The smokers we examined had many different primary materials, and although powdered and enameled steel were the most popular, they were far from the only options. While these different materials impact ease of maintenance, we didn’t judge the quality of any smoker’s construction based on the type of materials used. We’ll go deeper into maintenance issues below.
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.
Everyone loves smokey food. The smell of fire roasted meats and spirit of kinship that pervades BBQ gatherings harkens back to our ancestors. You just don’t get that with boiled ribs. For many years smoking was a mystery to most home cooks. Today it’s commonplace to find backyard smokers filling neighborhoods with irresistible fragrance.
Hey Jim, first – thank you for commenting on this post! As you probably know from reading the contents, pellet smokers are a great choice for set it and “nearly” forget it BBQ. Of course, you’re not going to get the same smoke profile with “pellet poopers” that you are likely getting with your other smokers. That said, the smokers listed here are all going to hold temp very well – even in lower temperature or windy weather. I do see instances where temps and wind effects pellet grills, but solutions including a fireproof blanket over the top of the smoker seem to mitigate things well enough.
In 1982 Traeger Heating in Oregon began experimenting with a furnace that would burn wood pellets made from compressed sawdust, a byproduct of the area lumber mills, and before long introduced a home heating system that they sold mostly locally. Since furnaces sold mostly in cold months, before long they began experimenting with a grill that would burn pellets, too. Eventually they created a device with an auger to feed the pellets and a blower to help them burn.
For now, we’ll tell you right from the start that our choice for best overall smoker is the Primo 778 Extra-Large Oval Ceramic Charcoal Smoker Grill. It’s not the cheapest smoker on the market, but the Primo is the best smoker out there. It’s large, with over 400 square inches of cooking surface, makes incredible pork butts, and is the only true ceramic smoker on the market of this size. Because of the unique design, this smoker offers features that just aren’t available on any other unit.
A lot of people will grill vegetables alongside any meat on the grill as its always nice to have an accompaniment. However, the grilled vegetables can be a meal on their own. They can easily hold the smoky flavor you get from using your pellet smoker so why not give it a try.
I noticed a question on the use of pellet grills in cold weather… living in Minnesota we have an abundance of cold weather. The warm up takes a bit longer but once the grill is going the upper temp ranges seem to hold true. In below zero temps. I throw an asbestos blanket over the grill to save on pellets.
To solve the problem, several pellet burners have come up with ways for you to expose food to the flameand can actually get a nice sear. Still not as good as charcoal or sear burners in my opinion, but a lot better than the ones that are strictly indirect. Check out the Memphis Pro, Cookshack Fast Eddy, and MAK 2 Star.
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.
Decided that moving these beasts was a little challenging so I bought a Backwoods Party 10 years ago and loved it. But basically have about worn it out. And as I got older I don’t enjoy getting up at 2 AM and then having to get up every couple of hours, after the 45 minutes of getting it ready at 2 AM, to check it and feed it. I also bought a smaller lightly used Open Range, The Good One. Used their recommended method the first time I cooked with it and hated the Q off of it so bad most of it was wasted, wife hated it too and the son ate most of it. It was extremely ash/strong smoke flavored!
The Traeger is made of solid steel, and it uses wood pellets to accurately maintain temperature throughout the cooking process. When you turn the unit on, you simply need to set the temperature; the unit will automatically dispense pellets when they are needed.
Replacement parts are guaranteed for one year from date of purchase. The Cookshack PG500 Pellet Grill offers a lot of room to cook your favorite foods for a group of people or a large family and is constructed entirely from stainless steel. However, this product is expensive when compared to other types of pellet grills currently on the market. This model also has the potential to rust if left out in the elements without being properly covered.
It includes heavy-duty all terrain wheels as well as a rust proof cover and additional racks. With the automated electric feed system, the internal temperature is regulated so the product does not require frequent attention.
The Rec Tec Wood Pellet Grill will automatically light and heat to your pre-selected temperature with a simple press of a switch. When the Grill has reached its selected temperature, it will maintain this temperature throughout the cooking process. By using the accurate temperature control, you are capable to bake, sear, smoke, and grill your food. Subsequently, all of the heat originates from real wood, so you acquire the value of wood aroma.
We are a completely independent team of four outdoor cooking buffs dedicated to helping you get the best BBQ experience. Throughout the years, we have had many adventures, while building our expertise in barbecuing and smoking. Our research also involves reading reviews and getting opinions from the renowned BBQ experts. We will go anywhere and be doing anything to bring you the newest and best information on smoker grills.
It used to be that purchasing a smoker was the equivalent to donating a vital organ Smokers have become a hot commodity lately. It’s not uncommon to look across the top of your neighborhood on Memorial Day and see a dozen plumes of smoke rising from back yards down the street.
