Overall, the Traeger Grills Tailgater is an ideal choice for outdoor trips with small families or groups. While it doesn’t deliver the most convenient and advanced cooking as compared to the other picks in this review, it does have the right degree of portability and functionality needed in any outdoor adventure.
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!
Like I said before, sometimes you will find it difficult to perform the upgrade yourself. Replacing the digital control system seems much more difficult than I thought when I did it. Your smoker manual will certainly help you in this regard. You should seek help from YouTube as you can see what exactly to do.
While the Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Pellet Grill is compatible with most iOS and Android devices, I want to stress, check the compatibility of your device with the grill before purchasing because it would suck to buy this grill only to find out that this feature is not compatible. Also, if you do not plan on using the grill on some elevated surface, the legs are not tall so the grill sits close to the ground. Regardless, this is a GREAT smoker: your meat will come out tender and juicy with that authentic BBQ taste we all love! Neither of these cons effect the quality of your BBQ and both can be worked around.
Remote Accessibility: This level of control and observing is critical on the grounds that the container does not generally sustain the pellets into the wood screw accurately and the fire in the firepot can go out. The Davy Crockett will tell you that the container is not sustaining wood pellets and that the temperature is dropping. The Davy Crockett application will reveal to you something isn’t right.
The worst part about using a grill is always the clean up. It usually requires you pull out a vacuum or broom and get your hands dirty while you are trying to prepare one of your grilling masterpieces.
Novices: Do you consider yourself a novice with a smoker grill? If so have no shame, in fact, look at me, I started as a novice too! Realistically, no one becomes a geek in 2 weeks of studying or research. So as a beginner you must look for an easy to use smoker grill. Well, the primary concept of a pellet smoker lies in its easy to use features. Set it and forget represents the motto and the main aspect you crave, right?
You can get anything from electric to charcoal in this price range and the variety of options is vast here. If you are a beginner with a lot of cash to spare then this range will offer everything that you need to fall in love with American Gourmet. Authentic BBQ with capacities that can cook above 8 stacks of ribs at once is what this price range offers.
The pellets used for smoking contain all natural materials; they are compacted units of sawdust. Unlike charcoal, pellets don’t contain any additive or fillers, so you always know that your food will come out safe and perfectly cooked. When you cook with a pellet smoker, you never need to add extra wood chips or flavoring agents, the natural pellets produce a smoke flavor that rivals all conventional smoking methods.
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.
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).
My cousin and I went on a rowing trip at Tonto national forest, Arizona. He got a 10 feet boat. Not much room for gear, but I insisted he take his grill along. Traeger BBQ 155.01 Bronze Tailgater Pellet Grill w/EZ-Fold Legs& Digit Thermostat is small enough to fit into that small boat along with us. He was scared his smoker might get tipped into the lake, but that first night that we set it up and smoked a whole brisket he knew it was worth the extra weight. This is the length Grills Forever will go to test all the best smoker grills in every place we can think of so you don’t have to.
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.
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.
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.
I wrote up an extensive review of this Grilla model here. You can also listen to a podcast episode I did with Shane Draper and Mark Graham of Grilla Grills as well. (Click here for the podcast episode and show notes.)
Add-ons: Manufacturers often offer a variety of add-ons. Check what features come standard, and what are add-ons at extra cost. Some add-ons are offered by companies independent of the manufacturer. If a feature is important to you, but is not a standard feature of your particular cooker, make sure it is available as an add-on before you buy the cooker.
“We love pellet grills but didn’t like the designs of the models on the market. They are more like an oven than a grill. MAK Grills are designed to be the best in class. You get outstanding BBQ flavor and safe cooking with real wood, along with an automatic lighting and fuel feed system. Simply turn the grill on and you’re cooking in minutes! Our direct heat FlameZone ® feature is pioneering the industry for “gas grill like” cooking without the hassle of flare-ups and burned food.” — MAK Grills
Electric smokers are perfect for beginners. You can “set and forget” these smokers, which makes them simple to use if you aren’t into spending hours outdoors cooking. As long as you have access to an electric outlet, you just might find an electric smoker to be the right choice for you. They generally come with very simple manuals and instructions, and you can pick up your smoker and get started cooking very quickly, without worrying about messing with pellets, charcoal or gas.
