It is definitely something different than an electric, gas or charcoal grill. If you prefer gas grills click here to see buyers guide for gas grills or if you love charcoal smoke flavor, check out my buyers guide for charcoal grills.
The argument for bark is that it smolders really well, providing more smoke during the cook and therefore more smokey flavor. Think about it: When you put a log on the fire, the bark almost immediately begins to smoke and smolder. And therein lies the second half of the pro-bark argument: when cooking on an offset you use logs with bark, so why should pellets be any different?
I always encourage consumers to get to know a little bit about a brand and company before purchasing a product from them. What differentiates a smart consumer from a consumer is preparedness. Get to know about the company history, its commitment to consumers, its consumer service, after-sales services and warranty. It is also a great idea if you can go through consumer ratings and reports the company’s pellet grill review before buying it. Do not just fall for intelligent marketing and chic packaging. Get you facts checked; remember it is your hard earned money on the line.
It’s made from heavy gauge steel, feels very durable, and should last you for many, many years if you take good care of it and maintain it. One point of contention is that the hopper could be a bit bigger, some have said it holds around 10 pounds. That’s not horrible, and filling it isn’t some horrible task or anything, but it’s worth pointing out that it could stand to be a bit larger.
PID Controllers – The most sophisticated type of pellet grill controller, PID controllers use complex algorithms to achieve and maintain the desired temperature within a few degrees. They, too, feature LCD display and one-touch buttons for setting the temperature in 5° increments. However, unlike controllers that use fixed cycles, a PID controller continuously measures the grill’s temperature then adjusts its cycle, adding pellets when necessary to hold the correct cooking temperature throughout the cook. Because they’re more sophisticated, PID controllers can accommodate programmable meat probes that have the ability to automatically lower the grill’s temperature when food is done.
However, if you live in a cold climate and it is freezing outside, the ability to control your cook from inside your warm home may well be an appealing feature. If that’s the case then the Davy Crockett by Green Mountain Grills might be right up your ally.
To your question regarding Traeger, I’ve not reviewed their grills of yet. I do know that Traeger as a company is taking steps to up their game some, as quality/reliability of their pellet grills has diminished over the last few years. The new CEO – Jeremy Andrus – they hired comes from the Skull Candy company and brought that headphone company from annual sales from less than $1 million to nearly $300 million. I know also that a few big hitters in the BBQ world are being contacted by Traeger to bring the brand back to its former prominence. You can read more about that here from the site of one of the company’s that now has an ownership interest in Traeger: http://www.trilantic.com/News_Story.aspx?StoryType=1&ID=56.
Using their trademarked Smart Grill Technology, Rec Tec have managed to give you a wide array of temperatures, with precision control of 5 degrees. From 180ºF to 500ºF, and whether you’re looking for a low and slow cook that’ll keep your neighbors jealous and salivate all day, or you want to bang out something more quickly at a higher temperature, you’re covered, with one unit.
Max is the man in charge of finding the best products for the AmazingRibs.com Equipment Reviews section. Max loves barbecue so much that he took his barbecue sauce recipes, had them bottled, and now sells Black Swan Premium, All-Natural Sauces around the world.
The Pit Boss grills work fine. Their controllers get a little wonky every now and then but that is the exception, not the rule. What concerns me about the brand is that these smokers only come with a one year warranty. The owner’s manual for these products actually says that you should not expect them to last more than 2-3 grilling seasons.
While the exterior is powder-coated steel, the interior is porcelain coated steel. This makes for a great mix of durability and easy cleaning. The dump ash pan at the very bottom makes cleaning even faster. This egg-shaped grill and smoker combo really strips away additional features for the sake of basic grilling and smoking needs. It can handle anything from 200 to 700 degrees Fahrenheit, and the design not only controls heat, but actually helps you use less fuel.
When you buy a pellet smoker, it should last you for years. If you buy a unit that’s dependable, then you won’t have to worry about costly repairs and replacements. It’s important to buy a smoker that comes from a dependable manufacturer; when you do this, it’s much more likely that your unit will produce quality smoke without breaking after a few uses.
The little cooking space is sufficiently sizeable to help you cook meat for a little gathering of individuals or a family. It can without much of a stretch hold 12 burgers, 2 chickens, 18 wieners and 3 rib racks advantageously. Generally on the off chance that you’ll be grilling for a bigger gathering, then you might need to consider a greater BBQ. Traeger BBQ 155.01 is composed of a side table for comfort when you have to place things on a surface. This grill is among many grills with a front mounted rack, yet in the event that you like a grill with a front shelving, simply ahead and get it.
