Heating pellets, meanwhile, can consist of a variety of woods, including softwoods like pine, which contains resin that infuses food with a bitter unappetizing taste. Because it doesn’t really matter what’s in heating pellets, so long as they burn, they can also include bark and leaves and other impurities that can adversely affect food flavor and possibly pose a health risk if ingested. Because less care goes into the production of heating pellets and they’re not guaranteed to be 100% pure hardwood, heating pellets are significantly less expensive than BBQ pellets, making them appealing to budget conscious shoppers. However, resist the temptation to save a few bucks and never use heating pellets in a pellet smoker.
The Camp Chef SmokePro is probably the best pellet grill on this list by rating and by performance. It has a decently large area for cooking at 19.2 inches by 22 inches plus its smoking or warming rack is also 6 inches by 24 inches in size. This is one of the Top rated pellet smokers because of its combination of quality features that are never superfluous and works as advertised.
Having the same problem as the rest of the group. Rec Tec, Yoder, Green Mountain, Pellet Pro, or MAK? All seem to be heavy gauge SS, Pellet Pro seems really good value, MAK and Green Mountain seem to have controllers with more features. Have a friend who bought Rec Tec 3 years ago, he cannot say enough about the good customer service and the grill. If you could only buy one (money not the issue among these 5), which one, and why?
As the burn pot ignites, the pellets burn. Heat then carries through the home via convection (air driven) means, thus allowing air flow and a blend of warm and cool air to maintain steady, even burn temperatures. A heat exchanger separates the smoke fumes from the warm air, thereby warming the room without smoking everyone out.
For our best smoker grills list, we tested more grills than we can remember. Each of Our Picks comes from its own review and guide, so each one is accompanied by a lot of testing. This review is a compilation of all our top rated smokers, so you will be able to make a quick and easy choice for your top smoker grills.
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.
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 is an affordable product that provides a lot of benefits to your cooking. It is also easy to assemble as well as clean and maintain. This Z Grills Wood Pellet Smoker offer versatility. This product has various mixed reviews. However, there have been reports that there are significant internal temperature swings.
Sometimes an inexpensive, less efficient pellet blend might be just fine for burgers or chicken breasts. Other times, you may want to step it up with a premium flavored pellet where whole turkeys, prime rib roasts, or a nice brisket can really shine. No matter what you read in any grouping of pellet grill reviews, know this: pellets are not all made equally. You will wind up with one or two “go to” brands over time that you simply prefer – sometimes for their efficiency (leaving little ash), others for their flavor.
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.
So if you need a portable pellet grill , consider this one ( especially if you really like Traeger products ). The foldable legs allow to easily bring it along anywhere you want. A small downside might be the price, but it makes up for it with a pretty big cooking area for a portable pellet smoker.
The Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett smoker lets you get more than what you paid for. At a surprisingly low price, you get to have tons of great features that are sure to elevate your BBQ experience. For its price, we were quite surprised to see that it satisfied most of the features on our list. We tested over fifty products, and even the expensive ones were no match for this product.
Pellets are available from a number of sources because they are popular for use in home heaters, so if you are worried that you will be buying a gizmo that might be worthless someday if the pellet supply runs out, it is unlikely. As more and more pellet grills appear, and word of their excellence spreads, sources for pellets will become numerous. I’ve even heard of a few Home Depot’s carrying them. The bad news is that I have tried several brands and I always return to BBQr’s Delight. They seem to have the least sawdust, so they are less likely to clog the auger, and they have a higher percentage of the flavor wood on the label.
Very often pellet grill manufacturer instruct you to use their pellets, with some going so far as to state that failure to do so will void the warranty. Why? Well, there’s the obvious reason that they want you buy their pellets. However, it really has more to do with ensuring that the grill runs properly, and that starts with using quality pellets. The easiest way for pellet grill makers to guarantee you’re using good pellets is to have you use theirs, which they know meet the desired quality standards. They can’t make that guarantee about another brand of pellets.
