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The round ceramic shell makes them very efficient heat retainers, making very high temperatures possible. You can get a kamado up to about 750° Fahrenheit, hot enough for a wide range of uses. They are controlled temperature-wise through vents, and when automated or used by an experienced practitioner, they can give extremely precise temperatures.
Hi Joe, I might if there will be great time between cooks. At minimum get a good grill cover. The pellets do expand a lot if exposed to liquid. Some buy a small shop vacs just ton use for pellet removal. If your grill has a dump door, use that and vacuum out the dust etc. Rubbermaid tubs or the like make for good air tight storage.
Hey David – You might find this amount of space a bit limiting for your needs. My advice is to always overshoot your needs a bit in terms of cooking capacity. Consider the next size up for the amount of cooking you’ll be doing.
Mention a pellet smoker and what comes to mind is the rich taste of BBQ, better control and convenience. These are exactly what the best pellet smokers should give you. To find out the best, among the many that are out there, you must consider all the various features. A burner that can give you control, convenience, long service and great flavor for your food are just some things the best pellet smoker should have. Let’s take a look at all the factors you need to consider when making your purchase.
Versatility – Cook and bake like on a regular grill or braise and sear meat at low temperatures for many hours. All of that is possible with this one grill, additionally the food is enriched with a wood-fired taste.
Before buying, please note that most pellet smokers need access to electricity to run the digital controller, the auger that transports the pellets to the firebox, and the convection fan that circulates the air in the cooking chamber. These cookers can use a lot of pellets at high temps. At high temps there is little or no smoke, and at low temps smoke is unavoidable. So if you want to cook, say, a chicken breast low and slow to retain juices, but you don’t want any smoke flavor, you’re outta luck. If you want to torch a thin burger to get a crunchy crust and add a little smokiness, you’ll get great smoke flavor, but it is hard to get the crust. But if you want killer ribs, bacon, smoked salmon, etc., pellet burners are hard to beat for convenience and quality.
Easy ash cleanout port let ask “drain” from the opening into a small bucket. Let’s you clean in between cooks with no need to use a vacuum or a broom and dust pan. No need to get your hands dirty especially when you are preparing food.
I live in Florida (Ocala), and I would like to grill, but I am undecided what to buy. I would not use the grill everyday. I am not a ‘griller’, but I do enjoy grilling simple meats, hamburgers, pork tenderloin and chicken; perhaps smoking a 12 lb. turkey for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I have no knowledge as to grill veggies or fish. I am an ignoramus! I tried, but I couldn’t detect them among the ashes!
Kamado smokers came into being after World War 2 during the American occupation of Japan. The GI’s who were stationed there took the all-American love of grilled food to a country that did not have the tradition of barbeque like the Yanks. So, there weren’t any grills like the ones back home to be had. Getting them shipped from the States would have been extremely expensive, so the cunning squaddies made do with what they had, which were the traditional Japanese ceramic mushikamado wood stoves. They did the job, and with a little tweaking, spread around the world as the GI’s took them with them as they left.
A good pellet grill will grill, roast, and smoke. A wood pellet is a small, 1/4 inch diameter piece of hardwood and looks like a long pill. Because of their small size, wood pellets burn cleanly and quickly to a fine ash.
With the traeger, rec-tec or cam chef smokers all seem to burn 1-2lbs per hour. But for a long 18hr brisket it seems like I will have to continue to use pellets the whole time to keep the heat in range over over 200 which will mean I am using almost a 20-40lb bag depending on the time year per smoke. This is even more expensive than the bradley seems even with the wasted briquette. IS this correct or is there something I am missing?
Knowing the different types of smoker grills and what was ultimately the best for our needs was the 1st and the biggest step for all 3 of us, but not the end of our journey. Now we needed to know what accessories would make our BBQ experience the best it could be. You will want all of these accessories to make your summer the best it can be.
With the Camp Chef PG24S, you won’t have to constantly refill your hopper. Your pellets will be used as efficiently as possible, as this product comes with a hopper than can hold up to 18 pounds of wood pellets. With the digital heat control system, it instantly feeds the pellets into the grill to maintain the ideal cooking temperature. This ensures that food is cooked most satisfyingly.
