Smoker Grills Offer Versatility
Whats not to love about a grill and a smoker in one? Its a space-saving, budget-friendly combo. Pellet grills are highly precise in temperature control, cooking from 180 degrees up to 500 degrees. This allows the backyard cook to do everything from slow smoking a brisket, searing a steak, making hamburgers or serving up seafood. The variety of foods you can make may surprise you even desserts are on the table!
Our Grilla and Silverbac are built out of steel with dual-wall construction. This design keeps the thermal energy in and seals off the outside temperature. Because theyre so efficient at controlling the heat, you can plug in your pellet grill any day of the year, even in the dead of winter, and know theres the consistent temperature inside the lid.
Why Are Pellet Grills So Expensive
The best pellet grills were able to crisp-up chicken wings without burning them when we used the highest heat setting
While some pellet grills can be found under $500, most range between $1,000 and $2,000 depending on the size and features. They have more moving parts than other types of grills, and controlling the temperature is a bit more complicated than a grill that uses dials or vents. A thermostat and an onboard computer control the grills auger, fan, and ignition system.
If it doesnt come together correctly, the automated pellet delivery system will fail to deliver pellets to the fire pot, and the grill wont reach appropriate heat levels. Worse yet, the grill could turn off mid-session, or the ignited pellets can back up into the hopper, creating a fire hazard.
Modern pellet grills are also smart-capable. They have built-in probe thermometers that connect to smartphones via Bluetooth or WiFi, allowing users to monitor long-cooking items like brisket or pulled pork remotely. These apps also allow you to change the grills temperature, activate any smoke boost functions, set a timer, monitor the pellet level in the hopper, and turn the grill off. Thats convenient, but it comes at a price.
Best Pellet Grill Recipes
I hope you have found this rundown of some of the best pellet grills of use.
If you do have any questions, are uncertain about anything or just want to find out more about pellet grills please feel free to and I will do my best to help you.
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Take Your Grill Game Up A Notch
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Do you want to wow your friends and family with a perfectly smoked piece of meat at your next BBQ party, but aren’t necessarily a fan of the hassle that goes along with cooking it? Then a pellet grill might be for you. Pellet grills, also called pellet smokers, work by using a feeding system to push small wood pellets into a firebox under the grates and built-in technology to regulate the temperature.
Some pellet grills even have associated smartphone apps so you can get feeding and temperature data right into your phone. This technology has made pellet grills more popular, but also more expensive. But this doesn’t mean you can’t own one with top-notch features if you have a tight budget. Here, we’ve gathered a list of the best inexpensive pellet grills on the market.
What Is The Best Pellet Grill For The Money
There are so many pellet grill makers now and new pellet grills coming out all the time its tough to keep track of them. In my opinion, the most well equipped and affordably priced pellet smoker grill available is the Pit Boss Austin XL. Its also one of the best looking grills youll find anywhere. Check the details and discounts here.
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I Ditched My Gas Grill For A Wood Pellet Grill And This Is What Happened
Thinking about buying a wood-fired smart grill with Wi-Fi? Here are some things to consider based on my experience switching from a gas grill.
The Traeger Ironwood 650 and my old Weber.
At one time, way back when, I was a charcoal-grill guy. But for the last 15 years or so, I’ve gone with a gas grill, upgrading to a midrange Weber Genesis around 2009. But last year when Traeger asked if I wanted to try its “smart” Ironwood 650 wood-pellet grill, I took the plunge. As a longtime charcoal and gas grilling aficionado, I was completely new to the pellet-grilling experience. Now, many months in, I still wouldn’t call myself a seasoned pitmaster like my colleague Brian Bennett, who tests grills for CNET at his Kentucky home, but I’ve become more proficient — or at least more adventurous.
There will always be a debate over the best grill type, and some people are hardcore in their preferences — my stepfather-in-law was a charcoal guy through and through and would scoff at any suggestion of moving onto something else. But in recent years there’s been a trend toward pellet grills, with Traeger, which developed the original wood pellet grill back in 1987, and Camp Chef among the leading brands — and even Weber has embraced pellet grilling with its SmokeFire line.
Read more: How to buy the right grill for you
Temperature Control And Range
Pellet grills excel when cooking low and slow, with the sweet spot being between 200-350°F. They struggle at temperatures of 400°F plus, and generally will not reach anything above 450°F.
On the other hand, you have pretty much the opposite situation with gas grills. Most gas grills will have no problem hitting the 500°F mark. Better quality gas grills will be capable of reaching temperatures around 700°F,
However, the heat retention issues often associated with gas grills means that controlling the temperatures in the lower ranges can be difficult. Cheaper gas grills which have poor heat retention may struggle to maintain a consistent temperature around 250°F.
