What Kind Of Pellet Smoker Grill Should I Buy In 2020 Checklist
After more than five plus years with different pellet grills and smokers, I decided to create a list of things to consider to help others decide on which pellet grill or pellet smoker will best suit their meat eating needs. However, Im not going to recommend a certain brand or model. Instead, Im going to highlight and suggest important aspects, features and benefits of modern pellet grills that I think are important. Features that have benefited me or features I wish I had.
Pellet grills and smokers have their beginnings in pellet stoves stemming from the 1973 oil crises. Demand for affordable heating led to the development of wood pellets. Joe Traeger created the Traeger pellet grill in 1985. Pellet smokers and grills have come a long way since then, when Traeger was the one and only manufacturer. Today there are so many makes and models with various features or limitations to choose from. This checklist will help you to decide on the right pellet smoker or pellet smoker grill combo for you and your family.
I remember when my dad got a small electric smoker back in the late 70s or early 80s. It was an aluminum Little Chief smoker that looked more like a toy than anything. He smoked some beef for jerky and maybe some salmon. It was good stuff, but I think he only used it twice and that was it. It would be some 30 years later before I would give meat smoking a try.
What Kind Of Grill Is Right For You
When it comes to grills, theres no one model or size that fits all, Raichlen says. Choosing the style that’s right for you depends on a number of factors, like how often you cook outdoors, how many people you typically serve, and how much you enjoy the actual grilling process. Plus, aesthetics play a role as well: For most of us, a grill isnt strictly a utilitarian object, Raichlen says. “Theres also the wow factorlooks matter.
If you plan on grilling only once or twice a year, you might not want to go in on the most expensive, fanciest grill you can find . But if youre on a first-name basis with your local propane or charcoal provider, springing for a higher-end model may be in your best interest. Bigger grills, which are better for cooking for larger groups, tend to be more expensive, so you can get away with spending less if your dinner guests will top out at three or four. And remember that you should only buy a grill you feel comfortable managing as Lee notes, Some people are in it for the flames, and some people just want to get their cooking done. Play to your strengths and what you want out of your grilling experienceyou might not end up with the same grill as your neighbor, but it’ll be the correct model for you.
Standard Bbq Grill Size
When it comes to a standard BBQ grill size, most people who want to cook hot dogs and hamburgers go for a similar size.
These grills are usually a minimum of 360 square inches. Those who want to be able to cook for a larger crowd might increase to around 400 square inches.
BBQ grills that are ideal for hot dogs and hamburgers go all the way up to more than 1,200 square inches in size.
However, most households will be happy with a grill between 400 and 550 square inches in size.
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Shoppingthe Best Charcoal For Grilling
Gas grills dominate the backyard barbecues game not only because they can be portable and easier to operate with the click of a switch, though. More than anything cleanup is a breeze, said Dave Anderson, founder of Famous Daves. Plus, with a charcoal grill, temperatures can fluctuate like this years stock market. You think youve found the right temperature only, within minutes, your coals have died down.
You also dont have to worry about a gust of wind or playing a temperature guessing game when grilling with propane its a constant heat source. And firing up hot, glowing charcoal briquettes to add to the grill is not only dangerous but its a royal pain, added Anderson. Whereas once you light a gas grill, you can cook all day at the temperature you want. Gas grills are just so easy to manage consistent heating.
Features To Look Out For
If you havent looked for a new grill in some time, you might be surprised at how attractive the entry-level models can be. Many of these are now available in stainless steel, which gives your backyard a more modern appeal. If you buy one of the latest models, you can also benefit from some of the new features on offer.
Some grills come with built-in containers to hold your wood chips and on occasion, a smoke chamber. You might also come across sear stations, rotisseries, side burners and built-in thermometers, all of which have their uses. Like many other appliances, grills are getting smarter too with some offering Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connectivity. With this, you can get notified when its time to flip the burgers, baste your dish or serve up. It can even let you know when its running low on gas.
Be on the lookout for hooks on which to hold your tools as well its a simple, but useful addition which you can find regardless of the price. Side tables are convenient as well for placing dishes. Removable ash catchers and drip pans are also good to have as they help with cleaning up.
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Cynthia Lawrence specialises in Homes ecommerce, covering all things homes and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, must-have home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy how to features.
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Where Should I Keep My Gas Grill
While gas grills are pretty hardy and can be left outside, you’ll want to buy a cover for your grill to protect it from the elements. Cast iron elements in particular are prone to rusting if exposed to rain or snow.
