Best Pellet Smokers Reviews for 2018 – Ultimate Buyer’s Guide. Many people swear food really tastes better when cooked in a pellet smoker. The wood pellets that power the smoker provides food with an amazing aroma. Smoke will not oversmoke as it will be cooked with an even temperature. There are more reasons why pellet smokers are on the rise these days.
A pellet smoker or pellet grill or wood pellet grill is a barbeque, grill and smoker in one. It uses tiny and compressed sawdust pellets to smoke meat.
Pellet smokers are literally a set it and forget it appliance. Using pellet smokers mean you do not have to constantly check on fuel levels and you will never experience temperature fluctuations. This ensures you will have even heat inside the smoker at all times. With pellet smokers you just need to ensure the hopper is full of wood pellets when you start and it will take care of the rest.
Pellet smokers are equipped with a thermostat that monitors the temperature inside the smoker at all times. Just set your desired temperature. When temperature starts to drop, more pellets from the hopper are automatically delivered to fire the smoker and keep the temperature steady.
Pellet smokers are easy to use because they do not need much attention when in operation. Pellet smokers take the guesswork out of smoking a perfect meat. They are perfect for competition pitmasters and user-friendly for the novice chef.
Although pellet smokers are a bit more expensive than other smoking appliances, they are very much worth the extra dollars you will spend on them. All these benefits are reasons pellet smokers are on the rise today.
Click to jump straight to each topic:
- 1 Top 10 Best Pellet Smoker Reviews
- 2 The Early Beginnings of Pellet Smokers
- 3 How Pellet Smokers Work
- 4 Top 10 Best Pellet Smoker Reviews
- 5 1. Camp Chef PG24DLX Pellet Grill and Smoker BBQ – Best Over Pellet Smoker
- 6 2. REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill – Second Best Alternative
- 7 3. Traeger Lil’ Tex Elite 22 Pellet Grill – Best for Beginners
- 8 4. Camp Chef Smokepro STX Pellet Grill – Best Budget
- 9 5. Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett – Best Portable
- 10 6. REC TEC Grills Bull – Best High-End
- 11 7. Louisiana Grills Country Smoker Pellet Grill
- 12 8. Traeger Junior Elite Pellet Grill – Best Budget Pellet Smoker
- 13 9. Pit Boss 72700S Pellet Grill
- 14 10. Traeger Pro Series 22 Wood Pellet Grill
- 15 Do you need to buy a Best Pellet Smokers Under $500?
- 16 Food Flavors with Pellet Smokers
- 17 Who Should Use Pellet Smokers?
- 18 Choosing the Best Pellet Smoker
- 19 Best Pellet Smoker Brands
- 20 Conclusion
Top 10 Best Pellet Smoker Reviews
|Model||Image||Price||Cooking Surface||Temperature Range||Pellet Capacity|
|#1. Camp Chef PG24DLX||Check Price||430 sq in||1800F to 5000F||18 lbs|
|#2. REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill||Check Price||702 Sq.in||1800 F to 5000F||40 lbs|
|#3. Traeger Lil’ Tex Elite 22 Pellet Grill||Check Price||418 sq. in.||4500 F max||18 lbs|
|#4. Camp Chef STX Pellet Grill||Check Price||429 sq. in||160°F- 500°F||18 lbs|
|#5. Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett||Check Price||214 sq in||150 0F -500 0F||17 lbs|
|#6. REC TEC Grills Bull||Check Price||1054 sq in||200 0F -5000F||40 lbs|
|#7. Louisiana Grills Country Smoker Pellet Grill||Check Price||729 sq in||180°F – 600°F||12 lbs|
|#8. Traeger Junior Elite Pellet Grill||Check Price||300 sq in||180 0F – 500 0F||18 lbs|
|#9. Pit Boss 72700S Pellet Grill||Check Price||700 sq in||180 0F – 500 0F||40 lbs|
|#10. Traeger Pro Series 22 Wood Pellet Grill||Check Price||572 sq in||180 0F –400 0F||20 lbs|
If you need to buy a best pellet smoker, click here !
The Early Beginnings of Pellet Smokers
Pellet smokers are today the hottest products in backyard barbeque. This new star however is not all that new. Pellet smokers have in the market for the past 30 years.
