Whether you call them pellet grills or pellet smokers (the terms are interchangeable), there’s no denying the impact these do-everything cookers are having on BBQ. In the past year alone, interest in pellet grills has grown at an astounding rate, with the number of online searches nearly doubling. Although they’ve been around for over thirty years, it’s only recently that they’ve earned the title of the Hottest Product in BBQ.
It is certainly your requirement for the smoker to be automated. That is the case with Camp Chef PG24DLX Deluxe. It’s a smoker that thanks to its very good temperature control doesn’t require you to check if the temperature inside the grill is really okay. That way it allows for stress-free long meat smoking at a fixed low temperature.
This kamado can be taken all the way up to 700 degrees Fahrenheit and as low as 200 degrees, so it is a very capable machine. This is alongside the high degree of control you can get by adjusting the two vents, one on the roof, the other at the rear, that control the amount of air being taken into the kamado. With a little practice, you can set your smoking conditions with real precision.
PID controllers: PID controllers are considered by many to be the gold standard of grill controllers. Using complex algorithms, temperatures are accurate to within a few degrees. The pellet feed is constantly adjusted to maintain the correct temperature, and this type of controller can even accommodate programmable meat probes that work in tandem with the controller to lower the temperature when the meat is done. They also feature LCD and one touch buttons.
Cleaning a smoker grill can be a task and a half if you haven’t kept on top of the cleaning. An easy to clean smoker will make a wipe-down at the end of a session much less hassle and help you keep your smoker in top condition for longer. Look out for nooks and crannies that fat and dust can get into, hard to reach places and a complicated design. The simpler it is, generally, the easier to clean.
One of the best things about the gas smokers is they are among the most economical smokers. This doesn’t mean that you will get an inferior product, but propane is an inexpensive fuel and the tanks are sold separately.
As such, the Yoder YS640 is one of the more robust pellet smokers out there. The main body is constructed of 10 gauge metal. Yes, this means that it takes longer for it to come up to temperature, but once there – it holds temp far better that thinner walled cookers. You know you’re buying quality when your pellet smoker weighs in at 315 lbs.
You must have thoughts in your mind centered around the thousands of pellet smokers and why Camp Chef PG24 is our no 1 choice. We will list the detailed features, pros and cons of this smoker. First, let me tell you why this smoker grabbed the number 1 spot on our list.
Great information! Thanks for providing it. Like others, I am about to purchase a pellet grill and I have narrowed it to the Yoder 640 and to one from Blaz’n Grill Works. My question for you concerns Blaz’n Grill; have you evaluated one of those grills/smokers?
Versatility is a big reason for the surging popularity of kamado grills. Whether you want to smoke a brisket or sear a rib eye, a kamado can do it equally well. Traditionally, kamado grills have been ceramic, which retains heat incredibly well, providing consistent temperatures and an impressive max temperature. The Weber Summit Charcoal Grill, on the other hand, is steel, making it lighter and more durable.
Today, there is no general disadvantage that is present among all pellet grills. Each model or brand has its pros and cons. There are a lot of different pellet grill manufacturers in the market today, including some cheap Chinese ones that you should steer clear from.
In terms of portability, there are smaller and lighter options available but the cooking surface is much smaller and has the out-of-date lo-med-high controller. The Davy Crockett uses Green Mountain’s sophisticated digital thermostatic controller with a dual readout LED display to accommodate the included meat thermometer. It also comes with adaptors to provide power from a wall outlet, car cigarette lighter, or car battery: items that are often optional on other makes.
There are a few things to think about when it comes to the area of the grill you want to buy. First up, will it make the grill too big to fit in where you want it to? Secondly, how much food are you wanting to cook? Parties and social events need a big cooking area, home grilling doesn’t. Thirdly, the amount of fuel you use is dependent on the size of the grill, so if you’re cooking small amounts but on a big grill, you’re wasting precious pellets.
The controller only comes with 9 temperature settings, so you don’t have the ability to dial in the exact temperature you want. This doesn’t mean the unit doesn’t work, you can still cook amazing food. It’s just more geared to beginners who don’t want to fuss around with temperatures
The manufacturers of the Rec Tec Grill firmly stand behind their decision to not include a remote control in their smoker. They argue, “This is a grill. You gotta go outside and put the meat on the grill. Is it too much to ask to press a button? And to lift the lid and see if you got pellets?”
Hello John. Thank you for your comment and questions here! In short, you will not get the same smoke profile on a pellet smoker that you do with your BGE or PBC. That said, I do think there are some ways to mitigate this. Yes, I do feel the Smoke Tube and Mojo Cubes add smoke flavor that is detectable. Fred at Mojo Bricks does good work, and I recommend his products without reservation. This said, I have been happy with the smoke level I see in the pellet smokers I’ve used. Starting low does and ramping up later is a technique I’ve used with success when extra smoke is desired. The Rec-Tec grill gets high reviews across the board. I have no hesitation backing them, along with Green Mountain Grills. Both are made in China, but the companies have great customer service support and strong user communities. I believe each has a well-contributed Facebook group or two.
