Cleanup Considerations: Even seemingly perfect pellet grillers have trouble getting the cleanup part right even in light of how little ash is produced by pellets. You should search for pellet smokers and grills that efficiently keep the ash from building up on the heat deflector that’s located underneath the grates. The ash should remain on the ash cup and nowhere else. Meanwhile, major cleanup with soap and water is a hassle that requires an apron and gloves.
To help our readers find the right products, we spend a lot of time on each review. It is around 55 hours per article, we think. That’s not including all the volunteer hours our dedicated team of product finders and reviewers put in. All in all, it is a lot of work for these smoker reviews 2018. It is about a week per guide, giving us time to personally test each product. All this adds up to a very comprehensive set of data that you can read for free and we use to write these best smoker grills reviews.
Moreover, pellet smokers are safe. You won’t have to worry about fire and explosion because its temperature control prevents the grill from overheating even in prolonged use. It has a deflector plate between the fire pot and grill grate to ensure that grease, oil, or meat juices will not get in contact with fire so as to prevent a sudden flare-up.
While you should never leave a smoker entirely unattended, digital smokers are well known for their comparative ease of use. Instead of setting up a lawn chair next to your smoker and getting comfortable with a beer, you can actually go about your daily life. Digital smokers are not as temperamental as traditional smokers, and they’re much safer since they don’t technically use an open flame. Not everyone likes these smokers, and a lot of great cooks take pride in their traditional BBQ smoker handling skills. It really is a skill, too. Keeping the perfect temperature and smoke consistency requires lots of checking and a thorough understanding of how your chosen fuel, wood, smoker, and food behave. If you want to master the skill of operating a smoker, your best choice is a traditional charcoal or gas smoker. On the other hand, if you’re only interested in the food itself, and you don’t feel like investing that much time into your meal, a digital smoker would be perfect.
“It’s easy—maybe a little too easy,” I told the crowd of Barbecue University students gathered around the first wood pellet grill many had seen. People nodded—we had an understanding, right? Smoking and barbecuing are supposed to be hard work. If not chopping wood, then at least breathing in charcoal dust and smoke and laboring to maintain a steady temperature during a barbecue session that could last the better part of a day. Or night. Certainly no self-respecting pit master would subscribe to a “set it and forget it” philosophy. Pellet grills are a fad, I thought to myself, that will flame out fast.
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.
I have used a pellet smoker for about five years, and looked at, or used, many different brands. I have added auxiliary smoke generators, and tried almost every way possible to create authentic BBQ on a pellet smoker— It can’t be done. When the vendors, or users, refer to subtle smoke they mean virtually no wood flavor. Do yourself a favor and try a simple test: go to a really good BBQ joint, or BBQ competition; try some of their Q and then compare it to pellet meat. There is no comparison. I wanted the pellet unit to produce good Q in the worst way because of the ease. You cannot duplicate the smoke created in a wood, or wood/charcoal firebox with compressed sawdust. It pains me to say it but it is true.
For now, we’ll tell you right from the start that our choice for best overall smoker is the Primo 778 Extra-Large Oval Ceramic Charcoal Smoker Grill. It’s not the cheapest smoker on the market, but the Primo is the best smoker out there. It’s large, with over 400 square inches of cooking surface, makes incredible pork butts, and is the only true ceramic smoker on the market of this size. Because of the unique design, this smoker offers features that just aren’t available on any other unit.
Need to keep an emergency pellet stockpile – If you’re grilling with propane or charcoal and run out half way through a 12 hour cook you can easily nip down to the store. But getting your favorite brand of pellets may require an Amazon order, or a trip to a more specialised store.
Easy Cleaning – Some smokers are easier to clean than others. For example, those with stainless steel interiors are often easier to wipe down. Just keep this in mind when looking for your smoker; it can save you a lot of clean-up work later on and can help ensure that you are able to keep your unit clean and sanitary.
Have you reviewed at all the Grilla Silverbac? If so, does it not make your list because it isn’t as good a quality as those you have picked? I mean, when I look online for reviews of those who have bought them I haven’t found anyone disappointed with theirs, but perhaps they haven’t been out as long to have a track record? I’m so confused at this point as to which to buy with PID or no PID (some say smoke does better without one), thickness of metal, etc.
There’s less smoke from the alleged smoker the higher the generated cooking temperature is. You can get that smoke flavor at below 250°. You need to do the hardwood chips technique in order to get that smoke flavor back.
Here’s a unit that deserves a look if you’re one of those people who don’t care about status and just want to add some extra smoke in your life. This 40″ front controlled smoker from Masterbuilt is spacious and can smoke a variety of foods. From full slabs of ribs to whole chicken and whatever else you want to add to the mix.