If you live somewhere with regular inclement weather, you may want to move your grill into a basement or shed for the winter. Just remember that propane tanks should always be stored outside.
The Pros And Cons Of A Gas Grill
There are some cooking tools that can make you feel like you should have a PhD candy thermometers, mandolines, and pressure cookers, were looking at you. The gas grill, though, is not one of those. Its ease of use is the main thing a gas grill has going for it. But youll pay for that convenience.
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How Pellet Grills Work
Pellet grills have a hopper, or basket, that holds the wood pellets. These pellets are then driven into a pot through a shaft with an auger. The pot has a heating rod and a fan below that is thermostatically controlled just like the heat in your home, Marks explained. The fan controls the oxygen flow, creating efficient use of the wood pellets as well as a very narrow window of temperature fluctuation and rapid recovery time when you open and close the door.
The heating rod then fires up the pellets drawn into the pot by the auger while the fan blows. When it comes to temperature, its typically set it and forget it with pellet grills. They typically are able to heat up to 175 to 550 degrees Fahrenheit without you needing to tend a fire. It’s pretty simple for the cook you turn it on and set it to your desired temp and, as long as you keep the hopper full of pellets, itll keep cooking, said Ray Dr. BBQ Lampe, author of Dr. BBQ’s Big-Time Barbecue Cookbook and member of the American Royal BBQ Hall of Fame. A big positive is that the pellets are 100 percent wood so it’s a clean burning wood fire with even heat. These are things that all barbecue cooks strive for and the pellet grill makes it easy.
Gas Versus Charcoal: The Verdict
In the end, it really depends on individual preferences. If you’re a super-keen cook who would like to practice and learn how to carefully cook over wood or charcoal, then embrace that, get out there and impress your friends. Try cooking brisket, a beer-can chicken, or some super-smoky charcoal-baked spuds.
However, if you simply want to cook for a crowd, grilling burgers and sausages with minimal prep and planning, or simply want to do some quick outdoor grilling, then invest in a solid gas grill that will last you long-term.
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Grill Buying Guide: How To Buy A Grill To Fit Your Needs
Nothing says outdoor get-together like grilled meats and vegetables. But if your grilling experience is filled with more flare-ups, rust and frustration than fun, you should invest in a new grill.
Instead of purchasing strictly on price or recommendations, select a grill that matches your style. Are you into convenience and speed? Or do you grill leisurely and try to maximize the smoky flavor? Selecting a grill goes beyond choosing gas or charcoal. Our grill buying guide will point out key features that can help influence your purchasing decision and fit your needs.
To begin, use the following questions to help navigate through the key components of buying a grill. Find in-depth information on the topics listed below by simply clicking on any of the following links:
What is the difference between gas grilling & charcoal grilling?
When it comes to the epic battle of gas grilling versus charcoal grilling, the bottom line is: grilling is grilling no matter what fuel source you use. Both involve the radiant transfer of heat from the fuel source to the cooking grid. Drippings come off of the food, land on the heat source and sizzle and smoke. The smoke rising into your food creates barbecue flavor.
What types of cooking grates are available & how do they differ?
What size grill do I need?
Which fuel type is best: natural gas or liquid propane?
What color & design options are available?
How does grill design impact cooking performance?
Royal Gourmet Cd1824e 23
Best barrel charcoal grill
Reasons to avoid
If you want to do more than sling hot dogs and burgers on your charcoal grill, the Royal Gourmet is ideal. It has a crank that lets you raise and lower the charcoal pan to help control the heat. When you want to quickly grill brats, move the coals right below them. To slowly smoke a side of salmon without flare-ups, lower them.
Theres even a door underneath the grates that makes it easy to keep adding charcoal as the hungry crowd thickens. Plus youll find you need a lot of charcoal to keep the Royal Gourmet burning, so make sure you stock up before the party starts.
Unlike on a kettle-style grill, this model has side tables to hold your tongs and trays and platters. Youll also find a thermometer in the lid to give you a rough idea as to how hot it is under the grill, a warming rack thats helpful for heating buns, and an easy to remove ash tray. Below the grill theres a bottom shelf to keep extra charcoal or a roll of paper towels.
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Weber Rapidfire Chimney Starter
You use tongs and a spatula for everything when you’re grilling: moving food around on the surface of the grill, moving the charcoal around below the grill, and taking food off of the grill. You want tools that are long enough to prevent burning your arms but still feel good in your hand. It’s all about what feels comfortable to hold, says Lee. I look for at least 16 inches, and something I feel good using.
