Always make sure that you get a unit that is appropriate for the size of the meals you are going to be cooking; you don’t want to buy a small unit that only allows you to cook for yourself. The units can be heavy, so if you are going to be moving your smoker a lot, you probably want to buy something that is a little lighter and comes on wheels. If you find a unit from a dependable manufacturer, you’ll get a great warranty; this ensures that your unit will last you a long time.
Digital Elite Controller – Of course, the basis of every pellet smoker or a very good controller that makes it possible to precisely maintain the temperature within +/- 20 degrees F. All the info such as temperature and settings are available on the LED display.
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.
Also, think through storage. If you buy a large, high quality smoker, you may end up with a unit that will never move again. High grade smokers are made of heaven duty steel, so a smoker with that sort of construction is going to require you and a crew of friends to get it shifted.
To be honest I have barely looked or researched for these high-tech grills. My main concern is the common people who want to pass a lovely weekend with their family members. For this smoker grills available within 700/800$ is worthy enough. For commercial use people may look for those high end smokers but for now I am happy with this.
DS, I have a green mountain grill. besides that for any pellet smoker cook your chicken at a high heat otherwise the skin will be rubbery. doesnt have to be a direct flame to get it crispy. I set my GMG to 425 flip it after 8 mins pull it at 170 crispy perfection. if you want more smoke flavor, smoke it at 150 for an hour then crank it up to 425 to finish it. I was upset with my rubbery skin when i first used it as well but i got some good advice from the pros. chicken doesnt need to be cooked low and slow to tenderize it like pork and beef does. it doesnt have the tissues or muscles that need to be broken down like beef and pork
Aside from coming with porcelain-coated grills that are non-stick in quality, the product comes with an ash cleanout system which makes it easy for you to simply dump the ash and get started on your next cooking.
I bought a Brinkmann Tower Charcoal smoker many years ago. Living in IL at the time, it served its purpose. I recently moved to Colorado and live at 9200′ above sea level. i am usually smoking a couple racks of ribs or making some jerky….nothing competitive or too large.
Definitely the number one for me. Plenty of built-in features that are there to make the cooking process easier plus a big cooking surface. It’s a smoker that will give your food a really great smoked flavor.
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!
Hey Tom, first, thank you so much for reading the article and expressing your approval of it. It means a lot to me that the information posted on this site is useful for the people. To your question about pellet grills, yes. You must always use BBQ grilling pellets with these cookers. You cannot use raw wood with them. However, should you find yourself with access too hard woods like Hickory or maple, or fruit woods like apple, cherry, or peach – this is something that could be readily used in a charcoal smoker.
Every now and then the pellet grill manufacturers come out with deals and discount packages. It would be foolish to not take advantage of these offers. Take a look at some of the current offers available below.
It comes with a bottle opener, serving tray, combination side shelf, two-tone black-and-copper finish, and a solid bottom shelf. It’s a smaller version of the Pit Boss 71700FB Pellet Grill with Flame Broiler and its 700 sq. in. of cooking space (the Pit Boss Grills 440 Deluxe instead has 440 square inches instead, despite its “Deluxe” moniker).
One of the most common problems people encounter with pellet grills is abnormal temperature fluctuations—the controller is set to 250°F, but the grill is dropping to 200°F then climbing to 325°F. Usually people assume that it’s a mechanical issue and either the controller or RTD probe need to be replaced. However, very often the problem is far simpler and the solution far easier.
In reading through the comments section, it seems the recommendations have shifted over time. As it stands today, which smoker would you go with and why: GMG Jim Bowie, Traeger Pro 34, or the RecTec? I like the cooking space of the Traeger Pro 34, but the other 2 seem to have more bells and whistles. I’ve been smoking about 5yrs, so not a pro but not a beginner. Currently have a 10+ year old Traeger Lil Tex elite hand-me down that is ready to give up the ghost. Would appreciate your thoughts!
Very often pellet grill manufacturer instruct you to use their pellets, with some going so far as to state that failure to do so will void the warranty. Why? Well, there’s the obvious reason that they want you buy their pellets. However, it really has more to do with ensuring that the grill runs properly, and that starts with using quality pellets. The easiest way for pellet grill makers to guarantee you’re using good pellets is to have you use theirs, which they know meet the desired quality standards. They can’t make that guarantee about another brand of pellets.
