Interested in some delicious barbecue? If you’re hosting a party in the backyard and want everyone to try your signature dishes, you must make sure that you have the necessary gear that will back you up.
The best pellet smoker offers more versatility and simplicity than gas and charcoal grills. For this reason, you should make sure that you’re adding one to your kitchen arsenal.
So, how can you find the best one? There are several amazing models on the market and choosing the most suitable one can be tricky. Read this article, and you’ll say goodbye to old grills and smokers forever.
How Does a Pellet Smoker Work?
Can smoking and barbecuing become easier? With the help of new appliances, they can.
Pellet smokers allow you to indulge in your barbecuing fantasies without worrying about cutting wood or inhaling the smoke from charcoal. They use wood pellets that offer the smoky flavor of the wood without worrying about cutting or carrying logs.
The pellets are made of compressed hardwood sawdust. When the sawdust is subjected to high heat and pressure, the particles get glued together. They contain no additives and burn clean.
This appliance runs on the normal household current and requires no special installation requirements. All you should do is to plug yours and adjust the controller.
Pellets are kept in the hopper then moved to the fire pot by the auger. An igniter rod glows red hot and ignites the pellets to set them on fire.
The blower fan diffuses the heat and smoke so you can grill and smoke your favorite dish. The evenly distributed heat works just like an oven and there’s usually a drip tray to prevent drippings from getting into the fire.
What are the Advantages of Pellet Smokers?
Pellet smokers aren’t cheap. This means you should understand their benefits before you decide to pay a substantial amount of money to buy a good model.
Flexibility and Versatility
Interested in some ribs? Want to roast a chicken? Pellet smokers are so versatile because you can smoke, bake, grill, and do anything else you’d do on a regular smoker. You can even bake your favorite dessert as this appliance won’t limit your options.
Fast and Convenient
No need to wait for your smoker to preheat. Pellet smokers preheat in a few minutes, so you can start working on your favorite recipe immediately.
Unlike gas and charcoal smokers and grills, pellet-operated models allow you to adjust the heat in 5-degree increments. They give you total control over the heat so you can cook your favorite dishes to perfection.
Easy to Use
Are you a beginner? A pellet smoker is an excellent choice because it’s easy to set up and operate. Moreover, there’s no fear of uneven cooking because the temperature is evenly regulated and distributed to reach all the corners of your pot or tray.
Pellets offer the delicious flavor of wood minus the hassle. You’ve got tens of flavors to try and experiment with, so you can enjoy the best barbecue and smoked dishes whenever you want to.
How to Choose the Best Pellet Smoker?
A pellet smoker is a good choice for beginner and intermediate-level cooks because you won’t have to worry about maintaining the temperature, distributing the heat, and getting wood or charcoal for your smoker.
Nevertheless, you should be careful while looking for a model to add to your kitchen arsenal. Here are some important factors to consider.
Don’t be fooled by the fancy exterior. You’re buying an appliance that should last for decades.
High-quality materials retain heat and guarantee that your food will be cooked evenly. They’re also more efficient at pellet consumption.
In addition to the outer body, you should make sure that the fan, hopper, and all other internal parts are made of high-quality stainless steel. Powder coated steel works too, but you must make sure that it’s well-coated.
Do you often host parties? You’ll need a big pellet smoker to accommodate the enormous amounts of food you’re planning to cook, grill, and smoke during various social gatherings.
If you’re only cooking for your small family, then a pellet smoker with a small chamber is enough. It won’t be as expensive and won’t occupy much space.
Size of Hopper
The hopper determines how much you’ll be able to cook because it’s where you store your pellets. If you’re planning to do some smoking and slow-cooking that takes more than 20 hours, you should make sure that the hopper provides least 20 pounds of internal capacity.
You can buy an extension to add more pellets to your hopper, but you must make sure that it’s compatible with your smoker.
This will affect your ability to cook certain dishes. If you’re a fan of barbecued and grilled food, then you definitely need a larger temperature range. Smoking requires a lower temperature to keep the juices.
Make sure that there’s a controller that you can use to adjust the temperature accurately. This will have a great impact on the quality of the dishes you cook.
A lightweight pellet smoker is easy to move around so you can set it up anywhere you like and transfer it from your house to your friend’s. However, a lightweight model will have a small cooking chamber, so you should take this into consideration.
Having wheels on your pellet smoker will make it more mobile and easier to move around or store when not needed. Nevertheless, you should make sure that the wheels can be locked so that the smoker won’t accidentally move.
Reviews of the 5 Best Pellet Smokers on the Market
If you’re craving some juicy steak that can be prepared with no hassle, then it’s time to check the reviews of the 5 best pellet smokers on the market.
With 820 square inches of cooking capacity, you can bake, sear, grill, smoke, char-grill, roast, or smoke all your favorite dishes. It’s made of heavy-duty steel and features two sturdy legs, in addition to wheels that allow you to move it around comfortably. You’ll love how versatile and easy to use this model is.
The temperature ranges from 180 to 500 degrees. You’ll use a dial with an LED display that you can easily adjust to set the right temperature.
Moreover, there’s a probe that will allow you to see how well your meat is cooked. Heat is evenly distributed to seal all the juices inside your burgers and steaks.
I recommend this model to hosts who like to cook for several people as it features 580 square inches of cooking space in the main compartment, in addition to a removable rack. The flame broiler allows for direct and indirect cooking while adding amazing flavor to your food.
