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Please talk me out of getting a pellet grill.

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    Please talk me out of getting a pellet grill.

    Ah, so this is MCS. Interesting.

    Let me start by stating what I have now: a PBC and Weber Kettle (with SnS). I use both cookers frequently. The Weber is used whenever I want to do direct grilling or need to do something that combines indirect grilling and a sear at the end (or beginning). My PBC is used for all things smoking, smoke-roasting, or anything that does not need high temps. I use KBB exclusively.

    So why am I looking at a pellet grill?

    I’d like to do more grilling on weeknights. Also, charcoal does have some significant setup time and can be a bit messy, especially for a weeknight for me. Moreover, I’ve really been wanting to do more seafood on the grill and for as fast as fish cooks, the ease of setup and shutdown of a pellet grill is alluring.

    (I’ve been toying with adding a portable gas grill, but I just don’t really want to deal with gas. Also, there’s no smoke, unless a smoker tube is used.)

    Now, I understand, at least academically the disadvantages to pellet grills. They max out at 450-500 and sometimes can’t go below 250 reliably. And of course the smoke profile is mild/delicate due to how hot and efficient pellets burn. In some sense, they are convection ovens powered by a very clean burning wood fuel.

    Still, I am thinking that some smoke on food is better than no smoke on food on a weeknight. And if I need to sear something, I’d be using the Weber with charcoal anyway.

    I do have some questions that are about setting my expectations (i.e. talk me out of this).

    First, what is the between-cooks cleaning process typically like (besides the cleaning of the grill grates)? Do you just turn it off and walk away? I notice many cover their drip pans with foil, which I am sure speeds cleanup.

    Also, I live in a swamp. How does humidity affect the storage of unused pellets in the hopper (or in the rest of the system)?

    My top contender right now is the Grilla Chimp. Its size is perfect for what I would cook on it and it fits my budget.

    Also, is there anything that you wish you had thought about before going down the pellet grill road....anything that did not meet your expectations...or "wow, I really wish I had known that...."?

    #2
    Pellet grills are terrible, you have to fill a hopper and turn them on like every time you want to cook. It’s incredibly agonizing. Then the constant stress that it might possibly vary 20 degrees from what you told it to do is unbearable. After all that, like every few cooks (like 20-40 hours), you have to change drip pan foil and shop vac it out. You might as well save the headache and just get a stick burner. It’s so much faster and easier. Not to mention the dependence upon electricity, I mean who has that these days?
    Last edited by glitchy; April 16, 2021, 11:39 PM.

    Comment


    • RickyBobby
      RickyBobby commented
      Editing a comment
      I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers. 🤣

    #3
    Now, more seriously. Out of 12 pellet grills, I haven’t had one that wouldn’t hold 225 +/-20 for as long as you’d keep putting pellets in the hopper, more so only a couple that wouldn’t hold 200, Several even 180.

    However, as a week night griller, it’s all about the particular unit. The SmokeFire is the only pellet grill that is anywhere near a gasser in performance for quick high heat cooks. A few others will do 500-600 degrees and are better than others. In general a lot top out at 450ish degrees, but it’s a lot different than 450 on a gasser, charcoal, or griddle. It’s an indirect convection smoke fired oven in most cases. Meaning on a lot of pellet grills, a half pound burger could be an hour from power on to table. Some recover temps quickly after opening the lid, others may take 10-15 minutes when cooking at max temp.

    That all being said, the food tastes better than a gas grill all day every day unless your focus is squarely on the sear. Can’t speak for tropical humidity, but Iowa gets pretty humid in July and August. Never had a problem with pellets myself.
    Last edited by glitchy; April 16, 2021, 11:39 PM.

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      #4
      The obvious answer is of course you should buy it. I'm kind of surprised your post wasn't about when it was arriving, not if you should get it. With that out of the way, I'll share what I have learned from my pellet pooper after owning it for several years now.

      For background, I'll let you know my current setup is a Camp Chef DLX24, 22 1/2" WSM, and a Blackstone 2 burner flat top. I am still kicking myself for for giving my son my 22" Weber w/SNS, but I digress.

      The WSM is still kinda new to me having got it last Fall, but I consider it my "weekender". It has become my go to cooker for ribs, butts, chuckies, brisket, ect. Basically anything that doesn't fall into the cook and eat before work category. (I leave for work at 7P, so my "before" work, is much like most peoples "after" work.

