First, you have to figure out what your budget looks like. Of the pellet smokers I cover here, the Rec Tec Grill Pellet Smoker is the most economical and best overall value – with solid construction and top end electronics controls.
Compared to previous models, Woodwind comes with leg casters, a bottom shelf, blue LED screen read-out (easier to see in the sunlight), and thicker and more sturdy legs. It also has an enlarged and improved cover on the pellet hopper, stainless steel burner pot and upgraded thermometer probe placement.
Some cheaper models, such as the Brinkmann, have a controller with only three settings, Low, Medium, High (LMH), and there is no temperature probe in the oven to create a feedback loop. We do not recommend these units. You actually have less control over temp than you do on a gas or charcoal smoker. The whole reason to buy a pellet grill is because it is set-it-forget-it and it hits a temp and holds it regardless of the ambient air temp outside, winter or summer. On these LMH controllers, the temp fluctuates widely and it cannot correct itself for the weather. They just aren’t as smart as a digital device. Whether you’re smoking a few slabs of ribs on a scorching summer day, or six pork butts during a blizzard, the three position controller only knows auger on and off times for Low, Medium, and High. It has no information on the temperature inside the cook chamber.
I have put together the best pellet grill review of the top 10 pellet grills in the market today. Mind that this list was not just put together in a jiffy; all the names in this list have been carefully picked and chosen through strict inspection on performance, ratings and consumer preferences. Let’s take a look at the pellet grill review I have for you:
The Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett smoker lets you get more than what you paid for. At a surprisingly low price, you get to have tons of great features that are sure to elevate your BBQ experience. For its price, we were quite surprised to see that it satisfied most of the features on our list. We tested over fifty products, and even the expensive ones were no match for this product.
Hey Pete, first thanks for your kind words. Traeger pellet grills fell off a bit quality wise over the past several years. That said, they’ve hired a new CEO – formerly from the Skull Candy Head Phone company – who brought that company’s valuation up considerably. I see them making moves to get back to their roots… aligning themselves with some of the more well known names in BBQ again. From a build quality, they’re making solid pellet grill bodies using fairly heavy steel. The area I’d like to see them improve on is the controllers they use. Right now, GMG is making great strides in claiming some of the entry level pellet smoker market share away from Traeger. This is due to a superior PID controller, advances in built in Wi-Fi monitoring, and outstanding customer service.
BBQr’s Delight pellets are made of 100% of the flavor of the wood that is indicated on the package. Jack Daniel’s Smoking Pellets are made from the used mellowing charcoal from the distillery, pulverized and mixed with sawdust then pelletized. Savory Herb is oak sawdust with leafy oregano, rosemary and thyme mixed in before pelletizing. The 14 flavors of the flavor pellet line are available online in one pound bags.
A pellet grill is similar to an oven in that it needs to maintain a consistent temperature to be effective. If you want your brisket to be tender the temperature has to stay around 250°F for a 12 hour period.
Because they burn wood, pellet smokers are popular in BBQ competitions and they have been winning top prizes at many of them. Fast Eddy Cookshack Smokers have won the top prize at numerous competitions, enough to make some traditionalists cry foul and try to get them disqualified. They’re too easy, opponents claim.
Well, to be honest, the cons are only a problem for novices. These grills are for someone who wants to perfect the craft of smoking and after some experimenting you will be grilling with the best of them. I faced the same problems too when I tried a charcoal smoker for the first time. But after some practice I was grilling with the best of them. Check out my guide on how to set up a charcoal grill for smoking in just 5 steps.
Most pellet smokers have a flat drip plate under the cooking grate that diffuses heat and catches grease and gunk. Louisiana uses a curved “Arched Flavor Guard” that mirrors the shape of the lid. It claims that this design presents a larger surface for meat drippings to sizzle and enhance flavor. The Flavor Guard also has a section over the fire pot that can slide out of the way to expose large, slotted openings, which allow meats to sear over open flame.
Many people use their smokers solely for preparing meats, but they are great for preparing vegetables as well. Whether you’re prepping them as a side dish for your grilled meats or want to make them the main event, smokers are great for giving them a delicious smoky flavor. Smoked potatoes, peppers and onions are delicious as a side dish or a topping to your favorite grilled foods, but you can experiment with other delicious veggies as well. Adding a bit of seasoning can help bring out the flavor of your produce, but you shouldn’t have to add much; the low, slow process and the delicious smoky taste is sure to be the main flavor profile of your newly grilled vegetables.
