Some grills simply can’t be left outside. Due to their materials, they will rust after exposure to precipitation, harsh temperatures, or even humidity. Regular oiling can prevent a lot of that, but that’s another maintenance step that counts against the smoker overall. What’s more, if a BBQ smoker is not designed to be easily wheeled into a garage or shed, but it rusts easily, it loses both maintenance and ease of use consideration.
It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about pellet grills, pop songs, or pizza, everyone always wants to know which is the best. While that might seem like a fairly straight forward question, there is no simple one-word answer. Is the best pellet grill the most popular one made by the best-known brand? Is it the most expensive one with the most advanced features and high-end bells and whistles? Is it the one that offers the best combination of price and performance? Really, the answer depends on you, your means, and your needs. Or, put another way, maybe the question shouldn’t be what’s the best pellet grill? but what’s the best pellet grill for you?
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.
Because it’s using the inverted flame and taking the heat from underneath, while the firebox has it’s side ventilation for oxygen, it’s a clean combustion process. Meaning that while that fire burns on top without smoldering, you’re only getting the cleanest thin blue smoke circulating through the unit. No bitter taste from over-smoking.
You can make some pretty good meat on a regular charcoal grill, but you are going to need a smoker if you want to make the best ribs, turkey, pulled pork and other delicacies. Investing in a good smoker to get these amazing flavors in your food is a must if you like to cook outdoors — a smoker will last for years and will make outdoor cooking a breeze.
A pouch made of heavy duty aluminum with just one tiny hole in one side works great to provide smoke in most outdoor cookers. To make a foil pouch, cut a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil 6″ by 12″ and fold in half making a 6″x6″ square. Fold the side edges at least twice, pressing each fold firmly along the entire side. Put 1/3 of a cup of pellets in the pouch and fold the top to seal. Poke a hole in one side of the pouch with a toothpick. Place the pouch on top of your charcoal briquettes or above the gas flame. When the smoke starts coming out of the hole in the pouch, put your food on the cooking grate and close the cover of your cooker. Smoke should last up to 30 minutes depending on the temperature of your cooker.
Hopefully this guide has helped you understand a little bit more about the pros and cons of cooking with a pellet grill, and helped you pick out the right model for your budget and needs. Happy smoking!
Pellet Hopper – One of the reasons we all buy a pellet smoker for is the long cooking time. It’s an automated grill, but it needs to be provided with the right amount of pellets in the hopper. Those grills are used for long, often all night long meat smoking. That’s why it’s important for the pellet container to be very big. Here you get a 40 pound hopper capacity. You can be sure you won’t run out of fuel during longer cooking.
Electricity causes the auger to start pushing pellets into your burn pot and begins to heat up the glow rod until it’s red-hot, which in turn ignites the pellets in the burn pot. Air is pushed into the burn pot via the holes you see around it – allowing for a maximum efficiency burn.
Only 1/3 of a cup of pellets is needed for most cooking events. As compared to other forms of smoking wood, you’ll need 5-10 times the weight of wood to achieve the same results as pellets. The cost per use is much less for pellets than any other form of wood.
The diversity of BBQ smokers available makes fair judgment a challenge, and personal cooking preferences will go a long way in determining which type of smoker is best for you. However, our evaluation hinged on five key criteria by which any smoker can be judged. They are as follows:
Every outdoor cooking enthusiast wants an affordable pellet smoker that has all of the key features that even a high-end unit would have. In most cases, this is just a dream and a result of false advertising, because most impressive smokers typically cost a hefty sum of money. The Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker claims to be a reasonably-priced smoker that offers top-of-the-line features, and many users have agreed with those claims. With this review of the Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker, we’ll find out if it really does what it claims to do.
Basically, Cookshack keeps to Ed Maurin’s simple design – using a dual layer of thick 304 stainless steel separated by high temperature insulation to hold in heat. Heat is provided by an electronically controlled 36,000 BTU pellet burner fed from an external hopper (you can add more pellets without opening the smoker).
Who doesn’t want to experience the tastiest grilled food, and one of the simplest ways to do that, and make sure your meat is more healthy for you is to marinate the meat before grilling or smoking. A marinade will add a plethora of new flavors to your cooking, and it also forms a protective barrier around the food to stop any harmful chemicals penetrating into the meat.
One other thing to know about the wonder of pellet grills is that they come with pellet hoppers, varying in capacity from brand to brand, that accommodates and use the pellets you put it accordingly and automatically as per the heat setting, eliminating the need to refill the hopper manually so frequently. So throw on some lamb ribs on to those hot grills, and go enjoy some cold beer while the pellet grill does the rest for you!
