Over thirty years ago, an inventor from Mt. Angel, Oregon designed the first ever pellet grill and thus revolutionized grilling forever. His idea was to shift the focus from the grill to the food. Pellet grills allow you to enjoy yourself even more while you are cooking, as you don’t have to tend to the grill most of the time. The process is reasonably straightforward – load up the grill with pellets, throw some juicy steaks on the grate and let the heat and smoke do the job for you.
The fire allows you to get the most out of your meat and all natural hardwood makes it taste even better. Such grills are highly versatile – you can use them to braise, roast, bake, BBQ, and grill with ease. They are also praised for their consistency. The results are the same every time. However, for the best results, the grill isn’t enough. The quality of pellets plays an important role.
Traeger Junior Elite
This product is easy to use, durable and portable, which makes it one of the best on the market. Read our article to find out more about Traeger Junior Elite.
TOP PRODUCTS AND WINNERS FROM EACH CATEGORY
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING THE BEST PELLET GRILLS
Temperature range is important for most types of cooking. All pellet grills excel at indirect cooking, and most can achieve any temperature between 180-degrees to 425-degrees, which is excellent for grilling, roasting, smoking, and baking. However, for searing, you need a temperature between 500 and 550-degrees.
The wider the temperature range, the better the performance. Some grills can go up to 700-degrees and allow you to cook over an open flame.
Pellet grills come in all different shapes and forms, and at various prices. It is essential to differentiate between cheap and affordable. The majority of cheap pellet grills aren’t as durable and will break down sooner, rather than later.
A quality setup doesn’t have to be expensive necessarily, but it should be durable. Affordable grills do not come with all the extra features and capabilities, but some of them still feature a good build and offer consistent performance.
Pellet Grill Controller
Such a grill must keep a consistent temperature, just like your kitchen oven, in order to deliver the best-tasting meals. For example, if you are trying to cook tender briskets, the temperature must stay as close as possible to 250-degrees.
Size and Cooking Area
Make sure the dimensions and the cooking area are suitable for your needs. With such grills, we measure the cooking area in two ways. There’s the primary cooking area, consisting of just the main cooking grate, and there’s the total cooking area, which consists of the secondary racks and the main cooking grate.
BEST PELLET GRILL FROM EACH CATEGORY
Traeger Junior Elite
Pitmaster Rating: 4.3
Here we have a grill that can be used wherever – ideal for an avid outdoorsman. The Traeger is an excellent all-purpose cooking unit that is highly portable. It features a stovetop, griddle, and grill.
The frame is cast from powder-coated steel that never rusts. The heavy-duty grill box comes with cast iron grill grates, a vent, and a handle. The cold rolled steel griddle allows you to cook anything from steaks to pancakes.
When it comes to ease-of-use, the Traeger scores quite high. It stands on four foldable legs that are easy to set up. Packing it up when the cooking is done is simple and fast.
To start the grill, simply press the button. A single AA battery powers the ignition.
The grill features two independently controlled burners. One is cast iron, while the other is a stainless steel H-tube burner. On the left side, you’ll find a multipurpose 15″ x 15″ cooking surface, while on the right, you have the 18″ x 14″ griddle surface.
You can remove them if you’d like to cook with pots, griddles, Dutch ovens, or just roast marshmallows or hotdogs over direct heat.
- Two Independently Operated Burners
- Highly Portable
- Sturdy and Durable
- Versatile 3-in-1 Cooking Surface
- Adjustable Legs
- Propane Tank Not Included
- DESIGN 70% 70%
- FUNCTIONALITY 74% 74%
- PRICE 85% 85%
Rec Tec Trailblazer
Pitmaster Rating: 4.1
The manufacturer has retired their “Mini” line and replaced it with the superior Trailblazer. It is one of the finest pellet grills the industry has to offer. The portable grill can be used anywhere, thanks to its foldable legs, and can also be used as a table-top smoker.
The Trailblazer comes with a stainless steel body and 511 sq. in. cooking surface. The setup also features a Wifi controller and monitor as well as state of the art PID.
