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.
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?
How Much Should I Spend On A Pellet Smoker Or Grill
Prices for pellet smokers and grills are all over the place and its tough to just look at numbers and say, Yeah, thats a steal! or Way too much. Dont do it! It really depends on what features you want, how important a name might be to you, where its made and how big and pretty you want it to be.
This is what I will say: Dont let $50 or even $100 keep you from getting the pellet grill or smoker you really want! This is a long term investment in great grilling and smoking experiences. You dont want that irritating reminder that you should have gotten that smoker with the neat bull horns or direct flame grilling or whatever you really wanted. Its far better to get that ONE you really like and ENJOY it for years and years.
For me, I started with a Traeger Lil Tex Elite. I dont think they make that model anymore, but it was perfect for me just starting out. Later, I upgraded to a much larger Pit Boss Austin XL. This is a great looking smoker grill with direct flame grilling, and the window in the hopper. The downside is that its bigger than we need most of the time, it doesnt have a shelf .
Later, I got a Pit Boss Series-3 Copperhead Vertical Smoker. Its the perfect size for us and I love the big door for loading and unloading. Vertical is the way to go for low and slow smoking.
Do your own homework, decide on which features are must-haves, and bring it home or have it delivered. Youll be glad you did!
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Gas Grill Vs Charcoal Grill
If youre buying a grill, your first decision is which type of fuel: charcoal or gas.
Gas grills offer three big benefits:
- Control: Adjusting the heat is a simple matter of turning the burner knobs, so you can easily prevent burning or undercooking, as well as create different heat zones by shutting down one or more burner . You can do the same with charcoal, too, but it takes workyou need to move the coals around and adjust the vents.
- Convenience: Gas grills turn on with the press of a button and heat up fast. Charcoal grills require 20 minutes or so to light the coals and another 10 minutes or so for the grates to heat up.
- Cleanliness: Gas grills dont generate much smoke and dont produce ash or embers the way charcoal grills do, so cleanup is simpleyou just have to brush and wipe the grates and empty the grease trap after youre done cooking.
That said, charcoal grills have several upsides of their own. Charcoal burns hotter than gas, so you can get a superior sear on burgers and steaks. You can buy an exceptional, do-everything charcoal grill for $150 gas grills start at around $200, and youll spend at least twice that on a really good one. Lastly, theres the romance factor: For some people, its more fun to play with fire than to twiddle a few knobs.
A Note On Hybrid / Combo Grills
Want more bang for your barbecue buck? Think about a hybrid grill. There are grills out there that run on more than one type of fuel, namely charcoal and gas.
Why would you want one? To get the best of both worlds, of course. With one of these on your patio, youll have the option to fire up the gas and cook up some lighter fare with no fuss, no muss. But, should you feel like it, you can enjoy an authentic charcoal grilling experience, including real smoke and its associated goodness, or slow roasting a larger cut.
You could also opt for a combination smoker and grill. We touched on them earlier, but to reiterate, combo smoker/grills allow you to choose between smoking low n slow in the smoke chamber and grilling over high heat right in the firebox.
There are too many configurations available to list them all here, but you can expect them to combine the features, benefits, and drawbacks of the dedicated grills weve already covered.
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Best Gas Grills Of 2021 According To Experts
Select is editorially independent. Our editors selected these deals and items because we think you will enjoy them at these prices. If you purchase something through our links, we may earn a commission. Pricing and availability are accurate as of publish time.
Summer is barbecue season, and now that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said fully vaccinated individuals and, depending on the situation, some unvaccinated individuals dont have to wear masks outdoors, family and friends are looking forward to gathering in person. This means the focus is on grills yet again, similar to the steady and regular increase in interest we saw last summer around grilling accessories.
If you plan on spending quality time grilling this summer, it might be the right time to consider upgrading your wares or investing in a new model. From charcoal to wood and pellet grills, it can be daunting to know which direction to go. But gas grills are fairly common and could be an option for your outdoor space. Its estimated that 62 percent of grill owners have a grill thats fueled by gas, said Matt Moore, author of last years Serial Griller.
Best Natural Gas Grill
- Side Tables: 2 stainless steel topped fixed shelves
- Other: one 10,000 BTU side burner, Rotisserie spit and motor
Looking to invest in a bright, delicious grilling future from the comfort of your patio? The Regal Broil King is ready to serve your outdoor grilling needs.
The die-cast aluminum and stainless steel body holds up to the weather, retains heat and looks modern.
The solid 9mm stainless rod grates sit over burner tubes which jet out on from both sides which maximizes coverage and efficiency.
The control knobs take advantage of the total range of motion to provide the widest possible range of flame control.
The illuminated knobs help you keep cooking into the evening. The grease management system pan and ignition battery sits inside an enclosed lower storage cabinet which keeps tools and other necessaries clean and dry.
The Regal covers other grilling support functions, like the solid side work table and wide flat 10,000 BTU side burner. In addition to the side burner, an electric powered rotisserie motor demonstrates versatility.
Broil King makes a point to source their manufacturing to North America and it is important to them. The design also spoils you with small details like hooks, condiment racks, large handles and a lid tool.
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Durability And Quality Of Construction
If youre looking for a grill that offers eye-catching style and high durability, a pellet grill is an ideal option. Since your grill will be outside, youll want it to continue to look great and withstand the outdoor elements.