There are several types of smokers across many different price ranges, so there is a smoker out there that is right for you. A smoker can cost as little as $50, and as much as $10,000, and they all do mainly the same thing, which is to cook meat to perfection giving it an aromatic smoky flavor that can’t be beat. They come in a wide range of shapes and sizes and are generally grouped by the type of fuel they use.
Traeger: As the launcher of the pellet smoker trend, it’s only natural that the innovative Traeger Pellet Grill Company would perfect its pellet grill technology and come up with some of the most affordably priced smokers around costing $300 upwards. It’s the Ford Motors of the pellet grilling world and many a pellet griller on the market to date owes the existence of their industry to this one company.
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.
Many of the rest of the manufacturers have come to the grill industry having first built home heating devices that burn pellets. This is a technology particularly popular in the Northeast and Northwest, but selling furnaces is seasonal, so they all seem to be making grills on the side now.
This item smokes for about 5 hours (not 4 hours) I filled mine half full, and used tinfoil to displace the unused area with about a 50/50 gig..after 2 hours I still had quite a few pellets left. I poured them in a coffee can, and will use them next time. Note: I made wire “U” hangers and hung my A-Maze-N smoker off the bottom wire rack (next to the door)..Rockin !!!
Overall, I think you would be happy with the smaller smoker / grill. I really like what Green Mountain grills has done with the Davy Crockett model, and that is the unit I have personally. That said,Rec-Tec makes a great product, and some people prefer the cart stand it comes with rather than the fold up legs that Green Mountain grills uses on the Davy Crockett modeling. Either choice would be good for you if you are looking for a smaller unit. I am of course speaking about the mini version of the Rec-Tec. The larger version is excellent as well.
Hey Wayne – thanks for your comment. The Brinkmann and Meco models are good starter models. I’d probably edge up to a Masterbuilt electric. Sounds like you have one of these other models. What’s your favorite thing to cook in it?
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.
Unlike previous models, the heating element is replaceable and reasonably simple to swap out if it breaks down. The smoker is designed for all skill levels, but it’s particularly great for beginners, since it removes the need to constantly monitor and adjust heat. Best of all, Masterbuilt is happy to work with customers, and they’re quick to offer solutions and replacement parts for faulty equipment.
Comes with a large 19.5″ x 36″ (702 square inch) cooking area. Maintains precise temperature from 180ºF to 500ºF (5º increments). REC TEC will automatically light up with a push of a button and heat up to the temperature you have selected. REC TEC has a really good and precise temperature control so you can even use it for baking.
Hey Corry – GMG and Traeger have shown that they support their brands very well of late. In many cases, they both provide parts support even when warranty limits run out. If you’re considering a Traeger, I’d urge you to go with their Pro Series 22 or 34. Sounds like that’s what you’re probably looking at where they are concerned if you’re looking at a dealer.
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.
Yoder’s Variable Displacement Damper is another unique feature: Essentially, it’s a metal plate that may be moved from left to right along the lower smoke box. Positioned all the way left, it concentrates heat directly over the fire pot for conductive searing with optional aluminum GrillGrates. Move it back to the right for even heat across the entire smoke box. Yoders are sold primarily through independent retailers.
I started with the BBQ Delights, then went to brands I could pick up at my local farm stores for about half the price, then moved into Cookin Pellets Perfect Mix. By far, these two (BBQ Delights and Cookin Pellets) are at the top of the list. I’ll be going back to the BBQ Delights (Pecan) for the superbowl, since I haven’t used them since I started smoking meats. My notes are not so good from when I started, but if memory serves me right, the biggest difference is that the Delights produced a lot of ash, where the Cookin Pellets did not, but I’ll know for sure in a week.
