Jim Bowie - Green Mountain Grills

The top of the line Green Mountain Grill model, the Jim Bowie grill is a perfect option for an outdoor pellet grill chef looking for a wifi-enabled grill in the middle price range. With many available attachments and upgrades available, Green Mountain Grills does a great job of giving its customers options with each of their three grills.

Pros:

  • Easy to maneuver
  • Wifi-enabled controller
  • Easy to use
  • Great price point

Cons:

  • 500˚F Maximum temperature
  • Thin metals don't contain heat well
  • "Open Flame" technology doesn't make much difference
$1,259.99 $1,258.99

From The Manufacturer

The Jim Bowie WiFi Model comes with a digital WiFi controller (control and monitor through our iOS or Android mobile application), a meat probe, a peaked lid for stand-up chicken/large fowl/rib racks, a convenience tray with utensil hooks, hard rubber tires, and a venturi-style firebox for cyclone combustion. It also has Sense-Mate, a thermal sensor which constantly monitors the ambient temperature. When the weather gets cold, the sensor kicks the grill into Turbo mode, so you don’t have to wait long for the grill to heat up! Other features include a positive pressure hopper fan to prevent burn-back, “fan only” mode with automatic shut-off to blow ash out of the firebox after you finish grilling, a 40×16 (Approx 640 sq. in.) cooking surface, and 13.5” clearance inside. It weighs 185 pounds.

Available options include a stainless steel no-warp lid, form-fitted grill cover, and a dome thermometer.


Reviews from around the web:

What the Jim Bowie Pellet Grill has going for it is an excellent price and some nice features that make it safer and more functional than some other models out there. While simple in some ways, there is a lot of thought that has gone into this pellet grills.

- The Spruce

In 2014 Green Mountain drastically lowered prices on their residential models making them a best buy... No other pellet smokers anywhere near GMG's price range are offering WiFi control.

 - Amazing Ribs

Pit Boss 820 Deluxe

The 820 Deluxe is definitely the best option of Pit Boss' affordable pellet grills. It provides all the features one should expect in a pellet grill - digital controller, large capacity hopper, temperature range from 180˚F - 500˚F, and solid construction, at a price that exceeds our expectations.

For a sub - $1000 grill, the Pit Boss 820 Deluxe is the perfect choice.

Pros:

  • Unique arched drip/flame broiler plate 
  • Removable serving tray
  • Two tone appearance
  • Awesome price
  • Bottle opener!

Cons:

  • Inconsistent pellet feeder
  • Temperature controller is sometimes finicky

From the manufacturer:

Turn a simple dial to start the grill, and you can sear a steak, bake pizza or cookies, smoke jerky, ribs or brisket, all with natural flavored wood pellets. With a dynamic range of cooking temperature from 180° to 500°F, you have complete control with the turn of a dial. The digital control board results in precise cooking control. Fan forced convection cooking seals in meat juices and eliminates the need for a rotisserie.

The Pit Boss 820 Deluxe provides a large 820 sq. in. cooking surface: 580 sq. in. main surface, and 240 sq. in. removable upper rack. A flavor-enhancing grease tray directs excess grease to large grease bucket, while adding flavor back into your cooking. Additional features, such as the removable easy-lift stainless grilling & serving tray, copper-finish hopper lid and chimney cap, hanging hooks for barbecue tools and bottle opener, truly make this the ultimate deluxe barbecue unit. An embossed copper-finish lid for added strength, a large hopper which holds up to 24 lbs. of pellet fuel and two large, easy-rolling wheels result in a unit that is built and designed to last.


Along with the standard product description, Pit Boss has a video that outlines the most important details of their flagship grill:

$699.00

Traeger Lil Tex Elite

Traeger is easily the best known manufacturer of pellet grills for good reason. They've been around the longest, have a ubiquitous marketing presence, and make a fine set of products. One of our favorite budget grills is the Lil Tex Elite. It's the smallest of all Traegers, but will definitely fit the bill for your average family cookout.

If you're looking to dip your toe into the pellet grill market, this would be a solid choice.

