A cheap cooker may save you up front, but if it starts to rust, components break down within a few short years, you don’t have a good warranty and the customer service is not up to par, you will be spending more money in the long run.
A Mainstream Product: At present, pellet grills are mainstream products, with pellet refills filling the market versus having to find timber, sticks, and charcoal to start a fire (since these pellets are made of sawdust, it’s easier for them to cast fire and completely combust into smoke with minimal residue). Old school pit masters dislike this product mostly because it’s too easy to use, like a microwave versus an oven.
Smokers come in many different sizes, and choosing the right one will help prevent you from dealing with any hassles later on. If you are single or will only be cooking for a smaller family, a smaller smoker might be a good option. If you have a large family or will be cooking for a crowd, however, you will obviously need a much larger model.
Well, to be honest, the cons are only a problem for novices. These grills are for someone who wants to perfect the craft of smoking and after some experimenting you will be grilling with the best of them. I faced the same problems too when I tried a charcoal smoker for the first time. But after some practice I was grilling with the best of them. Check out my guide on how to set up a charcoal grill for smoking in just 5 steps.
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.
Make sure the pellet you choose come with a satisfactory cleaning facility. Look out for pellet hopper spoons or shovels that are used to put in and pick out the pellets. Almost all pellet grills come with a drip pan to collect liquids drips: oils, juices, sauces from the food on the grill. Make sure it comes in a good size as well.
For the outside of the smoker, you can use hot soapy water, with a spray cleaner for any painted or stainless steel surfaces. Allow at least 24 hours after cleaning before cooking, and make sure the pellet hopper is completely dry before reloading it.
We love a kamado grill. They give such good results and look totally awesome. They are amongst the easiest grills to use, clean and operate, plus being efficient and versatile. What’s not to love? This is the best kamado grill we tested, so let’s tell you why!.
Shawn, I do not have direct experience with the Pit Boss pellet grill. The Pit Boss is made by the same company that makes the “Louisiana Grills”. The Louisiana pellet grills are their nicer models and the Pit Boss is the cheaper version designed to compete with Traeger. I don’t like the idea of buying a company’s second best product. The folks over at Amazing Ribs do have some hands on experience and wrote the following review: http://amazingribs.com/bbq_equipment_reviews_ratings/smoker/pit-boss-820-deluxe-pellet-smoker
This grill also comes with an internal temperature sensor as well as a pellet purge system, an electronic auto ignition, and shutdown recycle mode. This grill offers versatility with the 7 in 1 Barbecue Smoker Grill which gives the option of searing, grilling, smoking, braising, roasting, baking, or barbecuing food. It also has a fan forced convection cooking which removes the necessity for a rotisserie.
The cooking area is ample, at just over 700 square inches. That’s nearly 20 inches x 36 inches. At a full three feet wide, and almost two feet deep, that’s no joke. You can feed a large group, or just make yourself enough for thirds, fourths, and lunch for the next week.
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.
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.
While the ability to smoke and grill is typical of any kamado, the Weber Summit Charcoal has some unique features, starting with a quick-start gas ignition that lights charcoal in about 6 minutes and gets you up to temp and cooking in about 15 minutes, a fraction of the time it takes with most kamado grills. It also features a hinged stainless steel diffuser plate, which makes it easy to add wood or charcoal mid-cook. As a testament to its dual role as smoker-grill combo, the Summit Charcoal’s fuel grate has 2 settings, allowing you to lower the coals for smoking or raise them closer to food when grilling.
Since two of those marvelous vents are on the bottom, however, without any real catch trays or containment measures, you’ll be dealing with a lot of loose ash to clean up. Cleaning the inside is even more of a chore. The other issue, of course, is size. This product simply isn’t large enough to handle big cuts of meat, and it can’t compete with many other smokers when it comes to scale.
SEAR BOX – 16,000 BTU stainless steel burner can heat up all the way to 900 degrees F. The burner runs on propane and has a separate automatic ignition. Great feature that makes this grill stand out among other pellet grills at this price. Great for finishing cooking our food.
