How Z Grills Work
If you are familiar with how pellet grills work, feel free to skip ahead.
The Z Grills design is very similar to brands like Pit Boss and Traeger. The grill works by burning wood pellets to create heat and smoke to flavor your food.
In our video review of the Z Grills 700E we show how this popular design works, and what we think of it after grilling and smoking on it.
The pellets are stored in a hopper located on the side of the grill. A mechanical auger feeds the pellets into a firebox where a rod ignites them.
A sensor keeps track of the temperature and works with the digital controls to maintain the temperature you set by controlling the flow of pellets and airflow.
This design allows you to load up your hopper, set the temperature and effectively set it and forget it.
While they are often called pellet grills, I really think of them as smokers or ovens since they specialize in maintaining steady temperatures over long hours.
Pellet Grills are great for people who dont want the hassle or mess of cooking with charcoal but want more smoke flavor and convenience than gas or electric smokers can provide.
We have a more detailed guide which includes our favorite pellet grills for every budget here.
Acquiring A Traeger Grill Based On What You Wished To Cook
The dimension and also functions you need will be greatly affected by this factor, which is just one of the most necessary to keep in mind.
It is ideal to use a larger roast with even more interior room to fit bigger cuts of meat such as ribs, pork butts or whole briskets for a block celebration or cookout. Traeger Grill Smoked Ham
Smaller sized grills are more probable to be ideal for people who only intend to barbecue the periodic hamburger or sausage occasionally.
Traeger Grills Lil Tex Elite 22 Wood Pellet Grill
Why youll love it:
For those of you who find the extra features of the Renegade pointless, and just want a big ol honking huge grill: The Lil Tex has you covered.
Dont let the Lil moniker fool you: This is a large grill. Coming in at 418 square inches, it gives you enough capacity to grill four entire chickens, 16 hamburgers, or five racks of ribs. It also has an 18 lb hopper capacity to match, letting you grill or smoke for hours on end before having to worry about refilling it.
That makes this bad boy the go-to for people that need to feed a lot of hungry mouths.
Do you host the neighborhood barbecue? Or maybe your annual family reunion event? What about the big Superbowl party? Whatever big event you need it for, this grill has you covered. Plus it still retains my favorite feature , even if it loses out on the tool storage and front rack.
The Lil Tex will also run you about less a thousand, so its hard to recommend either this or the Renegade over the other it basically comes down to what you need it for. Unless you are the host or grillmaster for a huge event like I mentioned, the extra size is kind of overkill: but if you need it, you definitely need it.
Basically, Id recommend this over any other grill on this list if you just need a huge grilling surface, but for about the same price you could get the Renegade and all its extra fancy features if you happen to not need that much space inside your grill.
What we liked
What we didnt like
- Fairly high price.
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Pellet Grills Made In The Usa
Below Ive put together a collection of pellet grills Im currently aware of which are still made in the USA. However, as noted with the example of Traeger and Grilla Grills above, circumstances can change. Hence, whether all the pellet grill brands below will continue to be made in the USA in the future is obviously an unknown. If you click the brand name below the page will jump to that particular section.
- American Made Pellet Grills/Smokers
- Twin Eagles
Traeger Grills Tfb29lza Junior Elite Wood Pellet Grill And Smoker
Here is another wood pellet grill and smoker in this Traeger tailgater review. The Traeger TFB29LZA is called the Junior Elite Wood Pellet Grill. This grill comes with just the right cooking area size to cook for a small number of people.
The Traeger TFB29LZA lets you cook with wood which is quite efficient when cooking with gas or charcoal. This grill will let you achieve that delicious wood-fired taste and smell in a meal you have been looking for.
- It uses only wood chips to grill foodno need to use charcoal or gas that costs a lot of money.
- Versatile cooking it can cook hot or low, fast or slow.
- The Integrated Digital Elite Controller keeps the temperature at the best setting to cook food well.
- With ample cooking space at 300 square inches
- With large wheels to glide the grill anywhere, you wish to cook
- With drainage hole and bucket for easy cleaning
This small wonder also comes with versatile cooking features to cook fast and hot or slow and low. It offers 6 in 1 versatility when you cook. You can cook food perfectly by baking, grilling, smoking, roasting, braising, and BBQ.
The easy controls will let you maintain the ideal cooking temperature at +/- 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Your grill will have the right temperature just by turning a small dial. And because of its size, it is easier to carry wherever you need to cook. You can use this at home, at the campsite, at the beach, or as you go camping with your RV.
Which Traeger Grill is the best?
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Are There Pellet Grills Made In The Usa In 2021
You are probably aware that many of the appliances you buy for your home while purchased from an American brand/retailer they are actually made in another country, typically China. The reason is to produce sufficient margin/profit to cover manufacturing costs, marketing and dealers percentages while at the same time offering an affordable product to consumers. As shown in my A to Z brands list there are lots of pellet grills/smokers on the market today. Many of those pellet grills/smokers are made in China, but some are still made in the USA. So lets discuss those US made pellet grills/smokers.
