Pellet grills are known for their versatility. It’s a device you can use for grilling, roasting, smoking, and barbecuing all sorts of meats, vegetables, and dishes. You can even use this grill for braising or baking.
That probably has the biggest impact. Next, make sure you are using a good, quality hardwood pellet. I can tell you that you will notice a very large difference in the flavor profile between say a Traeger pellet vs. say one of Candy’s [BBQr’s Delight pellets]. — Read more on PelletSmoking.com
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.
Yeah it seems like no one is providing any input on it…I was interested in having them review it and do a direct comparison to some of these other grills. I made the mistake of getting a Myron Mixon pitmaster Q3 at sears. It turned out to be a waste of money and the slight humidity I had caused the pellets to burst and seize up the Auger. Anyway I had narrowed my search down to a rec tech or silverback but none of the reviewers seems to be giving it any attention.
It’s really a lot like charcoal in terms of brand loyalty. Thus far the brands of BBQ wood pellets that stand out as being best of breed come from the following manufacturers. Note – this list is not in any specific order.
But you cannot burn home heater pellets in a cooking grill. Cooking pellets are hardwoods. Heater pellets often contain softwoods such as pine, they can have treated lumber and other chemical contaminants in them. The smoke they put out is potentially hazardous in food.
Bearing this in mind, let’s discuss the difference between the primary cooking area and total cooking area. Primary cooking area refers to the area on the main cooking plate. Total cooking area takes into consideration secondary racks.
The round ceramic shell makes them very efficient heat retainers, making very high temperatures possible. You can get a kamado up to about 750° Fahrenheit, hot enough for a wide range of uses. They are controlled temperature-wise through vents, and when automated or used by an experienced practitioner, they can give extremely precise temperatures.
They had the field to themselves for a few years, but the idea was too good to go unimitated, and with the digital age came the electronic controller that allowed Traegers and others to create a system that had a thermostat in the cooking chamber that would tell the fan and auger when to do their thing. Today there are more than a dozen manufacturers making increasingly sophisticated machines.
Other quality brands that I’ll vouch for: Lumberjack, BBQr’s Delight, B&B Pellets. Most folks who take the time to post comments or reviews speak highly of all the brands I’ve mentioned. There are many other brands on the market that are probably good as well, but these are the ones I can say I’ve tried and liked.
As the worldwide glorification of BBQ intensifies, people around the globe want more BBQ morning, noon and night, with the ability to enjoy any recipe cooked outdoors anywhere. Supply rises to meet demand with an overwhelming variety of grills and smokers offered at prices ranging from economical to extravagant. If spring finds you considering replacement of a decrepit grill that didn’t make it through the winter, or adding that coveted smoker you dreamed of for so long, the selection process can be daunting. To get you started on the right foot, we have selected the Best Value Grills & Smokers of 2017 from our searchable database of ratings and reviews of over 500 cookers from 185 manufacturers.
The argument for bark is that it smolders really well, providing more smoke during the cook and therefore more smokey flavor. Think about it: When you put a log on the fire, the bark almost immediately begins to smoke and smolder. And therein lies the second half of the pro-bark argument: when cooking on an offset you use logs with bark, so why should pellets be any different?
Even and fast cooking – this is the common feedback of the new and past users of this pellet grill cooker. Although some of them would say that the temperature is inaccurate, they can still manage to adjust everything well by means of its digital temperature controller. Additionally, you may need to add more pellets if you will set the temperature on a high setting.
Once we you get over the $1,000 price point the competition for large grills starts to really get fierce. At this price point you get a wider range of features and a lot more cooking space to work with. But the decision becomes more important.
Moreover, it has a BTU’s per hour of 25000 and it also comes with a stainless steel probe that let you detect the internal temperature and doneness of foods. It has a patented, drop down cleaning system that accumulates of the grease, fat and gunk without having you to disassemble the pellet grill at all.
Having said that, not everyone has over $400 to splash out on a new smoker. So while you can get a better quality charcoal smoker like the Weber Smokey Mountain for a similar price, if your hearts set on a pellet smoker, you can definitely do worse than the Bradley Original.
In cook mode the thermometer in the cooking chamber sends info to the microprocessor which controls the auger. When temperature is correct the auger motor is idle. When the temp drops below a set threshold, the auger motor kicks in and delivers pellets until the desired temperature has returned.
The Z GRILLS Wood Pellet is an honored American brand that offers high quality yet affordable products. This product also includes a three year warranty as well as a thirty day return guarantee. It offers a 330 sq. in. cooking area and ranges in temperature from 160 degree Fahrenheit to 475 degree Fahrenheit.
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.
In our experience, it doesn’t matter what brand of pellets you use, so long as they are quality pellets. Our Pellet-Q450 runs equally well on pellets made by BBQr’s Delight or Traeger or Louisiana Grills. Like most pellet grills, though, it can experience problems when fueled with low-quality cut-rate pellets that produce excessive ash.
