Interest in smoking continues to grow each year. We correctly predicted 2016 would be the year of the pellet smoker and were delighted to see showroom floors clearing more space for these convenient and effective devices. Not long ago, on the rare occasions average shoppers bumped into a pellet smoker, they were mystified by the perceived high prices and unfamiliar designs. “I don’t understand how it works or why it costs so much,” was a common refrain. Today, the tide has begun to turn as pellet smoker manufacturers are finally gaining ground in their backyard battles for market share. Now more brands and more models, with more features and lower prices are becoming readily available as word of mouth spreads that these once mysterious “grills” can be turned on and set to temp just like your indoor oven with one big difference: they burn wood (in the form of pellets) and produce delicious smoky BBQ that’s better than most restaurants. You’ll find several good options on our lists.
The lid is the same excellent coated and enameled heavy gauge steel, and the charcoal bin to the right will keep your charcoal dry and light-ready. It’s not uncommon to hear the complaint that there’s always half a bag of charcoal left after every grilling session and there’s no where to store it. Weber heard the complaints and has made a really nice model to deal with it.
Shipping cost is an important consideration to keep in mind. To that end, if you don’t have a supplier local to you where you can just go pick up your BBQ pellets, consider looking for online options that are in your neck of the woods. Many of these pellets available at Amazon come with Free Shipping for Prime members!
Here at Grills Forever we are independent and only promote the best smokers out there, regardless of brand. We give you our own unbiased opinion based on our own experiences. We want you to get the best smoker grill for your needs and if something new develops we will be the first to try it out and let you know.
It is a gas smoker, but you still need to add your wood chunks. Your fuel area is at the bottom with its own separate door so when you get in there to add your favorite smoking wood, you don’t lose heat in the main chamber. This is especially useful for those of us that live in areas with colder winters and need all the heat we can get.
There are various strong points that can be made about this product, such as its durability, porcelain coated cast iron grid, and its digital control burn system. However, every product has its weaknesses. Even though the porcelain coating on the grid is meant to aid in the prevention of food sticking to the grids, the porcelain can actually become a nuisance as it can chip, break, and come off in your food. Another issue that this grill can potentially run into has to do with the temperature gauge.
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.
With the internal temperature sensor, meat temperature probe, and a digital temperature readout, the PG24 pellet smoker takes the guesswork out of your cooking process. An advanced digital temperature chip gives a more steady smoke and temperature, eliminating large temperature swings and giving a more consistent cooking temperature. The patented Ash Can Cleanout System makes clean up the easiest out there.
If you are looking for portability, convenience and a smoker that is relatively clean to operate, then a propane gas smoker is your best bet. The flavor you get from a gas smoker is probably better than from an electric and not quite as good as from charcoal, so it is a good compromise solution. Although a propane gas smoker does not have the fill and forgets the convenience of an electric smoker, it has many of the advantages. Once the burner is lit, and the food is in the smoker, one eye on the inbuilt thermometer, and a hand on the gas regulator to get the temperature just right is all that is needed. As smoking times are very long, it’s probably handy to have an extra gas bottle or canister available just in case.
We won’t include the built in thermometer as a negative, as even far more expensive units come with unreliable thermometers that can be off by as much as 10-40 degrees. Always invest in a quality thermometer setup.
By opening the lid you cause the heat to quickly escape. Remember that the most important thing is to always maintain a fixed temperature inside the grill. With this solution, you can easily control the meat’s temperature without losing the heat inside the grill.
Not only are they easy to use, but pellet grills are also some of the most versatile grills on the market. When you use a pellet grill you get all the flavour of a traditional grill without the headaches.
Use of the P settings in smoke mode is easy to understand. But one can also use them as a dual function feature in cook mode. Remember, in cook mode the auger idles when the temperature is correct, but the P settings continue to function in idle mode. Ortech recommends the P2 setting as the default idle rate in cook mode. However, as one gains experience, the P settings can be used to improve the grills performance. For example, when using high temperature settings, select P1 or P0 to reduce auger off time and maintain strong, steady heat. If you have trouble hitting low temperatures on a sweltering day, increase the P setting to increase auger off time. It does not have a significant effect on smoke production. The basic rule remains: Low heat = more smoke, high heat = less smoke.
This grill includes a limited warranty which provides customers with ninety days from the original purchase date to receive parts and labor while two years from the original purchase date, customers will only receive parts.
