Below the $100 price range, you can get a low capacity smoker. A good small propane gas smoker can serve up to 4 or 5 people. You can get only basic features in this price range. These small smokers are basically popular for their portability.
Many people misunderstand a pellet grill of consuming a large amount of power for its working. But it is not even remotely true. While it is true that a pellet grill will use up a good amount for power initially, but it only uses that to come to temperature and form. Once it is ready and in form, it power consumption drops so dramatically that some pellet grills use almost as little power as a light bulb; an ideal choice for keeping power costs to a minimum.
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!
Another vertical smoker, the Weber Smoker Mountain is a popular unit in both backyards, and on the national competition circuit. This water smoker is divided into sections. From the bottom up, you’ve got a fuel section which is then separated by a large water bowl, adding moisture to the chamber while stopping any juices from hitting the coals (flare-ups). Then, you’ve got your cooking area which has two levels of grates and a large dome area on top. Both levels provide ample cooking space.
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.
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.
You can’t cook as hot or generate as much smoke – You won’t get quite as good a sear as you could with a charcoal grill. And you won’t get that dominate smokey flavor you would get with an offset stick burning smoker.
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.
Yes, the Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill isn’t completely great. This smoker has a couple of issues with it, like the ash removal system not opening unless you hit it with a hammer every time it’s used. The ash cup doesn’t catch all the ash either, with more of the ash ending up within the smoker. You might need to vacuum this machine to get rid of the ash.
The construction is heavy duty as well. Quality gauge steel sides and porcelain coated cooking grates make the smoker nearly indestructible. The American Gourmet also has a chrome rack int he smoking chamber, allowing for two-layer smoking and warming, even as the lower firebox is full of meat as well. The indirect heat will allow the meat to cook slowly, while at the same time infusing it with the smell and flavor of the charcoal or your favorite wood choice.
While it doesn’t seem to effect everyone, some people experience an issue with the temperature sensor failing after only a few uses. Camp Chef have good support though so if any issues do crop up they should be easy to resolve.
This black porcelain enamel coated barrel is a straightforward vertical smoker. It comes with a number of additional tools and hooks that help users grill or smoke essentially any kind of meat or other food.
Temperature vary depending on different cooking, making this an important factor to consider when selecting the best pellet smoker for you. What type of cooking do you practice? Most if not all pellet smokers are good when used at indirect cooking and the maximum temperature they can get ranges from 180 – 425 degrees. This temperature range is good when one is grilling, roasting, baking or smoking. It becomes a challenge when you want to sear, which requires a temperature range of 500 – 550 degrees.
Hey Jennifer, I think a pellet grill/smoker would make a great addition to your cooking arsenal. You can get a pellet smoker up to 450 degrees in about 10 or 15 minutes. The following article gives you a good idea of what you might do to reverse sear a nice thick steak using a pellet smoker. note, that this method employs the use of GrillGrates, which you can find easily on Amazon. Here’s the article:http://blog.greenmountaingrills.com/rib-eye-reverse-seared/
This is the ultimate portable grill. It can run off a 12V with no problem so plug it into your car’s cigarette lighter. It also works 120AC so it’s perfect for home or camping, tailgating, hunting, house-boating, music festivals or anywhere you can take it!
Includes a meat probe, a peaked lid, a convenience tray with utensil hooks and our new open flame technology grease tray. Also included is Sense-Mate, a thermal sensor which constantly monitors grill temperature.
The most important thing, which is temperature control. You have to pay attention to that if you want your food to be well made. A smoker that is characterized with lack of temperature control will lead to your food getting burned or the temperature will be so low that it won’t be properly cooked.
You have the power to control the temperature of your pellet grill cooker from high to low. Additionally, just in case that you want everything to become precise, you can use the meat probe which allows you to measure the temperature of your meat and avoid under or over-cooking.
For price and ease of use it is hard to beat the small gas smokers like the Char-Broil or the Camp Chef Smoke Vault. Snobs snort at gas smokers, but we’re here to tell you that many top rated BBQ restaurants use big gas smokers, and the small ones are really inexpensive, easy to set and walk away, and the product will make you a hero. With a high quality modern barbecue smoker you no longer need to hover over your machine for hours, constantly monitoring the temp, fiddling with the dampers, shoveling coal, and adding wood. A good smoker means that you can win the battle against creosote, soot, and ash. With a good smoker you can get your food on the table on time and not fear that it is over-cooked or under-cooked.
