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Best Pellet cooker to buy for $3500 or less

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  • panteracfh3
    Club Member
    • Jul 2018
    • 286
    • Tewksbury, MA
    • "Jump in the fire!" - Metallica

    #16
    I own the previous generation Traeger (Pro 34) and have had nothing but great results on it and the customer support is great as well. Although I've never used the new generation Traeger, the WiFi capabilities and design are very attractive. Had I been buying now (with the knowledge of the one I have), I'd have no issue getting the new generation Traeger.

    Comment

    • ItsAllGoneToTheDogs
      Club Member
      • Jun 2018
      • 506
      • Eastern NC
      • 2018 MAK 2 Star
        Charbroil Big Easy SRG

      #17
      @Subman658 so you told us your price range, and most of the top dollar pellet cookers have been named... what are YOU going to use it for? Low and slow only? Every now and then grill? Solo cooker? What size meats are you looking to cook? That would help us help you narrow some things down more.

      Comment


      • Subman658
        Subman658 commented
        Editing a comment
        Mostly low and slow

      • glitchy
        glitchy commented
        Editing a comment
        Mostly low and slow and live in a climate with real winters? See comment below. If Memphis does intrigue you at all, you can call Texas Star Grills and see what they can do for price, they used to run pretty good deals on Memphis. My local dealer wouldn’t budge from MSRP.
    • glitchy
      Club Member
      • Jul 2019
      • 494
      • Central IA
      • Weber Summit Charcoal Grill
        w/ Big Joetisserie, SnS LP, and Vortex
        Weber SmokeFire EX4
        Camp Chef Woodwind WiFi 24 w/Sear Box
        w/ BBQ Hack's Griddle Hack
        Weber Q100
        Fireboard 2 Drive
        Anova Precision Sous Vide

      #18
      You won’t find a more beautifully crafted pellet grill than a Memphis. However, it has some flaws too. If you always cook at a constant temp, it’s a wonderful grill...if you like to crank it up at the end for searing or grilling something while what you smoked is resting, they are pretty susceptible to grease fires. It will cook anywhere from 180-650 on the Pro and is pretty easy on the pellets.

      Comment


      • glitchy
        glitchy commented
        Editing a comment
        I made this comment thinking that the Advantage, Pro and Elite were still made in Minnesota. Reviewing their website, this may have changed as they focus on designed and tested in the US.
    • Mosca
      Charter Member
      • Oct 2014
      • 3166
      • PA
      • Large Big Green Egg, Weber Performer Deluxe, Weber Smokey Joe Silver, Maverick 732, DigiQ, and too much other stuff to mention.

      #19
      $3500 for a cooker, get a Komodo Kamado.

      Comment


      • ItsAllGoneToTheDogs
        ItsAllGoneToTheDogs commented
        Editing a comment
        they make a pellet version? I know someone makes a pellet egg style cooker but I forget who

      • Alphonse
        Alphonse commented
        Editing a comment
        I am a KK fan but they don't make a pellet grill. Also the 3500 will not really get you one delivered other than their baby table model and that is questionable if you add any extras to it.

      • Mosca
        Mosca commented
        Editing a comment
        21” is $3560. But once you’ve decided to spend $3500 to essentially hold a fire, you might as well look at it as an order of magnitude issue. As long as it’s still only 4 figures, it’s all the same!
        Last edited by Mosca; February 3rd, 2020, 10:16 PM.
    • Lazy Layne
      Club Member
      • Jan 2019
      • 74
      • Illinois

      #20
      One word answer........ Traeger

      Comment


      • glitchy
        glitchy commented
        Editing a comment
        I’ve had 3 Traegers and am a big fan of the grill, but not the company it is now. Regardless of that, for someone with a higher budget, there are a number of better Pellet grills than what Traeger has to offer. A lot of US made grills with all or lots of stainless steel. Traeger holds nothing in comparison with Memphis, Mak, Cookstack, Pitts and Spitts, Blazn, etc.
    • UncleSpike
      Club Member
      • Nov 2019
      • 32
      • Alberta, Canada

