The first name to kick start our list of the best pellet grill review is the Camp Chef PG24 Pellet grill. It measures 45 inches by 21 inches by 51 inches, in dimensions. This pellet grill weighs 127 pounds and capacitates a 550 cubic inch cooking surface. It has a removable upper rack, and it comes with a stainless steel food probe. Camp Chef PG24 Pellet grill comes with an LED digital temperature control system, and has a patented down cleaning system. It can provide temperatures from 160 degrees to 500 degree Fahrenheit, and has an internal sensor.
For price and ease of use it is hard to beat the small gas smokers like the Char-Broil or the Camp Chef Smoke Vault. Snobs snort at gas smokers, but we’re here to tell you that many top rated BBQ restaurants use big gas smokers, and the small ones are really inexpensive, easy to set and walk away, and the product will make you a hero. With a high quality modern barbecue smoker you no longer need to hover over your machine for hours, constantly monitoring the temp, fiddling with the dampers, shoveling coal, and adding wood. A good smoker means that you can win the battle against creosote, soot, and ash. With a good smoker you can get your food on the table on time and not fear that it is over-cooked or under-cooked.
It is crucial to bear in mind how much food you want to make before you purchase a smoker. If you are only planning to use the smoker for family cookouts on the weekend, then a small smoker should be more than sufficient for your needs. Most smokers will state how much food you can cook with it.
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.
This is the pellet smoker of the future. It is fully automated from start to finish. From clicking the ignition to getting rid of the ash, it is all conveniently taken care of. Usually, you would be expecting to pay at least a thousand bucks for something that does that, but not this time. The PG24 is relatively affordable.
It has everything you could want, we just felt that Rec Tec’s offering edged it out, and when we take into account price, performance and features, and overall value, it certainly earns a spot on the list, just not at the top. None the less, there’s a lot that this unit completely nails, so let’s get into some more details.
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.
This smoker is designed for easy use, with two shelves within easy reach for tools, spices, and cutlery. A lower rack provides additional storage, and the entire grill is easy to tilt and wheel inside the safety of a garage or shed. An ash pan pulls out from the side of the smoker, too, so you’ll spend little time keeping your equipment clean.
Meat probes: Some pellet cookers have outputs in their controller that allow for meat probes to be plugged in directly. Readings taken from your meat can then be displayed conveniently on the screen of your cooker.
This smoker offers 975 sq. inches of grilling space meaning you can smoke just about anything you want. The level of versatility this offers is enormous, you can put a serious amount of meat in this thing. This alone makes it worth the $500. The two different models and sizes for this smoker, the 30-inch (730 square inches) & 40-Inch version (975 square inches), differ in price by $110. 975 inches is huge, so it is great there are smaller sizes for a little less money.
Being portable doesn’t mean it has to be extra small. This smoker boasts an accommodating 300 square inches of grilling space. This is enough to cook around twelve burgers or three racks of ribs. Perfect for families going on camping!
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.
Don’t dry it out. – Meat that is prepared in a smoker should turn out unbelievably moist and delicious. If you leave your meat in after it has finished cooking, however, it can dry out; therefore, you should remove the meat as soon as it is done for optimal flavor.
Pit Boss: The Pit Boss Company manufactures an extra-large pellet grill with 700 square inches of cooking surface. It closest competitor in pellet smoker largeness is the 7-year veteran known as Rec-Tec. It has probably one of the largest cooking surfaces (or the largest at that) in the pellet grill and smoker industry. It approaches grilling with the idea that sometimes bigger really is better, at least in terms of cooking more meats at the same time.
The grill is plated with beautiful stainless steel that gives the grill a refined and impressive look. The huge cooking area includes 570 square inches of surface area. That’s enough to hold 20 burgers or 4 rib racks! It also contains a second warming rack and bottom shelf that provides the grill stability and extra storage. This version comes with a sear box that can reach temperature of up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit, which caramelizes your food. There’s a cheaper version without a sear box that costs around $200 less if a sear box isn’t a necessity for you. Additionally, the legs are built with extreme thickness giving the grill a grounded base. The caster wheels add portability to the grill so you can find that perfect place in the backyard.
