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The PK Grill has become one of our favorite charcoal grills. Designed in 1952, the rectangular shape is easy to set up in 2 heat zones, it can easily be used as a smoker, the cast aluminum body is indestructible, airflow is easy to manage, and there is plenty of room under the hood. It is especially good at steaks, chops, and burgers.
Barbecue enthusiasm seems to be growing every year, and many backyard cooks, no longer content with burgers and chicken, are venturing into the mysterious—and myth-laden—realm of smoking. I’ve long been an advocate for pellet smokers, and it seems that this equipment is finally coming of age. In fact, 2016 may be the Year of the Pellet Smoker.
Hi Mark – I’ve not personally used the Smoke Hollow Pellet Grill you mention here. The base model pellet smokers I see at stores like Sam’s and Costco are going to do fine for most backyard cooking preparations. I’d look into what the Smoke Hollow folks offer customer service wise. When you buy at the lower end, understand that the unit might not enjoy the longevity or durability of other mid-tier or higher end models.
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.
Choose your flavor. The good thing about pellet grills is that the pellets are flavored. Pellets may come from apple wood, cherry, pecan, mesquite, and hickory wood. You can also match a combination of wood flavor and food like using apple pellets when cooking fish or using hickory with beef.
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.)
REC TEC Grills attempt to create the highest quality, most suitable, and most adaptable grill on the market. The REC TEC Mini integrates the equivalent high quality parts as one of their full sized models, but only in a lighter, smaller, and transportable bundle.
I can think of few things that will give you a solid idea of what Fast Eddy’s Pellet Cookers are capable of than a testimonial by Todd Johns of Plowboys Barbecue Team, Grand Champion of the 2009 American Royal Invitational.
Luckily you can add on a Sear Box which attaches on to the side of your smoker and allows you to grill at temperatures up to 900°. If you find yourself grilling often, this makes an excellent addition, and turns this into a total do it all cooker.
This grill comes with porcelain grill grates which provide easy cleaning. It is constructed from steel and contains a powder coat finish. This Traeger grill also comes equipped with wheels with locking casters which makes it easy to move. Another great benefit that this grill comes with is the Digital Elite Controller with an LED display which helps maintain the temperature of your grill. You can also enjoy the benefits of an electronic auto-ignition switch that is found on this grill.
It’s an automated grill with features mostly found in much more expensive models. Everything I described above allows me to easily say that this is the best pellet smoker. This grill keep a great price to quality, efficiency and functionality ratio.
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.
To sear a steak you need direct radiant heat. I don’t care if you can heat the air to 1000°F, it is still indirect heat and that does not deliver as much energy as direct radiant heat. It’s physics, but not hard to understand. In short, heat is not the same as temperature. It feels hotter at 80°F if the sun is shining on you than if it is 80°F in the shade. I discuss the concept in more detail in my article on thermodynamics of cooking.

