Pellet grills are also very easy to clean up. This is in large part due to burn efficiency. Since pellets are used to produce the burn you get a more efficient burn than you would with charcoal or logs. Because the burn is so efficient there is a lot less waste for you to worry about.
The first two columns are must haves. This includes heavy-duty materials to hold heat and stand up to the elements (whether it’s smoking in the cold or not rusting out). The third column is a set of options. Not necessary, but bonus if they make the list.
We carefully consulted our testing team, asked our volunteers and staff alike for their honest opinions, and argued a lot about what should be Our Pick. In the end, we came up with the best smoker reviews on the web.
The hopper of your pellet cooker is the container which stores the pellets ready for the auger to take them to the fire-pot. Therefore, the size of your hopper essentially dictates how long your cooks can be. So, settling for a hopper that is too small will prove to be annoying to say the least, as your cooks will fail to go the distance.
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.
Here at Grills Forever we are independent and only promote the best smokers out there, regardless of brand. We give you our own unbiased opinion based on our own experiences. We want you to get the best smoker grill for your needs and if something new develops we will be the first to try it out and let you know.
So how do you know which are good pellets and which aren’t? It’s not easy. There are plenty of problematic pellets on the market that have glowing online reviews but which we know cause issues. Quality pellets usually cost in the neighborhood of $17 to $22 for a twenty-pound bag. If you see a price on pellets that seems too good to be true, there’s probably a reason for it.
Like other pellet smokers you dial in different pre-set temperature settings on the thermostatic controller. You can choose between 175 – 400, as well as several other pre-sets like “High”, “LO Smoke” and “Hi Smoke”. You can easily hold at an ideal smoking temp of 225-250° consistently for many hours.
Newer pellet smokers have more features and can typically be set at a certain temperature and left alone while your food is being cooked. They are eco-friendly, and the taste that they produce is smooth and tasty although not as strong as the smoky flavor that charcoal smokers can produce. You can also switch up the flavor by buying different types of pellets.
As such, if you don’t see one of your favorites listed here and would like to offer up a review – please contact me via any of the social media links at the top of this blog’s sidebar, and we’ll see about getting a post up.
A smoker is designed to cook even the toughest cuts of meats at a low temperature over a longer period of time. It uses smoke to cook your meat and often maintains a temperature between 225 and 275 degrees, which allows it to break down tough connective tissue. As the fat on your meat melts, it keeps your food nice and moist so that it becomes more tender. It also gets a delicious smoky flavor that can’t really be mimicked with any other style of cooking.
Many people are intimidated by the idea of buying and using a smoker, but it’s actually quite easy. By following this guide, you can find the model that is right for you. Then, you’ll find that it is basically as simple as using a grill but can produce a totally unique and wonderful flavor. Smoking meat is a healthy way of preparing food, and it’s super easy. First, however, you will need to find the smoker that has the best features for you and what you’re after when cooking up meat outdoors.
This heavy-duty grill and smoker has a total cooking area of 429 square inches, which is large enough for cooking around twenty burgers at once. If that’s not enough, it comes with a secondary rack of 144 square inches that you can use for smoking or warming. With a height of 32.5 inches, you can cook a variety of meats and foods to your heart’s desire.
We’ve long been advocates for pellet smokers and last year they finally started gaining significant ground. Of all the great smoker designs available, pellet smokers are easiest to use because they are thermostatically controlled just like your indoor kitchen stove. You just select a cooking temperature and a controller maintains it by feeding wood pellets to a fire pot as needed. Many now have WiFi capability that enables you to monitor and control your smoker from a smart phone, tablet, or computer. Price is still an issue that holds sales of pellet smokers back. They use electronics, motors and fans and just plain cost more to make than many other designs. But as popularity increases, so does competition and you now have more choices in designs, sizes, features and price ranges. Our list includes two excellent and innovative pellet smokers by Camp Chef and MAK. Both companies offer advanced features and Camp Chef just introduced an optional Sear Box that produces searing temps better than many gas grills.
Hands down Rob Green over at SmokingPit.com offers one of the best reviews of Yoder Smokers available anywhere. Specifically, Rob reviews the Yoder YS640 pellet smoker and does so with an excellent balance of textual information and specs combined with some very well done videos. Below is his introduction to the Yoder YS640.
