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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.
Here’s my long term review of the GMG Daniel Boone grill purchased in Nov of 2010, about six and a half years ago. My model has the stainless steel lid. Assembly was straight forward and only required attaching the legs and folding side table as I recall. Operation was straight forward and the grill heated quickly to any desired temperature from 180 to 500 degrees usually in ten minutes or less. The temperature was maintained consistently within +5/-5 degrees as long as the hopper had pellets. This grill was truly a dream to cook with which we did 3 – 4 times a week from March through October. That is the good part.
A cheap cooker may save you up front, but if it starts to rust, components break down within a few short years, you don’t have a good warranty and the customer service is not up to par, you will be spending more money in the long run.
The Traeger TEXAS ELITE 34 has a 646 sq. in. grilling surface and uses 100% pure hardwood pellets as its fuel source. This grill also has an upgraded digital controller with an LED display which sustains accurate internal temperatures, just as an oven would do.
The cooking surface isn’t huge – just 560 square inches – which is a serious drawback. However, with the pellet and hopper system, you’re free to start the smoker, set the temp, turn on the hopper, and go get a drink and wait for the meat to be done. Temperature spikes are controlled and managed by the hopper. The hopper does hold a sizable 18 pounds of wood pellets, which should do a full smoking job pretty well.
Hey Ben – thank you for your comment. From a retail user standpoint, I think you’d be happy with either a Yoder or FEC. I really like the PG 500 for the purpose that you’re looking at. Best of both worlds it seems the more I’m looking at it. You can see how they approach grilling steaks in this video. You can incorporate the use of GrillGrates in either pellet grill. Both companies make their units in the USA. Both have great reputations. I’m just partial to Cookshack’s pellet smokers over Yoder as I know more folks who use them.
Hey David – You might find this amount of space a bit limiting for your needs. My advice is to always overshoot your needs a bit in terms of cooking capacity. Consider the next size up for the amount of cooking you’ll be doing.
And how about that meat probe? An amusing name for a very useful thing. It lets you gauge the temperature of the meat inside without having to lift the lid and cool the entire grill. Massively useful and makes for really consistent cooking.
The spacious cooking surface offers you a massive 838 square inches so you can get a LOT done at once with this one. The design itself is a contemporary-looking stainless steel, which looks very similar to a high-end BBQ, except with the hopper on the left-hand side.
A buyer should make sure the pellet smoker he or she is choosing is of good quality. The pellet smoker should be well built, original and its features and components be of good construction. When in the store, one can feel the lid of the grill by lifting it to feel its weight. The lid should not be delicate or too hefty. The weight should be manageable and not light enough that wind can blow it. When one closes the lead, it should lay on the grill in a comfortable way that provides a good seal.
Included meat probes and whether they’re programmable – Not every grill that can accommodate a meat probe comes with the probe. Some require you to buy it separately Also, not all meat probes and the control boards they connect to are created equal. Some are just for monitoring temperatures. Others are programmable—you can actually program the pellet grill to lower the heat when your food reaches its finishing temperature.
Thanks Kevin for the reviews and content. Like many of the folks I too will be purchasing a pellet pooper. I have narrowed my choices to a MAK 2 star and a Memphis Elite. One of the earlier posters indicated on the Memphis that the effective direct grilling space was about 1 square foot. I am assuming that with the smaller footprint of the MAK that the direct “flame zone” is less than that. I’m just wondering how much less.
Owning a pellet smoker can be a revelation on how good meat can really taste. The flavors from a pellet smoker or grill can be out of this world. However, over time, a build-up of crusted and carbonized grease and spills could taint that flavor. The by-products of smoking, such as tar and soot can accumulate and fall into the food you are cooking. What some people may call ‘seasoning’ is really just the detritus of cooking and needs to be cleaned like any other kitchen appliance. Cleaning a pellet smoker make be daunting to some people, but this short article hopes to take away some of the mystique on cleaning and give you some useful tips on how to keep your smoker in tip-top condition. If you set up a simple cleaning regime for your pellet smoker, it will last longer, and keep cooking high-quality food with the best flavor imaginable. It will also make the deep cleaning that much easier. There are three levels of cleaning, after each cook, after say 50 or so hours of cooking, and annual maintenance.