      The Blackstone is also new, having been bought as a Black Friday deal last year. I have a lot to learn with it, but it is a burger making machine, and rocks at searing steaks.

      The pooper, is my go to cooker for everything else. It handles the "slow" portion of reverse sear steaks, as well as handling running hot with a smoke tube for chicken. The same is true for pork of type that isn't going to cook for more than couple of hours like chops, loins, and the like. Meatloaf is a no brainier. Fire up the pooper, mix up the loaf, and goodness is on it's way.
      The real flexibility really comes from adding a smoke tube to the mix. If I run my pooper at anything higher than 250° the smoke profile drops off dramatically. This is, as you said, is when the cooker becomes an outdoor convection oven. With the smoke tube, heat and smoke become two separate components that you can manage individually. Neither require much effort since temperature is just a matter of what you set it to, and the smoke portion is controlled by type and volume of fuel used. This method also works for the long low and slow cooks, but I still have the "new toy" feeling with the WSM, so it gets the call these days for the long cooks.

      As for cleaning, I give the grates a quick brush post cook, change out the foil on the heat deflector/ grease shield when it gets gunky, and every 5th or 6th cook open things up and run the shop vac around the inside under the heat deflector. One advantage of the Camp Chef is that I can empty the fire pot without taking everything apart. Just pull the handle an the left over pellets and ash drop into a cup mounted underneath. Total time to do a foil change and vac job is right around 15 minuets.

      I can't speak to how pellets handle life in a swamp. My garage is also my wood shop, and stays a pretty constant temp and humidity year round. I'm sure there are others here that live in similar conditions to yours and can share their experiences.

      So to get to the bottom line, If my pooper were stolen today, I would have a replacement headed my way before the day was over. Their ease of use and versatility have pretty much cemented poopers a place in my cooker lineup.

      Now quit dinking around and order the thing already!

      :Edit: As usual glitchy types faster than me.
      Last edited by willxfmr; April 17, 2021, 12:18 AM.

      Comment


        #5
        Most of my reply is seconding past replies but as a pellet grill owner (Camp Chef DLX) let me first state the obvious, it truly is easy, set it and forget it while occasionally checking the hopper for an ample supply of pellets and overall temperature to guarantee top performance. It really does not get any easier than that for 6 or 7 hour or longer cooks. The smoke profile is not on the same level as a log or charcoal fueled cooker however smoke tubes can be added to supplement smoke. It is easier to add more smoke flavor to food to fit the preference of those your cooking for as well as scaling back by cooking on a temperature setting in place of a smoke setting. As far as cleaning goes, emptying the fire pot after every cook is as easy as pulling and pushing back into place a knob on the side of the unit and a quick shop vacuuming after every 4 or 5 long cooks. I did store my pellets in the shed during all seasons and did notice an effect on the pellets causing them to be damp. I now store all of my pellets in doors with no issues. I use my pellet grill year round in all conditions outside but it is under my deck during the winter to protect it from the elements. To help it maintain temperature during extreme cold I cover it while in use with a moving blanket from Harbor Freight that has been folded and sewn with heavy duty twine covering all areas of the grill that cold and wind could effect. With all of the pros come some cons, you will have flame outs which are rare but do happen, checking the temperature for dips or spikes and acting on the change if need be can prevent this from happening. With this being said join the pellet world you will not regret it. My favorite cooks by far are smoked hamburg patties, turkey meatloaf and chuck roast.
        Last edited by Whiskeyman53; April 17, 2021, 12:54 AM.

        Comment


          #6
          I had the same set up and got a Grilla OG. It holds temps and really has become my “I want to smoke meats but didn’t plan and technically am responsible for my 1 year old right now” The PBC and Kette have become my weekend warriors. Don’t worry though you’ll still have MCS (I like to pretend my wife won’t leave me if magically an offset appeared in our yard one day).

          Comment


            #7
            I've had a Pellet Grill since around 2004. A Pellet Grill is one unit that I believe I will always have in my lineup. It sounds like you've done a fair amount of research and have picked a model that fits your needs and budget and you also realize the benefits and shortcomings of a Pellet Grill. Be sure to store your pellets in a dry place. IMO you should order it NOW! Enjoy your New Cooker!

            Comment


              #8
              You seriously came to the wrong place if you think anyone here is going to talk you out of buying anything related to grilling/smoking. I made that mistake a couple years ago and ended up owning a WSCG. Out of the 30 or so folks who replied, only one made a half hearrted attempt to talk me out of it.