Joe Traeger pioneered the manufacture of pellet smokers as an offshoot to the home heating furnaces fueled by wood pellets he was already selling. After a couple of years, a thermostat was included to make pellet smokers a set it and forget it appliance.
From the introduction of the Traeger Pellet Grills, the very first pellet smoker in the market in the early part of the 1980s, pellet smokers have evolved from being a creative alternative to conventional coal and wood smokers to an all-in-one cooker that can smoke, roast, sear and even bake in some models.
Today, other than Traeger, such manufacturers as Green Mountain Grill, Rec Tec, Louisiana, Pit Boss and Camp Chef to name the more popular brands have been developing top of the line user-friendly and reliable pellet smokers.
How Pellet Smokers Work
Being an all automatic appliance, pellet smokers are easier to operate than charcoal or wood smokers. They are as simple to operate as electric smokers. A pellet smoker generally consists of a motor, auger, firebox, fan, hopper and the grill.
- Load enough fuel on the hopper. The hopper stores the wood pellets before they are delivered to the smoker.
- Most pellet smokers start by just a press of a button.
- The auger is powered by a motor to deliver wood pellets from the hopper to the firebox (combustion chamber) located under the grill. The higher the set temperature, the more wood pellets are supplied to the auger.
- The auger delivers pellets to the hopper and eventually the firebox at a rate based on the set temperature in the smoker’s thermostat control.
- In the firebox, the wood pellets are automatically ignited by a hot rod to create a fire.
- A combustion fan stokes the fire to create convection heat which will cook food evenly in the grill.
- A dip tray located over the firepot keeps direct flame from getting into direct contact with food and catches food drippings.
Most pellet smokers use indirect heat. This allows the cooking of large quantities of meat at low temperatures at long cooking times. Air and heat are well regulated in pellet smokers so you can really cook large quantities of meat at steady temperatures with perfect and predictable results.
Top 10 Best Pellet Smoker Reviews
1. Camp Chef PG24DLX Pellet Grill and Smoker BBQ – Best Over Pellet Smoker
The Camp Chef PG24DLX Pellet Smoker features a medium-sized cooking surface (19.5 inches x 22 inches). It comes with an 18-pound hopper mounted on the side with a trap door. Grill grates are made from stainless steel and unit is made from powder coated stainless steel. It comes with a single-layered lid.
This pellet smoker includes a temperature probe and a meat probe. A digital temperature controller provides a steady temperature preventing fluctuations to ensure consistent temperature settings. Temperature ranges from between 1800 F to 5000F.
- Ash catcher is mounted and removable.
- Smoke stack cap is adjustable
- Built-in meat probe included
- Grease Management System to manage grease drippings from food
- Patented Ash Cup Cleanout System for simple and easy ash clean up
- Highly affordable
- Thin and awkward-looking lid that can easily bend or warp.
This set it and forget it pellet smoker is ideal for turkey, beef, pork, chicken and any type of meat. It can also cook vegetables and pizza
2. REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill – Second Best Alternative
The REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill comes with an all solid stainless steel built. It features a temperature control from 1800 F to 500 0F with 50F increments. It also features a “full setting” with an instant 5000F setting.
Heat control and temperature monitoring is at its best with this pellet smoker. It provides precise and accurate temperature control to achieve perfectly cooked meat. Temperature is so accurate you can even bake in this pellet smoker.
This pellet smoker is easy to use because of its set it and forget it feature which makes the smoker do everything on its own guaranteeing worry-free cooking. Its ceramic igniter creates fire in a flash and is guaranteed for trouble-free and long-term use.
- Able to achieve high cooking temperatures
- Large cooking surface capable of holding up to 40 pounds of meat.
- Smart Grill Technology™ temperature gauge not found in most pellet smokers
- Attractive design
- Does not include features for easy cleaning.
- Unpopular design which may not be appealing to many
The REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill is not lacking in cooking options as it can smoke, roast, grill, sear and even bake. The unit comes with a 6-year warranty.
3. Traeger Lil’ Tex Elite 22 Pellet Grill – Best for Beginners
Although the Traeger Lil’ Tex Elite 22 Pellet Grill is relatively small its 418 sq.in cooking surface can hold 4 pieces of whole chicken, rib racks, 16 burgers and 24 hot dogs at one time. This porcelain coated pellet smoker is a set it and forget it appliance. Simply set the timer and wait for the food to cook.