That being said, a good quality gas grill will do a better job of keeping consistent low temperatures.
Pellet grills work with complex algorithms which control the temperature, and some models can even offer accuracy of +/- 5°F, which is pretty impressive.
The Rec Tec Bullseye Pellet Grill
The Bullseye is REC TECs smallest pellet grill. In fact, this is one of the smallest/lightweight pellet grills on the market today. Its actually smaller than most portable pellet grills. Though the Bullseye is not really designed as a portable/tailgating grill, the slightly larger RT-340 discussed below is more suited for that use.
The Bullseye is more intended to be a small grill that sits on your porch/patio and can be used to cook up a small BBQ for a couple of people at a time.
At just 54lbs the REC TEC Bullseye is one of the most lightweight pellet grills on the market today: Image Rectecgrills.com
When I first started doing my research before writing this post on REC TEC pellet grills the Bullseye was very different to the image you see above. For instance, it didnt feature a stainless steel body/lid which the current version does which is a welcome improvement. Furthermore, the control panel on the first version of the Bullseye wasnt really a control panel in the traditional sense at all.
It was simply a variable speed dial for the pellet feed auger motor. However, this latest version of the REC TEC Bullseye features a PID control panel. Further down in this article Ill discuss the benefits of PID control panels.
A look at the features of the upgraded REC TEC Bullseye by the YouTube channel StokedonSmoke.Not sure what GrillGrates are and why you should want them for your pellet grill, check this out.
What Foods Can You Cook On A Pellet Smoker
If you can smoke it, roast it, bake it , or grill it, you can cook it on a pellet grill. Versatility is probably the number one advantage of a pellet grill over most other cookers.
The secret is the convection-style of cooking. That all-over ambient heat is perfect for cooking large cuts of beef, lamb, or pork, or whole poultry. Theyre great for smaller items, too, like steaks and burgers, sausages and wings, and more.
No, you wont get the sear, but you will get beautifully cooked food.
Dont forget to add some veg, too. You can make a whole meal in a pellet grill, and thats no exaggeration.
And wait until you try pizza, cornbread, or even cookies and brownies for dessert! Now, I can hear you saying, Smoky brownies? No, thanks!
Dont worry pellets burn cleanly, and the higher the temperature, the less smoke they produce. By the time youve got them cranked up to baking temperatures, theres barely a wisp produced.
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How Does A Traeger Wood Pellet Grill Work
A motor turns a screw-like device, an auger, to feed the burn pot. The pellets are then ignited and exhausted by the chimney.
Traeger also has air convection. A 4-inch convection fan feeds the burning pellets air allowing them to burn hot and efficiently while circulating the heated, smoke-filled air around the food.
Wood Pellets for Traeger Grills
The grill moves the heat around the meat, just like convection style cooking in an oven.
This air induction system allows the grill to be “sealed” underneath, which means you can use it when it’s windy to smoke, roast, bake, and grill.
The last thing to note is the grease management system. It has a slanted grease tray moving the grease out of the grill into a bucket.
It’s recommended to line the tray with tin foil for easy cleanup. This system also prevents flare-ups leading to burned and overcooked food.
Traeger Ironwood 885 Best Traeger Pellet Grill
Traeger is a big name that earns name and fame due to its quality products. Traegers products are popular for their quality, consistency, and exceptional results. Traeger Ironwood 885 is the real choice of the customer who loves to enjoy the real smoky taste of barbecue. Traeger Ironwood 885 is the masterpiece of Traeger yet.
This strong unit is made up of stainless steel. Stainless steel is the best material as it has the potential to save the unit from climatic conditions. In case of moisture, it keeps the unit from rust, enhancing the working years of the unit. The adjustable cooking grates are porcelain coated. They are easy to clean.
To add this, the unit has WIFI technology to add ease to the life of the user. The app serves you fast as compared to other units of the same category. The app has many amazing recipes and a lot of tips and tricks to make your experience better.
The best thing is that the unit has 850 square inches of cooking capacity. The hopper is 20 lbs. the cooking capacity is good for a large number of people. The unit takes wood pellets as fuel which adds flavor to the food.
