Advantages of Electric Smokers

Easy to Use
Electric smokers are incredibly easy to master, you just fire it up, load in your woodchips, set your temperature and you’re good to go. You can leave the smoker unattended produce delicious high quality smoked meat

Safety
Electric smokers are recognised as being safer than your regular smokers. You aren't creating a fire to smoke your meat. If you have pets or children electric smokers may be a great choice for you.

Low Cost
Using an electric smoker eliminate the need to purchase wood or charcoal, the cost of buying this fuel can add up. Electric smokers don’t use a lot of power, therefore, reducing your cost to operate.

Easy to Maintain
Electric smokers are a breeze to clean, as long as you keep your electric smoker out of the element. Simply wipe down the exterior and interior after each use

Convenience
Indoor electric smokers are becoming more common in this category. Therefore you can rest ensure that in the darkness and freezing temperature of winter you have the ability to smoke meat.

 Disadvantages of Electric Smokers

Traditional
Some people believe that building the fire and tending to it, is all part of the process. However, an electric smoker provides an alternative if you don’t want to spend all day outside.

Lower Temperature
Electric smokers don't quite reach the very high temperatures of other smokers. Its might mean waiting a little bit longer for your meal to finish.~


''Sitting in the backyard with the whole family and your best buds on a long summer’s afternoon has got to be one of the greatest joys of life. What could make that better? The smell of your favourite meat slowly seeping out from your pellet smoker, engulfing your backyard. ''

Pellet smokers excel at holding a low temperature for long periods of time & perfect for that big hunk of brisket that needs some of that low & slow TLC. On the flip side, they are also incredible at holding a very high heat, and we all know what that means... getting that perfect steak!


Pellet smokers have also gained a reputation to be very low maintenance and have acquired the nickname ‘the auto smoker’. Think along the lines of ‘set & forget’. This is perfect for those of you who like to be both the backyard chef and also the entertainer. Two essential features that I would recommend would be the auto ignition & the auto fuel feeder.

The quality of pellet smoker grills vary from brand to brand & even model to model. However, generally, this is not reflected in the price alone. When picking out a pellet smoker it is important to think about what you will be using it for and what features you are going to need. This will ensure that you are getting the best value for your money and no flashy add-ons that you simply will not use.



My Top Picks For The Top Pellet Smokers of 2018

- Comparison Table

Yoder YS640 Smoker

Model

Dimensions

40 x 23 x 25
inches

51 x 56  x 24
inches

54 x 61 x 36.2
inches

49 x 41 x 27
inches

51 x 21 x 45
inches 

Cooking Area

432 sq inches

560 sq inches

640 sq inches

572 sq inches

573 sq inches


Warranty

3 Year manufacturers warranty 

3 Year manufacturers warranty 

10 year manufacturers warranty

3 Year manufacturers warranty

3 Year manufacturers warranty 


Why Should You Buy A Pellet Smoker?

There are several reasons why you should add a pellet smoker to your man cave, woman cave or bat cave.

Pellet Smokers are Versatile: Pellet smokers are the masters of temperature control. They can hold a steady temperature form as low as 180 degrees all the way up to a whopping 500 degrees! This is perfect for everything from getting a perfect rare steak to a falling-off-the-bone rack of ribs.

Easy to Use: For those of you who are new to the smoking world, you will be delighted to know that pellet smokers are one of the easiest smokers to set up, light, and maintain.

Pellet Smokers are Convenient: Forget about running out of gas and re-stoking the fire. What could be easier than pressing the start button, loading up the pellets and waiting for your meal to be done?

Cheap to Run: A pack of 20lb pellets will run you around $15 - $25, this is enough to get around 20 hours of smoking time! That is considerably cheaper than most other smoking methods out there!

Pellet Smokers are Accurate: No matter what the outside temperature is, pellet smokers will always keep pretty bang on their set temperature. This is a huge advantage over other smokers, just set and forget! No monitoring necessary!

Pellets smokers burn small pellets of hardwood, these pellets are loaded into the smokers pellet hopper and are fed into the fire pot by an auger. So there is no need to manually tend to the heat source. All you need to do is set your temperature on the digital thermometer, load up the hopper and the pellet smoker will do the rest while you go and enjoy your company.


Need Help Picking A Pellet Smoker?

You might have noticed that there are a lot of smoker and BBQ sites out there on the web. Each will claim to give you most accurate information and unbias pellet smoker reviews. However, I have personally used all the pellet smokers I have recommended below and aim to give you a true to heart review.

I want to give you all the most informative and in-depth reviews from first- hand experience to ensure you are cooking and eating the highest quality BBQ.


My Top Picks For The Top Pellet Smokers of 2018
- Individual Reviews

Let's take a closer look at each of these pellet smokers and break down exactly why I have chosen them to be in my top pellet smokers of 2018 list.