Is usually reserved for tender cuts of meat, that can be cooked at a high temperature relatively quickly. All meat contains animal fat, and it is inevitable that during grilling the fat will hit the fire and burn. A small number of harmful chemicals called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are formed. These substances are released into the air within the grill and can permeate any meat that is above the fire. Animal studies have shown that eating food containing these chemicals can increase the chances of getting cancer. To avoid contamination by these substances, it is best to prevent any flare-ups, where the flames rise and bathe the food on the grill, and to make sure the meat is not over charred. Meat that has been over charred does not only taste bad but is unhealthy.
Comes with a medium sized grilling area of 19.5″ x 22″ (430 square inches). The PG24 is our second favorite pellet grill under $1,000 but it landed on the first spot (before they introduced the Woodwind) because of its better price and free shipping compared to the Rec Tec.
Built for a home griller, this smoker really has some special features for making the smoking experience super simple. For starters, the thermometer is digital, allowing for a consistent read on the internal temperature. The construction is pretty ingenious, with the upper chimney at the center of the unit, allowing for good air and heat movement over the meat.
Generally, we’d advise you against anything “entry level” since you’re going to have a worse experience and it could turn you off of the art of smoking your foods in the first place. Something in the $500-$1000 range seems like a huge investment upfront, and frankly it is, but when you consider that you’ll have it to enjoy incredible meals for years that’ll blow the socks off all your buddies, and prove to your family that you really can cook after all, it’s a small price to pay.
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.
Mixing flavored woods with oak offers a couple of advantages, starting with price. Woods like cherry and hickory aren’t nearly as plentiful as oak and therefore cost more, making 100% flavored wood pellet more expensive than those that use a base of oak or alder. By using a blend of oak and cherry, pellet makers can keep prices down—and because oak is fairly neutral the cherry wood smoke flavor still shines through.
The point of an electric smoker is to reduce the work in smoking. This smoker allows users to safely leave food cooking with only minimal checking. Since everything can be controlled from the outside, it’s much easier to maintain smoke and heat without using extra pucks.
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.
First of all, the construction is really top notch. At around this sale price, you can’t usually expect a smoker grill to be well made, but this one is. Tight seals, good welding, snug fitting attachments, smooth action on the door and handles. It all adds up to something that gives the impression of being much more expensive. The wide feet give the Smoke Vault a sturdy and stable stance and the door is pleasingly like a bank vault door. It is almost like robbing a mini bank, just one full of deliciously smoky meat, when you open the door and the plumes of aromatic smoke pour out. It is a mini dramatic experience.
Prices for decent pellet grills start at around $400 and can run well over $1000. When you can get an excellent charcoal smoker like the Weber Smokey Mountain for under $300 you may be asking yourself why would you want to buy a pellet grill?
Hey Steve, they’re both great pellet smokers. I liked the pellet pro I used a great deal, and the guys at Smoke Daddy Inc. are super to deal with. Tell them I said hello if you talk with them. Their cold smoking attachment … the Magnum P.I.G. … is pretty neat, too.
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.
As we’ve already said temperature control is the key to getting a moist succulent piece of meat. This pellet smoker comes with a built-in thermostatic control with a digital thermometer, so you can exclude any guesswork while barbecuing. If the temperature sensors detect a drop-in temperature they feed more wood pellets into the burner. This allows you to place your meat on the grill and then let the smoker do the work while you relax.
Well, to be honest, the cons are only a problem for novices. These grills are for someone who wants to perfect the craft of smoking and after some experimenting you will be grilling with the best of them. I faced the same problems too when I tried a charcoal smoker for the first time. But after some practice I was grilling with the best of them. Check out my guide on how to set up a charcoal grill for smoking in just 5 steps.
Core performance examines how well a smoker smokes. The smoker’s ability to retain heat and maintain an even temperature are both crucial for turning out good food. The quality of food from a smoker depends on how close the food is to heat source and how regular that heat source remains.
On the other hand, if you purchase a cooker that has all the bells and whistles, but you never use them, you will have wasted your hard earned cash when a more basic cooker, that cost less, would likely have done the trick.
Quality materials and construction stand up to wear and tear. Products that failed within the first few seasons of use show poor investment priorities on the part of the manufacturer. A common sign of low-quality materials and substandard construction is rusting screws, rivets, or other joiners. These innocuous little pieces of hardware offer manufacturers a way to shave a few dollars off of construction costs without losing the ability to make claims about the smoker’s primary materials. Rust spreads, however, and as small as those little screws are, they ultimately keep your smoker together.
