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!
One thing that really makes this grill stand out is its versatility and real wood flavor that saturates anything you’re cooking on the grill. Whether you want to smoke a big slab of ribs or charbroil a steak, with the Pit Boss you win with every meal.
I’m about to make the final step in purchasing your smoker grill so easy that it will be like I did it for you. I’m going to list the smokers by price and features. Now you can pick best smoker grill to meet your needs and wallet.
A mini built-in timer gives the grill master the chance to put their food on for a good smoke, go out, do whatever and not have to worry about their food being immolated. This is because of the auto-shut down. Really useful.
We took the job of finding you the best pellet smoker very seriously. We read reviews, spoke to pit masters and backyard BBQ enthusiasts and the choice was unanimous. The REC TEC RT-680 Wood Pellet Grill came out on top. The sturdy construction, smart grill technology, excellent digital controller and dare we say it, its good looks, made this pellet grill our No.1 choice.
While the Camp Chef can get almost up to 500°F (hot enough to produce crispy skin on a chicken), it’s never going to compete with a dedicated grill for searing. This is something that all pellet smokers struggle with though.
As with all pellet smokers, there’s a lot to like, and a few things that can be improved, but as far as compact portable grills go, there’s very few available on the market, therefore the GM Davy Crockett is our top pick of a rather short list.
Set it and forget it. That’s the main attraction of electric smokers, and an important one. No lighting charcoal, no checking the fuel supply every hour or so, no messy ash to clean up. Just turn it on, crack a bear and take a snooze in your lounge chair.
How? I just sold my house and left the Traeger with it. Now in Mexico and thinking of buying a Green Mountain. I would like to get a little more smoke flavor than what I was able to with my Traeger (which I loved). So how can you use other hard wood to enhance the smoke flavor? Also comment on how to use the tube smoker in one of these pellet fed grills. With 1 1/2″ rib eye, I would smoke for 45 minutes then crank up the heat to about 350 for 13 minutes and it would provide a perfect rare steak every time.
Another one of America’s finest home-grown products comes from MAK Grills Pellet Smokers. Based out of Dallas, OR, MAK started out as a steel fabrication company back in 1990 and ventured into making pellet smokers with the goal of making a pellet smoker that’s more like a grill than an oven. Said in their own words…
To solve the problem, several pellet burners have come up with ways for you to expose food to the flameand can actually get a nice sear. Still not as good as charcoal or sear burners in my opinion, but a lot better than the ones that are strictly indirect. Check out the Memphis Pro, Cookshack Fast Eddy, and MAK 2 Star.
Cover – Being able to properly cover your smoker will help you keep it clean and will prevent it from getting damaged from rain and other elements. If your smoker of choice doesn’t come with a cover, however, you can purchase something to keep it properly sheltered.
The better a pellet grill’s temperature range, the more it can do. Performance pellet grills have upper ranges of 500°F- 700°F, which is hot enough to get a great sear and fire-bake pizza. Many of those pellet grills also offer a direct grilling option that allows you to cook over an open flame in addition to cooking over indirect heat.
Hey Kyle – GMG, Traeger, and RecTec all make good smokers. The models you list here are the of theirs I recommend most. If I had to rank them, I’d go with GMG or Traeger based on customer care / responsiveness.
If you rush into buying a unit without proper consideration, you may end up with something that you aren’t completely satisfied with. Make sure to consider the following factors before buying a new unit:
It’s a device that offers consumers a primal wood flavor from their meats. This is coupled with the convenience of a gas stove that you can easily turn on and off or regulate its temperature by dialing its knob forward or back.
Rather than design their own digital controllers, they buy them from a company named Ortech. Ortech’s RealTemp TR-100 Digital Controller is shown here and its operation is not intuitive so let’s take a little time to explain it.
No need to vacuum the ashes right after using the pellet grill cooker because, with the help of this product, you only need to pull the lever to release the burnt contents then get the ash cup and throw it all away!
Due to the shape and size, heat control can be tricky. Another problem comes from exposure to the elements and accumulated moisture. The barrel does not handle winters well, and the interior may lose its paint and develop rust, even if kept in a shelter.
For now, we’ll tell you right from the start that our choice for best overall smoker is the Primo 778 Extra-Large Oval Ceramic Charcoal Smoker Grill. It’s not the cheapest smoker on the market, but the Primo is the best smoker out there. It’s large, with over 400 square inches of cooking surface, makes incredible pork butts, and is the only true ceramic smoker on the market of this size. Because of the unique design, this smoker offers features that just aren’t available on any other unit.