A Cookshack PB500, a typical example of a pellet grill still made in the USA: Image BBQGuys.com
Disclaimer: Hey! By the way any links on this page that lead to products on Amazon or other sites are affiliate links and I earn a commission if you make a purchase.
You can use the Table of Content below to jump to the pellet grill brands which are made in the USA today. However, first I wanted to discuss brands which used to be made in the USA but have now had to move to manufacture abroad.
I completely understand why many people want to support pellet grill brands that still manufacture in the USA, as it supports US manufacturing jobs. However, US jobs as a whole also need to be considered, and Ill discuss that in my conclusion below.
Price Including Fuel Costs
There are plenty of cheap grills out there, but the old adage you get what you pay for applies.
Charcoal grills are usually the most affordable type of grill. Most charcoal grills start around $100 but high-end charcoal grills can be thousands of dollars.
A gas grill can cost as little as $100 and as much as $2000.
A wood pellet grill typically starts at $500 and goes up to $2000.
Youll also need to consider fuel costs.
Charcoal can cost $1.70 to $4 per pound and come in 20 pound bags. That adds up to at least $34 per bag. A tank of propane can cost anywhere from $40 to $50 when you buy the tank and $20 to $30 to refill or replace it. Fuel for a pellet grill tends to cost around $19 for a 20 pound bag of wood pellets.
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Other Brands Worth Considering
Because of the success of Traegers wood-burning pellet grills, there are many other brands to pick from. Although Traeger remains the most well-known but these brands are fast on their heels.
Ive attempted to give an overview of how each manufacturer stands up to Traeger however, since every brand makes a variety of grills, if you require specifics, I suggest looking at particular brands specifications and then examining several different reviews.
Joe Traeger Hired By Rival Dansons In 2018
Joe Traeger visited Dansons’ facility in Phoenix, Arizona to talk with president Jeff Thiessen about a charity in August 2018.
Dansons is a barbecue grill manufacturer started in 1999 by Dan Thiessen and his two sons. Among the brands of grills they manufacture are Louisiana Grills and Pit Boss, both of which make wood pellet grills.
In an interview with Patio & Hearth Products Report, Dansons president Jeff Thiessen said that meeting led to job offers to Joe and Brian Traeger.
The lawsuit alleges Joe Traeger reached out to Traeger Grills about jobs for he and Brian Traeger in September 2018.
The terms were unreasonable and unacceptable to Traeger Grills, the lawsuit states.
In 2018, Joe and Brian Traeger went to work for Dansons Joe in product development and Brian as a divisional sales manager and Dansons used photos of Joe and Brian Traeger and the Traeger barn in Mt. Angel in its announcement of the hiring and subsequent marketing material dated Sept. 21, 2018.
Joe and Brian Traeger were hired in 2018 based on their personal talent, passion and experience in the grilling industry, Dansons president Jeff Thiessen said in a statement. They brought fresh ideas and concepts that we were happy to engage, and they have become a valued part of the Dansons family.
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Traeger Grills Century 22 Pellet Grill And Smoker
Why youll love it:
Heres another quite large grill, only 17 square inches smaller than our winner. It has a darker, black design with much more of a bent towards smoking than grilling this time around. It certainly functions as a grill, but the telltale factors here are the lack of any trays and the side mounted grease bucket all signs that this grill expects you to spend more time sitting back while it goes low and slow than messing around with the meat.
As a smoker this thing is excellent, with the same temperature control technology and smart auger system most Traeger grills has, with a very adjustable chimney and a squat, firm design.
Its sturdily made with good wheels and perfect for setting in place, while being easy to load and use.
Plus, its a lot cheaper than our winner, so if you dont value the storage space and shelving very much, this is a great money saving purchase.
- Easy to load and fire wood pellets.
What we didnt like
- A bit on the heavy side.
- Complete lack of prep shelves or storage space.
Extra Features And Technology For Both Brands
Rec Tec and Traeger show off excellent technology and convenience settings in their grills. Some of these include WiFi and app control, additional meat probes, and better temperature management.
Automating grills through WiFi and even digital assistants seems quite fantastic. Well, maybe even a bit gimmicky, but it has its place. Their apps need improving, but Rec Tec and Traeger are going on this path with excellent finesse.
Some applications include switching the grill on or off, managing temperature, checking to see how its doing, and even keeping an eye on pellet availability!
There are some more specific technologies as well, like Traegers super smoke mode and Turbo Temp . Recteq too offers an extra-hot setting, automatic cool down, and clean-up systems.
Pellet grills from both companies tend to have a touch of high-quality, good workmanship, and cutting-edge technology and features.
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A To Z List Of The Best Bbq Wood Pellets
A pellet grill/smoker is only as good as the BBQ pellets you put into it. The type/quality of the BBQ wood pellets you use will impact temperature performance and smoke flavour. There are many pellet flavours including Apple, Hickory, Mapel, Oak and Walnut to name but a few. However, some brands are hardwood blended pellets whereas others are 100% single wood species.
