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Meat-Up in Memphis 2021

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Bang for the buck on a new pellet smoker

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  • Jfrosty27
    Club Member
    • Mar 2020
    • 753
    • Muskego, WI
    • Current cookers:
      Rec Tec RT700 "Bull" pellet cooker
      Smokin-It model 2 electric smoker w/ Maverick 732 temp monitor and cold smoking kit
      Weber Genesis 3 burner gas grill w/ rotisserie
      Charbroil Grill2Go gas grill
      Weber 22" Performer Deluxe kettle grill w/ThermoPro TP-20S temp monitor
      Weber Smokey Joe
      SnS Deluxe
      Vortex
      The Orion Cooker convection cooker/smoker (two of them)
      Blackstone 17" griddle
      Joule Sous Vide circulator

      Favorite beer: Anything that's cold!
      Favorite cocktail: Bourbon neat

    #16
    glitchy has a Camp Chef Woodwind for sale. He has it posted here on AR. Don’t know where you’re located, but if Des Moines, IA is in striking distance it may be a good “starter” option.

    Comment

    • zero_credit
      Club Member
      • Mar 2020
      • 268
      • Near Chicago, IL
      • Current Pride and Joy:

        Masterbuilt Gravity 560

        Old (sold) Loves:

        PBC
        Weber 22" Premium

        Thermometers:

        Inkbird

        Preferred Charcoal:

        B&B Charlogs

      #17
      I was researching this topic as well again recently. Generally, I've favored the Grilla Silverbac, but would need something else for searing, as it won't sear very well. The GrillGrates add more cost, and then you're already in unmodded Weber Smokefire territory, and a simple Ace's coupon can knock 15% off the Weber too.

      I actually think the SmokeFire is very good, and would probably buy it over the Silverbac due to the better searing capabilities and improved smoke.

      There's a very interesting thread over here, where the OP does a lot of work on his SmokeFire. What I thought was super interesting is that on pg 19, he essentially removes the prior 19 pages of mods that he'd painstakingly put together, as the upgraded Weber SmokeFire with the new auger/pellet feed worked great. There's plenty of pics of the great food he was able to cook on it as well. In short, similar to glitchy 's experiences here, the improved auger etc. really seems to have addressed a lot of the issues with the original version, and I'm beginning to see Weber's point as to why they removed a lot of the original reviews of the smoker, given the improvements they've made. I do feel like if you are making a decision on the SmokeFire based on early reviews, I do think you need to at least invest some time in researching the SmokeFire post-updates as the upgrades seem very material.

      https://tvwbb.com/threads/daves-smok...riences.79856/

      Comment


      • Tuckmonster
        Tuckmonster commented
        Editing a comment
        Thanks for that link. I definitely have started to reconsider the SmokeFire. It looks like the May 2020 software/firmware updates coupled with the improved auger and some easy mods (finger guard removal, for example) have done a lot to improve the product. In about six months when I'm ready to buy I'm sure there will be a lot more reviews out there to help me make a decision. I do like the searing capability and how quickly it seems like it can go from 250 to 600 if you're doing a reverse sear.
    • mgaretz
      Founding Member
      • Jul 2014
      • 839
      • San Ramon, CA
      • Mark Garetz
        Rec Tec pellet grill
        Weber Genesis Gasser
        Maverick ET-732 and Thermapen and others

      #18
      I owned a Traeger for a year before upgrading to a Rec Teq 680 (then it was Rec Tec). It has worked great. Upgraded to the new wifi controller and ceramic firepot which are standard now. Turns out great food and is very reliable. You can buy a lot of accessories and pellets (and stainless upgrades) for the difference in price.

      Comment

      • glitchy
        Club Member
        • Jul 2019
        • 617
        • Central IA
        • Weber Summit Charcoal Grill
          w/ Big Joetisserie, SnS LP, and Vortex
          Weber SmokeFire EX4
          Weber Q1000
          Fireboard 2 Drive
          Anova Precision Sous Vide

        #19
        I've had a Memphis Pro (more expensive than MAK) and currently have a SmokeFire EX4. The SmokeFire cooks as good or even better tasting food and is actually far less susceptible to grease fires. However, the chassis of the Memphis is a tank. I've never had a MAK or Yoder, but from reviews, comments, pictures, and seeing Yoder charcoal and stick burners I'm guessing they are going to be the same...much heavier sturdier construction.

        I thought hard about taking the plunge for a MAK several times for the same reasons as you that I've never heard a complaint about one. I never did after my disappointment with the Memphis and not ever seeing a MAK in person. It was hard to pull the trigger on a grill that expensive again. I have zero interest in a Yoder, just because I don't want to maintain paint on a pellet grill. It seems pretty well agreed upon that you need to touch up a Yoder every year or two. Does that make it bad? NO, but not something I'm interested in at this time. That's really the only complaint I hear about Yoders.

