On Tabletop Models: I didn’t include them here because though extensive, this post is more of an overview of a few select makers of Pellet Smokers I think do a fine job with both manufacturing and product support. The one exception is that I did include a link to where you can find the Rec-Tec mini. That’s Rec-Tec’s answer to the smaller, tabletop or tailgating models.
Arguably the best value overall, it’s a great middle-point between both of the best pellet grills we’ve featured thus far. It’s not overkill, but it’s got plenty of room and some very useful features.
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.
The PK Grill has become one of our favorite charcoal grills. Designed in 1952, the rectangular shape is easy to set up in 2 heat zones, it can easily be used as a smoker, the cast aluminum body is indestructible, airflow is easy to manage, and there is plenty of room under the hood. It is especially good at steaks, chops, and burgers.
Pellet grills are versatile. You can barbecue, smoke, roast, grill (sort of—more on that below), and even bake or braise in a pellet grill. At BBQ University, we have used them to cook everything from crisp chicken wings to braised short ribs to smoked pork chile verde and crème brulee.
Like other pellet smokers you dial in different pre-set temperature settings on the thermostatic controller. You can choose between 175 – 400, as well as several other pre-sets like “High”, “LO Smoke” and “Hi Smoke”. You can easily hold at an ideal smoking temp of 225-250° consistently for many hours.
The perfect way to prepare pulled pork is in a smoker; this is because the smoker will break down even the toughest cuts of pork and make them so moist that they practically melt in your mouth. You can add salt, pepper and other seasonings to your pork, and you can add on a tasty barbecue sauce after they’re done. Otherwise, you can just shred the flavorful, moist meat and eat it as-is.
Make sure the pellet you choose come with a satisfactory cleaning facility. Look out for pellet hopper spoons or shovels that are used to put in and pick out the pellets. Almost all pellet grills come with a drip pan to collect liquids drips: oils, juices, sauces from the food on the grill. Make sure it comes in a good size as well.
The external structure is a mix of steel and cast iron, depending on the item. The charcoal base is a cast iron box for holding the briquettes. The cast iron concentrates and focuses the heat transfer more directly into the meat above, rather than losing some of the heat you’ve built up out the sides of the unit. The grates are also cast iron, but with a nice porcelain feeling.
I echo the recommendations for Cookin Pellets, but I like their Perfect Mix. Blend of hard maple, hickory, apple and cherry. All 100% wood. Nice balanced smoke profile, not quite as heavy as 100% hickory.
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.
While the Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Pellet Grill is compatible with most iOS and Android devices, I want to stress, check the compatibility of your device with the grill before purchasing because it would suck to buy this grill only to find out that this feature is not compatible. Also, if you do not plan on using the grill on some elevated surface, the legs are not tall so the grill sits close to the ground. Regardless, this is a GREAT smoker: your meat will come out tender and juicy with that authentic BBQ taste we all love! Neither of these cons effect the quality of your BBQ and both can be worked around.
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.
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.
Newer pellet smokers have more features and can typically be set at a certain temperature and left alone while your food is being cooked. They are eco-friendly, and the taste that they produce is smooth and tasty although not as strong as the smoky flavor that charcoal smokers can produce. You can also switch up the flavor by buying different types of pellets.
If you have an older smoker and need a lot of physical maintenance like changing the hopper and the digital control, then changing those two parts may not help. These two changes may cost you $200 – $250 and with a rusty hopper, you will continuously lose the smoke you produce. This is not safe for your health, so in this situation, you should definitely opt to get a new pellet smoker grill.
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.
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!
A. pellets can easily be affected by humidity and moisture, making the user to be very careful when storing the pellets. A dry place with extremely no moisture or humidity is conducive. Moisture and humidity can cause difficulty or no lighting of the pellets when one is cooking. The pellets can hence swell causing jam in the cooking grill.
Before you buy, remember, pellet smokers need access to electricity. Maintenance is also an issue. There are moving parts on these grills. Moving parts eventually break. There is an auger with a motor, and a fan with a motor. There are proprietary electronics systems on these babies. Augers clog. Motors burn out. Electronics have bugs or fail. Especially when exposed to rain, snow, hot, and cold. When they fail, will the manufacturer have a replacement part?