Electricity causes the auger to start pushing pellets into your burn pot and begins to heat up the glow rod until it’s red-hot, which in turn ignites the pellets in the burn pot. Air is pushed into the burn pot via the holes you see around it – allowing for a maximum efficiency burn.
This is a serious pellet smoker for the serious smoked food enthusiast. Standing tall among the more expensive alternatives, this Camp Chef PG24 combines a rare set of attributes: solid construction, capability and value. It will give seriously good smoked meat or vegetables to anyone who wants to spend a minute or two getting to grips with the intuitive design. It is not cheap, but it is not expensive either. It is good value.
The construction and the elements – REC TEC Pellet grill are an investment for years, safe from corroding. Most of competitive grills look pretty on the outside and the manufacturers claim they are made of stainless steel. The truth is, only the outside part of the grill is stainless. The steel on the inside is different, and major parts are made of materials of poorer quality.
Pellet grills are used not only for grilling but also in baking, smoking, roasting, and more. Nevertheless, the significance of pellet grill is to imitate how charcoal works in smoking and how gas grill regulates the temperature.
This innovative smoker has dual temperature control sensors that allow users to maintain a consistent temperature without any fuss, and its dual temperature readout gives you both the chamber’s temperature and your food’s internal temperature. The unit is turned on with the push of a button, and it will automatically dispense pellets until your food is done. It has a large capacity pellet hopper; that means you don’t have to refill it often. Its ash can and unique easy access design makes cleanup a cinch.
As with all pellet smokers, there’s a lot to like, and a few things that can be improved, but as far as compact portable grills go, there’s very few available on the market, therefore the GM Davy Crockett is our top pick of a rather short list.
This smoker also comes with two cooking settings: hot and fast, and low and slow. Its Digital Elite Controller makes setting the temperature a breeze — all you have to do is turn the dial to your desired temperature, and you can leave it for the rest of the cooking process. This smoker can reach temperature of up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. The digital display on top of the grill lets you monitor the heat conveniently.
Arguably the best value overall, it’s a great middle-point between both of the best pellet grills we’ve featured thus far. It’s not overkill, but it’s got plenty of room and some very useful features.
Normally you will get 1- 3 years of warranty for pellet smokers from different companies. Traeger will serve you with a 3-year warranty while camp chef will give you only 1 year of warranty. Considered this the safe period for your pellet grill, so take advantage. If you own a quality smoker then you may need not to think of any replacement within 5 years of buying.
If you’re a member of the Rockefeller family and price isn’t an issue then you’ll definitely find pellet grills over the $2000 mark but, if you’re more the ‘other fella’ with a budget in mind, then the Rec Tec is one of the best-priced grills, available for under $1,000. There’s also a Rec Tec mini grill which comes in under $750.
As for what is the pellet smoker, a wood pellet smoker is a classic offset barrel smoker, but this time its firebox is replaced with a side-mounted hopper. It can also have stainless steel super grill with a hopper from behind. There are claims that pellet grills are a fad that can never compare to a classic barbecue griller.
Tell me that’s not one of the most killer Made In America intro videos you’ve ever seen! Really speaks to the mindset Yoder has regarding quality and durability, not to mention the company’s pride regarding operating from the heartland of Kansas in the good old USA.
There have been some reports from some customers that the temperature gauge may not work properly for smoking purposes because it does not hold a steady temperature as it swings wildly from over one hundred to over three hundred regardless of the temperature being set to 225. There have also been some complaints about the product rusting in some spots.
Kevin: I have a gas smoker but would like a wood pellet smoker. I’m looking at Traeger Lil Tex (due to price) but I read about Blazn Grill Works, Grand Slam, made in USA, stainless steel grates and a control unit that is very good. Cost about $1195, can’t find dealers so called and talked with the owner. What I read on web site sounds good. He claims on his short video that his auger is the best and doesn’t put torque on the drive due to the design. Any thoughts on this unit? Any advice would be appreciated. Still looking at the Yoder YS640 as price is very similar.
The not so good was the reliability. After the first year, this grill could not stay operational longer than maybe two to four months tops. In no order, I replaced the hopper fan twice, the fire pot fan once, the igniter three times, the cover, drip tray and control panel once each. The replacement control panel was a nightmare to install because it came with a newer style plug set, so the those had to be removed and replaced with the original plugs and rewired so everything would match up. Ugh.
We loved the remote. It is things like this that make modern grilling such a great experience. It is not just an on off either, it does everything you would want it to, and well. All the temperature controls work, the timer is incredibly useful and will save many a burned burger, turning the smoker on and off at a distance is hugely useful, especially when combined with the wood chip loading system, makes you get an unprecedented level of control over not just your smoky flavors but how you want your meat done (rare for me!).