If you have any further thoughts on any of these pellet smokers or would like to let me know what you think the best wood pellet smoker is, I would love to hear from you in the comment section below.

Our Top Pick For Pellet Smoker

The Green Mountain Daniel Boone is a wood pellet smokers with a whooping 432 sq inches of cooking space . It has a peaked hood for getting those larger birds in or making a beer can chicken. 

The Daniel Boone also has a decent temperature range for low and slow cooking, this is a little better than other models at 150°F to 500°F. The temperature can be easily adjusted at 5-degree intervals thanks to the easy to use control system. 

This is a good all-around temperature range perfect for this who like to cook low and slow and get a decent sear on their steaks.

For those of you who enjoy when technology makes life  easier, you will love this! The Daniel Boone is WIFI ready and has a really cool app to help you monitor and adjust your cook!

  Key Features

  • Height: 51 inches
  • Width: 56 inches 
  • Depth: 24 inches 
  • Weight: 155 lbs
  • Hopper capacity: 17 lbs


WIFI Enabled: Tech lovers will love the Daniel Boone’s WIFI technology. Easily connect your IOS or Android phone to the smoker through the free Green Mountain App. Once connected you can control & monitor your cook from up to 100 feet away!

That is awesome for those of you who don’t want to miss any of the game or love spending time with the kids. I had the IOS app, it was very easy to use and laid out nicely.


Durable: One thing you might notice about the Daniel Boone that it is quite sturdy. However, it comes with very strong hard rubber tires with locking brakes, making it very easy to move from the shed outside or vice versa. The heavy hood also adds to the strength of this smoker making it almost bulletproof.


Shut Down: Want half  of the cleaning work done for you? The 'fan only' with automatic shut off is another feature that I like on this model, it automatically blows out all of the ash from the firebox after you have finished cooking, basically your almost done the cleaning them.


Meat Probe: Want to see the temperature of  your smoker & meat from the couch? This comes with a meat probe that can relay information about the internal temperature of the meat  and smoker to the app or digital display. No more need to lift up the hood to check what the temperature of the meat is. 


Sense-Mate: One last feature that is worth mentioning is the sense-mate. This feature is a sensor that is constantly monitoring the ambient temperature of the smoker. When the weather gets cold the sensor adjusts the smoker into turbo mode, taking less time to heat up to temperature.


What I Liked

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    Fantastic temperature control with the digital remote
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    A turbo heat up system, which can get to high temperatures in very cold climates
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    Large cooking space
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    Helpful customer care
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    Free IOS and Andriod App to get you cooking from the couch
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    Large hopper
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    Accurate thermal sensor

What I Didn't Like

  • Constructed with a thinner material, so heat can escape easier than other models

Verdict

The Daniel Boone is a smoker for those of you who love when technology makes cooking easier. You also love to feed a crowd. It is a little pricey but in my eyes, this is a worthy investment.

The bottom line: This is a fantastic pellet smoker that is guaranteed to deliver a great tasting result.

4.6 / 5 Stars

The Entertainers Dream

The Camp Chef SmokePro SE Pellet Grill is a grill for those of you out there who love to entertain.


It is big enough for several big racks or ribs, or two huge salmon fillets. It has a nice large grilling area of 19.5 x 22 inches and a total cooking space of 560 inches.

It is loaded up with lots of great standard features as well as a very durable and sturdy design.

The Camp Chef Smoke Pro SE  is so reasonably priced taking into account all of the standard features. I think that it makes an amazing long-term investment. Your family and closest friends will love you for it!

  Key Features

  • Height: 40 inches
  • Width: 23 inches
  • Depth: 25 inches
  • Weight: 110 lbs
  • Hopper Capacity: 18 lbs


Ash Cup: The clean up is one of the easiest we have come across on any smoker. The removable ash cup is something that I think is brilliant!

Instead of dismantling and cleaning your grill after every use, you can simply pull a lever and empty the ash out of the fire pot. It's so easy you can do it on the fly so you are not left with any nasty surprises when you start gearing up for your next cook.

Temperature Control: The built-in temperature control unit of the Smoke Pro is really great, it's super easy to use and has a simple ‘low’ or ‘high’ setting.  All you need to worry about is setting the temperature and the smoker will maintain the heat for the duration of the cook. 

The temperature gauge on the outside is another great feature, this allows you to keep an eye on your temperature without lifting the lid and letting the heat and smoke escape, leaving you with a better cooked and flavoured result.

Automatic Auger: This bad boy will feed the exact amount of pellets for the duration of your cook, trust me, you won’t need to check how the fire is going at all. Just load up the decently sized hopper and you are good to go for hours.

The adjustable smokestack is also great for when you have a gathering and you need to get the smoke out and above the crowd. No more unhappy guests with smoke stained clothes.