PROS:

  • Consistent Results
  • Easy to Move
  • Easy to Use
  • Drip Cup Collects Grease

CONS:

  • Quality is just okay
  • Not great for high-temp searing
  • Cooking area is on the small side

From the manufacturer:

Gather friends and family for amazing flavor, the new Lil’ Tex 22 Elite grill has sturdier legs and a new Digital Elite Controller to keep temperatures within +/- 20 degrees F. Champion precision outdoor cooking on this 418 square inch grilling BBQ arena, then watch the delicious spoils of your labor quickly disappear.

  • 418 sq. in. (22" x 19") grilling area
  • Digital Elite Controller
  • Sturdy 2-inch legs
  • Easily holds up to 16 burgers | 4 chickens | 24 hot dogs | 5 rib racks

Reviews from around the web:

There's nothing fancy here. Instead of a touch-pad controller, Traeger employs an older-style digital dial controller. No WiFi or meat probes; just no-frills schmokin' from the industry leader.
- The Spruce

I got the Jr as a Christmas present but I felt it was too small. I contacted a local dealer and he was willing to let me trade it in for the Little Tex Elite. I also bought the grill cover and the thermal blanket. This is an awesome grill, I use it at least 4 times a month. I have used it more since I bought it then I did my old grill in the last 2 years. I have cooked butts, ribs, chicken, burgers, brats I even used it to make meatloaf and meatballs for spaghetti. You have to remember to vacuum out the fire pot regularly or it will not heat properly.
- Smoking Meat Forums

Memphis Elite - Memphis Wood Fire Grills

The best of the best. 

When we talk about innovation and originality in the world of pellet grill cooking, the Memphis Elite continues to set the standard. Fully stainless steel, with 1252 sq. inches of cooking space, the Memphis Elite can consistently maintain temperatures of up to 700˚F.

How is this possible? Open flame grilling. With the direct flame insert (that comes standard with every grill) you can grill over a roaring wood fire, which brings your food flavor to the next level. Or drop the temp down and do a low and slow smoke (perfect for briskets, pork shoulders, etc).

$4,999.00

For whatever type of cook you're doing, you can use the restaurant grade food probe in tandem with the Intelligent Temperature Control system to measure the internal temperature of whatever you’re cooking. You can even set a desired internal temperature that will turn the grill on 'heat' mode when reached.

Along with performing capabilities that outreach other pellet grills, the Memphis Elite looks amazing. It has an incredibly sleek design made to be the center of an outdoor kitchen. If that truly is your aim, Memphis also supplies a built in elite model.

Memphis' new models are also all built with a temperature control display screen, and integrated with wifi so the temperature can be controlled via phone application. 


Cons:

  • More expensive than average (but worth it in our opinion)
  • 2012 models had water drainage issues (but are now fixed)
  • ITC screen and app had some release bugs (fixed now)

Pros:

  • Most dynamic temperature range on the market
  • 100% 304 Stainless Steel
  • Convection Cooking
  • Large cooking area, storage spaces, and pellet hopper for longer cooks
  • Intelligent temperature controller (with wifi, meat probe, etc.)
  • Communicative customer service

From the Manufacturer:

Big, bold, and made in the USA, this wood pellet grill is the ultimate addition to any outdoor kitchen. With a whopping 1252 sq. inches of cooking surface, a large 24 lb. pellet hopper, dual metal convection fans, and precise temperature control capable of anything from 180° to 700°, the Memphis Elite is truly a revolutionary cooking appliance. Also available as a built-in model.

  • Temp Range: 180-700 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Intelligent Temperature Control with Wi-Fi
  • Double Walled, Sealed, 304 Stainless Steel
  • Indirect and Direct Flame Modes 
  • Dual Convection Fans
  • Oven-Grade Gasket
  • Shelves open for enhanced storage
  • 24 lb. dual pellet hopper (mix and match pellet flavors)
  • Now comes standard with direct flame insert, genie tool, one meat probe, and a free 20lb bag of pellets!