Every single review we’ve made so far is from a first-hand experience. So, you can trust that our reviews will be the real deal. If we fall in love with a smoker grill, we can’t wait to tell everyone about it. If we find a grill falls short, then we will warn you about that too.
Pellets look like rabbit chow. They are about the width of a pencil and as long as a couple of erasers. If they get wet they turn into a pile of sawdust. The beauty of pellets is that they have none of the additives and fillers in charcoal briquets, so they combust almost completely. Almost zero ash. The pellets provide the heat as well as flavor. No need to add wood chips. Surprisingly, they do not produce overly smoky food. If anything, the food is undersmoked to some people because the combustion is so complete.
This is really a good smoking equipment that you can opt for amongst the various wood pellet grills in the market today. It features an automatic heating which means all you will have to do is simply press a button and the grill will heat up to the desired temperature on its own. The good thing is that once the grill achieves the desired temperature it maintains throughout the cooking session. The other impressive feature that you will like with pellet smoker is the fact that its flower pot has got a blower fan with a heat deflector to help prevent hot spots on the meat that is being cooked.
A quality pellet grill is built to last and will provide years of reliable performance. Bargain pellet grills not only lack the capabilities of better grills, they’re more likely to break down. No matter your price range, look for a pellet grill that’s built well and offers consistent performance. Fortunately, if price is a major consideration, there are quality pellet grills for under $500, as well as high-end pellet grills for under $1,000.
When looking at a pellet grill also consider the material its made from. A majority of pellet grills on the market are made from painted steel. However, the quality of that steel and the paint can vary. A good high-temp powder coat paint can stand up to high heat without blistering or flaking. This is essential, because once the steel is exposed, it will rust. Even if the grill body is painted well, you have to look inside. The fire pot and diffuser plate have the potential to corrode and are two of the most common parts that need replacing. With some painted steel grills, such as Traegers®, you can can upgrade the grill and hopper lids to stainless steel, as well as the firepot, diffuser, and drip pan.
For example, it has a decent 570 sq. in. of cooking area, a patented ash cleanout service, endless versatility (wherein you can barbecue, braise, roast, bake, smoke, and grill to your heart’s delight), and an advanced digital control (the same one that allowed the Camp Chef SmokePro to take the top spot). However, the quality control for this unit is a little worse than SmokePro.
Hey Tom – I really like two books for pellet smoking. Project Smoke by Steven Raichlen as a good overall book on smoked BBQ preparation and The Complete Wood Pellet Barbeque Cookbook by Bob Devon for a mix of smoking and grilling.
This was a great article and so glad I found it. I have been looking at pellet grills for a year now since I am not very happy with my electric smoker and want something that creates a more authentic smoke ring and taste.
Cleaning and Maintenance: Any individual who’s taken a stab at cleaning a pellet grill before sees exactly that it is so hard to get all the ash out after use. This unit gives you a less demanding access to the burn pot. It also includes a trap door which permits you to clean the unit without digging through the ashes and oil. Cleaning the unit is by and large significantly less demanding when compared with the normal charcoal grills.
It’s still a great pellet smoker and it manages to get to a sizzling 500°F pretty darn quickly. We also had one of the tastiest meals from this grill. We can’t say (or verify) if it was because of the Pit Boss or if we had managed to get our hands on the best meat purchases, like ever!
What’s more, it has an LED display with a Digital Elite Controller for temperature control. Judging by its ratings, unlike the other grills on this list, its temperature and quality controls work just fine. This grill also has an electronic auto-start ignition and easy-to-clean grill gates to boot. Its quality control isn’t perfect though, and some faulty units slipped through the cracks.
The lovely smoky taste, however, comes from wood, and very few smokers are actually wood-fueled, so there are other features that go into core performance. Automatic feeders demanded some scrutiny. If they’re linked to a digital heat control, they may feed to quickly or too slowly. Side burners require the same consideration. The right amount of smoke creates a delicate flavor, but too much can leave your meal tasting like you rescued it from a forest fire.