Pellet grills have come a long way since Traeger introduced the first one in the 1980s. While Traeger remains the top-selling pellet grill brand, the market is now filled with many other pellet grill manufacturers, both good and bad. Some of Traeger’s competitors have even surpassed the original manufacturer in terms of pellet grill technology. However, the market is also flooded with low-quality, cheap imitation pellet grills. In this article, we will explore the different factors to consider when choosing the best pellet grill and take a look at some popular pellet grill brands.
5 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Pellet Grill
There are several factors to consider when choosing a pellet grill, including size and portability, cooking capacity, insulation for cold climates, level of technology, hopper capacity, quality and durability, and customer support and warranty.
1. Size and Portability
Pellet grills come in a variety of sizes to suit different spaces and needs. Mini pellet grills are perfect for small patios or balconies and can be easily transported, while larger models may take up more space. Keep in mind that pellet grills need to be kept outside and in an area with airflow. They also require electricity, so they should be kept away from the rain and the wood pellets should not get wet.
2. Cooking Capacity
The grill area is an important factor to consider when choosing a pellet grill, especially if you plan to cook for large gatherings. It is always better to buy a larger model if you can afford it, as sometimes the cost difference between sizes is minimal. For reference, a standard mid-sized pellet grill can easily cook a large packer brisket or around 24 burgers. Larger pellet grills have space for 40 burgers, while smaller models can only accommodate around 12 burgers or two chickens.
3. Insulation for Cold Climates
If you live in a cold climate, it is worth considering a pellet grill with double wall insulation. Without it, you may end up burning through twice as many wood pellets in the winter. While double-walled insulation may be more expensive upfront, it will help the grill retain heat and ultimately save you money on wood pellets in the long run. Many cheaper pellet grills on the market have thin metal and are not well insulated, leading to excessive fuel consumption in colder months. On the other hand, more expensive pellet grills, particularly those made in the USA, are made with thick metal and are well sealed, making them more suitable for cold climates. Brands like Yoder, Rec Tec, Cookshack, Mak Grills, and Camp Chef are popular and high-quality pellet grills that are well insulated.
4. Level of Technology
Another factor to consider when choosing a pellet grill is the level of technology you are comfortable with. Many newer pellet grills are becoming more hi-tech, incorporating Wi-Fi and cloud technology for convenient barbecuing. However, not everyone is interested in high-tech features, and manufacturers like Traeger offer both traditional and high-tech models to accommodate different preferences. Pellet grills with Wi-Fi allow you to monitor and control your grill remotely, while cloud technology like Traeger’s WireFire offers hundreds of step-by-step recipe instructions.
5. Hopper Capacity
The pellet hopper is the container that holds the wood pellets and feeds them into the grill. A larger hopper capacity means you won’t have to refill as often, which can be convenient for longer cooks. However, keep in mind that a larger hopper may also add weight and bulk to the grill.
What is a pellet grill and how does it work?
|1||Wood pellets are placed in the hopper, which is typically located on the side or back of the pellet grill.|
|2||An auger, which is a long screw-like device, is located inside the hopper and connected to an electric motor.|
|3||The electric motor powers the auger, causing it to rotate and move the wood pellets towards the firepot.|
|4||As the wood pellets move towards the firepot, they pass through a heating element, which ignites the pellets.|
|5||The ignited wood pellets continue to move through the grill and into the firepot, where they are burned to generate heat and smoke.|
|6||As the wood pellets burn, the auger continues to feed more pellets into the firepot to maintain the desired temperature.|
|7||The temperature of the grill is regulated by a controller, which adjusts the speed of the auger and the heating element to maintain the desired temperature.|
What are the benefits of using a pellet grill? The Pros and Cons
One of the main benefits of using a pellet grill is the unique smoky flavor it can add to your food. However, pellet grills can be more expensive upfront compared to other types of grills and may require regular maintenance and the use of wood pellets, which can be inconvenient if you run out or have to refill the hopper frequently. Using wood pellets can also create some mess, as there may be sawdust or ash left over from the burning process.
