“I am new to wood pellet cooking and so far feel this is the only way to cook food outside. The RT-700 has exceeded my expectations in all ways possible. I have cooked several types and varieties of meats so far and they all have been excellent. I highly recommend Rec-Tec grills to anyone who is thinking about exploring wood pellet cooking. I give Rec-Tec’s customer service and their grills 5 out of 5 STARS!”
In order for you to decide which pellet smoker is best for you we need to understand the fundamental differences between these grills. By the way, if you are trying to decide between a pellet grill and an electric smoker then you might want to check out this article on the best Masterbuilt electric smokers.
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.
Yoder’s Variable Displacement Damper is another unique feature: Essentially, it’s a metal plate that may be moved from left to right along the lower smoke box. Positioned all the way left, it concentrates heat directly over the fire pot for conductive searing with optional aluminum GrillGrates. Move it back to the right for even heat across the entire smoke box. Yoders are sold primarily through independent retailers.
The Traeger TFB29LZA Junior Elite Grill stakes its claim as the best pellet grill with its functionality as a roaster that’s a bit easier to use than your average grill. However, it has issues with quality control, with customers complaining that they got a used grill instead of a brand new one. It also presents a bit of a learning curve.
While the exterior is powder-coated steel, the interior is porcelain coated steel. This makes for a great mix of durability and easy cleaning. The dump ash pan at the very bottom makes cleaning even faster. This egg-shaped grill and smoker combo really strips away additional features for the sake of basic grilling and smoking needs. It can handle anything from 200 to 700 degrees Fahrenheit, and the design not only controls heat, but actually helps you use less fuel.
Built for a home griller, this smoker really has some special features for making the smoking experience super simple. For starters, the thermometer is digital, allowing for a consistent read on the internal temperature. The construction is pretty ingenious, with the upper chimney at the center of the unit, allowing for good air and heat movement over the meat.
Another way to put it – is it the quality of smoke that is an issue with the pellet smokers, or the quantity? The upgrade to a pellet smoker is a big investment – tough to do without testing. Any assistance would be much appreciated.
If you like grilling outdoors, you want to reduce the time and energy you spend using traditional and classic methods of grilling in an open air. The problem with traditional grills is that you keep on manually feeding the grill with charcoal or wood. In addition, you need to stay near the grill until the food is finally cooked.
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.
The Camp Chef SmokePro’s automatic features definitely sets it apart and makes it truly a “set it and forget it” kind of unit. It makes use of an electric auto-igniter system that lets you start grilling with just one button. The automatic auger instantly dispenses pellets to maintain the desired temperature and use your pellets the most efficient way.
It’s a variation on the Ugly Drum Smoker or UDS, but the drum is slightly smaller and, although it comes with a grate, for most recipes you hang the meat vertically from hooks – even turkeys! Your jaw will hit the deck as you pull one round of deliciously smoked meats after another from this magic drum with little more effort than trimming and seasoning. Furthermore the meat hanging method provides beaucoup capacity. PBC easily accommodates eight full slabs of ribs. Whether you’re a novice or an award winning competitor (and competition teams now use them), Pit Barrel is a welcome addition to any backyard. Click here to read our complete review of the Pit Barrel Cooker.
This is in stark contrast with the likes of Traeger TFB29LZA and Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett where you have to feed their hopper loads of pellets continuously, thus taking the fun and convenience out of smoking and grilling meats. It’s also fuel efficient since its auto pellet auger dispenses pellets only when needed, so they don’t run out so easily.
As we’ve already said temperature control is the key to getting a moist succulent piece of meat. This pellet smoker comes with a built-in thermostatic control with a digital thermometer, so you can exclude any guesswork while barbecuing. If the temperature sensors detect a drop-in temperature they feed more wood pellets into the burner. This allows you to place your meat on the grill and then let the smoker do the work while you relax.
