So which pellet smoker is worth your hard-earned dough? This list is organized from lowest price to highest. Sorry for the sticker shock—even a low-priced pellet smoker will cost more than many grills, and our first selection lists at $410. These motorized, digitally controlled devices just plain cost more, but believe you me, they are worth it! And all of these selections have won the AmazingRibs.com Best Value Gold or Silver Medal.
Hey Reid – thanks you for your question. You can use any pellet brand you like in a Traeger grill. I really like what the folks at Cookin’ Pellets bring to the table both in their 100% Hickory and their Perfect Mix blends (fruit wood/hard wood mix). Have been very pleased with them. You can check out their stuff here.
Burning wood pellets produces up to 90% less Carbon Dioxide than traditional fossil fuels such as gas or oil. Burning just one ton of wood pellets can replace approximately 400 liters of oil – saving up to 1,070kg of Carbon Dioxide from entering the atmosphere.
When people talk about pellet flavors, they’re referring to the type of wood used to make the pellets. Smoker pellets come in an array of wood flavors, from the usual BBQ suspects like mesquite, hickory, apple, and cherry to less celebrated woods like peach, pecan, , and sugar maple. Each variety has its own unique taste—from the mild sweetness produced by cherry to the nutty hints imparted by pecan—and can be paired with specific foods to highlight and complement their natural flavors. You can also create complex layers of flavor by mixing and matching different woods.
Masterbuilt is a well-known brand for smokers. They’ve been producing quality products since 1973, and the 7-in-1 model continues the excellent tradition. The unit is really a all in one grilling/smoking man’s paradise. There’s a truckload of cooking space, which you don’t often find in a vertical smoker (let’s just say that a hame and a turkey at one time is feasible). The grilling racks are porcelain coated, meaning that they can withstand extremely high heats (the sorts of temperatures you need to sear burgers or steaks) while at the same time remaining non-stick and intact to slow roast cut potatoes or corn on the cob.
Hey Corry – GMG and Traeger have shown that they support their brands very well of late. In many cases, they both provide parts support even when warranty limits run out. If you’re considering a Traeger, I’d urge you to go with their Pro Series 22 or 34. Sounds like that’s what you’re probably looking at where they are concerned if you’re looking at a dealer.
Additionally, David Bouska of Butcher BBQ won the 2012 Las Vegas’s World Food Championships BBQ division. His first place overall victory propelled him into 2013. David cooks on a pellet smoker and he adds Mojobricks to his pellet smoker for that added touch of good smoke lovin flavor.
Don’t try to rush things. – The whole point of a smoker is to cook things “low and slow,” so don’t try to rush things. Don’t be tempted to jack up the temperature to get your food done more quickly, and allow yourself plenty of time to get dinner on the table.
It can use two types of fuel – both propane and natural gas – giving it the versatility to be used when you’re camping with gas bottles or piped in to your home’s gas supply for maximum convenience. This is something only Camp Chef offer in their range.
As smoking and grilling become more popular, increasingly there’s more crossover. The same person that enjoys smoking a pork butt for 10 hours on the weekend wants to be able to fire up steaks after work. In the past, that often meant owning multiple cookers: a traditional smoker to handle low-and-slow BBQ and a charcoal or gas grill for high-heat grilling. Not only does that get expensive, but it takes up valuable backyard real estate. More and more, however, people are looking for a single cooker, a smoker-grill combo that can handle both.
Before you can get started, you will need to stock up on a few accessories. You will obviously need things like mitts, seasonings and other essentials that you would use while cooking on a regular grill, but you will also want to invest in a thermometer; this will help you keep your smoker at the right temperature and will allow you to check your food to ensure that it’s done. You will also need charcoal or pellets, lighter fluid and other essentials, depending on the type of smoker that you opt for. If you have an electric model, you won’t have to worry about any of these things.
