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Thanks to beefy American Made construction and a full-length internal damper, smoking and grilling aren’t an either-or situation—you can do both at once on the Open Range. It retains heat so well that you can shut the damper mid-cook and grill steaks over the coals without losing valuable heat from the smoking chamber. Actually, the Open Range controls heat so well that when customers ask about using an automatic temperature controller on it, we tell them it’s not necessary.
A few people mentioned assembly being difficult. Some commented on the lid, saying it would need to be replaced at some point because of sun damage and a few mentioned the grates don’t fit properly, which isn’t necessarily a deal breaker, just annoying. One reviewer gave it a good grilling (bad pun, sorry) but he’s been one of a handful. Actually he’s been one.
I would make that decision based upon desired temperature. Very few of the smokers on your list can surpass the 485 to 500 degree mark. You’ll read a lot of discussion about grill grates helping you get into those higher temperatures and that product does work. I would simply pick a smoker that can get to the desired temperature you want like the Louisiana and the Memphis. Both can exceed 500 degrees and both can hit 600 degrees without problems.
SEAR BOX – 16,000 BTU stainless steel burner can heat up all the way to 900 degrees F. The burner runs on propane and has a separate automatic ignition. Great feature that makes this grill stand out among other pellet grills at this price. Great for finishing cooking our food.
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.
why don’t pellet smokers have a drawer for sawdust like some of the propane units. It could slide in over the fire pot much like you mentioned for the mojobricks. Dampened sawdust still makes one of the best smudges.
An electronic ignition and a digital controller that makes it possible to precisely set temperature within +/- 20 degrees F. The smoker reaches up to 400 degrees F, but you have to know that its main advantage is maintaining precisely low temperatures which makes it possible to properly sear meat for many hours.
The Bulls exterior is made out of stainless steel from the bucket hook to the controller shelf. This feature not only adds to the grill’s durability but also ensures its components do not easily bend or break.
Number two when cooking with charcoal (yes plain Kingsford is good stuff if you do it right, a lot of the cheaper brick and cheaper lump can put some weird twangs in your food) brick or lump can produce quality high temp steaks or slow & low bbq! To add some nice flavor add some wood, but do your homework! I think Clark ‘Smokey’ Hale has one of the best books ever for the grill and Q master, “The Great American Manual on Grilling and BBQ or something like that. Last I saw you can grab a used one on Amazon for a few cents and some shipping. The most prolific thing I read in there that so many miss, is burn your wood and your charcoal to where it is literally a coal of gray ash covered glowing ember. Do that and you will find a new flavor in your cooking! Problem is so many places think heavy smoke is great, as they are trying to imitate cold smoke flavors! They are not the same! All this talk I see here about, “I want heavy smoke flavor.” I can tell you if you burn your wood and your charcoal (and I feel even lump needs to be well on it’s way to gray ash covered or you get bitter smoke even though many say not necessary) to a red ember with gray ash covering 80 to 90% minimum preferably completely covered your flavor profile will change. Many supposedly good bbq restaurants I have been in serve something with a bitter or ash flavor, which I find much less enjoyable.
Have a big family? Get a grill with a huge cooking surface to fit a lot of meat. A big pellet hopper would be useful so that you don’t worry about running out of pellets within few hours. Your pellet smoker will be automated, and you’ll have time for your guests instead of controlling the temperature or fuel level all the time.
Cleaning a smoker grill can be a task and a half if you haven’t kept on top of the cleaning. An easy to clean smoker will make a wipe-down at the end of a session much less hassle and help you keep your smoker in top condition for longer. Look out for nooks and crannies that fat and dust can get into, hard to reach places and a complicated design. The simpler it is, generally, the easier to clean.
Instead of logs, the pellet smoker is fed with food-grade cylinders of wood pellets that are an inch long and ¼-inch wide and are made of compressed hardwood sawdust. According to the best pellet smoker reviews, pellet grills are easy to use because it’s easier to maintain its temperature because of these sawdust pellets that are subjected to great heat and high pressure, which ignites lignin (natural wood glue).
Camp Chef have quite a pedigree, they have been making really good, affordable and high-end grills and smokers for a quarter of a century, going from strength to strength. This is another of their great smokers, the 24″ Smoke Vault packs a serious punch for a remarkably decent sale price.
However, there are some drawbacks that can be found to this grill as well. The temperature when used for smoking has been known to fluctuate in the extreme highs to the extreme lows. Another drawback that you may find with this wood pellet smoker is that it is a little expensive.
