Best Camp Chef Pellet Grills Reviews
Good For / Not Good For
Camp Chef Grills are Good For:
When it comes to pellet grills, Camp Chef is slowly becoming one of the leading options. Based in Utah, the company was established almost 30 years ago – in 1990. Some of their first products included portable stoves for campers, but they quickly started manufacturing all kinds of outdoor cooking appliances.
Nowadays, Camp Chef has a vast array of high-quality cooking equipment, including cast-iron cookware, propane water heaters, portable ovens, fire pits, coolers, and even outdoor movie screens. However, they’re best knowns for pellet grills.
Pellet grills made by this company are popular for a couple of good reasons. Most of them offer a large pellet hopper capacity, a spacious grilling area, and multiple options when it comes to cooking. They also sport a durable construction and are very easy to keep clean. Moreover, their caster wheels make them highly mobile – portability is always a welcome feature.
The Woodwind Pellet Grill is an excellent example of a quality Camp Chef product. This model offers 570 square inches of cooking space, allowing one to cook enough food for the entire neighborhood. Its patented ash clean-out system, on the other hand, makes cleaning ash as easy as pulling a lever. Such convenient features can be found on all of their other pellet grills.
And, as you already know, the flavor achieved with a pellet grill can’t be replicated with any other type of grill. With a Camp Chef model, all of your meals are guaranteed to taste delicious.
Camp Chef Grills are Bad For:
Although they offer a lot of flexibility and are very energy efficient, pellet grills still have their disadvantages. Their efficiency is quite limited when it comes to searing, as they rarely achieve temperatures higher than 450°F. This is because they operate on a convection cooking method.
For perfectly seared steaks, one has to achieve a plate temperature of up to 750°F. Even on a good day, a pellet grill won’t go any further than 500°F. Fortunately, there’s a solution to this problem, and it’s purchasing a searing accessory. The company’s Sear Box reaches temperatures of 900°F and can be attached to most of their pellet grills. It is purchased separately, however.
Another issue is the temperature discrepancy. With a pellet grill, one can expect a 15°F discrepancy between the temperature setting selected on the dial and the actual temperature of the grill. However, it should still be mentioned that pellet grills maintain a notably constant temperature, particularly when compared to other types of grills.
With many convenient features and good build quality, Camp Chef grills are quite pricey. Be prepared to spend hundreds of dollars if you’d like to have one in your backyard. Those with a tight budget should look elsewhere.
However, the price of these grills undoubtedly reflects their quality. Moreover, anyone who already decided to purchase a pellet grill knows about these disadvantages and how to deal with them. If you know how to cook on a pellet grill and clean it after every session, a Camp Chef model will serve you for the years to come.
review of the products
Review of the products
Camp Chef Woodwind Pellet Grill
Pitmaster Rating: 4.5
One of the best-selling pellet grills in the company’s catalog is undoubtedly the Woodwind model. We’re taking a look at the classic version – there is also a variant that includes a sear box.
The model arrives well-packaged and is very easy to assemble. All you have to do is install the handles, legs, and the chimney. All of this doesn’t take more than an hour. Although quite heavy (148 pounds), the unit is mobile thanks to its caster wheels.
Just like most modern pellet grills, this one also has an automatic auger and digital temperature control. This means that it’s exceptionally easy to use. As the pellet feeder system slowly burns the food and gives it an intense flavor, the user can sit back and relax. The temperature can be set between 160°F and 500°F.
A spacious grilling area of 570 square inches easily accommodates jerky, briskets, whole chickens, and more. Woodwind is a genuinely versatile cooking station, allowing grilling, roasting, barbecuing, smoking, braising, and roasting. As it is coated with stainless steel, it is also remarkably durable.
The ash-cleanout system deserves a special mention. To get the ashes out of the grill, you only need to pull a lever gently. The ashes will fall into a removable cup that’s situated below the grill.
- Stainless steel construction
- Easy assembly
- 570 square inches of cooking space
- Digital temperature control
- Ash cleanout system
- Two caster wheels
- Storage shelf
- 3-year warranty
- Sear box sold separately
- Hopper produces a loud buzzing sound
- DESIGN 87% 87%
- FUNCTIONALITY 85% 85%
- PRICE 82% 82%
Camp Chef SmokePro
Pitmaster Rating: 4.1
Another great Camp Chef pellet grill is the SmokePro model. As a mid-size pellet grill, it is the main rival to Traeger’s Lil Texas model. However, SmokePro is somewhat more sophisticated and comes at a lower price.
The build quality of this pellet grill is excellent. The entire contraption was manufactured from high-quality metals and coated with a nice paint finish. As it weighs over 100 pounds, it comes equipped with a set of rubber wheels. These make relocating the unit very easy and effortless.
There’s a ton of space for food here, with the cooking surface measuring 570 square inches. Unless you’re preparing food for 20+ people, you won’t run into any issues with space. The unit does an excellent job of maintaining a stable temperature. The temperature range stands at 160-500°F, which is a standard in this price category.
