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Excellent article, but I have an off beat question. What about cleanup and maintenance of the pellet smokers you have reviewed? Is anyone better or easier for ash cleanup? I have a friend who has Yoder and his only complaint is the amount of time and complexity of cleaning up the pellet ash. Thank you in advance.
Flavor – another advantage, pellet burners have a great influence on the flavor of your food. With use of good quality hard wood pellets you create smoke that gives your food a characteristic wooden flavor.
It lowers its temperature by 5° Fahrenheit Increments by lowering the feed rate of the pellets and raises the temp by increasing the feed rate. As for thermostatically controlled grills, the thermostat cycles heat on and off like with the refrigerator as required by your given setting. Some digital temperature controls are so advanced they even include a WiFi setting.
Many of the rest of the manufacturers have come to the grill industry having first built home heating devices that burn pellets. This is a technology particularly popular in the Northeast and Northwest, but selling furnaces is seasonal, so they all seem to be making grills on the side now.
Hey Boyd! Thank you for the post. Your process is pretty much what I do with our GMG. I do hit it with Simple Green every other month or so. Just to get the grease and stuff mucked out and cleaned up. Thanks so much for commenting, sir! Stop by often!
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.
Do some research and find out how many pounds of pellets per hour the smoker burns. Anything up to a pound per hour, at smoking temperatures, is OK. For example, Bruce Bjorkman of MAK claims that his barbecues only use about ½ a pound per hour on the smoke setting.
First, we are just like you. We love smoking and grilling. We were once novices like you, but now, through years of practice and research we are the genuine kings of the grill. We have our own favorites like the Camp Chef pellet grill and we want you to find your favorite too.
As such, if you don’t see one of your favorites listed here and would like to offer up a review – please contact me via any of the social media links at the top of this blog’s sidebar, and we’ll see about getting a post up.
Whether you are new to the scene or a long-time grillmaster, everyone has unique preferences when it comes to their cooking method of choice. From propane to charcoal to wood, people take their method of grilling quite seriously, and some argue quite passionately about the pros and cons of each method.
It’s made from heavy gauge steel, feels very durable, and should last you for many, many years if you take good care of it and maintain it. One point of contention is that the hopper could be a bit bigger, some have said it holds around 10 pounds. That’s not horrible, and filling it isn’t some horrible task or anything, but it’s worth pointing out that it could stand to be a bit larger.
All this talk of carcinogens can be scary stuff, but it should not get you too alarmed. First off, these chemicals are not found in very high concentrations, and secondly very few of us are eating grilled or smoked meat for every meal. Enjoying a smoked pork shoulder or a grilled burger once in a while is not likely to increase your risk of contracting cancer by any measurable degree. However, if you are gravely concerned about making sure you eat as healthily as possible there as some simple things you can do to reduce this minimal risk even more.
Aside from coming with porcelain-coated grills that are non-stick in quality, the product comes with an ash cleanout system which makes it easy for you to simply dump the ash and get started on your next cooking.
I purchased a Traeger Lil Tex 22 yesterday. I “grilled” a whole chicken. It overshot the temperature by nearly a hundred degrees which wasn’t a bad way to crisp up the bird but I was afraid it was going to melt itself down so I shut it down. I was up by 5 this morning to smoke a pork butt for pulled pork sandwiches. My wife’s family is coming over for dinner tonight and time being a concern I fired up the “smoker”. It snowed 12 inches last night so the next hour I was shoveling my walks. Imagine my surprise when I checked on the Traeger and it had shut itself off . The meat was colt to the touch. I read through the instructions to make sure I started it up correctly and I did. I removed the meat and restarted the smoker. It smoked for awhile then quit. The temperature never got above 140. I called Traeger technical support twice and each rep gave me a different answer as to why it wasn’t working. After 3.5 hours I gave up on the Traeger for a more conventional method. I purchased the Traeger for the the set and walk away feature. It let me down!! It is 34 degrees outside today so I will wait until it warms up to try again. Should it fail me again I will sell it for scrap! So far I am not impressed. My wood smoker takes time but it is reliable.
Your choice of pellet can also dictate how much cleanup you’ll have to deal with (even though generally 10 pounds of pellets can produce at most half a cup of ash, but this varies from pellet variant to pellet variant). Just be warned that when the temperature is high, there’s not much smoke happening, so you need to smoke out your meats at lower temperatures to get that smoky flavor.
The Camp Chef ticks all the boxes you would expect from a pellet grill at this mid price point. You’ll enjoy the set it and forget it style cooking, clean flavor and minimal ash to clean up. All of the main parts are built with heavy gauge stainless steel and feel sturdy.
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 Davy Crockett gives you far more temperature control than many other pellet smokers. Using the manual control panel you can make 5 degree adjustments. And if you want to really dial it in you can use the app to make one degree adjustments.
Hey Larry, that’s a good question. I know there are products on the market that can utilize sawdust as a sit on the grates in a metal container method. But yeah, would be interesting to see if this could be modded into a pellet smoker’s burn pot area somehow.