I have found that using the upper shelf gets more airflow around the meat than the lower shelf. I asked the AmazingRibs.com science advisor Prof. Greg Blonder about the problem (he has a MAK 1 Star). He explained that smoke sticks to cool surfaces and wet surfaces, and the surface of meat warms and dries out after a few hours. When he wants more smoke flavor he uses a strong smoke wood like hickory or mesquite, he starts with cold meat, and then he keeps the meat moist by painting or misting it with apple juice or a mop like Lexington Dip or East Carolina Mop or Texas Mop Sauce. A awter pan can help because the water condenses on the cool meat and attracts smoke. Read his detailed research on the subject in my article on the Science of Wood and my article on Basting.
Personal review of the Traeger: The auger fed the pellets after the fire pot went out making a large pile up which caused it to catch fire and burn up my grill. I had to use a fire extinguisher to put out the flames and prevent my house from catching fire. I sent Traeger the description of damages with photos. After much waiting and no response from the management team regarding my Traeger grill we gave up. The service team was very responsive but lacked any authority to make decisions to fix the grill. We worked with the service team for awhile having a different person each time respond and request information and photos that were already provided. Then, we got passed up to the management which is highly ineffective because we never heard from them, even after an email requesting an update. We really did like our Traeger grill and had high hopes that since it was under warranty and caught fire due to a failure we would have the grill repaired. Because of the terrible unresponsive service of Traeger we took our money and purchase a Green Mountain Grill.
There are cheaper units, but if you can afford this (And not quite ready to go all out on the Rec Tec), this is a great option. It’s a very high-quality unit that will serve you well for many years, even though there’s some breathing room between this and the very top of the line.
The Elite’s digital control panel is a sophisticated touch-pad PID controller that holds set temps with more accuracy than most kitchen ovens. It’s simple to operate and offers an integrated meat probe and some useful programming options. For example, you can set it to cook your brisket up to 200°F and then drop to a lower cooking temp to keep it warm without overcooking.
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.
The ratio of the price to all of the above – I am perfectly aware that for those less demanding there will be a cheaper pellet grill for few hundred dollars less that will still be great for grilling delicious food without any extra features that have to be paid for with good money.
Thanks Kevin for the reviews and content. Like many of the folks I too will be purchasing a pellet pooper. I have narrowed my choices to a MAK 2 star and a Memphis Elite. One of the earlier posters indicated on the Memphis that the effective direct grilling space was about 1 square foot. I am assuming that with the smaller footprint of the MAK that the direct “flame zone” is less than that. I’m just wondering how much less.
Camp Chef have been a notable and solid producer of grills for some time now, and have earned their position in the market, with straightforward, yet proficient outlines, which offer purchasers great outcomes. They had stated, prior to release, that the PG24 Pellet Grill and Smoker, would give clients brilliant elements and a high level of usefulness, with exact temperature readings, and I needed to see whether this genuine. This Camp Chef PG24 Review expects to give purchasers all the data they have to settle on an educated purchasing choice.
Hey Pete, first thanks for your kind words. Traeger pellet grills fell off a bit quality wise over the past several years. That said, they’ve hired a new CEO – formerly from the Skull Candy Head Phone company – who brought that company’s valuation up considerably. I see them making moves to get back to their roots… aligning themselves with some of the more well known names in BBQ again. From a build quality, they’re making solid pellet grill bodies using fairly heavy steel. The area I’d like to see them improve on is the controllers they use. Right now, GMG is making great strides in claiming some of the entry level pellet smoker market share away from Traeger. This is due to a superior PID controller, advances in built in Wi-Fi monitoring, and outstanding customer service.
Choosing the one perfect pellet grill that could change your cooking experience is easier said than done. There is just so know you have to know before committing to it. Though I did give you a run-through of all the basic and important things to look for in a pellet grill before buying one, it is still a scratch on the surface. It is tiring to have to go from store to store to find the quality ones that you can choose from. So, to come to your rescue once again, I will now give you the some pellet grill review.
To keep this smoker in working order, you’ll need to invest a lot of tender-loving care. Although rust is often a sign of poor maintenance, it seems to be a common issue with this model, which reflects on the smoker’s construction. For a mid-priced smoker, material standards should be a little higher.
Before we get into my pellet grill reviews, it’s important to cover as much about how Pellet grills work, what brands of Pellet smokers are most reliable, and exactly what type of BBQ end product you can expect to achieve using Pellet smokers.
It is also worth noting that a pellet smoker made of high quality materials will perform better. High quality materials will retain heat, ensure more efficient pellet consumption, and maintain temperature better in the cold weather.