When you’re looking for the best charcoal smoker, you’ve got to analyze the features. Start by considering what kind of meat you want to smoke, usually. Is there a certain brand that makes a difference? Are you wanting ceramic coatings? Or even solid ceramic? What about fuel? Are you a wood devotee, or is charcoal or wood chips best?
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.
Some beneficial features that this model includes are that it is lightweight, small, and has legs that fold away for easy transportability. The grill grates are constructed from 3/16 in stainless steel rod and also includes a stainless steel ten gauge fire pot. With the interior of this grill you will also find that it includes a stainless steel fourteen gauge heat deflector, a stainless steel fourteen gauge drip pan, and a high quality ceramic ignition system.
Unusually for a smoker of this price, there is a remote control included which lets you turn the smoker on and off, adjust the temperature, set a cooking timer, turn the internal light on or off, and see the meat temperature. This is an extremely useful feature that can let you enjoy your barbeque all the more.
Hey Jon – I believe that Yoder pellet smokers are built sturdy enough to be placed within a backyard patio/outdoor kitchen setup. Contact them to inquire about this at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We were surprised to see that the pellet grill was WiFi-compatible. Usually, grills come with basic remotes, but this one comes with a digital WiFi controller. It allows you to control and monitor your cooking through an app on your iOS or Android phone. We found this convenient, since we didn’t have to get up to check on our grill every few minutes. This is probably why it’s one of the most popular pellet grills in the market.
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 construction is heavy duty as well. Quality gauge steel sides and porcelain coated cooking grates make the smoker nearly indestructible. The American Gourmet also has a chrome rack int he smoking chamber, allowing for two-layer smoking and warming, even as the lower firebox is full of meat as well. The indirect heat will allow the meat to cook slowly, while at the same time infusing it with the smell and flavor of the charcoal or your favorite wood choice.
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.
Multi-position and digital controllers ( LED display ) – a much better solution, but it does have its flaws. First a multi-position controller, then a digital controller that allows to set the temperature at intervals of +/- 25 degrees F. It’s a controller that also has poor responses to weather. A great advantage of a digital controller is that it allowed to implement other innovative solutions. It helped introduce such technologies as alerts, timer or better meat control.
Hi Mark – I’ve not personally used the Smoke Hollow Pellet Grill you mention here. The base model pellet smokers I see at stores like Sam’s and Costco are going to do fine for most backyard cooking preparations. I’d look into what the Smoke Hollow folks offer customer service wise. When you buy at the lower end, understand that the unit might not enjoy the longevity or durability of other mid-tier or higher end models.
Pellet Grills are known as do-it-all cookers that can smoke and grill. However, most pellet grills are primarily indirect cookers, with a solid diffuser plate sitting over the fire. That design allows pellet grills to excel at smoking, but it also keeps cooking temperatures down. In fact, many pellet grills max out at around 400-450°F. Although that’s certainly hot enough to cook a burger or steak, it isn’t hot enough for the high heat searing or open-flame cooking most people associate with “grilling.”
Hey Mike, thanks for touching base. It’s always a pleasure to connect with you, man! If you have the space, I’d go with the JB. You can always cook under your pellet smoker’s capacity, but you can never cook more than it will hold! As such, you can always find use for the extra room in the JB. It’s like the umbrella and the rain scenario – bring one and you’ll never need it. Go out without one, and it’ll pour on you! Holding temp and managing the cook is the same for each of these GMGs. You’ll have smooth going with both, I’m sure. If you are cooking in very cold temps, you might want to consider the thermal blanket GMG puts out. Helps a bit re: getting to / maintaining temp. Some folks use it all the time as they feel it keeps more smoke in the chamber. As you know, nearly all pellet smokers produce a bit less smoke than your barrel smoker will. Hope this helps, bro! Thanks for your comments!
Hey Jimmy, thanks for commenting here about your experience. I’m sorry to hear your experience was less than optimal. I have only cooked on the Traeger pro models. I do know that it is good practice to vacuum out the burn pot after cooks of a few hours or more. Not sure this was where your problems were initiated. Did you contact Traeger support? If so, what was their response?
Why this Mountain Cooker for Our Top Pick? We will give you a little of our reasoning before we start raving in the smoker grill reviews. It came top of our Top Ten Charcoal Smoker’s list for a reason: It is one fine, fine smoker.