Temperature Range: The Smoke Pro has an outstanding temperature range from 60 degrees Fahrenheit up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a perfect temperature range for everything from slow pellet smoker brisket to getting a good sear on your favourite steak. 

Its ability to maintain a consistent temperature is second to none, which is one of the major contributing factors to why it is in such high demand right now. It also has a dedicated area so you are able to grill your meat or veggies.


What I Liked

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    Electronic auto-ignition
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    Built-in temperature gauge controls internal cooking temperature
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    Great mobility with strong sturdy wheels
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    Easy to use ash clean out system
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    Grease management system

What I Didn't Like

  • Does not retain heat as well as other models 

Verdict

The Camp Chef Smoke Pro is a top notch smoker that has lots of room and some outstanding features. For its price you cant ask for much more!

The Bottom Line: Great quality made smoker that delivers on performance.

4.2 / 5 Stars

Top Pick For Home Entertainers

Yoder YS640 Smoker

Need a smoker which a huge cooking space? The Yoder YS640 has  640 sq inches of room. This is more than enough room for several racks of ribs or a whole turkey.

Looking for a competition level smoker? This a seriously sturdy grill for backyard cooks who take their smoking seriously and ready to take it to the next level. 

Yoder grills and smokers are made of such high-quality materials they even back them up with a lifetime warranty.

The  YS640 is the best-built wood fired pellet smokers I have EVER come across. Its worth every penny if you're after a high-quality smoker.

  Key Features

  • Height: 54 inches
  • Width: 61 inches
  • Depth: 36.24 inches
  • Weight: 355 lbs
  • Hopper capacity: 20 lbs


Digital Controller: The Yoder Smoker comes with a sophisticated proprietary digital controller, which means it analyses the temperature inside the meat and the smoker to maintain the desired temperature within a few degrees. 

This is achieved by controlling the pellet distribution, as well as lowering the temperature as your meat nears its completion. This means the Yoder leaves no room for errors. This is a great feature for those of you who like to entertain your guests, play with the kids or simply just 'set & forget'.

Cooking Range: The YS640 has an outstanding cooking range of 150 to 600°F, this is perfect for all night low and slow brisket or quickly searing your favourite cut of steak.

Upgradable Cooking Space: Love cooking your delicious BBQ for your backyard party? The cooking space is easily upgradable to over 1000 square inches.

Wide Range of Accessories (you actually would use): Do you like having the best of the best? The YS640 has a very wide range of additional accessories and upgrades. Yoder are also at the top of their game when it comes to updating the computer control system, they have periodical updates of the firmware to keep you tech lovers happy.



What I Liked

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    Precision temperature controller with 5 degree increments
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    High quality construction
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    Lots of cooking space
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    Single layer lid with counter balance
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    Made in the USA
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    Sturdy powder coated steel construction

What I Didn't Like

  • Does not retain heat as well as other models 

Verdict

Yoder YS640 Smoker

Highest of high quality made smoker that is backed up by a lifetime warranty. There are lots of upgrades and technical upgrades available to keep you up with all the new technology.

The Bottom Line: This American built smokers is one of the best pellet smokers out there!

4.5 / 5 Stars

The Best Quality Smoker

The Pro Series 22 Pellet Grill has a temperature range of 150 to 450 degrees and expansive cooking space of 572 sq inches. This is more than enough space with room for 5 racks of ribs, 24 burgers or 4 whole chickens. Perfect for those who often have a decent sized crowd to cook for.


Overall the Traeger Pro Series 22 Pellet Smoker is a sturdy, good looking pellet smoker. It has a durable powder coat finish, loads of internal room and a decent sized hopper. The digital controller keeps temperatures at an accurate temperature and the easy cleanup features are really handy! 


The Traeger 22 also gives off a beautiful deep smoke flavour, which is an awesome perk.

  Key Features

  • Height: 49 inches
  • Width: 41 inches
  • Depth: 27 inches
  • Weight: 103 lbs
  • Hopper capacity: 18 lbs


Low Power Usage: The Traeger Pro Series 22 only uses 300 watts of power for the first four minutes and only 50 watts for the rest of the cook. Pellet smoking is already one of the most environmentally friendly ways of cooking, however, the Traeger Pro Series absolutely takes this to another level.


Durable Design: Traeger is the inventor of the pellet grill. The sawhorse chassis is a solid foundation. The new brawny side lift bar and strong all-terrain wheels make moving the smoker a breeze. It is really easy to move it on rocks, grass dirt or through the neighbours back garden.


Accurate Digital Controller: This Traeger smoker also offers an accurate digital controller to keep cooking temperatures within +/-5 degrees f. This ensures you're getting precision smoking and grilling for all our meats and vegetables each time.