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Pitt Boss Copperhead 5
Cooking surface: 1,657 total sq in. | Hopper capacity: 55 lb | Temperature range: 150°F to 450°F | Recorded high: N/A | Temperature probes: 1 | Sear zone: No | Wi-Fi/app compatibility: No
- Makes smoking very easy
- Not as versatile as a grill/smoker
We pulled the best brisket of the test off the Copperhead 5-Series. Admittedly, as a dedicated cabinet smoker, this Pit Boss has an advantage when it comes to that particular cut. The glass door is a nice feature, allowing you to monitor things without opening it and losing heat. It is a double-edged sword, though, because we had to clean it after each use to see what was going on inside. The first meat we put in the smoker was that brisket, going for 9.5 hours at 225°F. As it fed in pellets, the unit produced visibly more smoke, something we found quite reassuring. Cleaning the resulting ash out the fire pot and smoke chamber afterward was a simple process and should take you just a few minutes with a shop vac.
BEST PORTABLE PELLET GRILL
How To Shop For The Best Pellet Grills
Basic pellet grill designs tend to be pretty similar, Lampe explained. Youll find a little fire pot down in the bottom of your cooker and a delivery system that sends the pellets in as required, he said. This is all controlled by a thermostat and a little fan to blow on the fire.
Although this may sound simple and it can be he noted that there are different features that can make it even easier.
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Our Pick: Traeger Pro 575
The Traeger Pro 575 pellet grill is easy to use and fuel efficient, and it does an excellent job of maintaining its set temperature. Its smartly packaged and easy to unbox and assemble. The Pro 575 is Wi-Fi enabled, which means you can control the grill via the Traeger WiFire app on your phone or a smart speaker. Even without any connectivity features, the newest entry-level Traeger pellet grill is a solid machine that will let you make delicious barbecue with little effort.
The Traeger Pro 575 gets the fundamentals right: It produced tender and moist barbecue in all of our tests and excelled at holding precise cooking temperatures. All bells and whistles aside, those are the most important factors. Can you imagine smoking a near-perfect, tender and juicy brisket on your first or second attempt? Frankly, I couldnt until I did it on this grill.
The Pro 575s simple control panel, located on the hopper, is intuitive to use. It consists of just two buttons and a dial that lets you set the temperature and scroll through menu options on the digital screen. This arrangement is an improvement over the controls of older models, which include an analog temperature dial that offers much less precision.
Remember that pellet grills are powered by electricity, so they need to be plugged in.
All Traeger grills come with a three-year warranty that covers manufacturing defects and replacement parts.
A To Z List Of Pellet Grill/smoker Brands
Back in 2007 when I first become aware of pellet grills and smokers the only brand I was really aware of was Traeger. Traeger is really where this whole concept of cooking with pellets started in the 1980s. It was a slow burner but since the 2010s is really when pellet grills and smokers started to get mainstream awareness, discussed alongside gas and charcoal grills. There are now over 30 pellet grill/smoker brands that Im aware of, and the link above goes to my A to Z list of brands article.
Now, you may already be aware of a few of the other brands such as Pit Boss, Camp Chef, Z Grills and Im sure you are aware of Weber, though you may not have known they have entered the pellet grill game. However, they are now many, many more brands to look into. Some may be what are commonly referred to as Traeger clones, but many others are offering their own unique designs and features.
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Best Cheap Pellet Smoker
- Side prep table is helpful
- Ash catch makes cleanup much simpler than others
- Occasionally out of stock
A healthy balance of technology, quality materials and clever design. In line with most quality pellet grills, Camp Chefs SmokePro operates between 160 and 500 degrees hot enough to smoke and grill anything other than steak. Three quality of life improvements that come standard with the grill: a computer control screen you can actually read, a pellet hopper with a window built-in to see how much fuel is in the grill and a stupid-simple ash cleaning system, which amounts to pulling a small cup away from a trapdoor on the underside of the grill. Unlike other grills in the price range, Camp Chef pellet grills go on sale fairly regularly, too. The SmokePro covers the pellet smoking bases effectively and is backed by a legitimate company in Camp Chef, which is more than most budget-focused pellet grills can claim. We like it for the price and then some.
Pit Boss Pit Boss Platinum Lockhart Grill
This wood pellet grill and smoker is both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled and according to Marks, its the most versatile pellet grill available. He appreciates the 2,137 square inches of cooking space with 719 square inches for grilling and smoking, plus an additional cabinet with 1,418 square inches of smoking space. It also comes with six sausage hooks and two meat probes with the ability to control up to four at one time.
I really love the pot access that allows you to brush out the pot and remove the ash that is a huge timesaver as well as a significant safety feature, he said. This pellet grill with all of the combined features, technology, sheer size, best in class warranty and a price tag of $750 make it my choice for best pellet grill overall.
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