Thank you so much for this very informative post!! My husband and I just bought the Traeger Select Elite Pellet Grill On Cart yesterday as a somewhat impulsive buy on a Costco shopping trip. It was the last day in the road show so I figured we could always return it if we have buyer’s remorse. Having no past experience with pellet smokers/grills, I am doing my due diligence in researching the reputation of this company and comparing to others in the market. The selling point for us with this particular Traeger grill was the ability to convert this to a built in unit by simply taking off the right side shelf. The sales rep at Costco had a picture of one that his parents had built into an attractive brick surround and we liked the option, however, after reading your post and several other sites, I am finding that Traeger may not be the best investment comparatively and with a purchase this expensive, long-term quality is extremely important to us. In staying within the same price range, I am very interested in the Rec-Tec and it’s stainless steel build. My question is, do you know if the Rec-Tec or another pellet grill @ the $1000 price point can be made to look “built-in” and if so, are there any dangers or potential problems with this.
For the best value, we’d go with the Masterbuilt M7P 7-in-1 Smoker and Grill. The unit is a really great grill with tons of versatility, high quality construction, and multiple fuel sources. Masterbuilt thought of everything on this unit, and it shows. The whole unit is well constructed, should last you a number of seasons, and is priced at a really good value for what you’re receiving. So if you’re committed to the smoking and grilling process, but want a really quality and versatile unit, you’ve found what you’ve been looking for here.
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!
So back to the Internet for one last attempt on making a decision on the smoker that is of great quality and can also fill my need grilling needs as well. I am almost sold on the Rec Tec, but I’m curious about the Grilla Grill Silverbac. It’s a little smaller than RT and metal is a gauge off from the RT. It doesn’t run off a PID system but a digital controller and is priced at $699. I do like the underneath storage of the Grilla and the second tier cooking grates.
I am the only person in the world whose full time job is testing, researching, reviewing, and rating grills and smokers. Not a bad gig! I measure temperatures, slam lids, turn dials, study warranties, kick casters, and cook a lot of food, and consider look, feel, and price. I try to select devices that cover a range of prices, endeavoring to offer you a winner at whatever you can afford. We think these selections are Best Values in their price category. The thumbnail reviews in our Top 10 Lists are in order of manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), but actual prices can differ significantly, especially since many of these items can be highly customized. Please click the red links to read our complete detailed reviews and find links to suppliers, many of whom sell well below MSRP. In addition to our Top 10 Lists, we have a huge searchable Ratings & Reviews database with hundreds of smokers and grills.
Avoid flames. – Your food should be cooked from smoke and indirect heat, not a flame. If you notice that your smoker is flaming up, you can spray the flames down with your water hose or adjust your racks so that the flames aren’t touching your food.
Like the Z GRILLS Wood Pellet Smoker, the REC TEC Grills Mini Portable Pellet Grill is capable of going up or down by 5° Fahrenheit increments, leading it to heat up from 180° Fahrenheit to 550° Fahrenheit. At full power, it can reach a temperature of 600° Fahrenheit. The mini size is enough to fit in a turkey or maybe three slabs of ribs, so that’s portability without sacrificing quality and capacity too much.
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.
Our trick is to look at the frequency of positive ratings on the web for any product, this one got a really high frequency, meaning a lot of people liked it in a short amount of time. A great indicator of reliability and quality, as well as good customer service. It got 10 positive reviews in the first 18 days, 10 more in 8 days, and 10 more in the following 16 days. That’s very positive for a charcoal burner.
With the traeger, rec-tec or cam chef smokers all seem to burn 1-2lbs per hour. But for a long 18hr brisket it seems like I will have to continue to use pellets the whole time to keep the heat in range over over 200 which will mean I am using almost a 20-40lb bag depending on the time year per smoke. This is even more expensive than the bradley seems even with the wasted briquette. IS this correct or is there something I am missing?
If you are interested in investing in a smoker to make healthy, moist and delicious meals for your family or to host huge backyard barbecues and parties, you could be feeling overwhelmed by the wealth of options that are out there. There are a few questions that you need to ask yourself to ensure that you invest in the right smoker, for example, how much do you have to spend? Are you partial to gas or charcoal, or do you prefer the ease that goes along with electric appliances?
