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.
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.
Next up is the Pit Boss 71700FB Pellet Grill which shines in some areas, and is a very viable option. Before we continue, it’s worth pointing out that everything on this list of the best pellet smokers and grills is an excellent choice, you can’t go wrong with any of these options. While our number 1 pick is the top choice for a reason, there wouldn’t be a grill on this list that wasn’t worthy of your patio. Pit Boss pellet grills are solid for beginners. Be sure to check out our full review of the Pit Boss 71700FB.
For this kind of price, it’s a good choice, perfect for less demanding people or for a regular consumer who’s just starting their adventure with pellet smokers and wants to have a basic, efficient and simple pellet grill for a decent price.
Built for a home griller, this smoker really has some special features for making the smoking experience super simple. For starters, the thermometer is digital, allowing for a consistent read on the internal temperature. The construction is pretty ingenious, with the upper chimney at the center of the unit, allowing for good air and heat movement over the meat.
PID Controller – one of the best controllers. Precisely maintains the temperature you set at intervals of +/- 5 degrees. Perfect when it comes to long and slow meat smoking at low temperatures. You can leave such a pellet grill for the entire day without worries and forget about it. When coming back after many hours, you’re sure that your meat has been cooked at the fixed temperature that you set.
Core performance examines how well a smoker smokes. The smoker’s ability to retain heat and maintain an even temperature are both crucial for turning out good food. The quality of food from a smoker depends on how close the food is to heat source and how regular that heat source remains.
Babysitting a traditional smoker isn’t unlike babysitting children. There’s a reward at the end, but you’ll face hours of boredom punctuated by sudden bouts of panic as you see or suspect that something has gone wrong. You must feed your charge, clean it, and prevent it from getting too hot or too cold. The payout at the end is a return for a serious time investment.
Multi-Position Ortech Controller: This is the most common type of controller used in pellet grills. You select a temperature for the grill using either a dial or a digital touch pad. The controller then feeds pellets at a predetermined rate that should get the grill close to where you want it.
The process that makes Jack Daniel’s unique among whiskies is the “charcoal mellowing”. The whiskey seeps slowly through finely ground charcoal for ten to fourteen days before it goes into oak barrels to age. Then, that charcoal…well it’s good and soaked with Jack Daniel’s whiskey, just right for turning it into smoking pellets that enhance your cooking with that one of a kind whiskey flavor. Jack Daniel’s Smoking Pellets are perfect for grilling hamburgers and many other foods.
Just putting a stamp on your info and recommendations. The Pro is definitely a Pro! Consistent, excellent temp control, juicy and great flavor. Smoke ring, some of my ribs are pink all the way through and dripping with juice. Smoke profile, good, not over powering. I have used 45# of hickory so far, 20# of cherry and a few pounds of apple and pecan. Have not tried anything but Lumberjack but that will be the next experiment. I have tried the smoke tube and it is ok. I was worried about getting an ash or bitter taste as the smoke is fairly heavy and a little acrid smelling if you let it burn from bottom to top. So I lay it down and light on my wife’s Weber gas grill side burner and get the whole thing burning good and then blow it out. If it smells acrid your meat will get some of that taste. Starting the tube this way it is still going an hour later.
Hi Craig, you are on the right track, the direct flame is a little limited with any pellet grill. A way to solve this is to employ grill gtates. Great heat retention and searing. Some active movement of proteins and veggies will be required if you want direct flames to impact them.
The Traeger has a 292 square inch cooking surface, which is less than half of that of our #1 pick, mind you it’s still plenty big for most people, you can certainly cook your family dinner on here, you just might not be able to feed the entire football team.
Great information! Thanks for providing it. Like others, I am about to purchase a pellet grill and I have narrowed it to the Yoder 640 and to one from Blaz’n Grill Works. My question for you concerns Blaz’n Grill; have you evaluated one of those grills/smokers?
The cleanout for both the pellets and ash is a huge perk to the grill. The patented “Easy Ash Cleanout” does not require the user to take apart the grill. Instead, they simply have to twist and dump the container. The 18lb pellet hopper is similarly an easy cleanout. The stainless steel also makes it easier to clean the grill because of the steel’s properties.
Compared to previous models, Woodwind comes with leg casters, a bottom shelf, blue LED screen read-out (easier to see in the sunlight), and thicker and more sturdy legs. It also has an enlarged and improved cover on the pellet hopper, stainless steel burner pot and upgraded thermometer probe placement.
If you have a little more cash, choose Camp Chef Woodwind Pellet Grill with sear box. I think that Sear Box is a great addition, it will certainly come in handy to quickly grill veggies or hamburgers.
Made of rugged 1/8″ thick aluminum, 20″ long, with four serious rivets, Meathead says his shows zero signs of weakness after years of abuse. He uses it on meats, hot charcoal, burning logs, and with the mechanical advantage that the scissor design creates, yiou can easily pick up a whole packer brisket.