The spacious cooking surface offers you a massive 838 square inches so you can get a LOT done at once with this one. The design itself is a contemporary-looking stainless steel, which looks very similar to a high-end BBQ, except with the hopper on the left-hand side.
Download an iOS or Android app and connect using WI-FI. The app enables to do many different things such as remote control of the grill temperature, control of temperature inside the meat or the ability to check the amount of pellets inside the hopper. You can get the temperature higher or lower while away from the grill. You can learn more about how this function works on the manufacturer’s official website.
Now we come to the end of my smoker quest. I used a combination of online research and real life experience to bring you the most in depth information you will get anywhere. This quest was long, but it was worth it.
Keep that in mind, as the right temperature is the key to making great food. Meanwhile, plenty of competitive grills use old systems that are bad at maintaining the temperature in different weather conditions.
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.
For our best smoker grills list, we tested more grills than we can remember. Each of Our Picks comes from its own review and guide, so each one is accompanied by a lot of testing. This review is a compilation of all our top rated smokers, so you will be able to make a quick and easy choice for your top smoker grills.
Yoder Smokers: Well-known in competition barbecue circles, Yoder sells three models of pellet smokers, ranging from $1100 for the YS480 to $3600 for the trailer-mounted YS1500. (Numbers in the product ID refer to the square inches of cooking space.)
love your article and got lots of good info from it….i do have a question tho that i didnt see an answer to…..do pellet grills have to use just pellets?….i have 3 acres full of oak branches that could be shredded. my question is can a pellet grill use home shredded wood chips to burn and cook with or is it mandatory that the fuel be in the pellet state?….would be great if i could find a good use for all these fallen branches….
Another one of America’s finest home-grown products comes from MAK Grills Pellet Smokers. Based out of Dallas, OR, MAK started out as a steel fabrication company back in 1990 and ventured into making pellet smokers with the goal of making a pellet smoker that’s more like a grill than an oven. Said in their own words…
REC-TEC: REC-TEC, also known as Rec Tec, has been in business for more than 7 years. Its pellet grill offers up to 702 square inches of cooking surface real estate, beating out the Pit Boss and its 700 square inches by (only) about 2 inches of extra space. Its grills can also calibrate themselves in 5° increments and its pellet hopper is capable of holding 40 pounds of pellets (no constant refills required).
A good spring cleaning of your pellet smoker is going to take a little elbow grease. Remember to use non-toxic degreasers and cleansers like Simple Green. We use it at our house as we, like the author of this article, have dogs who seem to love to be around the process of cleaning a pellet smoker.
Have you reviewed at all the Grilla Silverbac? If so, does it not make your list because it isn’t as good a quality as those you have picked? I mean, when I look online for reviews of those who have bought them I haven’t found anyone disappointed with theirs, but perhaps they haven’t been out as long to have a track record? I’m so confused at this point as to which to buy with PID or no PID (some say smoke does better without one), thickness of metal, etc.
Owning a pellet smoker can be a revelation on how good meat can really taste. The flavors from a pellet smoker or grill can be out of this world. However, over time, a build-up of crusted and carbonized grease and spills could taint that flavor. The by-products of smoking, such as tar and soot can accumulate and fall into the food you are cooking. What some people may call ‘seasoning’ is really just the detritus of cooking and needs to be cleaned like any other kitchen appliance. Cleaning a pellet smoker make be daunting to some people, but this short article hopes to take away some of the mystique on cleaning and give you some useful tips on how to keep your smoker in tip-top condition. If you set up a simple cleaning regime for your pellet smoker, it will last longer, and keep cooking high-quality food with the best flavor imaginable. It will also make the deep cleaning that much easier. There are three levels of cleaning, after each cook, after say 50 or so hours of cooking, and annual maintenance.
There is also an included sear box that can reach up to 900° F so you can sear your meat to perfection. Once you are done grilling your steaks, burgers and chicken you can transfer them to the sear box so they can get the nice and crisp caramelized sear.
Couldnt you add a wood chips, small chunks, directly to the burn bowl before you start cooking? I get you cant feed it thtough the hopper, but it seems like there should be an opportunity to add directly to the bowl.
Hey David, Is there a particular reason why the Grilla grills interest you? I tend to find they’re great smokers, just expensive for what they are. If you’re working with limited space (say smoking on a condo balcony) then the Grilla models vertical footprint can make all the difference between having a smoker or not. But for the price, and for a standard model smoker, the Traeger models tend to be better all around.
For home models, get at least a 10 amp, 12 gauge, three prong cord (oddly, 12 gauge is higher capacity than 14 gauge). That’s more than you need, but better safe than sorry. Commercial models may have different requirements.