This is one of the most affordable grills on our list, and it definitely invests its small budget in all the right areas. It works just fine as a smoker, provided you’re willing to pay for the additional firebox, and it has the range to cook just about whatever you want. Still, it requires a lot of attention. Buyers should be aware that they’ll trade money savings for time costs.
You’re not going to be able to cook as hot as some other pellet grills out there, but this unit should easily reach 420 degrees. For a relatively small package you can still cook a good amount of food. A 10lb brisket or a few slabs of ribs shouldn’t be a problem which should keep the campers happy!
Typically, most portable grills would give up certain features just to maintain their portability, but this wood pellet grill from Traeger actually had more than what high-end grills have to offer. Out of all of our features, it managed to tick 85% off the list. Its digital controls, versatile cooking features, and decent cooking space (perfect for outdoor adventures) all make it our best portable pick.
In terms of portability, there are smaller and lighter options available but the cooking surface is much smaller and has the out-of-date lo-med-high controller. The Davy Crockett uses Green Mountain’s sophisticated digital thermostatic controller with a dual readout LED display to accommodate the included meat thermometer. It also comes with adaptors to provide power from a wall outlet, car cigarette lighter, or car battery: items that are often optional on other makes.
The online research, the model comparisons, the pricing—choosing the right pellet grill can be challenging, so much so that, by the time you settle on a grill, choosing smoker pellets often becomes an afterthought. While some people simply default to the wood pellets sold by their pellet grill manufacturer, too many others settle for the cheapest pellets available. Because, really, how much difference can the pellets make? A lot, actually.
The Webber Smokey Mountain is really an ideal and well made backyard smoker. The space of the cooking chamber allows large sized cooking without any issue, and the simple vertical design sends the smells and heat around the meat cut. The smoker also functions as a moist smoker with a water pan built in to add moisture to smoked meats.
Eric, I’m sorry for the trouble you’ve had with your Traeger. Not sure this will help, but here is how I make sure I don’t have the problem you had. When I start after a long previous cook or any cook at all really, I vacuum out all the dust and vacuum out the burn pot. Then, I put a handful of pellets into the burnt pot, insert the heat deflector, the drip tray, and grate. I find that this keeps things working well. Sometimes, the burn pot will get too full of ash and this can cause the problems that you had. Give it a try. If it works, please let me know.
REC TEC offers high-quality pellet smokers featuring excellent digital controllers, sturdy construction, and an eye-catching appearance. With a 40-pound pellet hopper, a 680-square-inch cook surface, and nine inches of headroom, the REC TEC 680 is a large, smartly constructed pellet smoker for about a thousand bucks. The seams are welded, powder-coated, and caulked. The grill grates are quarter-inch-wide, marinade-resistant, long-lasting stainless steel rods. The fire pot, heat deflector, and drip pan are also stainless steel. All pellet grills need to be plugged into an AC outlet, and REC TEC wisely takes advantage of this requirement to include a very useful internal hood light.
Meat probes: Some pellet cookers have outputs in their controller that allow for meat probes to be plugged in directly. Readings taken from your meat can then be displayed conveniently on the screen of your cooker.
Although mesquite is often thought of as the quintessential BBQ wood, don’t stock up on it until you’ve tried it. While many who are new to pellet smokers and BBQ immediately choose mesquite pellets, be forewarned: it has a strong assertive flavor than can overpower food. When buying pellets for the first time, its wise to choose flavors that are versatile enough to be used on many different foods.
It used to be that purchasing a smoker was the equivalent to donating a vital organ Smokers have become a hot commodity lately. It’s not uncommon to look across the top of your neighborhood on Memorial Day and see a dozen plumes of smoke rising from back yards down the street.
Flavor – another advantage, pellet burners have a great influence on the flavor of your food. With use of good quality hard wood pellets you create smoke that gives your food a characteristic wooden flavor.
Sorry for the long book all, hope there is some info that helps all of your readers to avoid all the work and ruined meat. The books I recommend are great but there are a ton more out there with great info as well. (And yep still looking for the magic bullet on brisket, best I can say cook till floppy and don’t let the juice out! GL)
You must have thoughts in your mind centered around the thousands of pellet smokers and why Camp Chef PG24 is our no 1 choice. We will list the detailed features, pros and cons of this smoker. First, let me tell you why this smoker grabbed the number 1 spot on our list.
Hey Cary, thanks for your comment. You can get pellet grills up to the 500 degree range and, with some grillgrates, they sear well. But, based on your comment I think you might get the most use out of a gasser. That said, I prefer pellet grills even for higher temp and shorter cooks. The smoke tubes work well.
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.
Hi John, I believe the information in this article to be current still. The only addition I’d make and probably should make is to put GMG and Traeger in as being comparable with Rec-Tec. Traeger specifically has been coming back with a vengeance of late with their Pro Series models.
Technically speaking, digital smokers don’t have an open flame. This means you won’t get the same smoke ring that you would get from a charcoal smoker. However, looks aside, the fuel doesn’t heavily affect taste. You won’t have the coal flavor that so many people enjoy with their barbecue, but smoking relies (or should rely) on the flavor of the wood and seasonings far more than the fuel’s influence. If you taste the coal more than the wood when you use a coal-fueled smoker, you’re doing something wrong.
