Before buying, please note that most pellet smokers need access to electricity to run the digital controller, the auger that transports the pellets to the firebox, and the convection fan that circulates the air in the cooking chamber. These cookers can use a lot of pellets at high temps. At high temps there is little or no smoke, and at low temps smoke is unavoidable. So if you want to cook, say, a chicken breast low and slow to retain juices, but you don’t want any smoke flavor, you’re outta luck. If you want to torch a thin burger to get a crunchy crust and add a little smokiness, you’ll get great smoke flavor, but it is hard to get the crust. But if you want killer ribs, bacon, smoked salmon, etc., pellet burners are hard to beat for convenience and quality.
Pellet grills are available in a range of sizes for a variety of needs—everything from portable models for tailgating to extra large commercial units and built-in pellet grills for outdoor kitchens. When considering grill size, look at the cooking area as well as physical dimensions to choose one that fits your space and lifestyle.
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.
Since there are a lot of choices when you’re looking for the best pellet smoker/grill, we got the best of the best pellet grills on the market reviews by America’s Top Chefs and narrowed down the list to the Top 5 Pellet Smokers on the market right now.
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.
The Z GRILLS Wood Pellet is an honored American brand that offers high quality yet affordable products. This product also includes a three year warranty as well as a thirty day return guarantee. It offers a 330 sq. in. cooking area and ranges in temperature from 160 degree Fahrenheit to 475 degree Fahrenheit.
Web-based control – this is an idea yet to be implemented and is intended to be an upgrade to the Wi-Fi control feature. The plan is to make it possible to control a smoker’s temperature from any place on the planet as long as the smoker is connected to the internet. This will let you set your food and go to work without worries.
Regarding your question about a decrease in smoke flavor when using the pellet grill / smoker, I do believe you will experience a little bit of a drop off. This said, many people find the flavor from pellet grills / movers to be adequate. If you require a stronger smoke profile, you can always use one of the tube smokers that sits inside of the cooking chamber.
Having said that, not everyone has over $400 to splash out on a new smoker. So while you can get a better quality charcoal smoker like the Weber Smokey Mountain for a similar price, if your hearts set on a pellet smoker, you can definitely do worse than the Bradley Original.
I was thinking that electric was the way to go. Who doesn’t like easy and cheap…right? Then I met the first gas smoker operation. It happened by accident and I’m glad it did. My girlfriend and I attended a party at her parent’s place. When we arrived, we were greeted by her father and the smell of smoked pork.
There are actually several different types of charcoal smokers for you to choose from. There are barrel and drum smokers, offset-side charcoal smokers and cabinet-style charcoal smokers, for example. Although each type has its own set of advantages, many people find the cabinet-style smoker to be far superior to the other options; these are well-insulated and are very easy to use because they open up much like a refrigerator. Offset-side charcoal smokers can also be a good choice, but you shouldn’t opt for a cheaper model. If you are on a tight budget and crave the taste of charcoal, a barrel or drum smoker is probably going to be your best smoker grill choice. They are very affordable, are super easy to use and can produce the charcoal-and-smoke combination flavor that you are seeking.
Pellets are made of compressed sawdust. It’s wood and wood burns when heated. If you starve wood of oxygen when you heat it, it smokes rather than burning to ash. This smoke is the best for providing food with an all natural flavor!
“I have tried out many grills in my lifetime, but I’m yet to come across one that matches the features on the REC TEC Grills Bull RT-700. My family cookouts were a disaster considering each of our three previous grills came with an issue. For starters, some of the grills did not use stainless steel making them less durable, and the meat probes weren’t inbuilt. However, this REC TEC Grills Bull RT-700 review will showcase all there is to admire in this grill including a list of features guaranteed to make you jealous if you don’t own one.