|Ease of use: Pellet grills are easy to use, as they are controlled by a digital controller that allows you to set the desired temperature and cook time.||Initial cost: Pellet grills can be more expensive upfront compared to other types of grills.|
|Consistent temperature: Pellet grills are designed to maintain a consistent temperature, which is ideal for cooking meats like steak and pork shoulder.||Dependency on electricity: Pellet grills require electricity to power the auger and heating element, which means they may not be suitable for use during a power outage.|
|Versatility: Pellet grills can be used to cook a wide range of foods, from meats to vegetables to baked goods.||Dependency on wood pellets: Pellet grills require wood pellets as fuel, which can be inconvenient if you run out or have to refill the hopper frequently.|
|Efficient: Pellet grills are relatively efficient, as they burn the wood pellets completely and produce minimal ash.||Possible maintenance: Some pellet grills may require regular maintenance, such as cleaning the firepot and replacing parts like the heating element and auger.|
|Flavor: Pellet grills can add a unique smoky flavor to your food, as the wood pellets release smoke as they burn.||Possible mess: Using wood pellets can create some mess, as there may be sawdust or ash left over from the burning process.|
A Brief History of Pellet Grills
Founded by Joe Traeger in 1986, Traeger is a company that invented pellet grills. The company began making innovative grills, using wood pellets as fuel to cook a variety of food, infusing it with a unique, wood-fired flavor. Before Traeger, wood pellets were used as a form of alternative home heating in the late 1970s. In the early 1980s, Jerry Whitfield and Joe Traeger were both experimenting with pellet-burning stoves, leading to the development and patenting of the Traeger pellet grill in 1985. For two decades, Traeger was the only manufacturer of pellet grills, until the expiration of the patent in 2006 opened the market up to competition. In 2014, the company was purchased by a private equity firm, and in 2018, Joe and Brian Traeger were hired by another grill company. However, in 2019, the new owners of Traeger sued the Traeger family and won.
The Big Players In Pellet Grills
There are several companies that make pellet grills. Some of the more well-known brands include Traeger, Green Mountain Grills, Camp Chef, Pit Boss, Z Grills, and Pellet Pro. There are likely many other smaller or lesser-known brands as well.
- Green Mountain Grills
- Camp Chef
- Rec Tec
- Mak Grill
- Z Grills
- Weber SmokeFire
- Memphis Elite
- Pellet Pro
1. Traeger Pellet Grills
- Traeger Pellet Grills is a company that specializes in outdoor cooking equipment, including pellet grills, wood pellets, sauces, spices, rubs, and other barbecue accessories
- Traeger offers a range of specialized tools and replacement parts, such as the digital pro controller, thermostat kit, hot rod, replacement fuses, bucket, auger drive motor, RTD temperature sensor, induction fan, power cord, grilling grate, and smoker control
- The company has a range of grill models available, including the Pro Series, Ironwood Series, Timberline Series, and Tailgater Series
- The Pro Series is the entry-level option, while the Ironwood Series offers higher cooking temperatures and more insulation
- The Timberline Series is the top-of-the-range option, featuring higher temperatures and double insulation
- The Tailgater Series is a portable mini grill
- Prices for Traeger grills vary, with the Pro Series being the most affordable and the Timberline Series being the most expensive
- Traeger products are available online and through a network of dealers and distributors in the US, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand
- The company offers free delivery in the US when purchasing from their website, and also offers buy-now-pay-later with Affirm.
Company profile. Traeger Pellet Grills is the leading manufacturer of innovative outdoor cooking equipment. The company offers a wide selection of pellet grills, wood pellets, sauces, spices, rubs, and other barbecue accessories. In addition to its core line of grills, Traeger also offers a range of specialized tools and replacement parts, including the digital pro controller, thermostat kit, hot rod, replacement fuses, bucket, auger drive motor, RTD temperature sensor, induction fan, power cord, grilling grate, and smoker control. These products are designed to help users grill, smoke, bake, roast, braise, and barbeque to perfection. Customers can purchase Traeger products online or through a network of dealers and distributors in the United States, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.
