Users love the way that they can cook in a variety of ways with the Z-Grills Wood Pellet Grill. They also feel happy that they don’t have to mind their cooking time and again because of its automatic Smart Smoke Technology. Everyone agreed that taking this grill anywhere to cook is easy with its easy to transport design.
Like the Z GRILLS Wood Pellet Smoker, the REC TEC Grills Mini Portable Pellet Grill is capable of going up or down by 5° Fahrenheit increments, leading it to heat up from 180° Fahrenheit to 550° Fahrenheit. At full power, it can reach a temperature of 600° Fahrenheit. The mini size is enough to fit in a turkey or maybe three slabs of ribs, so that’s portability without sacrificing quality and capacity too much.
A good pellet grill will grill, roast, and smoke. A wood pellet is a small, 1/4 inch diameter piece of hardwood and looks like a long pill. Because of their small size, wood pellets burn cleanly and quickly to a fine ash.
Here’s my long term review of the GMG Daniel Boone grill purchased in Nov of 2010, about six and a half years ago. My model has the stainless steel lid. Assembly was straight forward and only required attaching the legs and folding side table as I recall. Operation was straight forward and the grill heated quickly to any desired temperature from 180 to 500 degrees usually in ten minutes or less. The temperature was maintained consistently within +5/-5 degrees as long as the hopper had pellets. This grill was truly a dream to cook with which we did 3 – 4 times a week from March through October. That is the good part.
A pellet grill on the other hand can handle just about any cooking job you throw its way. And the best part is of course the flavor. With a pellet grill your food will get that real wood flavor. And if you want to switch things up a bit you can throw in some applewood pellets, hickory pellets, pecan pellets and classic adler pellets just to name a few.
The digital PID controller gives you extremely accurate temperatures and control. While this unit doesn’t come with an integrated meat thermometer, we actually consider that a plus because if you’re spending this much on a smoker you are definitely going to want to invest in a good wireless thermometer
I am currently using a Bradley Smoker, which is basically an electric oven with a smoke generator that makes tons of smoke, using special Bradley Smoker pucks (of compressed saw dust). A tall cylinder hold a stack of pucks, and the smoke generator pops a new puck into the oven every 20 minutes or so (when the pucks are about 80% burned). Managing temps is not as difficult as a stick burner, but nothing like advertised with these pellet burners (like the Rec Tec).
The tradeoff here is that if you want to cook longer racks of ribs on the 30″, you have to lay them diagonally or cut them. They’ll still fit two uncut racks of baby backs per level, though, so it’s not as bad as it sounds. They’ll also fit Boston butts or other large cuts of meat, and the four levels of cooking grates will allow you to fit a great variety of food simultaneously. Just don’t expect to cook any huge briskets.
There’s (almost) nothing more satisfying than smoking meat. You start with something raw and bland, and you end up with a work of art, delicious and tender. Sitting down at a table with buddies, beer, and plates full of smoked steaks and brats…chewing on rib bones while you watch the Superbowl…these moments are why smoking meat is worth every second of research and labor we put into it. We want those moments to be the best, and the flavor of what we serve makes all the difference.
Thanks to Smart Smoke Technology you can set it, forget it and go take care of something else while the grill does all the work. The digital temperature controls and automatic auger will feed premium hardwood pellets into the grill so the temperature always remains just right without any assistance from you.
Low Medium High Controller: This is a stupid, brute force controller that only knows how to feed pellets at three different rates. These controllers suck. None of the grills in this article utilize this type of controller.
** Memphis Wood Fire Grills: Stylish design, sophisticated electronics, and great thermodynamics. This is one of the few pellet grills that lets you remove the top of the burn chamber so you can direct grill over a wood pellet fire.
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.
Summer has almost come around again and I am excited for the first night, where the air is still warm and the sky is clear. The sound of friends laughing and joking mingle in the air with the smell of the promise of a perfect meal. Thanks to the King of Pellet Smoker Grills, my summer is going to rock.
The Traeger Pellet grill can accommodate temperatures from 180 degrees to 375 degrees, and high. It has a state of the art digital temperature control system that not only monitors the temperature to keep it consistent and even, but also regulates the pellets the auger feeds to the fire according to that temperature. This is truly a grill worthy of a place in our pellet grill review.
Yoder Smokers: Well-known in competition barbecue circles, Yoder sells three models of pellet smokers, ranging from $1100 for the YS480 to $3600 for the trailer-mounted YS1500. (Numbers in the product ID refer to the square inches of cooking space.)
You may have noticed a growing presence of inexpensive smokers at your hardware store. Some cheap smokers can cause disappointment and even outright exasperation. Beware, but don’t be deterred! You can get good smokers that are easy to use and produce excellent results for reasonable prices. You’ve just got to know what to look for. Let us help.
Honestly, it solely depends on what type of upgrade you need. If you do not get the desired amount of smoke, you need then check your induction fan. Maybe it does not function properly and changing one will cost you around $30 – $40, problem solved.
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.
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.
Hi Gail, barring any differences that I’m not able to see per the specs for the Pit Boss 820 that differ greatly from a Traeger Pro model. In fact, it looks like they’re using the Traeger body… which anyone can use via sites that sell them from China. Heavy construction, most likely a good cooker.
They might have lost a few followers along the way, what with newer, sleeker models available but Traeger’s still popular thanks to their marketing and distribution. You can find Traeger pellet grills everywhere.
Control boards with inputs for meat probes – Some pellet grill controllers have outputs for meat probes. You just plug one end into the control board and insert the other into the meat. At a glance, you can track the internal temperature of your food on the digital display without opening the lid.