              That being said my recommendation is to give in now and begin the fun process of searching and researching all the different units out there until you find the one you want. Then get it ordered and on its way.

              Have fun!

              Comment


              • Andrrr
                Andrrr commented
                Editing a comment
                “I made that mistake a couple years ago and ended up owning a WSCG. Out of the 30 or so folks who replied, only one made a half hearrted attempt to talk me out of it.”

                Lol

              #9
              DON’T DO IT! You’ll regret it the rest of your life. As a fellow Texan and close neighbor, I beg of you....stop the madness! One cooker, two max, is all you need. Outdoor cooking is highly overrated. These people here are not your friends. All they want to do is drain your wallet and then laugh at you later when you’re broke and the wife leaves you for that PJ dude. And besides, do you really want to take advice from some guy named Glitchy? I mean, c’mon man. If this doesn’t convince you and you still must buy something, just go to Walmart and get you a George Foreman. You’re welcome.
              Attached Files
              Last edited by Panhead John; April 17, 2021, 07:39 AM.

              Comment


              • RickyBobby
                RickyBobby commented
                Editing a comment
                Lol! 🤣

              #10
              Michael_in_TX I bought a Grilla Chimp last month and am really impressed with the quality of the build, especially without having to spend a lot of money. The solid steel components make it heavy and solid. It was only $529 w/40 lbs of pellets and free shipping.

              I don't intend to take it anywhere, as there is just my wife and I so we don't need another big cooker. I also didn't want WiFi and the Chimp fits my needs perfectly. It also has both Al[ha and PID, so you aren't sacrificing on the controllers.

              There might be two minor cons, but they don't bother me. 1) there is no pellet dump so you scoop out your unused pellets, and 2) there is no 'trap door' or trick to emptying the ash pot. Neither are biggies, unless you are ultra lazy.

              One last thing....my semi-cynical wife thinks it is "really pretty", as do my neighbors.

              Comment


                #11
                Have ya thought of a gasser? Just sayin.

                Comment


                  #12
                  New pellet grill owner here. So far I love how easy it is to use as a weeknight cooker. I have a Blazn' Grid Iron but they make a smaller unit as well. It is spectacular at reverse searing steaks and with the sear kit it sears as good as a gas grill. However you can't use the entire grill surface to sear only a spot over the fire pot. However with the Grill Grates I have seared 4 good sized pork chops at one time. It would not be my go to cooker for making burgers or hot dogs. Anything indirect or reverse seared comes out fantastic. Chicken at 375 to crisp up skin is kissed with smoke and juicy and delicious.

                  The Blazn' has a pull out fire pot than makes dumping ash easy (though it fits tightly and needs some break in time to pull out freely). I will be shop vaccing the cooking chamber since I did a long cook a couple of days ago. But for short cooks having the pull out pot is very convenient.

                  I'm still new to pellet cooking but so far so good. I say jump in and go for it.

                  Comment


                    #13
                    You have the same setup I have now. No pooper experience. I have heard here, about humidity getting to the pellets in the hopper and jamming the auger. Not sure what brand. As long as you empty or use often and store your pellets in a dry container......... ..., ..., ...!

                    Comment


                      #14
                      Because they suck...No? OK, I guess you’ve got to buy it then. Congrats on the the new rig!!!

                      Comment


                        #15
                        I run a Recteq RT-700 Bull. Love it! It and my Weber kettle are by far my most used cookers. I only use it as a low and slow smoker really. I have nine cookers in total and a variety of ways to sear or do other high heat cooking. It holds Temps between 200-350 solid as a rock. Like +/- 2 degrees solid. The smoke profile is lighter than some other types of cookers for sure. But wifey and me prefer that actually. Plenty of smoke for our taste.

                        And so easy! Just yesterday I did a batch of beef short ribs on it. Set it to 225, tossed the beef on and monitored the cook from my LazyBoy for the next seven hours. Boom. Beef rib goodness for dinner. Turned it off, let it run through it's cool down cycle, and put it away in my garage. I clean it out about every 3-5 cooks depending on what I've been cooking in there. Takes about 15 minutes.

                        Get one. I am sure you'll love it too. Which one? That's the hard part. There are many great units out there these days. Think through the things that are important to you and how you want to use it it and you'll find a unit that fits your needs perfectly.

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