Pellet Smoker/Grill? | FerrariChat

Pellet Smoker/Grill?

Discussion in 'Drink, Smoke, and Fine Dining' started by Shark01, Apr 26, 2023.

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  1. Shark01

    Shark01 F1 Veteran

    Jun 25, 2005
    5,854
    After a decade of use and abuse, our old Members Mark (Sams) grill is on its last leg.

    So looking around at various dual fuel options, seems like pellet smoker/grills are really making inroads. These things are fancy with PLC like temperature controls, automatic feed, and Bluetooth capability.

    So the one we are looking at, Pit Boss brand has all this stuff (with gas as the 2nd fuel) for $850 at Lowes including free delivery and assembly.

    But I remain clueless if this pellet thing is a valid replacement for charcoal. We are ok with not having a charcoal option as it is messy and temperamental as the charcoal ages.

    Anyone have experience with this new fangled pellet stuff?
     
  2. M. Brandon Motorcars

    Sponsor

    Sep 4, 2007
    1,780
    Houston, TX
    Full Name:
    Michael Foertsch
    All good until something in those complex mechanisms breaks.

    Just grill using charcoal. Simple, easy (or can be challenging too), fun, and the food tastes better.
     
  3. tomc

    tomc Two Time F1 World Champ

    Apr 13, 2014
    25,917
    DFW, Texas
    Full Name:
    Tom C
    I would reach out to F-chatter @arizonaitalian

    He has a pellet grill/smoker and has posted some tasty looking stuff in the What's for Dinner? thread.

    T
     
  4. Jaguar36

    Jaguar36 Formula Junior

    Nov 8, 2010
    847
    Cherry Hill, NJ
    Unpopular opinion, but I do all my smoking in a regular old Weber charcoal kettle grill. Buddy of mine has a expensive Kamado Joe and I don't think his turns out any better. The only issue with the weber is that your capacity is somewhat limited, fine for a pork shoulder, but a full brisket is a bit much. I do homemade chorizo and kielbasa from time to time and I have to layer it as well, which is sub-optimal. Being outside all the time no grill is going to last forever, might as well get a simple cheap one.
     
    muk_yan_jong likes this.
  5. arizonaitalian

    arizonaitalian Two Time F1 World Champ
    Owner Silver Subscribed

    Oct 29, 2010
    20,142
    Wyoming
    Need more info on what you want it to do…

    when you say grill, do you mean over gas or charcoal or ability to use either?

    do you want to smoke low and slow?

    what else?

    Fwiw, I had to rebuy my equipment when I returned from Europe 3 years ago. Before that I was a Webber Gas grill guy because they (at least used to be) early Mercedes-like in terms of vault like build. I am too lazy for charcoal and find I get the grilled taste I want merely with gas cooking.

    I also wanted to start smoking.

    I looked at combo grill/smokers and found their reality sucked after reading online reviews.

    So I went with a cheapo Char-Boil brand gas grill. It’s one of their better lines and was still $350 range iirc. About half or less of the Weber. It’s stood up surprisingly well and I have no regrets. (Contrast that with the Nexgrill or whatever it’s called at my current vrbo we are staying at that is a total pos).

    Weber is still better of course…

    I went with a pellet smoker (again, I’m lazy) and I love the thing. I went with Camp Chef for again around $350. Traeger gets the publicity but I see no advantage to paying the extra for their brand name.

    So, to summarize, the lazy man’s and budget man’s combo is two machines - a grill and a camp chef.

    If you go camp chef, the real “love it” is the so-called “sidekick” high power burner with heavy cast iron griddle. Love that thing and use it all the time for smash burgers and breakfast cooking, and the high power burner is heavy duty and we do braising and soups and suck in a heavy cast iron large pot over that burner often as well.

    (this advice is not applicable if you are really into it and want to use wood for smoking and charcoal for grilling…in that case you are onto eggs and offset smokers and so on. There are threads on those here and in silver and guys like Rob Lay and Statler and our own powerpig and others are very knowledgeable on those)
     
  6. Shark01

    Shark01 F1 Veteran

    Jun 25, 2005
    5,854
    I want the ability to do basically everything, slow smoke, grill using gas when feeling lazy, grill using pellets (including using charcoal pellets), and combinations (the one we are looking at has a pass through so you can even direct smoke to the gas grill section).
     
  7. stever

    stever F1 Rookie
    Silver Subscribed

    Apr 18, 2006
    4,194
    West. Wisconsin
    Full Name:
    Steve R
    My brother in law didn't like his Traeger for grilling steaks....couldn't get the temperature as high as he liked. Ended up with a Napoleon..a new name to me.
     
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  8. Shark01

    Shark01 F1 Veteran

    Jun 25, 2005
    5,854
    I'll pass on a dead 200 year old Frenchman :)

    I think we will just buy the Pit Boss and take a chance that the pellet thing will be OK. I've seen a few videos now where this model can nicely sear steaks (which is a dead stop requirement for us) using a rod that opens the cover so the flame can touch the meat......the temperature measurement doing that is in excess of 600 deg.
     