The Traeger Lil’ Tex Elite 22 Pellet Grill features an auto auger feeding mechanism that drops pellets to the combustion chamber as set temperature dips so you do not have to continuously monitor the amount of pellets in the smoker. This smoker also comes with an auto ignition allowing an on/off push button control.
- Set it and forget it style of smoking.
- Easy to use
- Versatile 6-in 1 cooking methods for versatility
- Auto ignition for quick starting
- Grease draining system allows easy cleaning
- Made by Traeger , a company with a solid reputation in pellet smokers
- Small cooking surface.
The Traeger Lil’ Tex Elite 22 Pellet Grill comes with an efficient grease management system, is fuel efficient and is easy to clean. This smoker can roast, braise, grill, sear, smoke and bake. It is durable, handy and affordable. Best of all it can cook extremely flavorful and smoky food.
4. Camp Chef Smokepro STX Pellet Grill – Best Budget
The Camp Chef Smokepro STX Pellet Grill is similar to the Camp Chef PG24 DLX model except it does not come with a side shelf making it lower in price. If you do not anyway need a side shelf, this pellet smoker is efficient and highly reliable.
This pellet smoker features a digital temperature multi-position controller. It comes with 1600 F to 5000 F temperature range. It comes with a meat probe for easy monitoring of internal meat temperature without having to lift the lid and losing heat inside the smoker.
The Grease Management System and Ash cleanout system allows easy and fast cleanup of food drippings and ashes.
- Digital temperature control
- Perfect Ash cleanout System for easy cleaning
- Wide temperature range of between 160°F- 500°F.
- Chimney top is adjustable
- Includes a meat probe
- Relatively small cooking surface.
- Does not have side shelf
The Chef SmokePro STX pellet grill is perfect for mouthwatering and smoky-flavored food. The digital temperature controller provides cooking precision preventing overcooking and undercooking of meat.
5. Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett – Best Portable
The Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett is a portable pellet smoker that can be brought anywhere. It is lightweight and comes with foldable legs which double as handles. It features a 219 square inch cooking surface and can accommodate 17 pound of pellets which is great for a portable smoker.
This GMG pellet smoker comes with 3 power option adaptors for 110V or 12V. Of course it also comes with a stainless steel bucket and fat container. It is Wi-Fi enabled so you can monitor and control temperatures inside the smoker and of the inside of the meat from your smartphone, tablet or any Wi-Fi enabled device through an iOS and android app
Temperature ranges from between 1500F to 5000F with 50 F increments. Temperatures selected are consistently maintained by a PID controller for even cooking and preventing overcooking and undercooking.
- Lightweight and portable and comes with foldable legs that double as carry handles.
- PID controller allows the control of high temperatures.
- Comes with temperature and meat probes.
- Small cooking surface
- WiFi app is not too reliable
The Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett is the best alternative to an electric grill which does not give food the same smoky flavor. It is important for pellet smokers to maintain constant temperature and this GMG pellet smoker does so even during long smoking hours while preventing burning of food due to high temperatures not being efficiently controlled.
6. REC TEC Grills Bull – Best High-End
The REC TEC Grills Bull comes with a stainless steel barrel type body. It features a patented PID controller with a customized touchpad. The controller allows you to set the desired temperature and forget about the cooking process as this pellet smoker will do everything. You can monitor and control temperatures through any WiFi enabled device through the Wi-Pellet Wi-Fi technology and Rec Tec app.
The PID controller of the this REC TEC pellet smoker adjusts the pellet feeding rate depending on the opening or closing of the lid, on the weather and other factors that may affect temperature fluctuations. This pellet smoker comes with two meat probes which communicate with the controller and to the app in your WiFi enabled device.
- All-steel construction
- HotFlash ceramic ignition system for an easy fire.
- Huge cooking surface which means equally huge food capacity.
- Unique REC TEC’s Smart Grill Technology Controller with Wi-Fi control
- Limited mobility because of its big size.
