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.
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.
That said, I can’t see why the Memphis Pro couldn’t hold its own versus the MAK on cooking ability – with the ability to go low and slow or crank things up to a searing 650 degrees F. All in all, a great pellet grill that will last a lifetime.
Sometimes, the ideal pellet is something that costs a little over $1 for quality but you can still save money by buying them in bulk (like in 40 pound bags). Half a pound of pellets per hour is consumed on the smoke setting that’s about 175° Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, you can burn 2.3 pounds of pellet within an hour by setting the temperature at 450° Fahrenheit (this is an average on many of the pellet smokers mentioned above).
Here are a few things that you should keep in mind when getting started with your smoker; these tips and tricks will help you turn out delicious meat and vegetables that are sure to please your family or guests:
The digital PID controller gives you extremely accurate temperatures and control. While this unit doesn’t come with an integrated meat thermometer, we actually consider that a plus because if you’re spending this much on a smoker you are definitely going to want to invest in a good wireless thermometer
There are, however, several pellet grills that offer a direct grilling option, making them true smoker-grill combos. These include pellet grills from Memphis Wood Fire Grills, Louisiana Grills, FireCraft, and Fast Eddy’s. Of those, the Fast Eddy’s PG500 is specifically designed to let you quickly and easily switch between smoking and grilling.
I am glad your review of the Rec Tec included commentary on the accuracy and performance of the temperature controller. I would have liked to read similar comments about the other five grills in your reviews because this is such an important feature.
Movable Interior Shelves – You will probably be preparing all different types of meats and other foods in your smoker, and you might need to adjust your shelves every now and then to make sure that everything fits. Therefore, you will probably want to look for a smoker that gives you this option.
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.
why don’t pellet smokers have a drawer for sawdust like some of the propane units. It could slide in over the fire pot much like you mentioned for the mojobricks. Dampened sawdust still makes one of the best smudges.
Shipping cost is an important consideration to keep in mind. To that end, if you don’t have a supplier local to you where you can just go pick up your BBQ pellets, consider looking for online options that are in your neck of the woods. Many of these pellets available at Amazon come with Free Shipping for Prime members!
Comes with a Meat Probe. You can easily monitor the internal temperature of the meat using the digital controller, without having to lift the grill’s lid. That way you don’t risk losing the heat when opening the lid of the grill.
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!
While the charcoal smoker needs some tending, and work to control the temperature, an electric smoker is virtually ‘plug and play.’ Just plug the electric smoker into a convenient power outlet, and you are ready to go. Electic smokers use elements inside the cabinet to heat wood chips to provide the smoke. A water bath makes sure the food inside does not dry out in the long smoking process. In most cases its a matter of dialing or using a push button to set the required temperature of the smoker, popping the food inside and then set it going. Generally, electric smokers cook faster than other methods, but they do not impart the same deep barbecue flavor you get with cooking with a flame in either a charcoal or propane fired smoker. If you live in an apartment and have no outside space, and want to eat barbecue, then some electric smokers will work indoors.
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The cleanout for both the pellets and ash is a huge perk to the grill. The patented “Easy Ash Cleanout” does not require the user to take apart the grill. Instead, they simply have to twist and dump the container. The 18lb pellet hopper is similarly an easy cleanout. The stainless steel also makes it easier to clean the grill because of the steel’s properties.
Some grills can only store 18 pounds of pellets. Owners of these grills say it isn’t a big deal to add more pellets mid-cook if needed. A benefit to having a smaller hopper is that there is less chance of unused pellets getting wet during storage and turning to sawdust.
Another great solution is the ash removal system – it’s a patented solution that you won’t find in any other grill. Under the grill you’ll find a cup where the ash from your pellets goes to. All you have to do is twist it off, throw out the ash and put it back in its place. Easy, quick, efficient and effective.
There are actually several different types of charcoal smokers for you to choose from. There are barrel and drum smokers, offset-side charcoal smokers and cabinet-style charcoal smokers, for example. Although each type has its own set of advantages, many people find the cabinet-style smoker to be far superior to the other options; these are well-insulated and are very easy to use because they open up much like a refrigerator. Offset-side charcoal smokers can also be a good choice, but you shouldn’t opt for a cheaper model. If you are on a tight budget and crave the taste of charcoal, a barrel or drum smoker is probably going to be your best smoker grill choice. They are very affordable, are super easy to use and can produce the charcoal-and-smoke combination flavor that you are seeking.
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.
This isn’t a cheap smoker, and if you’re looking to entertain the entire neighborhood, this smoker just isn’t for you. No matter how great the design, portability, and materials are, a smoker that can’t hold your food can’t cook it. That said, if you want something to travel with, and you have modest ambitions, this could be your perfect smoker. Durability matters, and the fact that the entire smoker is impervious to rust is invaluable.
