Also own a Big Steel Keg which I love! Didn’t want an egg or a Primo while I was up north WY & CO as I had to many friends complain about cracking when trying to use them in cold weather! Many times at Thanksgiving or Christmas I have cooked on any or all of these devices at -5 to -10. It can be done but with a strong wind it is quite a challenge! My Weber (been thru a couples) and my Keg still have high ratings for great steaks and burgers. But for low and slow you are pushing it to get there and my friends with the ceramic style units say it takes some practice and close attention. What I don’t like about and Egg or my Keg is if you do need to end up feeding the fire on a long cook it is a real serious challenge!
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A good digital thermometer keeps you from serving dry overcooked food or dangerously undercooked food. They are much faster and much more accurate than dial thermometers. The Thermopop (above) is about $30. The Thermapen (below), the Ferrari of instant reads, is about $99.
This pellet smoker is loaded with great features, and easy to find for way below list price. It has an older-style notched digital controller, like what Traeger uses, but Camp Chef adds a dual LED readout for the included meat thermometer so you can toggle between cooking temperature and internal meat temperature. Pellet smokers are known to produce light smoke flavor. If you want more, Camp Chef’s controller includes two low-temperature settings that allow the wood pellets to smolder and produce extra smoke. Although pellets don’t create much ash, it does need to be removed periodically, which is always a pain because the greasy grates and drip pan must be lifted out to get at the burn pot. The DLX is one of the few models on the market with an ash-removal system that deposits ash in a cup under the smoke box for easy disposal.
So don’t buy a random pellet grill. This article will help you pick a good one that meets your needs and lasts for years. Check out the comparison table below and read our expert pellet grill reviews to pick the best pellet smoker for your budget and needs.
The Camp Chef Woodwind Pellet Grill was chosen as our sixth choice because it lacked some features found in our Top 5 picks, especially when it came to cooking flexibility. While it does offer an impressive 6-in-1 cooking experience, it lacks an auto shut-off feature, which makes it less of a “set it an forget it” kind of smoker. The grill is rather heavy, at an overall weight of 146lbs. It’s also more expensive than the rest, even though it offers similar (even less) features. It’s a decent choice if flavor is the only thing you’re looking for.
Pellets look like rabbit chow. They are about the width of a pencil and as long as a couple of erasers. If they get wet they turn into a pile of sawdust. The beauty of pellets is that they have none of the additives and fillers in charcoal briquets, so they combust almost completely. Almost zero ash. The pellets provide the heat as well as flavor. No need to add wood chips. Surprisingly, they do not produce overly smoky food. If anything, the food is undersmoked to some people because the combustion is so complete.
How? I just sold my house and left the Traeger with it. Now in Mexico and thinking of buying a Green Mountain. I would like to get a little more smoke flavor than what I was able to with my Traeger (which I loved). So how can you use other hard wood to enhance the smoke flavor? Also comment on how to use the tube smoker in one of these pellet fed grills. With 1 1/2″ rib eye, I would smoke for 45 minutes then crank up the heat to about 350 for 13 minutes and it would provide a perfect rare steak every time.
There are several types of smokers across many different price ranges, so there is a smoker out there that is right for you. A smoker can cost as little as $50, and as much as $10,000, and they all do mainly the same thing, which is to cook meat to perfection giving it an aromatic smoky flavor that can’t be beat. They come in a wide range of shapes and sizes and are generally grouped by the type of fuel they use.
This is the smallest of the Traeger pellet grill series and this makes it an ideal choice for people who are going on vacation or camping because of its small and compact design. Even though it also comes with a number of features similar to the larger Traeger models, it features a rather small cooking surface which is less than 300sq inches. This, however, doesn’t mean that you won’t have some plenty of room to prepare your meats. It also comes with a digital thermostat so that you will have control over the temperature. Because it can be set to extremely low or high temperatures it can be an ideal pellet smoker for braising or slow cooking and also grilling and baking.
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.
