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.
A variation on the standard controller utilizes limits to tighten the temperature as needed. When the grill goes too far above or below the set temperature, reaching a predetermined limit, the grill will modify its auger cycle slightly to increase or decrease the amount of pellets fed to the fire. This is similar to how a typical kitchen oven works. These controllers can maintain about +/-15°F.
Owning a pellet smoker can be a revelation on how good meat can really taste. The flavors from a pellet smoker or grill can be out of this world. However, over time, a build-up of crusted and carbonized grease and spills could taint that flavor. The by-products of smoking, such as tar and soot can accumulate and fall into the food you are cooking. What some people may call ‘seasoning’ is really just the detritus of cooking and needs to be cleaned like any other kitchen appliance. Cleaning a pellet smoker make be daunting to some people, but this short article hopes to take away some of the mystique on cleaning and give you some useful tips on how to keep your smoker in tip-top condition. If you set up a simple cleaning regime for your pellet smoker, it will last longer, and keep cooking high-quality food with the best flavor imaginable. It will also make the deep cleaning that much easier. There are three levels of cleaning, after each cook, after say 50 or so hours of cooking, and annual maintenance.
You can cook as many as chicken wings, bacon, hotdogs, and ribs as you can in just one moment! So if you are having an occasion and you want to lessen the hassle of cooking, you can cook all your burgers altogether without worrying about its quality.
Are you catching on that there’s a bit of a “favorites play” going on with wood pellets? No selection of pellet grill reviews is complete without a little bias. I try to be objective here. See if you can catch on to which models I prefer!
So that brings me to the one thing I have learned in all this that I basically read when I was getting started. One of the biggest keys is “Temperature Control”! If you want consistent food make sure you get that under control. It is the key to solid consistent food! Once you get your food consistent you can experiment with a lot of other things. But if you can’t get that down, you will always be looking for another magic bullet. The number one magic is temperature!
It’s not recommended. Controllers aren’t universal. Even if the controller works on another grill, it may not perform as expected. Controllers are precisely tuned for a particular pellet grill, taking into account grill size, shape, and airflow, as well as the design of the fan and fire pot. These factors are not consistent from brand to brand, making it unlikely that a digital controller designed for one grill will perform nearly as well on an altogether different pellet grill.
What are your thoughts about the Kalamazoo hybrid grills? From what I’ve found online, you have the choice of gas, charcoal and wood for cooking or combinations of all. I have no first hand experience with Kalamazoo but it seems very versatile? At the moment after a month of researching, I’m leaning towards a Mac/Yoder or a Webber spirit & egg or a Memphis….so in other words, I’m no closer to a decision than when I started. I currently have a 9 yr old treager that won’t break, seriously, I’ve only repainted once with rustolium….dang thing won’t break so I can get a new toy. I sear in a skillet in the kitchen. My treager has the smoke/med/high switch and I want more control, I’ve maxed what I can do and it’s a challenge in cold weather and wind but it was a great start when they were made to last, more than got my money’s worth. I cook at all levels from smoking to grilling. I do love pellets and don’t want an egg but enjoy the food as much as the process of preparing it. Ok probably to much info but money aside, will you list your recommendations of what you think is best for me?
Wattage – With the right amount of wattage by your side, you will easily reach the temperature required, and it will stay there provided that you are providing enough pellets for it to make use of. Anything north of 1200W will easily be able to cover all your requirements, but as a rule, it’s ideal to be sheltered than sorry, so it can’t hurt to purchase a unit with a bigger Wattage than you might suspect you’ll require.
Hello.. You recommended a couple weeks ago to go with a GMG grill and that is the one I’m going with. I’m just a little torn between the DB and JB. They are only $150 apart but I’m not sure if the bigger size is worth the money when I can spend that on a cover and some pellets. Do you think the bigger size is worth it for a back yard smoker with the occasional party? I know people say bigger is better but I went bigger with my previous barrel smoker and it was much harder to keep an even temp with the bigger size. I would have went smaller given the chance. Thanks for any input!
Beginners – Very easy to use electric ignition allows to quickly start grilling. You set the temperature and forget about it all. Your only concern is to refuel the pellet Hopper before the next cooking. So for the beginners who are just starting on their journey with BBQ and learning to cook delicious meat – it’s a great choice.
The best way to ensure your pellet grill lasts for years to come is to purchase one that’s built well and features quality construction. If you’re in the store, lift the lid and feel its weight—is it flimsy or made from a heavier gauge steel? Pellet grills aren’t like offset smokers, they don’t need to be hefty, but they shouldn’t feel delicate either. When you close the lid, see how it lays on the grill—are there gaps or is it flush, providing a good seal? Check out the joints, the hardware, and any welding—does the grill feel solid? It should be sturdy and all the joints and seams should fit together snugly, no gaps or spaces for heat to escape.
It is also worth noting that a pellet smoker made of high quality materials will perform better. High quality materials will retain heat, ensure more efficient pellet consumption, and maintain temperature better in the cold weather.
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.