Like other grills, pellet grills list cooking area two ways: primary cooking area, which refers to the main cooking grate, and total cooking area, which is the main cooking grate plus any secondary racks. However, since pellet grills are primarily indirect cookers, there really is no difference between cooking on the main rack or the upper rack&em;the temperature should be the same. Therefore, a smaller pellet grill with a primary grid of 450 square inches and an upper rack of 125 square inches may be a better option than a larger grill with only a 500 square inch primary grid.
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.
And how about that meat probe? An amusing name for a very useful thing. It lets you gauge the temperature of the meat inside without having to lift the lid and cool the entire grill. Massively useful and makes for really consistent cooking.
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.
While you should never leave a smoker entirely unattended, digital smokers are well known for their comparative ease of use. Instead of setting up a lawn chair next to your smoker and getting comfortable with a beer, you can actually go about your daily life. Digital smokers are not as temperamental as traditional smokers, and they’re much safer since they don’t technically use an open flame. Not everyone likes these smokers, and a lot of great cooks take pride in their traditional BBQ smoker handling skills. It really is a skill, too. Keeping the perfect temperature and smoke consistency requires lots of checking and a thorough understanding of how your chosen fuel, wood, smoker, and food behave. If you want to master the skill of operating a smoker, your best choice is a traditional charcoal or gas smoker. On the other hand, if you’re only interested in the food itself, and you don’t feel like investing that much time into your meal, a digital smoker would be perfect.
Great reviews. I have been lately looking into pellet poopers. I currently own a large Big Green Egg and a Pit Barrel Grill. My Egg has limited space. On the PBC (Pit Barrel Cooker) I can cook a ton of food as it uses hanging meat method. But it has zero temperature control on it. A set lower vent and that’s it. You have to adjust the lid to get the temps up. I have adjustable rings for my Egg that allows for increased capacity. Eggs are great smokers, grills and ovens. I do have a FireBoss temp controller for the Egg which will allow a set it and forget operations. Wifi controls also. With that being said, I am looking for increased capacity in my cooks. I was seriously considering a XL Primo Oval or a XL BGE. Then I found these pellet poopers. After reading this blog and other reviews I found some limitations. One the lack of smoke flavor. Now with my Egg I add chunks of wood into the lump for smoke flavor. Same with the PBC. The PBC has different smoke flavor as the fats and juices from the meat drip on the hot coals which ignite (according to PBC’s website) and produce a smokey flavor in the meat. I’ve read two ways to increase the smoke flavor in Pellet Poopers. One is to start at a lower temp for a few hours, then crank it up to cooking temps. Two is the smoke tubes or Mojo Bricks. My question is do these techniques work? One review on the smoking tube said that they really didn’t make that much of a difference. Another issue was for grilling and the lack of direct heat. Grill Grates would eliminate this concern correct? My understanding of Grill Grates is that they provide a way to direct grill in an indirect environment. That’s a limitation with both of my cookers. The Egg can Indirect or Direct grill. Not both. Yes I can remove the indirect piece and set up the Egg for direct grilling, but you risk burnt fingers even with welders mitts on. Wouldn’t the Grill Grates on a Pellet Pooper solve this problem? Allowing you to slow cook that steak to say 10 degrees shy of your temp range then sear it on the grill grate for the a couple of minutes on each side to get it to your desired temp range? Or go the other way, sear first for a few minutes per side then indirect cook it to the desired temp?
We love a kamado grill. They give such good results and look totally awesome. They are amongst the easiest grills to use, clean and operate, plus being efficient and versatile. What’s not to love? This is the best kamado grill we tested, so let’s tell you why!.
Hi – my husband and I are really interested in a pellet smoker. We came across some when we were at a fair and are trying to find more information about the Traeger brand because the price seems affordable compared to all the others you mentioned. You started out talking about the Traeger but never gave any feedback on it? Little help please:) Thanks!