With the internal temperature sensor, meat temperature probe, and a digital temperature readout, the PG24 pellet smoker takes the guesswork out of your cooking process. An advanced digital temperature chip gives a more steady smoke and temperature, eliminating large temperature swings and giving a more consistent cooking temperature. The patented Ash Can Cleanout System makes clean up the easiest out there.
So, I say go for the best pellet grill you can get within your budget. I reviewed the little GMG Davy Crockett pellet grill recently and was impressed. At just under $400, it’s a good option. That said, I would like to see them put the unit on fold down legs with casters or some other option to make it easier to move around. You’ll see what I mean in the post. Hope this helps.
Many people misunderstand a pellet grill of consuming a large amount of power for its working. But it is not even remotely true. While it is true that a pellet grill will use up a good amount for power initially, but it only uses that to come to temperature and form. Once it is ready and in form, it power consumption drops so dramatically that some pellet grills use almost as little power as a light bulb; an ideal choice for keeping power costs to a minimum.
FireCraft: Made in the USA, the awesome FireCraft Pellet-Q450 Pellet Grill sells for about $900 and allows for both direct and indirect grilling. It also includes a trademarked “Pellet Exchange” feature, giving you the ability to quickly switch out pellet flavors.
I can guarantee you, if a friend or family member has a smoker grill we’ve been there trying it out and getting their opinion on how it works. If the units are portable enough, we’ve been known to bring them to our place, where we personally smoke a brisket or grill a pork butt to get the first-hand experience. Let me share with you an experience I had doing exactly that.
There are several types of smokers across many different price ranges, so there is a smoker out there that is right for you. A smoker can cost as little as $50, and as much as $10,000, and they all do mainly the same thing, which is to cook meat to perfection giving it an aromatic smoky flavor that can’t be beat. They come in a wide range of shapes and sizes and are generally grouped by the type of fuel they use.
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.
Note: more pellet grill reviews will be published soon but all our favorites have been listed above. Read below for some elite pellet grill reviews, portable pellet grill reviews and our list of pellet grill deals and packages.
If you plan on taking your smoker with you on trips, this is a great choice. It comes apart easily for quick setup and teardown. The aluminum materials are far lighter than any steel competitors, too. Those same materials also make it tougher than many similar smokers. The manufacturers claim it smokes like one of the popular egg-shaped grills. However, since it doesn’t use porcelain, it’s much more durable.
The Daniel Boone pellet grill is the only unit on our best smokers list to feature a Wi-Fi enabled control system. This connects to your iOS or Android phone and conveniently lets you know the status of any smoking session.
I have used Bradley, Masterpiece, Green Egg, New Braunfels, Oklahoma Joe, Weber and now Traeger. So there is some experience in these comments. The “set it and forget” it is a misnomer and should not be used with Traeger (or any smoker/grill.) With Pellet Drive before you buy Read up on Er codes. The worst is when the fire pot fills up with pellets because the fire can’t keep up with the auger push and the whole cook is ruined or delayed. You have to pull everything out and basically start over while your expensive prime brisket is trying to be saved in the oven. Doesn’t matter what the weather is or wind conditions. Doesn’t matter if you stare at it and stir the hopper continuously. It will happen. Customer support at first was well you are at fault (didn’t leave the lid open on fireup for exactly 2 to 4 minutes or didn’t vacuum out the firepot between every cook) which is crazy. Finally, after so many calls over the past 6 months they are trying to make it right. Problem is, DO NOT believe the “set it and forget it.” That does not exist with any good cook. I have replaced the controller the fan and now getting a new probe. Do not waste your money. Unless someone out here in BBQ land can give me a recommendation on a product that won’t do this stay away from Pellet Drive?
Third name to make it to my list of the best pellet grill review is The REC TEC Wood Pellet grill. It has a trademark Smart grill Technology, which maintains precise temperature. This amazing pellet grill has a whopping 702 square inch cooking area, and a 40 pound capacity pellet hopper. It is made out of high quality stainless steel. It comes with a drip pan.