Mobility – For those who spend a lot of time camping I found the right pellet grill for a decent price. I know how important it is to easily pack the grill in the car and be on the way. There’s a small choice of portable pellet smokers, but I still found what I think is the right model.
The Good One Smokers tend to fly under the radar, which is to say surprisingly few people know about these unique cookers. That’s a shame, because just about everyone who owns a Good One loves it. While all of their models fall into the category of a smoker-grill combo, the Open Range is the most popular.
Time is as precious as your energy. In conventional grills, your waiting period is much longer, and they require much attention. On top of that, you will need to exert so much effort in setting them up and keeping them work in the entire duration of cooking. If you are sick and tired of all this, it is high time you buy a pellet grill.
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!
Since this is the Junior model, you give up a bit of space compared to the other entry level Lil Tex Elite Smoker which packs an extra 126 square inches of surface area. So if you are going to be cooking for larger groups you might want to consider upgrading to the Lil Tex, or going for one of the more expensive options below.
Is the size of the pellet smoker fit for the selected cooking area? This is a question everyone should have in mind when selecting the best pellet smoker. They comes in different sizes. Big and small. Getting a big pellet grill that is bigger for the set cooking area will inconvenience the buyer. On the other side getting a smaller pellet smoker that is less fit for selected space will make it look unfit.
No gas, charcoal and propane solutions here. This grill uses only wood pellets, letting you serve that pro-like, rich smoky flavor that your guests will enjoy. Do you want to cook more recipes? The Z Grills website features dozens of recipes for your indulgence.
If you would rather avoid the potential for rust altogether consider getting a stainless steel pellet grill. Not only are they rust resistant, but they are extremely durable and a lot easier to maintain.
Back to the Pit Boss. The cooking space come in ‘Large’ and ‘Deluxe’. The Deluxe refers to the additional features and finishes. What we really like about the PB is the cooking temperature range from 180° to 500°F, which you can control with the simple turn of a dial, but it is an old-style dial. Possibly unrelated to this, but something that needs to be looked at is whenever you switch cooking temperatures the auger carries on running for about four minutes before trying to adjust to the new temperature. As we discovered this isn’t a problem you’re going from low to high, but it is if you’re trying to bring your temperature down. We almost lost our wings because of this.
Regarding getting a good draft, this is a common misconception for pellet grills. The burn pot on pellet grills receives oxygen via a fan unit. As such, there’s no need for a draft to get a measured burn in the traditional sense. Most pellet grills lack sufficient insulation / gaskets, etc to prevent smoke from leaking out of the body. So, unless you’re going with the Memphis or something that uses oven style insulation, you don’t really need a chimney at all IMHO.
A PID controller knows what temperature you set and knows the temperature inside the grill. The controller continually makes adjustments to make sure the desired temperature and actual temperature match.
REC TEC offers high-quality pellet smokers featuring excellent digital controllers, sturdy construction, and an eye-catching appearance. With a 40-pound pellet hopper, a 680-square-inch cook surface, and nine inches of headroom, the REC TEC 680 is a large, smartly constructed pellet smoker for about a thousand bucks. The seams are welded, powder-coated, and caulked. The grill grates are quarter-inch-wide, marinade-resistant, long-lasting stainless steel rods. The fire pot, heat deflector, and drip pan are also stainless steel. All pellet grills need to be plugged into an AC outlet, and REC TEC wisely takes advantage of this requirement to include a very useful internal hood light.
Before cooking, you need to preheat a cast iron grill grate, griddle, plancha, or skillet and put it directly on the grill grate to get the grill marks effect, but at that point isn’t it ultimately just for show?
Hey Larry, that’s a good question. I know there are products on the market that can utilize sawdust as a sit on the grates in a metal container method. But yeah, would be interesting to see if this could be modded into a pellet smoker’s burn pot area somehow.
Hi Kevin, I think I will be moving to Florida soon and will be purchasing a smoker . I want a yoder smoker but I am wondering if the humidity level will make the yoder have all kinds of surface rust? Can I coat it with something? I like to keep things looking nice, or would I be better off with a stainless steel smoker?