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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.
Also, the digital display will allow you to check the meat internal temperature using the meat probe that comes with this grill. It’s a great solution, and why? Because you can check the meat’s temperature without opening the grill lid. You probably know well that feeling when you open the lid to check the temperature inside the meat.
Moreover, it has a BTU’s per hour of 25000 and it also comes with a stainless steel probe that let you detect the internal temperature and doneness of foods. It has a patented, drop down cleaning system that accumulates of the grease, fat and gunk without having you to disassemble the pellet grill at all.
It’s hard to beat the cooking versatility of a pellet grill. Look for a combination pellet smoker and grill if you want to charbroil, smoke, bake, roast and braise, all over the same flame. Thinking beyond the burger – recipes like baby back ribs and wood-fired pizza can now be a part of your menu. 
Your choice of pellet can also dictate how much cleanup you’ll have to deal with (even though generally 10 pounds of pellets can produce at most half a cup of ash, but this varies from pellet variant to pellet variant). Just be warned that when the temperature is high, there’s not much smoke happening, so you need to smoke out your meats at lower temperatures to get that smoky flavor.
You can’t cook as hot or generate as much smoke – You won’t get quite as good a sear as you could with a charcoal grill. And you won’t get that dominate smokey flavor you would get with an offset stick burning smoker.
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.
This is for the gourmet, the guy or gal who likes to cook all kinds of meats and fill them with all kinds of different flavors. Grills Forever have tested all price points and sizes and this is the grill for someone who likes to entertain.
Hi Joe, I might if there will be great time between cooks. At minimum get a good grill cover. The pellets do expand a lot if exposed to liquid. Some buy a small shop vacs just ton use for pellet removal. If your grill has a dump door, use that and vacuum out the dust etc. Rubbermaid tubs or the like make for good air tight storage.
This smoker is one of the only smokers that includes Sense-Mate, which is a thermal sensor system that continuously monitors the internal grilling temperature and keeps the internal temperature within 5ºF of the set temperature. Quite impressive, if you ask me!
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.
You don’t mention Traeger grills other than in you opening paragraphs. Where do they fit into your article. Where do they fit into your list, are they worth considering? Plusses and minuses of this brand. alternate choices, etc.
The 15 x 20 inch cooking area give you a generous 292 square inches of cooking space, and its digital thermometer lets you accurately control the temperature of the unit. The unit uses convection technology to make sure that air circulates around your food at all times; you never have to worry about hot or cold spots with this unit.
As time passed, a thermostat was added to the equation, and the production BBQ smokers fueled by pellets working in “set it and forget it” fashion was in full force. From this point, several manufacturers of pellet grills began to pop up, with a few key names like Yoder Smokers, Mak Grills, Green Mountain Grills, and Fast Eddy’s Cookshack grills being among the most notable.
This Pit Boss 700 Series Pellet Grill provides 700 sq. in. of cooking surface as well as an additional rack which is ideal for cooking for a group consisting of four to six people. It is constructed from heavy gauge steel parts, has ample operational strength and stability, and is a high-value grill that is intended to last. This Grill also includes a porcelain coated cast iron grid and a digitally controlled burn system. This Pit Boss Pellet Grill uses 100% natural wood pellets as a fuel source and does not require gas or propane. Simply choose your desired cooking style with the digital control board and flame broiler. This is an eight-in-one grill that varies in temperature from 180 degrees Fahrenheit to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. With this Pit Boss product, you can bake, smoke, sear, grill, barbeque, braise, or char-grill your food.
Remove the pellets from the feed hopper to stop them getting wet or being contaminated by any cleaning products you will use. Empty the ash from the burn cup. Some people line their burn cup with aluminum foil to make the cleaning process more manageable. An ash vacuum cleaner will also do the trick.
Hey DW – I think it’s a good call either way. Reports from users re: customer service are tops for both Rec-Tec Pellet Grills and GMG Pellet Grills. GMG offers a wifi option that now runs on your home network, and will eventually allow you to monitor via a cloud option, meaning monitoring your grill as you are out shopping etc. The extra large hopper size on the Rec-Tec Pellet Grills could be a bonus for you if you plan on doing some really long cooks. Other than that I really think it comes down to things as simple as how the unit looks. I know that sounds silly, but they are both great grills otherwise. So, what’s your gut tell you?
Because the auger runs on adjustable timer setting, it feeds pellets in for 15 seconds and then shuts off. This means that it doesn’t take into account temperature swings throughout the day, or wind which can effect your cooking. Keep this in mind if you will be cooking in a extreme conditions.
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.
Now we come to the part no one likes and that’s cleaning. This smoker won’t clean itself but it does make the process a lot easier. Camp Chef PG24 Pellet Grill is designed to give you easy access to the fire pot making cleaning out the ash effortless. It also has a trap door which allows you to clean the unit without digging through the grease and ash. Anyone who has ever had to clean a smoker grill knows how time-consuming and enormous the task can be. A trap door like this is only present in higher priced units, but you’ll be glad you paid a little more when cleaning becomes effortless.
The last thing you want inside a pellet smoker is any dampness. If the pellets themselves get wet at all they can turn into a wood concrete, that will make it difficult for the auger within the hopper to dispense them. Pellet smokers usually have some electrical parts inside so it is vital that they do not get wet as they could short and become inoperable. If your pellet grill has not been used for a while, and not kept dry, you might find white furry patches inside when you open it up. The mold inside needs to be dealt with, and the smoker thoroughly cleaned to prevent food contamination. Fire up your smoker to get it as hot as possible, and keep it there for about 20 minutes. Let it cool, and then remove all the internal parts and give them a good clean in hot soapy water. You may have to pressure wash some of the items to get rid of the mold spores. Once the internal parts are dry, replace them in the smoker and start it up again to remove any final mold and residue from the cleaning process. To stop mold building up inside your smoker, always let it run hot at the end of every cook. Also, store it in a dry place with the vents open.
Hey Greg! Sorry so long for my reply. Man, so cool about your Yoder! I’m sure you’ll love it. Everyone I talk to who owns one loves theirs. I agree 100 Percent on pellet quality and cook time. I’ve had luck cooking at lower initial temps and ramping up after the first couple of hour. I’ve also used the A-Maze-N Tube with success.
So, I say go for the best pellet grill you can get within your budget. I reviewed the little GMG Davy Crockett pellet grill recently and was impressed. At just under $400, it’s a good option. That said, I would like to see them put the unit on fold down legs with casters or some other option to make it easier to move around. You’ll see what I mean in the post. Hope this helps.
Hey, Kevin great site. I am thinking on getting into Pellet Grills from Gas. I would like a Yoder but the cost is prohibitive. I see your comments about the Traeger Pro series what about the Camp Chef Woodwind with the Sear station? Price is similar to the Traeger pro and it has the 900 degree sear station. Clean out with trap door is nice.
The Woodwind Pellet Grill offers an all-encompassing and powerful grill for a reasonable price. Its digital temperature control, large cooking area, ash cleanout system, and elite sear box give the grill an edge over the competition. The ease of use and diverse features allows the most novice cooks to use the grill. In addition, experienced grill masters can admire the beautiful aesthetic and dynamic features of the grill.

— May 7, 2018

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