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The biggest cleanup issue is the buildup on the heat deflector under the cooking grates. You’ll need good gloves and an apron. On most models, a thorough cleanup means a 30 minute process of taking out the greasy grates and the gooey deflector plate, scraping them and washing them. You should do this when the carbon and grease cover the deflector plate. Stainless parts can go in the diswasher, but I wouldn’t do it. That grease is like tar and it could get all over the insides of the dishwasher and hang on for dear life. I use a handheld steamer like the Steamfast SF-320 Portable Steam Cleanershown here.
My new Yoder YS480 is being delivered today. Great size for the home smoker. I chose the Yoder after talking to a couple of buddies that have them and tasting their smoked meats. Living 30 miles away from the factory doesn’t hurt either.
I would agree with the others, really depends on your setup, location and preference. Price also has a a lot to do with it. I’m using LG competition mix and they’ve been great so far (although I’ve only used my grill 4 times thus far). They’re a blend of hickory, cherry and maple and they are as cheap as anything else I’ve seen around me. The dealer I bought from says that’s all he uses and he has his own mobile BBQ catering business. I think if whatever you’re using gives you good steady temps and a taste you like then you’ve got a winner.
“I have cooked on my new RT-700 twice now and you can’t beat the convenience of this grill. Both of my cooks have been low and slow smoking (225°) and had great smoke flavor. Can’t wait to cook more!”
Once all the bits have been removed, use hot soapy water to wash down the inside of the smoker. Then attack the cooking grate and the other parts you removed from the smoker using a rag and the hot soapy water to clean them too. Once you have removed the built-up of grease rinse the surfaces and allow to dry.
OK, so we know the grilling and smoking processes created chemicals which could increase the risk of cancer. There are studies which have shown there is an elevated risk, but even that is very small indeed, and not all the studies so far have come up with the same conclusions. So, honestly, there is no definitive result to prove the case. Man has been cooking over open fires for thousands of years, and it hasn’t proved to be a killer, so it’s probably best to understand the possibility of risk and take any action you think appropriate.
Cleaning and Maintenance: Keeping the grill clean is critical if you need to get the most out of the unit. Old debris can influence the viability of the unit thus normal cleaning is vital. In addition, while moving it around, take alert not to thump it since it accompanies little legs which can without much of a stretch tip over the unit when thumped.
Anything metal has a high risk of rusting. Regular maintenance, such as oiling, however, can dramatically lower these risks. Finding a smoker that’s been properly and thoroughly treated also cuts down on the risk. It’s untreated materials like screws and gaps in the construction that lead to premature rusting. Thoroughly cleaning your grill after each and every use also cuts down on rust. A number of the smokers we reviewed appeared to have significant rust issues, but these rust spots almost always seemed to originate at places where moisture gathers during cooking, which indicates poor maintenance on the part of the user.
Open the smoker and remove the cooking grate and any other racks you might have inside. Don’t forget to remove the heat diffuser as well. Why not take a picture of how they are placed inside the smoker, so you will have a reference handy when putting them back after cleaning. If there are debris and ash inside the smoker, use the vacuum cleaner to suck out the rubbish.
Rating: This is an 8.5 out of 10 grill. It could’ve gotten a higher rating or at least a rating like its sibling Pit Boss, but too many quality control complaints brought its rating down many notches.
You can’t cook as hot or generate as much smoke – You won’t get quite as good a sear as you could with a charcoal grill. And you won’t get that dominate smokey flavor you would get with an offset stick burning smoker.
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.
The Primo Oval is a ceramic kamado style grill that doubles as a smoker. Its versatility lands it with a spot here in best smokers, as well as top choice for a kamado on our best grills list. What sets this Primo apart from other ceramic cookers is its oval shape, giving it more grill space and better two-zone cooking.
