Hey David – in my opinion, you’re going to find hot spots in any entry level pellet grill/ pellet smoker. I include GMG, Rec-Tec, Traeger, etc. When you start moving into the higher pellet smokers/grills – Memphis Grill, MAK, etc, you can minimize these to some extent. If you experience higher heat on one side, put the thicker cut of meat (pork butt, point of brisket) near that part.
I’ve had the Traeger for two years and have had a great time with hams, ribs, chickens, etc. My Grandson also appreciates the Traeger because he ended up with my fairly new stainless steel Charmglow gas grill. There’s tons of great recipes out there that you will enjoy from various manufacturers and venders including Kevin Sandridge, himself!.
Lastly the customer support is spot on. When I got my Bull the freight driver said they lost my pellets and told me to call the shipper .So I did and before the truck left down the street I was getting a email confrimation that another order of pellets was on its way with no questions asked.
For the outside of the smoker, you can use hot soapy water, with a spray cleaner for any painted or stainless steel surfaces. Allow at least 24 hours after cleaning before cooking, and make sure the pellet hopper is completely dry before reloading it.
Rec Tec: In business for about 5 years, Rec Tec manufactures a pellet grill with 680 square inches of cooking space. Temperatures can be calibrated in 5-degree increments, and the pellet hopper holds up to 40 pounds of pellets. Current price of the smoker is $1000.
A few other mentionable features are that it has a highly durable temperature proof textures powder coat finish, it features auto start. The REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill accommodates temperatures from 180 degrees Fahrenheit to 500 degrees Fahrenheit with 5 degrees increment. This amazing temperature control features let you be in control of how much heat you want to cook your food in, without having to worry about it getting dry or burnt. This low increment allows you to cook delicate meats like fishes and seafood as well! It smart grill tech makes sure that the temperature you set is always consistent and constant. It also has an “Extreme” smoke feature from the 180 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit setting that intensifies the smoke in the grill.
As smoking and grilling become more popular, increasingly there’s more crossover. The same person that enjoys smoking a pork butt for 10 hours on the weekend wants to be able to fire up steaks after work. In the past, that often meant owning multiple cookers: a traditional smoker to handle low-and-slow BBQ and a charcoal or gas grill for high-heat grilling. Not only does that get expensive, but it takes up valuable backyard real estate. More and more, however, people are looking for a single cooker, a smoker-grill combo that can handle both.
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).
When it comes to the best smoker grills, there are a lot of options on sale. It is bewildering sometimes, but the amount of choice and the wide availability of all these different styles, types, capabilities and price ranges makes it a smoker griller’s paradise.
Before you buy, remember, pellet smokers need access to electricity. Maintenance is also an issue. There are moving parts on these grills. Moving parts eventually break. There is an auger with a motor, and a fan with a motor. There are proprietary electronics systems on these babies. Augers clog. Motors burn out. Electronics have bugs or fail. Especially when exposed to rain, snow, hot, and cold. When they fail, will the manufacturer have a replacement part?
Next in our pellet grill review is the Green Mountain Davy Crockett pellet grill. Its small size makes it a portable grill. It weighs 57 pounds and measures 14.5 by 20 by 29.5 inches in dimensions. The Green Mountain pellet grill has 110V or 12V adaptors for 3 power options. It has foldable legs that also function as handles. This pellet grill also features a thermal sensor which monitors the grill temperature called Sense-Mate. One coveted feature on this pellet grill is that is Wi-Fi compatible.
Solid construction that’s built to last is what the Rec Tec is all about, from their proprietary PID temperature control algorithm and Smart Grill Technology to the grill’s powder coated high strength carbon steel and 304 stainless steel for all of its critical parts.
If you are looking for a way to produce ribs that are so tender that they fall of the bone, your smoker is the ticket. Plus, it can give it that tasty smokehouse taste that you can find at your favorite restaurants. You can add a nice rub and eat them plain, or you can smoke them with light seasonings and add thick barbecue sauce afterwards; the choice is up to you.
Despite its steel body, the Summit Charcoal performs every bit as well as a ceramic kamado. The air insulated double-walled construction retains heat as well as a ceramic kamado, allowing it to hold a steady low temperature for smoking BBQ and easily reach 800°F for high-heat grilling. Better yet, it cools down quickly, giving you the ability to go from grilling to smoking in about 45 minutes. That’s unheard of on a ceramic kamado, which takes several hours to cool.
As it stands now I think you would be fine with a GMG Daniel Boone if the size is big enough for you. They have great customer service and I am happy with the little Davy Crockett unit I have from GMG. This way you can stay within your price range comfortably and have a reliable product. Hope this helps.
Pellet grill uses various types of flavored wood pellets to flavor the food by infusing smoke into it. Pellets of numerous flavors are available on the market: hickory, strawberry, oak and olive are just to name a few. Many pellet grill companies also manufacture wood pellets alongside the pellet grills that go hand in hand with their respective grills. So know your options, and be sure to spend a few extra bucks into buying a good quality wood pellet for your pellet grill as this is what will set apart your smoked exotic BBQ from the mainstream flavors out there.