Barbecuing and grilling meats to the perfect temperature, texture and doneness is a skill that is acquired over years and years of practice. There is a lot that goes into making a good BBQ than just good seasoning and fresh meat, and any pit master will agree. There are just so many aspects you have to learn how to control: the temperature, the smoke, the placement, the ratios and so on. But you are lucky that this is new of yesterdays.
We loved the remote. It is things like this that make modern grilling such a great experience. It is not just an on off either, it does everything you would want it to, and well. All the temperature controls work, the timer is incredibly useful and will save many a burned burger, turning the smoker on and off at a distance is hugely useful, especially when combined with the wood chip loading system, makes you get an unprecedented level of control over not just your smoky flavors but how you want your meat done (rare for me!).
Choosing the one perfect pellet grill that could change your cooking experience is easier said than done. There is just so know you have to know before committing to it. Though I did give you a run-through of all the basic and important things to look for in a pellet grill before buying one, it is still a scratch on the surface. It is tiring to have to go from store to store to find the quality ones that you can choose from. So, to come to your rescue once again, I will now give you the some pellet grill review.
Good info above. A couple added notes. LG (Louisiana Grills) and Pit Boss are both owned by a company named Dansons. I’ve had good success with both the LG Competition Blend and Pit Boss Competition blend. Some bags have been a bit dusty, other bags just fine. My current bag of LG Hickory has very few fines, less than either of the CookinPellets bags I’ve tried. (not to ding CP, they’re good, but use CamelCamelCamel.com to monitor Amazon prices and alert you when they bring the price down.
Offset smokers just look cool, but the fact is the cheap ones in the big box stores are junk. They make it almost impossible to manage temperatures and then they turn into rust buckets after one season. If you’re Jonesing for the pro look, if you want to burn logs as well as charcoal, this is what you have to spend to get quality. The Horizon is built to cook well and to last. Made of 1/4″ thick steel, when it heats up the mass retains heat and holds temp. You still have to practice to get control over the vents to control heat and it’s a good idea to sit nearby to watch it, but that’s why lounge chairs and beer were invented. If you get one, make sure it has the optional convection plate. It helps distribute the heat more evenly. And the capacious cooking chamber can be loaded with charcoal if the entire Little League is coming over and you need to grill up 43 burgers at once. Click here to read our complete review of the Horizon 20″ RD Special Marshal.
Thanks for the quick response and advice. I see a pellet pro hopper assembly is around $250 compared to the Memphis pro at over $2000. I didn’t realize that drafting isn’t important for the sake of temp regulation but what about how the smoke travels from the firebox towards the meat? I also would like to include an element of humidity, is simply putting a pan of water in the cooker or is there a better way?
Find out which ones come standard and which ones are optional. If you are trying to save money keep the features to a minimum. Here are 6 popular features you should look for when shopping for a pellet grill.
REC-TEC: REC-TEC, also known as Rec Tec, has been in business for more than 7 years. Its pellet grill offers up to 702 square inches of cooking surface real estate, beating out the Pit Boss and its 700 square inches by (only) about 2 inches of extra space. Its grills can also calibrate themselves in 5° increments and its pellet hopper is capable of holding 40 pounds of pellets (no constant refills required).
For example, many grills use and charge for collaborating with a software application on it. I, personally, think this is an absolutely silly feature to include on a pellet grill. Yes, it does start on and off from your phone and change temperatures while you are at Switzerland enjoying Swiss cheese on a lake, but really, is it even logical? I mean, pellet grills have already made the cooking experience as easy as a dream, the least you can do is set the temperature by the click of a button on the appliance yourself! You can’t possibly be that lazy!
The main cooking surface at your disposal measuring 570 square inches, which is heated by pellets. It is able to heat up the surface from 160 degrees to 500 degrees F. It is great for long and slow meat smoking.
