Second, It would be just my wife and me BBQing so I’m looking small. I’m considering the REC TEC Mini Portable Wood Pellet Grill (RT-300) after reading your reviews. Having only ever BBQed with hard wood coals on a Webber, is there going to be a taste fall-off going to the pellet grill as far as charring and/or smoke? I’d hate to spend that kind of money and get bland steaks. Really, steak is all we ever cook outside, though that would probably change with a nice grill.
I always wanted a wood pellet smoker, but could not bring myself to spend that kind of money. After reading about the top 10 smokers there was a side article about the A-Maze-N Pellet tube that can be used in place of the high dollar smoker. I figured that I would give it a try and order the 6 inch instead of the 12 inch not knowing how will it would work. (Wish that I would have purchased the 12 inch for longer smoke time)
It’s a variation on the Ugly Drum Smoker or UDS, but the drum is slightly smaller and, although it comes with a grate, for most recipes you hang the meat vertically from hooks – even turkeys! Your jaw will hit the deck as you pull one round of deliciously smoked meats after another from this magic drum with little more effort than trimming and seasoning. Furthermore the meat hanging method provides beaucoup capacity. PBC easily accommodates eight full slabs of ribs. Whether you’re a novice or an award winning competitor (and competition teams now use them), Pit Barrel is a welcome addition to any backyard. Click here to read our complete review of the Pit Barrel Cooker.
The Traeger TFB29LZA Junior Elite Grill stakes its claim as the best pellet grill with its functionality as a roaster that’s a bit easier to use than your average grill. However, it has issues with quality control, with customers complaining that they got a used grill instead of a brand new one. It also presents a bit of a learning curve.
Many of the rest of the manufacturers have come to the grill industry having first built home heating devices that burn pellets. This is a technology particularly popular in the Northeast and Northwest, but selling furnaces is seasonal, so they all seem to be making grills on the side now.
With proper fire management, stick burners, smokers that burn wood logs, produce the best smoked meat. Period. But inexpensive stick burners don’t work well and even high quality ones, like the Horizon model shown below, require a commitment and learning curve that can be daunting to the backyard chef. Inventor Bill Karau competed on the BBQ circuit and toured BBQ joints around his stomping ground in Texas for many years before designing a stick burner that produced perfect smoke from start to finish, every time, regardless of skill, the Karubecue. At its crux is a patented Inverted Flame Firebox (IFF) which sucks heat and smoke from underneath a wood fire, not the top. Heavy smoke, laden with gases and microscopic particles is pulled through a red hot fire where it burns up, sending clean, light blue smoke and heat into a thermostatically controlled oven.
With a large cooking space and the most advanced cooking techniques, this is easily one of our favorite products among our top ten. While it lacks some of the features that the other grills and smokers in this review have (such as an ash and grease cleanup systems), it does deliver fine-dining quality foods, which is the ultimate goal of every grilling enthusiast. For its price, it offers some of the best features you can find in high-end products.
This is a fantastic grill for the money that’s dependable for outdoor cooking and smoking (hence its name, “Camp Chef”). It’s not quite 9.9/10 that is the Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill got, but it has more than enough features and benefits to spare to honor the Camp Chef brand (even though at first glance the PG24 and the SmokePro are practically the same unit with color differences).
Pellet grills are known for their versatility. It’s a device you can use for grilling, roasting, smoking, and barbecuing all sorts of meats, vegetables, and dishes. You can even use this grill for braising or baking.
The name speaks volumes. This is a great, classically styled, offset smoker for a smoking enthusiast. The smoker is really designed for larger scale smoking with a stunning 1280 square inches of smoking space available between the two units (fire chamber and smoking chamber). The flexibility of the offset design means that you can cook steaks and burgers on the lower, hotter firebox, while at the same time use the smoker side to slowcook ribs, or larger roasts. This makes the unit ideal for a large party, with flexibility and cooking variety.