An automatic electric ignition allows for quick, simple starting. Traeger’s thermostat controls are operated with a simple to use dial that keeps grill temperatures within 20 degrees of the desired setting. The controls even have a ‘smoke’ setting, keeping temperatures low and slow for ideal smoking.
One other thing to know about the wonder of pellet grills is that they come with pellet hoppers, varying in capacity from brand to brand, that accommodates and use the pellets you put it accordingly and automatically as per the heat setting, eliminating the need to refill the hopper manually so frequently. So throw on some lamb ribs on to those hot grills, and go enjoy some cold beer while the pellet grill does the rest for you!
With the traeger, rec-tec or cam chef smokers all seem to burn 1-2lbs per hour. But for a long 18hr brisket it seems like I will have to continue to use pellets the whole time to keep the heat in range over over 200 which will mean I am using almost a 20-40lb bag depending on the time year per smoke. This is even more expensive than the bradley seems even with the wasted briquette. IS this correct or is there something I am missing?
PID controller has a developed algorithm that takes many factors into account such as weather changes or opening the lid. Such changes have a very huge impact on the temperature inside the grill. Despite that, this system is perfect at handling them while always maintaining the desired temperature.
Web-based control – this is an idea yet to be implemented and is intended to be an upgrade to the Wi-Fi control feature. The plan is to make it possible to control a smoker’s temperature from any place on the planet as long as the smoker is connected to the internet. This will let you set your food and go to work without worries.
love your article and got lots of good info from it….i do have a question tho that i didnt see an answer to…..do pellet grills have to use just pellets?….i have 3 acres full of oak branches that could be shredded. my question is can a pellet grill use home shredded wood chips to burn and cook with or is it mandatory that the fuel be in the pellet state?….would be great if i could find a good use for all these fallen branches….
Accurate, powerful, with a lot of options, good build quality and a nice set of features, all at an excellent price, the Camp Chef PG64 is our best overall pellet smoker. Of course, the RecTec still offers more options, but it’s more expensive, so if you want the absolute most for your money, without breaking the bank, you’re going to want to look closely at this.
Hey Rob! First, I really appreciate you reaching out. That’s what The BBQ Beat is for! To your question, I own a Davy Crockett Tailgate Model pellet smoker and really like it. Full disclosure, it was given to me by the company to test and Jason Baker of GMG said I could just keep it. But, I get a good number of products to review sent to me and a whole lot of them don’t make it onto the blog. I’d rather “omit” than “detract” – keep things positive sharing the stuff out there that I can get behind.
The hassles of trying to bring out the real flavor from a steak are long gone. Over the past few years, pellet grills have undergone a substantial advancement to make them a suitable alternative for those who want to create restaurant-quality grills right from their backyard.
I got the bird loaded onto the pellet grill and let it ride until it hit the desired temperature. Because the Memphis Pro’s temperature control automatically drops the unit down to its lowest setting once it reaches the programmed internal meat temperature, there was absolutely no chance of overcooking that baby.
Number two when cooking with charcoal (yes plain Kingsford is good stuff if you do it right, a lot of the cheaper brick and cheaper lump can put some weird twangs in your food) brick or lump can produce quality high temp steaks or slow & low bbq! To add some nice flavor add some wood, but do your homework! I think Clark ‘Smokey’ Hale has one of the best books ever for the grill and Q master, “The Great American Manual on Grilling and BBQ or something like that. Last I saw you can grab a used one on Amazon for a few cents and some shipping. The most prolific thing I read in there that so many miss, is burn your wood and your charcoal to where it is literally a coal of gray ash covered glowing ember. Do that and you will find a new flavor in your cooking! Problem is so many places think heavy smoke is great, as they are trying to imitate cold smoke flavors! They are not the same! All this talk I see here about, “I want heavy smoke flavor.” I can tell you if you burn your wood and your charcoal (and I feel even lump needs to be well on it’s way to gray ash covered or you get bitter smoke even though many say not necessary) to a red ember with gray ash covering 80 to 90% minimum preferably completely covered your flavor profile will change. Many supposedly good bbq restaurants I have been in serve something with a bitter or ash flavor, which I find much less enjoyable.
The main cooking surface at your disposal measuring 570 square inches, which is heated by pellets. It is able to heat up the surface from 160 degrees to 500 degrees F. It is great for long and slow meat smoking.
It is almost as we have forgotten how to live life the way it should be lived. We no longer have the time to sit back on a summer’s day, and appreciate the show that nature has put up for us. Now-a-days we are so committed to our work, responsibilities and duties towards the external that we often forget that we have our very first priority neglected: happiness. We are so engaged in our daily 9 to 5 routines that we have actually began to take it as a way of living while it slowly drains and strains us away over time.
In fact, 80 to 85% of pellet smokers in the USA are Traegers. The consensus is that they are reasonably well built, though some buyers complain that quality has dropped since manufacturing moved to China. But of course we hear more complaints—as well as more praise—about Traegers, since eight out of 10 pellet smoker owners have one. Traeger can be found in many national chains, like Cabela’s and Costco. It’s not unusual to find special deals on this popular product line, so keep your eyes open.