You may have noticed a growing presence of inexpensive smokers at your hardware store. Some cheap smokers can cause disappointment and even outright exasperation. Beware, but don’t be deterred! You can get good smokers that are easy to use and produce excellent results for reasonable prices. You’ve just got to know what to look for. Let us help.
It is also worth noting that a pellet smoker made of high quality materials will perform better. High quality materials will retain heat, ensure more efficient pellet consumption, and maintain temperature better in the cold weather.
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.
Barbecue was not his first career. He earned a BA from Columbia College in Chicago and studied at the Cleveland Institute of Art and the Dana School of Music. He has been involved in every aspect of film, video and music production. He edited the 1991 Academy Award nominated documentary, “The Mark of the Maker” and “Universal Hotel”, which is part of a permanent exhibit at the Dachau Memorial Museum.
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.
Hey, Kevin great site. I am thinking on getting into Pellet Grills from Gas. I would like a Yoder but the cost is prohibitive. I see your comments about the Traeger Pro series what about the Camp Chef Woodwind with the Sear station? Price is similar to the Traeger pro and it has the 900 degree sear station. Clean out with trap door is nice.
Since we have reviewed so many top smokers 2018 and written so many guides and lists to the best smoker grills, we thought we should put together a definitive guide to Our Picks so you can choose the best in every category easily. For the top 10 product reviews in each category, take a look at our reviews page. We will provide a link at the bottom of each review.
No need to vacuum the ashes right after using the pellet grill cooker because, with the help of this product, you only need to pull the lever to release the burnt contents then get the ash cup and throw it all away!
Electric smokers are perfect for beginners. You can “set and forget” these smokers, which makes them simple to use if you aren’t into spending hours outdoors cooking. As long as you have access to an electric outlet, you just might find an electric smoker to be the right choice for you. They generally come with very simple manuals and instructions, and you can pick up your smoker and get started cooking very quickly, without worrying about messing with pellets, charcoal or gas.
Despite its steel body, the Summit Charcoal performs every bit as well as a ceramic kamado. The air insulated double-walled construction retains heat as well as a ceramic kamado, allowing it to hold a steady low temperature for smoking BBQ and easily reach 800°F for high-heat grilling. Better yet, it cools down quickly, giving you the ability to go from grilling to smoking in about 45 minutes. That’s unheard of on a ceramic kamado, which takes several hours to cool.
If you want a grill that will last for years to come it all starts with the construction of the grill. If you will be shopping in a local retail store take the time to really investigate the grill. Lift the lid to see how sturdy it is.
Red meats such as beef and pork generally have more fat content, so why not try leaner meats such as turkey or chicken. White meats can be just as tasty and have a lower fat content, and with a good marinade or rub can have a fantastic flavor.
Temperature: Most of all, you have to pay attention to whether your pellet grill maintains a chosen temperature. People buy a pellet smoker because it makes it possible to smoke meat for long at fixed low temperatures. Very convenient and simple, and a grill that always maintains a selected temperature guarantees that the meat will be perfectly cooked.
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 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.
As you have a BGE and the PBC, I think a “pellet pooper” is a great 3rd option. They’re more versatile than folks think, and you can fire them up, cook, and shut them down with a lot less effort than the other two. Great for impromptu week night cooks. Hope this input helps. – Kevin
Dating back to the early 1980s, Joe Traeger’s company first experimented with using wood pellets as fuel for a BBQ smoker as an offshoot of the home heating furnaces he was selling locally that used pellets.
With porcelain non stick grill grates cleaning this grill is quick and easy. Just rinse, wipe and store. Thanks to easy clean up you can spend more time enjoying friends and family and less time cleaning.
If you live in an area where wood furnaces are used (not like down here in FL where a few heat strips will do the trick), you may also be familiar with pellet furnaces. In short, pellets compressed from sawdust and wood shavings fill a hopper and are then fed into a burn pot using an electric auger system. The auger, which is basically a long screw, delivers pellets to the burn pot based on the speed dictated by the unit’s thermostat.
Given the huge variation in price, it is important to know what you are looking for when purchasing a pellet smoker. Running through a bit of a checklist is certainly a great way to make sure you haven’t missed anything.
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.
Although this would not work as a portable grill, it does come with built-in wheels for convenience. You can easily transfer your grill to any part of your backyard and it will stay secured in place (as long as it’s on an even surface, of course).
