Max explains “We rate and review as objectively as possible, measuring temperatures, slamming lids, turning dials, studying warranties, and kicking casters, but inevitably intangibles such as look and feel have to be considered. One of my favorites since the inception of our Top Ten Lists is the Pit Barrel Cooker, on our list for the fourth year.” The US made barrel shaped smoker is only $299 delivery included, and an enduring favorite among our readers.
The small burn pot is covered with a large deflector plate that absorbs the heat and spreads it out below the cooking surface making them essentially wood-fired convection ovens. Flare-ups are a thing of the past. You need to keep the plate clean because it is right below the food and if you leave sauce and grease on there, it can smolder and leave soot on your food. Carbon buildup will also diminish its heat transmission.
Pellet Flavors: Like with e-cigs and their gimmick of flavorful e-liquids, pellets for pellet grills and smokers also have different flavors added to their pellets, and they include bourbon, maple, apple, cherry, mesquite, alder, pecan, and hickory. You can mix flavors, change flavors, or use different flavors for every day of the week if you do everyday barbecues and grills for your restaurant or something.
Rounding out our top 3 is the best pellet smoker that Camp Chef offers, when you factor in quality, price, size, and overall value. This is an excellent choice. If the Traeger, our 2nd top pick, is a bit too small and you’re looking for something with a few more features, that’s still within the same price range, you’ve found what will likely be ideal for you. Camp chef is a really solid brand, and it was one of the first pellet grills my Dad owned. We reviewed another camp chef grill in another article.
First of all, you have to determine how much you have to spend on your new purchase. If you are on a tight budget, you might want to look at a charcoal or gas smoker; these are generally the cheapest, and you can still get a nice model with great features for a low price. If you have a little more to spend, you might choose to invest in a pellet smoker. Among each different type of unit, there are also some pretty wide price ranges. In most cases, you probably won’t want to go with the absolute cheapest models. However, it shouldn’t be difficult to find a model within your price range due to all of the many options that are out there.
Traeger: As the launcher of the pellet smoker trend, it’s only natural that the innovative Traeger Pellet Grill Company would perfect its pellet grill technology and come up with some of the most affordably priced smokers around costing $300 upwards. It’s the Ford Motors of the pellet grilling world and many a pellet griller on the market to date owes the existence of their industry to this one company.
Costly – That’s the main darn thing that may hold you from purchasing this. However, this grill barbecues delectable meat makes utilization of smart heat technology and will keep going for a considerable length of time. Also, yes you will be a grill master among your friends.
Due to its size, upkeep is a big problem. Unless you have somewhere to store this massive contraption away from the elements, it will begin to rust within four years. It’s essentially two large grills welded together, so there are plenty of gaps to let in water. Even the one year limited warranty isn’t enough to
Products with extra insulation, air tight hoods, and precise vent controls are more likely to manage heat and smoke well. There are, of course, exceptions, and just because a smoker has a lot of control features, that doesn’t mean it always does a good job managing temperature and smoke. Digital tech can fail, and vents can suck in drafts.
I’m about to make the final step in purchasing your smoker grill so easy that it will be like I did it for you. I’m going to list the smokers by price and features. Now you can pick best smoker grill to meet your needs and wallet.
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!
Size – I mean the grilling surface here. I’m perfectly aware that a family of 2 has different needs than a family of 6. There’s no point buying a huge pellet grill for two people, as you’ll probably never use the entire cooking surface.
One of the higher end pellet smokers you might want to check out, and one I’ve had the opportunity to try out myself, is the Memphis Pro Pellet Grill. This pellet grill is not for the faint of heart price wise. However, I can attest to the fact that it is one of the most robust, versatile, and pleasurable pellet grills I’ve used.
Electric smokers are known to be the handiest; however, they lack the genuine BBQ taste. Electric smokers that are computer controlled permit you to set up the smoker and allow it operate until the food is complete.
As any pellet smoker knows, getting the temperature set right is crucial. It will all go wrong if you can’t get that right. The Camp Chef PG24 has a built-in digital thermometer and fully controllable temperature settings. Put it to the temperature you want on the screen and let it get on with it. No lifting the lid to peer at the pellets, letting out precious heat and smoke. It is all in hand, if the smoker detects it is getting too cold, it can feed itself more fuel. This is quality smoke made easy.
