It is great when it comes to smoking meat at low temperatures, regular grilling, baking or roasting. You can have problems, though, if you want to sear your meat, it requires much higher temperatures. Sadly, a regular pellet smoker cannot reach them. In that case look around for a pellet grill that comes with an additional sear box that is gas fueled and can heat up to 900 degrees F.
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.
Thank you so much for the kind words! I think you would be very happy with a smaller pellet grill / smoker. The wording changes depending on how you are using the device. For instance, if you are cooking at low temperatures you will get a stronger smoke profile then if you burn a pellet smoker / grill at its higher temperature range. One thing you could do for steaks is cook them at the higher range thus being able to get a sear much like you would on a direct heated Grill service, for instance on your Weber. Another option would be to cook the steak in the reverse see your method, by bringing it up to temperature at a lower smoker setting and adding some smoke flavoring that way, then removing it and bringing the smoker up to its higher settings so you can finish off the steak with some of the effect you would achieve on direct flame. I normally do this by bringing the steaks up to about 15 degrees below where I want them to finish. Then, I finish them off at the higher temperature to where they are about 5 degrees below my target. This usually means a few minutes on each side but I use a Thermapen to be sure.
Or the fact that it lives up to its “Ultimate Tailgating Grill” moniker for all you campers out there. You need to watch your roast closely so you won’t have to finish your pork butt in the oven. It’s not quite a “set it and forget it” kind of smoker grill because you still have to make sure that there’s a steady supply of pellets so that it won’t shut down.
Remember, you are paying for every little feature, attachments and details on any product. So do not end up paying you inheritance for a feature that you are probably never going to use. Instead, invest on a pellet grill that caters to your needs and has features that will actually enhance your experience when using it. So do not, I repeat: do not, fall for fancy marketing features that sound too drastic.
This 30-gallon, porcelain-coated steel drum has only one vent that stays in position, creating a low-oxygen environment to help prevent flare-ups and save on fuel. This means shorter more controlled smoke sessions every time you barbecue. It’s what we call a “set it and forget it” system for barbecuers of all levels of experience.
You should consider the temperature range of what you will be cooking mostly before choosing the desired pellet smoker, to avoid choosing one that is not fit cooking foods of higher temperature. Pellet smoker with higher temperature range are better that those with low temperature range because they can cook more foods with different styles of cooking.
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.
Another item is Traeger, which differs from Traeger Lil Tex Elite 22 mostly in size ( the Texas Elite 34 model ). A great choice if you want to have a real smoker that is also easy to use, big and worth its money. It is expensive when compared to competitive grills, but still worth the money.
Why this Mountain Cooker for Our Top Pick? We will give you a little of our reasoning before we start raving in the smoker grill reviews. It came top of our Top Ten Charcoal Smoker’s list for a reason: It is one fine, fine smoker.
Since this is the Junior model, you give up a bit of space compared to the other entry level Lil Tex Elite Smoker which packs an extra 126 square inches of surface area. So if you are going to be cooking for larger groups you might want to consider upgrading to the Lil Tex, or going for one of the more expensive options below.
With just one push of the button, this Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker uses its electric auto ignition system to fire up your grill using authentic wood pellets. You got that right, it doesn’t use gas, propane or charcoal!
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.
I’ve spoken with a few of my Pellet Head friends and those who use both stick burners and pellet grills and the consensus seems to be that folks will use whatever pellet brand they find produces the best flavor profile.
DS, I have a green mountain grill. besides that for any pellet smoker cook your chicken at a high heat otherwise the skin will be rubbery. doesnt have to be a direct flame to get it crispy. I set my GMG to 425 flip it after 8 mins pull it at 170 crispy perfection. if you want more smoke flavor, smoke it at 150 for an hour then crank it up to 425 to finish it. I was upset with my rubbery skin when i first used it as well but i got some good advice from the pros. chicken doesnt need to be cooked low and slow to tenderize it like pork and beef does. it doesnt have the tissues or muscles that need to be broken down like beef and pork
Less effort cleaning up – Charcoal smokers can make a bit of a mess every time you cook. With a pellet grill you might have to clear out the firepot every now and again but it’s rare (think once every 60 usages).
The Primo 778 (View on Amazon.com) is hands down the best overall charcoal smoker you can currently get. With its amazing heavy gauge construction, large cooking surface and overall ease of use, it can turn turkeys, hams and other types of meats into mouthwatering culinary works of art. Given its size and the fact that this is the only ceramic smoker that’s currently made in the United States, you are guaranteed to get superior results compared to any other smoker out there.