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
The Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker comes with Smart Smoke Technology, which lets you set and forget your grilling. It accurately sets and maintains the desired temperature using an automated electric feed system, heating your unit from 180 degrees F to 450 degrees F. We’ve gotten used to smokers taking around 30-40 minutes to heat up, but with this unit, it took only 20 minutes for the temperature to settle in!
Hi Gail, barring any differences that I’m not able to see per the specs for the Pit Boss 820 that differ greatly from a Traeger Pro model. In fact, it looks like they’re using the Traeger body… which anyone can use via sites that sell them from China. Heavy construction, most likely a good cooker.
This grill has a digitally controlled burn system, 700 square inches in cooking surface, and porcelain coated cast iron grids. The cast iron is a great conductor of heat, and the porcelain works to stop your food from sticking. Great combo!
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)
Kevin- I’m in the process of researching to get my husband a grill for Christmas. I’m torn between the 820 you mentioned above and the Traeger Pro Series. As far as I can tell they are basically the same except that you get a larger cooking area on the pit boss for the same price you pay for a small cook space in a traeger. I would like to spend around $600 on the grill but would possibly go up to $800 and want 500 sq in cook space or greater. Which do you prefer? Pit Boss, Traeger or another brand?
Have a big family? Get a grill with a huge cooking surface to fit a lot of meat. A big pellet hopper would be useful so that you don’t worry about running out of pellets within few hours. Your pellet smoker will be automated, and you’ll have time for your guests instead of controlling the temperature or fuel level all the time.
In searching for a good video review of this smoker I actually came across two of them. The first video is from MAK Grills themselves but is hosted by Jonathan Martinez (JM) of CelebrityGrills.com. He does a great job of highlighting some of the innovative features MAK Grills brings to the table.
The good news is that if you are stuck with one of these dogs, Ortech makes a controller that can be used to upgrade Brinkmann and Traeger controllers. If you own another brand and are interested in upgrading to a digital controller, contact the manufacturer of your smoker or Ortech.
For home models, get at least a 10 amp, 12 gauge, three prong cord (oddly, 12 gauge is higher capacity than 14 gauge). That’s more than you need, but better safe than sorry. Commercial models may have different requirements.
For our best smoker grills list, we tested more grills than we can remember. Each of Our Picks comes from its own review and guide, so each one is accompanied by a lot of testing. This review is a compilation of all our top rated smokers, so you will be able to make a quick and easy choice for your top smoker grills.
Pellets look like rabbit chow. They are about the width of a pencil and as long as a couple of erasers. If they get wet they turn into a pile of sawdust. The beauty of pellets is that they have none of the additives and fillers in charcoal briquets, so they combust almost completely. Almost zero ash. The pellets provide the heat as well as flavor. No need to add wood chips. Surprisingly, they do not produce overly smoky food. If anything, the food is undersmoked to some people because the combustion is so complete.
The Fast Eddy’s by Cookshack PG500 Pellet Smoker is a collaborative design from respected smoker manufacturer Cookshack and competition-barbecue-circuit pro “Fast Eddy” Maurin. The FEC (Fast Eddy’s by Cookshack) line has been popular with competitive teams for years. While most FEC models have a utilitarian appearance, the beautifully crafted stainless steel PG500 fits right in with your shiny outdoor kitchen.
A: You should always bear in mind that temperature control is a crucial component to look for before purchasing a BBQ smoker. Temperature control allows you to provide food that is not over-cooked or under-cooked. However, the issue with many smokers is that they do not include thermostats. Electric smokers offer thermostats and are a perfect choice when it comes to smoking fish and a few other foods. However, electric smokers do not provide the authentic BBQ flavor for smoked meats. Gas smokers are also a great choice when it comes to temperature control. However, these also do not provide the authentic BBQ taste that many people may look for. But they are still a great choice especially if you are on a budget. Some charcoal and wood burner smokers offer a thermostatically operated blower that regulates the oxygen supply to fire boxes.
Keep that in mind, as the right temperature is the key to making great food. Meanwhile, plenty of competitive grills use old systems that are bad at maintaining the temperature in different weather conditions.