A great choice for small families, campers, tailgaters, RVers and for those with limited space in the garden. Holds temperature really well, consumes a small amount of pellets and has a great mobile app.
The idea behind the Pit Boss was to create something similar to the Traeger but at a much lower price, which seems to have worked. But, and this is only based on reading loads of reviews and checking with pit masters, the Traeger is no longer the smoker to compete with. There are others, which are better priced and have better technology and upgrades.
It’s true that even an entry-level pellet smoker will set you back more than charcoal or gas. But for a little bit extra up front, you’ll enjoy the simplicity and versatility that is causing pellet smokers to take over patios around the country.
This is the pellet smoker of the future. It is fully automated from start to finish. From clicking the ignition to getting rid of the ash, it is all conveniently taken care of. Usually, you would be expecting to pay at least a thousand bucks for something that does that, but not this time. The PG24 is relatively affordable.
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!
Pit Boss is awesome. I have cooked, pizzas, shrimp, chucken wings, beef steaks and pork steaks so far. We also own a traeger but I like the ability to adjust the smoke setting as well as the fact that you can have an open flame for cooking beef steaks better than the Traeger. My only issue was that the pellet box is pushed in but the lid still closes and the bucket was smashed in.
It also has the standardized dial-in digital control with LED readout (not to the point that it has WiFi like the Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Pellet Grill, but still quite convenient). However, it’s rated low on this list because of poor quality control. Too many customers ended up with bad Pit Bosses that have inconsistent temperature control (going all the way to 615° Fahrenheit).
We love recommending and reviewing wood pellet smoker grills, but we also want you to get the most out of them once you purchase. Without proper care and maintenance, even the best pellet smoker is bound to have a shorter lifespan. Therefore, how you use your smoker and how you maintain it after use greatly determines how long it will serve you. A little bit of work will go a long way to extending the life of your smoker. A thorough cleaning of the smoker should occur at least once a year. If you frequently use it, you should have it done at least three times a year. Buying quality pellets will extend its life as well.
For this we looked at capacity, appearance, sizes, weight, manufacture, utility and usability, portability and others. With all this assembled, we could make our choices for the best smoker for the money, best outdoor smoker, best grill and smoker, best home smoker, every kind of smoker you could need.
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.
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.
Honestly, it solely depends on what type of upgrade you need. If you do not get the desired amount of smoke, you need then check your induction fan. Maybe it does not function properly and changing one will cost you around $30 – $40, problem solved.
The cooking process is made a lot more convenient with this smoker. To start cooking, all you need to do is flip the Traeger on/off switch, and you’re good to go. Then, you can simply set your desired temperature through the digital controls. Enjoy your time and relax while you leave the unit to do everything else. With its efficient temperature control system and automated auger with an induction fan, heat remains constant throughout the cooking process. You’ll have evenly-cooked foods that have that mouth-watering smoky flavor in no time.
A digital smoker will always be easier to manage than a simple charcoal burner, but that preference comes down to customer desires, and we did not use this as part of our considerations. Instead, we examined how easily the smokers could be set up, cleaned, moved, and used. While some are intrinsically more portable than others, we relied on the manufacturer’s claims. Not all smokers are designed to be frequently moved, for instance, but if a manufacturer touted portability, the smoker in question came under scrutiny for its ease of movement and ability to travel.
It has all the features you will find in the Camp Chef PG24DLX model. They include Ash cleanout system, Smart Smoke Technology and Grease management system. All these features make using the pellet grill and cleaning it significantly easier.
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.
I recently purchased a a Smoke Hollow pellet grill from Sam’s. Seems like quality is good and it was recommended by a friend. Temperature control has issues. I called for customer service a couple of times and they sent a new thermostat. Still can’t get temperature to to hold at setting. Am I missing something? Told to start and let preheat for 10 minutes and then move to desired temperature. Tried setting new thermostat at 190 and let it go for 15 minutes and it was back at 230 when I checked it. Any suggestions?
My dad is a true mans man, and has owned a number of grills. Ranging from gas to charcoal. Growing up with him allowed me to see what different types of rubs, spices, brines, etc went into making the best BBQ. Although my dad was a truck driver, and I had a degree in Information Technology I knew that I wanted to do something about grilling and our recipes. That’s where Barbeque Smoked comes in.
Camp Chef Woodwind offers a state of the art pellet grill with digital temperature controls, a patented ash cleanout, and perfected sear box offering up to 900 degrees F! The stainless steel grill is visually pleasing and guaranteed to bring flavor to your food.