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Costs more to get a reliable unit compared to other types of smoker – You can pick up excellent charcoal, gas or electric smokers between $200-$500 while a good pellet will run you between $400-$1000+
Camp Chef: Camp Chef is the company that perfected the pellet grill formula that Traeger made up, hence its introduction of an effective pellet auger that dispenses pellets only when needed and a large capacity hopper that reduces the need for pellet refills (that people find really annoying). It’s economical in terms of fuel rationing even though the griller itself is quite expensive.
Kevin, your recommendation rocked. The Pro is one of the best pieces of grilling and smoking iron I have had my hands on in a long time! Better than the Backwoods? Well depends on how much work you want to do! Maybe not, they are first class, but ease of use? I use the Backwoods a couple times a year, the Pro has already done 8 cooks in 5 weeks. Love it.
One option is to put a griddle or a frying pan on the grill, high heat, get it blistering hot, add just a little oil to prevent stickling, and sear by conduction on the metal. It should only take two to three minutes per side. This is a good technique for reverse seared meats. You start them indirect, low and slow, with a little smoke, and then Maillard the outside in a hot pan or on a griddle. No, it’s not cheating. It’s making food better.
If you live in an area where wood furnaces are used (not like down here in FL where a few heat strips will do the trick), you may also be familiar with pellet furnaces. In short, pellets compressed from sawdust and wood shavings fill a hopper and are then fed into a burn pot using an electric auger system. The auger, which is basically a long screw, delivers pellets to the burn pot based on the speed dictated by the unit’s thermostat.
This black porcelain enamel coated barrel is a straightforward vertical smoker. It comes with a number of additional tools and hooks that help users grill or smoke essentially any kind of meat or other food.
No gas, propane or charcoal used here. This smoker uses 100% natural cooking-grade wood pellets. You won’t have to worry — the wood pellets don’t contain any fillers, adders, scents or adhesives. This delivers that authentic smoky flavor without risking your health.
Number two when cooking with charcoal (yes plain Kingsford is good stuff if you do it right, a lot of the cheaper brick and cheaper lump can put some weird twangs in your food) brick or lump can produce quality high temp steaks or slow & low bbq! To add some nice flavor add some wood, but do your homework! I think Clark ‘Smokey’ Hale has one of the best books ever for the grill and Q master, “The Great American Manual on Grilling and BBQ or something like that. Last I saw you can grab a used one on Amazon for a few cents and some shipping. The most prolific thing I read in there that so many miss, is burn your wood and your charcoal to where it is literally a coal of gray ash covered glowing ember. Do that and you will find a new flavor in your cooking! Problem is so many places think heavy smoke is great, as they are trying to imitate cold smoke flavors! They are not the same! All this talk I see here about, “I want heavy smoke flavor.” I can tell you if you burn your wood and your charcoal (and I feel even lump needs to be well on it’s way to gray ash covered or you get bitter smoke even though many say not necessary) to a red ember with gray ash covering 80 to 90% minimum preferably completely covered your flavor profile will change. Many supposedly good bbq restaurants I have been in serve something with a bitter or ash flavor, which I find much less enjoyable.
This pellet smoker and its humongous 20 inches by 15 inches or 300 square inches of grilling space is capable of holding 3 rib racks, 18 hotdogs, 4 chickens, or 12 burgers at the same time. This is also one of the most Affordable pellet smokers around. Its thermostat control is LED digital so that you can set it as easily as your microwave. Just press buttons and get the setting you want every time.
Since we are barbecuing experts, our top pick will definitely be a pellet smoker that is appropriate for almost everyone looking for a pellet grill. Camp Chef PG24 Pellet Grill and Smoker BBQ is built to help the outdoor cooking buffs take their backyard cooking venture to a whole new level.
We know choosing a smoker can feel daunting, but take the time to read through the advice we’ve included and familiarize yourself with the features of the grills above. Consider your budget, and the features that you really need, and then go get the grill that works best for you. If you take our advice, we’re sure you’ll find the perfect unit at the price you’re expecting. Enjoy the back yard, and throw an extra rack of ribs on for us!
This little smoker is just right for people who want small capacity and/or need a compact device for their condo patios. Many of our readers who already have other outdoor cookers like to add Davy Crockett to their lineup, especially if they have everything but a pellet smoker.
If you prefer the convenience of gas and don’t feel like messing around with charcoal, you might opt for a gas smoker. Gas smokers use gas to heat the wood chips that you add to the appliance in order to produce smoke. The downside is that you do have to buy gas for the device, which can get costly. You can’t really beat the convenience of one of these types of smokers, however, and you will be able to use it even when you don’t have access to an electric outlet. You can even bring these camping and to outdoor events without a concern for electric outlets or bringing along a lot of charcoal or pellets.
The Masterbuilt 20075315 Front Controller Smoker is Our Top Electric Smoker Pick because it combines the tremendous features and remarkable performance of a more expensive smoker but at a very low price. Not only is it affordable, it is a “set and forget” smoker grill that competes with much more expensive rivals.
Despite its steel body, the Summit Charcoal performs every bit as well as a ceramic kamado. The air insulated double-walled construction retains heat as well as a ceramic kamado, allowing it to hold a steady low temperature for smoking BBQ and easily reach 800°F for high-heat grilling. Better yet, it cools down quickly, giving you the ability to go from grilling to smoking in about 45 minutes. That’s unheard of on a ceramic kamado, which takes several hours to cool.
