Many new developments are underway and soon will be released in the market. However, some are already with us! So here are some of the biggest things to look forward to while buying your next pellet smoker.
The Primo Oval is a ceramic kamado style grill that doubles as a smoker. Its versatility lands it with a spot here in best smokers, as well as top choice for a kamado on our best grills list. What sets this Primo apart from other ceramic cookers is its oval shape, giving it more grill space and better two-zone cooking.
All of this is run on electricity, which more than one professional Pellet Head BBQ pitmaster will tell you is of premium importance during competitions – and is not always easy to come by! Let’s continue with some Pellet Grill Reviews 101 and talk about heat delivery.
Add-ons: Manufacturers often offer a variety of add-ons. Check what features come standard, and what are add-ons at extra cost. Some add-ons are offered by companies independent of the manufacturer. If a feature is important to you, but is not a standard feature of your particular cooker, make sure it is available as an add-on before you buy the cooker.
Some pellet grills even come with a thermostat so that you can actually set the instrument on the exact temperature you desire. It’s an obvious plus when compared to charcoal and propane cooking which can sometimes uneven and unpredictable heat. Nothing is worse than serving one of your guests an overdone steak and the other a barely cooked steak, especially when all you want to do is enjoy your company and have a relaxing night.
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.
What are your thoughts about the Kalamazoo hybrid grills? From what I’ve found online, you have the choice of gas, charcoal and wood for cooking or combinations of all. I have no first hand experience with Kalamazoo but it seems very versatile? At the moment after a month of researching, I’m leaning towards a Mac/Yoder or a Webber spirit & egg or a Memphis….so in other words, I’m no closer to a decision than when I started. I currently have a 9 yr old treager that won’t break, seriously, I’ve only repainted once with rustolium….dang thing won’t break so I can get a new toy. I sear in a skillet in the kitchen. My treager has the smoke/med/high switch and I want more control, I’ve maxed what I can do and it’s a challenge in cold weather and wind but it was a great start when they were made to last, more than got my money’s worth. I cook at all levels from smoking to grilling. I do love pellets and don’t want an egg but enjoy the food as much as the process of preparing it. Ok probably to much info but money aside, will you list your recommendations of what you think is best for me?
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.
Kamados are easy to light and get working, they are as simple as a grill can get. This simplicity can be a downside sometimes, and the generally smaller grilling space is less than what a lot of people want. For a small, efficient grill for a garden or yard, a kamado is hard to beat. Plus, they look great and produce fabulous tasting meat.
This is a serious pellet smoker for the serious smoked food enthusiast. Standing tall among the more expensive alternatives, this Camp Chef PG24 combines a rare set of attributes: solid construction, capability and value. It will give seriously good smoked meat or vegetables to anyone who wants to spend a minute or two getting to grips with the intuitive design. It is not cheap, but it is not expensive either. It is good value.
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.
Just as there is GAD, guitar acquisition disorder, there is SAD, Smoker acquisition disorder. I say that because I have a Big Green Egg, a Pit Barrel Grill and I’m looking at these pellet poopers. I also have a small army of guitars. But the wife doesn’t have to know any of this. Best of luck.
The construction and the elements – REC TEC Pellet grill are an investment for years, safe from corroding. Most of competitive grills look pretty on the outside and the manufacturers claim they are made of stainless steel. The truth is, only the outside part of the grill is stainless. The steel on the inside is different, and major parts are made of materials of poorer quality.
This durable aluminum grill excels at fast and slow cooking. It features very few amenities and works as a simple, lightweight option for traveling users with smoking expertise. Best of all, it’s guaranteed not to rust, and it comes with a ten year warranty to back that up.
I have put together the best pellet grill review of the top 10 pellet grills in the market today. Mind that this list was not just put together in a jiffy; all the names in this list have been carefully picked and chosen through strict inspection on performance, ratings and consumer preferences. Let’s take a look at the pellet grill review I have for you:
I’ve got a 40lb bag of Pit Boss competition blend ready to go for the summer. Cost $22 from Amazon after shipping! I’ve only used Todd’s pellets to date so I cant talk about which one is best, but I was happy with the pellets. I’m looking forward to seeing how the Pit Boss ones light/burn.
In addition, the Davy Crockett Pellet Grill comes with multiple accessories. These include a meat probe, peaked lid (which is useful for large fowls and stand-up chickens), rib racks, a convenience tray as well as utensil hooks. This takes away the trouble of having to order additional parts for modification.
They have great insulation, not only for cold weather cooking but to conserve fuel energy. Using its removable diffuser plate, you can get down to 180f for low and slow, or remove the plate and use the Primo as a high-temperature grill, which can get as high as 800f for amazing steak sears or even cooking pizza.
While you should never leave a smoker entirely unattended, digital smokers are well known for their comparative ease of use. Instead of setting up a lawn chair next to your smoker and getting comfortable with a beer, you can actually go about your daily life. Digital smokers are not as temperamental as traditional smokers, and they’re much safer since they don’t technically use an open flame. Not everyone likes these smokers, and a lot of great cooks take pride in their traditional BBQ smoker handling skills. It really is a skill, too. Keeping the perfect temperature and smoke consistency requires lots of checking and a thorough understanding of how your chosen fuel, wood, smoker, and food behave. If you want to master the skill of operating a smoker, your best choice is a traditional charcoal or gas smoker. On the other hand, if you’re only interested in the food itself, and you don’t feel like investing that much time into your meal, a digital smoker would be perfect.