Check out this fun video from Memphis (note: it features a Memphis Pro grill which is a bit smaller than the Elite, but same otherwise)

Cookshack PG1000 Fast Eddy's Pellet Grill

The Fast Eddy line from Cookshack has been a popular name in the competitive BBQ circuit for years and, lucky for us, their newest entry, the PG1000 is specifically designed for the home user.

While it does not have the same aesthetic appeal as the Memphis line of grills, it does have a couple other things going for it.

  • Dual Zone Cooking: fire pot is offset to the side so you the further you move food away, the cooler it gets. Many other grills, put the fire chamber right in the middle, making the hot/cold zones a bit more of a guessing game. They call it "Four Zone" cooking based upon the upper shelf, but that seems like marketing speak to us.
  • You can remove the legs and turn it into built-in grill for your outdoor kitchen. Other manufacturers give you the built-in option as a different model number.

Pros:

$4,923.17
  • Made in the USA
  • 600* F Max Temperature (approx. 800* F over direct flame)
  • Numerous Cooking Zones including a Warming Drawer
  • Double Walled Stainless Steel Interior and Exterior
  • Built-in model looks great!

Cons:

  • The direct flame zone can get a bit ashy
  • Smokestack is located on the side shelf
  • Industrial look and feel not a great fit for all home scenarios

From Around the Web:

The Charbroil feature of the FE1000 is unique, and effective.  The FE1000 has a grate positioned directly over the firepot and flavorizer bar which gives you a very hot grilling surface for charbroiling meats and veggies.    The extremely quick ramp-up to temperature made grilling easy.  Turn the pit on and you were ready to grill within 10 minutes.  The temperatures were very inconsistent in this area though, and I found myself moving food around from “hot” spot to “cooler” spot to get everything cooked evenly.  My only complaint about this feature would be the lack of temperature control.  Because the lid is open, the auger runs wide-open and you essentially have a singe temperature to work with, unlike a gasser where you would have several different settings for high, medium, and low.

Heat: The FE1000 gets hot – very hot, and gets there very quickly.  In my testing the pit was able to get to over 600 degrees in 15 minutes.  In fact it overshot the 600 mark, and had to dial it back.  This far exceeds the temperatures I was able to get on my MAK in similar testing, which topped-out at 535 degrees in 40 minutes.  This increase in heat seems to be the result of the lack of heat restriction (only a perforated flavoizer bar above the firepot), and the insulated lid.  Combined they appear to be quite effective for getting the pit to temp fast.

Read more at: https://smokinmak.wordpress.com/reviews/pits-smokers-grills-and-other-hardware/pits-smokers-grills-and-other-hardware/

Most pellet smokers are wood burning ovens, great for ribs, turkey, brisket and butts, not so great for grilling steaks and burgers. The PG1000 was one of the first pellet burners to offer a sear station, a cast iron cooking grate right over the firepot where the wood pellets burn. It isn’t the best setup for searing, but it does OK in a pinch and you can definitely finish your smoked chicken and ribs on it to crisp and brown. The real beauty of Fast Eddy’s design is it produces meat with a deep mahogany finish, much like a competition grade offset smoker. It also has two upper level heat zones for a total of four distinct temperature zones.

Thermostatically controlled pellet smokers are a joy to work with, just set the desired temp like you do on your kitchen oven then walk away. No muss, no fuss, no babysitting, and excellent results every time. Made in the USA.

Read more at: http://luxebeatmag.com/2015-top-10-luxury-grills-and-smokers/

 

Two Star General - Mak Grills

The Two Star General is the flagship pellet grill for Mak Grills. It boasts a large grilling surface, a lifetime guarantee on the grill igniter, and an American-Made quality promise. The Two Star General is expertly constructed - having what is widely thought to be the most accurate temperature control and monitor in the business. Mak also guarantees over 90,000 on/off cycles if you invest in their FlashFire igniter feature.