Most of other grills come with systems that maintain a selected temperature, it differs by up to 5 F degrees from the target temperature. To make it happen, the pellet auger has to provide a constant stream of pellets to the burner. The temperature is maintained but the consequence is smaller amount of smoke.
It also utilizes the pellets put inside it with utmost efficiency. Its hopper can hold around 18 pounds of pellets, dispensing them automatically throughout the process. The digital thermostat works to ensure that they are not wasted. The smoker-grill can reach temperatures around the range of 500 F without any trouble, which makes this single unit capable of grilling and smoking with ease.
We took the job of finding you the best pellet smoker very seriously. We read reviews, spoke to pit masters and backyard BBQ enthusiasts and the choice was unanimous. The REC TEC RT-680 Wood Pellet Grill came out on top. The sturdy construction, smart grill technology, excellent digital controller and dare we say it, its good looks, made this pellet grill our No.1 choice.
However, in terms of affordability, it’s only natural that the Traeger TFB29LZA would have the edge. As the innovator of pellet smoking or grilling, Traeger knows how to lower its production costs since it invented pellet grills in the first place. Its economically smaller grills naturally require constant refilling since they have smaller hoppers in turn.
So Kevin here is where you come in. Been wanting to make getting consistent Q on the table regularly and easily. Been looking at pellet poopers for about 5 years now and decided to take the plunge. Had already done enough looking a few years ago Traeger’s issues had scared me off. Several friends had them and raved but always mentioned problems. I decided from my work I don’t want to be buying someone’s, ‘we know the problems and are fixing them’ if you can find something solid for similar cost. Yoder and FEC were pretty much my finalists. So I was doing my final thoughts and found your article.
Somehow, though, this is more expensive that every other choice in this price range wjo;st offering nothing extra. Whilst you certainly won’t regret buying this, given the choice I’d go for one of the above smokers instead.
Bearing this in mind, let’s discuss the difference between the primary cooking area and total cooking area. Primary cooking area refers to the area on the main cooking plate. Total cooking area takes into consideration secondary racks.
3-Position Controller – 3 position controllers, also called LMH controllers, have just 3 temperature settings—low, medium, and high—which correlate to roughly 225°F, 325°F, and 425°F. They feed pellets in fixed cycles that are determined by which setting you choose. With just three settings to choose from, though, you have less control over cooking temperatures than more advanced controllers. These controllers are often found on lower priced pellet grills.
I can guarantee you, if a friend or family member has a smoker grill we’ve been there trying it out and getting their opinion on how it works. If the units are portable enough, we’ve been known to bring them to our place, where we personally smoke a brisket or grill a pork butt to get the first-hand experience. Let me share with you an experience I had doing exactly that.
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!.
Pellet grills are electric outdoor grills that are fueled by hardwood pellets. The capsule-sized pellets serve as both fuel for cooking food and a flavor enhancer that adds the taste of wood smoke. Incredibly versatile, pellet grills can smoke, grill, roast, bake, and braise. Thanks to a digital control board, they are easy-to-use and automatically maintain the desired cooking temperature for hours on end.
I have the larger Traeger smoker and have really liked it but not from the start. I had issues with the heating unit but the Traeger help people managed to get my “mechanical blondness” through this and all is well. The assistance center people at Traeger weres super supportive so I’m a loyal fan today. One thing I suggested to Traeger, and all who have a Traeger smoker, is to make the grill surface in two parts so it fits into a dishwasher. I cut my grill in half allowing it to fit in my dishwasher. Easy peasy to clean now!
Mo’s Smoking Pouch is essential for gas grills. It is an envelope of mesh 304 stainless steel that holds wood chips or pellets. The airspaces in the mesh are small enough that they limit the amount of oxygen so the wood smolders. Put it on top of the cooking grate, on the burners, on the coals. It holds enough wood for about 15 minutes for short cooks, so you need to refill it or buy a second pouch for long cooks like pork shoulder and brisket. Meathead says his has survived more than 50 cooks and he likes it better than the smoker tubes.
Having the same problem as the rest of the group. Rec Tec, Yoder, Green Mountain, Pellet Pro, or MAK? All seem to be heavy gauge SS, Pellet Pro seems really good value, MAK and Green Mountain seem to have controllers with more features. Have a friend who bought Rec Tec 3 years ago, he cannot say enough about the good customer service and the grill. If you could only buy one (money not the issue among these 5), which one, and why?
The taste of meat cooked on a pellet grill can be outstanding. However, some recent medical studies have suggested a link between eating smoked or grilled meat, and a risk of developing some types of cancer, the most notable being pancreatic cancer.
Ease Of Use – Check if the unit is anything but difficult to setup and work. A few units are a breeze to gather, and you should simply to take after the manual of guidelines that accompany it. And after that, you ought to likewise discover how to work the grill and it ought to offer you easily of operation. For the most items I have evaluated here, they can be worked with the push of a catch, so they will let you simply set the clock and temperature and forget about it.