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?
They’re like instant cameras compared to classic film cameras, but in the end they’re more like DSLRs. These grills have not flamed out fast. According to the Hearth, Patio, and Barbecue Association (HPBA), the pellet smoker or grill is one of the hottest trends of the barbecuing industry.
Next, consider if you’re in the market for a wet or dry smoker. A dry smoker will work great with juicier meats with higher fat content like brisket, shoulder, and ribs. However, if you’re looking to smoke leaner cuts and still get a moist final product, a smoker that allows for water smoking. Water smoking uses a water pan above the fire chamber that fills the smoker with water vapor, maintaining some of the moisture of the meat.
Placed against our Top Pick, this Traeger smoker and grill is a worthy competitor. It offers a variety of useful functions that will allow you to smoke, grill, bake, braise, roast and BBQ anything and everything. It’s definitely worth your money, because if you take care of it properly, it’s going to last you a long time.
This RiverGrille, on the other hand, uses 4.0 mm heavy-gauge steel construction and weighs a hefty 352 lbs. The double lid reduces heat loss on opening and the double-layer, porcelain-coated steel grates allow for heat retention with a total of 1,713 square inches of cooking space. The fire box also doubles as a grill.
The REC TEC Grill is made in China, but, the heart and soul of the grill (the computer) is made in the USA. The powder coat is also made in the States and the final assembly along with quality control takes place at the REC TEC Grill facility in Georgia, the backbone of good old southern BBQ. And we like that it has a 6 year warranty. It means the Rec Tec folk believe in their product, which makes us believe in it too.
A BBQ smoker uses low temperatures and lots of smoke to develop one-of-a-kind flavors. Traditionally, smokers were all charcoal fueled, and you can find ancient smoking techniques in some of the oldest BBQ recipes in the world. Today, smoking is not only a favored backyard culinary art, but the focus of many professional competitions. Thanks to this wide range of demands, there are smokers available in every size, shape, and material you can imagine. Smokers can use just about any fuel, including electricity, and many don’t look like grills at all.
The last, but definitely not the least, to earn its review on our pellet grill review is theSmokePro from Camp Chef. It has a 19.5 by 22 square inch cooking area, a large pellet hopper, and grease dip system with bucket and roller wheels. It also has a built-in gauge controls.
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.
For example, it has a decent 570 sq. in. of cooking area, a patented ash cleanout service, endless versatility (wherein you can barbecue, braise, roast, bake, smoke, and grill to your heart’s delight), and an advanced digital control (the same one that allowed the Camp Chef SmokePro to take the top spot). However, the quality control for this unit is a little worse than SmokePro.
Meanwhile, it also has a 15-pound pellet capacity comparable to Camp Chef SmokePro (not as large but big enough to eliminate continuous wood pellet refills) and folding legs for better portability. However, certain users who’ve already bought their own REC TEC Grills Mini Portable Pellet Grill have complaints about it, like inconsistent heat distribution of the grill and poor quality control (certain grills break down easily).
Traeger really pulled the trigger on this one this time around, delivering the Traeger TFB65LZBC Texas Elite 34 Series Wood Pellet Grill. It’s fueled by 100% pure hardwood pellets to give you real wood flavor out of your meat (rather than artificial or gimmicky ones).
Yet another pellet smoker, but the higher price buys a number of bells and whistles, including our favorite digital temp controller. Built entirely in the USA, it is solid with a heavy duty powder coat. The hood is a roll top, meaning it does not need a lot of rear clearance like some of its competitors, and there is plenty of room inside. We recommend you buy the optional upper level racks. My only criticism is that it looks like a WWI tank. Click here to read our complete review of the MAK 1 Star General Pellet Grill.
Considering quality construction of anything is among the most important factors that should be kept in mind while shopping for a pellet smoker. No one would wish to buy an item, no matter the price, that is not of good quality and that will have rust or get destroyed without giving the user enough service. That is a loss. A good quality pellet smoker will last longer and will need less or little maintenance.
The cooking area is ample, at just over 700 square inches. That’s nearly 20 inches x 36 inches. At a full three feet wide, and almost two feet deep, that’s no joke. You can feed a large group, or just make yourself enough for thirds, fourths, and lunch for the next week.
Just like most Camp Chef products, this pellet grill smoker uses a patented ash cleanup system that takes away the trouble of vacuuming. Ash is immediately stored in an ash clean-out cup that’s easy to dump.
Though the Traeger TFB29LZA Junior Elite Wood Pellet grill is compact in size, it has 300 square inches of wood fire grilling room. You could easily fit 12 burgers or three racks of ribs on the grill.
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.