The zest for barbequing is growing every year with more and more BBQ lovers venturing into the mystery of the myth-laden empire of smoking. We have spent years encouraging the outdoor cooking buffs to embrace pellet smokers, and until now, our efforts have brought about fruitful results.
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.
If you plan on taking your smoker with you on trips, this is a great choice. It comes apart easily for quick setup and teardown. The aluminum materials are far lighter than any steel competitors, too. Those same materials also make it tougher than many similar smokers. The manufacturers claim it smokes like one of the popular egg-shaped grills. However, since it doesn’t use porcelain, it’s much more durable.
You can get anything from electric to charcoal in this price range and the variety of options is vast here. If you are a beginner with a lot of cash to spare then this range will offer everything that you need to fall in love with American Gourmet. Authentic BBQ with capacities that can cook above 8 stacks of ribs at once is what this price range offers.
This mid-range smoker definitely relies a lot on hype to make a sale. That said, while it isn’t much to look at, it does seem to work extremely well during the first few seasons of use. Upkeep is the biggest concern. If you don’t have an extremely safe, dry place to store this big cooker, you’ll be throwing away a sizeable investment within the first year or two.
A good spring cleaning of your pellet smoker is going to take a little elbow grease. Remember to use non-toxic degreasers and cleansers like Simple Green. We use it at our house as we, like the author of this article, have dogs who seem to love to be around the process of cleaning a pellet smoker.
The cooking surface isn’t huge – just 560 square inches – which is a serious drawback. However, with the pellet and hopper system, you’re free to start the smoker, set the temp, turn on the hopper, and go get a drink and wait for the meat to be done. Temperature spikes are controlled and managed by the hopper. The hopper does hold a sizable 18 pounds of wood pellets, which should do a full smoking job pretty well.
So Kevin here is where you come in. Been wanting to make getting consistent Q on the table regularly and easily. Been looking at pellet poopers for about 5 years now and decided to take the plunge. Had already done enough looking a few years ago Traeger’s issues had scared me off. Several friends had them and raved but always mentioned problems. I decided from my work I don’t want to be buying someone’s, ‘we know the problems and are fixing them’ if you can find something solid for similar cost. Yoder and FEC were pretty much my finalists. So I was doing my final thoughts and found your article.
The online research, the model comparisons, the pricing—choosing the right pellet grill can be challenging, so much so that, by the time you settle on a grill, choosing smoker pellets often becomes an afterthought. While some people simply default to the wood pellets sold by their pellet grill manufacturer, too many others settle for the cheapest pellets available. Because, really, how much difference can the pellets make? A lot, actually.
We bring you the best BBQ product reviews, recent news, and delicious recipes to help you finally impress your friends and family with an awesome barbeque. We’re here to help you every step of the way.
The ratio of the price to all of the above – I am perfectly aware that for those less demanding there will be a cheaper pellet grill for few hundred dollars less that will still be great for grilling delicious food without any extra features that have to be paid for with good money.
Best of all, with a pellet grill, you can “smoke” your food at a very low temperature to create fall-of-the bone tender items like ribs or ham. This gives you a huge range of options when it comes to the types of meals you can prepare with your grill. You certainly will not be limited to just burgers and dogs! Think Cornish game hens, smoked turkey legs, lamp chops, smoked salmon, fish tacos, pot pie, and even pizza or cornbread. Some people even use their pellet grill to make desserts such as cookies or bread pudding.
Loved the article and read the entire thing. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such an in-depth piece to help the rest of us out. With that said, I now want one of each!! It’s really so difficult to purchase one without being able to compare the taste side by side for each. We also just bought one of the Traeger’s on the last day of a Costco show. We have LOVED the taste, and aren’t looking back, from a pellet perspective that is. However, we’ve already had a couple of issues that concern me from a longevity and a safety perspective. So we’re going to return it, and ‘upgrade’ to something more substantial. I was leaning pretty hard toward Yoder, and then after reading the article, the Memphis really intrigued me (could have something to do with being born there, and raised on southern pulled pork). And then, Fast Eddy came into the picture. Any advise on how to make a decision without being able to conduct taste comparisons, which is really the most important thing. (We’ve been smoking a brisket and pork shoulders every week, with the occasional steak and veggies. So we’d like something that does both smoking and grilling, so both important, with the smoking component being the feature we’ll use a bit more of.)
