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The online research, the model comparisons, the pricing—choosing the right pellet grill can be challenging, so much so that, by the time you settle on a grill, choosing smoker pellets often becomes an afterthought. While some people simply default to the wood pellets sold by their pellet grill manufacturer, too many others settle for the cheapest pellets available. Because, really, how much difference can the pellets make? A lot, actually.
My girlfriend told me her dad had just purchased a gas smoker and he loves it. I followed the smell of smoke to the grill master himself. Her dad was checking on the meat and this was my chance to ask him about his new smoker grill.
Watch out for any grill with electrical components and moving parts. These will tend to break down one way or another, like electrical components shorting out due to moisture exposure or moving parts wearing themselves out.
Sharp-eyed readers may note that there are no electric smokers on the list. We know owners of electrics are rabid in their devotion, that electrics are easy to use, and that the food they make is very good, but they get their heat from glowing metal elements and we think the flavor is less exciting than devices that get heat from combustion of charcoal, wood, or gas.
I live in Florida (Ocala), and I would like to grill, but I am undecided what to buy. I would not use the grill everyday. I am not a ‘griller’, but I do enjoy grilling simple meats, hamburgers, pork tenderloin and chicken; perhaps smoking a 12 lb. turkey for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I have no knowledge as to grill veggies or fish. I am an ignoramus! I tried, but I couldn’t detect them among the ashes!
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.
Instead of logs, the pellet smoker is fed with food-grade cylinders of wood pellets that are an inch long and ¼-inch wide and are made of compressed hardwood sawdust. According to the best pellet smoker reviews, pellet grills are easy to use because it’s easier to maintain its temperature because of these sawdust pellets that are subjected to great heat and high pressure, which ignites lignin (natural wood glue).
Also, the digital display will allow you to check the meat internal temperature using the meat probe that comes with this grill. It’s a great solution, and why? Because you can check the meat’s temperature without opening the grill lid. You probably know well that feeling when you open the lid to check the temperature inside the meat.
A: Wood and charcoal smokers are more customary and usually offer a more genuine taste to your food. Some charcoal smokers can be the most inexpensive smokers on the market; however, they can also be the most expensive also.
Remember, you are paying for every little feature, attachments and details on any product. So do not end up paying you inheritance for a feature that you are probably never going to use. Instead, invest on a pellet grill that caters to your needs and has features that will actually enhance your experience when using it. So do not, I repeat: do not, fall for fancy marketing features that sound too drastic.
Some users have remarked that it goes through pellets faster than other units, which is certainly influenced by the size. If you’re not cooking a lot at once, one of the smaller units on this list would be a lot more economical.
Hey Cary, thanks for your comment. You can get pellet grills up to the 500 degree range and, with some grillgrates, they sear well. But, based on your comment I think you might get the most use out of a gasser. That said, I prefer pellet grills even for higher temp and shorter cooks. The smoke tubes work well.
If you’re looking at a grill made with powder coated steel, make sure that it is a very high quality coating. As soon as the paint blisters and chips, your cooker will start to rust and these components will deteriorate.
This monstrosity of a grill and smoker combo will eat up most of your patio, but offers the chance to cook for half the town at the same time. Porcelain-coated cast iron makes up the majority of the charcoal side of this product, and an offset side firebox is what gives this brute its abilities as a smoker.
Hey Shannon – they all have their merits. Budget dictates a lot. If you’re in the $1000 or under range, Green Mountain and Rec Tec are great choices. Both have developed near cult followings, with GMG a little ahead of the curve on that front having been around a bit longer. I love the Yoders as far as moving up on the price range is concerned. Will last you forever and they offer a solid product with great support. MAK grills are just beautifully made. There’s no other way to put it. The “General” models are superbly crafted. Love that MAK offers built in cold smoking as a capability. Am I helping here or just making things worse? Hahaha.
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.