Made in the USA of 304 stainless steel formed into a charcoal basket with a built-in water reservoir, it corrals your charcoal on one side creating two distinct temperature zones. On the indirect convection heat side you can bake, roast, and even hold low and slow smoking temps overnight. On the direct radiant heat side over the charcoal, Slow ‘N Sear creates a searing zone that rivals steakhouse temps. It creates the hottest sear zone we’ve ever tested on any grill. Click here to learn more about the Slow ‘N Sear and for links to buy.
The MAK 1 Star General boasts our favorite digital controller: It’s highly programmable and easily accessed via the internet from anywhere in the world. Made entirely in the USA, the 1 Star General is solid-feeling, with a heavy-duty powder coat. The hood is a rolltop, meaning that, unlike a lot of its competitors, the 1 Star doesn’t need much rear clearance, and there’s plenty of room inside. The 1 Star includes a 214-square-inch slide-in upper rack, and an additional rack is offered as an option. Our only criticism: Not only is it built like a tank, it kinda looks like one, too.
No surprises this was Our Top Pellet Smoker Pick. Portable, powerful, advanced and easy to use. And that’s without mentioning the consistent grilling temperature, the controls and the automatic pellet feed. Clear winner for not much money.
Note: more pellet grill reviews will be published soon but all our favorites have been listed above. Read below for some elite pellet grill reviews, portable pellet grill reviews and our list of pellet grill deals and packages.
Some users have remarked that it goes through pellets faster than other units, which is certainly influenced by the size. If you’re not cooking a lot at once, one of the smaller units on this list would be a lot more economical.
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.
Arguably the best value overall, it’s a great middle-point between both of the best pellet grills we’ve featured thus far. It’s not overkill, but it’s got plenty of room and some very useful features.
“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.
For sure MAK does a fantastic job blending stainless steel fabrication with precision design and craftsmanship. Their temperature control system (called “The Pellet Boss”) is hands down the best in the business, according to Meat Head over at AmazingRibs.com. Hey, if Meat Head says it’s so… then it’s so!
As time passed, a thermostat was added to the equation, and the production BBQ smokers fueled by pellets working in “set it and forget it” fashion was in full force. From this point, several manufacturers of pellet grills began to pop up, with a few key names like Yoder Smokers, Mak Grills, Green Mountain Grills, and Fast Eddy’s Cookshack grills being among the most notable.
Multi-position Controller – A step up from 3-position controllers, multi-position controllers feature a knob with temperature settings that go from 180°F to 420°F in 25° increments and may have an LCD display. In addition to more settings, these controllers offer more temperature control. However, they also run on fixed cycles and can only maintain about +/-20°F in ideal conditions—in cold windy weather they are less accurate and reliable. Some versions of these controllers have inputs for meat probes that can monitor food temperatures.
I use a home depot bucket head shop vac top (under $30.00) and home depot buckets for quick removal and storage of pellets. It works great. I have different buckets for different pellets and just move the bucket head to the bucket I need to use. Cheap, easy and works well.
It is definitely something different than an electric, gas or charcoal grill. If you prefer gas grills click here to see buyers guide for gas grills or if you love charcoal smoke flavor, check out my buyers guide for charcoal grills.
Today, there is no general disadvantage that is present among all pellet grills. Each model or brand has its pros and cons. There are a lot of different pellet grill manufacturers in the market today, including some cheap Chinese ones that you should steer clear from.
love your article and got lots of good info from it….i do have a question tho that i didnt see an answer to…..do pellet grills have to use just pellets?….i have 3 acres full of oak branches that could be shredded. my question is can a pellet grill use home shredded wood chips to burn and cook with or is it mandatory that the fuel be in the pellet state?….would be great if i could find a good use for all these fallen branches….
A good digital thermometer keeps you from serving dry overcooked food or dangerously undercooked food. They are much faster and much more accurate than dial thermometers. The Thermopop (above) is about $30. The Thermapen (below), the Ferrari of instant reads, is about $99.
Thanks to beefy American Made construction and a full-length internal damper, smoking and grilling aren’t an either-or situation—you can do both at once on the Open Range. It retains heat so well that you can shut the damper mid-cook and grill steaks over the coals without losing valuable heat from the smoking chamber. Actually, the Open Range controls heat so well that when customers ask about using an automatic temperature controller on it, we tell them it’s not necessary.
A: You should always bear in mind that temperature control is a crucial component to look for before purchasing a BBQ smoker. Temperature control allows you to provide food that is not over-cooked or under-cooked. However, the issue with many smokers is that they do not include thermostats. Electric smokers offer thermostats and are a perfect choice when it comes to smoking fish and a few other foods. However, electric smokers do not provide the authentic BBQ flavor for smoked meats. Gas smokers are also a great choice when it comes to temperature control. However, these also do not provide the authentic BBQ taste that many people may look for. But they are still a great choice especially if you are on a budget. Some charcoal and wood burner smokers offer a thermostatically operated blower that regulates the oxygen supply to fire boxes.
The Rec Tec is a hard act to follow and it almost doesn’t seem fair comparing other pellet smokers to it, so for the purpose of this review let’s assume the Rec Tec didn’t exist or was no longer manufactured. What would we choose then?
This is a fantastic grill for the money that’s dependable for outdoor cooking and smoking (hence its name, “Camp Chef”). It’s not quite 9.9/10 that is the Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill got, but it has more than enough features and benefits to spare to honor the Camp Chef brand (even though at first glance the PG24 and the SmokePro are practically the same unit with color differences).