If you’re a BBQ fan and you cherish cooking meat, then you may require a grill or a smoker. Similarly, as a kitchen won’t be finished without a microwave, a porch/cultivate/lawn/kitchen won’t likewise be without it. With a Traeger smoker, you can cook sound gourmet sustenance for your children and friends and family. Utilizing it, you likewise spare cash for not expecting to request nourishment and have it conveyed to you now and again.
A pellet grill like the Rec-Tec is a breeze to use; subsequently, you won’t need to manage a migraine when barbecuing or smoking. Most models now accompany an electronic start highlight, which means you don’t need to use gas or charcoal for grilling or smoking (Read here). Furthermore, with this element, you don’t likewise need to manage the temperature changes in the earth on the grounds that the unit will be lighted by its electric igniter whatever happens, and after that, it will begin warming and cooking your nourishment. Furthermore, regardless of you are a piece of a little or a major family unit, there is the correct model with the size perfect for your family’s cooking needs.
Pellets are made of compressed sawdust. It’s wood and wood burns when heated. If you starve wood of oxygen when you heat it, it smokes rather than burning to ash. This smoke is the best for providing food with an all natural flavor!
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.
If you’re curious about particular flavors but are reluctant to blindly invest in a 20-pound bag, some pellet makers such as BBQr’s Delight offer affordable 1-pound bags that are perfect for sampling. Some of the more common wood and food pairings are:
To solve this problem, several companies have come up with alternative ways to expose food to the flame by allowing you to use the small area directly above the fuel pot. It’s still not as good as charcoal or sear burners, but better than the designs that are strictly indirect. Check out the Memphis Elite, Fast Eddy’s by Cookshack PG500, and the Yoder YS640 for this feature.
This pellet grill comes with a six-year warranty, but don’t expect it to start following apart a month after your warranty is up. Even after a year or two, if you use it with any regular consistency (Spoiler alert: You will), you’ll feel it’s already paid for itself.
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!
Very often pellet grill manufacturer instruct you to use their pellets, with some going so far as to state that failure to do so will void the warranty. Why? Well, there’s the obvious reason that they want you buy their pellets. However, it really has more to do with ensuring that the grill runs properly, and that starts with using quality pellets. The easiest way for pellet grill makers to guarantee you’re using good pellets is to have you use theirs, which they know meet the desired quality standards. They can’t make that guarantee about another brand of pellets.
The Smart Smoke technology is one of the most convenient and easy to use features on the grill. It contains a dual LED temperature readout that keeps the heat at a constant temperature. This means you have more time for socializing and can sit back and relax. The temperature ranges from 160 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. The grill uses a pellet feeder system that burns slowly to add intense flavor to your food. It also uses an electric auto-start ignition that requires the grill be plugged into a standard 120v outlet.
Made in the USA of 304 stainless steel formed into a charcoal basket with a built-in water reservoir, it corrals your charcoal on one side creating two distinct temperature zones. On the indirect convection heat side you can bake, roast, and even hold low and slow smoking temps overnight. On the direct radiant heat side over the charcoal, Slow ‘N Sear creates a searing zone that rivals steakhouse temps. It creates the hottest sear zone we’ve ever tested on any grill. Click here to learn more about the Slow ‘N Sear and for links to buy.
All this said, I believe the girls you are looking at already will both provide you with long lasting grilling and smoking satisfaction. Honestly, when you get to a point where are your in the price range that you are in, it’s really hard to choose a bad option with pellet grills. The biggest Advantage you have over the ones you’re looking at and the Yoder models is that they are heavy built giving you excellent heat retention over your Cooks.
In our experience, it doesn’t matter what brand of pellets you use, so long as they are quality pellets. Our Pellet-Q450 runs equally well on pellets made by BBQr’s Delight or Traeger or Louisiana Grills. Like most pellet grills, though, it can experience problems when fueled with low-quality cut-rate pellets that produce excessive ash.
Hey Corey – thanks for checking out the blog man! I did actually do a review of the Pellet Pro smoker and the company’s Smoke Daddy Cold Smoker Attachment. You can find the review here. Again, appreciate you leaving a comment!
It’s remote controlled and has a handy built-in meat probe (no worries about closing the door on probe wires). Front access to the water bowl and drip-pan for easy clean up, with dishwasher safe cooking racks. It has an internal light for late-night smoking and an easy-load system for your favorite smoking woods.