This smoker also comes with two cooking settings: hot and fast, and low and slow. Its Digital Elite Controller makes setting the temperature a breeze — all you have to do is turn the dial to your desired temperature, and you can leave it for the rest of the cooking process. This smoker can reach temperature of up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. The digital display on top of the grill lets you monitor the heat conveniently.
According to Bruce Bjorkman of MAK, his cookers use about 1/2 pound of pellets per hour when set on “Smoke” (about 175°F). At 450°F, the high temp, they burn about 2.3 pounds per hour. This is about the same average as I have experienced on a variety of pellet eaters. The burn rate will vary somewhat depending on the outside air temp, and how much cold meat is loaded in the grill, but cooking load should not have a major impact. Cooking pellets run about $1 per pound depending on the wood flavor, brand, if you get them on sale, and if you have to pay shipping. As a point of comparison, Kingsford briquets list for about $0.75 per pound, but they don’t pack the same BTUs because there are fillers. I usually buy 40 pound bags of BBQr’s Delight pellets from BigPoppaSmokers.com for $45 and shipping is free to IL. That’s $1.13 per pound. That means that if I cook a slab of spareribs for six hours at 225°F I will probably burn about 4 pounds at about $4.50. If I put 8 slabs in there in rib holders, and allocate 1/2 slab per person, my cost for 16 people is about $0.28 each. If I grill a mess of chicken parts at about 325°F for about 1 hour, I will use about 1.5 pounds of pellets for a cost of $1.70.
This pellet smoker and its humongous 20 inches by 15 inches or 300 square inches of grilling space is capable of holding 3 rib racks, 18 hotdogs, 4 chickens, or 12 burgers at the same time. This is also one of the most Affordable pellet smokers around. Its thermostat control is LED digital so that you can set it as easily as your microwave. Just press buttons and get the setting you want every time.
I have used Bradley, Masterpiece, Green Egg, New Braunfels, Oklahoma Joe, Weber and now Traeger. So there is some experience in these comments. The “set it and forget” it is a misnomer and should not be used with Traeger (or any smoker/grill.) With Pellet Drive before you buy Read up on Er codes. The worst is when the fire pot fills up with pellets because the fire can’t keep up with the auger push and the whole cook is ruined or delayed. You have to pull everything out and basically start over while your expensive prime brisket is trying to be saved in the oven. Doesn’t matter what the weather is or wind conditions. Doesn’t matter if you stare at it and stir the hopper continuously. It will happen. Customer support at first was well you are at fault (didn’t leave the lid open on fireup for exactly 2 to 4 minutes or didn’t vacuum out the firepot between every cook) which is crazy. Finally, after so many calls over the past 6 months they are trying to make it right. Problem is, DO NOT believe the “set it and forget it.” That does not exist with any good cook. I have replaced the controller the fan and now getting a new probe. Do not waste your money. Unless someone out here in BBQ land can give me a recommendation on a product that won’t do this stay away from Pellet Drive?
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.
The name speaks volumes. This is a great, classically styled, offset smoker for a smoking enthusiast. The smoker is really designed for larger scale smoking with a stunning 1280 square inches of smoking space available between the two units (fire chamber and smoking chamber). The flexibility of the offset design means that you can cook steaks and burgers on the lower, hotter firebox, while at the same time use the smoker side to slowcook ribs, or larger roasts. This makes the unit ideal for a large party, with flexibility and cooking variety.
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.
Traeger Smoker – Buyer beware. My Traeger stopped working both times I’ve used it. It just stops after about 2 hours. Traeger’s response is their pillory is they don’t make refunds. The nearest service is 3 hours away and it’s just too far for them. They said the solution to it stopping is for me to partially disassemble it when it stops and vacuum out the burner pot. They said they would talk me through some troubleshooting. They offered to send me replacement parts but said they don’t think it will help. I can’t return it, they can’t determine a fix for it. I’m supposed to just eat the $830 cost for a smoker that doesn’t work.
There are actually several different types of charcoal smokers for you to choose from. There are barrel and drum smokers, offset-side charcoal smokers and cabinet-style charcoal smokers, for example. Although each type has its own set of advantages, many people find the cabinet-style smoker to be far superior to the other options; these are well-insulated and are very easy to use because they open up much like a refrigerator. Offset-side charcoal smokers can also be a good choice, but you shouldn’t opt for a cheaper model. If you are on a tight budget and crave the taste of charcoal, a barrel or drum smoker is probably going to be your best smoker grill choice. They are very affordable, are super easy to use and can produce the charcoal-and-smoke combination flavor that you are seeking.