The Traeger Grills Lil Tex Elite 22 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker impressed us the most with its “6-in-1” feature, which lets you braise, grill, smoke, braise, roast and BBQ all kinds of foods. With porcelain-coated racks, this durable grill offers top-grade functionality that you’d expect from the best pellet grills. It features 418 square inches, enough to cook for medium-sized groups. But if that isn’t enough, there are other sizes available, all offering the same functions. It also comes with digital temperature controls, so you can leave it to take care of the rest while you relax and play. This durable pellet grill is 2nd not because it’s not as good as our first pick – it just costs a bit more.
The computer controlled system maintains the smoker temperature with a high degree of precision so you don’t have to deal with fluctuations. With the optional (definitely a must) temperature probe you can put your meat in the smoker, set the desired target temperature and the FEC will take it from there. Once the target temperature is reached the smoker temperature will drop into a holding position until you are ready to remove your barbecue.
Multi-position controllers: These controllers allow you to adjust the temperature in smaller increments. Pellets are fed in fixed cycles meaning these controllers still don’t offer amazing accuracy. A multi-position controller is typically accurate +/-20°F, in ideal conditions. A nice feature of these controllers is the addition of an LCD screen.
The great part about this smoker is that it is fairly light-weight, weighing in at 69 lbs, and its legs double as a handles: all you have to do is fold the legs up and carry the smoker wherever you need to! Furthermore, this smoker comes with a 12V connector that you can plug into the cigarette lighter of your car, and a 12-foot alligator clips that you can connect to your car’s battery if necessary. You can take this smoker anywhere!
The Camp Chef PG24S uses three cleanup and maintenance systems. The Ash Cup Clean Out System collects leftover ash in a cup for easy cleanup. The Grease Management System instantly drains grease into a bucket for easy disposal. Finally, the Pellet Purge System helps you clean out pellets from your auger with ease. Cleaning up has never been so easy.
Good info above. A couple added notes. LG (Louisiana Grills) and Pit Boss are both owned by a company named Dansons. I’ve had good success with both the LG Competition Blend and Pit Boss Competition blend. Some bags have been a bit dusty, other bags just fine. My current bag of LG Hickory has very few fines, less than either of the CookinPellets bags I’ve tried. (not to ding CP, they’re good, but use CamelCamelCamel.com to monitor Amazon prices and alert you when they bring the price down.
With the internal temperature sensor, meat temperature probe, and a digital temperature readout, the PG24 pellet smoker takes the guesswork out of your cooking process. An advanced digital temperature chip gives a more steady smoke and temperature, eliminating large temperature swings and giving a more consistent cooking temperature. The patented Ash Can Cleanout System makes clean up the easiest out there.
A pouch made of heavy duty aluminum with just one tiny hole in one side works great to provide smoke in most outdoor cookers. To make a foil pouch, cut a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil 6″ by 12″ and fold in half making a 6″x6″ square. Fold the side edges at least twice, pressing each fold firmly along the entire side. Put 1/3 of a cup of pellets in the pouch and fold the top to seal. Poke a hole in one side of the pouch with a toothpick. Place the pouch on top of your charcoal briquettes or above the gas flame. When the smoke starts coming out of the hole in the pouch, put your food on the cooking grate and close the cover of your cooker. Smoke should last up to 30 minutes depending on the temperature of your cooker.
If you like grilling outdoors, you want to reduce the time and energy you spend using traditional and classic methods of grilling in an open air. The problem with traditional grills is that you keep on manually feeding the grill with charcoal or wood. In addition, you need to stay near the grill until the food is finally cooked.
With a massive 700 square inches of primary grilling space, this grill impressed us. Its size is large enough too cook for large groups of people. It features a Flame Broiler that uses slide-plates which allow for direct flame grilling, which means you get an even cast-iron cooking each time. If the 700 square inches isn’t enough, you can make use of the additional upper cooking rack space. The racks are made of porcelain-coated cast iron for optimum grilling as well as easier maintenance.