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.
As the burn pot ignites, the pellets burn. Heat then carries through the home via convection (air driven) means, thus allowing air flow and a blend of warm and cool air to maintain steady, even burn temperatures. A heat exchanger separates the smoke fumes from the warm air, thereby warming the room without smoking everyone out.
Hey Eric! Man, thank you for the kind words. While I don’t post every day, I do try to make what I share with you guys as informative as possible. To that end, your words mean a lot. Now, the pellet release option is a great feature to have on any pellet smoker. In cases where you don’t have one, I suggest using a small shop vac you use just for pellet removal. Works great. But the quick release chute option saves a ton of time and effort for sure. Not what I’d call a deal breaker if a pellet smoker you like doesn’t have one. However, I’d like to see it become standard on pellet smokers for sure!
It is definitely something different than an electric, gas or charcoal grill. If you prefer gas grills click here to see buyers guide for gas grills or if you love charcoal smoke flavor, check out my buyers guide for charcoal grills.
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.
PID Controllers – The most sophisticated type of pellet grill controller, PID controllers use complex algorithms to achieve and maintain the desired temperature within a few degrees. They, too, feature LCD display and one-touch buttons for setting the temperature in 5° increments. However, unlike controllers that use fixed cycles, a PID controller continuously measures the grill’s temperature then adjusts its cycle, adding pellets when necessary to hold the correct cooking temperature throughout the cook. Because they’re more sophisticated, PID controllers can accommodate programmable meat probes that have the ability to automatically lower the grill’s temperature when food is done.
Most traditional grills and smokers would have you struggling to reach the desired temperature, but with this unit, that problem is long gone. All you have to do is set your temperature using its digital controls, and press a button to get it heated up.
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Easy cleaning: there is a trap door for all the ash and the whole thing is designed to be as low maintenance as possible, while still having really good features. Often, when they get automated they get really complicated and it takes away from the simplicity needed to be easy to use. Not this one.
Traeger: As the launcher of the pellet smoker trend, it’s only natural that the innovative Traeger Pellet Grill Company would perfect its pellet grill technology and come up with some of the most affordably priced smokers around costing $300 upwards. It’s the Ford Motors of the pellet grilling world and many a pellet griller on the market to date owes the existence of their industry to this one company.
You really have to assess the different types of smokers to ensure that you choose the right one for you. Electric, gas, charcoal and pellet smokers all have their own sets of advantages and disadvantages, and looking at these things will help you choose the one that is best for your own needs. Some prefer the charcoal taste of a charcoal grill, while others prefer the convenience and ease of use that goes along with a gas model. Many prefer electric because of how simple they are to set up and use or are only able to have electric smokers due to where they live. Regardless, assessing each different type will help you make the right decision.
The Masterbuilt 20075315 Front Controller Smoker is Our Top Electric Smoker Pick because it combines the tremendous features and remarkable performance of a more expensive smoker but at a very low price. Not only is it affordable, it is a “set and forget” smoker grill that competes with much more expensive rivals.
3-Position Controller – 3 position controllers, also called LMH controllers, have just 3 temperature settings—low, medium, and high—which correlate to roughly 225°F, 325°F, and 425°F. They feed pellets in fixed cycles that are determined by which setting you choose. With just three settings to choose from, though, you have less control over cooking temperatures than more advanced controllers. These controllers are often found on lower priced pellet grills.
The 1st step to civilization was the invention of wheel. This will be applicable too when you want that your smoker gives you less hassle. Wheels on a smoker grill will make it easy for you to move it around with ease. If you are planning to get a smoker to take around different places, try getting a unit with wheels to make the portability easier.
Thank you all for a great site and an informative discussion. I am a newbie to smoking and presently have a charcoal grill for when I have more time and a gas grill for a fast meal. Its time to replace my gas grill so I am looking at alternative options. Is a pellet grill overkill, or a timely expedition, if I want to grill a couple steaks or chicken breasts during week nights? I’d also be interested in smoking larger hunks of meat (and ribs!) less often, but am wondering if a pellet grill can cover both? How long does it take a pellet grill to get to temp (e.g. 450°)? With the indirect heat, can you get char marks on your meat? Thanks in advance for the info!
Wi-Fi control – Pellet grills use electronic circuit boards, which means they can feature a lot more functionalities to facilitate the outdoor experience. Wi-Fi control is already being included in pellet grills, such as in the Green Mountain Grill and Davy Crockett Pellet Grill.
You can use this grill to grill, smoke, bake, braise, barbecue, sear and char-grill No need to use other cooking equipment or spend more time preparing food because everything you need is in the Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill.
I consider Traeger Texas Elite 34 to be a good choice if you need a smoker for cooking large quantities of food. The price is a little high but you get a basic product that is easy to use, well-built and very efficient.