Hey Ben – thank you for your comment. From a retail user standpoint, I think you’d be happy with either a Yoder or FEC. I really like the PG 500 for the purpose that you’re looking at. Best of both worlds it seems the more I’m looking at it. You can see how they approach grilling steaks in this video. You can incorporate the use of GrillGrates in either pellet grill. Both companies make their units in the USA. Both have great reputations. I’m just partial to Cookshack’s pellet smokers over Yoder as I know more folks who use them.
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:
I always encourage consumers to get to know a little bit about a brand and company before purchasing a product from them. What differentiates a smart consumer from a consumer is preparedness. Get to know about the company history, its commitment to consumers, its consumer service, after-sales services and warranty. It is also a great idea if you can go through consumer ratings and reports the company’s pellet grill review before buying it. Do not just fall for intelligent marketing and chic packaging. Get you facts checked; remember it is your hard earned money on the line.
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.
If you get it that BBQ is more than burning hotdogs on a propane grill, you could likely benefit from The BBQ Beat podcasts. Kevin interviews the best Pitmasters in the country. They share their knowledge, stories, and experiences. There is something to be learned in each podcast. So if you’re serious about your bbq, check out these podcasts. They are time well spent.
Electricity causes the auger to start pushing pellets into your burn pot and begins to heat up the glow rod until it’s red-hot, which in turn ignites the pellets in the burn pot. Air is pushed into the burn pot via the holes you see around it – allowing for a maximum efficiency burn.
There is no party like a backyard grill and BBQ party on a hot summer weekend with some good music on the back, and of course the centerpiece: the food. You see, food is a universal language. It is a way to say how much you appreciate and care for one another; a way to people’s hearts. And there is nothing more comfortable, warm and heart than some good old open grill and BBQ cooking on your pellet grill. And this is the reason you need an expert pellet grill review.
The construction and the elements – REC TEC Pellet grill are an investment for years, safe from corroding. Most of competitive grills look pretty on the outside and the manufacturers claim they are made of stainless steel. The truth is, only the outside part of the grill is stainless. The steel on the inside is different, and major parts are made of materials of poorer quality.
Is it common to have a lot of ash blowing throughout these pellet smokers? I thought it was supposed to be minimal ash and that it’s supposed to stay in the firepot. I noticed after two short cooks I have ash everywhere. The pellets are Perfect Mix from cookingpellets.com, but by “perfect mix” I don’t think they mean to mix ash from their product with your BBQ. Also, didn’t put off a lot of smoke, and really couldn’t taste any smoke at all.
True blooded grill sweethearts out there might value this item. It is a minimized, full-included pellet barbecue that can take care of their grilling needs. You may need the item that accompanies all that you may require. When you have warmed it up, you can anticipate a perfect temperature and warmth in view of what you have chosen. Much the same as when you have found a reasonable latte machine for you, you would feel pleased with yourself for picking an extreme item that stays aware of your needs. Another element you may acknowledge in the item is that can keep the correct temperature all through the barbecuing or cooking process—regardless of whether you burn, grill, smoke or prepare. The cooking instrument is an exact griller that won’t make you stressed over any temperature variance. So whether you are an amateur or a pit ace, you might need to investigate this item that can take your grilling to the following level.
Although the accessories that come with a smoker shouldn’t be the sole selling point, they can help make your unit a lot more handy. For example, some smokers even have grills attached to them, and some have racks that make it easy for you to hang up your grilling tools. Many come with covers that can help you preserve them longer and that can help them withstand the elements. Comparing the accessories and features of each unit can help you come to the right decision.
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.
My new Yoder YS480 is being delivered today. Great size for the home smoker. I chose the Yoder after talking to a couple of buddies that have them and tasting their smoked meats. Living 30 miles away from the factory doesn’t hurt either.
Before you hit the barbecue store down the street, take a few minutes and read our list below. We don’t claim to know everything about smokers, but we’ve been smoking meat for a while, and, when it comes to finding the right smoker, we’re pretty experienced. After you’ve thought through the questions above, check out our picks and then make a choice based on what’s best for you.
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.