With over 700 square inches of cooking space, this smoker has ample room for the largest of gatherings. The Bull doesn’t come cheap though, with a price tag of nearly $2000, you must truly want the best if you want this grill.
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.
Considering quality construction of anything is among the most important factors that should be kept in mind while shopping for a pellet smoker. No one would wish to buy an item, no matter the price, that is not of good quality and that will have rust or get destroyed without giving the user enough service. That is a loss. A good quality pellet smoker will last longer and will need less or little maintenance.
HEALTHIER COOKING: Cooking on a pellet grill adds zero fat, cholesterol or calories to your food. Indirect cooking systems are recommended by the National Cancer Institute because they produce less benzopyrene.
Pellet grills are every lazy man’s dream appliance. These grills need absolute zero to minimal maintenance. You just need to lightly wipe through it after every use, and maybe thoroughly clean it 2 to 3 times a year! All pellet grills now come with a drip pan that catch the accumulating oils that drops from the food. They are also made with good quality raw materials that enable them to withstand the outdoor atmospheres all year round. If this does not entice your lazy bones, no other appliance will, and that is a fact. Period!
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.
Do some research and find out how many pounds of pellets per hour the smoker burns. Anything up to a pound per hour, at smoking temperatures, is OK. For example, Bruce Bjorkman of MAK claims that his barbecues only use about ½ a pound per hour on the smoke setting.
The second video comes from Big Jake BBQ and showcases the “cold smoking” feature the MAK Grills 2 Star General smoker has to offer. This is a great value add in my opinion, as it really steps up your game in terms of what you’re able to smoke. Cheese, nuts, cold smoked salmon… getting some ideas? I know I am!
Along with the ease and variety that a pellet grill affords you, the great news is that pellet grills might actually be healthier for you! The National Cancer Institute has stated that certain methods of cooking meat (such as charcoal grilling) can increase one’s risk of cancer. Wood pellet grilling could potentially have a lower risk of cancer when compared to other forms of grilling as some people say that it leads to the creation of fewer carcinogens. (However, research is still underway and over-consumption of any grilled meats could increase one’s cancer risk).
Who says bigger is always better? Our fourth contender to make it to our pellet grill review is the The Traeger TFB29LZA Junior elite grill. This petite pellet grill has been specifically designed to meet the needs of small households. Its small body makes it ideal for travelling and tailgating. It features a 300 square inch cooking surface. This pellet grill weighs just 60 pounds. You will get an LED digital, multi-position thermostat that comes with a 3 year warranty.
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….
If you have a little more cash, choose Camp Chef Woodwind Pellet Grill with sear box. I think that Sear Box is a great addition, it will certainly come in handy to quickly grill veggies or hamburgers.
Complete with a variety of spectacular features, the Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker redefines the whole concept of smoking. At a reasonable price, this smoker gives you more than what you paid for. It offers technology-rich features that ensure consistent smoking for that great smoky flavor. Plus, many customers – including ourselves – have attested to its durability. This smoker will serve you without failure for a very long time.
The Woodwind Pellet Grill impressed us the most with its “Smart Smoke” feature, which generates the ideal temperature, providing constant heat. Plated with stainless steel, this visually-pleasing grill offers top-grade functionality that you’d expect from the best pellet grills. It boasts a 570-square-inch cooking area best for grilling, roasting, and more at up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit. We loved this pellet grill because of its twist-out feature that makes it convenient to empty the container. This durable pellet grill is 2nd not because it’s not as good as our first pick – it just costs a bit more.
On Tabletop Models: I didn’t include them here because though extensive, this post is more of an overview of a few select makers of Pellet Smokers I think do a fine job with both manufacturing and product support. The one exception is that I did include a link to where you can find the Rec-Tec mini. That’s Rec-Tec’s answer to the smaller, tabletop or tailgating models.
What The Pentagon Can Teach You About Pellet Grill
The not so good was the reliability. After the first year, this grill could not stay operational longer than maybe two to four months tops. In no order, I replaced the hopper fan twice, the fire pot fan once, the igniter three times, the cover, drip tray and control panel once each. The replacement control panel was a nightmare to install because it came with a newer style plug set, so the those had to be removed and replaced with the original plugs and rewired so everything would match up. Ugh.