Hey Steve, they’re both great pellet smokers. I liked the pellet pro I used a great deal, and the guys at Smoke Daddy Inc. are super to deal with. Tell them I said hello if you talk with them. Their cold smoking attachment … the Magnum P.I.G. … is pretty neat, too.
Be that as it may, if your concern mainly lies on something that can be carried on a truck to an open-air grilling party or to a friend’s place, it’s positively a decent proposal. Aside from portability, it also gives you a cooking adaptability as you can grill, prepare, smoke, grill and braises with no bothers. The grill highlights full-size functionalities in a convenient bundle, henceforth a decent decision for anybody searching for versatile decision.
Hey Jeff – I think that due to pellet smokers requiring much of the wood pellet for “fuel” leaving a smaller part for the “smoke” means that you want as much of the smoke to stay in the chamber for as long as possible. Just my opinion. I’ve not used charcoal pellets. Those I’ve spoken with who have used them weren’t extremely happy with the results. Regarding the water pan, I feel that pellet smokers don’t typically require water pans. However, you can surely use one and see how your results go.
On its first 24 days, the Davy Crockett grill already gained its first 10 positive reviews. On the next 29 days, it got another 10 positive reviews, and it got even more positive reviews after 13 days. At Grills Forever, we like to take a close look at the review rate because this lets us know what other customers are thinking.
But overall, out of these minor and manageable drawbacks, many customers were recommending this product because of its superb performance, distinctive features, and reasonable price. So if you want to save more time, money, and effort, this pellet grill cooker is the perfect choice that you should consider as early as now!
Good info, but it’s missing something… the cost to use. I’ve been looking for a long time to get into smoking. I have only ever used a propane setup for grilling. My main quesion is the cost to use propane vs charcoal vs pellets. I’m very interested in pellet smoking AND grilling. A couple times a week my wife and I will grill some chicken breasts or steaks. Can you breakout an approximate cost comparison to run the different methods? Appreciate it!
Hi Dillon, thank you for commenting here. As to your question, I think you’d be happy with either a Weber Smokey Mountain cooker 18 inch, or a Daniel Boone Green Mountain Grill pellet smoker. Each are on the smaller side of BBQ Smokers and BBQ Pellet Grills, with just enough extra space to make food for a small family get together as needed. My brother lives in Colorado Springs and had trouble getting his Weber Smokey Mountain cooker to get hot enough and/or regulate temps. He built a wind screen for it at first which helped a ton. Then, he constructed a kind of smokehouse for it to sit in. Works great and functions as desired. You can see more on the Weber Smokey Mountain cookers here. For GMGs, you can find Colorado dealers by visiting this link: http://greenmountaingrills.com/find-a-dealer/.
I can honestly admit I hate cleaning, I think most people feel the same. You have to know, though, that keeping your pellet smoker clean is a very important task. People who designed this grill handled this task perfectly, making cleaning a much easier and quicker task.
The cleanout for both the pellets and ash is a huge perk to the grill. The patented “Easy Ash Cleanout” does not require the user to take apart the grill. Instead, they simply have to twist and dump the container. The 18lb pellet hopper is similarly an easy cleanout. The stainless steel also makes it easier to clean the grill because of the steel’s properties.
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.
Putting the list together, there were certain standards that needed to be met in order to qualify. Anyone can slap a list of smokers together by skimming a few pics and focusing on looks. But, it’s what underneath the hood that counts first, we can worry about visual appeal later. And hey, there’s some good looking smokers here too, but they also need to stand up to the heat, so to speak.
Hey Greg! Sorry so long for my reply. Man, so cool about your Yoder! I’m sure you’ll love it. Everyone I talk to who owns one loves theirs. I agree 100 Percent on pellet quality and cook time. I’ve had luck cooking at lower initial temps and ramping up after the first couple of hour. I’ve also used the A-Maze-N Tube with success.
Pellets are a unique form of natural wood. When pellets are made, all of the air within the cellular structure of the wood is evacuated, thus concentrating the wood into a very dense form, much denser than the natural tree. As compared to other wood flavor enhancers, pellets will yield a more intense smoke more quickly which seals the food, locking in natural moisture and adding smoke flavor exactly when it’s needed.