There’s a problem with the coating or paint that tends to come off easily, which is a problem as the smoker will be prone to rust. You might need to install a gasket to the door to prevent the smoke and heat from escaping.
- Big cooking chamber to prepare large amounts of food.
- Wheels so you can move it around when needed.
- Temperature dial with LED display.
- Paint comes off with repeated use, subjecting your smoker to rusting.
- Door isn’t perfectly sealed, allowing heat and smoke to escape.
This is an affordable unit that you can use to grill, smoke, and roast. It’s a good choice for beginners as it uses infrared technology to cook your food to perfection with no flare-ups.
There’s a limited cooking space of 180 square inches and this is enough to cook 25 pounds of roast for the family. If you’re preparing Thanksgiving dinner for the first time, this unit will guarantee that your turkey will be juicy and tender. With oil-free cooking, your meat will be crispy on the outside, while retaining all tasty flavors.
Food won’t fall between grates, so the cooking tray will be easy to clean up. It’s lightweight, so you can lend it to a friend but it doesn’t have wheels.
All you need to do is to turn on the knob and adjust the temperature. The removable grease tray keeps all the drippings for mess-free cleanup.
It provides consistent cooking by distributing the temperature evenly for best results. However, if you’re a beginner, you’ll suffer a little getting the temperature right because there’s no thermometer.
Thanks to the different cooking racks, you’ll be able to cook several items at the same time. You have the option to add wood chips to the tray for smoking purposes, but it’s better to use foil to enhance the flavors.
- Compact and lightweight infrared grill.
- Versatile cooking options.
- Even heat distribution to retain the juices.
- No wheels.
- No temperature display so adjusting the right temperature can be a bit tricky.
Thanks to its big hopper, you won’t have to worry much about refilling pellets. It’s designed to hold 18 pounds of pellets for slow cooking.
It features a big and convenient cooking space of 573 square inches which is enough to prepare a delicious meal for big gatherings. You can either use the main compartment or the upper rack to grill, smoke, and roast different items at the same time. The main chamber is able to accommodate two turkeys at the same time so you can prepare a delicious dinner for at least 20 people.
Cleaning up ash doesn’t take time or effort thanks to the push out system. The temperature can be adjusted from 160 up to 500 degrees as the grill features an internal thermometer and an internal meat probe to monitor the progress of your food.
I recommend this to intermediate-level cooks who are interested in cooking large amounts of food while enjoying the hardwood flavor. It’s easy to start up and features an automatic shutdown option. There are two wheels that you can use to move the unit around.
However, it’s hard to get the pellets out if you need to store them. Moreover, ashes are blown and should be cleaned regularly.
- Enough space to cook for big gatherings.
- Upper cooking rack for more versatility.
- Push out system to clean ashes.
- Wheels to move it around.
- Requires regular cleaning.
- Getting the pellets out is rather difficult.
Tailgating is easy because you can control this grill using your smartphone. This model is portable and lightweight so you can easily move it around. It’s Wi-Fi enabled and allows you to remotely monitor your recipes in the making.
You can set a timer and receive notifications about the progress of your food, so you won’t miss a minute of the gathering. The thermal sensor is a cool feature that beginners will find useful. It can reach a maximum temperature of 420 degrees.
There’s a mesh tray where you can hang the needed utensils. You can easily fold the legs to fit the grill in the back of the truck and it’s quite easy to assemble. It can hold 9 pounds of pellets and features a cooking surface of 219 square inches, so it’s not suitable for big parties.
This is a cool model with three power options so it’s a good choice if you want to prepare food on a hunting or camping trip. However, beginners might struggle a little while setting it up as the assembly instructions aren’t clear. Moreover, the smoke tends to fill the hopper.
- Portable grill that you can take on trips.
- Wi-Fi option so you can control it using the smartphone.
- Mesh tray to carry utensils and sauces.
- Assembly is a bit difficult.
- Smoke tends to build up.
This pellet smoker is a great option for outdoor gatherings as it features a weather-resistant cover that offers durability and protection from rain and UV rays. With the 15 pounds hopper capacity and 450 square inches, you’ll be able to cook several ribs easily as the digital display gives accurate information about the temperature.
Versatility and mobility are guaranteed because you can bake, smoke, sear, braise, roast, and grill all your favorite dishes. Moreover, you can use the built-in side shelf and the collapsible front one to carry the drippings cup. The handle and two wheels allow you to move the grill around.
Spend more time enjoying the party and less time worrying about the quality of the food, because this appliance will automatically manage the pellets to produce enough fuel. It features a holder for the drippings cup but doesn’t come with one.
Assembly is a bit tricky so you might need some help. You should also clean it regularly because soot tends to pile up in the chimney.
- Mobile barbecue grill with a weather protection cover.
- Digital display for the selected temperature.
- Built-in shelf and drippings cup holder.
- Doesn’t come with a drippings cup.
- Assembly is a bit tricky.
If you enjoy smoking and grilling, then I recommend that the Camp Chef SmokePro DLX Pellet Grill should be on your next appliances shopping list. It’s a mid-priced appliance and provides enough cooking space for smaller and medium-sized gatherings.
Setting it up is effortless and cooking your food to perfection is guaranteed as you can easily control and monitor the temperature. After you’re done, you’ll appreciate the push out system that allows you to remove the extra ashes in no time.
Once you’ve made up your mind on the right pellet smoker, you’ll be able to take your barbecuing game up a notch. Pellet smokers are here to stay and offer cooking enthusiasts more quality and versatility than other traditional appliances.