If you look back on my best picks on each type of smoker grills, I have chosen the best electric smoker and the best charcoal smoker in this price range. It is really a decent price range for a smoker to buy.
It is also worth noting that a pellet smoker made of high quality materials will perform better. High quality materials will retain heat, ensure more efficient pellet consumption, and maintain temperature better in the cold weather.
The idea of combination grill and smoker isn’t new. Many smokers have long claimed that they can grill. There are also plenty of grills that say they can be used for smoking. And, technically, it’s true. However, typically those cookers can do one thing well (either smoke or grill) and the other is an afterthought. Yes, a smoker can grill a hamburger, but it probably can’t achieve the high heat needed to sear a steak or cook pizza? And you can use wood chips to smoke ribs on a grill, but most grills aren’t built for maintaining the low-and-slow temperatures required for authentic BBQ. Nor are they designed to maximize the airflow needed for proper smoking.
Whenever pellet grill owners complain about temperature swings or losing their fire mid-cook, the first question we ask is “What pellets are you using?” Many times it’s a cheap, low-quality brand that produces excessive ash, which can interfere with the sensors that help regulate cooking temperatures. In that case, fix is simple: use better pellets that burn cleanly and regularly clean any residual ash from the grill. Often that’s all it takes, and the next time we hear from the customer it’s to order more pellets.
Movable Interior Shelves – You will probably be preparing all different types of meats and other foods in your smoker, and you might need to adjust your shelves every now and then to make sure that everything fits. Therefore, you will probably want to look for a smoker that gives you this option.
This four rack smoker is very easy to use. The unit holds a steady temperature well, although it can take quite a while to get up to temperature. Clean up is also super simple with the racks pulling out for easy cleaning.
Look at the shapes mate! The barrel or drum shaped smoker are enough to make you stand up and see what is it! Charcoal smokers are not box shaped or conventional chimney styles, these are more than that.
We won’t include the built in thermometer as a negative, as even far more expensive units come with unreliable thermometers that can be off by as much as 10-40 degrees. Always invest in a quality thermometer setup.
Unlike the electrical ones, I was familiar with, this one ran on a small tank of gas. Her dad told me it was perfect for him because he liked to grill more than one meat at a time and he often brought it when going to large family gatherings. Unlike the electric smoker, it was perfect if you want something portable.
Set it and forget it. It does not require you to stay while the food is being cooked as you can set a timer and temperature so you can do other things, like prepare the side dishes or drink beer with friends while the grill is doing its job. Most pellet grills use electronic controls to regulate the grilling according to your preferences. You have a choice to choose the level of smoke aside from choosing your desired temperature.
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?
A well built pellet grill is not only more durable, but it will also perform better. When quality materials are used the grill is able to retain heat better. As a result the grill will perform in a more efficient manner no matter how hot or cold it is outside.
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.
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.
All thanks to the Smart Grill Technology™ PID temperature controller. This system is intelligent and precise enough to allow you to set the temperature from 180ºF to 500ºF at 5º intervals. And it really does work, it’s not just another marketing gimmick on the manufacturers’ part.
When looking at a pellet grill also consider the material its made from. A majority of pellet grills on the market are made from painted steel. However, the quality of that steel and the paint can vary. A good high-temp powder coat paint can stand up to high heat without blistering or flaking. This is essential, because once the steel is exposed, it will rust. Even if the grill body is painted well, you have to look inside. The fire pot and diffuser plate have the potential to corrode and are two of the most common parts that need replacing. With some painted steel grills, such as Traegers®, you can can upgrade the grill and hopper lids to stainless steel, as well as the firepot, diffuser, and drip pan.
this grill is awesome, was very easy to assemble, controlling of heat is very uniform though out the grill, its nice to have the bigger pellet hopper so you don’t have to babysit it. shipping with amazon is superb.
There have been some reports from some customers that the temperature gauge may not work properly for smoking purposes because it does not hold a steady temperature as it swings wildly from over one hundred to over three hundred regardless of the temperature being set to 225. There have also been some complaints about the product rusting in some spots.
This bullet-shaped smoker is in vogue, and there are many similar, cheaper models available. The difference between this and the knock-offs, however, comes down to manufacturing quality. Between the materials and the limited warranty, it’s a very safe investment. Although the size may be a hindrance for buyers with limited outdoor space, it’s great for serious smoker fans who want a product that can handle anything, up to and including a turkey.
Easy Cleaning – Some smokers are easier to clean than others. For example, those with stainless steel interiors are often easier to wipe down. Just keep this in mind when looking for your smoker; it can save you a lot of clean-up work later on and can help ensure that you are able to keep your unit clean and sanitary.
Hey John – great question. My experience is that I use maybe 8 lbs of pellets for a 7 or 8 hour cook at 275 degrees. Pellet grills are relatively fuel efficient. The brand of pellet you choose will play into this. Cost for pellets varies by manufacturer, similar to charcoal. I think you’ll find them very efficient if you’re just firing them up for high heat, shorter grilling sessions.
On top of that, the construction is designed in a way that makes all the fat and grease drip to the bucket on the side. That way you can quickly and easily replace the bucket with a new one or quickly clean the old bucket.