The Wifi feature allows you to relax and monitor your food and grill temperature from your phone. With the Rec Tec, there’s no more babysitting the whole time next to the grill. Perhaps it’s not as light as your average gas or charcoal models, but it offers much more convenience.
For those who are in pursuit of a portable grill, but refuse to sacrifice convenience and quality, the RT-340 is an excellent choice. Even though it’s not the cheapest portable and pellet model out there, it’ll pay off in the long run as, with proper care, it’ll last you a lifetime.
- Sweet Wood Flavor
- Can Be Used with Open Lid
- Excellent Build Quality
- HotFlash Ignition
- Not Quite Suitable for Larger Parties
- DESIGN 86% 86%
- FUNCTIONALITY 74% 74%
- PRICE 71% 71%
Camp Chef Woodwind
Pitmaster Rating: 4.0
A super searing grill and a quality smoker wrapped in one. The model comes with a firepot, sear box, lower storage shelf, stainless steel lid, and many other convenient features. The meat probe port is conveniently positioned higher in the smoke chamber in order to ensure its longevity.
The Camp Chef Woodwind allows you to grill, bake, smoke, or sear without much effort. It also possesses an ash removal system – a feature seldom seen on such a smoker. Pellet grills do not create much ash, but they still require regular cleaning.
Usually, cleaning is a pain in the neck as one must remove the drip pan and greasy grates to reach the fire pot. Camp Chef has solved that problem by introducing a trap door under the fire pot.
The setup features an Ortech style, notched dial controller. All you need to do is adjust it. After that, you can forget about it.
Aside from the option of adjusting the temperature between 175 and 400-degrees, there are other options as well, such as Feed, Shutdown, High, Hi Smoke, and Lo Smoke. The temperature is always even and almost exactly the same as the set temperature.
- Easy Assembly
- High Temperature
- Easy Monitoring
- Large Cooking Area
- Easy to Clean
- DESIGN 60% 60%
- FUNCTIONALITY 90% 90%
- PRICE 77% 77%
Tips and Tricks
Are you never feeling sure when you’re checking the food? Figuring out whether the meat is good or not can be tricky, especially with big chunks. Luckily, there’s a cheap and simple solution for the problem – a meat thermometer or meat probe.
The device allows you to control the temperature of the meat even when the lid is closed. A lot of high-end pellet grills come with the feature, but it can also be purchased separately. All the chef has to do is plug it in, probe the end into the food, and close the lid.
The device comes in handy when cooking thick pieces of meat for a couple of hours. With such a probe, you’ll know when the inside of the meat has reached the necessary temperature and is ready to eat.
Are you annoyed by the fact that your grill is getting dirty on the outside? There’s a simple solution for that as well. Get yourself a cover. It won’t only protect your grill from adverse weather (snow, sun, rain), and humidity, but will also extend its lifetime.
Humidity is especially harmful to pellet cooking units as they feature plenty of electronic components. The cover will keep your grill working for much longer and will allow you to store it outside if you are tight on space.
A high-end pellet model typically costs a couple of hundred dollars, up to a thousand, and a cover costs just a couple of bucks, so it’s a worthy purchase that will protect your bigger investment.
Even though pellet grills are relatively young, they are exponentially growing and taking a more significant chunk of the market each year. No pellet grill is the same, as the manufacturers are constantly competing to offer the customer a one-of-a-kind model that is superior to the rest.
However, superiority is not objective in all regards. Not all avid grillers are looking for the same thing. But, if you are looking for a simple solution that will always yield the same results, and are quite fond of the unique smoky flavor, you won’t be making a mistake if you opt for a pellet model.
It’s a kind of grill that requires minimal effort on your part. Throwing out ash, refilling the pellets container, starting the grill, and setting up the temperature – that’s all the chef needs to do. The digital controller will take care of the rest while you are having a great time with family and friends.
Maintenance is also quite easy when it comes to pellet grills. A pellet grill requires very little on your part and offers you quite a lot.
One could argue that’s the main reason for their high price, but there are also other factors at play. However, if you are looking for a long time, high-quality grilling solution, getting a pellet grill will definitely pay off sooner or later, no matter its price.