Pellet grills are used not only for grilling but also in baking, smoking, roasting, and more. Nevertheless, the significance of pellet grill is to imitate how charcoal works in smoking and how gas grill regulates the temperature.
“I have tried out many grills in my lifetime, but I’m yet to come across one that matches the features on the REC TEC Grills Bull RT-700. My family cookouts were a disaster considering each of our three previous grills came with an issue. For starters, some of the grills did not use stainless steel making them less durable, and the meat probes weren’t inbuilt. However, this REC TEC Grills Bull RT-700 review will showcase all there is to admire in this grill including a list of features guaranteed to make you jealous if you don’t own one.
Remove the pellets from the feed hopper to stop them getting wet or being contaminated by any cleaning products you will use. Empty the ash from the burn cup. Some people line their burn cup with aluminum foil to make the cleaning process more manageable. An ash vacuum cleaner will also do the trick.
Another vertical smoker, the Weber Smoker Mountain is a popular unit in both backyards, and on the national competition circuit. This water smoker is divided into sections. From the bottom up, you’ve got a fuel section which is then separated by a large water bowl, adding moisture to the chamber while stopping any juices from hitting the coals (flare-ups). Then, you’ve got your cooking area which has two levels of grates and a large dome area on top. Both levels provide ample cooking space.
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!
This post was EXACTLY what i was looking for! Have been longing for the ability to make the gooey delicate saucy brisket that we get out here at the chain Armadillo Willies, which i realize is not aiming for the stars… At Orchard Supply House last weekend saw a Traeger or two, and was thinking placing a smaller version $499 range (although $439 on the Traeger website) next to my gas Weber Spirit.
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.
I am glad your review of the Rec Tec included commentary on the accuracy and performance of the temperature controller. I would have liked to read similar comments about the other five grills in your reviews because this is such an important feature.
I got the bird loaded onto the pellet grill and let it ride until it hit the desired temperature. Because the Memphis Pro’s temperature control automatically drops the unit down to its lowest setting once it reaches the programmed internal meat temperature, there was absolutely no chance of overcooking that baby.
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?
In conclusion, it is a basic pellet grill & smoker that is easy to use and doesn’t come with any advanced features. It provides precise temperature control within +/- 20 degrees and works great for long meat searing at low temperatures.
Another “set it and forget it” pellet grill, the Camp Chef allows you to set the temperature controls for up to a range of 500 degrees F, and leave it to do the regulating. With its efficient auto-dispensing pellet hopper and digital temperature controls, the pellet grill sets, maintains and adjusts the desired temperature for even cooking each time. With consistent and fuss-free temperature control, you’ll sure to have the most perfectly grilled foods.
Pellet cookers usually have an auger or another feed mechanism that pushes the pellets into a burn pot typically about the size of a beer can ripped in half. An igniter rod sits in the bottom of the pot and when you turn on the grill it glows like the element on an electric stove. As the pellets ignite, a fan blows to feed them oxygen, and the igniter shuts off. The Traeger L’il Tex, an inexpensive model, draws 300 watts an hour while the igniter rod is on in the first four minutes, then it drops down to 50 watts an hour for the duration of the cook session, less than a standard light bulb.
As far as the choice of pellets… I’ve tried hickory, apple, cherry. mesquite, etc, etc, but found “Perfect Choice” cooking pellets to be economical and a nice choice for all of our needs. Besides, it’s not that convenient to change pellets in a pellet grill.
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.
With the upcoming and already existing new features, you can achieve an easier smoking experience. Always look for features that can help bring out the real taste of food, and give you more control and convenience. Check back with us often because we will always be the first to bring you the newest and best innovations in grills and smokers.
Make sure the pellet you choose come with a satisfactory cleaning facility. Look out for pellet hopper spoons or shovels that are used to put in and pick out the pellets. Almost all pellet grills come with a drip pan to collect liquids drips: oils, juices, sauces from the food on the grill. Make sure it comes in a good size as well.
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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.
Here are a few things that you should keep in mind when getting started with your smoker; these tips and tricks will help you turn out delicious meat and vegetables that are sure to please your family or guests:
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.
Traeger really pulled the trigger on this one this time around, delivering the Traeger TFB65LZBC Texas Elite 34 Series Wood Pellet Grill. It’s fueled by 100% pure hardwood pellets to give you real wood flavor out of your meat (rather than artificial or gimmicky ones).
The PBC has a rabid cult following for good reason. It is absolutely positively without a doubt the best bargain on a smoker in the world. Period. This baby will cook circles around the cheap offset sideways barrel smokers in the hardware stores because temperature control is so much easier. Best of all, it is only $299 delivered to your door!