Every Traeger Model
Listed on the table below is every Traeger model. The grills range from portable models that cost a few hundred dollars, all the way up to the top-of-the-line grills that cost thousands. For a more in-depth analysis of every Traeger model, check out my Traeger Buyer’s Guide. In this article, I review every Traeger pellet grill.
|Ranger||Portable, basic features, affordable|
|Tailgater||Portable, basic features, affordable|
|Pro 22||Small grill, entry-level with basic functions, affordable|
|Pro 34||Medium grill, entry-level with basic functions, affordable|
|Pro 575||Small grill, high-tech, some extra features, affordable|
|Pro 780||Medium grill, high-tech, some extra features, affordable|
|Ironwood 650||Medium to Large grill, high-tech, extra features, expensive|
|Ironwood 885||Large grill, high-tech, extra features, expensive|
|Timberline 850||Large grill, high-tech, loads of extra features, very expensive|
|Timberline 1300||XL grill, top-of-the-line model, very expensive|
|Timberline ( 2nd Gen )||Large grill, top-of-the-line model, very expensive|
|Timberline XL||The largest Traeger grill, and the most expensive|
Which Traeger Grill is Right for You? A Comparison of the Top Models
With so many different Traeger grill models to choose from, it can be tough to decide which one is right for you. However, all Traeger grills are known for their high quality and great performance. To help you make your decision, here’s an overview of the main Traeger grill models available:
- Pro Series: This is the entry-level option and is a great choice for those on a budget or who are just starting out with pellet grills.
- Ironwood Series: This model offers higher cooking temperatures and more insulation, making it perfect for those who want to take their grilling to the next level.
- Timberline Series: This is the top-of-the-range option and features higher temperatures and double insulation for the ultimate grilling experience.
- Tailgater Series: If you’re looking for a portable mini grill that you can take on the go, the Tailgater Series is the way to go.
How Much Do Traeger Grills Cost?
Prices change constantly, so you need to check the Traeger website for current prices. However, here is a table to give you an idea of the price differences. If you purchase from the Traeger website, you get free delivery in the USA. Traeger has also offers buy-now-pay-later with affirm.
|Ranger (portable)||$449 (see latest)|
|Tailgater (portable)||$529 (see latest)|
|Pro 22 (Gen 1)||$599 (see latest)|
|Pro 34 (Gen 1)||$699 (see latest)|
|Pro 575||$899 (see latest)|
|Pro 780||$999 (see latest)|
|Ironwood 650||$1399 (see latest)|
|Ironwood 885||$1599 (see latest)|
|Timberline 850 (Gen 1)||$2099 (see latest)|
|Timberline 1300 (Gen 1)||$2299 (see latest)|
|Timberline||$3499 (see latest)|
|Timberline XL||$3799 (see latest)|
PitBoss is known for offering a wide range of pellet grills, which can be found in various physical stores and online retailers. While they may not be the highest quality option, they are a good choice for those looking for a budget-friendly pellet smoker. I personally own a PitBoss vertical pellet smoker and have not experienced any issues with it. Overall, if you’re looking for an affordable pellet grill, PitBoss is worth considering.