What I Liked

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    Dual probes came in handy for monitoring the meats
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    Easy cleanup
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    Fully automatic auger
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    Large hopper
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    Sturdy sawhorse chassis
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    All terrain wheels

What I Didn't Like

  • Low maximum heat at only 450 degrees
  • The controller is limited to only 10 positions

Verdict

Durable and high quality smoker that gives off an incredible smokey flavour. One of the best pellet smokers we have used in the last few years.


The Bottom Line: High quality build with a huge hopper to keep all your guests happy without having to tend to the smoker.

4 / 5 Stars

Camp Chef SmokePro PG24 Deluxe

The Best Value For Money

After a smoker that has a high quality build without the price tag? The Camp Chef PG24 Deluxe is one of the cheaper smokers out there. However, that does not mean that is skips on features or size. It is big enough to keep the whole family and a group of friends well fed.

It is extremely user-friendly and has lots of features that you would expect from a more expensive smoker. The features we loved were the auto start ignition and built in temperature probe.

We like the sleek design and a hopper large enough to have you smoking all night without needing to think about refilling the hopper. The auger runs smoothly and only gives out as many pellets as needed to maintain the temperature.

  Key Features

  • Height: 51 inches
  • Width: 21 inches
  • Depth: 45 inches
  • Weight: 140 lbs
  • Hopper capacity: 18 lbs


Cooking Space: The 573 inches of cooking space is plenty of room for cooking for the family or a small crowd. You also get a great cooking temperature range of 160 to 500 °F. We found it was perfect for cooking everything from our favourite rack of ribs to getting a nice char on our smoked chicken.


Low Cost: This smoker is priced for those who want to get into smoking but are not yet fully committed to something that is a huge investment. They have kept the cost down by using less metal in the construction. However, this does mean that the smoker is not as sturdy as some other models. This is not a huge issue but something to take into account if you are planning on keeping this as a longer-term investment.


Built-In Digital Thermometer: Standard on this model is a top quality digital thermometer. This thermometer is very accurate and easy to read. Perfect for quick checks on how the internal meat temperature is coming along. The temperature is displayed on an easy to read LED dash.


Power Failure Reset: Another great feature this smoker is the power failure reset. This is great for overnight cooks or when you are busy entertaining. This feature will restart the grill automatically if there is a power cut or anything goes wrong with the smoker. Fortunately, this was not a feature that I had first-hand experience using but can definitely see it coming in handy and saving some disappointment in the morning.


Ash Clear Out System
Cleaning the ash out is a breeze with the exclusive quick release clear out system. No more messy clean outs!


What I Liked

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    Accurate built in meat probe
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    Very reasonably priced
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    Sturdy wheels
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    Well designed ash clean out system
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    Brilliant temperature control
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    Power failure reset

What I Didn't Like

  • The safety grate in the hopper can make it a little awkward to get access pellets out
  • The lid doesn't always line up first time, with a bit of jigging about we sorted it quickly

Verdict

The Camp Chef Pro is one of my favourite cheap smokers out there, it has some great features that you would expect from a more expensive smoker. It is big enough to feed a small crowd & will stay nice and hot throughout your cook.

I think it is the perfect smoker for those of you who are a casual smoker but still want a high qaulity unit but don’t want to go spend a fortune on it.

4.6 / 5 Stars

Do want a pellet smoker that is extremly user friendly? The 71700 FB is perfect for those backyard beginners who love entertaining and want lots of cooking space.

Love steak?The added flame broiler is a really good feature and gives you the option too give your steak a bloody good sear. 

  Key Features

  • Height: 41 inches
  • Width: 26 inches
  • Depth: 43 inches
  • Weight: 118 lbs
  • Hopper capacity: 20 lbs


Huge Cooking Space: The 700 square inches of cooking space is plenty of room for cooking up to 10 or more guests. With the hood closed you have more than enough space to fit a whole turkey inside. The added convenience of a flame broiler is a great addition for those steak lovers.


User-Friendly: The Pit Boss is great for those just starting off smoking. You can just load the hopper, set the temperature on the easy to use digital control board and you are set to go.


Versatility: With temperatures ranging from 180 - 500 degrees fahrenheit you can smoke, sear, bake, braise, char-grill, roast, grill and BBQ until your heart's content.

Power Source: Another great feature of the Pit Boss is unlike most other pellet smokers you do not require an outlet for power. This bad boy can comfortably run off a converter from your car battery, perfect for camping trips, tailgating or afternoons at the park.


What I Liked

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    Huge cooking space
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    Adjustable cooking rack
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    Heavy duty construction
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    Brilliant temperature control
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    Really easy to clean
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    Innovative flame broiler

What I Didn't Like

  • The steel wheels rattle and shake a lot when moving
  • The back vents can release heat 

Verdict

All in all, I think the 700 FB is a top quality smoker for those of you who want to regularly cook for a bigger crowd. It is a sturdy, well-made smoker packed full of all the essentials you need to smoke, sear, bake, braise, char-grill, roast, grill and BBQ, no matter how many people are involved.

