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Old guy new to pellet grill Trying to determine size 24 or 36.

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    Old guy new to pellet grill Trying to determine size 24 or 36.

    I'm an old guy who has been grilling for more decades than I like to count. I'm long past the time when getting up in the night to tend a long smoke was part of the fun. Now I just want the results without the hassle. So I'm looking at a pellet smoker that is as automated as possible. In addition I have a wife of 50+ years who is not a smoke fan. It wasn't until I found Amazing Ribs and the concept of smoke as a spice that I've been able to bring her around to my way of cooking. So the new WiFi Camp Chef Woodland with the adjustable smoke settings looks like what I need.

    What I don't know is about size. I'm only cooking for 2 to 4 98% of the time, except for a couple of large annual family gatherings. Currently doing my smoking in a Weber kettle with insert.. I keep thinking I need to go for the 36" model. Any differences (other than cost) between the two units? Fuel consumption? Startup time? Anything?


    Check out glitchy's post here on the Camp Chef... https://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/fo...-at-back-patio


      Welcome! While I don't have any specific experience between the two models you mention, it stands to reason the larger will use more pellets but most manufacturers claim the extra is very minimal. Do you ever foresee a family cookout where the space would come in handy? Maybe a packer brisket and a pork butt? If not, go small. I usually advise folks if you're even considering the larger one, just get the larger one. You can still cook a small amount of food on the larger one, but probably not the other way around!

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      • BarryT
        BarryT commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks for all the quick responses.  I did start through the homework and got stopped at the intro..couldn't wait to start asking questions.
        We have a large gathering  July 4th and I have  my kettle, my Weber gas grill and a wood burning oven going.  So I could do with the smaller grill, but, as someone posted I can always cook less on a larger unit.  Fun just to think about.

      Welcome to The Pit!


        Welcome to The Pit Barry. As Huskee said, you don't have to fill up a larger cooker, but you can only get so much in a smaller cooker. However, since you do have a Kettle, maybe the smaller Camp Chef plus the Kettle will suffice? You could do the longer cooks in the pellet pooper and the quicker cooks in the Kettle. And if you haven't tried it, smoke a chuck roast in your kettle. They smoke like a butt, but normally have to go a bit higher in temp to be probe tender for pulling.


          I only cook for 2 most of the time. When I decided to buy a pellet smoker I choose a Yoder and ordered the YS-480. When it was delivered to the dealer I noticed a YS-640 sitting next to it. It may have been the larger size but I went home with the 640. I don’t regret it. Fuel consumption isn’t that might more, if any, and those times I do cook for more people I do appreciate the larger cooking area. I also found that as I improved in my skills, the more frequently I cook BBQ for more than 2, and I won’t ever need to consider selling the smaller one and purchasing a larger one.


            I've never said to myself "I wish my grill or smoker was smaller". While my typical cook is 3 slabs of ribs, 1-2 butts, 1 brisket, or a couple of chickens, I find myself several times a year needing to smoke large quantities for entertaining guests.

            I would say, keep your kettle for smoking small amounts, and go for the larger pellet smoker if it is not out of your budget. That said, you can fit a good bit on a 24 inch grate, especially if there is an upper level for expansion, but you can fit even more on a 36" grate. My offset is 24x36, and the grate is 22x34 inches, and there are times even that is not large enough, and I smoke on it and the kettle at the same time. I'm looking to buy a WSM 22" soon to have more smoking capacity for a large cook that is coming up in May.

            I assume when you say "insert" that you are talking about something like the Slow 'N Sear?


            • BarryT
              BarryT commented
              Editing a comment
              I have an original Smokenator that has worked very well for me. I never had a problem with pork butts, but never did make a good brisket.

            I have a small Rec Tec Trailblazer and, similar to you, I usually just cook for two, sometimes four. I've managed to fit pork shoulders, brisket, several racks of ribs, whole chickens, and many other assorted things on it. For me, it is great, and because it is somewhat portable, I've also taken it with us RVing with truck and trailer. I like that the small chamber heats up quick, gets very hot, is less to clean, and concentrates the smoke. So, I think I made the right choice - for us. But like others have mentioned, the larger size may come in handy occasionally. Either way, I think you'll like the convenience of a pellet grill. Best of luck with whatever you choose. And... welcome to the pit!


              36 without question. Doesn't take much to fill up even that size.


              • BarryT
                BarryT commented
                Editing a comment
                I will admit to watching old BBQ masters shows and somehow 24" seems very small....

              Congratulations on 50 + years, you will enjoy a pellet smoker, which ever size you come up with.


                Welcome from Wilson County, Texas!


                  You can put a small amount of food in a large cooker, but you can't put a large amount of food in a small cooker. So sayeth the Zen Master of The Great State of Jefferson.


                    Welcome to the Pit! I agree with all above. Enjoy and smoke on!


                      So for comparison sake, I have the Treager Homestead 520. As it's name implies, it has 520 square inches of cooking space. In the year that I've owned it I have cooked for multiple large gatherings including doing approximately 2 dozen average sized hamburgers at once as well as multiple 8 pound pork butts at one time multiple racks of ribs and a nearly 12 pound Brisket flat, I would have had room for a full packet, but couldn't find one at the store at the time. Here are some photos for reference. I hope this helps and welcome to the Pit.
                      Attached Files


                      • ScottyC13
                        ScottyC13 commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Great informative post!

                      @luvthemstillers Do you have High temp swing's with that one? My son bought one at Christmas time. And he is having 50 degree temp swing's ?



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