For the outside of the smoker, you can use hot soapy water, with a spray cleaner for any painted or stainless steel surfaces. Allow at least 24 hours after cleaning before cooking, and make sure the pellet hopper is completely dry before reloading it.
The diversity of BBQ smokers available makes fair judgment a challenge, and personal cooking preferences will go a long way in determining which type of smoker is best for you. However, our evaluation hinged on five key criteria by which any smoker can be judged. They are as follows:
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
Despite its steel body, the Summit Charcoal performs every bit as well as a ceramic kamado. The air insulated double-walled construction retains heat as well as a ceramic kamado, allowing it to hold a steady low temperature for smoking BBQ and easily reach 800°F for high-heat grilling. Better yet, it cools down quickly, giving you the ability to go from grilling to smoking in about 45 minutes. That’s unheard of on a ceramic kamado, which takes several hours to cool.
The overall dimensions are 51x21x45 and it weighs about 130 pounds. This unit has some great features that help with cleaning and maintenance, as well. This is an excellent place to start if you’re a beginner, this pellet grill will definitely hold your hand through the process, but don’t get the wrong idea – it’s far from being an “entry level” unit.
Hello.. You recommended a couple weeks ago to go with a GMG grill and that is the one I’m going with. I’m just a little torn between the DB and JB. They are only $150 apart but I’m not sure if the bigger size is worth the money when I can spend that on a cover and some pellets. Do you think the bigger size is worth it for a back yard smoker with the occasional party? I know people say bigger is better but I went bigger with my previous barrel smoker and it was much harder to keep an even temp with the bigger size. I would have went smaller given the chance. Thanks for any input!
These are the same knives used at famous steakhouses like Peter Luger, Smith & Wollensky, and Morton’s. Machine washable, high-carbon stainless steel, hardwood handle. Meathead says the ones he uses at home have been through the washing machine more than 100 times and the blade is like new. And the manufacturer has printed the AmazingRibs.com name on it!
Camp Chef PG24 has a compact weight of 124 pounds and a pellet hopper with a 20-pound capacity. That’s large enough that you don’t have to worry about getting more before your meal is done. This set it and forget approach to cooking gives you the ultimate cooking experience. Each time the temperature drops down, a wood pellet is dispensed. This convenience is impossible to find in a gas, wood or charcoal unit.
No wonder we’re addicted to smoking meat! If you’ve gotten started, you know the fun of pulling a rack of ribs off the smoker at just the right time and watching as the meat falls off the bones. The flavor of the charcoal smoke and the smell of the dry rub are enough to make you go crazy.
Kevin- super helpful article. Thanks! I just moved from a big city small apartment with no grill to a house in the country. Most essential purchase is the grill. I’m really on the fence. I like the idea of a pellet grill, but in reality- I’m mostly cooking burgers, fish, steaks, scallops, and veggies. The brisket and ribs will be more of a special occasion. From an economical perspective, am I better buying a gas grill and just getting one of those smoke tubes to add some flavor? From many of the online comments, it seems like the pellet grills benefit from additional smoke anyway, and though you can get additional grates for searing, seems like a square peg in a round hole. The gas grill is sort of the tried and true, and way more economical. Those $500 entry level pellet grills seem a little scrawny, and the next level up is a cool $grand. I’m really on the fence, and getting pressure to “just buy the darn thing” to consummate the move to the country! However the pellet grills seem like the new shiny object and have my curiosity. Any advice? PS- love the website! Thanks, Cary
Yeah it seems like no one is providing any input on it…I was interested in having them review it and do a direct comparison to some of these other grills. I made the mistake of getting a Myron Mixon pitmaster Q3 at sears. It turned out to be a waste of money and the slight humidity I had caused the pellets to burst and seize up the Auger. Anyway I had narrowed my search down to a rec tech or silverback but none of the reviewers seems to be giving it any attention.
