Our trick is to look at the frequency of positive ratings on the web for any product, this one got a really high frequency, meaning a lot of people liked it in a short amount of time. A great indicator of reliability and quality, as well as good customer service. It got 10 positive reviews in the first 18 days, 10 more in 8 days, and 10 more in the following 16 days. That’s very positive for a charcoal burner.
The bottom line? We now have several pellet grills at Barbecue University and some students love them. Of course, there are still a lot of purists (or masochists) out there who insist on burning charcoal or wood.
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.
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.
Great information! Thanks for providing it. Like others, I am about to purchase a pellet grill and I have narrowed it to the Yoder 640 and to one from Blaz’n Grill Works. My question for you concerns Blaz’n Grill; have you evaluated one of those grills/smokers?
REC TECs use what they call “smart grill technology”. A PID system (a controller that will regulate based on environment) is used to feel pellets when needed, and regulate air flow based on desired temps. This is much more useful and accurate than pellet smokers that use timers to add fuel. It also has a massive 40 lbs hopper to feed pellets. At an hour a pound on low temps, that’ll give you 40 hours of smoke.
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.
PID Controller– Proportional Integral Derivative Controller is a recent technology that many manufacturers have yet to include in their products. It helps the smoker maintain an accurate and precise temperature while cooking.
With heavy duty all terrain wheels this grill can easily be navigated in just about any outside situation. It also comes with a rust proof cover to ensure the grill is always protected no matter what the weather looks like.
Given the huge variation in price, it is important to know what you are looking for when purchasing a pellet smoker. Running through a bit of a checklist is certainly a great way to make sure you haven’t missed anything.
PID Controllers – The most sophisticated type of pellet grill controller, PID controllers use complex algorithms to achieve and maintain the desired temperature within a few degrees. They, too, feature LCD display and one-touch buttons for setting the temperature in 5° increments. However, unlike controllers that use fixed cycles, a PID controller continuously measures the grill’s temperature then adjusts its cycle, adding pellets when necessary to hold the correct cooking temperature throughout the cook. Because they’re more sophisticated, PID controllers can accommodate programmable meat probes that have the ability to automatically lower the grill’s temperature when food is done.
Rubbery skin has very little to do with the type of heat (direct vs indirect). Rubbery skin is a result of too low a cooking temperature. Take your smoker/grill or whatever you use and get the temperature in the mid 400’s or even higher and you will get crispy skin. One thing though never let the internal temperature of your bird get over 150 or you’ll have crispy skin and dry crunchy meat too. Take it off the grill and let is rest a full 30 minutes. Best bird you’ll ever eat no matter which grill, smoker, 50 gal barrel, etc you cooked it on.
If you are concerned about the shine on its exterior, always use dish soap, warm water and a scrubbing sponge to clean it. Also, avoid metal brushes or steel wool. Remove stubborn stains by scrubbing using diluted ammonia or vinegar. And you can remove the water spots using unsweetened club soda.
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.
If you have ever used a charcoal grill you know how messy they be. You constantly have to clean the ash box because of how quickly it fills up. Log burners are no better as they leave behind a lot of char.
This time it’s a suggestion to those who need to bring the pellet smoker along when going out camping. Small portable pellet grill, equipped with plenty of useful features. You can easily put it in the car with you, as it has foldable legs and is lightweight.
Generally, we’d advise you against anything “entry level” since you’re going to have a worse experience and it could turn you off of the art of smoking your foods in the first place. Something in the $500-$1000 range seems like a huge investment upfront, and frankly it is, but when you consider that you’ll have it to enjoy incredible meals for years that’ll blow the socks off all your buddies, and prove to your family that you really can cook after all, it’s a small price to pay.
Mobility – For those who spend a lot of time camping I found the right pellet grill for a decent price. I know how important it is to easily pack the grill in the car and be on the way. There’s a small choice of portable pellet smokers, but I still found what I think is the right model.