Comes with a large 19.5″ x 36″ (702 square inch) cooking area. Maintains precise temperature from 180ºF to 500ºF (5º increments). REC TEC will automatically light up with a push of a button and heat up to the temperature you have selected. REC TEC has a really good and precise temperature control so you can even use it for baking.
A mini built-in timer gives the grill master the chance to put their food on for a good smoke, go out, do whatever and not have to worry about their food being immolated. This is because of the auto-shut down. Really useful.
If you get it that BBQ is more than burning hotdogs on a propane grill, you could likely benefit from The BBQ Beat podcasts. Kevin interviews the best Pitmasters in the country. They share their knowledge, stories, and experiences. There is something to be learned in each podcast. So if you’re serious about your bbq, check out these podcasts. They are time well spent.
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.
You need to know that maintaining a fixed temperature is a huge problem for many models. You remember the old three level controllers that made it possible to set the temperature at three ranges ( Low or Smoke, Medium and High ). It was a very poor system that made it difficult to maintain the right temperature.
One of the best things about the gas smokers is they are among the most economical smokers. This doesn’t mean that you will get an inferior product, but propane is an inexpensive fuel and the tanks are sold separately.
Turn it on to “Smoke” mode and use the P settings, or cook mode by selecting a temperature. When you select smoke or a temp setting you start the ignition sequence. The fan, igniter and auger motor turn on. The fan stays on until the smoker is turned off. The auger motor continuously delivers pellets to the red hot igniter rod in the firebox for two minutes under normal conditions. Then the igniter rod shuts off and the pellet fire burns with only the assistance of the auger and the fan.
Another pellet grill from Camp Chef. This time a much bigger one with new features. Sadly it’s much more expensive too, although it’s worth its price. It’s an comprehensive pellet grill & smoker, which allows you to smoke meat, grill or even baking.
Mine worked good for only 3 years, then the circuit board in the unit failed. The dealer referred me to the manufacturer. The manufacturer said I was out of luck do to the 2 yr warranty and said it would cost me $130.. I will not buy anything made by GMG again!
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.
Only two companies manufactured pellet grills or smokers back in 2008, and they’re MAK and Traeger (both of which are based in Oregon). This changed when Traeger’s original patents expired and the floodgates for competitors opened.
In other words, any smart person will choose a pellet smoker for many reasons. You will get the best-smoked pork or salmon prepared by yourself with only one-third of the effort compared to other smoker grills. I am decently smart and I love pellet smoker because it works wonders.
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 PG24S uses three cleanup and maintenance systems. The Ash Cup Clean Out System collects leftover ash in a cup for easy cleanup. The Grease Management System instantly drains grease into a bucket for easy disposal. Finally, the Pellet Purge System helps you clean out pellets from your auger with ease. Cleaning up has never been so easy.
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.
Nothing says “you are welcome to my home” than some delicious and succulent baby back ribs; some beer can whole chicken cooked your special spice mix, and some wood smoked salmon. There is no better way to wins the appreciation of your favorite people than cooking up some wood grilled steaks and baked potatoes. But there is a catch, there always is.
Thanks to beefy American Made construction and a full-length internal damper, smoking and grilling aren’t an either-or situation—you can do both at once on the Open Range. It retains heat so well that you can shut the damper mid-cook and grill steaks over the coals without losing valuable heat from the smoking chamber. Actually, the Open Range controls heat so well that when customers ask about using an automatic temperature controller on it, we tell them it’s not necessary.
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.
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.
The Primo 778 (View on Amazon.com) is hands down the best overall charcoal smoker you can currently get. With its amazing heavy gauge construction, large cooking surface and overall ease of use, it can turn turkeys, hams and other types of meats into mouthwatering culinary works of art. Given its size and the fact that this is the only ceramic smoker that’s currently made in the United States, you are guaranteed to get superior results compared to any other smoker out there.