Other noteworthy features include the 18-pound hopper, an internal meat temperature probe, electronic auto-ignition, a side shelf, and the ash-cleanout system. The ash-cleanout system is particularly convenient. To empty the firebox full of ash, you only have to pull the dump lever.
All in all, SmokePro is a brilliant pellet grill. It’s not flawless, but it’s certainly an investment you won’t regret making.
- 570 square inches of cooking space
- 160 to 500°F cooking temperature range
- Meat temperature probe
- Ash cleanout system
- 18lb hopper capacity
- Shutdown mode
- Electronic auto-ignition
- Side shelf
- Sear box is optional
- Struggles to maintain the temperature in windy weather
- DESIGN 68% 68%
- FUNCTIONALITY 86% 86%
- PRICE 73% 73%
Camp Chef Pursuit 20 Portable
Pitmaster Rating: 4.3
Next up is Pursuit 20 Portable, which is, as the name suggests, more mobile when compared to the previous two Camp Chef grills.
This model can be folded and comes equipped with two caster wheels. Once the legs are folded down, the model becomes exceptionally portable – it takes up only 2100 cubic inches of space. It is, however, quite heavy, but two persons can still easily load it up in the back of the car.
The unit’s searing feature is lever-activated. In simple terms, it lets the flames from the firepot reach the grates. It’s a highly innovative feature and a real game changer. When it comes to smoking meat, Pursuit 20 Portable imparts an excellent smoky flavor. Despite its compact construction, it still easily accommodates up to four racks or ribs.
Just like we expected, this pellet grill is made of high-quality materials. There’s a non-stick layer on the grates, a stainless steel lid, and the unit is relatively easy to assemble. Its hopper can hold 10 pounds of pellets. The ash-cleanout system, on the other hand, is the same as the one found on other grills made by this company.
However, one of the model’s best features is that it shows both the temperature of the chamber and the temperature of the meat. It comes with a special probe that you can insert into the meat.
- Compact & portable
- 501 square inches of cooking space
- Dual temperature readouts
- Innovative searing feature
- Patented ash-cleanout system
- 10lb hopper capacity
- Foldable legs
- Two caster wheels
- No chimney for smoke venting
- Legs are somewhat wobbly
- DESIGN 90% 90%
- FUNCTIONALITY 80% 80%
- PRICE 70% 70%
Camp Chef Sear Box
Pitmaster Rating: 3.9
One of the most significant advantages of Camp Chef pellet grills is that they’re compatible with the Sear Box accessory. It is manufactured and sold by the same company and can be purchased in packs of one to four. It fits the following models: PG24MZG, PG24ZG, PG24XTB, PG24XT, PG24SGB, PG24SG, PG36LUX, PG24LTD, PG24S, and PG24DLX.
The construction quality of this convenient accessory is exceptional. It was manufactured from stainless steel and features cast-iron enamel-coated grilling grates. Its distinct raised ribs successfully leave grill marks on any piece of meat you throw at it.
As it has a 16,000-BTU propane burner, this sear box is very efficient. It was designed to hang on the side of your pellet grill. With a simple mounting system, installing it is as easy as it gets. However, it should still be mentioned that this is a separate purchase. If you have the money, you’re better off buying a Camp Chef grill that already has an integrated sear box.
With 180 square inches of cooking space and the maximum temperature of 900°F, searing has never been easier. Thanks to the push-button ignition, even the biggest grilling amateur can easily use this accessory. The grease management system, on the other hand, successfully takes care of any excess grease.
- Versatile searing accessory
- Stainless steel construction
- Easy to install
- Raised ribs create grill marks
- Compatible with most Camp Chef pellet grills
- Maximum temperature of 900°F
- Push-button ignition
- Grease management system with drip tray
- Small cooking surface
- Somewhat overpriced
- DESIGN 95% 95%
- FUNCTIONALITY 70% 70%
- PRICE 87% 87%
Camp Chef Grills – 2019 Buyer’s Guide
If you’ve already decided to go for a Camp Chef pellet grill, you’re probably wondering which features your new model should have. Should it be portable? How large its cooking surface should be? What about construction quality and price?
Don’t worry – we got you covered. In the following paragraphs, we’ll take a closer look at four main factors one needs to consider when buying a pellet grill. These are portability, cost, grill material, and grill capacity. We’ll analyze each of these considerations and help you narrow down the choice.
A pellet grill stands in one place most of the time – you turn it on, cook some meat, and then clean it up. However, some people often take their grills to other locations, such as tailgate parties or picnics. If you’re one of such people, you’ll want your model to be as mobile as possible.
Fortunately, most of the Camp Chef units come equipped with caster wheels. These are made out of plastic or rubber and turn relocation into a quick and easy process. For maximum mobility, check out Pursuit 20 Portable. Not only does it have caster wheels, but it also features foldable legs. And once they’re folded, the grill becomes exceptionally compact and easy to transport.
Another factor to consider is cost. Fortunately, today’s market offers pellet grills suitable for everyone’s budget. Not all of these are worth buying, though – some come with defective parts and aren’t as efficient and reliable as their pricier cousins.