3-Position Controller – 3 position controllers, also called LMH controllers, have just 3 temperature settings—low, medium, and high—which correlate to roughly 225°F, 325°F, and 425°F. They feed pellets in fixed cycles that are determined by which setting you choose. With just three settings to choose from, though, you have less control over cooking temperatures than more advanced controllers. These controllers are often found on lower priced pellet grills.
A Slow ‘N Sear insert will easily convert a 22″ or 26″ Weber Kettle into a much better grill as well as a smoker capable of making restaurant quality smoked ribs, pulled pork, beef brisket, turkey, salmon, or whatever you want to smoke. This revolutionary new device also makes an awesome searing tool for steaks. We have even baked rolls with it. We have used ours extensively and hereby crown it “The Single Best Accessory For The Weber Kettle”.
The zest for barbequing is growing every year with more and more BBQ lovers venturing into the mystery of the myth-laden empire of smoking. We have spent years encouraging the outdoor cooking buffs to embrace pellet smokers, and until now, our efforts have brought about fruitful results.
If you are interested in investing in a smoker to make healthy, moist and delicious meals for your family or to host huge backyard barbecues and parties, you could be feeling overwhelmed by the wealth of options that are out there. There are a few questions that you need to ask yourself to ensure that you invest in the right smoker, for example, how much do you have to spend? Are you partial to gas or charcoal, or do you prefer the ease that goes along with electric appliances?
Let me remind you of Byron Fuchs. Byron Fuchs was grilling for a Fourth of July party at his home in West Palm Beach, Florida. He bent over to light his propane barbecue when there was an explosion, engulfing his body in a wall of fire. “As soon as I did it, I looked down at my arm and I [saw] the skin melt off,” he said. — Today.com

As such, if you don’t see one of your favorites listed here and would like to offer up a review – please contact me via any of the social media links at the top of this blog’s sidebar, and we’ll see about getting a post up.
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.
As you can see from our research report (check the link below), you can see we compared fully 49 features for charcoal smokers, and this one clearly wins, hands down. It is easy to use, easy to clean, stores nicely, has a convenient thermometer, has a cool look and feel to it, it is tough as hell and incredibly efficient. It can go on one load of charcoal for fully 8 hours. That’s going to be some intensely smoky stuff after 8 hours.
Hey Kev, I was wondering about that cooking surface and its capacity. Have you found the 16×20 to be sufficient for a brisket and/or other large chunks of meat? This is my biggest concern as we love to cook a good amount of meat at one time.
One thing that really makes this grill stand out is its versatility and real wood flavor that saturates anything you’re cooking on the grill. Whether you want to smoke a big slab of ribs or charbroil a steak, with the Pit Boss you win with every meal.
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!).
A: Propane smokers provide an improved smoky flavor when associated to electric smokers. Propane smokers are comparable to the benefits that a gas grill provides more convenience than pellet or charcoal smokers.
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.
money into a smoker that you then have to pay more to alter with replacement parts. The other issue with the smoker is the size of the water reservoir. It complicates long cooks and may not meet every recipe’s needs.
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.
Hey Eric! Man, thank you for the kind words. While I don’t post every day, I do try to make what I share with you guys as informative as possible. To that end, your words mean a lot. Now, the pellet release option is a great feature to have on any pellet smoker. In cases where you don’t have one, I suggest using a small shop vac you use just for pellet removal. Works great. But the quick release chute option saves a ton of time and effort for sure. Not what I’d call a deal breaker if a pellet smoker you like doesn’t have one. However, I’d like to see it become standard on pellet smokers for sure!
Users commend the Camp Chef Woodwind Pellet Grill for its ease of use. They love the way they can use different kinds of food and in cook it using different methods. Users mention the ash cleanout port saying that it was convenient and were grateful they don’t need to use a vacuum anymore.
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.
Here are a few things that you should keep in mind when getting started with your smoker; these tips and tricks will help you turn out delicious meat and vegetables that are sure to please your family or guests:
Today, the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association (HPBA) reports that wood pellet grills are one of the hottest trends in the industry, offering consumers the primal flavor of wood smoke coupled with the turn-of-a-knob convenience of gas. Roughly 300,000 units were sold last year—less than 2 percent of total grill sales—but the popularity of pellet grills is surging.
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.

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