While the inside of a Grilla Grills pellet grill has high-quality stainless steel grates, the outside construction of the pellet smoker is what makes this type of grill strong and durable. The exterior of a pellet smoker features:
- Strong and high heat-resistant powder coating to protect against the weather and retain heat
- Welded and caulked seams for extra protection against the elements
- A metal thermal jacket to retain the most heat for optimal cooking
- An incredibly sturdy stainless steel lid
- Wheeled products with strong, solid rubber wheels
- A tough stainless steel frame
Your pellet grill will thrive outside and will operate well in various outdoor conditions.
What Is The Best Month To Buy A Grill
dealsthe fourth of July8+ Best Gas Grills Reviews for 2020
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Weber 57067001 Q3200 Gas Grill
- Company: Weber
- Gas Type: Natural Gas or Liquid Propane
- Rating: 4.5 / 5 stars
- Price: $$
If youre looking for a gas grill for yourself and maybe your small family, or if you want a grill that wont take up much space on your patio, the Weber Q3200 is fantastic choice. Its not portable like others in Q series, but youll love the look and shape!
Of the Q series, its the only grill that you can order in either Natural Gas or Liquid Propane fuel! If youre looking at the Natural Gas option, youll be happy to know that it comes with the natural gas hook up hose!
Here are some of the features we like about this grill:
Weber grills in general are known to be top quality and this one is no different. We think youll love it!
Which Is The Best Smoker Type
Even though each smoker variety has benefits, weâve found after extensive testing of numerous models, brands, and grill types that coal vertical offset smokers tend to be the best type of smoker.
Vertical offset smokers make it easier to regulate temperatures by applying indirect heat more evenly throughout the smokebox. These are also usually more affordable and, because of their simplicity, can be easier to maintain and last for longer periods than options like electric or gas models.
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Getting The Most Out Of Your Grill
If you want a different type of grilling, and taste select a pellet grill. This type of grill uses wood pellets as a heat source and fans to control temperature. Plus, many allow app-controlled cooking via a smartphone. While they might not reach the searing heat of a charcoal grill, pellet grills allow for slow smoking, which is music to some barbecue lovers’ ears.
Although theyre not technically grills, smokers are worth considering. If you are more inclined to traditional favorites like ribs, pulled pork and brisket, these flavor factories might be the right fit. There are several models that feature enough automated controls to save you from a trip to a pit master boot camp.
It’s worth mentioning that there are some fabulous electric grills on the market. These might not provide the open flame that entices the traditionalists, but they do have a lot in their favor. For example, an electric grill is ideal for patios, balconies and homes that have restrictions on open-fire cooking, like apartment complexes and condos.
The Best Gas Grill: Weber Genesis Ii
This is Disbrowe’s top-recommended gas grill, the one she turns to when she wants fast and reliable grilling results at home. Though her first love is cooking over charcoal, there’s no denying the ease and simplicity of a gas grill like the Weber Genesis II, particularly when engaging in some weeknight grilling. “I think this model is perfect for everything from simple chicken breasts to charred corn for a Mexican street corn salador even tortillas, she says. Plus, the side burner is great for keeping a pot of beans warm while I’m firing off chicken, veggies, or skirt steaks for taco night.
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Calculate How Much Food You Really Need
One of the easiest ways to waste money when you host a barbecue is to buy too much food and drinks. But you dont want to get into a situation where theres not enough for everyone. So how do you know how much to buy?
According to Food Network, most adults eat 1 pound of food at a barbecue, while children eat about a ½ pound. And remember, thats total food consumed, not just meat.
If your party goes after nightfall, then your guests will eat and drink a little more. When buying meat, plan on buying 5 to 6 ounces for each guest if youre serving meat with a lot of bones, such as ribs, plan on 10 to 12 ounces per guest.
For drinks, Delish estimates that guests typically drink 3 to 4 drinks in 2 to 3 hours. And dont forget the ice. Youll want to have at least 2 pounds per person and even more if its hotter than usual.
Pro tip: Before you head to the store for food and drinks, . Make your shopping list around the different items theyre offering cash back on. This will help you save a nice amount of money on food, drinks , and other supplies.
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 Get A Two Or Three Burner Grill
This is a lot like asking if you need a sedan or an SUV. If you rarely grill for more than two to three people, a two-burner grill is plenty of space most of the time. But if you have a larger family or have a lot of backyard get-togethers, then a three-burner grill is important so you have the space to cook more food at once. When sizing up a grill, remember to think about all the things you might want to regularly cook, including browning buns and heating side dishes.
Best Outdoor Charcoal Grill For The Money
- Cook Area: 393 sq inches main and 205 sq inch warming rack
- Side Tables: Two fixed painted metal shelves
- Other: Bottle Opener
The Royal Gourmet grill offers a big step up from inexpensive portable grills while still within an accessible price range.
The sleek painted black stainless steel adds layer of protection against the elements while remaining stylish and sharp.
It is the smallest and lightest of our charcoal grill choices, making it easy to maneuver. Accessing the firebox is easy through a small front facing door.
To raise and lower the charcoal basket by a handle that fits into 6 leveled slots, adding a quantitative way to measure and manage heat exposure.
Another fun feature is a bottle opener mounted to the front, because one of the best ways to enjoy grilling is with a cold drink in your hand.
There are no slots to accommodate a rotisserie, and not too many extra accessories, however this grill is a wonderful choice for a novice griller, or a gas-grill lover who wants to add a simple charcoal grill to their culinary arsenal.
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