Today, all serious players in the pellet smoker market have switched to digital thermostatic controllers that dictate pellet-feed commands based on a temperature sensor inside the cooking box. Just like with the oven in your kitchen, you set the desired cooking temperature, and the heating system kicks on and off to maintain that set point. An LED display shows your set temp, and most models allow you to toggle between set temp and actual temp readings from the internal thermostat. Actual temperatures will fluctuate a bit as the controller switches on and off to hover around your set temp, but many sophisticated touch-pad controllers can maintain tighter tolerances than your indoor oven. Some pellet controllers also have integrated probes that let you monitor the internal temperature of whatever you’re smoking. Wireless remote control and monitoring from your smartphone or tablet are also increasingly common. (You can learn more about pellet smokers on AmazingRibs.com.)
If you’ve ever wanted an 8-in-1 wood pellet grill that you can just “set and forget”, then this grill is the perfect unit for you. This is the most hassle-free smoker we’ve used which is why it deserves to be one of our top picks. Digitally-controlled, this smoker ignites the unit and uses a Smart Smoke Technology™ to heat it up from 160 to 450 degrees F. This pellet smoker comes with a whopping 513 square inch grilling area, plus a 2nd cooking rack! While it doesn’t have a cleanup system, its auto-shutdown feature makes it worth the value.
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.
If you like grilling outdoors, you want to reduce the time and energy you spend using traditional and classic methods of grilling in an open air. The problem with traditional grills is that you keep on manually feeding the grill with charcoal or wood. In addition, you need to stay near the grill until the food is finally cooked.
Turn it on to “Smoke” mode and use the P settings, or cook mode by selecting a temperature. When you select smoke or a temp setting you start the ignition sequence. The fan, igniter and auger motor turn on. The fan stays on until the smoker is turned off. The auger motor continuously delivers pellets to the red hot igniter rod in the firebox for two minutes under normal conditions. Then the igniter rod shuts off and the pellet fire burns with only the assistance of the auger and the fan.
We won’t include the built in thermometer as a negative, as even far more expensive units come with unreliable thermometers that can be off by as much as 10-40 degrees. Always invest in a quality thermometer setup.
Explicitly designed as a tailgate smoker with maximum portability and accessibility, the Davey Crockett does what it does really well. It’s small, but it’s so easy to move and runs off of damn near any power source, so if you want a wood pellet smoker you can take literally anywhere with maximum portability and style, this is the one. That’s why in my opinion, this is the best pellet smoker out there for the money.
Try this. Load the pellet hopper full. Vacuum out the burn pot. Put a handful of pellets in the burn pot. Replace heat shield grates, etc. Start it up and let the initial cycle run as directed. Set it to desired temp. See if it’s better.
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!
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 choosing and purchase of any item or device should be mostly favored by the preference of the buyer. A pellet smoker is not different. A buyer should pay for something that is appealing to his or her own eyes. This will make the buyer have an easy time and have appreciation while using the grill. The user though should consider other factors equally with the personal choice.
You can find a huge variety of wood pellets in all kinds of flavors online. Now that pellet grills are becoming more popular, you should also be able to find them in many big box stores, although there won’t be as many brands or varieties to choose from.
Need to keep an emergency pellet stockpile – If you’re grilling with propane or charcoal and run out half way through a 12 hour cook you can easily nip down to the store. But getting your favorite brand of pellets may require an Amazon order, or a trip to a more specialised store.
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!
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.
Pellet Grill Smackdown!
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.
Pellet grills are used not only for grilling but also in baking, smoking, roasting, and more. Nevertheless, the significance of pellet grill is to imitate how charcoal works in smoking and how gas grill regulates the temperature.
Smoke Hollow’s pellet smoker does the job, but just has nothing to define it. It’s still a good smoker, but compared to the three above, there’s no real standout reason to pick this, especially when the Camp Chef Smokepro does exactly what this does, but better.
Green Mountain Grills: This maker of top-quality wood and pellet grillers is the company spearheading the digital revolution in the pellet smoker industry like its digital controller that manages pellet flow to control internal temperature and WiFi that connects your phone to the grill, allowing you to use it to control your grill for good measure. It’s the more gimmicky of the different pellet grill makers.