The REC TEC Grills Bull is the most expensive pellet smoker and also the biggest with a 1054 sq. inch cooking surface, a 40 pound hopper and a 200 0F -500 0F temperature range with 50 F increments. It also comes with a Ceramic Ignition System for ease in creating a fire. It comes with a 6-year warranty.
The Louisiana Grills Country Smoker Pellet Grill features a 729 square inch cooking area, 232 square inches of which is in the upper level and 497 square inches in the main level. It features a digital control system and a meat probes with programmable temperatures. Temperature ranges from between 180 0F to 600 0F with 5 0 F increment.
The Louisiana Grills Country Smoker Pellet Grill comes with a heavy duty gauge 14 stainless steel construction. Burn grate is also made of full stainless steel. It is capable of both direct and indirect cooking together with the flame broiler. It can simultaneously cook 45 pieces burger patties.
- Can do both direct and indirect cooking
- Comes with an electronic ignition fan.
- Features the Burn Technology
- Huge cooking space for cooking 45 burgers at one time.
The Louisiana Grills Country Smoker Pellet Grill is a durable pellet smoker as it comes with a high temperature stainless steel powder coated finish. It comes with a dome thermometer which includes a bezel and a sturdy bottom shelf for cooking accessories.
8. Traeger Junior Elite Pellet Grill – Best Budget Pellet Smoker
The Traeger Junior Elite Pellet Grill comes with a digital controller to ensure the right temperatures are reached and maintained. Being the pioneer in pellet smokers, Traeger always comes up with a value for money product and the Traeger Junior Elite is no different.
This Traeger pellet smoker efficiently maintains the temperature inside the smoker to ensure consistent temperature all through the cooking process. This set it and leave it appliance has a cooking surface of 300 square inch good enough for about 18 hot dogs or 12 burgers. This is quite impressive for a small pellet smoker.
- Value for money pellet smoker
- Comes with a convection blower to ensure even cooking
- Stainless steel construction for durability
- Easy to assemble
- Easy to clean
- Beginner smokers may find it difficult to use during the first time.
Its digital thermostat is the best feature of this Traeger Junior Elite Pellet Grill. The thermostat ensures temperatures are reached and maintained to come up with good quality and flavorful food whether you are smoking, grilling, roasting, barbecuing or braising.
The Pit Boss 72700S Pellet Grill comes with a generous 700 square inch cooking surface. This pellet smoker features a stainless steel powder coated finish that can withstand high temperatures.
This set it and forget it pellet smoker has 8 temperature settings ranging from 180 0 F to 500 0 F so you get the right temperature for the food you are cooking.
- Grids are of cast iron coated with porcelain
- Comes with a digital controller to ensure even and consistent temperatures
- Cart comes with caster wheels with a locking system so the smoker always stays in place.
- All stainless steel construction
- Quite heavy
Cooking in the Pit Boss 72700S Pellet Grill is just like cooking in a conventional kitchen oven. It is easy to use and equally easy to clean.
The Traeger Pro Series 22 Wood Pellet Grill comes with a sleek bronze finish lid. It features a 567 square inch of cooking surface and can reach temperatures of up to 400 0 F. The grill comes with a digital pro controller which features the Advanced Grilling Logic. It comes with two meat probes.
The Digital Pro Controller maintains set temperature within +/- 150 F for précised cooking. This pellet smoker is highly versatile as it has a temperature range of between 180 0 F to 4500 F to cook food to perfection.
- Comes with Advanced Grilling Logic to make sure temperatures remain constant and consistent.
- Even heat ensures perfectly cooked food.
- Hardwood pellets falling into the cooking chamber for even heat distribution and smoky and flavorful food.
- Some loyal Traege pellet smoker users say this model comes with thinner walls which makes heat loss noticeable.
The Traeger Pro Series 22 Wood Pellet Grill takes your cooking skills to a higher level. With a strong body, all-terrain wheels and a precise and accurate temperature control, this Traeger pellet smoker can handle even the most difficult smoking challenges.
Do you need to buy a Best Pellet Smokers Under $500?
Every meat aficionado knows that some cuts are just better when they’re smoked.
The natural smokey flavor. The tender juiciness. The rich aromas.
But to smoke your meat well, you need a good smoker. There are many types of equipment based on how they produce smoke. Everyone has their own preference, but today we’re focusing on one popular category: wood pellet smokers.