Mobility – For those who spend a lot of time camping I found the right pellet grill for a decent price. I know how important it is to easily pack the grill in the car and be on the way. There’s a small choice of portable pellet smokers, but I still found what I think is the right model.
What we loved most is that it has a trap door for the burn pot cleaning after every cooking. It lessened our job of cleaning this pellet smoker by 60%. It is more than amazing because from our research we know that a feature like this will cost twice as much as the Camp Chef. Honestly, this emerged as our key point when we selected this smoker.
Hopefully this guide has helped you understand a little bit more about the pros and cons of cooking with a pellet grill, and helped you pick out the right model for your budget and needs. Happy smoking!
Be that as it may, if your concern mainly lies on something that can be carried on a truck to an open-air grilling party or to a friend’s place, it’s positively a decent proposal. Aside from portability, it also gives you a cooking adaptability as you can grill, prepare, smoke, grill and braises with no bothers. The grill highlights full-size functionalities in a convenient bundle, henceforth a decent decision for anybody searching for versatile decision.
Hey, Kevin great site. I am thinking on getting into Pellet Grills from Gas. I would like a Yoder but the cost is prohibitive. I see your comments about the Traeger Pro series what about the Camp Chef Woodwind with the Sear station? Price is similar to the Traeger pro and it has the 900 degree sear station. Clean out with trap door is nice.
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.
I consider Traeger Texas Elite 34 to be a good choice if you need a smoker for cooking large quantities of food. The price is a little high but you get a basic product that is easy to use, well-built and very efficient.
Set it and forget it. Fill the hopper with pellets, set your preferred temperature (and a timer if you need) and go prepare a side dish or drink beer with friends. No charcoal grill will give you that freedom.
3 Position Controller – Often referred to as LMH controllers, the 3 position controller has only 3 temperature settings. Low which is around 225°F, medium which is around 325°F and high which is around 425°F.
More and more pellet grills are being manufactured now as the benefits of “pellet grilling” are being discovered and it’s a smart choice to go with if you want the taste and flavor of the wood grill and the convenience of a gas grill.
Hey Kevin great article. I too am currently looking for a pellet smoker. I’ve narrowed it down between a Yader, Memphis Pro and the Rec Tec. The Green Mountain did not seem very well built. The wheels looked liked the would break on the first roll and the stainless steel door was flimsy and did not have a good seal. I know the Rec Tec has a 6 year warranty. Do you know how long the warranties are on the other two?
Although this smoker is easy to set up and clean, it has a few flaws. The number of vents gives great control over your smoke, but several do not completely close, which leaves the smoker vulnerable to sharp winds during colder seasons. Some vents do not completely close, presumably for safety reasons, but they do not take weather into consideration. The smoker’s other major flaw is its built-in thermometer. This thermometer seems to fail more often than it actually works, and the temperatures it reports are unreliable.
If you’re one of the serious barbecue enthusiasts, you would not want to leave any stone unturned to get your hands on the best of the best pellet smokers the market has to offer, in that case, you need the REC TEC Wood Pellet Smoker. The REC TEC has a large surface which takes care of all sizes of cuts, the thermostat maintains the temperature and ranges all the way from 180 F to 500 F. It has been leading the market for so long that the company now provides warranty for 6 years.
First, you have to figure out what your budget looks like. Of the pellet smokers I cover here, the Rec Tec Grill Pellet Smoker is the most economical and best overall value – with solid construction and top end electronics controls.
Thanks to Smart Smoke Technology you can set it, forget it and go take care of something else while the grill does all the work. The digital temperature controls and automatic auger will feed premium hardwood pellets into the grill so the temperature always remains just right without any assistance from you.
Mine worked good for only 3 years, then the circuit board in the unit failed. The dealer referred me to the manufacturer. The manufacturer said I was out of luck do to the 2 yr warranty and said it would cost me $130.. I will not buy anything made by GMG again!
Because the auger runs on adjustable timer setting, it feeds pellets in for 15 seconds and then shuts off. This means that it doesn’t take into account temperature swings throughout the day, or wind which can effect your cooking. Keep this in mind if you will be cooking in a extreme conditions.
