The auger will automatically feed the wood pellets to the burn pot. Once the pellets are in the burn pot they will be ignited and the grill will stay at the perfect temperature for as long as you need it to.
The argument against bark is that it can cause an inconsistent burn and produce excessive ash. Again, consider a log on a fire. Because they have different compositions, the bark and hardwood burn at different rates and produce different amounts of heat. Furthermore, bark doesn’t burn cleanly, it creates more ash than the hardwood. When that ash builds up, it interferes with your grill’s ability to accurately read the temperature, causing large swings. If too much of that ash builds up in the fire pot, it can cut off the oxygen and snuff out the fire.
Excellent article, but I have an off beat question. What about cleanup and maintenance of the pellet smokers you have reviewed? Is anyone better or easier for ash cleanup? I have a friend who has Yoder and his only complaint is the amount of time and complexity of cleaning up the pellet ash. Thank you in advance.
Move it around a bit so you can feel the weight. Is it heavy or flimsy and light? While a pellet grill doesn’t need to be overly hefty, you don’t want it to be too light on its feet either. The grill should feel sturdy and there should be no visible gaps or spaces that will allow heat to escape.
It is certainly your requirement for the smoker to be automated. That is the case with Camp Chef PG24DLX Deluxe. It’s a smoker that thanks to its very good temperature control doesn’t require you to check if the temperature inside the grill is really okay. That way it allows for stress-free long meat smoking at a fixed low temperature.
This big combo is a big investment, but it does not appear that the long-term value of the product stands up to its initial cost. Even if users have a dry place to store it, moving this smoker back and forth would be an annoying burden.
The cooking surface – is big considering the price of this pellet smoker. 429 square inches of the main cooking surface and 141 square inches of the rack. It is definitely enough for a big family or for a bigger party. It also comes with an extra heated rack that you can remove at any time.
Nowadays, for domestic use, the hardwood smoker has been replaced by ones using readily available charcoal. If its flavor you are looking for, charcoal smoking can’t be beaten. It gives the most authentic smoked barbecue flavor of any of the new smokers available. However, it does come at a price. Using charcoal can be dirty, and you have to deal with the ash left over from the cooking process. The hardwood charcoal will impart a flavor to the meat you are cooking, along with any additional wood chips added. This can give a rich, deep taste to any meat prepared in a charcoal smoker. The modern ceramic Kamado-style smokers, for example, are highly efficient in the burning of the charcoal, and temperature control is a simple matter of managing the airflow into the smoker. After just a few cooks most people have mastered the temperature control for ‘low and slow’ smoking, and the smoker can be left for hours, such as overnight, without tending.
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.
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).
First, the construction is excellent. Heavy gauge steel with solid weld points and heavy cooking surfaces mean the smoker will last a number of seasons. Second, the smoker is equipped with a series of dampers between the firebox and the smoking chamber, as well as out the top, giving the smoker full control over the smoke and temperature volume coming in and out of the smoker. As we mentioned before, however, it’s always best to start by testing a single damper and see how different movement affect the taste and moisture of the meat.
Add-ons: Manufacturers often offer a variety of add-ons. Check what features come standard, and what are add-ons at extra cost. Some add-ons are offered by companies independent of the manufacturer. If a feature is important to you, but is not a standard feature of your particular cooker, make sure it is available as an add-on before you buy the cooker.
Pellet Cost and Consumption: Cooking pellets for pellet grills cost about $1 per pound depending on the brand, flavor, and if you can get them on sale. The shipping cost can play a factor on their price as well. For a lower BTU, you can get a cheaper brand of pellet for 75¢ a pound, but as a consequence you’ll deal with more filler and they get consumed faster by the flames.
A well-made smoker that is properly cared for can last you for a long time and can provide your family with delicious meals for many years to come. Therefore, you will want to look at the materials that your potential smoker was made with and the quality of its construction to choose a model that will stand the test of time. Although you might think that the best-made models are the most expensive, this isn’t always the case. It is entirely possible to find an affordable smoker that will last your family for a long time to come, but you will definitely want to take a look at the quality of its construction.
Yet another pellet smoker, but the higher price buys a number of bells and whistles, including our favorite digital temp controller. Built entirely in the USA, it is solid with a heavy duty powder coat. The hood is a roll top, meaning it does not need a lot of rear clearance like some of its competitors, and there is plenty of room inside. We recommend you buy the optional upper level racks. My only criticism is that it looks like a WWI tank. Click here to read our complete review of the MAK 1 Star General Pellet Grill.
I was leary about getting a pellet grill as i have had great success with my propane box smoker. Did some research and went with the Rec-Tec 680. Absolutely love the thing. It actually fell off the trailer when i moved a few months back and still works like a charm, just has a little more character now! Highly recommend this set it and forget it pellet grill
Are you catching on that there’s a bit of a “favorites play” going on with wood pellets? No selection of pellet grill reviews is complete without a little bias. I try to be objective here. See if you can catch on to which models I prefer!
REC TEC Grills attempt to create the highest quality, most suitable, and most adaptable grill on the market. The REC TEC Mini integrates the equivalent high quality parts as one of their full sized models, but only in a lighter, smaller, and transportable bundle.
I made a custom a cover for my smoker grill. If you do not want to take that hassle, then grab one from Amazon. It will pay for itself, by prolonging the life of your smoker by protecting it from the elements.
Versatility – Cook and bake like on a regular grill or braise and sear meat at low temperatures for many hours. All of that is possible with this one grill, additionally the food is enriched with a wood-fired taste.