Of course, the grill is equipped with porcelain grates, which are easy to clean and don’t require maintenance like cast-iron grates for example. The downside is that the porcelain surface is delicate, so use soft brushes ( preferably buy a nylon brush ).
Consider the options before you make a purchase, and especially consider capacity. If you’re a loner, and you just like to come home and cook a steak a few times a month, go for a smaller smoker that fits on your back patio. But if you’re looking to host next year’s President’s day block party, you’d better find something that will crank out a large meat production.
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.
Manufacturers advertise this piece of equipment as both a smoker and a grill, but it’s best to think of it as a superb indirect-heat convection smoker, not a grill. Most models just don’t do as good a job of searing a steak as a charcoal grill or even a gas grill with a sear burner can. You’ll sear steaks better on a $20 hibachi than on most pellet smokers.
Consistency is the key to having the best results. If you want a tender brisket, your cooking temperature should be close to 250 F during the whole 12 hour period of cooking. The control board is responsible for precision. There are one-touch Non-PID, PID multi-position, and 3-position controllers. Check out the different types of controllers for the one that is right for you.
What I like about this grill is its robust construction, and the amount of smoke it puts out compared to other pellet grills. There is a built in temperature swing that guarantees that every so often, a strong but not overpowering amount of smoke will enter the cook chamber.
Before you can get started, you will need to stock up on a few accessories. You will obviously need things like mitts, seasonings and other essentials that you would use while cooking on a regular grill, but you will also want to invest in a thermometer; this will help you keep your smoker at the right temperature and will allow you to check your food to ensure that it’s done. You will also need charcoal or pellets, lighter fluid and other essentials, depending on the type of smoker that you opt for. If you have an electric model, you won’t have to worry about any of these things.
Stick burner vs Pellet… it’s time tending the fire question for me. Pellet poopers are way less work, but you can up your smoke or lower it with a great deal more variability with a stick burner. If you have the money, I’d go Yoder.
Many of the models require you to clean them up for 30 minutes because you have to take out the gooey deflector plate and the greasy grates in order to scrape them off and wash them until they’re shining. Careful cleaning is required when the grease and carbon is covering the deflector plate. The easy-clean grills typically make the parts more accessible but the amount of cleanup remains the same.
There are, however, several pellet grills that offer a direct grilling option, making them true smoker-grill combos. These include pellet grills from Memphis Wood Fire Grills, Louisiana Grills, FireCraft, and Fast Eddy’s. Of those, the Fast Eddy’s PG500 is specifically designed to let you quickly and easily switch between smoking and grilling.
It uses a porcelain enameled exterior with a heat-resistant nylon handle for safety. An aluminum vent and fuel door protect against rust on these vulnerable points. Two cooking plates work in tandem with a porcelain coated water plate, which allows steam to tenderize meat as you smoke.
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.
You don’t mention Traeger grills other than in you opening paragraphs. Where do they fit into your article. Where do they fit into your list, are they worth considering? Plusses and minuses of this brand. alternate choices, etc.
Yeah it seems like no one is providing any input on it…I was interested in having them review it and do a direct comparison to some of these other grills. I made the mistake of getting a Myron Mixon pitmaster Q3 at sears. It turned out to be a waste of money and the slight humidity I had caused the pellets to burst and seize up the Auger. Anyway I had narrowed my search down to a rec tech or silverback but none of the reviewers seems to be giving it any attention.
Hey Kim – thank you for this. I’ve had this happen with numerous pellet smokers, including GMGs. What happens most often when it happens is that I’ve been remiss in properly cleaning the grill out after several uses (vacuuming the fire pot out). This causes the ash etc to cover up the heating rod, thus making the temperature lower than expected. The auger keeps feeding the fire pot to compensate and you get what you’ve described.
It is great when it comes to smoking meat at low temperatures, regular grilling, baking or roasting. You can have problems, though, if you want to sear your meat, it requires much higher temperatures. Sadly, a regular pellet smoker cannot reach them. In that case look around for a pellet grill that comes with an additional sear box that is gas fueled and can heat up to 900 degrees F.
If you are looking for portability, convenience and a smoker that is relatively clean to operate, then a propane gas smoker is your best bet. The flavor you get from a gas smoker is probably better than from an electric and not quite as good as from charcoal, so it is a good compromise solution. Although a propane gas smoker does not have the fill and forgets the convenience of an electric smoker, it has many of the advantages. Once the burner is lit, and the food is in the smoker, one eye on the inbuilt thermometer, and a hand on the gas regulator to get the temperature just right is all that is needed. As smoking times are very long, it’s probably handy to have an extra gas bottle or canister available just in case.
A good digital thermometer keeps you from serving dry overcooked food or dangerously undercooked food. They are much faster and much more accurate than dial thermometers. The Thermopop (above) is about $30. The Thermapen (below), the Ferrari of instant reads, is about $99.
REC TEC grills are built of 304 stainless steel in America and come with a 6-year limited warranty. I have yet to meet a person that owns a REC TEC and isn’t happy with its performance. It’s super high quality and durable.