The advantages of this pellet smoker allow to put it first on my list. It’s a smoker that is medium tier in terms of price. It is not too expensive, and it’s not one of the cheapest ones, either. Still, it has plenty of solutions that allow it to stand out as number one among dozens of other pellet smokers.
Rating: This is a solid 9.5 over 10 in my book. It’s four points below its brethren Camp Chef not because it’s less of a grill but more because the Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill is practically perfect.
Although this would not work as a portable grill, it does come with built-in wheels for convenience. You can easily transfer your grill to any part of your backyard and it will stay secured in place (as long as it’s on an even surface, of course).
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I had a Traeger and I can say with all seriousness, they are crap. Nothing but problems. Paint peelling, electronics replaced 4 times, no heat management. I sold is yesterday, and lost my ass. Like the set it and forget feature, taste was OK, but quality was just dismal. Looking at either a cookshack or a fast eddy.
Made in the USA of 304 stainless steel formed into a charcoal basket with a built-in water reservoir, it corrals your charcoal on one side creating two distinct temperature zones. On the indirect convection heat side you can bake, roast, and even hold low and slow smoking temps overnight. On the direct radiant heat side over the charcoal, Slow ‘N Sear creates a searing zone that rivals steakhouse temps. It creates the hottest sear zone we’ve ever tested on any grill. Click here to learn more about the Slow ‘N Sear and for links to buy.
This unit costs almost half of what most high-end smokers cost, but it offers equal (or even better!) features. This 8-in-1 smoker and grill lets you enjoy the fun of grilling, smoking, baking, roasting, searing, braising, barbecuing and char-grilling!
They’re known as REC TEC “Grills” and for sure, you can do some great steaks on these bad boys, but where they really shine is their smoking ability. They can go for ridiculously long stretches of time without refueling, and have the space to smoke all kinds of impressive meats. They’re also built strong as a bull (horns and all).
Where else can you easily find a grill with a 6-year warranty and a HotFlash ceramic ignition system? Not to mention, REC TEC is a leading manufacturer in the pellet smoker industry, and this product is among their best releases thus far. The Bull is very appealing and spacious enough considering it has a nine-inch headroom. The RT-680 might be affordable, but this smoker is something else. I’m going to shed light on this product’s features as well as some of the reasons why you should purchase it for your cookouts.
The versatility of this grill gives you endless cooking possibilities. You can roast, bake, barbecue, smoke and of course grill. You have a huge temperature range of between 160° F up to 500° F which allows you to cook your food any way you want.
At Grills Forever, we are passionate about outdoor cooking. We don’t just tell you things we’ve read rather we go the extra mile, making us the go-to team for all your smoker grill needs. Throughout our journey from four BBQ novices to barbecuing experts, we have developed some of the best strategies for picking a pellet grill and testing it before recommending it to our audience.
My Egg will last past my lifetime. And I have a lifetime warranty on it as well. I don’t want to plunk down good money(even $500 is good money if you think about it) to have a grill of no use in 5 years. I guess I’m looking for a do it all grill. Not that I need one to do it all, heck I can use my Old Smokey to grill up some mean steaks and burger and hotdogs if need be.
Hey Tom! First, thank you so much for commenting on this article. I hope it’s proved useful to you and helping you make your pellet smoker buying decision. I took a look at the smokers you mentioned in your comment, and they appear to be similar in build to those made by Yoder. I can verify that Yoder does exceptionally good work with both the build quality and the heavy gauge steel Construction of their smokers. I don’t know much about the manufacturing practices of the smokers you mentioned. I do like the fact that their controller automatically dropped down to a warming temperature after your food reaches the programmed temperature setting. That’s a feature that I’ve only seen in higher-priced pellet grills like the Memphis Pro Series that I talk about in this article. However, more grills are starting to utilize this in the programming aspect of their controllers. In any case it’s a great feature. To be honest with you I’m not sure that the auger mechanics are going to be all that different between smokers. I’m sure there are differences, but I don’t feel that they are dramatic enough to offer a distinct selling Advantage for the manufacturer. If you haven’t looked at them yet, you might consider taking a look at the Traeger Pro Series pellet grills. You can’t find it on Amazon, but you can find them at different retailers listed on the main Traeger site. A friend of mine has one major competitions using the pro series models.