Web-based control – this is an idea yet to be implemented and is intended to be an upgrade to the Wi-Fi control feature. The plan is to make it possible to control a smoker’s temperature from any place on the planet as long as the smoker is connected to the internet. This will let you set your food and go to work without worries.
My first days on the Bull have been at or below 35 degrees with rain and wind , it didnt care . It stays true to temp and didnt burn more than 1/4 pellets in over 10 hour total run time . My Weber gas grill would had burned almost a tank and blown out in the wind trying to cook down low.
Not only are they easy to use, but pellet grills are also some of the most versatile grills on the market. When you use a pellet grill you get all the flavour of a traditional grill without the headaches.
Here’s my long term review of the GMG Daniel Boone grill purchased in Nov of 2010, about six and a half years ago. My model has the stainless steel lid. Assembly was straight forward and only required attaching the legs and folding side table as I recall. Operation was straight forward and the grill heated quickly to any desired temperature from 180 to 500 degrees usually in ten minutes or less. The temperature was maintained consistently within +5/-5 degrees as long as the hopper had pellets. This grill was truly a dream to cook with which we did 3 – 4 times a week from March through October. That is the good part.
The design on this pellet grill reminds me of the Texas grill from Traeger. They are both large and look very meaty. However, the Bull RT-700 is more convenient and comes with modern upgrades making it a worthy addition for both now and the future. While its counterpart above uses a dial button, the Bull RT-700 comes with a PID (Proportional Integral Derivative) controller as well as a state-of-the-art touchpad, which is custom-made for this specific product. This feature was added by a company known as Roanoke Controls, which also makes the controllers found on Memphis grills.
Since it’s a cast iron grill, this product takes some extra maintenance. With proper care and protection, however, the cast iron grill itself does well and lasts for a number of years. The downside is that the support structure doesn’t last as long as the grill itself, and the legs have a good chance of rusting out. The final, and most frustrating, part of this product is that the firebox costs extra, which should be expected from a cheaper model, but remains annoying.
Pellet smokers are fueled by electric but use wood pellets to burn in order to offer heat and smoke. These units can be as handy as an electric smoker with the additional benefit of offering a genuine BBQ flavor.
But overall, out of these minor and manageable drawbacks, many customers were recommending this product because of its superb performance, distinctive features, and reasonable price. So if you want to save more time, money, and effort, this pellet grill cooker is the perfect choice that you should consider as early as now!
In addition, the pellet hopper can hold a large amount of wood pellets. This means that you won’t need to frequently refill your hopper, which just adds to its convenience. It can hold up to 18 pounds of pellets. Its automatic mode allows it to disperse them throughout the cooking process as it maintains the desired temperature.
Louisiana Grills was one of the first companies to muscle in on Traeger’s one-brand show. The smallish CS 450 is one of its more popular models. In 2014, Louisiana upgraded all of its pellet smokers to include digital touch-pad controllers with integrated meat probes. Set it and forget it; the thermostat will maintain cooking temperature just like your indoor kitchen oven does. As a safety feature, the meat probe can be set for your desired target temp. When the internal meat temp rises to within 10°F of the target, the controller automatically drops the smoker down to 170°F to avoid overcooking.
The Camp Chef SmokePro is probably the best pellet grill on this list by rating and by performance. It has a decently large area for cooking at 19.2 inches by 22 inches plus its smoking or warming rack is also 6 inches by 24 inches in size. This is one of the Top rated pellet smokers because of its combination of quality features that are never superfluous and works as advertised.
Pay attention as well to what temperatures your grill can heat up to. Most of pellet grills can maintain a temperature within 160-500 degrees F ( with much more expensive models is even 600 degrees F ). Why am I mentioning that? Because you have to think about what is the most popular grilling style for you. It will influence whether your pellet smoker will be a good choice for you.