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.
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.
The zest for barbequing is growing every year with more and more BBQ lovers venturing into the mystery of the myth-laden empire of smoking. We have spent years encouraging the outdoor cooking buffs to embrace pellet smokers, and until now, our efforts have brought about fruitful results.
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.
Expensive Repairs: Pellet grills are not cheap to have repaired; sometimes the cost of the repairs is nearly as much as buying a new grill. Even the best pellet grill options may have this problem. This is because the manufactures of pellet grills are usually smaller companies that do not have a wide distribution of parts.
This is obviously no revelations that temperature is the first on my list. When it comes to cooking appliances, temperature is always a key factor. However, it is not the sole reason to be on my list. The thing about temperature you need to look for in a good pellet grill is its ability to control, change and maintain it. Any grill can turn screaming hot, but only the best ones provide you with multiple temperature settings, and are able to maintain it constantly to ensure an even cooking surface where it is not too hot on the left and cold on the right. Many pellets come with special, even patented, temperature features.
The Benefits of the Pellets: Pellets work so well with the ease of use of a pellet grill because they’re 100% all-natural. They don’t have binders, chemicals, fillers, or petroleum products within them. They serve as a source of compact energy (8,500 BTU per pound) and smoke flavor. Most importantly, there’s little to no ash from them. Compared to coals, there are no flare-ups involved.
They had the field to themselves for a few years, but the idea was too good to go un-imitated, and soon competitors began popping up. In the early days, most pellet smoker controllers had only three settings—low, medium, high (LMH)—and there was no temperature probe in the oven to create a feedback loop. So, whether you were smoking a few slabs of ribs on a scorching summer day or six pork butts during a blizzard, the controller only knew pellet-feed on and off times for its standard settings. It had no information on the actual temperature inside the cooking chamber.
On the other hand, if you purchase a cooker that has all the bells and whistles, but you never use them, you will have wasted your hard earned cash when a more basic cooker, that cost less, would likely have done the trick.
Wood pellets are an all natural product. No petroleum products in them, no fillers, chemicals, or binders. They are an excellent source of smoke flavor and compact energy, 8,500 BTU per pound. No hot coals, no flareups. There is also very little ash: 10 pounds of pellets will produce about 1/2 cup of ash. All the rest is converted to energy and combustion gases. I clean out the bottom of the ones I tested after about 10 cooks. At high temps there is very little smoke, at low temps the pellets smolder and produce superb but understated smoke flavors. Click here for more about pellets.
Another pellet smoker from industry leaders Traeger. The Lil Tex Elite is an upscaled Junior Elite, and whilst it’s still a good quality smoker and grill with a powerful burner and excellent heat output, plus all of Traeger’s usual electronic gizmos. There’s just not enough of a difference between this and the Junior Elite, especially not when you consider the increased price tag, which is disappointing.
But if you are on a budget and find yourself grilling only when you have small get-togethers, then you should go for the Traeger Pellet Grill. Traeger is one of the most popular barbecue brands on the market and will if not let you down.
Barbecuing and grilling meats to the perfect temperature, texture and doneness is a skill that is acquired over years and years of practice. There is a lot that goes into making a good BBQ than just good seasoning and fresh meat, and any pit master will agree. There are just so many aspects you have to learn how to control: the temperature, the smoke, the placement, the ratios and so on. But you are lucky that this is new of yesterdays.
Hi Jennifer, the Traeger grill you purchased should serve you well. You can see a picture of one of them installed here. I think this is the grill style you bought. One thing the sites you’ve researched (including my own article above) might not have stressed is that Traeger recently hired a new CEO and is actively working to attain the name, reputation, and reputation for quality that they once had. I’m confident should you have any problems with your unit that they will stand behind it and take care of them for you.
Only use food-grade wood pellets on your pellet grill. Never place wood chips or chunks on or around the fire pot. The fire could grow out of control, producing excessive heat that may damage vital electronics on the grill.
There’s also the fact that, because you can change fuel so easily and there’s a whole bunch of different types of pellet out there, switching out the smokey flavor or finding your favorite is as simple as throwing in a new stack of pellets.