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.
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.
Along with the ease and variety that a pellet grill affords you, the great news is that pellet grills might actually be healthier for you! The National Cancer Institute has stated that certain methods of cooking meat (such as charcoal grilling) can increase one’s risk of cancer. Wood pellet grilling could potentially have a lower risk of cancer when compared to other forms of grilling as some people say that it leads to the creation of fewer carcinogens. (However, research is still underway and over-consumption of any grilled meats could increase one’s cancer risk).
Core performance examines how well a smoker smokes. The smoker’s ability to retain heat and maintain an even temperature are both crucial for turning out good food. The quality of food from a smoker depends on how close the food is to heat source and how regular that heat source remains.
You should consider the temperature range of what you will be cooking mostly before choosing the desired pellet smoker, to avoid choosing one that is not fit cooking foods of higher temperature. Pellet smoker with higher temperature range are better that those with low temperature range because they can cook more foods with different styles of cooking.
Let’s start with the easy stuff and work from there. There are more than one type of smoker grills and they all have their own pros and cons. In the next few pages I’ll explain what I found out about each one.
Hey Todd – what pellet grill do you have? Also, by short cooks, how long are you talking? Have you looked at the burn pot? If it’s overfilled, you may need to vacuum it out, along with the interior of the cooker. Then, put 10 or so pellets into the burn pot and start it up again. See if that helps. There should not be much if any ash in the food chamber area or on the food. At least not in my experience.
This bullet-shaped smoker is in vogue, and there are many similar, cheaper models available. The difference between this and the knock-offs, however, comes down to manufacturing quality. Between the materials and the limited warranty, it’s a very safe investment. Although the size may be a hindrance for buyers with limited outdoor space, it’s great for serious smoker fans who want a product that can handle anything, up to and including a turkey.
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.
At Grills Forever, we are passionate about outdoor cooking. We don’t just tell you things we’ve read rather we go the extra mile, making us the go-to team for all your smoker grill needs. Throughout our journey from four BBQ novices to barbecuing experts, we have developed some of the best strategies for picking a pellet grill and testing it before recommending it to our audience.
As with all pellet smokers, there’s a lot to like, and a few things that can be improved, but as far as compact portable grills go, there’s very few available on the market, therefore the GM Davy Crockett is our top pick of a rather short list.
Although it took quite some time for this product to receive its first ten positive reviews, the review rate quickly picked up. After over 200 days, it already gained 20 five-star reviews, which is a great accomplishment for any grill. We checked out comments online and found that they were mostly positive.
Hello Mark! Thanks for commenting here. The Kalamazoo Hybrid Grill looks like a BEAST! If you can swing it, I’d go for it. I truly enjoyed cooking on the Memphis Grill, which is to date the most high end pellet grill I’ve used. It offered a nice blend of professional grade convection with the wood fire taste of the pellets. The Kalamazoo hybrid really does seem to offer one step beyond with the addition of charcoal and wood chunks. I see that Derrick Riches of About.com stands behind the Kalamazoo brand. You’re hard pressed to get a better endorsement of a grilling product than that! Keep me posted at kevin@bbqbeat.com and let me know how your search goes! 🙂
Thanks for the great information and the research you did. I am a retail store owner in Boise, Idaho area and we sell a pellet grill smoker in our store. I would like to encourage to look at the Sawtooth Pellet Grill. It is made local here and is American Made. It is an excellent grill for the price with an awesome company backing it. You can find their website at sawtoothpelletgrills.com. Again thanks for the information and if you do another publication regarding pellet grills, I would love to see what your opinion of the Sawtooth would be 🙂
Summer has almost come around again and I am excited for the first night, where the air is still warm and the sky is clear. The sound of friends laughing and joking mingle in the air with the smell of the promise of a perfect meal. Thanks to the King of Pellet Smoker Grills, my summer is going to rock.
If you want to take the work out of smoking meats and focus on flavor, this smoker could be a good fit. This digital smoker uses and electrical heating system augmented by woodchips for flavor, essentially combining a smoker with an oven.

Bigger isn’t necessarily better, especially if you’re just paying for space you never use. The best pellet grill is the one that suits your needs. For an average size family, a pellet grill with a primary cooking area of 450-500 square inches should be sufficient. Singles and couples can go smaller, while larger families and those who like to entertain should consider larger pellet grills.
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.
However, does the grill match its success story? It does because the reason it got funded is because of its many features. It can do many of the things a Traeger can but it somehow lowers its cost-effectiveness even more than the economical innovator of the pellet smoker industry.
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.
Novices: Do you consider yourself a novice with a smoker grill? If so have no shame, in fact, look at me, I started as a novice too! Realistically, no one becomes a geek in 2 weeks of studying or research. So as a beginner you must look for an easy to use smoker grill. Well, the primary concept of a pellet smoker lies in its easy to use features. Set it and forget represents the motto and the main aspect you crave, right?

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