The Davy Crockett Pellet Grill offers open flame technology which uses infrared radiation to cook your food. The peaked lid not only allows for you to cook tall slabs of meat, but it also helps the convection process within the grill, making sure that your meat is thoroughly and evenly cooked. This technology ensures that you get that consistent and authentic tasting BBQ every time you fire up the grill!
Pellet smokers aren’t the cheapest options, but there are affordable models out there. When you use a pellet smoker, you have to use wood pellets, which can be bought in bulk to cut costs. These pellets look much like the food that you would feed to a pet rabbit, and they are generally made from sawdust.
The construction and the elements – REC TEC Pellet grill are an investment for years, safe from corroding. Most of competitive grills look pretty on the outside and the manufacturers claim they are made of stainless steel. The truth is, only the outside part of the grill is stainless. The steel on the inside is different, and major parts are made of materials of poorer quality.
I have the RecTec RT680 and i am very happy…..it is primarilly a smoker but can be used for burger and steaks as well as brisket and turkey’s……always performs well with little or no attention……my wife has been using the weber little smoky joe for 10 yrs plus and really did not know or want to know about the RecTec……well, i bought her a weber performer premier 22” charcoal grill…..it has become our go to for burgers and steaks and bbq chicken…..the RecTec has become out smoker….this combination is the best of two worlds…..Remember, “a happy wife is a happy life”….hehehehe…..
Certain parts of your smoker grill will wear out faster than others if you use your smoker a lot. So, you may need to replace them every few years or so to have the best experience. The gasket represents the place where the dome meets the base. This makes for an easy fix and you can purchase a kit and have it repaired in no time.
I also love the automatic light feature – it eliminated the hassle I went through when lighting my previous grill, the Weber Kettle BBQ. The grill also comes with two meat probes, which allow you to prepare two different meals while monitoring the progress of both probes simultaneously.
What we loved most is that it has a trap door for the burn pot cleaning after every cooking. It lessened our job of cleaning this pellet smoker by 60%. It is more than amazing because from our research we know that a feature like this will cost twice as much as the Camp Chef. Honestly, this emerged as our key point when we selected this smoker.
Of all the different smoker designs available, pellet smokers are the easiest to use, because they’re thermostatically controlled, like your kitchen stove. You just select a cooking temperature, and a controller maintains it by feeding wood pellets to a fire pot as needed to maintain your set temp. Set it and forget it. You can throw a brisket in a pellet smoker, set it for 225°F, go to bed, and sleep like a baby, knowing you’ll wake up to delicious smoked meat.
Since we are barbecuing experts, our top pick will definitely be a pellet smoker that is appropriate for almost everyone looking for a pellet grill. Camp Chef PG24 Pellet Grill and Smoker BBQ is built to help the outdoor cooking buffs take their backyard cooking venture to a whole new level.
The Rec Tec Wood Pellet Grill will automatically light and heat to your pre-selected temperature with a simple press of a switch. When the Grill has reached its selected temperature, it will maintain this temperature throughout the cooking process. By using the accurate temperature control, you are capable to bake, sear, smoke, and grill your food. Subsequently, all of the heat originates from real wood, so you acquire the value of wood aroma.
This grill has a digitally controlled burn system, 700 square inches in cooking surface, and porcelain coated cast iron grids. The cast iron is a great conductor of heat, and the porcelain works to stop your food from sticking. Great combo!
The Masterbuilt Pro is one of the more budget cookers on our best barbecue smokers list, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an effective unit. It’s a vertical cabinet design, the 30″ model being a two-door, and the 40″ model being a single door smoker. What’s great about the two-door model is heat retention.
Really a very nice charcoal smoker/grill. The unit is designed to be used in a similar way to a vertical smoker, but with greater levels of cooking space. In fact the grates cover 816 square inches, which is really quite a large surface for a true charcoal grill (that’s enough for four racks of ribs plus sides).
Notwithstanding cooking – the unit has a convection warming procedure helped by the enlistment fan which courses hardwood smoke in the whole cooking chamber to make an even dispersion of warmth and an epic flavor.