If you’re new to smoking and/or new to the pellet smoker, here’s what you need to know.
Pellet Smoker Basics
As you might have guessed, a pellet smoker uses wood pellets as its fuel. These pellets are made from compressed sawdust. Unlike charcoal, they don’t have additives and fillers so they leave very little ash behind.
While wood pellets produce great results with little risk of over-smoking, they do have their challenges. You need to find the right temperature balance because pellets produce more smoke at lower temperatures.
One more clarification: You may hear about pellet smokers and pellet grills. These terms are typically used for the same products. However, pellet smokers aren’t great at searing the outside of the meat, so don’t expect the same results as a typical grill.
Best Pellet Smokers Under $500
Pellet smokers come in a range of prices, from less than $100 to $5,000 or more.
If you want to keep a pellet smoker in your budget, this list can be your guide.
1. Buffalo Grills 1602 Wood Pellet Grill
The first pellet smoker on our list is perfect for the beginner. The automatic start and shut-down system makes it easy if you’re busy entertaining.
And with a 434-square inch cooking capacity, you’ll have room for all your guests’ favorites.
2. Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett Pellet Grill
Techies and tailgaters alike have fallen in love with the Davy Crockett. It’s lighter than most and has foldable legs, making it portable. But it’s also full of great features.
Green Mountain Grills’ Sense-Mate constantly watches the grill temperature. And for ultimate convenience, this grill is wifi-enabled. With the manufacturer’s app, you can control it with your smartphone.
3. Smoke Hollow PS2415 Pellet Grill and Smoker
Smoke Hollow is one of the most-recognized and best smoker brands around. Of course, they have a pellet smoker that’s earned a spot on this list.
This smoker focuses on giving you a seamless cooking process. The exceptionally large hopper means fewer pellet refills for you to manage. When your meat has reached its perfect temperature, the handy grease-draining system allows for a quick clean-up.
4. Traeger Grills Junior Elite Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker
Traeger is the company that first developed the pellet heater and later, the pellet smoker. For good reason, you can expect them to be one of the masters of the trade.
Traeger has several smokers on this list, but the Junior Elite is the most affordable. The best feature of this smoker is its versatility. With so many settings and options, you can smoke, bake, roast, grill, barbecue, and braise to your heart’s content.
5. Boss Grills 440 Deluxe Wood Pellet Grill
If you want to be the talk of the neighborhood, the deluxe look of this smoker will do it. It’s also equipped with a high-end digital control panel and a meat probe.
For the chef who knows how to get that perfect smoke, this smoker gives you the control you want. Plus, with temperature ranging from 180-500 degrees Fahrenheit, you can choose slow-cooking or fast-cooking to your liking.
6. Grills Tailgater 20 Portable Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker
Taking a step up from the Junior Elite, Traeger Grills has the ultimate tailgating pellet smoker. The foldable legs and compact size combined with high quality for the best of both worlds.
One of Traeger’s specialties is maintaining a consistent temperature, so you know exactly how long your meat will take to cook.
7. Z GRILLS ZPG-450A Wood Pellet Barbecue Grill And Smoker
We’ve reached the grills near the top of the $500 budget–but trust us, they’re worth it.
This master smoker has a unique look, but that’s not where its advantages end. It has the versatility and predictability every chef wants, with set-and-go temperature controls.
Plus, Z Grills has packed this pellet smoker with perks. It comes with a free cover to keep it in tip-top shape. If you don’t love it, you have a money-back guarantee including a three-year manufacturer warranty.
8. Pit Boss 71820FB Pellet Grill with Flame Broiler
If you’re looking for maximum space for your dollar, this is it. Most of the pellet smokers on this list have around 300-450 square inches of cooking space.
This Pit Boss model, on the other hand, has a whopping 820!
That does, however, meant that this model is heavier than most, at over 141 pounds. This makes it ideal for parties and gatherings at home, with undeniable quality.
9. SMOKIN-IT Smoker Model #2
Smokin-It is known as much for their high-quality smokers as they are for their no-nonsense naming scheme.
This great brand has a reputation for well-built smokers that last for years and years. It’s all about utility. The smoker has a basic and industrial look, but it gets the job done right.
