokers offer innovation and good quality as well as relatively low price points. The Daniel Boone model is the midsized version. It boasts an advanced digital touch-pad dual-probe controller and stainless steel grates and drip pan, and, with 13.5 inches of headroom, Daniel Boone can accommodate large turkeys and roasts. Although the WiFi option adds a hundred bucks to the bill, no other pellet smokers anywhere near GMG’s price range offer WiFi control. Download the GMG app to your smartphone or tablet for a point-to-point connection, enabling you to remotely turn Daniel Boone on and off; monitor and control the internal meat temp, cooking temp, and timer; and even store the time- and temperature-based profiles of your favorite recipes. (For example, you can set your Daniel Boone to “Tri-Tip Beef Roast” and have it start out cooking at 225°F until the internal meat temp hits 110°, then crank to 500° for browning until the meat registers 135°, then drop the temp to 150° to keep it warm.)