Generally, we’d advise you against anything “entry level” since you’re going to have a worse experience and it could turn you off of the art of smoking your foods in the first place. Something in the $500-$1000 range seems like a huge investment upfront, and frankly it is, but when you consider that you’ll have it to enjoy incredible meals for years that’ll blow the socks off all your buddies, and prove to your family that you really can cook after all, it’s a small price to pay.
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.
In 2008 there were only two consumer pellet grill manufacturers. Today there are more than a dozen. The market for these relatively expensive devices is small but growing fast. Not all of these small manufacturers will survive. Forget the warranty and ask “When it breaks will the manufacturer still be in business?” They do not have repair shops near you. When it breaks will they be able to diagnose the problem over the phone? They may be able to figure it out, but then you have to buy the replacement parts and do the repair work yourself. Are you up to the task?
This is an affordable product that provides a lot of benefits to your cooking. It is also easy to assemble as well as clean and maintain. This Z Grills Wood Pellet Smoker offer versatility. This product has various mixed reviews. However, there have been reports that there are significant internal temperature swings.
Regular maintenance involves regular cleaning, regular oiling, and some protection from the elements. Smokers typically require ‘seasoning’ before they’re ready to get cooking as well, and failing to season can lead to not only bad food, but damage to the smoker.
Flavor – another advantage, pellet burners have a great influence on the flavor of your food. With use of good quality hard wood pellets you create smoke that gives your food a characteristic wooden flavor.
Cleaning up after grilling is every cook’s dreaded part of the process, but this pellet grill simplifies that. Its warming rack comes with a patented ash-catcher system, the Ash Can Cleanout System, that allows for an easier cleanup of the unit. Additionally, it also features a grease drip disposal system that comes with a bucket. You won’t have to waste precious time cleaning up afterward!
The main advantage is versatility. They combine convenience, simplicity and also control of temperature and cooking. For a single price you get a grill and a smoker. People make a wrong assumption that pellet grills are something complicated.
Also own a Big Steel Keg which I love! Didn’t want an egg or a Primo while I was up north WY & CO as I had to many friends complain about cracking when trying to use them in cold weather! Many times at Thanksgiving or Christmas I have cooked on any or all of these devices at -5 to -10. It can be done but with a strong wind it is quite a challenge! My Weber (been thru a couples) and my Keg still have high ratings for great steaks and burgers. But for low and slow you are pushing it to get there and my friends with the ceramic style units say it takes some practice and close attention. What I don’t like about and Egg or my Keg is if you do need to end up feeding the fire on a long cook it is a real serious challenge!
Hey DS – You’re dead on correct re: Grilling vs. Smoking. Most to nearly all Pellet Smokers are used as “smokers” in the truest sense. Louisiana Pellet Smokers boast a direct fire feature for grilling, as do Yoder smokers. However, I’m with you in that a grill is a grill and a smoker is a smoker. GMGs are very popular down here on the FBA circuit. However, most folks do find that they don’t produce the amount of smoke preferred for competition meats (which, in truth is a complaint about many pellet smokers). This is why stick burners and “some” gravity feds get a boost in rep among competition cook teams. That said, I do see folks happily using pellet smokers, and some win with them. One “trick” I see used now and again to boost the smoke output on a pellet smoker is to use one of those smoke tubes… like the A-maze-n Tube Smoker. Thanks for your comment, and for stopping by to read this blog post! – Kevin
Nowadays, for domestic use, the hardwood smoker has been replaced by ones using readily available charcoal. If its flavor you are looking for, charcoal smoking can’t be beaten. It gives the most authentic smoked barbecue flavor of any of the new smokers available. However, it does come at a price. Using charcoal can be dirty, and you have to deal with the ash left over from the cooking process. The hardwood charcoal will impart a flavor to the meat you are cooking, along with any additional wood chips added. This can give a rich, deep taste to any meat prepared in a charcoal smoker. The modern ceramic Kamado-style smokers, for example, are highly efficient in the burning of the charcoal, and temperature control is a simple matter of managing the airflow into the smoker. After just a few cooks most people have mastered the temperature control for ‘low and slow’ smoking, and the smoker can be left for hours, such as overnight, without tending.
Several smokers will need replacement parts sooner rather than later. For this reason, we’ve added customer service and warranty use into this category’s consideration. If manufacturers are aware of a problem, then it should be an easy fix, and the vast majority of smokers on our list are backed by customer support that has a handle on the situation. Warranties are like life insurance for smokers, and the length of coverage reflects how long a manufacturer expects a product to work without problems. Therefore, the longer the warranty, the better the BBQ smoker’s quality.