The Bottom Line: The Pit Boss 700 FB is the pellet smoker with the best value per square inch on the market right now.

4 / 5 Stars

Do you like some versatility with your smoker? Enjoy camping trips, cooking in the park or just in a mates backyard? This little bad boy is for you.

There was two stand out features on the Davy Crockett for me. The first was the convenient size and the second was the WiFi.
 
This little guy has enough space to comfortably cook for 8 people and still be small enough to take with you on your camping trip or tailgate session.

The added convenience try is perfect for storing food, cutlery and doubles as a prep station! Perfect for camping.

  Key Features

  • Height: 32 inches
  • Width: 16.5 inches
  • Depth: 21 inches
  • Weight: 57 lbs
  • Hopper capacity: 9 lbs


Wifi Enabled: The stand out feature of the Davy Crockett is the WiFi. We simply downloaded the free app from the app store. The app allowed us to easily monitor & control the temperature. It also sends you an error and low fuel notifications, so you never have to worry about forgetting to load the hopper again.

We have found that Often the wifi feature is seen as a way the retailer can jack up the price. However with the Davy Crockett this is not the case works really well. 

Multiple Power Options: Included in the box are three different power options. You have the AC adapter, 12-volt plug and battery alligator clips. These options are extremely handy for when you are taking the grill from a trip and don't have a traditional power socket nearby.


Portability: The Davy Crockett is made for those who like to cook delicious smoky meals anywhere. This smoker is small enough to fit in the the boot of any car or in back in your truck.


What I Liked

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    WIFI enabled
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    Accurate meat probe
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    Small enough to conveniently move
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    Sturdy removable legs
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    Free IOS and Android App
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    Multiple power options

What I Didn't Like

  • You can't feed more than 12 people with smoker in one go

Verdict

Love to take your grill with you? The Davy Crockett grill is your best option. Especially with it's adjustable legs, you have endless options for where you can set it up.

It gets up to temperature extremely quickly and once set is able to hold a steady temperature. The only downside that I could find was the hopper not feeding the auger consistently, but to be honest, this was not much of a problem and it did not affect the cooking temperature at all.

With the convenience of WiFi, the portability and durability I think it is worth every penny. This grill is something that every camping enthusiast should have in there arsenal.

The Bottom Line: If you like cooking away from home, you need this smoker!

4.5 / 5 Stars

The Traeger Tailgater 20 is the perfect grill for those of you out there who like to take your smoker with you. At only 62 pounds it is easy enough to put in the back of the pickup or camper to take on your next adventure.


It has a cooking surface of 300 square inches. That’s enough room for up to 12 burgers, 2 whole chickens, 18 hot dogs or 3 decent sized racks of ribs.


It comes loaded with great features to make your life easier and more convenient when cooking away from home.

  Key Features

  • Height: 36 inches
  • Width: 37 inches
  • Depth: 18 inches
  • Weight: 62 lbs
  • Hopper capacity: 8 lbs


EZ-Fold Legs: The EZ-Fold leg system is perfect for transportation or setting up the smoker in the back of the pickup.

Versatile: The Tailgater is not just a one-stop grill. Grill, braise, bake, roast or smoke your meats to perfection.

Efficient: Using only 300 watts in the first 4 minutes and then only 50 watts after the initial 4 minutes the Tailgater is super efficient.


What I Liked

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    Lightweight and portable
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    Foldable legs
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    Durable and long lasting
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    Easy to clean
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    User friendly

What I Didn't Like

  • Nothing, I loved this one!

Verdict

The Tailgater is the perfect grill for anyone who loves taking their grill with them.  If that’s on a camping trip, to a tailgate or a friends backyard, this is perfect for you

The Bottom Line: Want to take your smoker with you? This is absolutely perfect!

4.6 / 5 Stars

The Z Grills 700 is an American built beaut.  I loved the large cooking area of 512 square inches and a huuuuuge cooking temperature range of 160 to 450°F. The reliable convection based heat source which allows a perfect even cook every time.

The Z Grills is always a user friendly experience and is sure to be a big hit first time. Set up is easy and you will be smoking within an hour of opening the box! The easy to follow instructions were not even necessary!

  Key Features

  • Height: 51 inches
  • Width: 48 inches
  • Depth: 22 inches
  • Weight: 173 lbs
  • Hopper capacity: 20 lbs


Loads of Grill Space: 513 sq in the main rack & 187 sq in warmer rack

8-In-One: Grill, bake, roast, sear, braise, barbecue, char-grill or smoke

Big Hopper: The large 20 lb hopper is large enough to keep the fire burning for hours and hours.