I have owned a Memphis Elite (built-in) for 16 months now. It is a very high quality product, and couldn’t be easier to use. The direct flame area is arguably a little small (effectively a bit smaller than 1 sq ft), but it does a great job. The temperature control is phenomenal, and includes a meat probe control that can put the grill into “hold” mode once the meat reaches the target internal temperature. A very happy owner here!
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.
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 is easy to see why I am so passionate about pellet grilling. In fact, I’m working on building a commercial-grade pellet grill to use at moto and iNG. Not only are pellet grills efficient, easy to use, and flavorful, they are also cost-effective and don’t involve potentially dangerous chemicals like propane. It’s just Mother Earth’s all-natural goodness… and you can taste it in every delicious and succulent bite!
Since we have reviewed so many top smokers 2018 and written so many guides and lists to the best smoker grills, we thought we should put together a definitive guide to Our Picks so you can choose the best in every category easily. For the top 10 product reviews in each category, take a look at our reviews page. We will provide a link at the bottom of each review.
PID controllers: PID controllers are considered by many to be the gold standard of grill controllers. Using complex algorithms, temperatures are accurate to within a few degrees. The pellet feed is constantly adjusted to maintain the correct temperature, and this type of controller can even accommodate programmable meat probes that work in tandem with the controller to lower the temperature when the meat is done. They also feature LCD and one touch buttons.
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!
My girlfriend’s dad was in love with his new smoker grill and so was I. Although I still wasn’t convinced this was perfect one for me. When I got home I did some research of my own. Here is what I found out. Decide for yourself if this is the ultimate smoker grill.
I have ate a few peoples cooking that have won at the Royal, Houston and Memphis in May. They have all had one thing in common, I didn’t put one drop of sauce on them and they had not been sauced on the Q before serving! The restaurant Cackle and Oink is just a ways from where we live and the owner Aaron Vogel is there regularly. I have tasted all his sauces and they are very good, but the 3 times I have been there, his sauces never touch my ribs and brisket! Aaron does say, if you like this you need to try my competition food (which I will at one of the competitions he is in locally). None of the KCBS, Houston or Memphis in may winners Q had even a hint of ash or bitter smoke flavor. They also had a very light smoke profile. They also all say they cook over well burned down wood.
Getting your Pellet smoker lit and ready is a pretty straightforward process. Simply make sure your hopper is full of wood smoking pellets, flip the on switch, set your temperature, and let the process begin.
Considering quality construction of anything is among the most important factors that should be kept in mind while shopping for a pellet smoker. No one would wish to buy an item, no matter the price, that is not of good quality and that will have rust or get destroyed without giving the user enough service. That is a loss. A good quality pellet smoker will last longer and will need less or little maintenance.
As you have a BGE and the PBC, I think a “pellet pooper” is a great 3rd option. They’re more versatile than folks think, and you can fire them up, cook, and shut them down with a lot less effort than the other two. Great for impromptu week night cooks. Hope this input helps. – Kevin
As you can see in this selection of pellet grill reviews, the act of heating pellets and generating smoke in any pellet smoker is pretty much the same. Yes, some pellet grills use thicker metal, have better thermostats, air flow, racks, drip flow, etc. But the ask any professional BBQ cooker who uses a pellet grill, and they’ll tell you that the quality of your smoke really does come down to the pellets themselves. Here’s what one very astute BBQ pro had to say over at the Pellet Smoke Ring:
It is almost as we have forgotten how to live life the way it should be lived. We no longer have the time to sit back on a summer’s day, and appreciate the show that nature has put up for us. Now-a-days we are so committed to our work, responsibilities and duties towards the external that we often forget that we have our very first priority neglected: happiness. We are so engaged in our daily 9 to 5 routines that we have actually began to take it as a way of living while it slowly drains and strains us away over time.
One Touch Non PID Controller- The One Touch Non PID controller gives you the ability to set the temperature using one touch buttons. The temperature can be set in 5° or 10° increments and there is an LCD display that shows the exact setting.