In four years of compiling and writing these reviews, we have looked at a lot of different smokers. We didn’t test all of them, some were clearly no good, others way too expensive or cheap to justify in this list. And none of the smoker grills 2018 we tested was perfect but there were some really impressive choices.
Barbecuing is supposed to be hard. It should involve chopping wood, breathing in charcoal dust, and hours upon hours to keep a constant temperature from your grill. A pit master would never subscribe to the “leave it and forget it” philosophy that a pellet smoker brings to the table, right? The best pellet smoker reviews shows that this isn’t necessarily the case.
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.
The cooking area is ample, at just over 700 square inches. That’s nearly 20 inches x 36 inches. At a full three feet wide, and almost two feet deep, that’s no joke. You can feed a large group, or just make yourself enough for thirds, fourths, and lunch for the next week.
Kamados are easy to light and get working, they are as simple as a grill can get. This simplicity can be a downside sometimes, and the generally smaller grilling space is less than what a lot of people want. For a small, efficient grill for a garden or yard, a kamado is hard to beat. Plus, they look great and produce fabulous tasting meat.
The lid is the same excellent coated and enameled heavy gauge steel, and the charcoal bin to the right will keep your charcoal dry and light-ready. It’s not uncommon to hear the complaint that there’s always half a bag of charcoal left after every grilling session and there’s no where to store it. Weber heard the complaints and has made a really nice model to deal with it.
Many people also like electric smokers because they don’t like the fumes or dangers of gas. Whether you live in a private home and are concerned about the dangers of gas or if you live in a neighborhood or apartment complex that doesn’t allow it, an electric unit can be just the solution that you have been searching for. Modern models are extremely safe, and they are also very affordable. You don’t have to worry about shelling out a lot of cash when buying an electric smoker, nor do you have to stress over picking up a lot of complicated accessories.
Hey Corey – thanks for checking out the blog man! I did actually do a review of the Pellet Pro smoker and the company’s Smoke Daddy Cold Smoker Attachment. You can find the review here. Again, appreciate you leaving a comment!
Manufacturers advertise that these are both smokers and grills, but it is best to think of these devices as superb indirect heat convection smokers, not grills. Most just don’t do as good a job of searing a steak as a charcoal grill or even a gas grill with a sear burner. I can sear steaks better on a $20 hibachi than on most pellet smokers.
Meanwhile, it also has a 15-pound pellet capacity comparable to Camp Chef SmokePro (not as large but big enough to eliminate continuous wood pellet refills) and folding legs for better portability. However, certain users who’ve already bought their own REC TEC Grills Mini Portable Pellet Grill have complaints about it, like inconsistent heat distribution of the grill and poor quality control (certain grills break down easily).
So if you want more of a smoke profile, cook at longer and lower temps in your pellet pit. I have found that is the best way to get a more distinct smoke profile in your food. Cook at 180-190 for the first several hours.
Pit Boss Wood Pellet Grills are filled by all regular BBQ wood pellets. The computerized control board lights the grill and permits you to set the cooking temperature from 180° to 500°F. Fan constrained convection cooking takes out the requirement for a rotisserie and makes an adaptable situation for grilling, simmering, smoking, braising and preparing. The Pit Boss 340 has 340 sq. in. total cooking surface with porcelain covered cooking grids. With complete structural quality and strength, the Pit Boss 340 is made to last.
The glaze is thick and beautiful and looks tough. All ceramic parts are warranted to be free of defects in material and workmanship for as long as the original purchaser owns the grill. Click here to read our complete review of the Kamado Joe ClassicJoe.
You don’t normally over-smoke food on a pellet grill. The smoke flavor is more subtle than the sometimes acrid smoke generated by a straight wood or charcoal fire. The grills are available in a number of sizes from small to large, as well as commercial-size units that can accommodate a whole hog or pulled pork for a crowd. For additional wood smoke flavor, you can position hardwood chunks or pouches of soaked wood chips directly on the heat diffuser plate.
It’s a variation on the Ugly Drum Smoker or UDS, but the drum is slightly smaller and, although it comes with a grate, for most recipes you hang the meat vertically from hooks – even turkeys! Your jaw will hit the deck as you pull one round of deliciously smoked meats after another from this magic drum with little more effort than trimming and seasoning. Furthermore the meat hanging method provides beaucoup capacity. PBC easily accommodates eight full slabs of ribs. Whether you’re a novice or an award winning competitor (and competition teams now use them), Pit Barrel is a welcome addition to any backyard. Click here to read our complete review of the Pit Barrel Cooker.
