Just found this and I thank you! I’m doing competitions and want to get a pellet smoker to use after my brisket and pork butts have been wrapped to bring them up to final temp while my main smoker (Backwoods) will then be for the ribs and chicken.
The combination of versatility, flavor and set-it and forget-it technology make pellet grills who want the flavor of a charcoal grill and the ease and accuracy of a kitchen oven. They can smoke, grill, bake, roast, and braise at the touch of a button, infusing food with real wood smoke flavor. Better yet, pellet grills are easy-to-use and automatically maintain their temperature, so you can just set the temperature and walk away.
Most pellet smokers are wood-burning ovens: great for ribs, turkey, brisket, and butts, but not so great for grilling steaks and burgers. The FEC PG series was one of the first lines of pellet burners to offer a sear station, a cast iron cooking grate right over the fire pot where the wood pellets burn. It isn’t the best setup for searing, but it’s better than most other pellet searing schemes. The real beauty of the Fast Eddy’s design is that it produces meat with a deep mahogany finish, much like a competition-grade offset smoker. It also has two upper-level heat zones, for a total of four distinct temperature zones.
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?
Thanks to Smart Smoke Technology you can set it, forget it and go take care of something else while the grill does all the work. The digital temperature controls and automatic auger will feed premium hardwood pellets into the grill so the temperature always remains just right without any assistance from you.
Smaller, cheaper smokers tend to run with areas of around 300 to 400 square inches. This is large enough for a dozen burgers, two racks of ribs or a small turkey, which makes it absolutely fine for the family and a couple of friends, but if you’re cooking for any more you’re probably gonna struggle to find space.
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.
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.
While people always want a black and white answer, the truth is that the best pellet grill is the one that best fits your needs. Depending on budget, location, family size, and usage, that answer can change from person to person. Read more about how to choose the best pellet grill for you.
I bought a Brinkmann Tower Charcoal smoker many years ago. Living in IL at the time, it served its purpose. I recently moved to Colorado and live at 9200′ above sea level. i am usually smoking a couple racks of ribs or making some jerky….nothing competitive or too large.
It can run off a 12V with no problem so plug it into your car’s cigarette lighter. It also works 120AC so it’s perfect for home or camping, tailgating, hunting, house-boating, music festivals or anywhere you can take it!
Users love the way that they can cook in a variety of ways with the Z-Grills Wood Pellet Grill. They also feel happy that they don’t have to mind their cooking time and again because of its automatic Smart Smoke Technology. Everyone agreed that taking this grill anywhere to cook is easy with its easy to transport design.
The most important thing, which is temperature control. You have to pay attention to that if you want your food to be well made. A smoker that is characterized with lack of temperature control will lead to your food getting burned or the temperature will be so low that it won’t be properly cooked.
I recently purchased a a Smoke Hollow pellet grill from Sam’s. Seems like quality is good and it was recommended by a friend. Temperature control has issues. I called for customer service a couple of times and they sent a new thermostat. Still can’t get temperature to to hold at setting. Am I missing something? Told to start and let preheat for 10 minutes and then move to desired temperature. Tried setting new thermostat at 190 and let it go for 15 minutes and it was back at 230 when I checked it. Any suggestions?
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Rating: This is a solid 9.5 over 10 in my book. It’s four points below its brethren Camp Chef not because it’s less of a grill but more because the Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill is practically perfect.
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.
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That being said, many cut-rate pellet brands don’t de-bark their wood, creating inconsistency in the pellets. That can prevent the pellets from burning cleanly, resulting in excessive ash that may interfere with airflow and cause temperature fluctuations. In fact, often when people are having trouble with their pellet grill, cheap pellets are the culprit. How do you know which pellets are okay? Be wary of any pellets with a price that seems too good to be true. A 20 pound bag should cost in the neighborhood of $16 – $23. If you see a bag priced significantly less, be skeptical of the quality.
One of the main considerations to think about when deciding to buy a pellet grill is the cost and availability of pellets in your area. There is no substitute fuel for pellet grills and they generally cost between one and two dollars per pound. If you plan on doing a lot of grilling, you can usually get them cheaper in bulk. When burning at a temperature high enough to cook steaks and burgers, a pellet grill will use about two pounds of fuel per hour. When you are smoking, it will go through about a half a pound per hour. Since the best pellet grill has to be on considerably longer to smoke meat than it does to cook it, you will actually use more pellets during the smoking process. For ten hours of smoking (which is the average for most meats) you will burn about five pounds of pellets, verses a half an hour of grilling time where you will only use about one pound of pellets. It is very important to purchase good quality pellets as well because cheap ones can actually plug up your grill.
Any grills with moving parts and electrical components can break down (a risk not associated with charcoal or wood grills). If exposed to moisture, pellet fuels will disintegrate. People who live in humid climates must keep their pellets dry, preferably indoors in airtight lidded containers.
Just like your kitchen oven, a pellet grill must keep a consistent temperature in order to produce great food. To get tender brisket, the temperature needs to stay as close as possible to 250°F for the entire 12-plus hours its cooking. A pellet grill’s ability to do that is largely determined by its control board, which is essentially the brains of the pellet grill. There are different types of controllers, and their precision and consistency varies. Most can hold a consistent temperature in ideal conditions, but not all controllers can maintain a tight temperature in the cold, wind, and rain.
Hi, and thank you for your comment. Traeger led the pack years ago, but they fell off in quality and reliability when they began manufacturing overseas. Though they are making some improvements now, I’m more comfortable recommending you look into Green Mountain Grills. Check their website to find a retailer near you.
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?
You have the power to control the temperature of your pellet grill cooker from high to low. Additionally, just in case that you want everything to become precise, you can use the meat probe which allows you to measure the temperature of your meat and avoid under or over-cooking.
Most of the pellet grills available on the market offer “temperature control” although the problems start when the weather changes. The temperature outside changes, the temperature inside the grill changes, the temperature inside the meat changes. All those factors are very important, as they have a significant impact on maintaining the right temperature inside the grill.
This grill has many beneficial features that include its cooking surface area, as well as its digital controller with LED display and the easy to clean porcelain grill grates. The Texas Elite 34 is easy to use, easy to clean and maintain, as well as operate. However, the Traeger Texas Elite 34 is a little on the pricey side. Another issue that may occur deals with the porcelain coating on the grill grates. This can actually chip or break off.
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We have all kinds of friends here at Grills Forever and one of those friends, who we shall not name for his own sake, is not a handyman. If something can be put together wrong or broken, he will find a way. He put together this grill in an afternoon and by late that night his family and friends were enjoying the best bbq chicken I’ve ever had.
why don’t pellet smokers have a drawer for sawdust like some of the propane units. It could slide in over the fire pot much like you mentioned for the mojobricks. Dampened sawdust still makes one of the best smudges.
Before cooking, you need to preheat a cast iron grill grate, griddle, plancha, or skillet and put it directly on the grill grate to get the grill marks effect, but at that point isn’t it ultimately just for show?