best portable pellet grills | Do not buy unless

Hey Jimmy, thanks for commenting here about your experience. I’m sorry to hear your experience was less than optimal. I have only cooked on the Traeger pro models. I do know that it is good practice to vacuum out the burn pot after cooks of a few hours or more. Not sure this was where your problems were initiated. Did you contact Traeger support? If so, what was their response?
Back to the Pit Boss. The cooking space come in ‘Large’ and ‘Deluxe’. The Deluxe refers to the additional features and finishes.  What we really like about the PB is the cooking temperature range from 180° to 500°F, which you can control with the simple turn of a dial, but it is an old-style dial. Possibly unrelated to this, but something that needs to be looked at is whenever you switch cooking temperatures the auger carries on running for about four minutes before trying to adjust to the new temperature. As we discovered this isn’t a problem you’re going from low to high, but it is if you’re trying to bring your temperature down. We almost lost our wings because of this.
Mention a pellet smoker and what comes to mind is the rich taste of BBQ, better control and convenience. These are exactly what the best pellet smokers should give you. To find out the best, among the many that are out there, you must consider all the various features. A burner that can give you control, convenience, long service and great flavor for your food are just some things the best pellet smoker should have. Let’s take a look at all the factors you need to consider when making your purchase.
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).
These are great changes but the pellet controller is still the old 10-position unit and of course we know that a lot of other makes have moved to much more sophisticated technology, improving temperature precision and maintenance. But it could be the guys at Traeger figure ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’.
Kevin, I have a Traeger Li’L Tex and I am very happy with it. I bought it on a factory special ($750?) that included a recipe book, a few bags of pellets along with 4-5 bottles of BBQ sauce and rubs. Since then, I’ve added the fold-down front shelf.
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.
While you can get a charcoal grill for less than $10, it will be terrible and won’t give you even close to the smoky flavor you want. That’s why you’ve got to spend just a little more to get the proper results. For between $250 and $330 you can pick one of these up, depending on what features you want, and it will pay for itself again and again. It’s one of the best outdoor smokers too.
Electric smokers are known to be the handiest; however, they lack the genuine BBQ taste. Electric smokers that are computer controlled permit you to set up the smoker and allow it operate until the food is complete.
Another option is to put a griddle (or GrillGrates) on the pellet smoker when it’s cranked to high heat, get it blistering-hot, add just a little oil to prevent sticking, and sear by conduction on the metal. It should take only two to three minutes per side. This is a good technique for reverse-seared meats: You start them indirect, low and slow on the cooking grate, with a little smoke, and then sear the surface with direct contact to the hot metal griddle to create a delicious brown crust. It’s not as good as searing directly over hot coals or gas, but it’s a good compromise.
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.
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.
Hey Chris, IMHO the Blazing Pellet Smoker looks like a solid unit. There’s a good review of it here. I think between the units I might give them a run. Yoder makes quality stuff, and if made in the USA is important to you, they fit as do the Blazings. All this said, if you’re basically using the pellet smoker like a Cambro, you could opt to save a little money and go with the Rec-Tec. Good customer service and solid following.
For home models, get at least a 10 amp, 12 gauge, three prong cord (oddly, 12 gauge is higher capacity than 14 gauge). That’s more than you need, but better safe than sorry. Commercial models may have different requirements.
Cleaning a smoker grill can be a task and a half if you haven’t kept on top of the cleaning. An easy to clean smoker will make a wipe-down at the end of a session much less hassle and help you keep your smoker in top condition for longer. Look out for nooks and crannies that fat and dust can get into, hard to reach places and a complicated design. The simpler it is, generally, the easier to clean.
The zest for barbequing is growing every year with more and more BBQ lovers venturing into the mystery of the myth-laden empire of smoking. We have spent years encouraging the outdoor cooking buffs to embrace pellet smokers, and until now, our efforts have brought about fruitful results.
The Elite is the largest cooker in Memphis Wood Fire Grills’ impressive line of luxury pellet smokers. They’re extremely well designed and well built. The top-grade 304 stainless steel is thick and extraordinarily well machined. Fit and finish are impeccable. Meathead proclaims Memphis smokers to be “some of the best cookers [he’s] ever had the pleasure to use.” At $4,600, the Memphis Elite is clearly not in everyone’s budget, but this beast is impressive enough for us to include in our 2016 Top 10 Luxury Grills and Smokers list, where prices go up to $50,000.
The Pit Boss really is the boss with its 700 square inches of cooking surface. The space alone isn’t what makes the Pit Boss 71700FB one of the best wood pellet smokers available. If you thought the Traeger TFB29LZA Junior Elite Grill had a lot of space at 300 square meters, then get more than double that with Pit Boss (the Rec Tec grill below beats it by only 2 inches).
For price and ease of use it is hard to beat the small gas smokers like the Char-Broil or the Camp Chef Smoke Vault. Snobs snort at gas smokers, but we’re here to tell you that many top rated BBQ restaurants use big gas smokers, and the small ones are really inexpensive, easy to set and walk away, and the product will make you a hero. With a high quality modern barbecue smoker you no longer need to hover over your machine for hours, constantly monitoring the temp, fiddling with the dampers, shoveling coal, and adding wood. A good smoker means that you can win the battle against creosote, soot, and ash. With a good smoker you can get your food on the table on time and not fear that it is over-cooked or under-cooked.