Whether you call them pellet grills or pellet smokers (the terms are interchangeable), there’s no denying the impact these do-everything cookers are having on BBQ. In the past year alone, interest in pellet grills has grown at an astounding rate, with the number of online searches nearly doubling. Although they’ve been around for over thirty years, it’s only recently that they’ve earned the title of the Hottest Product in BBQ.
Also, think through storage. If you buy a large, high quality smoker, you may end up with a unit that will never move again. High grade smokers are made of heaven duty steel, so a smoker with that sort of construction is going to require you and a crew of friends to get it shifted.
We’re people like you, people who love outdoor cooking—the food, the fun, the time with family and friends. We’ve turned that passion into expert knowledge and an unmatched selection of BBQ and grilling products. Any question, big or small, we can help. From your first click to your next call, whether you’re interested in backyard BBQ or an outdoor kitchen, we have what you need and same-day ship nearly every order from our huge in-house inventory.
The better a pellet grill’s temperature range, the more it can do. Performance pellet grills have upper ranges of 500°F- 700°F, which is hot enough to get a great sear and fire-bake pizza. Many of those pellet grills also offer a direct grilling option that allows you to cook over an open flame in addition to cooking over indirect heat.
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.
You’re not going to be able to cook as hot as some other pellet grills out there, but this unit should easily reach 420 degrees. For a relatively small package you can still cook a good amount of food. A 10lb brisket or a few slabs of ribs shouldn’t be a problem which should keep the campers happy!
The external structure is a mix of steel and cast iron, depending on the item. The charcoal base is a cast iron box for holding the briquettes. The cast iron concentrates and focuses the heat transfer more directly into the meat above, rather than losing some of the heat you’ve built up out the sides of the unit. The grates are also cast iron, but with a nice porcelain feeling.
Am considering adding a pellet grill to my fleet, have champagne taste on a beer budget. Have a smoke hollow smoker (lp) that works awesome, a cheap charbroil gril, and a holland I picked up used. Tried the holland because I got tired of flareups but it is slow, a coffee can over the stacks until it warms up helps but you don’t want to walk away from it that way. I like the idea of something you don’t have to baby sit. Any reviews on the traeger grills? I like the looks of the traeger jr, has nice features, portable and enough room for most of the things I want. Also are these grills affected by wind and do they work in cold weather? I live in ND and like to use them in the winter as long as the temp is above 10 degrees or so.
They are often called grills, but, at the time of this writing, I consider them to be primarily smokers. Almost all of them cook with indirect heat and those that try to grill over direct flame don’t do it well. If you love steaks, there are far better ways to cook them. But if you love smoked turkey, ribs, salmon, pork chops, brisket, and smoked foods, a pellet smoker may be the best solution available.
BBQ pellets are food-grade pellets made only from 100% hardwood. They contain no fillers, binders, or additives, with the possible exception of vegetable oil, which is sometimes used during the extrusion process.
Cleaning and Maintenance: Keeping the grill clean is critical if you need to get the most out of the unit. Old debris can influence the viability of the unit thus normal cleaning is vital. In addition, while moving it around, take alert not to thump it since it accompanies little legs which can without much of a stretch tip over the unit when thumped.
The Cookshack PG500 Pellet Grill is the one pellet grill currently on the market that utilizes charbroiler technology, which lets you get the same great taste as any high-end commercial grade charbroiler. This pellet grill is constructed from stainless steel. The nickel plated grates are made from 3/8 304T stainless steel. T
The M7P also functions as both a dry and wet smoker. A pan of water with juice or vinegar added can be inserted into the bottom of the smoker to provide additional moisture when smoking more lean meats.
Using 100% hardwood pellets, this smoker gives you authentic, smoky flavored foods whatever you do with it, whether it’s smoking, grilling, baking, roasting, braising, or BBQing. You get the wood-fired taste all of your guests are looking forward to each time.
Make sure the foil pouch has enough room for the smoke to blow the pouch up like a pillow. If you are using more pellets than recommended, make a larger foil pouch. Pellets need “wiggle” room in the foil pouch.If your gas grill has a smoking box or tray installed for use with wood chips, try pellets instead. A foil packet of pellets will make for easy clean up!Only have regular aluminum foil? Make your foil pouch with two pieces of layered foil for added strength. Be sure and put the hole through both layers.When you put food right over the hole in the foil pouch, that food is going to be very heavily smoked. Always place the foil pouch off to one side, not directly under food.
Digital control panel – Elaborate and all-embracing panel allows for a great temperature control. Set the desired temperature for yourself and the smoker will automatically supply pellets to the grill in order to maintain the temperature you set. The regulation range is 160 degrees F all the way to 500 degrees F.