They had the field to themselves for a few years, but the idea was too good to go unimitated, and with the digital age came the electronic controller that allowed Traegers and others to create a system that had a thermostat in the cooking chamber that would tell the fan and auger when to do their thing. Today there are more than a dozen manufacturers making increasingly sophisticated machines.
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.
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.
Speaking of the app, not only does it give you the ability to adjust the temperature remotelly, you can also program in unique instructions. For example, you can set it to cook at 225° for 5 hours and then automatically change to 250° for another 4 hours.
Users love the way that they can cook in a variety of ways with the Z-Grills Wood Pellet Grill. They also feel happy that they don’t have to mind their cooking time and again because of its automatic Smart Smoke Technology. Everyone agreed that taking this grill anywhere to cook is easy with its easy to transport design.

Kevin, appreciate your reviews and insights. I am currently looking for my first pellet cooker which will be primarily used for camping, therefore I will likely purchase a portable unit. Your review on the GMG Davy Crocket answered some questions for me. I was initially contemplating the Traeger Junior Elite and GMG Davy Crocket, but after doing some homework I’m now considering the Rec Tec Mini as well. I can purchase the Traeger and GMG now for $350 and the Rec Tec for $500. My dilemma is that I (like many others) take very good care of my gear/equipment, so whatever I purchase, I expect to get a great deal of use out of. With that said, making the wrong decision could be a 7-10 year mistake. There are aspects of each that I like, I guess my question is whether spending another $150 on the Rec Tec, in your opinion, would be worth it to you? I understand if you would rather stay away from specific recommendations, and if that is the case, any other thoughts you have would be appreciated.
Comes with a Meat Probe. You can easily monitor the internal temperature of the meat using the digital controller, without having to lift the grill’s lid. That way you don’t risk losing the heat when opening the lid of the grill.
The Pit Boss Grills 440 offers a lot of space as well as a bottle opener. Another beneficial feature that you will find with this grill is the digital control board which regulates the internal temperature and has an LED display. This is a versatile product that has a lot to offer.
The Davy Crockett gives you far more temperature control than many other pellet smokers. Using the manual control panel you can make 5 degree adjustments. And if you want to really dial it in you can use the app to make one degree adjustments.
You really have to assess the different types of smokers to ensure that you choose the right one for you. Electric, gas, charcoal and pellet smokers all have their own sets of advantages and disadvantages, and looking at these things will help you choose the one that is best for your own needs. Some prefer the charcoal taste of a charcoal grill, while others prefer the convenience and ease of use that goes along with a gas model. Many prefer electric because of how simple they are to set up and use or are only able to have electric smokers due to where they live. Regardless, assessing each different type will help you make the right decision.
Hey Drew – thank you for your comment. All told, most pellet grills are going to average about 1.2 to 1.5 lbs per hour. of pellets per hour at 225, and closer to 1.75 lbs. as you get up to 275. It’s tough to gauge, which is why you are probably seeing different figures across the web. Ambient temperature and pellet composition play a role as well as grill temp. Sorry I don’t have better information for you.
This pellet smoker and its humongous 20 inches by 15 inches or 300 square inches of grilling space is capable of holding 3 rib racks, 18 hotdogs, 4 chickens, or 12 burgers at the same time. This is also one of the most Affordable pellet smokers around. Its thermostat control is LED digital so that you can set it as easily as your microwave. Just press buttons and get the setting you want every time.
Before we get into my pellet grill reviews, it’s important to cover as much about how Pellet grills work, what brands of Pellet smokers are most reliable, and exactly what type of BBQ end product you can expect to achieve using Pellet smokers.
One of the best things about the gas smokers is they are among the most economical smokers. This doesn’t mean that you will get an inferior product, but propane is an inexpensive fuel and the tanks are sold separately.
Three stage controller – there are three options to choose from, smoke ( or low), medium and high. It’s an old and very poor controller. It only has three options to choose from, it’s very poor at maintaining temperature. It doesn’t take weather and other factors into account. The result is that the temperature inside the grill can significantly rise or drop without you knowing. Such solution makes it impossible to set a precise temperature and limits the cooking options.