The PID controller is different from other controllers in that it does not used fixed cycles. Instead it is constantly measuring the temperature of the grill and adjusts the cycle as needed. This ensures the correct cooking temperature is always maintained.
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.
While all controllers are digital and utilize algorithms, they aren’t all the same. Some are more sophisticated than others, allowing for better temperature control. Some have knobs, while others have one-touch buttons. Some allow you to set temperatures in 25°F increments, while others can be programmed in 5°F increments. Controllers also differ in how well they maintain that temperature.
Lubricate your motor and fans for optimal use. This will help your smoker to work better, longer. Note that you should not store your grill for long idle periods. Doing so can cause the structure to warp and mold to form under the grill cover, which of course can render the entire grill unusable or inefficient.
A well built pellet grill is not only more durable, but it will also perform better. When quality materials are used the grill is able to retain heat better. As a result the grill will perform in a more efficient manner no matter how hot or cold it is outside.
Wi-Fi control – Pellet grills use electronic circuit boards, which means they can feature a lot more functionalities to facilitate the outdoor experience. Wi-Fi control is already being included in pellet grills, such as in the Green Mountain Grill and Davy Crockett Pellet Grill.
Lastly, check your smoker for cleanup options. Because pellet smokers burn sawdust wood, there’s always ash residue and smoke deposit buildup inside the machine, not to mention grease runoff from the meat, and this needs regular cleaning.
They are often called grills, but, at the time of this writing, I consider them to be primarily smokers. Almost all of them cook with indirect heat and those that try to grill over direct flame don’t do it well. If you love steaks, there are far better ways to cook them. But if you love smoked turkey, ribs, salmon, pork chops, brisket, and smoked foods, a pellet smoker may be the best solution available.
I haven’t posted here before, but have been reading and finding a lot of good information on this site. I am in the market for a pellet grill so have been researching some of them listed on this site. Out of Yoder, Green Mountain, Memphis and MAK I really like price, features and looks of the Yoder YS640. I was wondering if anyone has used Louisianna pellet grills? For example, the CS680? I don’t see it mentioned much on bbq blog sites so not sure if it is a good brand. Thanks for any advice.
It’s also super easy to clean. The auto shutdown cycle keeps the system’s induction fan running for ten minutes after you shut it off which shifts ash out of the fire pot, then shuts it all down automatically when it’s done. Clearing the leftover grease is as easy as anything, too, draining out simply and easily. No spills, no mess.
Size – I mean the grilling surface here. I’m perfectly aware that a family of 2 has different needs than a family of 6. There’s no point buying a huge pellet grill for two people, as you’ll probably never use the entire cooking surface.
While this low price smoker does not come with an easy-to-clean ash cleaning system, the quality and consistency of the food you will get with is phenomenal! We cannot get enough of the ribs we cook with this smoker; they come out tender and flavorful every time!
Please know that I have in no way been paid to speak about the Memphis Grill Pro series model I tested. The company contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in trying one out. I said yes and picked up a demo model from Danielle Fence in Mulberry, FL to use over the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays.
“It’s easy—maybe a little too easy,” I told the crowd of Barbecue University students gathered around the first wood pellet grill many had seen. People nodded—we had an understanding, right? Smoking and barbecuing are supposed to be hard work. If not chopping wood, then at least breathing in charcoal dust and smoke and laboring to maintain a steady temperature during a barbecue session that could last the better part of a day. Or night. Certainly no self-respecting pit master would subscribe to a “set it and forget it” philosophy. Pellet grills are a fad, I thought to myself, that will flame out fast.
As you can see from the image of a Traeger Pellet Grill above, pellets move from a hopper (left) via an auger to a burn pot (far right). The rate at which the pellets are fed into the hopper is dictated by your Pellet grill’s thermostat. Extra fuel in the form of oxygen is blown over the burn pot to increase the burn rate and help regulate a nice, steady, and efficient burn. The lower your temp, the more smoke is created.