The MAK Pellet Boss will increase or decrease with the press of a button in 5°F increments and has a probe in the oven that keeps the temp pretty solid. As with any thermostatically controlled oven, even your indoor oven, the thermostat cycles heat on or off as needed. So it you set it for 225°F it cycles on til it hits 225°F, then off until it drops to 220°F, then on to 225°F. There are three meat probes and the Boss can be programmed to change the cooker temp when the meat hits a target. I’ve had one for several years outdoors in the Chicago winters and summers without a cover and no problems.
The Good One Smokers tend to fly under the radar, which is to say surprisingly few people know about these unique cookers. That’s a shame, because just about everyone who owns a Good One loves it. While all of their models fall into the category of a smoker-grill combo, the Open Range is the most popular.
Pellets look like rabbit chow. They are about the width of a pencil and as long as a couple of erasers. If they get wet they turn into a pile of sawdust. The beauty of pellets is that they have none of the additives and fillers in charcoal briquets, so they combust almost completely. Almost zero ash. The pellets provide the heat as well as flavor. No need to add wood chips. Surprisingly, they do not produce overly smoky food. If anything, the food is undersmoked to some people because the combustion is so complete.
Other than that the build quality is excellent. The materials are heavy and feel like they are made to last. Unlike most smokers that you setup once and then leave forever, this unit can easily fold up and be moved.
Whether you are new to the scene or a long-time grillmaster, everyone has unique preferences when it comes to their cooking method of choice. From propane to charcoal to wood, people take their method of grilling quite seriously, and some argue quite passionately about the pros and cons of each method.
I use a home depot bucket head shop vac top (under $30.00) and home depot buckets for quick removal and storage of pellets. It works great. I have different buckets for different pellets and just move the bucket head to the bucket I need to use. Cheap, easy and works well.
Once you taste your first bite of something that has been placed in one these flavor inducing grills you will never want to use anything else again. Charcoal smokers may not be the cheapest smoker grills, but they offer a few features that make them worth using, such as:
Coming in at first is this wood pellet grill by Rec Tec. There are a lot of reasons to love it, and reasons that it managed to edge out the competition not just in individual categories, but overall as well.
While using and running a pellet grill is child’s play, catching the right offer on pellet grills can be a hassle for consumers who have little to know clue about it can prove a costly bargain. Knowing your facts prior to buying one is always a good a smart idea. My pellet grill review will do the best it can to educate you on the things you need to look out for when purchasing your perfect grill. Here are a few heads-up:
Hey Tom, first, thank you so much for reading the article and expressing your approval of it. It means a lot to me that the information posted on this site is useful for the people. To your question about pellet grills, yes. You must always use BBQ grilling pellets with these cookers. You cannot use raw wood with them. However, should you find yourself with access too hard woods like Hickory or maple, or fruit woods like apple, cherry, or peach – this is something that could be readily used in a charcoal smoker.
This is a great hands-off smoker for those looking for great food with minimal work. Its flaws are small and easily remedied, and since it sits comfortably in the mid-price range, those little fixes are affordable.
Loved the article and read the entire thing. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such an in-depth piece to help the rest of us out. With that said, I now want one of each!! It’s really so difficult to purchase one without being able to compare the taste side by side for each. We also just bought one of the Traeger’s on the last day of a Costco show. We have LOVED the taste, and aren’t looking back, from a pellet perspective that is. However, we’ve already had a couple of issues that concern me from a longevity and a safety perspective. So we’re going to return it, and ‘upgrade’ to something more substantial. I was leaning pretty hard toward Yoder, and then after reading the article, the Memphis really intrigued me (could have something to do with being born there, and raised on southern pulled pork). And then, Fast Eddy came into the picture. Any advise on how to make a decision without being able to conduct taste comparisons, which is really the most important thing. (We’ve been smoking a brisket and pork shoulders every week, with the occasional steak and veggies. So we’d like something that does both smoking and grilling, so both important, with the smoking component being the feature we’ll use a bit more of.)
The Masterbuilt M7P 7-in-1(View on Amazon.com) is the best smoker you can currently get if you’re looking for something not too expensive and not that feature-rich. As the name suggests, this is a seven in one smoker that’s going to make all your meals taste simply delicious. One thing that makes it a winner is its large cooking space, which allows you to cook a ham and a turkey at the same time. You can even smoke burgers and steaks at very high temperatures, but also consider indirect grilling for corn on the cob and foil wrapped potatoes.
Wood pellets are an all natural product. No petroleum products in them, no fillers, chemicals, or binders. They are an excellent source of smoke flavor and compact energy, 8,500 BTU per pound. No hot coals, no flareups. There is also very little ash: 10 pounds of pellets will produce about 1/2 cup of ash. All the rest is converted to energy and combustion gases. I clean out the bottom of the ones I tested after about 10 cooks. At high temps there is very little smoke, at low temps the pellets smolder and produce superb but understated smoke flavors. Click here for more about pellets.