Pellets look like rabbit chow. They are about the width of a pencil and as long as a couple of erasers. If they get wet they turn into a pile of sawdust. The beauty of pellets is that they have none of the additives and fillers in charcoal briquets, so they combust almost completely. Almost zero ash. The pellets provide the heat as well as flavor. No need to add wood chips. Surprisingly, they do not produce overly smoky food. If anything, the food is undersmoked to some people because the combustion is so complete.
Some people think simple is best and some love a smoker grill that comes with all the bells and whistles on the market. If you are someone who likes to have all the latest features have a look out for a smoker grill that has some of the extras below:
I can honestly admit I hate cleaning, I think most people feel the same. You have to know, though, that keeping your pellet smoker clean is a very important task. People who designed this grill handled this task perfectly, making cleaning a much easier and quicker task.
By far, the two most popular pellet flavors are hickory and apple. Both are classic BBQ woods, and between the two you can cook just about anything. Hickory produces a moderate smoke that’s strong enough to stand up to the bold flavor of beef, but isn’t so strong that it overpowers pork or poultry. Apple, on the other hand, produces a sweet and mild smoke that complements lighter foods like seafood and vegetables, but also has enough backbone to be used with poultry and pork. Although hickory and apple are the most popular flavors, you can also pair other combinations of moderate and mild woods (such as pecan or oak with cherry or peach) to sufficiently cover all your BBQ bases.
Use of the P settings in smoke mode is easy to understand. But one can also use them as a dual function feature in cook mode. Remember, in cook mode the auger idles when the temperature is correct, but the P settings continue to function in idle mode. Ortech recommends the P2 setting as the default idle rate in cook mode. However, as one gains experience, the P settings can be used to improve the grills performance. For example, when using high temperature settings, select P1 or P0 to reduce auger off time and maintain strong, steady heat. If you have trouble hitting low temperatures on a sweltering day, increase the P setting to increase auger off time. It does not have a significant effect on smoke production. The basic rule remains: Low heat = more smoke, high heat = less smoke.
They might have lost a few followers along the way, what with newer, sleeker models available but Traeger’s still popular thanks to their marketing and distribution. You can find Traeger pellet grills everywhere.
Hi Craig, you are on the right track, the direct flame is a little limited with any pellet grill. A way to solve this is to employ grill gtates. Great heat retention and searing. Some active movement of proteins and veggies will be required if you want direct flames to impact them.
With the Camp Chef PG24S, you won’t have to constantly refill your hopper. Your pellets will be used as efficiently as possible, as this product comes with a hopper than can hold up to 18 pounds of wood pellets. With the digital heat control system, it instantly feeds the pellets into the grill to maintain the ideal cooking temperature. This ensures that food is cooked most satisfyingly.
As both a fuel source and flavor enhancer, wood pellets can affect everything from how well your pellet grill performs to how good the food tastes. And while one might assume that because all wood pellets look alike that they’re all the same, which pellets you use can make a big difference. These 6 tips will help you choose quality smoker pellets that will keep your pellet grill performing its best and producing great wood-fire flavor.
To ensure you always maintain a clean burning flame this Pit Boss grill comes with an electric ignition and fan forced air. Once the air has been fan forced into the grill it gets channeled around by the flame broiler.
Before you hit the barbecue store down the street, take a few minutes and read our list below. We don’t claim to know everything about smokers, but we’ve been smoking meat for a while, and, when it comes to finding the right smoker, we’re pretty experienced. After you’ve thought through the questions above, check out our picks and then make a choice based on what’s best for you.
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.
Another important key feature that you should always consider is the insulation and seals of the smoker. Smokers that are relatively inexpensive usually leak, which allows smoke and heat to escape. As a result, this makes it difficult for your smoker to keep temperatures stabilized and control the amount of smoke taste.
With a temperature range of 160 degrees F to 500 degrees F, you can cook however you want. Braise, grill, roast, bake, smoke or barbecue your foods — that’s entirely up to you. This smoker is powerful enough to cook even the most demanding dishes.
Most traditional grills and smokers would have you struggling to reach the desired temperature, but with this unit, that problem is long gone. All you have to do is set your temperature using its digital controls, and press a button to get it heated up.
The Camp Chef Woodwind Pellet Grill was chosen as our sixth choice because it lacked some features found in our Top 5 picks, especially when it came to cooking flexibility. While it does offer an impressive 6-in-1 cooking experience, it lacks an auto shut-off feature, which makes it less of a “set it an forget it” kind of smoker. The grill is rather heavy, at an overall weight of 146lbs. It’s also more expensive than the rest, even though it offers similar (even less) features. It’s a decent choice if flavor is the only thing you’re looking for.