I have the Camp Chef Woodwind with sear box (basically their SmokePro DLX with a stainless steel lid), and it’s… pretty good. Good smoke, easy cleaning, all the points made in the article above. However, I’m having some cook timing issues which I believe stem from the Ortech controller. I’ve seen temperature swings of 75 degrees while cooking. Also, even with an added gasket, the lid leaks smoke quite a bit- to the point that the chimney seems superfluous.
You want to set 180 degrees F for the entire day? No problem, but a little bit later you want 300 degrees, here you go. It makes a pellet smoker comprehensive and allows us to prepare all types of meat. Allows to get a good smoke ring.
Offset smokers just look cool, but the fact is the cheap ones in the big box stores are junk. They make it almost impossible to manage temperatures and then they turn into rust buckets after one season. If you’re Jonesing for the pro look, if you want to burn logs as well as charcoal, this is what you have to spend to get quality. The Horizon is built to cook well and to last. Made of 1/4″ thick steel, when it heats up the mass retains heat and holds temp. You still have to practice to get control over the vents to control heat and it’s a good idea to sit nearby to watch it, but that’s why lounge chairs and beer were invented. If you get one, make sure it has the optional convection plate. It helps distribute the heat more evenly. And the capacious cooking chamber can be loaded with charcoal if the entire Little League is coming over and you need to grill up 43 burgers at once. Click here to read our complete review of the Horizon 20″ RD Special Marshal.
Now on to your question. As you mention, this is a pretty subjective topic…ask 10 people and you might get 10 different answers. When I can order them affordably, my favorite pellet is CookinPellets 100% Hickory. I don’t have any local retail outlets, and ordering from the factory brings pricey shipping costs into play. I like to wait for good deals on Amazon so I can make orders with free shipping. Amazon occasionally runs them for less the $30 per 40# bag…and as you probably know, just make an order of at least $35 and their standard ground shipping is free.
Here we take a look at the first “gasser” on the list. But, what sets this Camp Chef apart from other a lot of other propane smokers, is that they provide their own optional natural gas conversion kits (no third-party brand hook up).
If you’re a member of the Rockefeller family and price isn’t an issue then you’ll definitely find pellet grills over the $2000 mark but, if you’re more the ‘other fella’ with a budget in mind, then the Rec Tec is one of the best-priced grills, available for under $1,000. There’s also a Rec Tec mini grill which comes in under $750.
With this unit, not even a single pellet goes to waste. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about your pellets running out in the middle of cooking. The pellet hopper can hold up to 20 pounds of pellets and the digital thermostat control ensures that each pellet is efficiently used. Thus, it helps save a lot of money and allows you to smoke your food for a long time without refilling the pellets.
A Slow ‘N Sear insert will easily convert a 22″ or 26″ Weber Kettle into a much better grill as well as a smoker capable of making restaurant quality smoked ribs, pulled pork, beef brisket, turkey, salmon, or whatever you want to smoke. This revolutionary new device also makes an awesome searing tool for steaks. We have even baked rolls with it. We have used ours extensively and hereby crown it “The Single Best Accessory For The Weber Kettle”.
The built-in cords on outdoor cooking devices are often not long enough, and although regular household extension cords will work for rotisserie kits, they will not carry enough juice to keep you pellet smoker or electric smoker going. They could become a fire hazard as they heat up trying to deliver power to the unit. To extend the cord you need a large capacity cable as measured in amps. Here’s how to figure out what you need:
There are two other smokers that are quite comparable to this in terms of features and price. The first is the masterbuilt 20070910 30 inch smoker – you can read the full review here. The second is the Bradley 4-rack smokers. We have just updated out 2018 top 5 Bradley Smoker list here.
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!
Nothing else comes close in terms of features and portability at this price point. The WiFi control via tablet or smart phone is an awesome feature that lets you control the temperature of your grill remotely (handy if you’re lying by the pool).
If you have a little more cash, choose Camp Chef Woodwind Pellet Grill with sear box. I think that Sear Box is a great addition, it will certainly come in handy to quickly grill veggies or hamburgers.
The Sense-Mate feature is another great addition to this smoker: it is a thermal sensor system that monitors and reads the internal temperature of the grill within 5ºF of the actual temperature! Once you set your desired temperature using its digital controls, the Sense-Mate technology reads and monitors the temperature, while displaying it on the LCD display. Sense-Mate makes sure that heat is kept at a constant temperature, so whether you are cooking at 150ºF or 550ºF, you can rest assured that your meats will be evenly cooked.