Are you considering the purchase of a pellet smoker? Do you want to know a bit more about how to choose the right one for your needs? If so, you’ve come to the right place. This article breaks down what pellet smokers are, as well as what you should look for when purchasing one. We’ll also be providing you with a list of our favorite pellet smokers on the market today!
Why Pellet Smokers?
This type of smoker is known for being an easy to use option which features many automatic functions, as well as a general simplicity. They offer portability due to their size and weight, automatic fuel feeding and automatic ignition. They also tend to be good at maintaining temperature and have a reputation for being easier to clean than other options.
How to Find the Right Pellet Smoker
There are a few things that you should look at when choosing your own smoker. Each of these carries some importance, but you’ll need to look at your specific situation when determining which are most important.
The type of cooking you plan to do will factor into the range of temperature that you need. Those who enjoy searing their meat will want to look at temperature ranges that hit at least 500 degrees Fahrenheit, while those who simply want to smoke and grill their favorite meats can get by with temperatures between 180 degrees and 425 degrees.
Price of Unit
The price that each person can afford is, of course, going to be different, but the cost of maintenance should be considered as well. A smoker that is low-quality will likely not last long and require replacement much sooner than a high-quality one. A more high-quality grill can be used more and for longer, making it potentially worth more money.
Pellet grills come in sizes large and small. If you are looking to have parties and get-togethers at home, you may want to invest in a bigger grill than the person who enjoys taking their grill tailgating. This is a matter of customer taste, but should always be considered.
Everyone has a different standard when it comes to features. Some individuals will enjoy a modest grill without a million tech features, while others will want the best and brightest tech on the market. Of course, many will fall somewhere in between. Some of the features to keep an eye on that will make grilling easier include Wi-Fi, programmable meat probes, and direct grilling options.
Some other factors that may matter less, but still be important include things such as portability. Some may want to ensure programmable meat probes come standard, while others will want a decent amount of racks. You should also look into direct grilling options available on the unit you are interested in, and inquire about how efficiently the device uses the wood pellets.
1. Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Pellet Grill
Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett is a fantastic little unit. It packs some powerful features into a body that is small enough to take with you on adventures. It offers great taste and enough space to cook up a ton of food. A few reasons to consider this grill are included below.
First, this smoker is easy to travel with, making it an excellent choice for tailgating or camping out. It weighs a little less than 70 pounds, so with the help of a friend, setup should be easy. It also features foldable legs which double as handles.
Secondly, the Davy Crockett has all the features you could want in a pellet smoker. It has an app and is Wi-Fi enabled. This allows you to enjoy company without standing over the grill. You can enjoy conversing or hanging out with friends while knowing your meat is cooking without any help required.
It runs off a 12V or 110V battery, allowing you to choose how to power it. You can plug it into the cigarette lighter or connect to a battery. It will not drain your power enough to give you battery problems, so that’s a big plus.
Another impressive feature is the thermal sensor system that monitors the temperature and adjusts as needed to keep things going. This is another feature that makes it perfect for those who don’t want to babysit a cooker.
2. Camp Chef PG24 Deluxe Pellet Grill
This smoker offers a nice sized cooking area of 429 square inches, along with a warming rack of 144 square inches. This gives enough room for cooking nearly two dozen hamburgers at the same time.
A neat feature with the Camp Chef is the fact that it offers two LED temperature displays. One gives the actual temperatures inside the smoker, while the other keeps track of the temperature of your sizzling food. In addition, it allows you to choose a temperature and will keep it there, giving you the ability to do other things.
This model offers a temperature range from 160 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. It also comes with a pan for catching ashes, as well as a grease drain system.
3. Rec Tec Wood Pellet Grill
The Rec Tec is a great smoker with tons of features. Those who have been smoking for years will likely appreciate the fact that it is made from high-quality materials, making it liable to last a long time. It’s also known for offering precise temperature control and can heat all the way up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
This model offers over 700 square inches to cook on, along with shelves on the bottom and side for additional prep space. It also has four hooks for tools and a hopper lid that can be used for warming food.
4. Pit Boss 71700FB Pellet Grill
The Pit Boss 71700FB offers eight different ways to cook your meat. These include grilling, baking, roasting, smoking, searing, braising, char-grilling, and barbecuing. Of course, it requires a large temperature range to boast all those things. Temperatures range from 180 degrees to 500 degrees.
