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Stick burner vs Pellet… it’s time tending the fire question for me. Pellet poopers are way less work, but you can up your smoke or lower it with a great deal more variability with a stick burner. If you have the money, I’d go Yoder.
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.
I am glad your review of the Rec Tec included commentary on the accuracy and performance of the temperature controller. I would have liked to read similar comments about the other five grills in your reviews because this is such an important feature.
The first two columns are must haves. This includes heavy-duty materials to hold heat and stand up to the elements (whether it’s smoking in the cold or not rusting out). The third column is a set of options. Not necessary, but bonus if they make the list.
The argument against bark is that it can cause an inconsistent burn and produce excessive ash. Again, consider a log on a fire. Because they have different compositions, the bark and hardwood burn at different rates and produce different amounts of heat. Furthermore, bark doesn’t burn cleanly, it creates more ash than the hardwood. When that ash builds up, it interferes with your grill’s ability to accurately read the temperature, causing large swings. If too much of that ash builds up in the fire pot, it can cut off the oxygen and snuff out the fire.
Have you ever heard the name Noah Glanville? My friend fought in Iraq as a Gunnery Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps. We were gossiping in a local pub with beer and having smoked ribs. I was telling him all about my quest for the perfect smoker grill.
“I have tried out many grills in my lifetime, but I’m yet to come across one that matches the features on the REC TEC Grills Bull RT-700. My family cookouts were a disaster considering each of our three previous grills came with an issue. For starters, some of the grills did not use stainless steel making them less durable, and the meat probes weren’t inbuilt. However, this REC TEC Grills Bull RT-700 review will showcase all there is to admire in this grill including a list of features guaranteed to make you jealous if you don’t own one.
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.
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.
In addition, the pellet hopper can hold a large amount of wood pellets. This means that you won’t need to frequently refill your hopper, which just adds to its convenience. It can hold up to 18 pounds of pellets. Its automatic mode allows it to disperse them throughout the cooking process as it maintains the desired temperature.
Might start with the simple small one and see how much i like it and the pellet process overall, but if i DO stick with it, i’m going for one of those Yoders. I can tell my wife that unlike guitars, i will not need to keep buying smoker after smoker, like i do my Fenders and Gibsons.
With the Camp Chef PG24S, you won’t have to constantly refill your hopper. Your pellets will be used as efficiently as possible, as this product comes with a hopper than can hold up to 18 pounds of wood pellets. With the digital heat control system, it instantly feeds the pellets into the grill to maintain the ideal cooking temperature. This ensures that food is cooked most satisfyingly.

A pellet hopper is what you put your pellets in. The grill will automatically help itself from the hopper and use it to maintain the temperature you want it to. More heat requirement will use more pellet, and less heat will use less. What you need to make sure is that you have a good sized pellet hopper so that your grill can keep using from it and you do not have to keep refilling the hopper too often. There are pellet grills out there that are powerful and gentle enough to be cooking for hours, and sometimes overnight, all thanks to its large pellet hoppers that keep replenishing and refueling the fire all throughout.
Hi John, I believe the information in this article to be current still. The only addition I’d make and probably should make is to put GMG and Traeger in as being comparable with Rec-Tec. Traeger specifically has been coming back with a vengeance of late with their Pro Series models.
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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.
The Memphis Grills Elite Series pellet grills and smokers are the absolute best you can have. They are more expensive than your backyard pellet grills but built to last and they come with Wi-Fi which gives you the freedom to control your grill from anywhere you desire.
Pellets are made of compressed sawdust. It’s wood and wood burns when heated. If you starve wood of oxygen when you heat it, it smokes rather than burning to ash. This smoke is the best for providing food with an all natural flavor!
Hi SP. I might be interested in getting in on a group buy, but I can’t store more than a few bags at a time…I just don’t have the space for bulk orders. So, I don’t know how useful I’d be unless several other people joined us.
Just found this and I thank you! I’m doing competitions and want to get a pellet smoker to use after my brisket and pork butts have been wrapped to bring them up to final temp while my main smoker (Backwoods) will then be for the ribs and chicken.
Multi Position Controller – With a multi position controller you use a knob to set the temperature to where you want it to be. The temperature ranges from 180°F all the way up to 420°F and can be adjusted in 25° increments.