Some users have remarked that it goes through pellets faster than other units, which is certainly influenced by the size. If you’re not cooking a lot at once, one of the smaller units on this list would be a lot more economical.
The first name to kick start our list of the best pellet grill review is the Camp Chef PG24 Pellet grill. It measures 45 inches by 21 inches by 51 inches, in dimensions. This pellet grill weighs 127 pounds and capacitates a 550 cubic inch cooking surface. It has a removable upper rack, and it comes with a stainless steel food probe. Camp Chef PG24 Pellet grill comes with an LED digital temperature control system, and has a patented down cleaning system. It can provide temperatures from 160 degrees to 500 degree Fahrenheit, and has an internal sensor.
Today, all serious players in the pellet smoker market have switched to digital thermostatic controllers that dictate pellet-feed commands based on a temperature sensor inside the cooking box. Just like with the oven in your kitchen, you set the desired cooking temperature, and the heating system kicks on and off to maintain that set point. An LED display shows your set temp, and most models allow you to toggle between set temp and actual temp readings from the internal thermostat. Actual temperatures will fluctuate a bit as the controller switches on and off to hover around your set temp, but many sophisticated touch-pad controllers can maintain tighter tolerances than your indoor oven. Some pellet controllers also have integrated probes that let you monitor the internal temperature of whatever you’re smoking. Wireless remote control and monitoring from your smartphone or tablet are also increasingly common. (You can learn more about pellet smokers on AmazingRibs.com.)

The huge cooking chamber can fit a couple of 30 lbs turkeys or even a 50 lbs whole hog! Inside the grill, it’s all quality build. Marine grade stainless steel parts all throughout, 1/4″ thick stainless steel fire pot, stainless steel grates, etc. This will not rust out on you. REC TEC is so confident in their grill, you even get a card on purchase with the direct line of the general manager, as well as the personal cell numbers of the co-founders, Ray Carnes, and Ron Cundy.
Given the huge variation in price, it is important to know what you are looking for when purchasing a pellet smoker. Running through a bit of a checklist is certainly a great way to make sure you haven’t missed anything.
As you can see, I had the Memphis Pro running along side a Pellet Pro grill I was testing at the same time. The stainless steel cart comes with shelving on each side, I removed the right shelf for space saving purposes – which was a snap by the way.
Hi, and thank you for your comment. Traeger led the pack years ago, but they fell off in quality and reliability when they began manufacturing overseas. Though they are making some improvements now, I’m more comfortable recommending you look into Green Mountain Grills. Check their website to find a retailer near you.
Pellet grills normally have a drip plate under the main cooking surface that allows fat drippings to flow into a catch vessel – normally a pail of some sort.  Because the heat and air flow is so well-regulated in Pellet grills, you can pack it with meat and literally walk away – being assured of steady temps and very predictable outcomes.
It is a disappointment that so many manufacturers continue to include cheap bimetal dial heat indicators (we can’t bring ourselves to call them thermometers). They are usually in the lid, far from where the cooking actually takes place and are frequently off by more than 50°F! Good cooking is all about temperature control. Without accurate thermometers you’re asking for wasted money, overdone embarrassment, and food borne illness from underdone food. Please budget for a good digital oven thermometer and a separate rapid read digital food thermometer. For more info, we also have a database of reviews for more than 100 thermometers.
A quality pellet grill is built to last and will provide years of reliable performance. Bargain pellet grills not only lack the capabilities of better grills, they’re more likely to break down. No matter your price range, look for a pellet grill that’s built well and offers consistent performance. Fortunately, if price is a major consideration, there are quality pellet grills for under $500, as well as high-end pellet grills for under $1,000.
Louisiana Grills was one of the first companies to muscle in on Traeger’s one-brand show. The smallish CS 450 is one of its more popular models. In 2014, Louisiana upgraded all of its pellet smokers to include digital touch-pad controllers with integrated meat probes. Set it and forget it; the thermostat will maintain cooking temperature just like your indoor kitchen oven does. As a safety feature, the meat probe can be set for your desired target temp. When the internal meat temp rises to within 10°F of the target, the controller automatically drops the smoker down to 170°F to avoid overcooking.

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