Typically, most portable grills would give up certain features just to maintain their portability, but this wood pellet grill from Traeger actually had more than what high-end grills have to offer. Out of all of our features, it managed to tick 85% off the list. Its digital controls, versatile cooking features, and decent cooking space (perfect for outdoor adventures) all make it our best portable pick.
It has all the features you will find in the Camp Chef PG24DLX model. They include Ash cleanout system, Smart Smoke Technology and Grease management system. All these features make using the pellet grill and cleaning it significantly easier.
In smoke mode the controller is no longer controlled by the thermometer, it merely switches the pellet feeding auger on and off. On time is 15 seconds, off time ranges from 45 seconds at P0, to 165 seconds at P15. Temp and smoke are controlled by the duration of off time: the auger always runs at the same speed. More smoke is produced at higher P settings and lower temp settings because longer off times allow the pellets to smolder. At P0 in smoke mode or “High” in cook mode the auger replenishes the pellets at a faster rate, creating more flame, less smoke.
One-Touch Non-PID Controller – Featuring a LCD display and one-touch buttons for setting the cooking temperature in 5° or 10° increments, these controllers allow you to more accurately set a desired cooking temperature. However, like multi-position controllers, they use fixed cycles for delivering pellets and so are limited in accuracy to +/-15–20°F. These controllers may have inputs for meat probes that monitor the internal temperature of food.
As we’ve already said temperature control is the key to getting a moist succulent piece of meat. This pellet smoker comes with a built-in thermostatic control with a digital thermometer, so you can exclude any guesswork while barbecuing. If the temperature sensors detect a drop-in temperature they feed more wood pellets into the burner. This allows you to place your meat on the grill and then let the smoker do the work while you relax.
SEAR BOX – 16,000 BTU stainless steel burner can heat up all the way to 900 degrees F. The burner runs on propane and has a separate automatic ignition. Great feature that makes this grill stand out among other pellet grills at this price. Great for finishing cooking our food.
Using their trademarked Smart Grill Technology, Rec Tec have managed to give you a wide array of temperatures, with precision control of 5 degrees. From 180ºF to 500ºF, and whether you’re looking for a low and slow cook that’ll keep your neighbors jealous and salivate all day, or you want to bang out something more quickly at a higher temperature, you’re covered, with one unit.
So if you need a portable pellet grill , consider this one ( especially if you really like Traeger products ). The foldable legs allow to easily bring it along anywhere you want. A small downside might be the price, but it makes up for it with a pretty big cooking area for a portable pellet smoker.
A protected burner drum is a bizarrely rare feature. It reduces the amount of fuel used and ensures an even temperature inside the grill, giving you much more consistent cooking. This grill has one and it works very well.
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.
It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about pellet grills, pop songs, or pizza, everyone always wants to know which is the best. While that might seem like a fairly straight forward question, there is no simple one-word answer. Is the best pellet grill the most popular one made by the best-known brand? Is it the most expensive one with the most advanced features and high-end bells and whistles? Is it the one that offers the best combination of price and performance? Really, the answer depends on you, your means, and your needs. Or, put another way, maybe the question shouldn’t be what’s the best pellet grill? but what’s the best pellet grill for you?
The Elite is the largest cooker in Memphis Wood Fire Grills’ impressive line of luxury pellet smokers. They’re extremely well designed and well built. The top-grade 304 stainless steel is thick and extraordinarily well machined. Fit and finish are impeccable. Meathead proclaims Memphis smokers to be “some of the best cookers [he’s] ever had the pleasure to use.” At $4,600, the Memphis Elite is clearly not in everyone’s budget, but this beast is impressive enough for us to include in our 2016 Top 10 Luxury Grills and Smokers list, where prices go up to $50,000.
As a guide, a pellet grill with a 40 pound hopper will give you around 40 hours of cooking time at standard smoking temperatures. Considering some cooks take around 20 hours, an 18 pound hopper, for example, is going to be problematic.
Camp Chef have quite a pedigree, they have been making really good, affordable and high-end grills and smokers for a quarter of a century, going from strength to strength. This is another of their great smokers, the 24″ Smoke Vault packs a serious punch for a remarkably decent sale price.
The bottom line? We now have several pellet grills at Barbecue University and some students love them. Of course, there are still a lot of purists (or masochists) out there who insist on burning charcoal or wood.
