Many people misunderstand a pellet grill of consuming a large amount of power for its working. But it is not even remotely true. While it is true that a pellet grill will use up a good amount for power initially, but it only uses that to come to temperature and form. Once it is ready and in form, it power consumption drops so dramatically that some pellet grills use almost as little power as a light bulb; an ideal choice for keeping power costs to a minimum.
Who says bigger is always better? Our fourth contender to make it to our pellet grill review is the The Traeger TFB29LZA Junior elite grill. This petite pellet grill has been specifically designed to meet the needs of small households. Its small body makes it ideal for travelling and tailgating. It features a 300 square inch cooking surface. This pellet grill weighs just 60 pounds. You will get an LED digital, multi-position thermostat that comes with a 3 year warranty.
Users love the way that they can cook in a variety of ways with the Z-Grills Wood Pellet Grill. They also feel happy that they don’t have to mind their cooking time and again because of its automatic Smart Smoke Technology. Everyone agreed that taking this grill anywhere to cook is easy with its easy to transport design.
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.
With a massive 700 square inches of primary grilling space, this grill impressed us. Its size is large enough too cook for large groups of people. It features a Flame Broiler that uses slide-plates which allow for direct flame grilling, which means you get an even cast-iron cooking each time. If the 700 square inches isn’t enough, you can make use of the additional upper cooking rack space. The racks are made of porcelain-coated cast iron for optimum grilling as well as easier maintenance.
What’s more, it has an LED display with a Digital Elite Controller for temperature control. Judging by its ratings, unlike the other grills on this list, its temperature and quality controls work just fine. This grill also has an electronic auto-start ignition and easy-to-clean grill gates to boot. Its quality control isn’t perfect though, and some faulty units slipped through the cracks.
Low Medium High Controller: This is a stupid, brute force controller that only knows how to feed pellets at three different rates. These controllers suck. None of the grills in this article utilize this type of controller.
Cooking surface – Whole 702 square inches at our disposal, which is a lot. But if this is still not enough for you, you can buy a second shelf and expand the cooking surface by extra 352 square inches. That’s the total of 1052 square inches of meat grilling or smoking space. I think when it comes to this pellet grill, you can’t complain about insufficient space.
The Webber Smokey Mountain is really an ideal and well made backyard smoker. The space of the cooking chamber allows large sized cooking without any issue, and the simple vertical design sends the smells and heat around the meat cut. The smoker also functions as a moist smoker with a water pan built in to add moisture to smoked meats.
The first thing that you need to look at when buying a pellet smoker is your budget. There are tons of different models on the market, and they all come with various accessories. If you’re looking to spend a lot of money, then you can buy a unit that comes with tons of bells and whistles, but if you’re like most people, you are better off buying a decently priced unit that cooks well.
Another good way to reduce the likelihood of heterocyclic amines being formed is to simply cut as much fat away from the meat you are intending to grill. This will reduce the chance of any fat falling into the flames to be burned and the chemicals released.
How Pellets Work with the Grill: The pellets contain no additives save for vegetable oils that carry flavor and helps the extrusion process. They burn cleanly and with little to no ash compared to logs. As for the grills themselves, they run with electricity. When it’s plugged in and turned on, a rotating auger delivers the pellets from the hopper to the fire pot and igniter rod.
Included secondary cooking racks – If you’re looking to maximize cooking space, you’ll want to know if a pellet grill can accommodate a secondary rack. You’ll also want to know whether that rack is included or an optional add-on.
You aren’t limited to basic barbecuing. For us, what really stood out was its ability to deliver pro chef-level cooking even at home. This smoker lets you explore all there is about cooking, letting you braise, grill, smoke, bake, roast, braise and BBQ all kinds of food. Using only pure hardwood pellets, you’re sure to have the juiciest and tastiest meats and vegetables every time you host your outdoor parties. If you think you have to give up quality because of the quantity of foods it can cook, that’s not the case. Quality is maintained whatever it is you’re cooking.
I recently prepared a tip guide on how to get that smoky flavor from a regular gas grill. The guide on adding smoke to a gas grill will take you through the steps of turning a regular propane grill into one that will infuse your meat with that smoky flavor we all crave.
Included meat probes and whether they’re programmable – Not every grill that can accommodate a meat probe comes with the probe. Some require you to buy it separately Also, not all meat probes and the control boards they connect to are created equal. Some are just for monitoring temperatures. Others are programmable—you can actually program the pellet grill to lower the heat when your food reaches its finishing temperature.
You have some solid reviews out there. I have been in pursuit of getting exactly what I want for about 25 years now LOL. Started with a Weber Kettle cooked some great meals on it and made that tasted more like eating a chunk of lump coal 🙁 Over the years I have built a couple 55 gal barrel smokers they were challenging to hold the temp, an old Kenmore stove oven into a propane starter wood smoke unit, a monster 24″ pipeline pipe 5′ long and a warming oven, a 40″ stainless grill made from an industrial engine catalyst that I could direct and indirect cook on and a few other small grills. Working in the oil & gas business and having poor welding skills with a good welding machine in the garage made for some great experiences. Most generally have cooked for 2 to 4 people but have fed up to 70 a time or two.
Before we get into my pellet grill reviews, it’s important to cover as much about how Pellet grills work, what brands of Pellet smokers are most reliable, and exactly what type of BBQ end product you can expect to achieve using Pellet smokers.
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.
** Memphis Wood Fire Grills: Stylish design, sophisticated electronics, and great thermodynamics. This is one of the few pellet grills that lets you remove the top of the burn chamber so you can direct grill over a wood pellet fire.