Thanks Chris and Kevin for the input on the GMG grills. They look like really nice equipment. I’m looking foward to getting into pellet grills. I can always upgrade in the future if I really have the need.
Users commend the Camp Chef Woodwind Pellet Grill for its ease of use. They love the way they can use different kinds of food and in cook it using different methods. Users mention the ash cleanout port saying that it was convenient and were grateful they don’t need to use a vacuum anymore.
The Camp Chef SmokePro is probably the best pellet grill on this list by rating and by performance. It has a decently large area for cooking at 19.2 inches by 22 inches plus its smoking or warming rack is also 6 inches by 24 inches in size. This is one of the Top rated pellet smokers because of its combination of quality features that are never superfluous and works as advertised.
Comes with a 633 square inch main grilling surface, but also includes a 280 square inch removable upper cooking rack (total cooking area: 913 square inches). Includes a digital thermostat and gives you precise heat control from 170 Fahrenheit to 600 Fahrenheit (5 degree increments).
The Bulls exterior is made out of stainless steel from the bucket hook to the controller shelf. This feature not only adds to the grill’s durability but also ensures its components do not easily bend or break.
Price is always an important factor. We all like to save money, but buying a low-quality cheap smoker grill will end up costing you more money in the long run. A high-quality grill at an affordable price will last longer and be used more because you will be satisfied with your purchase.
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Hello John. Thank you for your comment and questions here! In short, you will not get the same smoke profile on a pellet smoker that you do with your BGE or PBC. That said, I do think there are some ways to mitigate this. Yes, I do feel the Smoke Tube and Mojo Cubes add smoke flavor that is detectable. Fred at Mojo Bricks does good work, and I recommend his products without reservation. This said, I have been happy with the smoke level I see in the pellet smokers I’ve used. Starting low does and ramping up later is a technique I’ve used with success when extra smoke is desired. The Rec-Tec grill gets high reviews across the board. I have no hesitation backing them, along with Green Mountain Grills. Both are made in China, but the companies have great customer service support and strong user communities. I believe each has a well-contributed Facebook group or two.
Another one of America’s finest home-grown products comes from MAK Grills Pellet Smokers. Based out of Dallas, OR, MAK started out as a steel fabrication company back in 1990 and ventured into making pellet smokers with the goal of making a pellet smoker that’s more like a grill than an oven. Said in their own words…
The PBC has a rabid cult following for good reason. It is absolutely positively without a doubt the best bargain on a smoker in the world. Period. This baby will cook circles around the cheap offset sideways barrel smokers in the hardware stores because temperature control is so much easier. Best of all, it is only $299 delivered to your door!
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.
The Pit Boss Grills 440 offers a lot of space as well as a bottle opener. Another beneficial feature that you will find with this grill is the digital control board which regulates the internal temperature and has an LED display. This is a versatile product that has a lot to offer.
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).
Let me remind you of Byron Fuchs. Byron Fuchs was grilling for a Fourth of July party at his home in West Palm Beach, Florida. He bent over to light his propane barbecue when there was an explosion, engulfing his body in a wall of fire. “As soon as I did it, I looked down at my arm and I [saw] the skin melt off,” he said. — Today.com
The Good One Smokers tend to fly under the radar, which is to say surprisingly few people know about these unique cookers. That’s a shame, because just about everyone who owns a Good One loves it. While all of their models fall into the category of a smoker-grill combo, the Open Range is the most popular.
WiFi capability: Companies have started to take advantage of the fact that pellet smokers have a computer in them by design. By integrating WiFi connectivity, you can monitor and control the temperature of your grill from just about anywhere, as long as you have an Internet connection. Companies like Green Mountain Grills are now providing free apps that you can download and make use of for ultimate convenience.