|Pit Boss Navigator 550 Wood Pellet Grill||$749.00|
|Pit Boss Navigator 850 Wood Pellet Grill with Wi-Fi||$999.00|
|Pit Boss Navigator 1150 Wood Pellet Grill||$999.00|
|Pit Boss Mahogany 820D3 Wood Pellet Grill||$599.99|
|Pit Boss Mahogany 260 Portable Wood Pellet Grill||$449.00|
|Pit Boss Mahogany 440 Deluxe Wood Pellet Grill||$349.00|
|Mahogany Series 1000SC2 Wood Pellet Grill||$799.99|
|Pit Boss Sportsman 820 Wood Pellet Grill||$699.00|
|Pit Boss Sportsman 1100 Wood Pellet Grill||$799.00|
|700FB1 Wood Pellet Grill||$499.99|
|Pit Boss 700FB Wood Pellet Grill||$399.99|
|Pit Boss 440FB1 Matte Black Wood Pellet Grill||$399.00|
|Pit Boss 700R2 Pellet Grill (w/ Sear Slide)||$599.00|
|Pit Boss Mahogany 150PPS Tabletop Wood Pellet Grill||$299.00|
|Pit Boss Mahogany Series 1000 Wood Pellet Grill||$699.99|
|Pit Boss Competition Series 1250 Wood Pellet Grill||Retailer Exclusive|
|Pit Boss Competition Series 1600 Wood Pellet Grill||Retailer Exclusive|
|Pit Boss Competition Series 850 Wood Pellet Grill||Retailer Exclusive|
|Pit Boss 700T1 Wood Pellet Grill||Retailer Exclusive|
|Pit Boss 1000T4 Wood Pellet Grill||Retailer Exclusive|
|Pit Boss Portable Copper Top Wood Pellet Grill||Retailer Exclusive|
|Pit Boss Lexington Wood Pellet Grill||Retailer Exclusive|
|Pit Boss Tailgater Wood Pellet Grill||Retailer Exclusive|
|Pit Boss Classic Wood Pellet Grill||Retailer Exclusive|
|Pit Boss Copperhead 5 Series Wood Pellet Grill||Retailer Exclusive|
|Pit Boss Copperhead 3 Series Wood Pellet Grill||Retailer Exclusive|
|Pit Boss Timberline 1300 Wood Pellet Grill||Retailer Exclusive|
|Pit Boss Timberline 850 Wood Pellet Grill||Retailer Exclusive|
|Pit Boss Timberline 1100 Wood Pellet Grill||Retailer Exclusive|
|Pit Boss Timberline 1300 Wood Pellet Grill (Wi-Fi Enabled)||Retailer Exclusive|
|Pit Boss Timberline 850 Wood Pellet Grill (Wi-Fi Enabled)||Retailer Exclusive|
|Pit Boss Timberline 1100 Wood Pellet Grill (Wi-Fi Enabled)||Retailer Exclusive|
3. Yoder Pellet Grills
- Yoder Smokers is a company that produces high-end pellet grills and smokers
- The grills are handmade in Kansas and made with quality steel, providing excellent insulation
- They offer the option to grill directly over flames by removing the grates and deflector shield
- Yoder has partnered with FireBoard to integrate Bluetooth, Wi-Fi connectivity, cloud connectivity, and the YS Drive App
- Yoder offers several models in the YS series, as well as competition models
- These grills come with features such as dual 6-inch meat probes, customizable cooking programs, a ceramic ignition system, and up to 1,070 square inches of cooking surface
- They also have a pellet hopper capacity of 20 pounds and come with a skillet accessory for frying
- Yoder Smokers are American-made and designed for both backyard and competition use
- They are known for their durability, with a lifetime guarantee against burnout
- They are favored by BBQ experts for their ability to maintain an even temperature, retain heat, and use less wood than other pits
- They have features such as fully welded pit doors and an offset chamber design for optimal smoke and temperature control
- They are heavy, with the smallest pit weighing 255 pounds and the largest weighing over 1,200 pounds before adding a trailer.
Yoder Smokers is a company that produces high-end pellet grills and smokers. These grills are handmade in Kansas and are made with quality steel, providing excellent insulation. They offer the option to grill directly over flames by removing the grates and deflector shield. Yoder has also partnered with FireBoard to integrate Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, cloud connectivity, and the YS Drive App, which allows users to control and monitor the grill from anywhere.
Yoder offers several models in the YS series, including the YS480, YS640, and YS1500, as well as competition models such as the YS480 Competition, YS640 Competition, and Cimarrons Competition. These grills come with features such as dual 6-inch meat probes, customizable cooking programs, a ceramic ignition system, and up to 1,070 square inches of cooking surface. They also have a pellet hopper capacity of 20 pounds and come with a skillet accessory for frying.
Yoder Smokers are American-made grills and smokers designed for both backyard and competition use. They are known for their durability, with a lifetime guarantee against burnout, and are favored by BBQ experts for their ability to maintain an even temperature, retain heat, and use less wood than other pits. They also have features such as fully welded pit doors and an offset chamber design for optimal smoke and temperature control. They are heavy, with the smallest pit weighing 255 pounds and the largest weighing over 1,200 pounds before adding a trailer.