A pellet grill is an outdoor cooker that runs on electricity. It uses wood pellets as fuel to cook as well as smoke and flavor the meats. A pellet grill is a combination appliance of grills, smoker, oven and more. It can be used to sear, smoke, grill, roast and even bake! A pallet grill can be used to cook almost all types of meats and proteins. It also accommodates larger quantity and size than a normal indoor appliance. This is what makes a pellet grill so special, its versatility and convenience of use.
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.
For a mid-range priced product, you get all the features you would need in a portable grill and smoker. Though it’s a portable pick, one of its great features (which also makes it worth the price) is its durable build. If you’re going to bring this grill with you on camping trips and hikes, you’re going to need it to be as sturdy as possible.
“I am new to wood pellet cooking and so far feel this is the only way to cook food outside. The RT-700 has exceeded my expectations in all ways possible. I have cooked several types and varieties of meats so far and they all have been excellent. I highly recommend Rec-Tec grills to anyone who is thinking about exploring wood pellet cooking. I give Rec-Tec’s customer service and their grills 5 out of 5 STARS!”
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’.
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.
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.
Some cheaper models, such as the Brinkmann, have a controller with only three settings, Low, Medium, High (LMH), and there is no temperature probe in the oven to create a feedback loop. We do not recommend these units. You actually have less control over temp than you do on a gas or charcoal smoker. The whole reason to buy a pellet grill is because it is set-it-forget-it and it hits a temp and holds it regardless of the ambient air temp outside, winter or summer. On these LMH controllers, the temp fluctuates widely and it cannot correct itself for the weather. They just aren’t as smart as a digital device. Whether you’re smoking a few slabs of ribs on a scorching summer day, or six pork butts during a blizzard, the three position controller only knows auger on and off times for Low, Medium, and High. It has no information on the temperature inside the cook chamber.
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.
If you have faced or currently face the problem with common things like pellet feed jamming or wear and tear of your smoker, then replacing the exact component will solve your problem. Thus, without changing your whole smoker you can continue with some $40 – $50 changes. It might seem complicated for you if you face a problem with your digital control system. Adding the element of professional knowledge will help tremendously. Solving problem with $150 is much better than spending $500, right?
Thank you so much for the kind words! I think you would be very happy with a smaller pellet grill / smoker. The wording changes depending on how you are using the device. For instance, if you are cooking at low temperatures you will get a stronger smoke profile then if you burn a pellet smoker / grill at its higher temperature range. One thing you could do for steaks is cook them at the higher range thus being able to get a sear much like you would on a direct heated Grill service, for instance on your Weber. Another option would be to cook the steak in the reverse see your method, by bringing it up to temperature at a lower smoker setting and adding some smoke flavoring that way, then removing it and bringing the smoker up to its higher settings so you can finish off the steak with some of the effect you would achieve on direct flame. I normally do this by bringing the steaks up to about 15 degrees below where I want them to finish. Then, I finish them off at the higher temperature to where they are about 5 degrees below my target. This usually means a few minutes on each side but I use a Thermapen to be sure.
I wrote up an extensive review of this Grilla model here. You can also listen to a podcast episode I did with Shane Draper and Mark Graham of Grilla Grills as well. (Click here for the podcast episode and show notes.)
This black porcelain enamel coated barrel is a straightforward vertical smoker. It comes with a number of additional tools and hooks that help users grill or smoke essentially any kind of meat or other food.
Masterbuilt is a well-known brand for smokers. They’ve been producing quality products since 1973, and the 7-in-1 model continues the excellent tradition. The unit is really a all in one grilling/smoking man’s paradise. There’s a truckload of cooking space, which you don’t often find in a vertical smoker (let’s just say that a hame and a turkey at one time is feasible). The grilling racks are porcelain coated, meaning that they can withstand extremely high heats (the sorts of temperatures you need to sear burgers or steaks) while at the same time remaining non-stick and intact to slow roast cut potatoes or corn on the cob.
Choose your flavor. The good thing about pellet grills is that the pellets are flavored. Pellets may come from apple wood, cherry, pecan, mesquite, and hickory wood. You can also match a combination of wood flavor and food like using apple pellets when cooking fish or using hickory with beef.
It’s true that even the entry-level models of pellet smokers are a bit pricey. But I’ve never met an unhappy pellet smoker owner, even if they paid a few hundred bucks more than the cost of their neighbor’s grill. While many folks struggle trying to get cheap offset and bullet smokers to work, with a pellet smoker, it’s easy to make the best smoked ribs, brisket, and pulled pork in the neighborhood.
If you live in an area where wood furnaces are used (not like down here in FL where a few heat strips will do the trick), you may also be familiar with pellet furnaces. In short, pellets compressed from sawdust and wood shavings fill a hopper and are then fed into a burn pot using an electric auger system. The auger, which is basically a long screw, delivers pellets to the burn pot based on the speed dictated by the unit’s thermostat.