I have used Bradley, Masterpiece, Green Egg, New Braunfels, Oklahoma Joe, Weber and now Traeger. So there is some experience in these comments. The “set it and forget” it is a misnomer and should not be used with Traeger (or any smoker/grill.) With Pellet Drive before you buy Read up on Er codes. The worst is when the fire pot fills up with pellets because the fire can’t keep up with the auger push and the whole cook is ruined or delayed. You have to pull everything out and basically start over while your expensive prime brisket is trying to be saved in the oven. Doesn’t matter what the weather is or wind conditions. Doesn’t matter if you stare at it and stir the hopper continuously. It will happen. Customer support at first was well you are at fault (didn’t leave the lid open on fireup for exactly 2 to 4 minutes or didn’t vacuum out the firepot between every cook) which is crazy. Finally, after so many calls over the past 6 months they are trying to make it right. Problem is, DO NOT believe the “set it and forget it.” That does not exist with any good cook. I have replaced the controller the fan and now getting a new probe. Do not waste your money. Unless someone out here in BBQ land can give me a recommendation on a product that won’t do this stay away from Pellet Drive?
BBQ pellets are 100% natural hardwood, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the pellets are 100% of the type of wood listed on the bag. When you buy cherry wood chips or chunks, that wood is 100% cherry wood. However, when you buy cherry wood pellets, they’re usually a blend of cherry and another wood, such as oak or alder. While that may sound deceptive, there are good reasons for this practice.
It also has the standardized dial-in digital control with LED readout (not to the point that it has WiFi like the Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Pellet Grill, but still quite convenient). However, it’s rated low on this list because of poor quality control. Too many customers ended up with bad Pit Bosses that have inconsistent temperature control (going all the way to 615° Fahrenheit).
When was the last time you actually got to sit back with your family and friends and chat away over the recent events? While it is understandable that work is important, that is it crucial to put the bread on your table and that you do it to make the lives of your loved ones more comfortable and fulfilling, but it is in no way to live. There is nothing sadder than have to work on presentations on the weekends while you kids wait behind your desk to finish up and take them to their soccer practice. Nothing is worse when you cannot make time to visit your old folks and best buddy because you have to run to the banks and attend the same old meetings.
This is a fantastic grill for the money that’s dependable for outdoor cooking and smoking (hence its name, “Camp Chef”). It’s not quite 9.9/10 that is the Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill got, but it has more than enough features and benefits to spare to honor the Camp Chef brand (even though at first glance the PG24 and the SmokePro are practically the same unit with color differences).
Since it’s a cast iron grill, this product takes some extra maintenance. With proper care and protection, however, the cast iron grill itself does well and lasts for a number of years. The downside is that the support structure doesn’t last as long as the grill itself, and the legs have a good chance of rusting out. The final, and most frustrating, part of this product is that the firebox costs extra, which should be expected from a cheaper model, but remains annoying.
Everyone has their price range, but don’t confuse cheap for affordable. As with other types of grills, there are plenty of inexpensive pellet grills that seem attractive at first glance, especially if you’re looking to save a little money. However, while a cheap pellet grill might save you a little money up front, it’s going to cost you more in the long run. Parts will rust, components will break down, and you will likely find yourself replacing some or all of that affordable grill within five years. Ultimately, you’re better off investing a little more money up front and get a quality grill that will keep years to come.
The Traeger has a 292 square inch cooking surface, which is less than half of that of our #1 pick, mind you it’s still plenty big for most people, you can certainly cook your family dinner on here, you just might not be able to feed the entire football team.
Very subjective, but there are two things I look for, flavor and cooking temperature. I’ve only been smoking meat for two years, so once I finally got my rubs and sauces figured out (approval of friends and family), I then began to go through the different pellet brands. This was important since what good is a pellet, if I couldn’t even make a rub/sauce that was not liked by the masses. I went through about 15 different pellets brands and found the flavor and temperature vary greatly between brands.
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?
The CB940X also has some really handy features like dual removable cutting boards not he sides, adjustable dampers, and a simple and easy ash pan removable system. The total cooking space isn’t huge (540 square inches), but the overall functionality and simplicity of the design are really helpful.
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.