What Pitmasters Have To Say About Yoder Smokers
If you want to know what the barbecue community thinks about Yoder smokers, check out this thread on Smoking Meat Forums. Here you’ll find Yoder users giving unbiased opinions.
Every Yoder Pellet Grill
|Yoder Model||Type||Click to See |
|YS480S PELLET GRILL||PELLET GRILL||$2,139|
|YS480S COMPETITION PELLET GRILL||COMPETITION PELLET GRILL||$2,589|
|YS480S COMPETITION PELLET GRILL WITH STAINLESS STEEL SHELVES||COMPETITION PELLET GRILL||$2,789|
|YS640S PELLET GRILL||PELLET GRILL||$2,399|
|YS640S PELLET GRILL||PELLET GRILL||$2,399|
|YS640S COMPETITION PELLET GRILL||COMPETITION PELLET GRILL||$2,849|
|YS640S COMPETITION PELLET GRILL WITH STAINLESS STEEL SHELVES||COMPETITION PELLET GRILL||$3,049|
|YS1500S COMPETITION PELLET GRILL||COMPETITION PELLET GRILL||$4,995|
|CIMARRONS ON COMPETITION STAND||ON COMPETITION STAND||$8,099|
4. Green Mountain Grills
Green Mountain Grills (GMG) is a company that produces a popular range of pellet grills. The company was founded in 2003 and is headquartered in Olathe, Kansas. GMG’s grills range from the budget-friendly TREK PRIME WIFI – STAINLESS grill, perfect for small families, to the top-of-the-line PEAK – SS PRIME PLUS WIFI – BLACK grill, which boasts a range of enhanced features such as a collapsible front shelf, interior grill light, and rotisserie enabled mounting.
The LEDGE PRIME PLUS WIFI – BLACK and LEDGE – SS PRIME PLUS WIFI – BLACK grills has upgrades, while the DANIEL BOONE CHOICE – BLACK grill provides a high-tech, industry-leading pellet grill option at a more modest price point.
GMG also sells a range of accessories and grilling tools, and the company’s products are available through a network of authorized dealers and online retailers.
Every Green Mountain Grill Model
|GMG Grill||Description||Click to view |
& see updated Price
|TREK PRIME WIFI – STAINLESS||This is the go-to grill for small families, campers, tailgaters, RVers, or anyone who wants to cook two racks of ribs or 4-6 nice steaks or a bunch of burgers.||$399.00|
|LEDGE PRIME PLUS WIFI – BLACK||Our new Prime grills just got even better with the same great Prime features PLUS a collapsible front shelf, interior grill light, rotisserie enabled mounting and stronger reinforced grates.||$899.00|
|LEDGE – SS PRIME PLUS WIFI – BLACK||Our new Prime grills just got even better with the same great Prime features PLUS a collapsible front shelf, interior grill light, rotisserie enabled mounting and stronger reinforced grates.||$929.00|
|PEAK PRIME PLUS WIFI – BLACK||Our new Prime grills just got even better with the same great Prime features PLUS a collapsible front shelf, interior grill light, rotisserie enabled mounting and stronger reinforced grates.||$1,099.00|
|PEAK – SS PRIME PLUS WIFI – BLACK||$1,139.00|
|DANIEL BOONE CHOICE – BLACK||For 11 years, GMG’s Choice product line has stood the test of time. We’ve constantly refined and improved it so that you can now own a high-tech, industry-leading pellet grill for a modest price.||$599.00|
What Pitmasters Say About GMG
If you want to know what real users think about Green Mountain Grills, read through this thread from Smoking Meat Forums. You’ll get a good idea of what these grills are like, and the opinions are totally unbiased. I haven’t had the chance to review every GMG model yet, but trusted barbecue website Amazon Ribs has given the Ledge Prime a thorough review. Check it out here: Ledge Prime Review (Daniel Boone)
5. Camp Chef
Camp Chef is a leading manufacturer of outdoor cooking equipment that has been in the industry for over 20 years. These pellet grills have a good reputation in the barbecue community, and have received some positive reviews on Amazon Ribs. The company not only makes pellet grills, but offer a wide range of products, including stoves, griddles, BBQ boxes, and high-quality cast iron cookware. The company is located in Cache Valley, Utah and is dedicated to creating innovative products for outdoor enthusiasts. Check out the Camp Chef website here.
