The natural pellets allow you to grill, smoke, bake or roast your favorite recipes in a healthy way. The grill comes with an easy start button, porcelain-coated grate, smoke exhaust and an EZ grease drain system for easy cleanup. The Traeger Junior Elite is a great unit for both novice and expert home chefs. It’s a compact unit that weighs in at about 70 pounds because of its steel construction.
Hey Dan – I think you’d really up your versatility with a good pellet smoker. Smoke profiles seem to depend largely on the quality of pellets used and then also on the burn consistency of the fire pot. What I mean here is that many pellet smoker users tell me that they prefer models that cycle over faster with frequent temp checks rather than those with longer wait times between temp checks. Cycling faster means that pellets burn more consistently and do not rest to a “charred” state and they “reactivate” This latter problem sometimes results in less than optimal flavor. Yoder smokers cycle very fast and are preferred by many due to this and their thicker metal construction.
The controller only comes with 9 temperature settings, so you don’t have the ability to dial in the exact temperature you want. This doesn’t mean the unit doesn’t work, you can still cook amazing food. It’s just more geared to beginners who don’t want to fuss around with temperatures
The smokers we examined had many different primary materials, and although powdered and enameled steel were the most popular, they were far from the only options. While these different materials impact ease of maintenance, we didn’t judge the quality of any smoker’s construction based on the type of materials used. We’ll go deeper into maintenance issues below.
So don’t buy a random pellet grill. This article will help you pick a good one that meets your needs and lasts for years. Check out the comparison table below and read our expert pellet grill reviews to pick the best pellet smoker for your budget and needs.
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.
Plans are in place to take this to ‘the cloud’ which will give you the ability to control the temperature from anywhere in the world – so long as your connected to the web. Great for smoking during the week whilst your at work. You can quickly log on and reduce the temperature for the final few hours of your cookout.
A. Cooking pellets depend on the amount of heat temperature used in cooking. On normal circumstances, a pound of cooking pellets should last a duration of an hour to an hour and a half when cooking at a temperature of 250 degrees in ideal conditions of no wind. When the temperatures are increased, the number of burning pellets also increase because the pellets tend to burn more quickly. In cold weather conditions, the pellets tend to burn faster that in normal or sunny weather conditions.
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.
So, if you want to do a pellet smoker cook using 100 percent cherry wood pellets, you’re going to use more fuel than you would with a cherry/hardwood blend, and it’s going to cost you more as well on average.
The round ceramic shell makes them very efficient heat retainers, making very high temperatures possible. You can get a kamado up to about 750° Fahrenheit, hot enough for a wide range of uses. They are controlled temperature-wise through vents, and when automated or used by an experienced practitioner, they can give extremely precise temperatures.
Luckily you can add on a Sear Box which attaches on to the side of your smoker and allows you to grill at temperatures up to 900°. If you find yourself grilling often, this makes an excellent addition, and turns this into a total do it all cooker.
The cooking area is 300 square inches. It is the smallest portable version of a pellet smoker from Traeger, so the cooking area is much smaller. Of course, it is not among the smallest, it still offers enough place to prepare tasty food except you can bring this grill along, like when camping.
Speaking of the app, not only does it give you the ability to adjust the temperature remotelly, you can also program in unique instructions. For example, you can set it to cook at 225° for 5 hours and then automatically change to 250° for another 4 hours.
Sometimes, the ideal pellet is something that costs a little over $1 for quality but you can still save money by buying them in bulk (like in 40 pound bags). Half a pound of pellets per hour is consumed on the smoke setting that’s about 175° Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, you can burn 2.3 pounds of pellet within an hour by setting the temperature at 450° Fahrenheit (this is an average on many of the pellet smokers mentioned above).
Most owners are crazy about their pellet cookers, but some say the flavor is different than they are used to from charcoal and gas grills, and more than one has told me they do not like the flavor because it is too mild. They are a minority.
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.
All in all, we couldn’t find a better electric smoker for the money, or even for a much higher price. It is got a high level of control, it is easy to use, it looks great and most importantly, it produces high quality smoke and flavor. What a 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!
I see a lot of opinions about Traeger not being good at maintaining a desired temperature. It is very important if we’re planning very long and slow smoking of the meat. Unless you have a time and will control the temperature.
How Pellets Work with the Grill: The pellets contain no additives save for vegetable oils that carry flavor and helps the extrusion process. They burn cleanly and with little to no ash compared to logs. As for the grills themselves, they run with electricity. When it’s plugged in and turned on, a rotating auger delivers the pellets from the hopper to the fire pot and igniter rod.