      #21
      I haven't seen a review on this site yet, but Black Earth Grills makes a really nice gas grill with a pellet burner in the center. Built in Canada. And it's built like a tank. Has some very nice add on features as well, like the cutting board side trays, rib racks, cast iron griddle etc. If I was looking for a pellet grill, this would be the one. Check it out... https://blackearthgrills.com/

      Comment


      • ItsAllGoneToTheDogs
        ItsAllGoneToTheDogs commented
        Editing a comment
        Never seen that before, super interesting pellet delivery. Really interested in the temp control on that as that's something I think will be coming at some point to more propane grills. Found a lot of mediocre reviews but they were all old, couldn't find any current model reviews anywhere other than their website.
    • glitchy
      Club Member
      • Jul 2019
      • 494
      • Central IA
      • Weber Summit Charcoal Grill
        w/ Big Joetisserie, SnS LP, and Vortex
        Weber SmokeFire EX4
        Camp Chef Woodwind WiFi 24 w/Sear Box
        w/ BBQ Hack's Griddle Hack
        Weber Q100
        Fireboard 2 Drive
        Anova Precision Sous Vide

      #22
      How big of hurry are you in? As previously mentioned the Weber SmokeFire might be worth a look when it comes out. By the info released it should match just about any pellet grill for features. Over the past decade, I've had 3 Traegers, a GMG Daniel Boone, a Memphis Pro, and currently have a Camp Chef that I'm selling to a friend when my SmokeFire pre-order arrives. The funny thing is, when it comes to low and slow the food off them all pretty much tasted the same . Where they really differentiate is grilling/searing capabilities and appearance. The only grill of those I had that was truly capable of searing was the Memphis. Others would sometimes do OK with GrillGrates.

      I bought the Memphis thinking that I would only need a single grill with it (that's why I went through so many others). My problem was I like to turn up the grill after pulling chuck roasts, butts or brisket and cook some sausages or throw on a pan of sliced potatoes and onions in foil and all the grease from the aforementioned meats started fires. I could have learned to deal with ways around it, but for me I decided I'd rather just have multiple grills and couldn't justify the Memphis being part of the collection if I could get a decent price back out of it and I did. If I had an outdoor kitchen, it would still be hard not to have a Memphis built in not be a part of it as they are beautifully crafted.

      As mentioned, Yoder makes nice grills built like tanks. The only complaint I hear about them is having to touch the paint up regularly. I've always been intrigued by the CookShack PG500 or PG1000, but never felt like their capacity would suit me. I don't think I've ever heard a complaint about a Mak except maybe searing (but that's pretty much all pellet grills so far except Memphis). Your budget really opens up all but just a couple pellet grills on the market. Do you want an outdoor show piece? Or just the best all around value for whatever you do spend?

      With your budget and location in a four season climate, I'd personally look to get something with at least partially double walled construction if you are going to use it in the winter.

      Comment


      • ItsAllGoneToTheDogs
        ItsAllGoneToTheDogs commented
        Editing a comment
        The newest software (2019) on the MAK allows you to sear, and I do use it for grilling quite often. But like you said, the best combo with most pellet units is a second searing source (my ideal pairing is a flat top grill with my MAK). The MAK goes from off to sear pretty quickly, it just doesn't go fast enough from smoke temp to sear temp for my tastes. With careful planning I can time it to work, but it's not as convenient as it could be.
    • ColonialDawg
      Club Member
      • Oct 2017
      • 470
      • Coastal VA

      #23
      You might want to wait for the Weber SmokeFire grill. While it certainly will fall well below your max budget ($1200), it might outperform the more expensive grills. Not saying it will, but so far its searing capability looks impressive. More money isn’t always better.

      Comment

    • Sweaty Paul
      Founding Member
      • Aug 2014
      • 1373
      • Hays, KS
      • Green Mountain Grill - Jim Bowie
        (I've never regretted having too much grate space).