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.
Cleaning up after grilling is every cook’s dreaded part of the process, but this pellet grill simplifies that. Its warming rack comes with a patented ash-catcher system, the Ash Can Cleanout System, that allows for an easier cleanup of the unit. Additionally, it also features a grease drip disposal system that comes with a bucket. You won’t have to waste precious time cleaning up afterward!
Surety when cooking– the unit’s in-fabricated LED advanced temperature control framework gives you the certainty required when smoking or barbecuing consequently evacuating the mystery out of your cooking procedure.
Included secondary cooking racks – If you’re looking to maximize cooking space, you’ll want to know if a pellet grill can accommodate a secondary rack. You’ll also want to know whether that rack is included or an optional add-on.
We all know about Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone, but Traeger is the true pioneer of pellet smoking. This company introduced the first pellet smokers, and it remains the best-known brand, although competition is growing. There’s nothing fancy here. Instead of a touch-pad controller, Traeger employs an older-style digital dial controller. No WiFi or meat probes; just no-frills schmokin’ from the industry leader.
To solve this problem, several companies have come up with alternative ways to expose food to the flame by allowing you to use the small area directly above the fuel pot. It’s still not as good as charcoal or sear burners, but better than the designs that are strictly indirect. Check out the Memphis Elite, Fast Eddy’s by Cookshack PG500, and the Yoder YS640 for this feature.
Find out which ones come standard and which ones are optional. If you are trying to save money keep the features to a minimum. Here are 6 popular features you should look for when shopping for a pellet grill.
The biggest cleanup issue is the buildup on the heat deflector under the cooking grates. You’ll need good gloves and an apron. On most models, a thorough cleanup means a 30 minute process of taking out the greasy grates and the gooey deflector plate, scraping them and washing them. You should do this when the carbon and grease cover the deflector plate. Stainless parts can go in the diswasher, but I wouldn’t do it. That grease is like tar and it could get all over the insides of the dishwasher and hang on for dear life. I use a handheld steamer like the Steamfast SF-320 Portable Steam Cleanershown here.
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.
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.
Pellet Availability – Depending on where you are located, you might need to buy pellets in bulk; it can be difficult to buy pellets year round in some regions. The best way to buy pellets is to buy a lot of them at one time, or you can buy them over the Internet. You need to make sure that pellets are available before you start cooking. If you don’t have enough of them, you won’t be able to properly smoke your meat.
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.
Hey David – in my opinion, you’re going to find hot spots in any entry level pellet grill/ pellet smoker. I include GMG, Rec-Tec, Traeger, etc. When you start moving into the higher pellet smokers/grills – Memphis Grill, MAK, etc, you can minimize these to some extent. If you experience higher heat on one side, put the thicker cut of meat (pork butt, point of brisket) near that part.
While the ability to smoke and grill is typical of any kamado, the Weber Summit Charcoal has some unique features, starting with a quick-start gas ignition that lights charcoal in about 6 minutes and gets you up to temp and cooking in about 15 minutes, a fraction of the time it takes with most kamado grills. It also features a hinged stainless steel diffuser plate, which makes it easy to add wood or charcoal mid-cook. As a testament to its dual role as smoker-grill combo, the Summit Charcoal’s fuel grate has 2 settings, allowing you to lower the coals for smoking or raise them closer to food when grilling.
One option is to put a griddle or a frying pan on the grill, high heat, get it blistering hot, add just a little oil to prevent stickling, and sear by conduction on the metal. It should only take two to three minutes per side. This is a good technique for reverse seared meats. You start them indirect, low and slow, with a little smoke, and then Maillard the outside in a hot pan or on a griddle. No, it’s not cheating. It’s making food better.
My Egg will last past my lifetime. And I have a lifetime warranty on it as well. I don’t want to plunk down good money(even $500 is good money if you think about it) to have a grill of no use in 5 years. I guess I’m looking for a do it all grill. Not that I need one to do it all, heck I can use my Old Smokey to grill up some mean steaks and burger and hotdogs if need be.
Of course, there are always bargain hunters. Some might say “Why pay $2000 for a pellet smoker and then bargain hunt for your pellets?” but if you think about it this way – isn’t it like cooking with varying qualities of charcoal?