Pellet grills work in much the same way, albeit with the heat exchanger removed so that the smoke produced by the burning wood pellets bathes your food in its goodness and helps render the barbecue product you’re after.
I think you get the picture. In any case, you can see how pellet smoking really does have its own culture to it. I really hope you’ve found value in this selection of Pellet Grill reviews. If so, please consider sharing it with your BBQ friends! And for sure comment below and let me know about your favorite pellet grills, pellet blends, and methods! 🙂
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
As far as accuracy goes PID controllers are in a league of their own. They feature an LCD display and have one touch buttons that allow you to set the temperature in 5° increments. This of course gives you more control over how you are able to prepare your dishes.
If you would rather avoid the potential for rust altogether consider getting a stainless steel pellet grill. Not only are they rust resistant, but they are extremely durable and a lot easier to maintain.
The sheer amounts of meat people have been able to fit into this unit is also impressive, but not surprising given the ample size of it. For example, one family could smoke four twelve-pound turkeys at once, six full racks of baby back ribs, or two large briskets.
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.
Nothing else comes close in terms of features and portability at this price point. The WiFi control via tablet or smart phone is an awesome feature that lets you control the temperature of your grill remotely (handy if you’re lying by the pool).
This is the smallest of the Traeger pellet grill series and this makes it an ideal choice for people who are going on vacation or camping because of its small and compact design. Even though it also comes with a number of features similar to the larger Traeger models, it features a rather small cooking surface which is less than 300sq inches. This, however, doesn’t mean that you won’t have some plenty of room to prepare your meats. It also comes with a digital thermostat so that you will have control over the temperature. Because it can be set to extremely low or high temperatures it can be an ideal pellet smoker for braising or slow cooking and also grilling and baking.
The Digital Control dial-in control gives you complete control over the temperature of the grill. It has a temperature range of 170 Fahrenheit all the way up to 600 Fahrenheit. You simply set the temperature and the grill will do the rest.
Products with extra insulation, air tight hoods, and precise vent controls are more likely to manage heat and smoke well. There are, of course, exceptions, and just because a smoker has a lot of control features, that doesn’t mean it always does a good job managing temperature and smoke. Digital tech can fail, and vents can suck in drafts.
Burners represent an important component of your smoker grill and you need to inspect them often. Make sure there are no blockages or corrosion. Cleaning your burn pot with the proper methods will produce great benefits.
However, in terms of affordability, it’s only natural that the Traeger TFB29LZA would have the edge. As the innovator of pellet smoking or grilling, Traeger knows how to lower its production costs since it invented pellet grills in the first place. Its economically smaller grills naturally require constant refilling since they have smaller hoppers in turn.
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.
Hey David, Is there a particular reason why the Grilla grills interest you? I tend to find they’re great smokers, just expensive for what they are. If you’re working with limited space (say smoking on a condo balcony) then the Grilla models vertical footprint can make all the difference between having a smoker or not. But for the price, and for a standard model smoker, the Traeger models tend to be better all around.
The taste of meat cooked on a pellet grill can be outstanding. However, some recent medical studies have suggested a link between eating smoked or grilled meat, and a risk of developing some types of cancer, the most notable being pancreatic cancer.
When you buy a pellet smoker, it should last you for years. If you buy a unit that’s dependable, then you won’t have to worry about costly repairs and replacements. It’s important to buy a smoker that comes from a dependable manufacturer; when you do this, it’s much more likely that your unit will produce quality smoke without breaking after a few uses.
John’s concern here is the same as mine – while my Bradley pucks are compressed wood, they create a crap ton of smoke. Anyone know how it would compare to the Bradley? Does a pellet smoke box create a comparable amount of smoke?
Need to keep an emergency pellet stockpile – If you’re grilling with propane or charcoal and run out half way through a 12 hour cook you can easily nip down to the store. But getting your favorite brand of pellets may require an Amazon order, or a trip to a more specialised store.