Set and Forget: The automated electric feed system maintains temperatures at the press of a button.

Fan Forced Convection Cooking: This eliminates the need for a rotisserie and creates a versatile cooking environment perfect for all types of cooking.


What I Liked

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    Shutdown recycle mode
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    Second cooking rack
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    Internal temperature sensor
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    Electronic auto ignition
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    American built

What I Didn't Like

  • Slightly lower temperature range high temperature

Verdict

I believe the Z Grills Pellet Smoker after something that is easy to use but still a really high quality build. 

Bottom Line: Reliable, tough built all American grill perfect for cooking delicious food for a crowd.

4 / 5 Stars

Who Are Pellet Smokers For?

By now it should be fairly obvious who should invest in a pellet smoker... those who loves the beautiful flavour of smoked meats & vegetables but still wants convenience of set and forget.

The world of smoking can be tricky to get the hang of with some smokers, however, the pellet smoker takes all the hard work out for you. Pellet smokers are perfect for:

The Working Professional: Being a working professional in a lot of places mean that you work long hours and you don't have the time to set up the BBQ or smoker when you get home. The pellet smoker takes minimal effort to set up and once it is fired up you have all the time in the word to get the rest of your chores done. The set & forget functionality of the pellet smoker is a huge advantage in this case!

Weekend Travellers/Campers: Because some models of pellet smokers are quite small these are perfect to tuck away in the storage compartments of your camper or car. 

You can keep a few pellets handy for a quick and easy dinner while enjoying your lakeside view, or for when you catch that surprise fish at the riverside camp! You will be the envy of your campsite and that smell will be sure to lour in some new friends!


Tech Heads: The tech side of things in the smoking world is always on the move, nowadays there is a tonne of different tech advancements that are quite cool. 

You can now get smokers that have WiFi. I know what you are thinking and no this is not so you can scroll facebook while you smoke. This genius little idea is so you can control the temperature and even the from your phone! This is great for setting up your smoker in the morning then turning it on when you are on your way home!

First-Time Smokers: If you are just starting out in the smoking world a pellet set up is perfect for you. The set and forget method lets you concentrate on getting the right combination of ingredients, flavours and your recipe down. Without the added stress of concentrating on keeping your smoker at the right temperature or keeping the fire stoked.


Competition Smokers: When entering smoking competitions, in most cases you are fairly limited to what you can use. Both gas and electric smokers are considered to be 'automated' so are not allowed. The pellet smoker is not automated, only controlled so you are good to go!


Those Who Care For The Environment: When you think of meat smoking, something you don't think of is the environment. An added bonus of the pellet smoker is that burning wood pellets produces around 90% less carbon dioxide than traditional fossil fuels like oil or gas. Burning just tone tonne of wood pellets can save a whopping 400 litres of oil. This means you are saving 1,070kg of carbon dioxide from entering the world's atmosphere. Pretty cool right?


Smoke Masters: Even well-seasoned smoke masters can appreciate the pellet smoker. You can perfect your favourite recipes in the pellet smoker. Why you ask? The major bonus here is having almost perfect temperature control. This allows you to get your meat to the exact temperature you need it to be tender, juicy and falling off the bone effortlessly.

So a very very simple recap: Pellet smokers are right for those of you who are smart. You get a smoker that is extremely easy to use and environmentally friendly. For me, that definitely ticks all boxes!

How Does A Pellet Smoker Work?

Pellet smokers have different types of controls, those controls decide when to feed pellets into a burn pot. An igniter rod sits in the bottom of the pot which heats like a stove element. As the pellets light, a fan blows and feed them oxygen which starts the smoke production.

Since the entire process is automatic, you’re not required to mess around with things like wood and charcoal, nor do you need to play around with temperature settings. This means you’re free to do a whole lot of other chores without having to constantly worry about what’s happening to your food. And what’s more, this kind of smoker doesn’t require much of maintenance, unlike the conventional charcoal or wood smokers. 

Pellet smokers work with the convection process. Put simply this means that the smoke is circulated through the cooking chamber by an induction fan. This method provides an intense smoke flavour that is evenly distributed throughout your meat



It is amazing how simple it is to create really good tasting food in one of these bad boys! Pellet smokers have several key components that can be broken down into the following:


1. The Hopper: The process all starts at the hopper. The hopper is where you load up your wood pellets, load this right up to the top and you will have hours of smoking power


2. The Auger: The auger takes the wood pellets from the hopper into the fire pot. The augers speed will change according to how hot you set your smoker, if you are after a hot intense heat, the auger will feed more wood pellets into the fire pit. Whereas if you are after a low & slow heat the auger will feed the fire box slowly.


3. The Firepot: The firepot is where the magic happens. At the bottom of the firepot is a hotrod that lights the wood pellets. The hot rod does all the hard work for and makes sure the fire is alight at all times.