Hey John – great question. My experience is that I use maybe 8 lbs of pellets for a 7 or 8 hour cook at 275 degrees. Pellet grills are relatively fuel efficient. The brand of pellet you choose will play into this. Cost for pellets varies by manufacturer, similar to charcoal. I think you’ll find them very efficient if you’re just firing them up for high heat, shorter grilling sessions.
The Camp Chef Woodwind Pellet Grill was chosen as our sixth choice because it lacked some features found in our Top 5 picks, especially when it came to cooking flexibility. While it does offer an impressive 6-in-1 cooking experience, it lacks an auto shut-off feature, which makes it less of a “set it an forget it” kind of smoker. The grill is rather heavy, at an overall weight of 146lbs. It’s also more expensive than the rest, even though it offers similar (even less) features. It’s a decent choice if flavor is the only thing you’re looking for.
I can think of few things that will give you a solid idea of what Fast Eddy’s Pellet Cookers are capable of than a testimonial by Todd Johns of Plowboys Barbecue Team, Grand Champion of the 2009 American Royal Invitational.
In addition, the Davy Crockett Pellet Grill comes with multiple accessories. These include a meat probe, peaked lid (which is useful for large fowls and stand-up chickens), rib racks, a convenience tray as well as utensil hooks. This takes away the trouble of having to order additional parts for modification.
Once a year, or at the end of the barbecue season before you stow away your pellet grill for the winter it’s wise to give it a thorough clean. To start with fill a large plastic container with hot soapy water, and a cleaner recommended for barbecues. Remove the grill rack and chimney dome and pop them into the water to soak. Remove the foil from the drip pan and flame deflector. If there is any debris or cooking residue on them, scrape it off. Once the majority of the dirt has been removed, put them into the hot soapy water too. Clean out the grease bucket and add that to the container. With a little elbow grease scrub the parts as well as you can to remove any dirt or debris and allow them to dry. Clean out the grease shoot if your smoker has one with a stick or wooden spoon. You will be surprised how much dirt and detritus will be inside the chimney, and it is best to scrape that out too. Using a vacuum cleaner remove any dust, dirt, soot or debris from the inside of the smoker, not forgetting the firepot. Give the whole interior a wipe down with a damp rag using a natural cleanser. Make sure the temperature probe is clean and not contaminated with soot or dirt. Its next time to reassemble your pellet smoker.
Hey Kim – thank you for this. I’ve had this happen with numerous pellet smokers, including GMGs. What happens most often when it happens is that I’ve been remiss in properly cleaning the grill out after several uses (vacuuming the fire pot out). This causes the ash etc to cover up the heating rod, thus making the temperature lower than expected. The auger keeps feeding the fire pot to compensate and you get what you’ve described.
love your article and got lots of good info from it….i do have a question tho that i didnt see an answer to…..do pellet grills have to use just pellets?….i have 3 acres full of oak branches that could be shredded. my question is can a pellet grill use home shredded wood chips to burn and cook with or is it mandatory that the fuel be in the pellet state?….would be great if i could find a good use for all these fallen branches….
This entry level pellet smoker is loaded with great features and easy to find for way below list price. It has an older style notched digital controller with a dual LED read out for the included meat thermometer so you can toggle between cooking temperature and internal meat temperature. Pellet smokers are known to produce light smoke flavor. If you want more, Camp Chef’s controller includes two low temperature settings that allow the wood pellets to smolder and produce extra smoke. Although pellets don’t create much ash, it needs to be removed periodically, which is a pain on most other smokers because the greasy grates and drip pan must be lifted out to get at the burn pot. The DLX is one of the few models on the market with an ash removal system that deposits ash in a cup under the smoke box for easy disposal. Pellet smokers are outdoor ovens with smoke. They are great for smoking and roasting, not so much for searing. Some models try, with varying degrees of success, to include hot sear zones. The clever folks at Camp Chef just introduced an optional Sear Box that can reach 900°F and out sear many gas grills. Click here for the full review of the Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Smoker.
The digital PID controller gives you extremely accurate temperatures and control. While this unit doesn’t come with an integrated meat thermometer, we actually consider that a plus because if you’re spending this much on a smoker you are definitely going to want to invest in a good wireless thermometer
And how about that meat probe? An amusing name for a very useful thing. It lets you gauge the temperature of the meat inside without having to lift the lid and cool the entire grill. Massively useful and makes for really consistent cooking.