Still, not all blends are equal. Some use a higher percentage of flavored wood than others. It’s pretty common to see a 70/30 ratio, with 70% of the wood being oak and 30% flavored wood, but a brand like BBQr’s Delight uses more flavored wood, using a 2/3 to 1/3 ratio.
There are two other smokers that are quite comparable to this in terms of features and price. The first is the masterbuilt 20070910 30 inch smoker – you can read the full review here. The second is the Bradley 4-rack smokers. We have just updated out 2018 top 5 Bradley Smoker list here.
Though it is technically a grill, you can carry out so much cooking styles in it. It can be used to sear meats and other food to a perfect golden crusty perfection; it can be used to bake quiches just like you would in a normal indoor oven. This is absolutely a trademark appliance that can also be used to smoke food, it can also be used to slow braise food, making it ideal for cooking up winter stews and casseroles. And very obviously you can grill in this thing. The lid on the pellet grills also aid in fast cooking by trapping smoke and heat and allowing the food to cook and flavor through quickly and more evenly.
On the better models, a temperature probe in the oven area tells the controller what the temperature is and if it is below the target it tells the controller to feed more pellets and air. The best manufacturers, like MAK and Memphis, have designed their own versatile custom controllers that are easy to use and can hold a temperature within 5°F, tighter than many indoor ovens.
While you should never leave a smoker entirely unattended, digital smokers are well known for their comparative ease of use. Instead of setting up a lawn chair next to your smoker and getting comfortable with a beer, you can actually go about your daily life. Digital smokers are not as temperamental as traditional smokers, and they’re much safer since they don’t technically use an open flame. Not everyone likes these smokers, and a lot of great cooks take pride in their traditional BBQ smoker handling skills. It really is a skill, too. Keeping the perfect temperature and smoke consistency requires lots of checking and a thorough understanding of how your chosen fuel, wood, smoker, and food behave. If you want to master the skill of operating a smoker, your best choice is a traditional charcoal or gas smoker. On the other hand, if you’re only interested in the food itself, and you don’t feel like investing that much time into your meal, a digital smoker would be perfect.
his grill also includes an electronically controlled temperature which eliminates large heat fluctuations that can dry or shrink meat. Other beneficial features include a side shelf, front accessory shelf, casters, a meat probe slide opening, a warming drawer, a rib rack, a utensil holder, and a seafood grill. The Cookshack PG500 Pellet Grill offers 784 sq. in. cooking space.
A. yes it is possible to use it in a cold weather season. It is however important to consider that some pellet smokers work better in cold weather conditions than others. Pellets grills that have been tuned into ideal conditions use a standard non-PID controller making them to lose their temperature range maintenances ability in windy or cold weathers. The PID controller though after measuring the temperatures of the pellet smoker, it maintains the heat produced to achieve the desired temperatures in all conditions.
The choosing and purchase of any item or device should be mostly favored by the preference of the buyer. A pellet smoker is not different. A buyer should pay for something that is appealing to his or her own eyes. This will make the buyer have an easy time and have appreciation while using the grill. The user though should consider other factors equally with the personal choice.
Before buying, please note that most pellet smokers need access to electricity to run the digital controller, the auger that transports the pellets to the firebox, and the convection fan that circulates the air in the cooking chamber. These cookers can use a lot of pellets at high temps. At high temps there is little or no smoke, and at low temps smoke is unavoidable. So if you want to cook, say, a chicken breast low and slow to retain juices, but you don’t want any smoke flavor, you’re outta luck. If you want to torch a thin burger to get a crunchy crust and add a little smokiness, you’ll get great smoke flavor, but it is hard to get the crust. But if you want killer ribs, bacon, smoked salmon, etc., pellet burners are hard to beat for convenience and quality.
There’s few things you definitely need to pay attention to before buying a new grill. It will affect whether you’re satisfied with your choice. If you don’t know what to pay attention to, make sure your grill has the following features:
Pellet Smoker Grills are the king of all 4 types of smokers. You can get hundreds of variations of pellet smokers at all price points. You can get a pellet smoker for as low as $100 or you can shell out as much as $7000 for the king of kings. The difference you will find in the taste of food and ease of use.
The natural pellets allow you to grill, smoke, bake or roast your favorite recipes in a healthy way. The grill comes with an easy start button, porcelain-coated grate, smoke exhaust and an EZ grease drain system for easy cleanup. The Traeger Junior Elite is a great unit for both novice and expert home chefs. It’s a compact unit that weighs in at about 70 pounds because of its steel construction.
Rack – Having side racks and small, attached tables can make it easier for you to stash your grilling tools while your food is cooking or to place food, condiments, seasonings and more where they are close at hand. Some units offer these accessories while others do not, but it might be something for you to look for.