For example, it has a decent 570 sq. in. of cooking area, a patented ash cleanout service, endless versatility (wherein you can barbecue, braise, roast, bake, smoke, and grill to your heart’s delight), and an advanced digital control (the same one that allowed the Camp Chef SmokePro to take the top spot). However, the quality control for this unit is a little worse than SmokePro.
The great part about this smoker is that it is fairly light-weight, weighing in at 69 lbs, and its legs double as a handles: all you have to do is fold the legs up and carry the smoker wherever you need to! Furthermore, this smoker comes with a 12V connector that you can plug into the cigarette lighter of your car, and a 12-foot alligator clips that you can connect to your car’s battery if necessary. You can take this smoker anywhere!
Have you heard of the gold standard smoker? You are about too. I present you the charcoal smokers. Though charcoal smokers are quite difficult to figure out in comparison to the easy to use electric smoker and cheap and portable gas smoker, these types of smokers are the queen of all smoker types.
The versatility of this grill gives you endless cooking possibilities. You can roast, bake, barbecue, smoke and of course grill. You have a huge temperature range of between 160° F up to 500° F which allows you to cook your food any way you want.
Tech geeks: A tech geek will also prefer a Pellet smoker grill and some of the latest grills including Green Mountain Grills came up with some exciting tech functionality like Wi-Fi! Just imagine, hanging with friends and monitoring your pork with your smartphone? You can increase and decrease temperature and control pellet feed without even touching the grill. This gives you the ability to cook while you work!
This black porcelain enamel coated barrel is a straightforward vertical smoker. It comes with a number of additional tools and hooks that help users grill or smoke essentially any kind of meat or other food.
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?
If you are looking to add more smoke flavor to your food, this accessory works great. Once lit the pellets, in the smoker cube, will smolder for several hours, providing a stronger smoke flavor to your meat.
The digital elite controller makes setting up this grill as easy as turning on your oven. The controller will maintain a precise temperature within 20 degrees and will allow you to cook low and slow or as fast as you want at a maximum temperature of 450 degrees. You can read our full Traeger Junior Elite Pellet Grill Review here.
In 2008 there were only two consumer pellet grill manufacturers. Today there are more than a dozen. The market for these relatively expensive devices is small but growing fast. Not all of these small manufacturers will survive. Forget the warranty and ask “When it breaks will the manufacturer still be in business?” They do not have repair shops near you. When it breaks will they be able to diagnose the problem over the phone? They may be able to figure it out, but then you have to buy the replacement parts and do the repair work yourself. Are you up to the task?
When you think of a portable smoker and grill, you think about basic features. But with the Traeger Grills Tailgater, you get more than what most portable grills have to offer. At 300 square inches, this portable grill is enough to cook decent and succulent dishes for small groups. It can even reach up to 450 degrees F, so you’re never limited when it comes to the kind of meats you want to grill or smoke. We loved its EZ fold legs, which make it easy to throw into the back of a car, ready for the next adventure.
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.
OK. I’m rambling a bit. To your point regarding Traeger. I think that the models you can buy at big box stores (Costco etc) are OK. I still hear a few complaints about blistering paint etc. But… their Pro Series Models are a different story. The new management at Traeger has come a long way in their efforts to reaffirm the Traeger brand as a legitimate BBQ Pellet Smoker brand that everyone from the backyarder to competition pitmasters can get behind. To that end, they only allow specialty retailers carry the Pro Series models, which are built with a bit more heft and better PID controls, electronics, etc. You can find these at Ace Hardware stores, places like the Whiskey Bent BBQ Supply store we have here in Lakeland, FL (there is now one in Odessa, FL) as well. You can find a Traeger Pro model by going to http://www.traegergrills.com/dealers.