As for what is the pellet smoker, a wood pellet smoker is a classic offset barrel smoker, but this time its firebox is replaced with a side-mounted hopper. It can also have stainless steel super grill with a hopper from behind. There are claims that pellet grills are a fad that can never compare to a classic barbecue griller.
I’ve had the chance to use one the the Traeger Grills Pro Series grills now for some time, and I find it to be a great pellet grill. They really beefed up the chassis of this model, with a stronger, wider-stance sawhorse base, larger wheels, a nice strong side lift bar, and an upgraded Digital Pro Controller with Advanced Grilling Logic that keeps temps steady, but allows for a temp swing of about 15 degrees. I mention the temp swing here as a positive, rather than a negative. By allowing a tiny bit of temperature fluctuation, I find the grill actually puts out a bit more smoke throughout the cook as pellets are fed in to regulate temps.
As you can see, Rob is very thorough in the way he breaks down the parts of this Yoder pellet smoker. To get a real feel for what you’d be in for should you choose to buy this particular Yoder pellet smoker, head over to his article to read more.
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.
We know choosing a smoker can feel daunting, but take the time to read through the advice we’ve included and familiarize yourself with the features of the grills above. Consider your budget, and the features that you really need, and then go get the grill that works best for you. If you take our advice, we’re sure you’ll find the perfect unit at the price you’re expecting. Enjoy the back yard, and throw an extra rack of ribs on for us!
I always wanted a wood pellet smoker, but could not bring myself to spend that kind of money. After reading about the top 10 smokers there was a side article about the A-Maze-N Pellet tube that can be used in place of the high dollar smoker. I figured that I would give it a try and order the 6 inch instead of the 12 inch not knowing how will it would work. (Wish that I would have purchased the 12 inch for longer smoke time)
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.
As I mentioned at the start of this post, there are a few pellet grills that lead the pack in terms of name recognition. The ones featured here are those that come most highly recommended by friends of mine on the professional BBQ circuits with KCBS and FBA.
The Memphis Grills Elite Series pellet grills and smokers are the absolute best you can have. They are more expensive than your backyard pellet grills but built to last and they come with Wi-Fi which gives you the freedom to control your grill from anywhere you desire.
Find out which ones come standard and which ones are optional. If you are trying to save money keep the features to a minimum. Here are 6 popular features you should look for when shopping for a pellet grill.
It lowers its temperature by 5° Fahrenheit Increments by lowering the feed rate of the pellets and raises the temp by increasing the feed rate. As for thermostatically controlled grills, the thermostat cycles heat on and off like with the refrigerator as required by your given setting. Some digital temperature controls are so advanced they even include a WiFi setting.
The push-button ignition sets and maintains the selected temperature throughout the entire cooking process and the pellets are automatically fed into the firebox, which means there are no temperature fluctuations. No other grill on the market has this sophisticated ‘brain’. Also you can adjust temperatures from 180 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
For this kind of price, it’s a good choice, perfect for less demanding people or for a regular consumer who’s just starting their adventure with pellet smokers and wants to have a basic, efficient and simple pellet grill for a decent price.
The argument for the Ortech is that “close enough is good enough” and that the PID is so efficient that you don’t get much smoke. The whole point of having a smoker is to put smoke on meat. If what you want is precision control then put some Liquid Smoke on your ribs and cook them in an oven.
When you first look at the price you will think it is high. But it’s a pellet grill that is definitely worth every cent. Perfect suggestion for demanding meat smokers as well as for those who are starting on their journey and wish to have a really decent equipment with many interesting features.
The advantages of this pellet smoker allow to put it first on my list. It’s a smoker that is medium tier in terms of price. It is not too expensive, and it’s not one of the cheapest ones, either. Still, it has plenty of solutions that allow it to stand out as number one among dozens of other pellet smokers.
I have found that using the upper shelf gets more airflow around the meat than the lower shelf. I asked the AmazingRibs.com science advisor Prof. Greg Blonder about the problem (he has a MAK 1 Star). He explained that smoke sticks to cool surfaces and wet surfaces, and the surface of meat warms and dries out after a few hours. When he wants more smoke flavor he uses a strong smoke wood like hickory or mesquite, he starts with cold meat, and then he keeps the meat moist by painting or misting it with apple juice or a mop like Lexington Dip or East Carolina Mop or Texas Mop Sauce. A awter pan can help because the water condenses on the cool meat and attracts smoke. Read his detailed research on the subject in my article on the Science of Wood and my article on Basting.
Rating: This is a solid 9.5 over 10 in my book. It’s four points below its brethren Camp Chef not because it’s less of a grill but more because the Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill is practically perfect.
Hey Todd – what pellet grill do you have? Also, by short cooks, how long are you talking? Have you looked at the burn pot? If it’s overfilled, you may need to vacuum it out, along with the interior of the cooker. Then, put 10 or so pellets into the burn pot and start it up again. See if that helps. There should not be much if any ash in the food chamber area or on the food. At least not in my experience.
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.
No doubt the Yoder is a tank but it’s more expensive. And part of that is due to it being sold through a dealer. My local dealer wanted $1500 for the YS480. RecTec is sold direct thus eliminating the middle man. And I’ve had nothing but great customer service.
Price is always an important factor. We all like to save money, but buying a low-quality cheap smoker grill will end up costing you more money in the long run. A high-quality grill at an affordable price will last longer and be used more because you will be satisfied with your purchase.
Look at the shapes mate! The barrel or drum shaped smoker are enough to make you stand up and see what is it! Charcoal smokers are not box shaped or conventional chimney styles, these are more than that.