As it stands now I think you would be fine with a GMG Daniel Boone if the size is big enough for you. They have great customer service and I am happy with the little Davy Crockett unit I have from GMG. This way you can stay within your price range comfortably and have a reliable product. Hope this helps.
Forget the warranty and ask “When it breaks will the manufacturer still be in business?” They do not have repair shops near you. When it breaks will they be able to diagnose the problem over the phone?
This post was EXACTLY what i was looking for! Have been longing for the ability to make the gooey delicate saucy brisket that we get out here at the chain Armadillo Willies, which i realize is not aiming for the stars… At Orchard Supply House last weekend saw a Traeger or two, and was thinking placing a smaller version $499 range (although $439 on the Traeger website) next to my gas Weber Spirit.
We’re running out of good things to say about this simple, affordable smoker. There’s nothing else like it on the market. $299 delivered to your door in a big box. Open it up and start smoking. No assembly, no baby sitting and great results every time. If you’ve wanted to get a dedicated smoker or replace a cheapo rust bucket that never worked well anyway, the PBC beats anything in this price range hands down.
One of the best things about the gas smokers is they are among the most economical smokers. This doesn’t mean that you will get an inferior product, but propane is an inexpensive fuel and the tanks are sold separately.
On Tabletop Models: I didn’t include them here because though extensive, this post is more of an overview of a few select makers of Pellet Smokers I think do a fine job with both manufacturing and product support. The one exception is that I did include a link to where you can find the Rec-Tec mini. That’s Rec-Tec’s answer to the smaller, tabletop or tailgating models.
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.
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.
Many of the models require you to clean them up for 30 minutes because you have to take out the gooey deflector plate and the greasy grates in order to scrape them off and wash them until they’re shining. Careful cleaning is required when the grease and carbon is covering the deflector plate. The easy-clean grills typically make the parts more accessible but the amount of cleanup remains the same.
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.
Temperature vary depending on different cooking, making this an important factor to consider when selecting the best pellet smoker for you. What type of cooking do you practice? Most if not all pellet smokers are good when used at indirect cooking and the maximum temperature they can get ranges from 180 – 425 degrees. This temperature range is good when one is grilling, roasting, baking or smoking. It becomes a challenge when you want to sear, which requires a temperature range of 500 – 550 degrees.
Kevin- I’m in the process of researching to get my husband a grill for Christmas. I’m torn between the 820 you mentioned above and the Traeger Pro Series. As far as I can tell they are basically the same except that you get a larger cooking area on the pit boss for the same price you pay for a small cook space in a traeger. I would like to spend around $600 on the grill but would possibly go up to $800 and want 500 sq in cook space or greater. Which do you prefer? Pit Boss, Traeger or another brand?
The size is ideal and fits most backyards perfectly. The cooking area is 418 square inches, which is enough to prepare food for several people. If you need a lot of area, though, check out the bigger model ( Texas Elite 34 ) or Rec Tec.
They had the field to themselves for a few years, but the idea was too good to go un-imitated, and soon competitors began popping up. In the early days, most pellet smoker controllers had only three settings—low, medium, high (LMH)—and there was no temperature probe in the oven to create a feedback loop. So, whether you were smoking a few slabs of ribs on a scorching summer day or six pork butts during a blizzard, the controller only knew pellet-feed on and off times for its standard settings. It had no information on the actual temperature inside the cooking chamber.
The most important thing, which is temperature control. You have to pay attention to that if you want your food to be well made. A smoker that is characterized with lack of temperature control will lead to your food getting burned or the temperature will be so low that it won’t be properly cooked.
In conclusion, it is a basic pellet grill & smoker that is easy to use and doesn’t come with any advanced features. It provides precise temperature control within +/- 20 degrees and works great for long meat searing at low temperatures.
As smoking and grilling become more popular, increasingly there’s more crossover. The same person that enjoys smoking a pork butt for 10 hours on the weekend wants to be able to fire up steaks after work. In the past, that often meant owning multiple cookers: a traditional smoker to handle low-and-slow BBQ and a charcoal or gas grill for high-heat grilling. Not only does that get expensive, but it takes up valuable backyard real estate. More and more, however, people are looking for a single cooker, a smoker-grill combo that can handle both.
With so many pellet grills on the market the only way manufacturers can differentiate themselves is through features. When comparing pellet grills, take the time to look at all the features that are included.
The panel allows to set the temperature at 150-500 F degrees at 5 F degree intervals. It guarantees that the temperature won’t rise or drop by dozens of degrees, making your cooking more complicated that way. The PID controller makes sure that the selected temperature is maintained, and it really does a good job with that.
Hey Shannon – they all have their merits. Budget dictates a lot. If you’re in the $1000 or under range, Green Mountain and Rec Tec are great choices. Both have developed near cult followings, with GMG a little ahead of the curve on that front having been around a bit longer. I love the Yoders as far as moving up on the price range is concerned. Will last you forever and they offer a solid product with great support. MAK grills are just beautifully made. There’s no other way to put it. The “General” models are superbly crafted. Love that MAK offers built in cold smoking as a capability. Am I helping here or just making things worse? Hahaha.
Just make sure to pick a grill that meets your needs (size, features, portability) and has good customer reviews. Do your research (hopefully this article helps) but don’t overthink it – a grill in your back yard is better than no grill.
If you really want an inexpensive pellet grill like the Pit Boss then check out this article on the Z Grill pellet smokers. They are almost identical to Pit Boss, are priced equivalently and come with a three year warranty.
1) I lived not far from a company who produced and sold wood chips for smoking. They purchased logs from all over states and would grind these in to chips. I saw what and how they were grinding and how this wood was contained. If you purchased a box of apple chips, you’d get a mix of any and everything with a little apple mixed in. I watched the logs being cut with chain saws and grinders that would leak oil on the wood. I watched the birds sit on the chips and eat the bugs and the mold. Needless to say, not all companies are this way but one would never know because there is no real restrictions on this that I know of.
The cooking area is 300 square inches. It is the smallest portable version of a pellet smoker from Traeger, so the cooking area is much smaller. Of course, it is not among the smallest, it still offers enough place to prepare tasty food except you can bring this grill along, like when camping.
With this unit, meat can be smoked at a temperature of 150F for hours. You can also set the temperature to 500F for a searing and grilling. The heat is evenly spread using convection, thus removing cold and hot spots on the grill.
Hands-Free Grilling – Due to superb temperature maintenance you can set it and overlook it. This permits you to stop for a moment to talk with your friends, and you don’t pass up a great opportunity for those chuckles.
PID Controllers- PID Controllers are the most sophisticated type of controller you will find on a pellet grill. They use complex algorithms to help you achieve your ideal temperature within a few degrees.
With the upcoming and already existing new features, you can achieve an easier smoking experience. Always look for features that can help bring out the real taste of food, and give you more control and convenience. Check back with us often because we will always be the first to bring you the newest and best innovations in grills and smokers.
The Traeger Junior Elite is a compact unit that’s perfect for people who are just getting into pellet cooking; the unit is ideal for tailgating, small spaces and households that don’t have enough room for a large unit.
Hi Brad – sorry for my delayed reply. I’ve heard good things about the Woodwind model from Camp Chef. The trap door for clean out is a plus for sure. It might be a good option for you to start out with. You can always upgrade to the Yoder at a later date.
Thanks for posting this article, i am in the market for a pellet grill and am doing the research now. I saw a comment up above regarding the Traeger and am wondering if you did have the chance to review their product yet? Not sure on the date the question was asked originally.