Many people are intimidated by the idea of buying and using a smoker, but it’s actually quite easy. By following this guide, you can find the model that is right for you. Then, you’ll find that it is basically as simple as using a grill but can produce a totally unique and wonderful flavor. Smoking meat is a healthy way of preparing food, and it’s super easy. First, however, you will need to find the smoker that has the best features for you and what you’re after when cooking up meat outdoors.
What are your thoughts about the Kalamazoo hybrid grills? From what I’ve found online, you have the choice of gas, charcoal and wood for cooking or combinations of all. I have no first hand experience with Kalamazoo but it seems very versatile? At the moment after a month of researching, I’m leaning towards a Mac/Yoder or a Webber spirit & egg or a Memphis….so in other words, I’m no closer to a decision than when I started. I currently have a 9 yr old treager that won’t break, seriously, I’ve only repainted once with rustolium….dang thing won’t break so I can get a new toy. I sear in a skillet in the kitchen. My treager has the smoke/med/high switch and I want more control, I’ve maxed what I can do and it’s a challenge in cold weather and wind but it was a great start when they were made to last, more than got my money’s worth. I cook at all levels from smoking to grilling. I do love pellets and don’t want an egg but enjoy the food as much as the process of preparing it. Ok probably to much info but money aside, will you list your recommendations of what you think is best for me?
When you use the best pellet smoker to cook your foods, you have absolute control over your unit’s temperature and smoke production; this type of control is necessary when you want to produce juicy, flavorful and complex cuts of meat. Pellet burners are an amazing tool that come with convenient cooking features, and they give home chefs the opportunity to smoke their own meat without being forced to tend to their smoker all day.
I am the only person in the world whose full time job is testing, researching, reviewing, and rating grills and smokers. Not a bad gig! I measure temperatures, slam lids, turn dials, study warranties, kick casters, and cook a lot of food, and consider look, feel, and price. I try to select devices that cover a range of prices, endeavoring to offer you a winner at whatever you can afford. We think these selections are Best Values in their price category. The thumbnail reviews in our Top 10 Lists are in order of manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), but actual prices can differ significantly, especially since many of these items can be highly customized. Please click the red links to read our complete detailed reviews and find links to suppliers, many of whom sell well below MSRP. In addition to our Top 10 Lists, we have a huge searchable Ratings & Reviews database with hundreds of smokers and grills.
The flame broiler is an absolute fan favorite. It allows you to directly or indirectly cook while adding a great deal of flavor back into the foods you are preparing. And don’t worry, this grill will channel all the excess grease so you don’t have to.
Since it’s a cast iron grill, this product takes some extra maintenance. With proper care and protection, however, the cast iron grill itself does well and lasts for a number of years. The downside is that the support structure doesn’t last as long as the grill itself, and the legs have a good chance of rusting out. The final, and most frustrating, part of this product is that the firebox costs extra, which should be expected from a cheaper model, but remains annoying.
Don’t try to rush things. – The whole point of a smoker is to cook things “low and slow,” so don’t try to rush things. Don’t be tempted to jack up the temperature to get your food done more quickly, and allow yourself plenty of time to get dinner on the table.

Unusually for a smoker of this price, there is a remote control included which lets you turn the smoker on and off, adjust the temperature, set a cooking timer, turn the internal light on or off, and see the meat temperature. This is an extremely useful feature that can let you enjoy your barbeque all the more.
The cooking area is 300 square inches. It is the smallest portable version of a pellet smoker from Traeger, so the cooking area is much smaller. Of course, it is not among the smallest, it still offers enough place to prepare tasty food except you can bring this grill along, like when camping.
Personal review of the Traeger: The auger fed the pellets after the fire pot went out making a large pile up which caused it to catch fire and burn up my grill. I had to use a fire extinguisher to put out the flames and prevent my house from catching fire. I sent Traeger the description of damages with photos. After much waiting and no response from the management team regarding my Traeger grill we gave up. The service team was very responsive but lacked any authority to make decisions to fix the grill. We worked with the service team for awhile having a different person each time respond and request information and photos that were already provided. Then, we got passed up to the management which is highly ineffective because we never heard from them, even after an email requesting an update. We really did like our Traeger grill and had high hopes that since it was under warranty and caught fire due to a failure we would have the grill repaired. Because of the terrible unresponsive service of Traeger we took our money and purchase a Green Mountain Grill.

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