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.
They’re known as REC TEC “Grills” and for sure, you can do some great steaks on these bad boys, but where they really shine is their smoking ability. They can go for ridiculously long stretches of time without refueling, and have the space to smoke all kinds of impressive meats. They’re also built strong as a bull (horns and all).
Most old-timers will tell you that a buildup of soot and grease will improve the taste of your food. This does not prove true, in fact, it’s not good for you and can even be dangerous. At Grills Forever we want your grilling experience to represent a safe one. Therefore, before any cooking session, always clean your grill to optimize its performance and prevent any off-flavors. Check the grease pans or collectors before smoking, because the collector could be full and overflow, starting a fire. If there is a grease chute, then clean it for sure.
The Yoder YS640 is 32 inches wide, weighs 313 pounds, and is said to have a cooking range of 150 to 600°F. Yoder is known for heavy-duty competition smokers, and the thick, 10-gauge-steel cooking chamber on this model is durable and great for heat retention. It comes with a sophisticated proprietary digital controller, which Yoder asserts is not based on any off-the-shelf temperature controller of any sort. Yoder states that it designed the board from scratch around a general-purpose micro-controller chip and wrote its own code from the ground up in an attempt to provide superior flexibility, efficiency, and accuracy.
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When it comes to buying a pellet smoker or grill, your best bet is the Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill. It’s the best of the bunch ratings-wise for a reason. It’s able to correct many of the mistakes and weaknesses of its other competitors, like its large capacity pellet hopper that accepts a huge amount of pellets so that you’re not constantly refilling the machine to keep it smoking hot. Only the temperature control of the REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill – Featuring Smart Grill Technology™ comes close.
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.
Thanks for the quick response and advice. I see a pellet pro hopper assembly is around $250 compared to the Memphis pro at over $2000. I didn’t realize that drafting isn’t important for the sake of temp regulation but what about how the smoke travels from the firebox towards the meat? I also would like to include an element of humidity, is simply putting a pan of water in the cooker or is there a better way?
When it comes to the best electric smoker, we are spoiled for choice. There were a lot to choose from on sale but this stood head and shoulders above the rest. Here’s why. For one, it is a cool looking grill. It has sleek aesthetics and a classy look. It is a grill you won’t feel embarrassed about. A real griller will see you have a proper piece of kit right here.
The bottom line? We now have several pellet grills at Barbecue University and some students love them. Of course, there are still a lot of purists (or masochists) out there who insist on burning charcoal or wood.
A pouch made of heavy duty aluminum with just one tiny hole in one side works great to provide smoke in most outdoor cookers. To make a foil pouch, cut a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil 6″ by 12″ and fold in half making a 6″x6″ square. Fold the side edges at least twice, pressing each fold firmly along the entire side. Put 1/3 of a cup of pellets in the pouch and fold the top to seal. Poke a hole in one side of the pouch with a toothpick. Place the pouch on top of your charcoal briquettes or above the gas flame. When the smoke starts coming out of the hole in the pouch, put your food on the cooking grate and close the cover of your cooker. Smoke should last up to 30 minutes depending on the temperature of your cooker.
Number two when cooking with charcoal (yes plain Kingsford is good stuff if you do it right, a lot of the cheaper brick and cheaper lump can put some weird twangs in your food) brick or lump can produce quality high temp steaks or slow & low bbq! To add some nice flavor add some wood, but do your homework! I think Clark ‘Smokey’ Hale has one of the best books ever for the grill and Q master, “The Great American Manual on Grilling and BBQ or something like that. Last I saw you can grab a used one on Amazon for a few cents and some shipping. The most prolific thing I read in there that so many miss, is burn your wood and your charcoal to where it is literally a coal of gray ash covered glowing ember. Do that and you will find a new flavor in your cooking! Problem is so many places think heavy smoke is great, as they are trying to imitate cold smoke flavors! They are not the same! All this talk I see here about, “I want heavy smoke flavor.” I can tell you if you burn your wood and your charcoal (and I feel even lump needs to be well on it’s way to gray ash covered or you get bitter smoke even though many say not necessary) to a red ember with gray ash covering 80 to 90% minimum preferably completely covered your flavor profile will change. Many supposedly good bbq restaurants I have been in serve something with a bitter or ash flavor, which I find much less enjoyable.