Pros:

  • Made in the USA
  • Accurate and versatile temperature controller
  • Rust-proof
  • Large capacity pellet hopper

Cons:

  • Low temperature range of 180F - 500F (not hot enough to sear)
  • Industrial look can be a turnoff

From the manufacturer:

From grilling the most delicious steak you’ve ever put into your mouth, to cold smoking gourmet style cheeses, our American-made MAK 2 Star General does it all. The 2 Star’s primary cooking surface is 429 square inches. Slide in one of our optional upper grates and you can easily add 50%, 75%, even 100% additional cooking space. Our pellet hopper dump doormakes it easy to swap out pellet varieties in seconds. This is a MAK original feature missing from most other pellet grill lines. To top it all off, the 2 Star comes with our exclusive FlashFire™ igniter, which has a LIFETIME warranty.

Louisiana Grills Estate 860C

Louisiana Grill' Estate series of freestanding grills is another great company's innovative way to make their pellet grill more than just a smoker. The 860C is made entirely with 304 stainless steel with a temperature range of 180˚F-600˚F (although some say the grill can get hotter than 600˚F with their slidable flame broiler).

The grill has a variety of cabinets and counter spaces, as well as a unique wood pellet storage box that sets the look of this grill apart.

Pros:

  • Built in meat-probe
  • Unique feature arrangement
  • Flame-broiler setting for increased heat
  • 100% Stainless Steel

Cons:

  • Old style temperature controller
  • Heat indicator is sometimes buggy

From the manufacturer:

  • Primary Body: Heavy-duty 304 stainless steel double wallconstruction (for superior heat retention)
  • Caster Style: Four heavy-duty caster wheels
  • Finish: Stainless steel body, front drawers and cabinet doors
  • Large Hidden Hopper
  • Cart Cabinets: Swing-open cabinet doors for storage
  • Front Drawers: Pull-open drawers for storage
  • Side Shelves: Two stainless steel side shelves with BBQ tool hooks and bar handles
  • Handle Style: Stainless steel with bezel Thermometer: Dome thermometer with bezel

Louisiana Grills LG700 Pellet Grill

The Louisiana LG700 Pellet Grill may not be the prettiest grill on the block nor is its construction as advanced as Louisiana's more expensive models, but it makes up for it with performance and value. With it's digital controller, programmable meat probe, and ability to cook anywhere from 180* to 600* F, versatility comes easy.

PROS:

  • Good Bang for you Buck
  • Direct Flame Capability
  • Programmable Meat Probe
  • "Set it and Forget It" Controller

CONS:

  • 14lb hopper (although you can purchase an add on hopper that provides room for 20lbs more)
  • Single Wall Powder Coat Construction
  • Old "Barrel Style" Design. Effective, but generic

Here's a video that shows some of Louisiana's best features up close (please keep in mind it's a general video and not specifically for the LG700)

$776.62

From Around the Web:

With just a few flaws this grill is very efficient and works well to cook any type of food. The construction of the grill could be a bit better, the construction is cheap and the paint job was done poorly. This grill could us a drip pan or a small door where you could change pellets easier. It could also use a place to attach your cooking utensils, like a shelf or hooks.

https://warmchef.com/cook-delicious-food-in-the-best-pellet-smoker/

 

Camp Chef SmokePro SE

The SmokePro SE is one of the least expensive Pellet Grills in the marketplace. For $500 you can get a lot of the best things about a pellet grill in a pretty well made piece of equipment. If you're looking to dip your toe into Pellet Grilling the SmokePro is an awesome way - allowing you to experiment with the technology without breaking the bank.

Pros:

  • Great price point
  • Small and maneuverable
  • Great for Pellet Grill Beginners

Cons:

  • Thin metal doesn't hold temperature well
  • Imperfect temperature control
  • Bad in the wind

From the manufacturer:

The SmokePro SE Pellet Grill brings award-winning BBQ to your back patio. Simply select the desired cooking temperature and let the smoker do the rest. Our Smart Smoke Technology maintains a consistent temperature range to produce as much smoke as possible. That means the best flavor possible. And at the end of the cookout, you’ll enjoy the easiest, quickest cleanout system in the industry. Instead of dismantling and cleaning your grill after every use, you can pull a lever and empty the ash out of the fire pot. In a few seconds, you’re ready for your next big barbecue. And it’s good thing too, because that smoky taste is going to keep everyone coming back for more.