Most grills with an Ortech controller do have an internal feedback system that makes adjustment based upon the internal grill temperature. However, the feedback loop consists of crude, temporary adjustments to the predetermined feed rate.
They had the field to themselves for a few years, but the idea was too good to go un-imitated, and soon competitors began popping up. In the early days, most pellet smoker controllers had only three settings—low, medium, high (LMH)—and there was no temperature probe in the oven to create a feedback loop. So, whether you were smoking a few slabs of ribs on a scorching summer day or six pork butts during a blizzard, the controller only knew pellet-feed on and off times for its standard settings. It had no information on the actual temperature inside the cooking chamber.
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.
Temperature: Most of all, you have to pay attention to whether your pellet grill maintains a chosen temperature. People buy a pellet smoker because it makes it possible to smoke meat for long at fixed low temperatures. Very convenient and simple, and a grill that always maintains a selected temperature guarantees that the meat will be perfectly cooked.
The controller only comes with 9 temperature settings, so you don’t have the ability to dial in the exact temperature you want. This doesn’t mean the unit doesn’t work, you can still cook amazing food. It’s just more geared to beginners who don’t want to fuss around with temperatures
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.
Overall, the Traeger Grills Tailgater is an ideal choice for outdoor trips with small families or groups. While it doesn’t deliver the most convenient and advanced cooking as compared to the other picks in this review, it does have the right degree of portability and functionality needed in any outdoor adventure.
One Touch Non PID controllers are a lot more accurate than the previous two controllers. However, keep in mind they too deliver pellets on a fixed cycle. Because of this accuracy is limited to +/-15–20°F.
Who says bigger is always better? Our fourth contender to make it to our pellet grill review is the The Traeger TFB29LZA Junior elite grill. This petite pellet grill has been specifically designed to meet the needs of small households. Its small body makes it ideal for travelling and tailgating. It features a 300 square inch cooking surface. This pellet grill weighs just 60 pounds. You will get an LED digital, multi-position thermostat that comes with a 3 year warranty.
It also has the standardized dial-in digital control with LED readout (not to the point that it has WiFi like the Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Pellet Grill, but still quite convenient). However, it’s rated low on this list because of poor quality control. Too many customers ended up with bad Pit Bosses that have inconsistent temperature control (going all the way to 615° Fahrenheit).
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.
If you’re looking at a grill made with powder coated steel, make sure that it is a very high quality coating. As soon as the paint blisters and chips, your cooker will start to rust and these components will deteriorate.
Since two of those marvelous vents are on the bottom, however, without any real catch trays or containment measures, you’ll be dealing with a lot of loose ash to clean up. Cleaning the inside is even more of a chore. The other issue, of course, is size. This product simply isn’t large enough to handle big cuts of meat, and it can’t compete with many other smokers when it comes to scale.
Hal – your points are well made, sir. The “set it and forget it” – at least for me – means you don’t need to “tend the fire” as you might when using charcoal pits, etc. I have had very (next to none at all) problems with any pellet smoker I’ve used — so long as I make sure to clean it out regularly and maintain it as directed.
I got the bird loaded onto the pellet grill and let it ride until it hit the desired temperature. Because the Memphis Pro’s temperature control automatically drops the unit down to its lowest setting once it reaches the programmed internal meat temperature, there was absolutely no chance of overcooking that baby.
In any case, bargain BBQ pellets are out there to be had. One tip is to search for B&B BBQ Pellets (seen above) if you have a local Academy Sports and Outdoors store in your area. Rumor has it that these “may” be re-branded BBQr’s Delight pellets offered at a much lower cost. In any case, it might be worth giving them a try.
Just like most Camp Chef products, this pellet grill smoker uses a patented ash cleanup system that takes away the trouble of vacuuming. Ash is immediately stored in an ash clean-out cup that’s easy to dump.
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.
What we loved most about it was its versatile 6-in-1 feature. With the Traeger grill, you can grill, smoke, roast, bake, braise and BBQ all kinds of foods at ease. We tested all of those out and found that they all delivered the same juicy perfection that it promised.
After about 10-15 hours of cooking, you should remove the burn cup and dump the ash. If the ash builds up it can prevent ignition. Ash also accumulates in the bottom of the unit, but doesn’t impact cooking. A vacuum cleaner with a hose makes short work of it. At the moment, only Blaz’n Grill Works has a slide out combustion cup that makes cleanup much easier, but you still have to get underneath the deflector occasionally and suck out fly ash that has scattered around the lower part of the grill body.
We’ve long been advocates for pellet smokers and last year they finally started gaining significant ground. Of all the great smoker designs available, pellet smokers are easiest to use because they are thermostatically controlled just like your indoor kitchen stove. You just select a cooking temperature and a controller maintains it by feeding wood pellets to a fire pot as needed. Many now have WiFi capability that enables you to monitor and control your smoker from a smart phone, tablet, or computer. Price is still an issue that holds sales of pellet smokers back. They use electronics, motors and fans and just plain cost more to make than many other designs. But as popularity increases, so does competition and you now have more choices in designs, sizes, features and price ranges. Our list includes two excellent and innovative pellet smokers by Camp Chef and MAK. Both companies offer advanced features and Camp Chef just introduced an optional Sear Box that produces searing temps better than many gas grills.