In this article, I provide details on over 20 brands of BBQ wood pellets, their range of flavours, whether they are 100% single wood species or hardwood blended pellets, their typical price and where they are available. I also provide tips on how to get the best deal when buying BBQ wood pellets and how to test pellet quality. Finally, I discuss the new kid on the block, charcoal pellets and their special attributes compared to all other hardwood BBQ pellets.
What Type Of Grill Is Best For Smaller Spaces Like Apartments
Depending on your space, you might not have many grill options. Many apartments dont allow gas or charcoal grills on balconies because gas and charcoal use open flames and are prone to flare-ups. Wood pellet grills, including portable pellet grills, are generally safe to use on an apartment balcony and are less likely to be banned in a lease because theyre mostly HOA approved.
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Traeger Grills: What Is The Best Traeger Grill For The Money
In the world of charcoal grills made of pellets Traeger reign supreme.
Joe Traeger invented this new style of grill back in 1986. They remain the best-selling brand of pellet grills to this day.
In this comprehensive guide, we look at the top Traeger pellet grills. We will also look at the advantages and disadvantages of each and compare them against other grills.
A brand new Traeger pellet grill can be an investment of a significant amount and its crucial to conduct research prior to deciding to make the plunge.
Particularly when there are a lot of manufacturers that produce top high-quality Wood pellet grills.
Install Some Grillgrates In A Traeger
One of the reasons a Traeger doesnt get particularly high temperatures at the grate is the choice of grate material. Pro and Ironwood models feature porcelain-coated wire racks whereas Timberline models feature stainless steel wire racks.
Either way, with any Traeger model there just isnt that much thermal mass at the grate level to hold onto the heat that well and to build up the temperature at the cooking surface.
The solution, therefore, is to add a set of GrillGrates which are hard-anodized aluminium panels that sit on top of the existing wire racks in the Traeger. The benefit being the increased thermal mass of the GrillGrates will hold on to more of the heat raising the cooking surface temperature by 100 degrees, potentially more.
A quick explanation of the benefits of putting a set of GrillGrates on a pellet grill such as a Traeger
There are other benefits to installing a set of GrillGrates on a pellet grill as I discuss in my linked article above. However, the key benefit in this instance is they can help a Traeger to get closer to the grilling/searing performance of a gas grill.
Not to point out the obvious, but if you combine using 100% charcoal pellets with a set of GrillGrates on a Traeger that will give the most significant grilling/searing performance increase. But as standard, are there other pellet grills better suited to grilling/searing than a Traeger, yes.
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Benefits Of Woodfire Grilling With A Traeger Grill
Traeger crafted theoriginal wood-pellet grill with attention to detail, versatility and grillingperfection in mind. While gas and charcoal grills definitely have theirbenefits, many barbecue enthusiasts prefer wood-fire grilling for a number ofreasons. A perfect grilling option for at-home cooks and professionalpitmasters alike, Traeger pellet grills offer a wide array of impressivefeatures to help you master your grilling endeavors. Here are just a few of thetop benefits associated with a Traeger grill:
Unlike charcoal grillsthat are fueled with briquettes or propane grills that are fueled by liquidpropane, a Traeger wood pellet grill achieves a signature wood-fired flavorwith the use of pure hardwood. Wood pellets like pecan, cherry, oak and alderimpart real wood-fired flavor into delicious meats, veggies and other grillingfood favorites. Cooking with Traeger’s 100 percent natural hardwood pelletsallows you to complement the different grilled foods you love the most. Get asweeter flavor with a fruit wood like apple, or use a bolder wood like hickoryto achieve a savory, smoky flavor.
Wood PelletGrilling Made Simple
Traeger Grill Considerations When Buying
Before we do a deep dive into the different models, lets cover some general considerations:
Obviously, this one goes without saying, but how much do you have to spend? When buying a Traeger Grill, a big part of your decision is going to depend on your budget and what you can afford. Just keep in mind that depending on how often you use your Traeger, youll also need to allocate a few hundred dollars a year, or more, for wood pellets to operate your grill.
Size of Your Family and Circle of Friends
How many people do you expect to cook for? The amount of people will determine how big of a grill you buy. For a family of 2 adults and 2 children, or less, I think you can manage with any of the smaller sized grills. For larger families or families with older children that eat more, the bigger grill sizes are probably a better fit because you can handle more food at once.
Also consider where you plan on putting your grill. You might be lucky enough to have a condo that allows grills on balconies, but your balcony might only have enough space to accommodate a smaller sized grill.
To give you an idea of how big the Ironwood 880is, its enough for 10 chickens or 7 racks of ribs or 9 pork butts, according to the Traeger website.
Buying a Traeger Grill Based on What You Want To Cook
Do You Want Bells and Whistles? Buy Accordingly
Grill Design and Aesthetics
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