10. Traeger Grills Bronson 20 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker
Traeger is a frequent flyer on this list, but the Bronson 20 is at a higher level than their two lower-cost models.
This smoker still has the 6-in-1 versatility and the temperature consistency Traeger focuses on. But the Bronson 20 has a larger hopper, deeper cooking area, stable sawhorse-style legs, and all-terrain wheels. These features combine to make it a convenient choice for any home chef.
If you have a landlord or HOA that restricts open flames, this smoker is helpfully compliant.
Getting to Work Without Breaking the Bank
For anyone who wants to take a step outside their typical kitchen routine, a smoker is a way to go.
From ribs to pulled pork and even your Thanksgiving turkey, it’s a versatile and low-maintenance technique. And as you can see from this list, you don’t have to sacrifice quality to stay within your budget.
For more meat smoking tips, recipes, and product reviews, please explore our website. Happy smoking!
Food Flavors with Pellet Smokers
Wood pellets are not expensive. The cost per cook is almost the same as that of propane gas. Wood pellets create lesser ash than charcoal.
Food cooked in pellet smokers always come out juicy, moist and one of the greatest tasting food ever without having to exert so much effort. Cooking in pellet smokers will give you the most desirable wood-fired flavor.
The flavors derived out of cooking in pellet smokers depend on the type of wood pellet you use in smoking. There is a pellet flavor to match a particular food.
- Apple Pellets. Sweet, mild and smoky flavor. Ideal for pork and poultry.
- Alder Pellets. Neutral and mild with some sweetness. Ideal for chicken and fish.
- Hickory Pellets. Rich, bacon-liked flavor and smoky flavor. This is the most popularly used wood pellet.
- Cherry Pellets. Slightly sweet.
- Mesquite Pellets. Spicy, tangy and string. Gives of a very strong smoke flavor.
- Maple Pellets. Mild with a little sweetness. Ideal for turkey and pork.
- Pecan Pellets. A bit spicy and nutty. Ideal for chicken and beef.
- Oak Pellets. Milder than hickory and stronger than apple or cheery. Ideal for vegetables and fish.
The flavor that gets to the food from the pellets is based on the strength of smoke achieved from burning the wood pellets and not from the flavor itself of the wood pellets. Mild pellet flavors are great for delicate foods and strong pellet flavors are for healthy foods.
No matter what type of wood pellets you use, they will always produce a powerful smoky flavor.
Fuel Consumption with Pellet Smokers
At a temperature of 225°F about 1 ½ to 2 ½ pounds of pellet can burn in an hour. Some pellets supply more overall burning times than the rest. A pound of hardwood pellets burn longer a pound of fruit wood pellets. Some pellets come as blends or mixes.
Advantages of Using Pellet Smokers
- Pellet smokers deliver a more natural and better smoky flavor than electric smokers.
- Pellet smokers are easier to use than other types of smoker. This is so because they can be controlled just as you would a kitchen oven. Simply set the temperature, create a fire, throw in the meat and leave it to do the cooking.
- It is easy to change fuels with pellet smokers. Switching from one smoky flavor to another is a breeze. There also are a lot of different types of pellets to choose from.
- Pellets smokers are versatile. They can smoke, roast, grill and barbeque.
Disadvantages of Using Pellet Smokers
- Pellet smokers cost more than other types of smokers. The benefits you get from pellet smokers however make the extra dollars you spend worth it.
- Just like any smoker that uses solid fuel, pellet smokers can be difficult to clean. High-end pellet smokers however come with built-in cleaning systems to make cleaning easier.
Who Should Use Pellet Smokers?
Anyone who adores the taste of smoked meat should use a pellet smoker. People who like a hassle-free and enjoyable smoking experience will benefit a lot from this type of smoker. It is not only easy to use it is environment-friendly as well:
- Auto feeding of fuel
- Automatic ignition
- Consistent temperature
The automatic features of a pellet smoker make it easy to use and an ideal choice for all types of smoking enthusiasts
- Beginner Smokers. Pellet smokers are easy to use making them ideal for beginner smokers. The set it and forget it feature gives the novice smoker the confidence of being able to come up with perfectly smoked food.