A great choice for small families, campers, tailgaters, RVers and for those with limited space in the garden. Holds temperature really well, consumes a small amount of pellets and has a great mobile app.
Secondly, make sure you pay attention to the controls and temperature settings. As well as a thermostat, higher quality smokers come with meat thermometers built in. As you cook, the internal temperature of your meat is going to rise, and unless you’ve got a meat thermometer, there’s no way of knowing exactly how hot it’s got. If you don’t know why this is bad, when you let food sit too hot for too long, you run the risk of drying it out. You’ll undo all of your good work, plus it just tastes bad.
Mike this is a GREAT question, and something I probably should have included in this post. Seriously, thank you for asking it. I’m going to add videos and information to the sections for smokers listed above as I find them. Check back later today and refresh the page, and I’ll have something for you then. 🙂
Hi Kevin, I think I will be moving to Florida soon and will be purchasing a smoker . I want a yoder smoker but I am wondering if the humidity level will make the yoder have all kinds of surface rust? Can I coat it with something? I like to keep things looking nice, or would I be better off with a stainless steel smoker?
Pellet smokers can be quite large, and if you don’t have the room for a unit, it can become a hassle. Always make sure to look at a unit’s weight and dimensions; this gives you a good idea of how mobile the unit is. If you’re going to be moving your unit a lot, you probably want to get a smaller unit that can be easily moved. If you plan on leaving your unit in one spot, then you need to buy a unit that is the right size; you don’t have to put as much consideration into its weight and mobility features.
Cleaning up is a huge part of the grilling experience that no one likes to think about. Take comfort in knowing this grill has a simple and easy clean out process. The grill contains a patented clean out container that simply requires you to twist and dump. No need to take apart the grill here!
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Ever thought of finding a relatively inexpensive yet functional grill? YOYO 684 Wood Pellet Grills BBQ Garden Essential YPG-700A-1 is the right one for you. This grill has been designed with a lot of care and consideration by its developers for a period of 30 years to find the best essential features that a grill should have.
Take your roasting expertise outdoors and open up a whole new world of possibilities. Our pellet grill creates the dry heat that’s perfect for roasting meals. This unique technology even creates caramelization on the food’s surface for additional flavor.
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.
Pellet grills are also special because they give you the option of playing with different types of wood, all of which give off a unique smoke and flavor. There is a great deal of variety woods available — think oak, hickory, apple, maple, cherry, mesquite, and peach. Each wood will give your food a different smoke and bite, and it’s really fun to be creative and play with different combinations. (One suggestion: Most people advise against using conifer wood such as pine and the like).
The hopper capacity is an enormous 40 pounds, which will last entire weekends without needing to be refilled, and it double feels downwards so it’s more precise and less likely to jam, like a lot of cheaper, auger based feeds. You can also use the hopper as a warming plate, another little bonus and great space saver.
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.
Many other features like its automatic control, built in meat probe etc. have made us select this smoker as no 1. And the most amazing fact is the price. In the price range (see the price here), we never thought that we could get all these features and benefits. We have used high-end smokers like Rec Tec smokers, but this Camp Chef PG24 can beat all through its performance and affordability.
We all know about Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone, but Traeger is the true pioneer of pellet smoking. This company introduced the first pellet smokers, and it remains the best-known brand, although competition is growing. There’s nothing fancy here. Instead of a touch-pad controller, Traeger employs an older-style digital dial controller. No WiFi or meat probes; just no-frills schmokin’ from the industry leader.
There are other options, KBQ for one, but I want it to look like a grill. Not a refrigerator, although I’m sure they make great Q I have narrowed my search to Pellet poopers or the Primo or Egg. The Pellet poopers will have more capacity than even the XL Primo/Egg. But are they one trick ponies? Smoking and baking. WIth limited smoke profile. I wish I could taste the Que off of one to know for sure. I got rid of my gasser because of the limited flavor it produced. Rec-Tec’s tag line is Do you cook with wood. But does it produce enough smoke flavor for most people? How do your neighbors respond to your Que? Do they like the smoke profile of the Que? Sorry for all the questions. Just trying to figure out what the next smoker will be at Mi Casa.