Hi there i want to recommend the CAMP CHEF pellet smokers you get the bang for your buck with these smokers i know a lot of you out there are turning up your noses but these smokers have all the extras at a very good price well under a $1000 customer service second to none you get the pellet clean out in the hopper they have a ash tray under the body you just pull a lever and all your burnt ash is cleaned out digital temp for the food digital temp for the chamber lo smoke and high smoke setting and it goes up to 500 degrees at 25 degree increments mine coast me $359 out the door includes shipping it dose a wonderful job holding the temps with a 10 to 15 degrees swing i bought mine at CAMP SAVER.
One of the higher end pellet smokers you might want to check out, and one I’ve had the opportunity to try out myself, is the Memphis Pro Pellet Grill. This pellet grill is not for the faint of heart price wise. However, I can attest to the fact that it is one of the most robust, versatile, and pleasurable pellet grills I’ve used.
Recently bought portable Traeger ptk+ smoker as camp a lot. Food is amazing though grill size better suited for 2-4 ppl and you can’t fit a large roast. However cooked a rack of ribs, several chickens and burgers. Food comes out amazing. You do need electricity hookup camping and it drains too much power to run off cars dc socket. $300 and of you call them to order v online they will throw in free weather cover free shipping and some rub. It does take up some room in car so beware if you have tiny vehicle. Buyer beware racoons love smoked food so remove your trash bag with bones from campsite before retiring, as we found out the hard way
The great part about this smoker is that it is fairly light-weight, weighing in at 69 lbs, and its legs double as a handles: all you have to do is fold the legs up and carry the smoker wherever you need to! Furthermore, this smoker comes with a 12V connector that you can plug into the cigarette lighter of your car, and a 12-foot alligator clips that you can connect to your car’s battery if necessary. You can take this smoker anywhere!
Who doesn’t want to experience the tastiest grilled food, and one of the simplest ways to do that, and make sure your meat is more healthy for you is to marinate the meat before grilling or smoking. A marinade will add a plethora of new flavors to your cooking, and it also forms a protective barrier around the food to stop any harmful chemicals penetrating into the meat.
The round ceramic shell makes them very efficient heat retainers, making very high temperatures possible. You can get a kamado up to about 750° Fahrenheit, hot enough for a wide range of uses. They are controlled temperature-wise through vents, and when automated or used by an experienced practitioner, they can give extremely precise temperatures.
With its Integrated Digital Elite Controller, temperature is kept constant within + / – 20 degrees Fahrenheit. It also allows for low/slow and hot/fast smoking for up to 450 degrees. Checking up on your food’s temperature is also made easy with the LED display, which clearly slows the temperature even under bright daylight.
“We love pellet grills but didn’t like the designs of the models on the market. They are more like an oven than a grill. MAK Grills are designed to be the best in class. You get outstanding BBQ flavor and safe cooking with real wood, along with an automatic lighting and fuel feed system. Simply turn the grill on and you’re cooking in minutes! Our direct heat FlameZone ® feature is pioneering the industry for “gas grill like” cooking without the hassle of flare-ups and burned food.” — MAK Grills
This grill also comes with an internal temperature sensor as well as a pellet purge system, an electronic auto ignition, and shutdown recycle mode. This grill offers versatility with the 7 in 1 Barbecue Smoker Grill which gives the option of searing, grilling, smoking, braising, roasting, baking, or barbecuing food. It also has a fan forced convection cooking which removes the necessity for a rotisserie.
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.
When reviewing products for our Top 10 lists we put ourselves in the shoes of the customer and look at the kinds of questions that you might ask when making a fairly costly purchase. If you haven’t made up your mind on electric vs pellet smokers, then you can read our Electric Smoker Reviews here.
Brad Barrett at Grill Grates makes a fantastic product. Reverse searing 2″ steaks and chops (or thicker) works great on pellet smokers as you can get the internal temp up to 10-15 degrees below your desired finish temp, remove them and loosely wrap / cover in foil, crank up the smoker with the grates on to say, 400 degrees, and then sear off your protein getting great grill marks with little to no sticking at all. Huge fan of Grill Grates.
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.
However, in terms of affordability, it’s only natural that the Traeger TFB29LZA would have the edge. As the innovator of pellet smoking or grilling, Traeger knows how to lower its production costs since it invented pellet grills in the first place. Its economically smaller grills naturally require constant refilling since they have smaller hoppers in turn.
In 1982, Oregon’s Traeger Heating introduced a home heating system that burned wood pellets made from compressed sawdust, a by-product of local lumber milling. Since demand for these furnaces and wood pellets dropped off after winter, Traeger came up with a grill that would burn pellets and keep the business afloat over the summer months.
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.
A. The brand of the pellet does not matter when cooking in a grill. The quality of the pellets matter. Most pellet smoker companies would recommend for a buyer to use pellets from their own models. This is because they want to insist on use of quality pellets and selling their products too. Though any good quality pellet can be used to cook in model of a pellet smoker and cooker.
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.
Generally, we’d advise you against anything “entry level” since you’re going to have a worse experience and it could turn you off of the art of smoking your foods in the first place. Something in the $500-$1000 range seems like a huge investment upfront, and frankly it is, but when you consider that you’ll have it to enjoy incredible meals for years that’ll blow the socks off all your buddies, and prove to your family that you really can cook after all, it’s a small price to pay.