Another option is to put a griddle (or GrillGrates) on the pellet smoker when it’s cranked to high heat, get it blistering-hot, add just a little oil to prevent sticking, and sear by conduction on the metal. It should take only two to three minutes per side. This is a good technique for reverse-seared meats: You start them indirect, low and slow on the cooking grate, with a little smoke, and then sear the surface with direct contact to the hot metal griddle to create a delicious brown crust. It’s not as good as searing directly over hot coals or gas, but it’s a good compromise.
SEAR BOX – 16,000 BTU stainless steel burner can heat up all the way to 900 degrees F. The burner runs on propane and has a separate automatic ignition. Great feature that makes this grill stand out among other pellet grills at this price. Great for finishing cooking our food.
We love a kamado grill. They give such good results and look totally awesome. They are amongst the easiest grills to use, clean and operate, plus being efficient and versatile. What’s not to love? This is the best kamado grill we tested, so let’s tell you why!.
Ninth spot to make it to our compilation of the pellet grill review is the Louisiana pellet grill. It has 2 cooking levels and a total 1061 square inch cooking surface. The Louisiana pellet grill has got porcelain cast iron main grids and porcelain steel removable upper cooking grid. It also has a digital controller centre. This grill weighs around 173 pounds and is made with high quality material that is going to last you a life!
I have put together the best pellet grill review of the top 10 pellet grills in the market today. Mind that this list was not just put together in a jiffy; all the names in this list have been carefully picked and chosen through strict inspection on performance, ratings and consumer preferences. Let’s take a look at the pellet grill review I have for you:
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.
Shawn, I do not have direct experience with the Pit Boss pellet grill. The Pit Boss is made by the same company that makes the “Louisiana Grills”. The Louisiana pellet grills are their nicer models and the Pit Boss is the cheaper version designed to compete with Traeger. I don’t like the idea of buying a company’s second best product. The folks over at Amazing Ribs do have some hands on experience and wrote the following review: http://amazingribs.com/bbq_equipment_reviews_ratings/smoker/pit-boss-820-deluxe-pellet-smoker
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.
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.
Imagine a warm summer night, your friends and family all around you. Someone is playing a guitar and that sweet melody drifts over with the delicious smell from your smoker filled with succulent barbeque ribs, seasoned pork tenderloins, spicy chicken wings and juicy turkey! Yum! It makes my tummy growl! Just thinking about it! We’d all like a night like that, but who wants to go through all that research to find out what grill best suits your needs?
If you are looking to add more smoke flavor to your food, this accessory works great. Once lit the pellets, in the smoker cube, will smolder for several hours, providing a stronger smoke flavor to your meat.
This smoker comes with a cooking area measuring 560 cubic inches, large enough to allow you smoke food for the whole family or a group. It also has a handy warming rack where you can keep your smoked food warm while your waiting for your whole meal to come together or that one couple who always arrive late for the party.
Pellets are made from different woods, each of which imparts a distinctive flavor to the meat. Hickory, oak, maple, alder, apple, cherry, hazelnut, peach, and mesquite are among the flavors available. For more about pellets, read my article, The Science of Wood. There is a pretty good forum for people who have pellet cookers at PelletSmoking.com and of course our Pitmaster Club has a lively discussion on them with many active users.
For the outside of the smoker, you can use hot soapy water, with a spray cleaner for any painted or stainless steel surfaces. Allow at least 24 hours after cleaning before cooking, and make sure the pellet hopper is completely dry before reloading it.
What I like about this grill is its robust construction, and the amount of smoke it puts out compared to other pellet grills. There is a built in temperature swing that guarantees that every so often, a strong but not overpowering amount of smoke will enter the cook chamber.
Of course, there are always bargain hunters. Some might say “Why pay $2000 for a pellet smoker and then bargain hunt for your pellets?” but if you think about it this way – isn’t it like cooking with varying qualities of charcoal?
Hello Mark! Thanks for commenting here. The Kalamazoo Hybrid Grill looks like a BEAST! If you can swing it, I’d go for it. I truly enjoyed cooking on the Memphis Grill, which is to date the most high end pellet grill I’ve used. It offered a nice blend of professional grade convection with the wood fire taste of the pellets. The Kalamazoo hybrid really does seem to offer one step beyond with the addition of charcoal and wood chunks. I see that Derrick Riches of About.com stands behind the Kalamazoo brand. You’re hard pressed to get a better endorsement of a grilling product than that! Keep me posted at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know how your search goes! 🙂
Camp Chef PG24 has a compact weight of 124 pounds and a pellet hopper with a 20-pound capacity. That’s large enough that you don’t have to worry about getting more before your meal is done. This set it and forget approach to cooking gives you the ultimate cooking experience. Each time the temperature drops down, a wood pellet is dispensed. This convenience is impossible to find in a gas, wood or charcoal unit.
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.