4. The Induction Fan: The induction fan takes the smoke from the firepot and circulates the smoke throughout the cooking chamber. This is what gives your meat that deep smoky flavour.


5. The Shutdown: The shutdown is where the pellet smoker stays on for a further 5 minutes after cooking. This allows the smoker to get rid of any additional ash & smoke after cooking so you are left with a cleaner smoker.

Combine all these components and you get one very easy to use and efficient smoker. Perfect for everyone form a complete beginner to a well-seasoned smoking master.


Factors to Consider When Buying A Pellet Smoker

However, there are some other elements that come into play when defining a good pellet smoker or the best pellet smoker. These factors can differ from person to person and do depend on exactly you want to get out of it. 

The Size, Cooking Area & Portability:

In the smoking world, bigger is not necessarily better. One of the first things that you should consider when buying a pellet smoker is the unit size. What exactly do you need it for? Will you be taking it away in the camper, over to the neighbours or an event? Or will it spend most of its life out on the Veranda? Secondly, you should decide how many people will regularly be cooking for. It's not going to be essential for you to get a large unit if you only plan to cook up for the family.

The Controller Type:

We all want to open our smoker and have the perfect piece of meat. The best way to achieve this is by having a smoker that can hold a constant temperature. This allows you to perfect your cook times and take your meat out at the perfect time. The control board is the part of the smoker that looks after cook time, this is an essential part of a good smoker.

All pellet smokers will have one of the four controllers. These four are set out below from the most basic to the most sophisticated. As you look at more high-quality smokers, they should include one of the more high quality controllers. As a general rule of thumb the more expensive smokers should have a one-touch non-PID controller or a PID controller.

  • Position Controller:
     3 position controllers, also called LMH, these only have 3 temp settings—low, medium, and high—roughly 225°F, 325°F, and 425°F. Pellets released in fixed cycles that are determined by which setting you choose. You have little control over the cooking temperature and smoke, this is usually found on smoker on the lower end of the scale.
  • Multi-Position Controller:
    Multi-position controllers feature a knob with temperature settings that go from 180°F to 420°F it could have an LCD display. However, they also run on fixed cycles and can only maintain a range of about +/-20°F depending on condition e.g wind.
  • One-Touch Non-PID Controller:
    You will see screen display and one-touch buttons for setting the cooking temperature in 5° or 10° increments, these controllers allow you to more accurately set your desired cooking temps. You will most likely find these types of controllers have an input for meat probe, so you will be able to monitor the internal temps.
  • PID Controllers :
    This is the most sophisticated type of pellet grill controller on the market at the moment, PID controllers are coded to be able to get to and stay at your set temp within only a few degrees, All will feature an LCD screen with the ability to set the temp in 5F increments. Unlike the previous controllers that have a fixed cycle, a PID.


The Smokers Temperature Range:

The temperature range is a very important part of your smoker. This will be a little different for everyone depending on what you like to smoke, how long you like to smoke for and the style of cooking you generally do. In general, most pellet smokers will comfortably sit at temperatures between 180° F and 450° F. This range is perfect for grilling, baking, roasting and of course smoking.

For those of you who like a good sear on your meat, you will want to go for something that will comfortably reach 550° F and beyond. You might even see some high-end pellet grills which can reach 500° F – 700° F which is hot enough to sear and fire-roasted pizza.

Another thing to think about when buying is the quality of the built-in thermometer, without a decent thermometer your smoker will not give the best results.


The Quality Of Construction:

Quality is something to think about when buying. You don’t want to buy to cheaply and have it fall to pieces on you in 1 years time. You want to do some research and see what smokers will suit your needs. Some of the important things to think when looking at the constructions of the smoker are:

The weight of the lid, you want it to feel heavy, not flimsy. You don’t want to have any gaps so it should sit flush ensuring a good seal. Ensuring its snug, means you're not losing any heat or smoke. Also, check out the joins such as the welding.

Also, find out what material the smoker is made from. Most pellets grills are made of painted steel, however, you will want to find that quality of the steel and paint as it can vary. A good thing to look for is a powder coat that withstands high temperatures.


Additional features and Add-ons:

In the world of pellet smokers, there have been some real technical advancements in the past few year. Now some people might cringe at the thought of mixing new technology with cooking, while others will want all the latest bells and whistles, again this comes down to personal preference and if you are willing to spend more money to get the latest and ‘greatest’.

A few additional features and add-ons that you can get nowadays include:

Wifi: Thats right you can get a grill that has wifi capabilities.

Programmable Probes: You can now get probes that let you know when your food has reached a certain temperature!


Control Boards with Built in Meat Probe: Combine your meat probe and control board to truly automate your cooking.


What Are The Pellets?