I was leary about getting a pellet grill as i have had great success with my propane box smoker. Did some research and went with the Rec-Tec 680. Absolutely love the thing. It actually fell off the trailer when i moved a few months back and still works like a charm, just has a little more character now! Highly recommend this set it and forget it pellet grill
Camp Chef PG24 Pellet Grill and Smoker is the ultimate choice for any expert smoker. Its reasonable price and amazing features make it a long-term investment. It comes with a lot of nifty features that facilitate, smoking, grilling and searing in your backyard. For all these reasons, it’s our top choice for the serious BBQ buffs.
This pellet smoker by Pit Boss offers a wide cooking surface which is 700sq inches of cast iron which can hold rather large pieces of meat or any other food for that matter. It offers a wide range of cooking temperature for you to choose from (from 180 degrees to 500 degrees Fahrenheit). Thanks to its digital control board and the standard flame boiler you can easily select your preferred cooking style. With this smoker, you do not need to have natural gas or propane to run it. This pellet smoker is versatile and durable for the fact that it is made of heavy gauge steel components. You can smoke, bake, grill, roast, braise, and barbecue with this pellet griller.
Like other pellet smokers you dial in different pre-set temperature settings on the thermostatic controller. You can choose between 175 – 400, as well as several other pre-sets like “High”, “LO Smoke” and “Hi Smoke”. You can easily hold at an ideal smoking temp of 225-250° consistently for many hours.
Once you have finished cooking, don’t switch off the smoker immediately. Let it go to high heat for a while to burn off any food or fat residue left in the smoker. Once it has reached a high temperature use a brass wire brush to clean the grates of any leftover foodstuffs or amassed dirt and soot residue. It is now time to switch off the smoker and let it cool down. Remove the grease bucket or trap you may have been using, and set it aside. With a damp rag, wipe any grease or fat deposits that may have accumulated on the outside of the smoker. Once the grease bucket is cool enough to handle, replace the aluminum foil in the drip pan, and discard the old. A build-up of grease in the smoker could lead to an unwanted fire. Don’t forget to clean out any pellet ash once things are cool inside your smoker.
Most of other grills come with systems that maintain a selected temperature, it differs by up to 5 F degrees from the target temperature. To make it happen, the pellet auger has to provide a constant stream of pellets to the burner. The temperature is maintained but the consequence is smaller amount of smoke.
Might start with the simple small one and see how much i like it and the pellet process overall, but if i DO stick with it, i’m going for one of those Yoders. I can tell my wife that unlike guitars, i will not need to keep buying smoker after smoker, like i do my Fenders and Gibsons.
There is no party like a backyard grill and BBQ party on a hot summer weekend with some good music on the back, and of course the centerpiece: the food. You see, food is a universal language. It is a way to say how much you appreciate and care for one another; a way to people’s hearts. And there is nothing more comfortable, warm and heart than some good old open grill and BBQ cooking on your pellet grill. And this is the reason you need an expert pellet grill review.
Made of heavy duty steel with an airtight hood and a built-in heat gauge, this smoker locks in heat and flavor. The sturdy materials support an adjustable fire grate that keeps you in control of your smoke.
Hey Corry – GMG and Traeger have shown that they support their brands very well of late. In many cases, they both provide parts support even when warranty limits run out. If you’re considering a Traeger, I’d urge you to go with their Pro Series 22 or 34. Sounds like that’s what you’re probably looking at where they are concerned if you’re looking at a dealer.
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.
Also, think through storage. If you buy a large, high quality smoker, you may end up with a unit that will never move again. High grade smokers are made of heaven duty steel, so a smoker with that sort of construction is going to require you and a crew of friends to get it shifted.
I’m not sure of the dates on the above replies, its now Oct.2017, and I’ve had enough of the Bradley dig. smoker. I live on Long Island NY and the Bradley has trouble getting up to and holding temp. I’ve added a PID to it but have decided to take it up a level. I’ve done a bunch of research and I’m leaning toward the Yoder 640 with Comp. cart. unless you take me out of it. What would you be spending your money on today? I did buy a book though your site, I hope that helps.
Rust in the smoker itself is a sign of poor quality or unusually high maintenance. Again, we’ll go more into maintenance later, but it’s important to note that evidence of rusting inside the smoker itself is just as often a sign of poor maintenance as it is a sign of poor materials. When you’re looking at any kind of reviews for a smoker, keep that balance in mind.
Though the Traeger TFB29LZA Junior Elite Wood Pellet grill is compact in size, it has 300 square inches of wood fire grilling room. You could easily fit 12 burgers or three racks of ribs on the grill.
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.
The Bulls exterior is made out of stainless steel from the bucket hook to the controller shelf. This feature not only adds to the grill’s durability but also ensures its components do not easily bend or break.
So Kevin here is where you come in. Been wanting to make getting consistent Q on the table regularly and easily. Been looking at pellet poopers for about 5 years now and decided to take the plunge. Had already done enough looking a few years ago Traeger’s issues had scared me off. Several friends had them and raved but always mentioned problems. I decided from my work I don’t want to be buying someone’s, ‘we know the problems and are fixing them’ if you can find something solid for similar cost. Yoder and FEC were pretty much my finalists. So I was doing my final thoughts and found your article.