There’s few things you definitely need to pay attention to before buying a new grill. It will affect whether you’re satisfied with your choice. If you don’t know what to pay attention to, make sure your grill has the following features:
The ONLY barbeque wood pellet that’s 100% flavor-wood! These food-grade wood pellets are the fastest and easiest way to give your food smoke flavor on any gas, charcoal or electric outdoor cooker. No Soaking!
Why this Mountain Cooker for Our Top Pick? We will give you a little of our reasoning before we start raving in the smoker grill reviews. It came top of our Top Ten Charcoal Smoker’s list for a reason: It is one fine, fine smoker.
You can use this grill to grill, smoke, bake, braise, barbecue, sear and char-grill No need to use other cooking equipment or spend more time preparing food because everything you need is in the Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill.
Bark or no bark—that’s the great BBQ pellet debate. Some pellet makers remove bark from the wood before making their pellets, while others keep it on. The question is whether it’s better to cook with pellets that include bark or with pellets made from wood that’s been de-barked, or if it matters at all.
Whether you are new to the scene or a long-time grillmaster, everyone has unique preferences when it comes to their cooking method of choice. From propane to charcoal to wood, people take their method of grilling quite seriously, and some argue quite passionately about the pros and cons of each method.
As both a fuel source and flavor enhancer, wood pellets can affect everything from how well your pellet grill performs to how good the food tastes. And while one might assume that because all wood pellets look alike that they’re all the same, which pellets you use can make a big difference. These 6 tips will help you choose quality smoker pellets that will keep your pellet grill performing its best and producing great wood-fire flavor.
The unit comes with a stainless steel meat probe that lets you display the internal meat temperature on the LED screen. While it won’t be as reliable some third party thermometers it’s much better than a dome thermometer.
Versatility – Cook and bake like on a regular grill or braise and sear meat at low temperatures for many hours. All of that is possible with this one grill, additionally the food is enriched with a wood-fired taste.
A well built pellet grill is not only more durable, but it will also perform better. When quality materials are used the grill is able to retain heat better. As a result the grill will perform in a more efficient manner no matter how hot or cold it is outside.
Rounding out our top 3 is the best pellet smoker that Camp Chef offers, when you factor in quality, price, size, and overall value. This is an excellent choice. If the Traeger, our 2nd top pick, is a bit too small and you’re looking for something with a few more features, that’s still within the same price range, you’ve found what will likely be ideal for you. Camp chef is a really solid brand, and it was one of the first pellet grills my Dad owned. We reviewed another camp chef grill in another article.
Hey Boyd, it’s really great hearing from you here. I am becoming a much bigger Traeger fan then I was in the past. They have done some excellent work of late on their Grill models. I really think they’re doing a lot of work too improve and restate their original value proposition. Their Pro Series models are excellent, and I believe that the directions the company is taking especially with getting back into the competition world will benefit both it and its customers… Like you… Long into the future.
Weber is a name you’ve heard of. It’s really the best known smoker and grill company on the market. Everyone knows Webber. The smoker is covered with really cool features. For example, the grates are coated with nickel for a non-stick and highly durable cooking experience. The smoker has two large sized cooking surfaces, and the handles are made of nylon for high temperatures. There’s also a thermometer at the top of the smoker to help you know if you’re capturing enough heat, as well as individual vents on the lid and bowl.
To keep this smoker in working order, you’ll need to invest a lot of tender-loving care. Although rust is often a sign of poor maintenance, it seems to be a common issue with this model, which reflects on the smoker’s construction. For a mid-priced smoker, material standards should be a little higher.
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
Make sure the pellet you choose come with a satisfactory cleaning facility. Look out for pellet hopper spoons or shovels that are used to put in and pick out the pellets. Almost all pellet grills come with a drip pan to collect liquids drips: oils, juices, sauces from the food on the grill. Make sure it comes in a good size as well.
In some ways, it’s surprising that something so small could be the culprit behind so many problems on a hi-tech cooker like a pellet grill. Then again, pellets are your grill’s fuel and using bad pellets is like using subpar charcoal in a kamado, and it can cause the same problems—too much ash is produced, making it hard to hold a steady temperature and snuffing out the oxygen supply to the fire.
To your question regarding Traeger, I’ve not reviewed their grills of yet. I do know that Traeger as a company is taking steps to up their game some, as quality/reliability of their pellet grills has diminished over the last few years. The new CEO – Jeremy Andrus – they hired comes from the Skull Candy company and brought that headphone company from annual sales from less than $1 million to nearly $300 million. I know also that a few big hitters in the BBQ world are being contacted by Traeger to bring the brand back to its former prominence. You can read more about that here from the site of one of the company’s that now has an ownership interest in Traeger: http://www.trilantic.com/News_Story.aspx?StoryType=1&ID=56.
Here’s a unit that deserves a look if you’re one of those people who don’t care about status and just want to add some extra smoke in your life. This 40″ front controlled smoker from Masterbuilt is spacious and can smoke a variety of foods. From full slabs of ribs to whole chicken and whatever else you want to add to the mix.
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.