Once all the bits have been removed, use hot soapy water to wash down the inside of the smoker. Then attack the cooking grate and the other parts you removed from the smoker using a rag and the hot soapy water to clean them too. Once you have removed the built-up of grease rinse the surfaces and allow to dry.
As you can see, Rob is very thorough in the way he breaks down the parts of this Yoder pellet smoker. To get a real feel for what you’d be in for should you choose to buy this particular Yoder pellet smoker, head over to his article to read more.
If you are looking for a way to produce ribs that are so tender that they fall of the bone, your smoker is the ticket. Plus, it can give it that tasty smokehouse taste that you can find at your favorite restaurants. You can add a nice rub and eat them plain, or you can smoke them with light seasonings and add thick barbecue sauce afterwards; the choice is up to you.
Consider the options before you make a purchase, and especially consider capacity. If you’re a loner, and you just like to come home and cook a steak a few times a month, go for a smaller smoker that fits on your back patio. But if you’re looking to host next year’s President’s day block party, you’d better find something that will crank out a large meat production.
Hey Charlie – I’d leave that grate wide open if you want maximum heat. If the grates are only over the burn pot, then you can do sort of a two zone cook (indirect vs direct heat) by putting a thicker steak, chop, or piece of chicken on the ‘non direct’ side to get up to a temp that’s 15 or 20 degrees lower than your target. Then, finish off over the burn pot area. Just one idea.
To ensure you always maintain a clean burning flame this Pit Boss grill comes with an electric ignition and fan forced air. Once the air has been fan forced into the grill it gets channeled around by the flame broiler.
Available in 24-inch and 36-inch units, the Camp Chef SmokePro is packed with great features for their size. It features a massive 811 square inch rack surface area, perfect for grilling multiple foods at once. Using an auto-dispensing pellet hopper that can hold 22 lbs of pellets, grilling is made convenient and efficient.
Hey Ben! Cool re: your Camp Chef! Pellet smokers produce a light smoke as compared to stick burners, gravity fed smokers, Ugly Drum Smokers, etc. Most feel that the smoke provided is enough. If you need more – check out the Amazn Tube Smoker. You can find the Tube Smoker and Cookin’ Pellets via this link. Look for the Pellet Smokers and Pellets links.
Mike this is a GREAT question, and something I probably should have included in this post. Seriously, thank you for asking it. I’m going to add videos and information to the sections for smokers listed above as I find them. Check back later today and refresh the page, and I’ll have something for you then. 🙂
Pellet grills come in various sizes from the portable types for tailgating to the extra-large units for commercial use. If you are someone who wants to be able to take your smoker on the go, be it camping, partying or any other event you’ll want something that’s easy to lift and has wheels to facilitate movement. If you have lots of parties and gatherings at home, then you might want something bigger. Its all up to what your needs are.
A reasonably affordable wood pellet grill, this grill makes it simple to make and serve the best wood-fired decadent cuisines. The Pit Boss Grills 440’s fuel source is 100% all natural cooking-grade wood barbeque pellets, so charcoal, gas, or propane is not required! An easy to turn knob starts the grill, allowing you to bake pizza or cookies, sear a stake, smoke jerky, brisket, or ribs. The dial provides a wide span of temperature ranging from 180 degree Fahrenheit to 500 degree Fahrenheit. With the digital control board as well as the oven-like meat probe, your culinary outcome will be precise cooking control. Another beneficial feature this grill offers is this fan forced convection cooking closes in the juices of the meat and removes the necessity for a rotisserie. This grill is constructed using heavy-duty sixteen gauge steel and has a copper embossed lid as well as deluxe features such as two-hued black and copper finish, order side shelf, and serving platter, bottle opener, sturdy base shelf.
Grills and smokers are all made of metal, which means they are all more or less prone to rust. The only way to stop your investment from literally falling apart in front of your eyes is to keep up on basic maintenance. Still, some require a lot more attention than others, and some have obstacles that further complicate maintenance.
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.