Cooking Area And Grill Size
You can find pellet grills in various sizes for all of your grilling needs. If you have a spacious backyard, go for a larger pellet grill that will help you cook large amounts of food for your get-togethers and parties. For the grillers who like to grill on the go while theyre camping or tailgating, go with a smaller, portable pellet grill that still offers a simple and flavorful cooking option.
Many larger pellet grills include secondary racks along with the main grill grate. That addition helps you cook more, even on a smaller grill.
Its helpful to recognize that even though the larger grills are more expensive, it doesnt mean theyre the best for your needs. Choose a grill size that works for you and the space you have available. If you usually cook for yourself and another person, it may be better to go with a smaller pellet grill.
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Should I Buy A Gas Or Charcoal Grill
For casual grillers or beginners, we recommend a gas grill. For pros or barbecue fans, a charcoal grill is better. However, if you’re really serious about grilling, you’ll likely want both.
A gas grill is great for everyday grilling, fast meals, and cookouts. However, a charcoal grill is the gold standard for barbecue since charcoal and wood chips provide a deeper flavor than you get from a gas grill. You’ll also likely run out of propane if you attempt to make a low and slow dish like barbecue brisket or pulled pork on a gas grill.
The Ultimate Grill Buying Guide: How To Buy The Best Grill For You
Grilling season is in full swing, and if you’re in the market for a new grill, there are plenty of options out there. Whether it’s a pellet grill, a classic charcoal model or a gas grill, these outdoor cookers can get the job done. Picking the right grill for you means deciding on fuel type, size, price, style and extra features.
All that can get overwhelming quickly, so we’ve gathered our best tips for finding the perfect fit for your patio, and we update them periodically. Here are a few key features to consider.
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Kamado Grills: Factors To Consider
AirflowJust like regular charcoal grills, kamado grills rely on airflow to regulate heat. More air moving over the coals lets a fire burn hotter, while limiting the flow keeps coals just lit, for low-and-slow cooking. Look for a model with a tight-fitting lid and solid dampers or vents. Many kamado grills have a gasket on the lid, and even locking latches, to create the tightest seal possible. Some kamado grills also have multiple dampers, which makes it easier to fine-tune the temperature youre shooting for.MaterialWe divide kamado grills into two categories: ceramic and nonceramic. Ceramic grills tend to be heavier, with inch-thick walls all the way around. Nonceramic models are made of metal. They tend to weigh less and to be more maneuverable.
Kalamazoo Hybrid Fire K750hs Grill
Fuel: Propane, charcoal, wood | Cooking surface: 726 square inches
- Cast bronze burners will last a lifetime
- Very expensive
This grillalthough calling it a grill is like calling a multitool a pocket knifefrom Kalamazoo is both impressive and intimidating. The Hybrid Fire can be fueled with propane, charcoal, or wood, so you can cook just about any way, or anything, you like. And to be honest, its so versatile, it would take weeks to fully test it. Kalamazoo grills are made by hand in Michigan using very heavy-gauge 304 stainless steel thats three to four times thicker than most grillsour test grill weighed about 500 pounds. The Hybrid Fire features three, 25,000 BTU, cast-bronze burners sitting below a full-width grilling drawer where charcoal or wood can be added. With this setup, lighting the wood or charcoal is super easy using the burners. Our test grill came with three optional laser-cut, stainless steel cooking surfaces, one each for meat, vegetables, and fish. There are also two 18,000 BTU side burners, and a built-in rotisserie system with an infrared burner.
BEST TRADITIONAL GAS
Fuel: Propane | Cooking surface: 360 square inches
- Easy to use
- Shelves don’t work well as handles to roll the grill
BEST KAMADO GRILL
Fuel: Charcoal | Cooking surface: 262 square inches
- Will outlast most metal grills
BEST HEAT DISTRIBUTION
Fuel: Propane | Cooking surface: 725 square inches
- Impressively even heat distribution
EASIEST TO TRANSPORT
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Gas Grill Buying Guide: Factors To Consider
Propane or gas grills are an ideal grill option for many households. These convenient and easy-to-use products will have you flipping burgers in no time.
If you walk into any home improvement store, youre definitely going to see a wide selection of propane grills. With the vast inventory of propane grills, finding the right one might seem challenging. Luckily, Grilla Grills makes the decision a little easier with the Primate Gas Grill & Griddle â one of the best propane grills on the market.
What makes this gas griddle a top choice for grillers? Take a look at all of the awesome features available to understand how to buy a gas grill that suits your needs.