- Competitive Smokers. Pellet smokers are best to use for competitions. Electric and gas smokers are not allowed to be used in competitions because of its automation features. Although pellet smokers come with an electronic start and temperature control features, they are allowed to be used in competitions.
- A professional smoker can churn up a most delectable dish from ordinary pork with any flavor of choice. The accuracy of the temperature control will be a big help to the professional.
- Techy Smokers. Many pellet smokers are equipped with hi-tech features, the most notable of which is the WiFi functionality. This feature allows you to monitor and control everything going on inside your smoker through your smartphone from wherever you are.
Features of Pellet Smokers
Pellet smokers can easily be brought to camping trips so campers can smoke any of their wild catches on the spot. Most pellet smokers are lightweight and can easily fit in any vehicle.
If contributing to saving the environment is one of your advocacy, burning pellets is extremely environment-friendly.
Pellet smokers are ideal to all sorts of smoker enthusiasts regardless of level of knowledge in smoking and how the smoker is going to be used.
Pellet Smokers vs. Electric Smokers
Electric smokers are convenient and easy to use. They are also able to cook superb quality food. A discerning chef would however always opt for a pellet smoker over an electric smoker.
Pellet smokers produce better flavors. Favors produced by pellet smokers are more subtle and better quality than that produced by electric smokers. This is so because wood chips used in pellet smokers are specially made for use with authentic and open flame instead of with a heating element.
Pellet smokers are versatile in the sense that aside from smoking, they can often be able to roast, barbeque, sear, grill and sometimes even bake. Electric smokers function only to smoke food.
Pellet Smokers vs. Wood Smokers
For starters, pellet smokers are more convenient to use than wood smokers. It is more difficult to get started in a wood smoker not to mention that you will have to constantly check on them.
The major disadvantage of wood smokers is that it is difficult to maintain a consistent temperature. If you load the wrong fuel, you will end up with an overcooked, undercooked or half overcooked and half undercooked food.
Pellet smokers are automatic smokers. They are a set it and forget it appliance that will always churn up perfectly cooked food.
Choosing the Best Pellet Smoker
Pellet smokers are known to produce rich tasting and flavorful food. Pellet smokers are also known to be extremely convenient and easy to use. There are a lot of brands and models of pellet smokers in the market with a wide range of features.
Convenience, better control, durable, long lasting and of course a great food flavor are just some of things you need to look for in the best pellet smoker. Here are most of the factors you need to consider before choosing the best pellet smoker for the best backyard smoking experience.
1. Pellet Delivery
Wood pellets are stored in the hopper. From the hopper pellets fall into the auger tube then goes into the combustion chamber. The temperature inside the pellet smoker as shown in the digital controller lets the auger know how much wood pellet to feed the combustion chamber.
More pellets fed to the combustion chamber will create less smoke and higher heat. Fewer pellets fed to the combustion chamber will create more smoke and lower heat. Given these conditions, the pellet delivery system should have these features:
- The tip of the auger tube should have enough clearance from the fire box so fire will not hit the hopper where unused wood pellets are stored.
- The tube and auger should be of the right size to prevent jamming.
- The hopper should be large enough to hold needed wood pellets.
- The hopper should be protected so it will remain always dry regardless of the weather.
- It should be easy to load wood pellets to the hopper. The hopper should be easy to clean, too.
2. Type of Controller
The control mechanism of a pellet smoker is responsible for churning up the best tasting food with precision. Look for a pellet smoker with a digital controller. The digital controller of the pellet smoker you choose should be reliable and accurate because the digital controller dictates the entire operations of the pellet smoke.
Digital controllers could either be One-touch, 3-position controllers, PID (proportional–integral–derivative) multi position and Non-PID. PID controllers take note of the goings on inside the smoker and maintain the temperature to within 50 of your set temperature. With PID controllers it is as if you have an auto pilot cooking your food.
Some digital controllers come with WiFi features so you can control the pellet smoker from your smartphone from anywhere. It is also best to choose a pellet smoker with a temperature probe (monitoring temperature inside the pellet smoker) and a food probe (for monitoring internal temperature of the meat). There are pellet smokers with temperature controls that can accommodate up to three probes, one for the smoker and two meat probes.