It can be said often enough: the best pellet grill is the one that’s best for you. Ultimately, you’re the one paying for it and you’re the one who will be cooking on it, so make sure whatever pellet grill you choose is the one you’ll be happy with. Just because you’re friend has no qualms paying top dollar for the most advanced grill on the market doesn’t mean you should feel bad about spending half as much on a grill that does the things you want it to do. The best advice: do your research, be informed, and know what you’re purchasing. If you can do that, you’re unlikely to experience buyer’s remorse.
Most pellet smokers have a flat drip plate under the cooking grate that diffuses heat and catches grease and gunk. Louisiana uses a curved “Arched Flavor Guard” that mirrors the shape of the lid. It claims that this design presents a larger surface for meat drippings to sizzle and enhance flavor. The Flavor Guard also has a section over the fire pot that can slide out of the way to expose large, slotted openings, which allow meats to sear over open flame.
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.
Thank you for a very comprehensive review and all the helpful advice. I would like to know your thoughts about having the burn pot in the center area as in the Rec-Tec, or on the side. My only interest is smoking, not grilling, and I prefer even heat throughout the cooking chamber. How much difference does the location of the burn pot make? Thank you very much.
Rack – Having side racks and small, attached tables can make it easier for you to stash your grilling tools while your food is cooking or to place food, condiments, seasonings and more where they are close at hand. Some units offer these accessories while others do not, but it might be something for you to look for.
It also has the standardized dial-in digital control with LED readout (not to the point that it has WiFi like the Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Pellet Grill, but still quite convenient). However, it’s rated low on this list because of poor quality control. Too many customers ended up with bad Pit Bosses that have inconsistent temperature control (going all the way to 615° Fahrenheit).
Many people prefer the taste that a charcoal grill provides. Luckily, if you know how to use a charcoal grill, you’ll find using a charcoal smoker to be a breeze. Some models are easier to use than others, but they all utilize charcoal to heat up the wood chips and produce smoke. In fact, charcoal smokers produce larger smoke rings and larger quantities of smoke than the other smoker options do, which can provide more of a smoky flavor than electric and gas options.
This is how it all began. The traditional smokehouses of years gone by used hardwood to create the smoke, which cooked or cured the food. Not everyone has room for a custom-built smokehouse, so the hardwood log fueled smokers were some of the first backyard smokers. The hardest job in the world is temperature control with wood, as it has a tendency to flare and can burn very hot indeed. That is why for best results the wood is allowed to burn, and its the heat from the embers that is used to cook the meat. Needless to say, when you need a steady low temperature over an extended period of time, hardwood smokers are not the easiest to control, and it really needs an experienced smoke master to get the best from these types of smokers.
A protected burner drum is a bizarrely rare feature. It reduces the amount of fuel used and ensures an even temperature inside the grill, giving you much more consistent cooking. This grill has one and it works very well.
Retail pricing for the Traeger Grills Pro Series pellet smokers come in at $799 for the 22 in. and $999 for the 34 in. At this time, they’re available only through approved Traeger retail locations. If you’re in the Central Florida area, Whiskey Bent BBQ Supply in Lakeland, FL is a Platinum Traeger Dealer. Otherwise, you can find a list of approved Traeger dealers via their network locator page.
They are often called grills, but, at the time of this writing, I consider them to be primarily smokers. Almost all of them cook with indirect heat and those that try to grill over direct flame don’t do it well. If you love steaks, there are far better ways to cook them. But if you love smoked turkey, ribs, salmon, pork chops, brisket, and smoked foods, a pellet smoker may be the best solution available.
3 Position Controller – Often referred to as LMH controllers, the 3 position controller has only 3 temperature settings. Low which is around 225°F, medium which is around 325°F and high which is around 425°F.
Is usually reserved for tender cuts of meat, that can be cooked at a high temperature relatively quickly. All meat contains animal fat, and it is inevitable that during grilling the fat will hit the fire and burn. A small number of harmful chemicals called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are formed. These substances are released into the air within the grill and can permeate any meat that is above the fire. Animal studies have shown that eating food containing these chemicals can increase the chances of getting cancer. To avoid contamination by these substances, it is best to prevent any flare-ups, where the flames rise and bathe the food on the grill, and to make sure the meat is not over charred. Meat that has been over charred does not only taste bad but is unhealthy.
Don’t try to rush things. – The whole point of a smoker is to cook things “low and slow,” so don’t try to rush things. Don’t be tempted to jack up the temperature to get your food done more quickly, and allow yourself plenty of time to get dinner on the table.

It is certainly your requirement for the smoker to be automated. That is the case with Camp Chef PG24DLX Deluxe. It’s a smoker that thanks to its very good temperature control doesn’t require you to check if the temperature inside the grill is really okay. That way it allows for stress-free long meat smoking at a fixed low temperature.

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