Hey Charlie – I’d leave that grate wide open if you want maximum heat. If the grates are only over the burn pot, then you can do sort of a two zone cook (indirect vs direct heat) by putting a thicker steak, chop, or piece of chicken on the ‘non direct’ side to get up to a temp that’s 15 or 20 degrees lower than your target. Then, finish off over the burn pot area. Just one idea.
Another way to put it – is it the quality of smoke that is an issue with the pellet smokers, or the quantity? The upgrade to a pellet smoker is a big investment – tough to do without testing. Any assistance would be much appreciated.
This grill has full automation from start to clean the ash off. If you want that type of automatic smoker, you need to increase your budget over 900$ – 1000$. Camp chef PG24 is special because of its comparative low cost.
In smoke mode the controller is no longer controlled by the thermometer, it merely switches the pellet feeding auger on and off. On time is 15 seconds, off time ranges from 45 seconds at P0, to 165 seconds at P15. Temp and smoke are controlled by the duration of off time: the auger always runs at the same speed. More smoke is produced at higher P settings and lower temp settings because longer off times allow the pellets to smolder. At P0 in smoke mode or “High” in cook mode the auger replenishes the pellets at a faster rate, creating more flame, less smoke.
Most of the pellet grills available on the market offer “temperature control” although the problems start when the weather changes. The temperature outside changes, the temperature inside the grill changes, the temperature inside the meat changes. All those factors are very important, as they have a significant impact on maintaining the right temperature inside the grill.
Any grills with moving parts and electrical components can break down (a risk not associated with charcoal or wood grills). If exposed to moisture, pellet fuels will disintegrate. People who live in humid climates must keep their pellets dry, preferably indoors in airtight lidded containers.
Nothing else comes close in terms of features and portability at this price point. The WiFi control via tablet or smart phone is an awesome feature that lets you control the temperature of your grill remotely (handy if you’re lying by the pool).
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!
We are a completely independent team of four outdoor cooking buffs dedicated to helping you get the best BBQ experience. Throughout the years, we have had many adventures, while building our expertise in barbecuing and smoking. Our research also involves reading reviews and getting opinions from the renowned BBQ experts. We will go anywhere and be doing anything to bring you the newest and best information on smoker grills.
A pellet grill is similar to an oven in that it needs to maintain a consistent temperature to be effective. If you want your brisket to be tender the temperature has to stay around 250°F for a 12 hour period.
We weren’t mentioned in the article, but just wanted to pop in and say that Memphis Wood Fire Grills do have the direct flame capability that’s missing in many other pellet smokers. You can easily sear the heck out of anything you wish. 😉
Regarding getting a good draft, this is a common misconception for pellet grills. The burn pot on pellet grills receives oxygen via a fan unit. As such, there’s no need for a draft to get a measured burn in the traditional sense. Most pellet grills lack sufficient insulation / gaskets, etc to prevent smoke from leaking out of the body. So, unless you’re going with the Memphis or something that uses oven style insulation, you don’t really need a chimney at all IMHO.
OK. I’m rambling a bit. To your point regarding Traeger. I think that the models you can buy at big box stores (Costco etc) are OK. I still hear a few complaints about blistering paint etc. But… their Pro Series Models are a different story. The new management at Traeger has come a long way in their efforts to reaffirm the Traeger brand as a legitimate BBQ Pellet Smoker brand that everyone from the backyarder to competition pitmasters can get behind. To that end, they only allow specialty retailers carry the Pro Series models, which are built with a bit more heft and better PID controls, electronics, etc. You can find these at Ace Hardware stores, places like the Whiskey Bent BBQ Supply store we have here in Lakeland, FL (there is now one in Odessa, FL) as well. You can find a Traeger Pro model by going to http://www.traegergrills.com/dealers.

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