3. Combustion System
The combustion system of a pellet smoker consists of the igniter and the fire box. The igniter rod is similar to a car lighter. The tip of the igniter rod is initially red hot and shuts of the heat is sensed by the controller. The fire box is a can with ventilation holes.
Look for pellet smokers made from thick metal or stainless steel. Make sure too that the igniter are easy to replace when they burn out.
4. Temperature Range
Before shopping for a pellet smoker have an idea of what kind of food you want to cook. Most pellet smokers have temperature ranges between 1800 F and 4250 F which is ideal for smoking, roasting, grilling and baking. If you intend to sear in your pellet smoker choose one that can reach a temperature of 5000F to 5500F.
Pellet smokers need to have an accurate temperature to ensure that you are always cooking at the right temperatures.
5. Cooking Surface
The sizes of pellet smokers range from the really big ones for commercial use to the portable ones for tailgating. Choose the size that is right for how you intend to use your smoker. Whether you smoke meat just for your family or you are fond of entertaining guests there is a pellet smoker size that is right for you.
6. Design and Construction
Pellet smokers with an all stainless steel construction are almost corrosion-free. Most manufacturers use powder-coated or painted stainless steel. Some pellet smokers have enamel-like coatings. For longevity, stainless steel fire boxes and grill grates are the best option. Grill grates made from iron coated with porcelain is a good second choice.
If you want a pellet smoker that comes with a lot of extra features, might as well look out for these:
- Meat probes that can be programmed
- Controllers with meat probes
- Options for direct grilling
- WiFi capabilities
- Auxiliary cooking racks
The most important features you need to look out for are an automatic auger control and electric start-up. These features will make the pellet smoker a lot easier to use.
8. Ease in Cleaning
Appliance cleaning is always a hassle. To make cleaning easier look for these features in the pellet smoker:
- Easy to access grease and ash pans
- Easy to access hopper
- Removable or easy to access fire box
Although the product guarantee will not make or break a product it always feels good to know how confident the manufacturer is of the product. Most pellet smokers come with a 10-year guarantee.
Price is always a main consideration in everything you buy. Everyone likes to save money without realizing that a cheap and low quality pellet smoker will end up being more expensive in the long run. Choose one that is a cross between good quality and affordability.
Best Pellet Smoker Brands
Traeger is the pioneer manufacturer of pellet smokers. In 1984 Joe Traeger’s gas grill caught fire while he was cooking burning the all the chicken he was cooking. After this incident he decided to manufacture the Traeger Wood Pellet Grill with the same wood pellet technology his family has been using for their furnaces and stoves.
Green Mountain Grills
Green Mountain Grills was founded in 2006 and is based in Reno, NV. GMG was created out of the love for grilling and smoking of its founders. They thought the pellet smoker they owned needed a lot of improvements so they decided to make their own.
Green Mountain was the first to manufacture pellet smokers when the patent of Traeger expired. They are one of the more accomplished brands and are the biggest competitor of Traeger.
Rec Tec hit the pellet smoker market to offer something different. While Rec Tec pellet smokers do not offer anything new they are known for their great marketing campaigns and extra-ordinary customer service.
Rec Tec pellet smokers are king in the low cost category with their attractive design and solid construction.
Louisiana Grills together with Green Mountain is one of the earlier brands of pellet smokers after Traeger. Established in 2006, Louisiana Grills made their mark in the market by producing affordable pellet smokers with advanced and desired features.
Pit Boss Grills
Pit Boss Grills pride themselves in being able to keep intact the natural flavors of food. These smokers come with a solid construction giving it superior strength.
Camp Chef Grills allows you to churn up food with professional flavors of wood fire. These smokers pride themselves with the unique Ash Cleanout system and Smart Smoke Technology.
The pellet smokers mentioned above are able to produce delectable meats with the smoky flavor you desire.
The best pellet smoker in the list however is the Camp Chef PG24DLX Pellet Grill and Smoker BBQ. It is made from powder coated stainless steel, making it is rust free and durable. The model also comes with a single layer solid lid. It comes with the Grease Management System to manage grease drippings from food and the Patented Ash Cup Cleanout System for simple and easy ash clean up making this pellet smoker not only highly efficient but user-friendly as well.
If you want to enjoy meat with the distinct smoky flavor make sure to cook in one of these Top 10 Best Pellet Smokers.