Other important parts of the pellet smoker that one should watch out the joints, the welding and the hardware. They should be made of good material, most preferred, aluminum or steel. The joints of the pellet smoker should be well lubricated in a way that they do not produce uncomfortable sounds while the cooking is on. The grill should generally feel sturdy with all the seams and joints fitting together snugly, leaving no spaces for heat produced to escape in any way.
I also was a certified KCBS judge but never judged at an event. Their judging system was flawed in my opinion because if you truly follow their system it is possible that them best tasting piece of meat might not win. In cutting horses (not a judge but read all the rules as I showed a fair amount back then) you were always supposed to judge the best overall horse to win. I asked about leaving a process to make sure the piece of meat you feel is best to win and was told absolutely not you have to judge presentation points, tender points & etc. and not place based on your opinion of the best piece of meat! Not that KCBS is a bad organization, it’s rules didn’t fit my thought process. Passed their class and got the t-shirt just never agreed, was always a spectator.
The pellet smoker combines the flavor of charcoal, with the convenience of an electric smoker. The small pellets are made of hardwood sawdust, and when burned in the smoker impart a delicious smoky taste to any food being cooked. Like an electric smoker, the user can dial up the temperature required for the smoke, and let the smoker do the rest. Modern high-end machines provide a regular supply of pellets to be burned, and all the operator needs to do is make sure the smoker does not run out of pellets during the smoke. The flavor you get from a pellet smoker is not as rich and deep as from a charcoal smoker. However, it does have all the convenience of the electric type.
The cooking area is ample, at just over 700 square inches. That’s nearly 20 inches x 36 inches. At a full three feet wide, and almost two feet deep, that’s no joke. You can feed a large group, or just make yourself enough for thirds, fourths, and lunch for the next week.
The argument against bark is that it can cause an inconsistent burn and produce excessive ash. Again, consider a log on a fire. Because they have different compositions, the bark and hardwood burn at different rates and produce different amounts of heat. Furthermore, bark doesn’t burn cleanly, it creates more ash than the hardwood. When that ash builds up, it interferes with your grill’s ability to accurately read the temperature, causing large swings. If too much of that ash builds up in the fire pot, it can cut off the oxygen and snuff out the fire.
Therefore, a large cooker with a primary cooking area of 500 square inches, might actually be of less use to you than a smaller cooker with a total cooking area that includes a 450 square inch primary rack and a 125 square inch secondary rack. If you couldn’t be bothered doing the math, that’s 575 square inches of total cooking space.
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’.
How hot you cook something on a smoker grill affects the flavor hugely, so having a good control over the temperature and the knowledge you can keep it at that temperature for however long you need to get the right effects is really helpful. A temperature gage is a must.
Need to keep an emergency pellet stockpile – If you’re grilling with propane or charcoal and run out half way through a 12 hour cook you can easily nip down to the store. But getting your favorite brand of pellets may require an Amazon order, or a trip to a more specialised store.
Let’s start with the easy stuff and work from there. There are more than one type of smoker grills and they all have their own pros and cons. In the next few pages I’ll explain what I found out about each one.
Due to its size, upkeep is a big problem. Unless you have somewhere to store this massive contraption away from the elements, it will begin to rust within four years. It’s essentially two large grills welded together, so there are plenty of gaps to let in water. Even the one year limited warranty isn’t enough to
Choose the right wood chips. – You can choose between oak, maple, hickory and more, and each type of wood produces a different smell and a totally different flavor. Different people have different preferences, so you might want to choose a few types to see what your household prefers.
By the way, Max is the only person in the world whose full time job is testing, researching, rating, and reviewing grills and smokers. He laments that most manufacturers continue to include cheap bimetal dial thermometers mounted in the top of the lid. They are frequently off by more than 50°F! The new PK360 has a high quality Tel-Tru bi-metal thermometer mounted down by the cooking grate that is surprisingly accurate, but this is an exception. Most grills typically have an antiquated heat estimator placed far from where the cooking actually takes place. “Without accurate digital thermometers you’re guessing what the cooking temp is, guessing when the food is done and asking for over or underdone embarrassment.” warns Max. He recommends that you budget for a good digital oven thermometer and a separate digital food thermometer. We also have a database of reviews for more than 130 of them.
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.