I did a lot of research, and ended up buying the Camp Chef DLX24. It was at a price that fit my budget, (under $500) and had a lot of features the others didnt. The pellet trap door for quick dumping of the pellet hopper into a bucket, and the ash cleanout under the drum was a clincher. Being able to pull a lever and dump the ashes into an easily removable cup is a great feature that all grills should include.It has a digital temperature controller, and dual probes (one inside the smoker for grill temp, one for the meat) and overall good quality construction. The second shelf inside is standard (you pay extra for that on other grills). If your budget allows, would suggest purchasing the propane powered sear box ($199) which attaches to the side of the grill and allows for reverse searing meat..
Just started shopping around for a pellet smoker. Am also going to need a new gas grill soon. Stopped in at the local BBQ supply store today and they showed me the Memphis Pro and said it would function well for both smoking and cooking steaks/burgers. Price point on that one is pretty high. Would any of the others reviewed above offer similar functionality? Do you have a recommendation of which will work well for both functions? I live in KS so kind of like the idea of sticking with the local guys from Yoder, but Fast Eddys in OK isn’t too far away either. Thanks.
If you prefer the convenience of gas and don’t feel like messing around with charcoal, you might opt for a gas smoker. Gas smokers use gas to heat the wood chips that you add to the appliance in order to produce smoke. The downside is that you do have to buy gas for the device, which can get costly. You can’t really beat the convenience of one of these types of smokers, however, and you will be able to use it even when you don’t have access to an electric outlet. You can even bring these camping and to outdoor events without a concern for electric outlets or bringing along a lot of charcoal or pellets.
Hi Brad – sorry for my delayed reply. I’ve heard good things about the Woodwind model from Camp Chef. The trap door for clean out is a plus for sure. It might be a good option for you to start out with. You can always upgrade to the Yoder at a later date.
If you have a little more cash, choose Camp Chef Woodwind Pellet Grill with sear box. I think that Sear Box is a great addition, it will certainly come in handy to quickly grill veggies or hamburgers.
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.
One thing we humans tend to forget amidst hustle bustle of our fast paced and commercial lives is that we should earn to live, not live to earn. So I think it is high time you ditch your shoe-box of an office behind for a day and live. Spend a day with your family at the park, or maybe catch up with your childhood friend over a beer or two and start doing barbecue. You cannot even begin to imagine how much spending some quality time with your loved ones can help you and them, revive and replenish the monotonousness. And there isn’t a better way to mingle than over a small get-together with some amazing food and great company cooked on your pellet grill.
In this price range, the real features begin to show up and you can expect a decent smoker of all types. You will get a durable smoker that offers a range of features, including precise controls as well as decent cooking capacity.
The PK Grill has become one of our favorite charcoal grills. Designed in 1952, the rectangular shape is easy to set up in 2 heat zones, it can easily be used as a smoker, the cast aluminum body is indestructible, airflow is easy to manage, and there is plenty of room under the hood. It is especially good at steaks, chops, and burgers.
Kamado smokers came into being after World War 2 during the American occupation of Japan. The GI’s who were stationed there took the all-American love of grilled food to a country that did not have the tradition of barbeque like the Yanks. So, there weren’t any grills like the ones back home to be had. Getting them shipped from the States would have been extremely expensive, so the cunning squaddies made do with what they had, which were the traditional Japanese ceramic mushikamado wood stoves. They did the job, and with a little tweaking, spread around the world as the GI’s took them with them as they left.
Along with the ease and variety that a pellet grill affords you, the great news is that pellet grills might actually be healthier for you! The National Cancer Institute has stated that certain methods of cooking meat (such as charcoal grilling) can increase one’s risk of cancer. Wood pellet grilling could potentially have a lower risk of cancer when compared to other forms of grilling as some people say that it leads to the creation of fewer carcinogens. (However, research is still underway and over-consumption of any grilled meats could increase one’s cancer risk).
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.
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Typically, most portable grills would give up certain features just to maintain their portability, but this wood pellet grill from Traeger actually had more than what high-end grills have to offer. Out of all of our features, it managed to tick 85% off the list. Its digital controls, versatile cooking features, and decent cooking space (perfect for outdoor adventures) all make it our best portable pick.
Automatic electronic ignition, a technology that will make it much easier to start grilling. All the good grills have this solution these days. It allows to start the pellet smoker quickly and comfortably.
This kamado can be taken all the way up to 700 degrees Fahrenheit and as low as 200 degrees, so it is a very capable machine. This is alongside the high degree of control you can get by adjusting the two vents, one on the roof, the other at the rear, that control the amount of air being taken into the kamado. With a little practice, you can set your smoking conditions with real precision.
Replacement parts are guaranteed for one year from date of purchase. The Cookshack PG500 Pellet Grill offers a lot of room to cook your favorite foods for a group of people or a large family and is constructed entirely from stainless steel. However, this product is expensive when compared to other types of pellet grills currently on the market. This model also has the potential to rust if left out in the elements without being properly covered.