When it comes to grills manufactured by Camp Chef, on the other hand, their price undoubtedly reflects their quality. For a couple of hundreds of dollars, you’ll end up with a model that will serve you for the years to come.
Although relatively expensive, these grills are well-built and come with features that make barbecuing, grilling, braising, baking, roasting, and searing much more convenient.
Speaking on the subject of grill material, it’s essential to mention that quality is always crucial. Some models may look attractive on the outside, but lack the equivalent attention to detail on their insides.
Sometimes, a pellet grill will have stainless steel as its primary build material. Its guts, however, could be made out of lower-grade metals. This can be a big issue, but not because of the aesthetics, but because of longevity and functionality.
To put it simply, the heart and soul of your model need to be made well. Otherwise, you’ll burn through it as time goes by.
Fortunately, all pellet grills manufactured and sold by Camp Chef boast an excellent construction quality. They’re made out of rust-resistant stainless steel and have porcelain-enameled cast iron grates.
A pellet grill uses wood pellets as fuel. For that matter, you’ll want to make sure that your model’s hopper has the right capacity. A hopper of good size will have around 18 pounds of capacity. It’s pretty much the standard when it comes to quality pellet grills.
With a hopper of that size, one can cook for a long time. You’ll have enough fuel for long low and slow cook times, which are usually associated with meat smoking. A hopper of smaller size, on the other hand, requires frequent refills.
When talking about grill capacity, one also has to consider the size of the cooking surface. First off, you’ll want to purchase a grill with a quality-made cooking surface. Porcelain-enameled cast iron ones are the best – they’re non-stick and effortless to clean. You’ll also need a right amount of cooking space.
Expert Tips and Tricks
- Don’t forget that cooking in cold, windy, or wet weather takes more time. A simple rule of thumb in such cases is adding around 20 minutes per pound for every five degrees below 45°F. However, this is not so important if your model has digital temperature control.
- Another tip for cooking in cold weather is pre-heating the grill. Use a high-temperature setting to heat up your model half an hour before placing the food on the grates. You can turn down the temperature when you start grilling.
- Opening the lid to check the meat leads to a heat loss. Each time you do this, add at least 15 minutes of extra cooking time.
- Unless you’re an experienced griller, try to cook something cheap the first time you use your model.
- If possible, use wood pellets with high nitrogen content. These would be pure hardwood pellets. An abundance of nitrogen in your granules means more nitric oxide, which creates the smoke ring. Moreover, try to avoid rubs with high salt content. These can prevent the smoke ring from appearing.
- During the first hour of cooking, spritz the meat for a couple of times. Be careful not to soak it – you want to keep the moisture on the meat’s surface. For this, many grilling enthusiasts like to use apple juice.
- It’s crucial to prevent your wood pellets from becoming wet. Moisture can cause swelling, and that’s never a good thing for your auger. Make sure that your pellet grill’s fuel always burns dry.
A modern wireless thermometer with a probe will let you know the precise temperature of your meat at all times. These devices are compact, easy to use, and some can even connect to your smartphone.
- In case your grill refuses to turn on, check if there’s something wrong with your outlet. A corrupt or broken extension cord could also be a problem. Another possible culprit could be a blown fuse on the back of the controller.
- Try to avoid charring your meat too extensively. Meats that are extremely charred can be very dangerous for your health. Striking the right balance isn’t easy, but it undoubtedly makes all the difference when it comes to results.
- If you often cook vegetables and raw meat together, don’t forget about cross-contamination. To reduce the risk of bacterial contamination, it’s essential to keep these different types of food separate.
- Never remove all the fat – the meat needs to remain moist. For that matter, make sure to cut off only the excess parts.
- When seasoning the meat, you can use either a ready-made rub or the one you created by yourself. Popular spices include chili powder, turmeric, ginger powder, paprika, all-spice, and garlic powder. When it comes to herbs, you can use mint, fennel, thyme, and rosemary. Massage the seasoning of your choice deep into the meat.
As it turns out, Camp Chef pellet grills undoubtedly deserve their popularity. All of their models sport durability, efficiency, and ease of use that every grilling enthusiast wants to have in his pellet grill. Besides that, grills made by this company are also very versatile and can be used for barbecuing, grilling, braising, roasting, baking, smoking, and sometimes even searing. Pretty impressive, wouldn’t you say?
The three full-sized models we’ve reviewed all possess a spacious cooking area. SmokePro model, for example, has 570 square inches of it. This is more than enough for any tailgate party. Each model has a hopper of large capacity, allowing hours of cooking without the need for refilling.
Another excellent feature of these grills is the patented ash cleanout system. It is very effective and straightforward to use, as you only have to pull a lever. The build quality also deserves words of praise. Even the Sear Box accessory has stainless steel construction and enamel-coated cast iron grates.
It’s totally up to you to decide which one of these pellet grills is the right choice for your needs. Camp Chef means quality – you won’t make a mistake by going with any one of them.