Barbecuing is supposed to be hard. It should involve chopping wood, breathing in charcoal dust, and hours upon hours to keep a constant temperature from your grill. A pit master would never subscribe to the “leave it and forget it” philosophy that a pellet smoker brings to the table, right? The best pellet smoker reviews shows that this isn’t necessarily the case.
The hopper holds 18 pounds, and the cooking area is 429 square inches. It’s less than some units offer, more than others, and generally a pretty happy medium if you aren’t really sure how big or small to go. You can fit a couple chickens or turkeys on here, a handful of racks of ribs, a brisket or two, and more.
One Touch Non PID Controller- The One Touch Non PID controller gives you the ability to set the temperature using one touch buttons. The temperature can be set in 5° or 10° increments and there is an LCD display that shows the exact setting.
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.
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!
There is no party like a backyard grill and BBQ party on a hot summer weekend with some good music on the back, and of course the centerpiece: the food. You see, food is a universal language. It is a way to say how much you appreciate and care for one another; a way to people’s hearts. And there is nothing more comfortable, warm and heart than some good old open grill and BBQ cooking on your pellet grill. And this is the reason you need an expert pellet grill review.
This is a fantastic grill for the money that’s dependable for outdoor cooking and smoking (hence its name, “Camp Chef”). It’s not quite 9.9/10 that is the Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill got, but it has more than enough features and benefits to spare to honor the Camp Chef brand (even though at first glance the PG24 and the SmokePro are practically the same unit with color differences).
The best way to ensure your pellet grill lasts for years to come is to purchase one that’s built well and features quality construction. If you’re in the store, lift the lid and feel its weight—is it flimsy or made from a heavier gauge steel? Pellet grills aren’t like offset smokers, they don’t need to be hefty, but they shouldn’t feel delicate either. When you close the lid, see how it lays on the grill—are there gaps or is it flush, providing a good seal? Check out the joints, the hardware, and any welding—does the grill feel solid? It should be sturdy and all the joints and seams should fit together snugly, no gaps or spaces for heat to escape.
If you’ve ever wanted an 8-in-1 wood pellet grill that you can just “set and forget”, then this grill is the perfect unit for you. This is the most hassle-free smoker we’ve used which is why it deserves to be one of our top picks. Digitally-controlled, this smoker ignites the unit and uses a Smart Smoke Technology™ to heat it up from 160 to 450 degrees F. This pellet smoker comes with a whopping 513 square inch grilling area, plus a 2nd cooking rack! While it doesn’t have a cleanup system, its auto-shutdown feature makes it worth the value.
First of all, this unit includes a temperature probe that plugs into the front and allows you to accurately determine the temperature of whatever you’re cooking. This ensures the center of your meats are getting enough heat and are safe, and that everything is working optimally in general. In addition to that, you’ve got an excellent temperature control with a thermometer that’s accurate to about 10 degrees, so between that and the probe you’ll know exactly where you need to be and exactly where you’re at.
Pros low/high temperatures, quality materials, large cooking area digital control, affordable, multi-use, lighter very accurate, easy-to-use, good cooking surface large cooking surface, digital burn control, low/high temperatures, very affordable awesome cooking surface, very durable, fast cooking
Their product knowledge is sound, they are polite and their response time to emails or phone calls is rarely matched in the world of retail. When you buy one of their products you get a card with the contact numbers, as in the mobile numbers, of the GM and both co-founders.
To sear a steak you need direct radiant heat. I don’t care if you can heat the air to 1000°F, it is still indirect heat and that does not deliver as much energy as direct radiant heat. It’s physics, but not hard to understand. In short, heat is not the same as temperature. It feels hotter at 80°F if the sun is shining on you than if it is 80°F in the shade. I discuss the concept in more detail in my article on thermodynamics of cooking.