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 hopper of your pellet cooker is the container which stores the pellets ready for the auger to take them to the fire-pot. Therefore, the size of your hopper essentially dictates how long your cooks can be. So, settling for a hopper that is too small will prove to be annoying to say the least, as your cooks will fail to go the distance.
Shawn, I do not have direct experience with the Pit Boss pellet grill. The Pit Boss is made by the same company that makes the “Louisiana Grills”. The Louisiana pellet grills are their nicer models and the Pit Boss is the cheaper version designed to compete with Traeger. I don’t like the idea of buying a company’s second best product. The folks over at Amazing Ribs do have some hands on experience and wrote the following review: http://amazingribs.com/bbq_equipment_reviews_ratings/smoker/pit-boss-820-deluxe-pellet-smoker
What we loved most about it was its versatile 6-in-1 feature. With the Traeger grill, you can grill, smoke, roast, bake, braise and BBQ all kinds of foods at ease. We tested all of those out and found that they all delivered the same juicy perfection that it promised.
I also was a certified KCBS judge but never judged at an event. Their judging system was flawed in my opinion because if you truly follow their system it is possible that them best tasting piece of meat might not win. In cutting horses (not a judge but read all the rules as I showed a fair amount back then) you were always supposed to judge the best overall horse to win. I asked about leaving a process to make sure the piece of meat you feel is best to win and was told absolutely not you have to judge presentation points, tender points & etc. and not place based on your opinion of the best piece of meat! Not that KCBS is a bad organization, it’s rules didn’t fit my thought process. Passed their class and got the t-shirt just never agreed, was always a spectator.
What’s more, it has an LED display with a Digital Elite Controller for temperature control. Judging by its ratings, unlike the other grills on this list, its temperature and quality controls work just fine. This grill also has an electronic auto-start ignition and easy-to-clean grill gates to boot. Its quality control isn’t perfect though, and some faulty units slipped through the cracks.
Though it is technically a grill, you can carry out so much cooking styles in it. It can be used to sear meats and other food to a perfect golden crusty perfection; it can be used to bake quiches just like you would in a normal indoor oven. This is absolutely a trademark appliance that can also be used to smoke food, it can also be used to slow braise food, making it ideal for cooking up winter stews and casseroles. And very obviously you can grill in this thing. The lid on the pellet grills also aid in fast cooking by trapping smoke and heat and allowing the food to cook and flavor through quickly and more evenly.
I know you’re eager to get at the review but there are a few things we want to show you about this gas grill before you get there, it will help you understand why this is Our Top Gas Smoker Pick and one of the best smoker grill 2018. Take a look at the competition in our Top Ten Gas Smoker’s review.
DS, I have a green mountain grill. besides that for any pellet smoker cook your chicken at a high heat otherwise the skin will be rubbery. doesnt have to be a direct flame to get it crispy. I set my GMG to 425 flip it after 8 mins pull it at 170 crispy perfection. if you want more smoke flavor, smoke it at 150 for an hour then crank it up to 425 to finish it. I was upset with my rubbery skin when i first used it as well but i got some good advice from the pros. chicken doesnt need to be cooked low and slow to tenderize it like pork and beef does. it doesnt have the tissues or muscles that need to be broken down like beef and pork
An attractive option for many people are stainless steel pellet grills, which are rust-resistant, more durable, and easier to maintain. While pellet grills made from commercial-grade 304 stainless steel are the most desirable, they come at a higher. However, there are also some pellet grills made from 430 stainless steel, which is more affordable and still incredibly durable.
I bought a Brinkmann Tower Charcoal smoker many years ago. Living in IL at the time, it served its purpose. I recently moved to Colorado and live at 9200′ above sea level. i am usually smoking a couple racks of ribs or making some jerky….nothing competitive or too large.
Travelers – Of course there’s a perfect pellet smoker for you too. It differs from a basic pellet grill in that it’s smaller and much lighter. It has foldable legs, which allows you to easily take it to the car with you. Everyone’s been on a camping or a field trip at some point. In moments like those, grilled food is something delicious and wholesome. I found the right portable pellet grill for you, which thanks to its size and weight is portable.
Good old Weber has been making this indestructible charcoal fired “bullet” for years and has made only minor tweaks, although there are minor tweaks yet to be made (we’d like a better thermometer, but then again, we use our own accurate digital thermometer probe). The body is the same enamelized steel as the Weber Kettle. We have one that’s 17 years old and going strong. There is also a larger model, but we prefer this size because it is easier to keep the temp low, although a full slab of ribs barely fits. It can also be used as a grill, but you have to get on your knees to do it. Click here to read our complete review of the Weber Smokey Mountain 18″.
Hey Di! I use Grillgrates when I want to cook steaks on my GMG, and would recommend them for any pellet grill… or grill period for that matter. They leave AMAZING sear marks! I do the “reverse sear” method. This lets you smoke/roast your steaks and then fire them off for searing at the end. Here’s what I do. (Find Grillgrates on Amazon here.)
As for smoke flavor, it seem a lot of it comes down to pellet quality, & cooking time. One of the things that one buddy added that he says work well is 12″ A-Maze-N tube. He gets about 4 hours of heavy smoke and puts it in at the start of the smoke.
Every pellet grill offers a lot of benefits, but choosing a better one will not make you regret it along the way. Although it is difficult to decide which one is better, you will have an idea what to choose if you know what you need.
As I mentioned at the start of this post, there are a few pellet grills that lead the pack in terms of name recognition. The ones featured here are those that come most highly recommended by friends of mine on the professional BBQ circuits with KCBS and FBA.