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.
This smoker uses dual meat probes to determine the temperature, and then displays the internal temperature through a convenient dual-LED temperature readout display. You don’t have to risk losing heat just to check on your food’s temperature every once in a while, making sure that you get tender and juicy food all the time.
If you’re looking for something less expensive than the Rec Tec unit, but still want something very decent, and don’t mind not having the very top of the line, this pellet grill by Traeger is an excellent choice. It comes in at around half the price, but it’s no slouch. It’s a solid way to save some dough if the Rec Tec is overkill for you. You can read our full review of this grill here.
I am glad your review of the Rec Tec included commentary on the accuracy and performance of the temperature controller. I would have liked to read similar comments about the other five grills in your reviews because this is such an important feature.
The Primo 778 (View on Amazon.com) is hands down the best overall charcoal smoker you can currently get. With its amazing heavy gauge construction, large cooking surface and overall ease of use, it can turn turkeys, hams and other types of meats into mouthwatering culinary works of art. Given its size and the fact that this is the only ceramic smoker that’s currently made in the United States, you are guaranteed to get superior results compared to any other smoker out there.
Watch Sears.com and Target.com for the Pit Boss; target is pretty spotty on having stock to ship to store, though sears seems pretty regular availability for free ship-to-store. If you wait for a sale when the cut it to $22 or $24 per 40lb bag, then get enough bags to reach $50 and apply a $5 off $50 coupon you can get a solid deal on the pellets.
So back to the Internet for one last attempt on making a decision on the smoker that is of great quality and can also fill my need grilling needs as well. I am almost sold on the Rec Tec, but I’m curious about the Grilla Grill Silverbac. It’s a little smaller than RT and metal is a gauge off from the RT. It doesn’t run off a PID system but a digital controller and is priced at $699. I do like the underneath storage of the Grilla and the second tier cooking grates.
The construction and the elements – REC TEC Pellet grill are an investment for years, safe from corroding. Most of competitive grills look pretty on the outside and the manufacturers claim they are made of stainless steel. The truth is, only the outside part of the grill is stainless. The steel on the inside is different, and major parts are made of materials of poorer quality.
It is easy to see why I am so passionate about pellet grilling. In fact, I’m working on building a commercial-grade pellet grill to use at moto and iNG. Not only are pellet grills efficient, easy to use, and flavorful, they are also cost-effective and don’t involve potentially dangerous chemicals like propane. It’s just Mother Earth’s all-natural goodness… and you can taste it in every delicious and succulent bite!
Of course, we always recommend cleaning the firebox to avoid any kind of flare up or dangerous fire situation, but that’s the same with every smoker. The major drawback is that there is no option for a gas add on if you’re looking for different fuel types. In order to add gas to this unit, you’d need to find someone with a welding torch, cut the side steel, and run a line into the smoker. It may be worth it, but if it were me, i’d stay and experiment first with coals and woods before making major modifications.
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.
Temperature Control: All the good to topnotch pellet smokers have some sort of digital or analog temperature control system, some of which come complete with a thermostat. The way it works is that at the push of a button, the probe keeps the temp consistent by controlling pellet distribution.
WiFi capability – It shouldn’t be surprising that as our lives become ever more connected, so are our grills. Because they already have an electronic control board, pellet grills are a natural fit for WiFi. With a connected pellet grill, you can remotely monitor and control your cooking and meat temperatures from a phone, tablet, or computer…no matter where you are. It’s the ultimate set-it and forget-it feature. Currently, there are a few pellet grills with WiFi capability, but many more are on the way. Every Memphis Grills model, as well as the Traeger Timberline, have cloud-based WiFi that’s easy to connect, reliable, and offer a host of features on free downloadable app.
The cooking surface – is big considering the price of this pellet smoker. 429 square inches of the main cooking surface and 141 square inches of the rack. It is definitely enough for a big family or for a bigger party. It also comes with an extra heated rack that you can remove at any time.
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!).