It uses a porcelain enameled exterior with a heat-resistant nylon handle for safety. An aluminum vent and fuel door protect against rust on these vulnerable points. Two cooking plates work in tandem with a porcelain coated water plate, which allows steam to tenderize meat as you smoke.
Electricity causes the auger to start pushing pellets into your burn pot and begins to heat up the glow rod until it’s red-hot, which in turn ignites the pellets in the burn pot. Air is pushed into the burn pot via the holes you see around it – allowing for a maximum efficiency burn.
Many people are intimidated by the idea of buying and using a smoker, but it’s actually quite easy. By following this guide, you can find the model that is right for you. Then, you’ll find that it is basically as simple as using a grill but can produce a totally unique and wonderful flavor. Smoking meat is a healthy way of preparing food, and it’s super easy. First, however, you will need to find the smoker that has the best features for you and what you’re after when cooking up meat outdoors.
Kevin, appreciate your reviews and insights. I am currently looking for my first pellet cooker which will be primarily used for camping, therefore I will likely purchase a portable unit. Your review on the GMG Davy Crocket answered some questions for me. I was initially contemplating the Traeger Junior Elite and GMG Davy Crocket, but after doing some homework I’m now considering the Rec Tec Mini as well. I can purchase the Traeger and GMG now for $350 and the Rec Tec for $500. My dilemma is that I (like many others) take very good care of my gear/equipment, so whatever I purchase, I expect to get a great deal of use out of. With that said, making the wrong decision could be a 7-10 year mistake. There are aspects of each that I like, I guess my question is whether spending another $150 on the Rec Tec, in your opinion, would be worth it to you? I understand if you would rather stay away from specific recommendations, and if that is the case, any other thoughts you have would be appreciated.
Pellets are made from different woods, each of which imparts a distinctive flavor to the meat. Hickory, oak, maple, alder, apple, cherry, hazelnut, peach, and mesquite are among the flavors available. For more about pellets, read my article, The Science of Wood. There is a pretty good forum for people who have pellet cookers at PelletSmoking.com and of course our Pitmaster Club has a lively discussion on them with many active users.
I noticed a question on the use of pellet grills in cold weather… living in Minnesota we have an abundance of cold weather. The warm up takes a bit longer but once the grill is going the upper temp ranges seem to hold true. In below zero temps. I throw an asbestos blanket over the grill to save on pellets.
Mine worked good for only 3 years, then the circuit board in the unit failed. The dealer referred me to the manufacturer. The manufacturer said I was out of luck do to the 2 yr warranty and said it would cost me $130.. I will not buy anything made by GMG again!
The Pit Boss Grills 340 Wood Pellet Grill is a great grill with dial-in digital control and led read-out. Pellets are 100% natural hardwood. This grill has got an automatic start and cool down. It’s heavy duty with 16 gauge steel construction. It’s easy to assemble. It’s a little expensive. However, other grills are more expensive and seeing that I would recommend this to anyone.
If you’re looking for the best smoker grill in this price range then it is obvious that you have a lot of love for gourmet (with plenty of cash to spare!). In this range, you can get the best of all the 4 types of smoker grills with capacities that can help you feed 10 to 15 people with ease. This range will give you some of the most high-quality smokers.
The mini porcelain enamelled water pan produces steam to add to the smoke during the long process of curing. This keeps the meat moist and absorbing beautiful flavors. This is the only product from our list that offers this great feature.
The flame broiler is an absolute fan favorite. It allows you to directly or indirectly cook while adding a great deal of flavor back into the foods you are preparing. And don’t worry, this grill will channel all the excess grease so you don’t have to.
It lowers its temperature by 5° Fahrenheit Increments by lowering the feed rate of the pellets and raises the temp by increasing the feed rate. As for thermostatically controlled grills, the thermostat cycles heat on and off like with the refrigerator as required by your given setting. Some digital temperature controls are so advanced they even include a WiFi setting.
Barbecue was not his first career. He earned a BA from Columbia College in Chicago and studied at the Cleveland Institute of Art and the Dana School of Music. He has been involved in every aspect of film, video and music production. He edited the 1991 Academy Award nominated documentary, “The Mark of the Maker” and “Universal Hotel”, which is part of a permanent exhibit at the Dachau Memorial Museum.
Hi John, I believe the information in this article to be current still. The only addition I’d make and probably should make is to put GMG and Traeger in as being comparable with Rec-Tec. Traeger specifically has been coming back with a vengeance of late with their Pro Series models.
If you do not already have a grill but would like a smoker that has one then you can go for a grill-smoker combo. The downside of it is that it will cost you some extra money. It might cause some problems if you are on a tight budget.
Sharp-eyed readers may note that there are no electric smokers on the list. We know owners of electrics are rabid in their devotion, that electrics are easy to use, and that the food they make is very good, but they get their heat from glowing metal elements and we think the flavor is less exciting than devices that get heat from combustion of charcoal, wood, or gas.
Using accurate digital thermometers to monitor cooking and internal meat temperatures is essential to being all that you can be in the backyard. Unlike the caveman-era heat estimators built into the lids of most grills and smokers, modern pellet smoker LED displays will give you the real story of what’s happening in your smoker. Of course, if your smoker doesn’t come with a dual-display system that monitors both cooking and meat temps, you’ll still need an accurate digital meat thermometer.