While the Traeger Lil Tex Elite does offer similar features as our top pick, such as a digital LED temperature control system and an auto-dispensing auger, there was one missing feature which we thought was necessary. This product has a smaller grilling area and lacks a removable upper rack, which gives you less grilling and prep space. I should mention that the unit does come in a bigger 700 square inch version for $200 more, as well as a smaller version that costs less. If this smoker is too big or too small for you, there are always other options available. Compared to our top pick, it’s also more expensive despite offering similar specs. Aside from that, this is a very efficient and reliable smoker.
Cooking surface – Whole 702 square inches at our disposal, which is a lot. But if this is still not enough for you, you can buy a second shelf and expand the cooking surface by extra 352 square inches. That’s the total of 1052 square inches of meat grilling or smoking space. I think when it comes to this pellet grill, you can’t complain about insufficient space.
It makes party hosting, as well as small crowd-feeding a breeze! Pellet grills are easy to use because they often come with easy temperature controls (along with other variable facilities depending from grill to grill), making it ideal for beginners who do not have prior grilling and cook-out experiences. A pellet grill is the answer to every cook enthusiasts who love to cook, but lack the knowledge and experience of skilled pit masters.
Barbecuing is supposed to be hard. It should involve chopping wood, breathing in charcoal dust, and hours upon hours to keep a constant temperature from your grill. A pit master would never subscribe to the “leave it and forget it” philosophy that a pellet smoker brings to the table, right? The best pellet smoker reviews shows that this isn’t necessarily the case.
If you prefer the convenience of gas and don’t feel like messing around with charcoal, you might opt for a gas smoker. Gas smokers use gas to heat the wood chips that you add to the appliance in order to produce smoke. The downside is that you do have to buy gas for the device, which can get costly. You can’t really beat the convenience of one of these types of smokers, however, and you will be able to use it even when you don’t have access to an electric outlet. You can even bring these camping and to outdoor events without a concern for electric outlets or bringing along a lot of charcoal or pellets.
The entire system is really a fail-safe smoking design for newbies and experts alike. The temperature can vary from a low 160 F to a stunning 500 F. It also has a really handy feature – the patented Fire Pot Cleanout system allows for an easy clean up after use.
If you’re bored with roasted turkey and want to do something different for the holidays or any time of year, a smoker is the perfect choice. It’s very easy to dry out a turkey when baking it or preparing it with other traditional methods, but a smoker will ensure that it’s so tender that all of the tasty turkey meat is falling off of the bone. Some seasonings will help produce a better flavor, but the overall smoke taste is sure to be enough to make your turkey unforgettable.
The Masterbuilt M7P 7-in-1(View on Amazon.com) is the best smoker you can currently get if you’re looking for something not too expensive and not that feature-rich. As the name suggests, this is a seven in one smoker that’s going to make all your meals taste simply delicious. One thing that makes it a winner is its large cooking space, which allows you to cook a ham and a turkey at the same time. You can even smoke burgers and steaks at very high temperatures, but also consider indirect grilling for corn on the cob and foil wrapped potatoes.
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.
This pellet smoker combines the most important features such as big grilling surface, maintaining approximate temperature and other useful options at decent price. It’s a grill for those who expect a decent equipment that is worth its money.
It really is a professional smoker with large-capacity pellet hopper action that makes all the difference on its ratings. It’s not perfect, though. It has issues with ash collection to the point that the SmokePro itself collects more ash than its ash tray or cup. You also have to hit the ash removal system hatch with a hammer to open it.
Specifications on this grill places it in the upper midsize range at 834 sq inches, with ample room to feed a hungry family. The grill boasts stainless steel, dual walled construction, and a professional oven grade gasket that minimizes most of the “leakage” you get with some pellet smokers – resulting in a bolder smoke flavor profile.
Hey Adam, between the two, I’d go with Yoder. It may take a little more time to get to temp than the Rec-Tec, but you will appreciate the build quality over the long term that comes with the Yoder brand. Heavier metal construction on the Yoder will serve you well on those longer cooks.
The Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett is a versatile, wood-pellet grill that is intended for portability. Regardless of its weight, it’s about as minimized as you can get, and takes care of business. Contrasted with more costly wood pellet barbecues, it appears to hold its own on performance, while the one of a kind Wi-Fi usefulness needs some finish.
This pellet smoker by Pit Boss offers a wide cooking surface which is 700sq inches of cast iron which can hold rather large pieces of meat or any other food for that matter. It offers a wide range of cooking temperature for you to choose from (from 180 degrees to 500 degrees Fahrenheit). Thanks to its digital control board and the standard flame boiler you can easily select your preferred cooking style. With this smoker, you do not need to have natural gas or propane to run it. This pellet smoker is versatile and durable for the fact that it is made of heavy gauge steel components. You can smoke, bake, grill, roast, braise, and barbecue with this pellet griller.
