The first few thoughts that come to mind when thinking of pellet grills are luxury, convenience, and that sweet, one-of-a-kind, smoky flavor. Despite being a fairly new invention, pellet grills have become quite popular.
And for good reasons too. Smokers beat charcoal grills and gassers in a lot of areas. Their cleanup isn’t as messy as it is with charcoal grills, and they are impervious to flare-ups. They deliver a distinctive flavor, unlike gassers, and don’t have burners that need to be replaced often.
Aside from that, they are treasured for their ease of use. However, all of those conveniences and features make them more expensive than the other two kinds. That, and the fact that the competition is still low.
The technology hasn’t been fully mastered yet. There are only a couple of well-known smoker manufacturers. The most famous ones are Camp Chef and Traeger.
REC TEC has entered the race as an underdog. However, it turns out many have unjustly underestimated the company. Their series of pellet smokers are a delightful surprise to experienced grill aficionados.
One of their most famous models is the rec tec stampede. It has to offer just as much as the company’s most prominent models but also happens to be mobile. It’s also one of their most expensive ones. So, what makes it such a great smoker?
A mid-sized mobile pellet grill manufactured by REC TEC.
- sq. in. Main Cooking area
- sq sq. in. Optional Secondary Grate
- sq. in. Total Cooking Area
- Drip Tray
- 304 Stainless Steel
- Heat Deflector
- Fire Pot
- WiFi Controller Capability
- HotFlash Ceramic Ignition System
- 180° – 550° Temp. Range
- PID Temperature Controller
- Two Meat Probes
- Hopper Capacity – 30lb
- Two-Year Warranty
Why Get It?
Sizeable Cooking Area
The model is an excellent choice for larger families and bigger backyard parties. The main cooking area is 592 square inches. It’s large enough to cook five huge rib racks simultaneously.
You can even fit a whole turkey and still have some room left. Your options don’t end there. There’s an extra cooking rack that measures at 180 square inches.
When not in use for cooking, you can use the second rack as a preparation or warming area. Both racks are removable and made of 304 stainless steel. They ought to last you a lifetime.
The smoke tray helps with the even distribution of heat within the cooking chamber. Starting up the grill is a breeze thanks to the HotFlash Ceramic Ignition system. It never fails.
The cleanup is almost as easy as on a gasser. REC TEC lacks a more sophisticated ash removal system, but the grease drain funnel works perfectly.
All of the excess grease drains into the drip pan. The system does most of the work for you. All that’s left for you is to empty out the bucket.
One of the signature features of the model is the proprietary PID temperature controller. It’s what makes grilling so easy with this model, and perhaps even its most significant selling point. All you need to do is set the temperature, and the system will take it from there.
The system is programmed to maintain a steady temperature. The maximum temperature variation is 15°. That’s not only in normal circumstances but even in adverse weather conditions as well.
A sudden gush of cold wind or an abrupt drop of temperature might surprise you, but the Stampede won’t flinch. The smoker adjusts the pellet feeding rate and temperature to external factors, making sure the cooking continues without any disruptions. Setting the temperature is easy as well thanks to the custom-made touchpad.
The smoker can deliver temperatures between 180 to 550-degrees. Pellet grills cannot produce as much heat as charcoal grills, but it ought to suffice.
However, the Stampede can deliver 50 degrees more than most of the competition. The temperature range makes the grill ideal for braising, roasting, grilling, baking, and smoking. It takes about fifteen to twenty minutes for the grill to heat up.
The pellet hopper has a capacity of thirty pounds. That’s pretty good for a smoker of this size. It’s fair to assume that pellet grills are designed for the passive grillers who just want to relax, mingle with friends and family, drink a beer, and not have to watch over the food constantly and be on the lookout for flare-ups.
Overseeing the whole process and devoting yourself to it like a professional chef is fun, but so is kicking back and relaxing while the food cooks itself. REC TEC took that one step further by introducing the WiFi controller feature.
The feature allows you to monitor the cooking process from afar. Basically, you pair the grill via WiFi with the dedicated smartphone app and watch over the temperatures from wherever you want. You don’t have to return until the cooking is done.
Of course, the two integrated meat probes help immensely in that regard. They work by measuring the temperature inside the meat. All you have to do is probe the meat with one end and the display will show you the temperature of the inside of the meat. You’ll know the meat is ready when it reaches a certain temperature.
An integrated meat probe is often an underappreciated feature. You can buy an accessory meat probe for cheap, and it will do its job, but it won’t last long. They do their job, no doubt, and are a recommended purchase, but a built-in probe is always better.
The Stampede is as strong as a tank. It’s mobile like one, too. The smoker stands on four caster wheels which allow it to move around with ease.
The company advertises it as a portable model. Well, that might be a bit of a stretch in reality, but it is technically true. If you are thinking of jamming it in the trunk of the van and heading out to your vacation, you won’t find it easy. But moving it around the backyard will be effortless.
The whole thing is made of top-notch 304 stainless steel. Its octagonal shape makes it unique, separating it from other pellet grills on the market. But the shape doesn’t only make it look good – it’s there to make it more robust and ensure a longer lifespan of the product.
Pros & Cons
- Easy to Use
- HotFlash Ceramic ignition
- PID Temperature Controller
- 2 Built-in Meat Probes
- 304 Stainless Steel
- 772 sq. in. Total Cooking Area
- Overall 91% 91%
- No Sears
“Two years ago I’d call anyone who spends more than 500 bucks on a grill insane or frivolous. And here I am with a $1200 grill in my backyard. Talk about eating your words.
Today, my colleagues won’t stop teasing me because I never stop raving on about my awesome pellet grill. So far, I’ve converted one of them and he has bought the exact same REC TEC. Before buying it myself, I did my fair share of research.
Hey, it’s only natural for a guy to want to get the best possible thing when he’s willing to spend over a grand on a cooking appliance. Turns out, it’s worth every penny. Even more!
The smoke-infused food is truly something else. I did try smoke tubes before with my old grill, it did OK, but it’s nothing compared to the real deal. Everyone keeps yapping about the lack of sears, but so what? I don’t think I’ll ever get a gas grill again.
No sear can compare with the applewood pellet smoke flavor. I haven’t tried other types of pellets yet, but I am planning on doing so
Nothing beats the ease of cooking the Stampede offers. Maintenance isn’t much hassle either, although I’d like to see a better ash management system in some future versions. But that’s just the lazy talking out of me.”
Well, Conrad, you are definitely missing out! Trying out different pellets is one of the best things about smokers. Applewood pellets are excellent, but mesquite and maple are great choices too, for example.
What to Watch Out For
A big pellet grill is a significant investment. The features do justify the price. So, if you decide to go for it, it’s best to use it as often as you can. It would be a shame to let such beauty go to waste.
Who doesn’t love the look of gorgeous, mouthwatering sear marks? Well, unfortunately, the Stampede cannot deliver them. You might be able to find an add-on that could help you with that, though.
A Piece of Advice
As we have established, buying a pellet is a good investment. Storing it under a proper cover is a great way to protect your investment. The electric components are the heart of the Stampede. They should be protected from humidity.
The Stampede is an expensive pellet grill, but, with such a sturdy and robust design, it could last you a lifetime with proper care. With this model, you’re not just getting an excellent grill that delivers a unique taste, but your buying peace of mind as well.
The grill does most of the work for you. It’s a luxury that should never be taken for granted.