Pellet smokers are chosen by most home chefs because they use a unique system to indirectly cook all of their favorite meats. When you turn a pellet smoker on, you activate its igniter rod, and the rod starts to feed wood pellets into the unit’s firebox. This creates the smoke that you need to cook your favorite foods; it does this automatically, so you don’t have to spend time messing around with charcoal, wood or temperature settings.
The Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett smoker lets you get more than what you paid for. At a surprisingly low price, you get to have tons of great features that are sure to elevate your BBQ experience. For its price, we were quite surprised to see that it satisfied most of the features on our list. We tested over fifty products, and even the expensive ones were no match for this product.
Remember that the most important thing in those pellet grills is to maintain a fixed temperature. It’s a necessary condition for peaceful cooking. Such grill will easily let you smoke meat for many hours without the risk of burning it in an uncontrolled too high temperature.
Hey DS – You’re dead on correct re: Grilling vs. Smoking. Most to nearly all Pellet Smokers are used as “smokers” in the truest sense. Louisiana Pellet Smokers boast a direct fire feature for grilling, as do Yoder smokers. However, I’m with you in that a grill is a grill and a smoker is a smoker. GMGs are very popular down here on the FBA circuit. However, most folks do find that they don’t produce the amount of smoke preferred for competition meats (which, in truth is a complaint about many pellet smokers). This is why stick burners and “some” gravity feds get a boost in rep among competition cook teams. That said, I do see folks happily using pellet smokers, and some win with them. One “trick” I see used now and again to boost the smoke output on a pellet smoker is to use one of those smoke tubes… like the A-maze-n Tube Smoker. Thanks for your comment, and for stopping by to read this blog post! – Kevin
Avoid flames. – Your food should be cooked from smoke and indirect heat, not a flame. If you notice that your smoker is flaming up, you can spray the flames down with your water hose or adjust your racks so that the flames aren’t touching your food.
The first thing that you need to look at when buying a pellet smoker is your budget. There are tons of different models on the market, and they all come with various accessories. If you’re looking to spend a lot of money, then you can buy a unit that comes with tons of bells and whistles, but if you’re like most people, you are better off buying a decently priced unit that cooks well.
I wrote up an extensive review of this Grilla model here. You can also listen to a podcast episode I did with Shane Draper and Mark Graham of Grilla Grills as well. (Click here for the podcast episode and show notes.)
We’ve long been advocates for pellet smokers and last year they finally started gaining significant ground. Of all the great smoker designs available, pellet smokers are easiest to use because they are thermostatically controlled just like your indoor kitchen stove. You just select a cooking temperature and a controller maintains it by feeding wood pellets to a fire pot as needed. Many now have WiFi capability that enables you to monitor and control your smoker from a smart phone, tablet, or computer. Price is still an issue that holds sales of pellet smokers back. They use electronics, motors and fans and just plain cost more to make than many other designs. But as popularity increases, so does competition and you now have more choices in designs, sizes, features and price ranges. Our list includes two excellent and innovative pellet smokers by Camp Chef and MAK. Both companies offer advanced features and Camp Chef just introduced an optional Sear Box that produces searing temps better than many gas grills.
If the one pound bag says Hickory, there’s only hickory in the bag! That’s true of the other eleven pure flavorwood types as well. With Mesquite, Apple, Cherry, Sugar Maple, Oak, Pecan, Orange, Sassafras, Mulberry and Black Walnut, there’s a flavor for every food and every palate!
Hey Pete, first thanks for your kind words. Traeger pellet grills fell off a bit quality wise over the past several years. That said, they’ve hired a new CEO – formerly from the Skull Candy Head Phone company – who brought that company’s valuation up considerably. I see them making moves to get back to their roots… aligning themselves with some of the more well known names in BBQ again. From a build quality, they’re making solid pellet grill bodies using fairly heavy steel. The area I’d like to see them improve on is the controllers they use. Right now, GMG is making great strides in claiming some of the entry level pellet smoker market share away from Traeger. This is due to a superior PID controller, advances in built in Wi-Fi monitoring, and outstanding customer service.

Traeger Smoker – Buyer beware. My Traeger stopped working both times I’ve used it. It just stops after about 2 hours. Traeger’s response is their pillory is they don’t make refunds. The nearest service is 3 hours away and it’s just too far for them. They said the solution to it stopping is for me to partially disassemble it when it stops and vacuum out the burner pot. They said they would talk me through some troubleshooting. They offered to send me replacement parts but said they don’t think it will help. I can’t return it, they can’t determine a fix for it. I’m supposed to just eat the $830 cost for a smoker that doesn’t work.
The PBC has a rabid cult following for good reason. It is absolutely positively without a doubt the best bargain on a smoker in the world. Period. This baby will cook circles around the cheap offset sideways barrel smokers in the hardware stores because temperature control is so much easier. Best of all, it is only $299 delivered to your door!
The lid is the same excellent coated and enameled heavy gauge steel, and the charcoal bin to the right will keep your charcoal dry and light-ready. It’s not uncommon to hear the complaint that there’s always half a bag of charcoal left after every grilling session and there’s no where to store it. Weber heard the complaints and has made a really nice model to deal with it.

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