Cooking on this model is easy as pie. You just fill the pellet hopper with pellets, choose your temperature, and toss your meat on the grill. The grill will auto-ignite and take care of keeping the temperature where you want it.
5. Traeger TFB30LUB Pellet Grill
This model from Traeger offers 19,500 BTUs, which is enough heat for cooking two racks of ribs or a handful of large chickens. A digital thermostat is on the front outside which allows you to see how hot the unit is at any time.
The hopper on the TFB30LUB will hold ten pounds of pellets. This is a bit smaller than others, but as this unit is designed to travel, it will likely be sufficient. The temperature settings range from 180 degrees up to 375 degrees, making it useful for many types of cooking, save searing.
6. Pellet Pro Deluxe 1190 Pellet Grill
If you need a big ol’ grill, you’ll likely appreciate the 1190 by Pellet Pro. This model has 1190 square inches of cooking space, which is massive when compared to many others. You can easily cook up a ton of food for a celebration, no matter who shows up. It also offers a 9-hole burn pot which creates a more efficient burn.
The hopper capacity for this model holds 35 pounds of pellets and is made of stainless steel, as are most other things included. An outside rack and a shelf also allow for extra room on the exterior. The bottom storage rack is also heavy duty.
7. Traeger BBQ 155.01 Pellet Grill
Got a crowd to feed? The Traeger 155.01 can cook up to forty burgers or a dozen chickens at once. The actual cooking area comes in at 836 square inches and ignition is simple, requiring only the press of a button.
For those looking for economy, this is still a solid unit. In addition, cleaning is easy and isn’t required after every use. With a large grease bucket, most of the ick is captured for easy disposal at any time.
The heating element on this model heats pellets that then feed the fire pot. An auger and heat shield on the induction pan make sure this heat is distributed evenly. The controller that comes with it allows for quick temperature alterations. Manual controls are also available.
8. Pit Boss 71820FB Pellet Grill
The Pit Boss is durable and well-made with an all-steel construction. There are wheels to make transport easier, along with a shelf that allows for storage. For those who want to sear meat, this unit is an excellent choice as the range is from 180 degrees to 500 degrees.
The cooking area offers 820 square inches, which is room for smoking over 30 hamburgers at once. The hopper holds 20 pounds of pellets, which is more than enough for most. The grid inside is made with porcelain-coated cast iron, giving a non-stick surface and aiding in even heat.
While you can quickly sear, braise, bake, smoke, grill, and roast, that isn’t the end with the Pit Boss. It offers a built-in flame broiler so you can also cook over an open fire. This is a versatile option that has received many rave reviews.
9. Pit Boss 440 Wood Pellet Grill
The Pit Boss 440 is an inexpensive smoker that offers 440 square inches of cooking surface. The racks are made from 16-gauge steel with porcelain coated grates. It also offers a wood pellet hopper and wire shelves on the bottom.
While inexpensive, that doesn’t mean this cooker is limited. It can hit 500 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing for many ways to cook your meat. Burgers, seared steaks, seafood, and chickens are no match for the 440.
All in all, this is an excellent choice for someone who wants to dabble with a pellet smoker but not spend too much on it. It’s a great smoker but lacks some of the extra features you might get with a more expensive offering.
10. Traeger TFB65LZBC Texas Elite 34 Series Pellet Grill
The final smoker on our list is the Traeger Texas Elite 34. It has a well-built construction, although the metal can be a bit thin. The legs are sturdy, and the wheels are average. The door and barrel both seem sturdy and the powder coating can hide discoloration from the smoke.
The foods that come off the Traeger Texas Elite are known to be flavorful and juicy. You can cook nearly anything, including pizza, meat, vegetables, and much more. In addition, it can reach temps that are high enough to sear a steak, but not enough to leave grill marks.
One area that the Traeger excels in is accessories. You can add on anything from racks to thermostats to covers and probes. This makes the unit a truly versatile addition to an individual’s cooking repertoire.
People will always love barbecue and enjoy having new ways to cook it. There are many great companies out there who offer pellet smokers for beginners all the way up to experts. This type of smoker is gaining popularity, which likely means more features will be coming as time passes. Hopefully, until then, you can find a unit that fits your needs by perusing this list.
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