As we had hoped, it is not a complicated beast. It is easy to clean and there aren’t any little spaces fat could accumulate and turn nasty. A quick wipe down with hot soapy water and a rinse and you’re done. Couldn’t be easier.
In searching for a good video review of this smoker I actually came across two of them. The first video is from MAK Grills themselves but is hosted by Jonathan Martinez (JM) of CelebrityGrills.com. He does a great job of highlighting some of the innovative features MAK Grills brings to the table.
A smoker is designed to cook even the toughest cuts of meats at a low temperature over a longer period of time. It uses smoke to cook your meat and often maintains a temperature between 225 and 275 degrees, which allows it to break down tough connective tissue. As the fat on your meat melts, it keeps your food nice and moist so that it becomes more tender. It also gets a delicious smoky flavor that can’t really be mimicked with any other style of cooking.
The digital elite controller makes setting up this grill as easy as turning on your oven. The controller will maintain a precise temperature within 20 degrees and will allow you to cook low and slow or as fast as you want at a maximum temperature of 450 degrees. You can read our full Traeger Junior Elite Pellet Grill Review here.
As for the grill itself, it is sizeable, coming in at 560″. This is enough space to be able to grill a party’s worth of food. You don’t have to of course, you could cook any amount you like in this versatile pellet smoker. It is well designed, having a table for cooked meat and a table for uncooked, helping you stay food poisoning free! Camp Chef have a good reputation and this is why.
Mo’s Smoking Pouch is essential for gas grills. It is an envelope of mesh 304 stainless steel that holds wood chips or pellets. The airspaces in the mesh are small enough that they limit the amount of oxygen so the wood smolders. Put it on top of the cooking grate, on the burners, on the coals. It holds enough wood for about 15 minutes for short cooks, so you need to refill it or buy a second pouch for long cooks like pork shoulder and brisket. Meathead says his has survived more than 50 cooks and he likes it better than the smoker tubes.
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.
If you’re looking at a grill made with powder coated steel, make sure that it is a very high quality coating. As soon as the paint blisters and chips, your cooker will start to rust and these components will deteriorate.
There are no food probes with this controller as there are on the MAK Pellet Boss, and the controller is mounted to the surface with two screws and no gasket so I fear rain could get into the electronics, but after more than a year of sitting out without the cover in rain and snow, the controller on the IPT I tested is still working fine. Ortech recommends covering your smoker.
He dropped the name Noah Glanville and asked if I have heard his name. I said, “no.” My friend was excited to tell me that he fought in the same place in Iraq where Noah Glanville was. And Noah is the maker of the best charcoal smoker in the USA!
The Davy Crockett comes with a PID controller that runs off of a WiFi enabled app. The app can also be used to monitor the internal meat thermometer and turn the heat down once the meat reaches the target temperature.
Works best when using cheaper cuts of meat, that need to be cooked for a long time at a low temperature. This allows the connective tissue in the meat to break down, making the food tender moist and flavorsome. Smoking relies more on indirect or radiant heat to cook the foodstuffs rather than flames, and works at a much lower temperature, the formation of HCAs is far less of an issue. The heterocyclic amines are present but in much lower concentrations. The smoke you get from the wood being used in the smoker can be the source of harmful chemicals. These are the same chemicals that add the pleasant smell from the wood to the meat. The compounds are called polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and are a known carcinogen. These PAHs are present in a wide variety of commercially made processed and cooked meats but have higher concentrations in meat that has been home-smoked.
Versatility – Cook and bake like on a regular grill or braise and sear meat at low temperatures for many hours. All of that is possible with this one grill, additionally the food is enriched with a wood-fired taste.
To cook food using a pellet grill, put the pellets into a hopper. When you turn it on, the igniting rod will burn pellets in the fire. The motor-driven auger will then supply the fire pot with pellets from the hopper. The ratio that auger delivers pellets to fire pot depends on the settings you control. If you set it at a high temperature for a longer period of time, the auger will keep on feeding the fire pot with pellets. However, if you are slow-cooking and set a low-temperature one, the feeding and delivery of pellets will also slow down.
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.
Good info above. A couple added notes. LG (Louisiana Grills) and Pit Boss are both owned by a company named Dansons. I’ve had good success with both the LG Competition Blend and Pit Boss Competition blend. Some bags have been a bit dusty, other bags just fine. My current bag of LG Hickory has very few fines, less than either of the CookinPellets bags I’ve tried. (not to ding CP, they’re good, but use CamelCamelCamel.com to monitor Amazon prices and alert you when they bring the price down.