Mention a pellet smoker and what comes to mind is the rich taste of BBQ, better control and convenience. These are exactly what the best pellet smokers should give you. To find out the best, among the many that are out there, you must consider all the various features. A burner that can give you control, convenience, long service and great flavor for your food are just some things the best pellet smoker should have. Let’s take a look at all the factors you need to consider when making your purchase.
Z GRILLS: Z GRILLS or Z Grills is a maker of smokers, grillers, and stainless steel prep work tables galore. It entered the world of pellet grills recently and launched an IndieGoGo campaign in order to fund its “affordable wood pellet grill” for $500,000 and currently gives even Traeger’s economical offerings a run for their money with its ability to accept all types of pellets and do all sorts of cooking styles.
More and more pellet grills are being manufactured now as the benefits of “pellet grilling” are being discovered and it’s a smart choice to go with if you want the taste and flavor of the wood grill and the convenience of a gas grill.
In smoke mode the controller is no longer controlled by the thermometer, it merely switches the pellet feeding auger on and off. On time is 15 seconds, off time ranges from 45 seconds at P0, to 165 seconds at P15. Temp and smoke are controlled by the duration of off time: the auger always runs at the same speed. More smoke is produced at higher P settings and lower temp settings because longer off times allow the pellets to smolder. At P0 in smoke mode or “High” in cook mode the auger replenishes the pellets at a faster rate, creating more flame, less smoke.
As you start to learn about pellet grills you will quickly realize there are hundreds of brands and even more models that you can choose from. This makes choosing the right grill a very difficult task.
“We love pellet grills but didn’t like the designs of the models on the market. They are more like an oven than a grill. MAK Grills are designed to be the best in class. You get outstanding BBQ flavor and safe cooking with real wood, along with an automatic lighting and fuel feed system. Simply turn the grill on and you’re cooking in minutes! Our direct heat FlameZone ® feature is pioneering the industry for “gas grill like” cooking without the hassle of flare-ups and burned food.” — MAK Grills
Very subjective, but there are two things I look for, flavor and cooking temperature. I’ve only been smoking meat for two years, so once I finally got my rubs and sauces figured out (approval of friends and family), I then began to go through the different pellet brands. This was important since what good is a pellet, if I couldn’t even make a rub/sauce that was not liked by the masses. I went through about 15 different pellets brands and found the flavor and temperature vary greatly between brands.
By far, the two most popular pellet flavors are hickory and apple. Both are classic BBQ woods, and between the two you can cook just about anything. Hickory produces a moderate smoke that’s strong enough to stand up to the bold flavor of beef, but isn’t so strong that it overpowers pork or poultry. Apple, on the other hand, produces a sweet and mild smoke that complements lighter foods like seafood and vegetables, but also has enough backbone to be used with poultry and pork. Although hickory and apple are the most popular flavors, you can also pair other combinations of moderate and mild woods (such as pecan or oak with cherry or peach) to sufficiently cover all your BBQ bases.
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!
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.
Now, for the good stuff: do not hesitate to spend an extra or even two bucks for a feature that you will use and appreciate. Consider your pellet grill as an investment, something you are going to buy, and be using and enjoying for years and years to come. Features like meat probes to check the internal temperature of foods are excellent for taking the guess work away from cooking meat to a particular doneness. You will never end up with an overcooked and rubbery, or undercooked and raw steak ever again! Features like smartly designed grills that consume and spread heat evenly are also great for cooking food to perfection without having to move it from side to side to find the right temperature spot.
It’s remote controlled and has a handy built-in meat probe (no worries about closing the door on probe wires). Front access to the water bowl and drip-pan for easy clean up, with dishwasher safe cooking racks. It has an internal light for late-night smoking and an easy-load system for your favorite smoking woods.
We are a completely independent team of four outdoor cooking buffs dedicated to helping you get the best BBQ experience. Throughout the years, we have had many adventures, while building our expertise in barbecuing and smoking. Our research also involves reading reviews and getting opinions from the renowned BBQ experts. We will go anywhere and be doing anything to bring you the newest and best information on smoker grills.