Wood pellets were first designed back in 1982 by Tregar Heating. They are little pellets made up of compressed sawdust. Originally they were just a by-product of timber yards. This is great for us smokers that like to be as chemical free as possible, as the pellets contain no added chemicals or fillers. 

Pellets also produce very little as, which means less cleanup and also less chance of nasty ash making its way into your food.


Cleaning and Looking After Your Pellet Smoker

It's a lot of fun sharing my thoughts & knowledge about pellet smokers. Being around the BBQ is something that I thoroughly enjoy, I love writing about what I have learnt over the past few years. Helping others get into the BBQ, Grill & smoking scene is something that I feel will enrich others lives for years to come. That is of course, if you clean and maintain your smoker.

Once you have finally bought your smoker, you need to learn how to store it, clean it and generally maintain it. Learning these little tricks and putting a little bit of elbow grease in will prolong your new smokers lifespan dramatically. To be honest I take a lot of pride in my smoker and keeping it clean & maintained.


At least once a year you should have a thorough ‘spring clean’ of your smoker. If you use your smokers several times a week you should have a proper thorough clean at least 2 or three times a year. It is amazing how much more life you get out of a clean and well-maintained smoker.


6 Simple Steps to Maintaining Your Smoker

1. Read Your Instruction Manual: Now I know as a man by nature we don’t like instructions manuals. However, its important to read over them before you clean. Nowadays with all the added features in your smoker, there are a lot of parts, and a lot of those parts cannot come into contact with water. You should never hose down your pellet smoker.

Your pellet smoker’s igniter rod, digital controllers, fans and auger are not too water friendly. With these parts you should take great caution and only clean by genially scrubbing at the dirt, any moisture or hard knocks can cause damages.

When cleaning makes sure to take extra care around the thermostat, the thermostat is very delicate and if jolted can cause it to take false readings.

2. Checking and Replacing The Gaskets: There are some parts of your smoker that will wear out a lot faster than other parts. One of these parts is the gaskets. It is important to check them annually or cracks, splits and corrosion. If you do notice anything, don’t stress this is a quick fix with a repair kit or a new gasket. Again your instruction manual will be your best friend when it comes to replacing or tending to the gaskets.


3. What To Clean Before You Cook: This one might seem a little obvious. However, not everybody feels the same way about cleaning the smoker before cooking. Some will even tell you that letting the ‘old flavour’s’ build up will enhance the flavours of your cooking. I disagree, you should always clean your smoker before you put anything In there. This is to prevent any nasty flavours tainting your next meal and for health reasons, you don’t want old grease or leftovers getting into your food, that can cause some serious issues.

Before smoking you want to check all the racks, internal walls and roof are clean of any build up, check all the grease/drip pans. The last thing you want is a full drip pan at the start of a cook, that can possibly end two ways: Either very messy or in the worst case in fire. If your smoker has a grease chute make sure you thoroughly rinse that out and get rid of any build up. Also, check the hopper and auger for any stuck wood pellets.


4. Before Turning On Inspect The Burners: Inspecting the burners on your smoker (or any cooking utility) is very important. If you spot any signs of any blockages, leaks or corrosion be sure to hold off using until you know it is safe. Any of the above can cause a fire in the worst case, so if you do notice anything please refer to your instruction manual.


5. Maintaining The Exterior: Keeping your smoker looking good on the outside in something many of us take great price in. The best way to keep the exterior of your smoker gleaming is to use a little bit of dish soap in warm water. Always use a nice soft sponge and stay away from any steel wool or brushes, these can damage the exterior and leave marks.

For more stubborn stains you will need to use a little bit more elbow grease mixed with a little bit of vinegar or diluted ammonia. Be sure to stay well away from kitchen sprays and other chemicals as this can also damage the exteriors finish. If you are left with water spots, the best way to get rid of those is with a little bit of unsweetened club soda.

6. The Internal Components: Keeping your internals running smoothly is an essential part of having a healthy running smoker. Make sure you keep your fans, motor and belts well lubricated and tuned. Your instruction manual will be the best place to turn to for the best advice on your particular model. This is especially important when your smoker has not been used for a long period of time.


Final Thoughts

Food is a fantastic way of bringing people from all different walks of life together. Every summer thousands of people discover the joy of smoking, grilling and BBQ-ing, and I think that this is really awesome. Every year we see every manufacturer coming up with new and exciting technology to make smoking easier and more appealing and accessible to a greater audience.

Cooking for your family or a group of your closest friends is really satisfying, I feel it brings everyone closer and you get a real sense of family, not to mention the delicious food that is involved.

I hope that I have helped some of you make a choice about choosing a smoker and very soon you start reaping the joys of your new purchase! I would love to hear from who has read this and has been inspired to get out in the backyard and get cooking!

Please leave me a comment below!

Happy smoking everyone

Charlie

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