|Camp Chef Model||Attachments||Click to|
see grill &
|Affirm Monthly Payment|
|Apex 24||2||$1,799.99 – $2,199.99||Starting at $150/mo|
|Apex 36||2||$1,999.99 – $2,449.99||Starting at $167/mo|
|Woodwind PRO 24||3||$1,199.99 – $1,499.99||Starting at $100/mo|
|Woodwind 24||3||$899.99 – $1,199.99||Starting at $75/mo|
|Woodwind 36||3||$1,199.99 – $1,499.99||Starting at $100/mo|
|SG 24||$592.99||Starting at $50/mo|
|SGX||$829.99||Starting at $70/mo|
|DLX||3||$549.99 – $599.99||Starting at $46/mo|
|XT||2||$549.99||Starting at $46/mo|
|Woodwind WIFI 36 + Sidekick + Cover + Pellets||$1,579.99||Starting at $132/mo|
|Woodwind WIFI 24 + Sidekick + Cover + Pellets||$1,269.99||Starting at $106/mo|
|Pursuit 20||$499.99||Starting at $42/mo|
|MZGX 24||$599.99||Starting at $50/mo|
|Woodwind PRO 36||3||$1,499.99 – $1,799.99||Starting at $125/mo|
|SG 30 WIFI||$649.99||Starting at $55/mo|
The Woodwind Pro
The Woodwind Pro is an impressive pellet grill and has some unique features.
- 36 inch cooking chamber with two grates and four multi-colored probes
- Vents to control airflow and adjust smoke on meat
- Controller and competitive price
- Designed to be easy to use and provide consistent results
- Lever on smoker box controls amount of flame and smoke produced
- Being compared to top-of-the-line smoker in test
- Used by patron with excellent results in terms of color and smoke flavor
- Test will involve cooking a brisket on both grills to compare results
- Lightweight and easy to move, but durability of exterior coating is unknown
- Has Wi-Fi connectivity and Bluetooth, which may be appealing or not
- Hopper is not as large as some users may prefer
- Second rack is useful but rack itself consists of two pieces that may make it difficult to remove food
- Temperature range of 150 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, with consistent temperature control
- Pellet sensor alerts user when pellet levels are low
- Can be used for low and slow cooking, as well as searing and grilling at high temperatures
- Provides excellent smoke flavor and color to food being cooked.
Camp Chef make top of the range smokers are competition grade and are built to last. The advantage of these smokers is they are made in the USA, which makes getting parts easy, as opposed to many of the cheap grills which are manufactured overseas.
Camp Chef pellet grills sell a range of pellet grills to suit different needs and budgets. Trusted barbecue website Amazing Ribs had reviewed the following Camp Chef grills:
6. Rec Tec
According to reviews and forums, the Rec Tec pellet grills consistently rank in the top two or three selections. The RT 700, also known as “The Bull,” is an upgrade to the previously popular RT 680 model and includes additional features like a Wi-Fi controller.
One of the reasons the Rec Tec RT 700 is highly regarded is because of its durable construction. While some cheaper pellet grills are made with thin metal, the RT 700 has a large, tank-like body with top quality stainless steel components, such as the grates, fire pots, heat deflectors, and drip pans. The website for Rec Tec claims that they have never had a fire pot failure, and the ceramic ignitor on the RT 700 is designed to last for 100,000 lighting cycles without rusting. Overall, it seems that the Rec Tec RT 700 is a reliable and high-quality choice for a pellet grill.
Rec Tec Features:
- Automated self-cleaning shutdown mode
- Interior light for cooking in the dark
- Two internal meat probes
- The most precise temperature controller on the market with no temperature swings.