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If you’re one of the serious barbecue enthusiasts, you would not want to leave any stone unturned to get your hands on the best of the best pellet smokers the market has to offer, in that case, you need the REC TEC Wood Pellet Smoker. The REC TEC has a large surface which takes care of all sizes of cuts, the thermostat maintains the temperature and ranges all the way from 180 F to 500 F. It has been leading the market for so long that the company now provides warranty for 6 years.
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.
The Rec Tec is a hard act to follow and it almost doesn’t seem fair comparing other pellet smokers to it, so for the purpose of this review let’s assume the Rec Tec didn’t exist or was no longer manufactured. What would we choose then?
I have a Yoder 640, I don’t think anything comes close to its quality construction and it’s ability to direct and indirect cook. I believe you buy a Yoder to buy your last grill. Built like a tank, weighs 350lbs, awesome customer service, made in KY. You can buy a China product, but in 5 to 8 years you will be back at the market. Go to a retail store and compare product quality. For it’s price, Yoder is by far the best.
The ability to cook, fish, bacon and other foods with lingering odors, outdoors with the simple push of a button will greatly expand your home menu options. Every cook in the house will enjoy the ability to bake casseroles, breads and biscuits on your REC TEC during hot summer days without heating up the kitchen.
Do not confuse a pellet grill for gas grills. Like the name suggests, a pellet grill obviously uses pellets for cooking its food. But do not doubt its competence with any other gas or convection appliances. It cooks just as well, if not better. And the secret to this are in its pellets. While pellets vary from brand to brand, the best ones have more wood and less binders like sawdust etc.
It is great when it comes to smoking meat at low temperatures, regular grilling, baking or roasting. You can have problems, though, if you want to sear your meat, it requires much higher temperatures. Sadly, a regular pellet smoker cannot reach them. In that case look around for a pellet grill that comes with an additional sear box that is gas fueled and can heat up to 900 degrees F.
Pellet Hopper – One of the reasons we all buy a pellet smoker for is the long cooking time. It’s an automated grill, but it needs to be provided with the right amount of pellets in the hopper. Those grills are used for long, often all night long meat smoking. That’s why it’s important for the pellet container to be very big. Here you get a 40 pound hopper capacity. You can be sure you won’t run out of fuel during longer cooking.
Pellet grills normally have a drip plate under the main cooking surface that allows fat drippings to flow into a catch vessel – normally a pail of some sort. Because the heat and air flow is so well-regulated in Pellet grills, you can pack it with meat and literally walk away – being assured of steady temps and very predictable outcomes.
I do have a question for you that i didn’t already find answered… How important do you feel a pellet release option is for a pellet fed BBQ? I have only found 3 models that have it; Traeger, Cabela’s Pellet Grill, and Camp Chef. It seems to me that this would almost be a must to make things easier to clean up when done smoking. What are your thoughts on the pellet release, and then your thoughts on these 3 pellet grills.
The shorter the cooking time, or the lower the temperature, the less likely you will create those chemicals that can increase the cancer risk. Processed meats like sausages or fish take much less time to cook on a pellet grill than pork or beef. However, if you don’t want to give up your favorite piece of brisket or pork shoulder, you could always part cook the meat in your oven or microwave, and finish off the cooking using your pellet grill. The effect of this is similar to marinating. The outside of the meat is sealed before it comes into contact with the smoke from our pellet grill, and thus the harmful chemicals cannot penetrate into the food.
Most old-timers will tell you that a buildup of soot and grease will improve the taste of your food. This does not prove true, in fact, it’s not good for you and can even be dangerous. At Grills Forever we want your grilling experience to represent a safe one. Therefore, before any cooking session, always clean your grill to optimize its performance and prevent any off-flavors. Check the grease pans or collectors before smoking, because the collector could be full and overflow, starting a fire. If there is a grease chute, then clean it for sure.
Hey Eric! Man, thank you for the kind words. While I don’t post every day, I do try to make what I share with you guys as informative as possible. To that end, your words mean a lot. Now, the pellet release option is a great feature to have on any pellet smoker. In cases where you don’t have one, I suggest using a small shop vac you use just for pellet removal. Works great. But the quick release chute option saves a ton of time and effort for sure. Not what I’d call a deal breaker if a pellet smoker you like doesn’t have one. However, I’d like to see it become standard on pellet smokers for sure!