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.
The CB940X is a really nice model with excellent construction specs. The body is a heavy gauge steel and the cooking racks are cast iron with a porcelain coating. The unit also has a helpful fire pan adjustment mechanism that really reduces the complexity of temperature control for direct cooking.
Great reviews. I have been lately looking into pellet poopers. I currently own a large Big Green Egg and a Pit Barrel Grill. My Egg has limited space. On the PBC (Pit Barrel Cooker) I can cook a ton of food as it uses hanging meat method. But it has zero temperature control on it. A set lower vent and that’s it. You have to adjust the lid to get the temps up. I have adjustable rings for my Egg that allows for increased capacity. Eggs are great smokers, grills and ovens. I do have a FireBoss temp controller for the Egg which will allow a set it and forget operations. Wifi controls also. With that being said, I am looking for increased capacity in my cooks. I was seriously considering a XL Primo Oval or a XL BGE. Then I found these pellet poopers. After reading this blog and other reviews I found some limitations. One the lack of smoke flavor. Now with my Egg I add chunks of wood into the lump for smoke flavor. Same with the PBC. The PBC has different smoke flavor as the fats and juices from the meat drip on the hot coals which ignite (according to PBC’s website) and produce a smokey flavor in the meat. I’ve read two ways to increase the smoke flavor in Pellet Poopers. One is to start at a lower temp for a few hours, then crank it up to cooking temps. Two is the smoke tubes or Mojo Bricks. My question is do these techniques work? One review on the smoking tube said that they really didn’t make that much of a difference. Another issue was for grilling and the lack of direct heat. Grill Grates would eliminate this concern correct? My understanding of Grill Grates is that they provide a way to direct grill in an indirect environment. That’s a limitation with both of my cookers. The Egg can Indirect or Direct grill. Not both. Yes I can remove the indirect piece and set up the Egg for direct grilling, but you risk burnt fingers even with welders mitts on. Wouldn’t the Grill Grates on a Pellet Pooper solve this problem? Allowing you to slow cook that steak to say 10 degrees shy of your temp range then sear it on the grill grate for the a couple of minutes on each side to get it to your desired temp range? Or go the other way, sear first for a few minutes per side then indirect cook it to the desired temp?
So far go good, fires up quickly and the food cooked so far has been excellent. It’s is a little low so I purchased a table at our local resale shop and modified it so the grill will set on it’s top. If you do this you need a 26-inch wide table to hold the unit. Wifi capability is “neat”.
Travelers – Of course there’s a perfect pellet smoker for you too. It differs from a basic pellet grill in that it’s smaller and much lighter. It has foldable legs, which allows you to easily take it to the car with you. Everyone’s been on a camping or a field trip at some point. In moments like those, grilled food is something delicious and wholesome. I found the right portable pellet grill for you, which thanks to its size and weight is portable.
It is a gas smoker, but you still need to add your wood chunks. Your fuel area is at the bottom with its own separate door so when you get in there to add your favorite smoking wood, you don’t lose heat in the main chamber. This is especially useful for those of us that live in areas with colder winters and need all the heat we can get.
It’s capable of many of the same feats as its sibling grill and other top-rated competing grills, but its piece de resistance is its Smart Grill Technology that allows you to control the temperature as easily as conventional ovens. Just don’t let it sit in direct sunlight and muck up its temp. The bottom line with this “smart” grill is that it has more pros than cons.
I got the bird loaded onto the pellet grill and let it ride until it hit the desired temperature. Because the Memphis Pro’s temperature control automatically drops the unit down to its lowest setting once it reaches the programmed internal meat temperature, there was absolutely no chance of overcooking that baby.
Turn it on to “Smoke” mode and use the P settings, or cook mode by selecting a temperature. When you select smoke or a temp setting you start the ignition sequence. The fan, igniter and auger motor turn on. The fan stays on until the smoker is turned off. The auger motor continuously delivers pellets to the red hot igniter rod in the firebox for two minutes under normal conditions. Then the igniter rod shuts off and the pellet fire burns with only the assistance of the auger and the fan.