  9. adc

    adc Karting

    Feb 1, 2009
    231
    I have MAK Two-Star, PK Grill and Offset smoker. It all depends on time and what I want to do. PK Grill gets used the most with Fogo charcoal. I prefer taste of charcoal and it takes about 30 min to fire up with chimney starter.
    I bought MAK after reading about it and should have just stayed with Green Mountain Grill (GMG). Used GMG for many years and would recommend this brand over Traeger if you go pellet grill. Pellet grills are almost set and forget. I can do a whole chicken on pellet grill in 70-80 mins set at 325 and they turn out great. Just check on it every 15-20 and turn if necessary.
     
  10. tomc

    tomc Two Time F1 World Champ

    Apr 13, 2014
    25,917
    DFW, Texas
    Full Name:
    Tom C
    Chimney starter is required gizmo # 1 for a charcoal grill. If you still think that lighting a charcoal grill is a PITA with a good quality chimney, then gas is definitely for you! LOL.

    T
     
  11. Shark01

    Shark01 F1 Veteran

    Jun 25, 2005
    5,854
    Been watching a few side-by-side comparisons between the Pit Boss and Traeger this weekend and Pit Boss has won all of them.
     
  12. Shark01

    Shark01 F1 Veteran

    Jun 25, 2005
    5,854
    Not lighting it (though I never heard if these chimney things until about two weeks ago), the hassle part are other things involved
     
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  13. adc

    adc Karting

    Feb 1, 2009
    231
  14. Eric R

    Eric R F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed

    Nov 19, 2014
    5,493
    The Woodlands, Tx
    Full Name:
    Eric R.
    I had a top of the line Napoleon and it lasted 4yrs before everything internally needed replacing except the grates. I would clean it regularly too I might add. So I threw it out and got an MHP. American made and cast iron housing. Has external SS high temp searer on the side. I love that for steaks. Its not all fancy looking with back lit knobs and LED lights that crap out. That new shiny look does not last either no matter how hard you try.
     
  15. mchas

    mchas F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed

    Oct 5, 2004
    5,932
    Los Angeles
    Full Name:
    Mark
    Interesting, I have a Napoleon and love it. Bought it 2-3 years ago and still in great shape. Clean it once a year. They have 10 year warranties (or more) so why not just have them replace it?

    Love searing steaks on the infrared burner.
     
  16. Eric R

    Eric R F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed

    Nov 19, 2014
    5,493
    The Woodlands, Tx
    Full Name:
    Eric R.
    I must be cursed then. I would clean my twice a year and even had a cover for it. The infrared burner was nice and I have that on the current one. The flame covers were the first thing to start falling apart, the igniter went, then the flame rails would not work properly, the back lights for the knobs went. Then it started getting rust spots on the outside that I could not get rid of. It was stainless but not 309 that does not rust. I was disappointed for a $2500 grill.
     
  17. ronr

    ronr Formula Junior

    Oct 30, 2002
    813
    DFW, TX
    Full Name:
    Ron
    I bought a RecTeq 700 a few months ago and love it. They use good heavy duty stainless, good controller, good amount of space. They updated these newer 700s with the higher speed auger and better controller to get higher temperatures than the previous version.
     
  18. Shark01

    Shark01 F1 Veteran

    Jun 25, 2005
    5,854
    Ended up buying the Pit Boss at Lowes…..they offer EITHER free delivery OR free assembly. If there is any way to get the grill to your place, take the free assembly. It was a bear to put together, about 5 hours, and requires a second person a lot in the first half of the build.

    But having a great time having fun with it. So far have smoked:
    Rack of ribs
    Hamburger
    Steak (reverse sear)
    Pork tenderloin
    Jalapeño sausage
     
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  19. peterp

    peterp F1 Veteran

    Aug 31, 2002
    6,559
    NJ
    Full Name:
    Peter
    When my Weber kettle burned out, I bought a Char-griller offset (charcoal only) grill/smoker that was pretty highly recommended. It took a long time to put together. I absolutely hated it -- terrible for grilling, worse for smoking because the smoke leaked everywhere (even after adding Nomex seals (a popular hack for that grill)). I used it four times, then went out and bought another Weber kettle model with the side table. The Weber charcoal kettles are kind of boring, look a bit ugly and cheap, but they are engineered to perfection. I use the Weber top and bottom vents to control the charcoal burn and temp perfectly (something I couldn't do with the Char-griller).

    For "low and slow" smoking, the "snake" method in the Weber kettle is much better than the offset that leaked like crazy and was impossible to keep at 200-225. The Char-Griller took forever to put together (agree with tip to get the seller to put it together), then even longer to try to seal up -- it's been sitting on the deck under a cover, not used in 2+ years. I'll always have a Weber for grilling. Probably will add a dedicated smoker at some point -- need to get rid of the Char-Griller first.

    Snake method
     
  20. vandevanterSH

    vandevanterSH Formula 3
    Silver Subscribed

    Jan 27, 2005
    1,917
    AR
    Full Name:
    Stephen Van Devanter
    Still happy with the RecTeq 700? Looking at pellet smoker reviews, RecTeq seems to be a good compromise between Big Box store offerings and heavy duty welded plate steel pro-models.
     

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