- Wi-Fi capabilities and phone app to monitor your meat on-the-go.
- Has the best warranty and customer service on the market. An unmatched 6 year warranty.
7. Memphis Elite Pellet Grills
The Memphis pellet grills are top-of-the-line and have been endorsed by renowned pitmasters. These models are made with materials similar to those used in high-end indoor appliances and have a sleek, stainless steel finish, particularly the Memphis Elite. While these premium pellet grills come with a higher price tag, ranging from $5,000 and up, they offer a luxurious grilling experience. To learn more about the features and capabilities of the Memphis pellet grill, check out this video featuring pitmaster Malcolm Reed.
8. Fast Eddy’s Cookshack
The Cookshack pellet grills in the Fast Eddy series offer a unique design and feature set, with a price range of around $2,000. These grills have a two-door setup for accessing the cooking chamber, rather than the flip-up hood found on many pellet grills. Additionally, the Fast Eddy models have four distinct cooking zones, including a high-temperature grilling area and a low-and-slow indirect cooking zone, as well as two secondary cooking surfaces. This diverse set of cooking options makes the Fast Eddy pellet grills a versatile choice for various grilling needs.
9. Mak Grill Star General
The Mak 2 is a hefty grill, weighing in at 200 pounds. It is made with top-quality 304 stainless steel from top to bottom, making it a durable option that should last a lifetime. In comparison, cheaper smokers are often made with thin metal and may not last as long, only providing 5-10 years of use. With approximately 850 square inches of cooking surface, the Mak 2 offers ample space for smoking large cuts of meat like briskets with ease.
There are a few different Mak models. They include:
- Mak 1 Star General
- Mak 2 Star General
- Mak 3 Star General
The Mak’s hold temperature extremely well. The dial has a high setting of 450 degrees, but users claim to have smoked meat as high as 550 F°. The probes take an average temperature of the cook chamber, so if you want an exact grill temperature, use your own probe and attach to the grate.
Makes Made With Quality Parts. The flash fire rod is made from ceramic rather than metal and is guaranteed to last for 90k ignitions. Another major difference between Mak and their competitors, Mak makes their own electronic controllers. Most other manufacturers use a PID. The controller is simple to operate and has multiple programming options and timers. You can set the timer to run at specific temperatures or it can automatically switch off the smoker.
Separate Cold Smoking Chamber. One of the coolest features in the Mak is the separate area for cold smoking. This is great if you want to smoke nuts, cheese, fish, etc. Mak are innovative and was the first pellet grill to include features such as:
- A separate chamber for cold smoking.
- The trap door on the pellet hopper to dump pellets.
- The high hood design which allows more cooking headroom.
- Mak invented the burn pot, which is now standard in pellet grills.
- Trap door at the bottom to dump ash.
The Best Wood Pellets
Wood pellets are a type of fuel made from compressed sawdust. They are small capsules that burn cleanly, producing minimal ash and a pleasant smoke for cooking. Wood pellets can be purchased at local hardware stores or online, and are typically sold in packets weighing 20-40 pounds in a range of wood flavors, including hickory, pecan, apple, cherry, oak, mesquite, alder, and mixed blend.
Pellet burn rate. The burn rate of wood pellets depends on their quality. On average, pellet grills use 1-2 pounds of wood pellets per hour when smoking meat, and twice as many when grilling. It is important to use food-grade wood pellets made specifically for pellet grills, as other types of wood pellets made from scrap wood can be harmful for cooking. The best quality wood pellets are consistent in size and appearance, smell fresh, and burn hot and clean with minimal ash. Some top brands for wood pellets include Lumber Jack and BBQr’s Delight.
Using Pellet Grills In Winter
In colder months, pellet grills may struggle to maintain high temperatures and use more fuel. To address this issue, most pellet grill manufacturers sell thermal blankets designed to fit each model, allowing for year-round cooking. The RT-700 model from Traeger is known for its sturdy construction and high-quality stainless steel parts, including the grates, fire pots, heat deflectors, and drip pans.