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!
Savory Herb is a blended pellet. Oak saw dust is mixed with oregano, rosemary and thyme to produce a pellet that has the distinctive odor of those herbs. It’s especially good on chicken, pork and lamb.
Prices for decent pellet grills start at around $400 and can run well over $1000. When you can get an excellent charcoal smoker like the Weber Smokey Mountain for under $300 you may be asking yourself why would you want to buy a pellet grill?
Thanks for all the great information. This article was very useful on my most recent purchase. Sorry for the long book but tends to be my style of sharing. Hope others get some use out of my lessons learned. Killing (literally, dried out, burned, inedible) a thousand dollars or so of briskets over the last 20+ years should help some save a little pain as they are stepping out.
Am considering adding a pellet grill to my fleet, have champagne taste on a beer budget. Have a smoke hollow smoker (lp) that works awesome, a cheap charbroil gril, and a holland I picked up used. Tried the holland because I got tired of flareups but it is slow, a coffee can over the stacks until it warms up helps but you don’t want to walk away from it that way. I like the idea of something you don’t have to baby sit. Any reviews on the traeger grills? I like the looks of the traeger jr, has nice features, portable and enough room for most of the things I want. Also are these grills affected by wind and do they work in cold weather? I live in ND and like to use them in the winter as long as the temp is above 10 degrees or so.
Pellet grill is a type of grill that uses wood pellets as its fuel source. The pellets are made of compressed sawdust. These wooden pellets are used to fuel the grill instead of charcoal or gas. However, the pellet grill works almost the same way as charcoal and gas grills combined.
With its Integrated Digital Elite Controller, temperature is kept constant within + / – 20 degrees Fahrenheit. It also allows for low/slow and hot/fast smoking for up to 450 degrees. Checking up on your food’s temperature is also made easy with the LED display, which clearly slows the temperature even under bright daylight.
This is in stark contrast with the likes of Traeger TFB29LZA and Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett where you have to feed their hopper loads of pellets continuously, thus taking the fun and convenience out of smoking and grilling meats. It’s also fuel efficient since its auto pellet auger dispenses pellets only when needed, so they don’t run out so easily.
I have been seriously tempted by the Copperhead vertical pellet smoker and if I ever find one on sale I will snap it up in a heartbeat. The Copperhead has MASSIVE cooking capacity and its 60 pound pellet hopper is the largest I have ever seen. It is also just a handsome looking smoker.
This is the ultimate portable grill. 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!
It is one of the few grills on the market that uses 100% natural wood pellets for fuel. That means you don’t have to worry about the toxic fumes that usually come from using gas, charcoal or propane. It also means cleanup will be a lot easier.
Hey Reid – thanks you for your question. You can use any pellet brand you like in a Traeger grill. I really like what the folks at Cookin’ Pellets bring to the table both in their 100% Hickory and their Perfect Mix blends (fruit wood/hard wood mix). Have been very pleased with them. You can check out their stuff here.
BBQ pellets are food-grade pellets made only from 100% hardwood. They contain no fillers, binders, or additives, with the possible exception of vegetable oil, which is sometimes used during the extrusion process.
We love recommending and reviewing wood pellet smoker grills, but we also want you to get the most out of them once you purchase. Without proper care and maintenance, even the best pellet smoker is bound to have a shorter lifespan. Therefore, how you use your smoker and how you maintain it after use greatly determines how long it will serve you. A little bit of work will go a long way to extending the life of your smoker. A thorough cleaning of the smoker should occur at least once a year. If you frequently use it, you should have it done at least three times a year. Buying quality pellets will extend its life as well.
This RiverGrille, on the other hand, uses 4.0 mm heavy-gauge steel construction and weighs a hefty 352 lbs. The double lid reduces heat loss on opening and the double-layer, porcelain-coated steel grates allow for heat retention with a total of 1,713 square inches of cooking space. The fire box also doubles as a grill.