        Weber Genesis Gas grill
        Weber Kettle grills x 2

      #24
      I love my Yoder. And would highly recommend the YS-640. It does low and slow and will get to 600+ degrees if you want to sear or do high heat. Yes it does occasionally need paint touch up, however, I’ve done that once in 2 years. Good luck on your search!

      Comment


      • hogdog6
        hogdog6 commented
        Editing a comment
        IMHO the ability to touch up the paint is a big plus. You can make it look brand new whenever you want to. Many other brands may have porcelain or powder coat that can chip or stainless steel gets scratched then it's that way forever.
        Also Yoder makes there touch up paint available so no big deal matching the flat black color.

      • Donw
        Donw commented
        Editing a comment
        At least in my case they included touch up paint with my Yoder which I appreciated.
    • rwalters
      Club Member
      • Aug 2017
      • 371
      • MAK 2 Star -- Blackstone Griddles

        I am not a vegetarian, but I eat animals that are

      #25
      I have had a lot of cookers (propane, charcoal, sticks and pellets) go through my backyard over the past 25 years, some being pretty dog-gone nice. Out of all of them, without a doubt, the MAK 2 Star has been my all time favorite to cook on. I currently have a 2 Star and 26.75 kettle for when I get the charcoal itch. That said, 95% of all of my grilling/smoking is done on my MAK. I absolutely love it!

      Comment

      • drobinson003
        Club Member
        • Jul 2019
        • 74

        #26
        Maybe you should wait for the Weber Smokefire to be released this month and then read reviews. I have been cooking on Weber charcoal grills and smokers for 50 years, and have researched pellet grills/smokers for a few years. At this point none have met my standards, but if I go the pellet route it'll probably be with Weber. Checkout Meathead's review. Good luck.

        Comment

        • KarchyBBQ
          Club Member
          • Nov 2017
          • 70
          • Wheaton, MD
          • ——
            Weber Kettle 26”
            SnS standard
            Thermoworks Smoke, Theromoworks Dot, ThermoPop

          #27
          Curious to hear what you’ve selected!

          Comment


          • hogdog6
            hogdog6 commented
            Editing a comment
            Ditto

          • Subman658
            Subman658 commented
            Editing a comment
            Still haven’t decided! I’m in no hurry! I leaning towards the Mak 2 star but waiting to hear reviews on the Weber Smokefire when it comes out!

          • hogdog6
            hogdog6 commented
            Editing a comment
            Good plan
        • Divotdog
          Club Member
          • Oct 2019
          • 5
          • Charlotte

          #28
          Love my Memphis, all stainless, cleans easily, direct cooking and indirect smoking. New ones are blue tooth and WiFi. Mine is ten years old. No problems and only had to replace the fuse twice. Good luck.
          Last edited by Divotdog; February 3rd, 2020, 03:31 PM.

          Comment

          • Alphonse
            Club Member
            • Oct 2019
            • 249
            • LA (Lower Alabama - gulf coast)

            #29
            I am late to the thread but looks the discussion and decision are still open. I will offer a view.

            I went through these studies in September and October last year. I looked and poked for a couple of months.

            I landed on a Yoder YS640s. It is built like a tank and equally important, the control system is a FireBoard based unit. For me, that put the Yoder over the top particularly after I laid hands on one at a dealer.

            Here's a thread showing a cook for our Super Bowl gathering. This thread doesn't showcase the grill as much as it does its FireBoard PID controller and a cook.

            Enjoy your studies and good luck on finding a grill that fits your desires.

            Comment

            • GolfGeezer
              Club Member
              • May 2019
              • 127
              • San Clemente, CA
              • Sam

                MAK 2 Star
                Hestan Aspire 36" Grill
                Blackstone 22" Griddle

              #30
              MAK 2 Star. Made in Oregon, built like a tank, great smoking and grilling, top notch customer support, 304 stainless throughout, easy to swap pellets, easy to clean out firepot, easy to dump grease, WiFi if you want it, large capacity.

              Comment

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              Meat-Up in Memphis 2021

              Join us in Memphis for our Meat-Up! Space is limited to 400, secure your spot by booking early!
              Click here for details. (https://amazingribs.com/memphis)
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              See less
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