Up next to find its place in our pellet grill review is the REC TEC’s mini portable pellet grill. It has a 341 square inch cooking surface with 180 degrees to 550 degrees Fahrenheit temperature limit, with 5 degrees increment. But it can easily reach 600 degrees Fahrenheit in full mode. It has a satisfactory pellet hopper capacity and has folding legs. It is great for travel and movement as it is compact and small in size.
When it comes to outdoor cooking, versatility is more desirable than ever. People want to be able to use the same grill to smoke authentic BBQ ribs and sear the perfect steak. A quality smoker-grill combo should do both exceptionally well.
Before buying, please note that most pellet smokers need access to electricity to run the digital controller, the auger that transports the pellets to the firebox, and the convection fan that circulates the air in the cooking chamber. These cookers can use a lot of pellets at high temps. At high temps there is little or no smoke, and at low temps smoke is unavoidable. So if you want to cook, say, a chicken breast low and slow to retain juices, but you don’t want any smoke flavor, you’re outta luck. If you want to torch a thin burger to get a crunchy crust and add a little smokiness, you’ll get great smoke flavor, but it is hard to get the crust. But if you want killer ribs, bacon, smoked salmon, etc., pellet burners are hard to beat for convenience and quality.
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.
One Touch Non PID controllers are a lot more accurate than the previous two controllers. However, keep in mind they too deliver pellets on a fixed cycle. Because of this accuracy is limited to +/-15–20°F.
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.
When it comes to the best electric smoker, we are spoiled for choice. There were a lot to choose from on sale but this stood head and shoulders above the rest. Here’s why. For one, it is a cool looking grill. It has sleek aesthetics and a classy look. It is a grill you won’t feel embarrassed about. A real griller will see you have a proper piece of kit right here.
Mention a pellet smoker and what comes to mind is the rich taste of BBQ, better control and convenience. These are exactly what the best pellet smokers should give you. To find out the best, among the many that are out there, you must consider all the various features. A burner that can give you control, convenience, long service and great flavor for your food are just some things the best pellet smoker should have. Let’s take a look at all the factors you need to consider when making your purchase.
The hopper holds 18 pounds, and the cooking area is 429 square inches. It’s less than some units offer, more than others, and generally a pretty happy medium if you aren’t really sure how big or small to go. You can fit a couple chickens or turkeys on here, a handful of racks of ribs, a brisket or two, and more.
Choose the right wood chips. – You can choose between oak, maple, hickory and more, and each type of wood produces a different smell and a totally different flavor. Different people have different preferences, so you might want to choose a few types to see what your household prefers.
Pellets come in a variety of flavors—hickory, pecan, alder, mesquite, cherry, apple, maple, bourbon, etc., and can be mixed or changed in minutes. One 20-pound bag is sufficient for several cooks, though usage will depend on the temperature setting and weather conditions (wind and cold will increase pellet consumption). Under normal circumstances, a pellet grill will use about 1/2 pound of pellets per hour on the smoke setting and 2-1/2 pounds on high.
My cousin and I went on a rowing trip at Tonto national forest, Arizona. He got a 10 feet boat. Not much room for gear, but I insisted he take his grill along. Traeger BBQ 155.01 Bronze Tailgater Pellet Grill w/EZ-Fold Legs& Digit Thermostat is small enough to fit into that small boat along with us. He was scared his smoker might get tipped into the lake, but that first night that we set it up and smoked a whole brisket he knew it was worth the extra weight. This is the length Grills Forever will go to test all the best smoker grills in every place we can think of so you don’t have to.
The unit has a really simple ash removal system, and allows for direct and indirect cooking methods. The thermometer is built in and positioned near the crest of the unit for perfect temperature control.
I have used a pellet smoker for about five years, and looked at, or used, many different brands. I have added auxiliary smoke generators, and tried almost every way possible to create authentic BBQ on a pellet smoker— It can’t be done. When the vendors, or users, refer to subtle smoke they mean virtually no wood flavor. Do yourself a favor and try a simple test: go to a really good BBQ joint, or BBQ competition; try some of their Q and then compare it to pellet meat. There is no comparison. I wanted the pellet unit to produce good Q in the worst way because of the ease. You cannot duplicate the smoke created in a wood, or wood/charcoal firebox with compressed sawdust. It pains me to say it but it is true.