As one of the cheaper options on our list, this product holds a lot of value, despite its vulnerability to drafts and malfunctioning hardware. Many cooks like to use their own thermometers regardless of whether or not one’s provided, and it’s not an expensive replacement. The draft challenge is more of an issue, especially for users living in harsh climates, and these users may benefit more from one of our other options.
Many new developments are underway and soon will be released in the market. However, some are already with us! So here are some of the biggest things to look forward to while buying your next pellet smoker.
This is as close to perfect as you’re going to get. From smoking at lower temperatures to grilling food at higher temps, you get the best from all words, in an incredible looking package, made with quality materials that’ll last you season after season of heavy use. Let’s get into more details because there’s a lot to love here…You can read our other REC TEC grill reviews in another article.
Maybe you’ve seen some of the barbecue cooking shows on TV and thought you’d like to cook with a smoker yourself. Well, there are hundreds of smokers on the market these days, and it can be very confusing picking out the one that is just right for you. To help you make an informed decision lets look at the main types of barbecue smokers.
This grill actually came about because of an IndieGoGo campaign. IndieGoGo is a crowdfunding platform wherein interested parties on the Internet can donate money to the maker if they want his invention or service to come about. The Z Grills Wood Pellet BBQ Grill and Smoker got its $500,000 from its donators and now the previously nonexistent Z Grills Company now exists to make their wildly popular grill.
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.
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.
To your question regarding Traeger, I’ve not reviewed their grills of yet. I do know that Traeger as a company is taking steps to up their game some, as quality/reliability of their pellet grills has diminished over the last few years. The new CEO – Jeremy Andrus – they hired comes from the Skull Candy company and brought that headphone company from annual sales from less than $1 million to nearly $300 million. I know also that a few big hitters in the BBQ world are being contacted by Traeger to bring the brand back to its former prominence. You can read more about that here from the site of one of the company’s that now has an ownership interest in Traeger: http://www.trilantic.com/News_Story.aspx?StoryType=1&ID=56.
If you’re looking for the best smoker grill in this price range then it is obvious that you have a lot of love for gourmet (with plenty of cash to spare!). In this range, you can get the best of all the 4 types of smoker grills with capacities that can help you feed 10 to 15 people with ease. This range will give you some of the most high-quality smokers.
The first name to kick start our list of the best pellet grill review is the Camp Chef PG24 Pellet grill. It measures 45 inches by 21 inches by 51 inches, in dimensions. This pellet grill weighs 127 pounds and capacitates a 550 cubic inch cooking surface. It has a removable upper rack, and it comes with a stainless steel food probe. Camp Chef PG24 Pellet grill comes with an LED digital temperature control system, and has a patented down cleaning system. It can provide temperatures from 160 degrees to 500 degree Fahrenheit, and has an internal sensor.
This 30-gallon, porcelain-coated steel drum has only one vent that stays in position, creating a low-oxygen environment to help prevent flare-ups and save on fuel. This means shorter more controlled smoke sessions every time you barbecue. It’s what we call a “set it and forget it” system for barbecuers of all levels of experience.
Temperature – we’ll start from that since I believe that it is something we should pay attention from the start. This smoker is phenomenal at handling maintaining a fixed temperature. Forget about constantly monitoring the temperature, it’s completely unnecessary here. Just set the temperature and forget about control.
This smoker offers 975 sq. inches of grilling space meaning you can smoke just about anything you want. The level of versatility this offers is enormous, you can put a serious amount of meat in this thing. This alone makes it worth the $500. The two different models and sizes for this smoker, the 30-inch (730 square inches) & 40-Inch version (975 square inches), differ in price by $110. 975 inches is huge, so it is great there are smaller sizes for a little less money.
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.
Sometimes an inexpensive, less efficient pellet blend might be just fine for burgers or chicken breasts. Other times, you may want to step it up with a premium flavored pellet where whole turkeys, prime rib roasts, or a nice brisket can really shine. No matter what you read in any grouping of pellet grill reviews, know this: pellets are not all made equally. You will wind up with one or two “go to” brands over time that you simply prefer – sometimes for their efficiency (leaving little ash), others for their flavor.
This pellet grill is made of steel, and the dimensions of it are 21 x 23 x 21. It’s not huge, but it’s still ample. It weighs 70 pounds, which seems like nothing compared to the 250-pound weight of the Rec Tec. We don’t want to compare them side-by-side too much, since it does cost quite a bit less, and offers a more-than-adequate introduction to the wonderful world of backyard smoking.