I have the Camp Chef Woodwind with sear box (basically their SmokePro DLX with a stainless steel lid), and it’s… pretty good. Good smoke, easy cleaning, all the points made in the article above. However, I’m having some cook timing issues which I believe stem from the Ortech controller. I’ve seen temperature swings of 75 degrees while cooking. Also, even with an added gasket, the lid leaks smoke quite a bit- to the point that the chimney seems superfluous.
Pay attention as well to what temperatures your grill can heat up to. Most of pellet grills can maintain a temperature within 160-500 degrees F ( with much more expensive models is even 600 degrees F ). Why am I mentioning that? Because you have to think about what is the most popular grilling style for you. It will influence whether your pellet smoker will be a good choice for you.
Shipping cost is an important consideration to keep in mind. To that end, if you don’t have a supplier local to you where you can just go pick up your BBQ pellets, consider looking for online options that are in your neck of the woods. Many of these pellets available at Amazon come with Free Shipping for Prime members!
The sheer amounts of meat people have been able to fit into this unit is also impressive, but not surprising given the ample size of it. For example, one family could smoke four twelve-pound turkeys at once, six full racks of baby back ribs, or two large briskets.
Louisiana Grills was one of the first companies to muscle in on Traeger’s one-brand show. The smallish CS 450 is one of its more popular models. In 2014, Louisiana upgraded all of its pellet smokers to include digital touch-pad controllers with integrated meat probes. Set it and forget it; the thermostat will maintain cooking temperature just like your indoor kitchen oven does. As a safety feature, the meat probe can be set for your desired target temp. When the internal meat temp rises to within 10°F of the target, the controller automatically drops the smoker down to 170°F to avoid overcooking.
Camp Chef Woodwind offers a state of the art pellet grill with digital temperature controls, a patented ash cleanout, and perfected sear box offering up to 900 degrees F! The stainless steel grill is visually pleasing and guaranteed to bring flavor to your food.
3) Tell us everything we need to know to help such as the type of cooker and thermometer. Dial thermometers are often off by as much as 50°F so if you are not using a good digital thermometer we probably can’t help you with time and temp questions. Please read this article about thermometers.
Well, to be honest, the cons are only a problem for novices. These grills are for someone who wants to perfect the craft of smoking and after some experimenting you will be grilling with the best of them. I faced the same problems too when I tried a charcoal smoker for the first time. But after some practice I was grilling with the best of them. Check out my guide on how to set up a charcoal grill for smoking in just 5 steps.
Summer has almost come around again and I am excited for the first night, where the air is still warm and the sky is clear. The sound of friends laughing and joking mingle in the air with the smell of the promise of a perfect meal. Thanks to the King of Pellet Smoker Grills, my summer is going to rock.
I’ve had the chance to use one the the Traeger Grills Pro Series grills now for some time, and I find it to be a great pellet grill. They really beefed up the chassis of this model, with a stronger, wider-stance sawhorse base, larger wheels, a nice strong side lift bar, and an upgraded Digital Pro Controller with Advanced Grilling Logic that keeps temps steady, but allows for a temp swing of about 15 degrees. I mention the temp swing here as a positive, rather than a negative. By allowing a tiny bit of temperature fluctuation, I find the grill actually puts out a bit more smoke throughout the cook as pellets are fed in to regulate temps.
A pouch made of heavy duty aluminum with just one tiny hole in one side works great to provide smoke in most outdoor cookers. To make a foil pouch, cut a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil 6″ by 12″ and fold in half making a 6″x6″ square. Fold the side edges at least twice, pressing each fold firmly along the entire side. Put 1/3 of a cup of pellets in the pouch and fold the top to seal. Poke a hole in one side of the pouch with a toothpick. Place the pouch on top of your charcoal briquettes or above the gas flame. When the smoke starts coming out of the hole in the pouch, put your food on the cooking grate and close the cover of your cooker. Smoke should last up to 30 minutes depending on the temperature of your cooker.
I started with the BBQ Delights, then went to brands I could pick up at my local farm stores for about half the price, then moved into Cookin Pellets Perfect Mix. By far, these two (BBQ Delights and Cookin Pellets) are at the top of the list. I’ll be going back to the BBQ Delights (Pecan) for the superbowl, since I haven’t used them since I started smoking meats. My notes are not so good from when I started, but if memory serves me right, the biggest difference is that the Delights produced a lot of ash, where the Cookin Pellets did not, but I’ll know for sure in a week.
Back to the Pit Boss. The cooking space come in ‘Large’ and ‘Deluxe’. The Deluxe refers to the additional features and finishes. What we really like about the PB is the cooking temperature range from 180° to 500°F, which you can control with the simple turn of a dial, but it is an old-style dial. Possibly unrelated to this, but something that needs to be looked at is whenever you switch cooking temperatures the auger carries on running for about four minutes before trying to adjust to the new temperature. As we discovered this isn’t a problem you’re going from low to high, but it is if you’re trying to bring your temperature down. We almost lost our wings because of this.
As far as the choice of pellets… I’ve tried hickory, apple, cherry. mesquite, etc, etc, but found “Perfect Choice” cooking pellets to be economical and a nice choice for all of our needs. Besides, it’s not that convenient to change pellets in a pellet grill.
Kevin, I have a Traeger Li’L Tex and I am very happy with it. I bought it on a factory special ($750?) that included a recipe book, a few bags of pellets along with 4-5 bottles of BBQ sauce and rubs. Since then, I’ve added the fold-down front shelf.