        All of that being said, I've actually quit looking at other pellet grills all the time since I've gotten the SmokeFire. I use it multiple times a week at all temperatures. I always use drip pans under LnS greasy cooks. I'm ecstatic with the performance and results. It's not built like a tank, but it constructed plenty well and I'd guess it will last longer than most other pellet grills in that price category. Weber's porcelain enamel metal has a track record. They also seem to use a little thicker steel than Traeger, CampChef, PitBoss, etc. Though I haven't measured it to be certain.

        It doesn't put out the smoke profile of my WSCG or a sitck burner, but it does put out noticeably more smoke than any of the other 9 pellet grills I've had. I've cooked frozen pizzas at 450 that were too smokey for my tastes. With the completely different design than all the other pellet grills, it cooks different. It's still a first generation product though and even though most of the issues seem to have been ironed out, there's a chance for more quirks to surface. If you want more info on the SmokeFire, I've been documenting my experiences here: https://pitmaster.amazingribs.com/fo...okefire-redeux.

        Comment


        • Tuckmonster
          Tuckmonster commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks! It was actually a lot of your posts that caused me to start to think about the Smokefire after initially discounting it. My Weber kettle sits outside all year round and shows less wear and tear than my one year old gasser so I know what you mean about that enamel coat.
      • zero_credit
        Club Member
        • Mar 2020
        • 268
        • Near Chicago, IL
        • Current Pride and Joy:

          Masterbuilt Gravity 560

          Old (sold) Loves:

          PBC
          Weber 22" Premium

          Thermometers:

          Inkbird

          Preferred Charcoal:

          B&B Charlogs

        #20
        Honestly, I am wondering when Max Good will take that planned second look at the Smokefire.

        Comment


        • zero_credit
          zero_credit commented
          Editing a comment
          If I had to guess, I would put the SmokeFire article as probably one of the top 10 most read pages this year for the site. I could very well be out to lunch, but given the improvements people are reporting post-update (new auger etc.), I bet there would be a good viewership.

        • Max Good
          Max Good commented
          Editing a comment
          I did some updating, mostly of the app which is now fully operational and very good. I'll continue to keep an eye on developments. Although Weber has, so far, made significant improvements to the controller and app, the hopper design remains an issue as described in our review: https://amazingribs.com/ratings-revi...e-pellet-grill.

        • zero_credit
          zero_credit commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks for the update Max!
      • rickgregory
        Founding Member
        • Aug 2014
        • 704
        • Seattle, WA

        #21
        By the way, I just noticed your timeframe. I'd certainly wait to see what Weber does with the Smokefire if you're looking to buy 6-9 months from now.

        Comment


        • Tuckmonster
          Tuckmonster commented
          Editing a comment
          Yes, I'm really hoping that Weber releases a SmokeFire Gen 2 by then. If they just redesign that hopper I think that might push me off the fence.
      • Rod
        Rod
        Club Member
        • Dec 2015
        • 628
        • Phoenix, AZ
        • Weber Genesis S330 with GrillGrates
          Weber Performer with SnS, DnG and Pit Viper mod
          Weber 26" kettle with SnS and Pit Viper mod
          PBC
          Blackstone 36" SS griddle

          Fireboard
          Thermoworks Smoke
          Thermoworks MK4
          Maverick ET-732


          Accessories ranging from a Vortex to bear claws.

        #22
        Throwing in a wrench here. Have you considered a kettle with a controller/fan mod? Granted you won't have the capacity that big pellet grills have. However, you could by two set ups with all kinds of extras for the money you are talking about spending. 26" Weber kettles have a lot of capacity. So if you have two you'd be set for that aspect. Kettle/fan combo is waaay more consistent than any pellet grill in my experience (having owned a Traeger and a RecTeq). Plus for me, I just don't think there is anything right now that can make pellet grills produce the smoke flavor I prefer. Just because you can do things to add more smoke doesn't mean you get more smoke flavor. It's just the nature of the fuel. The versatility of a fan modded kettle is endless.

        Here's a link to doing this.

        Comment


        • Tuckmonster
          Tuckmonster commented
          Editing a comment
          I do own a Weber kettle and love to play with it for low and slow cooks. I don't have a problem getting it to maintain temp. I've been using it for years and I've gotten used to how I need to set the vents, how to pack the charcoal, etc. I can get it holding 225 or 250 for 5 or 6 hours easy. But then I need to re-pack the charcoal. A fan setup isn't going to change that and the set-it-and-forget-it mode is the big plus of a pellet smoker for me.
      • rickgregory
        Founding Member
        • Aug 2014
        • 704
        • Seattle, WA

        #23

        Aside from the disposable crap out there it just feels like there are 3 tiers:

        Acceptable. This stuff will have some build quality issues, not the best steel etc but it does what it says it does and will last a few years. Traeger, etc.

        Very Good. Better attention to detail and better mats, but not the very best. Build quality issues might be present but tend to be minor. SMokefire maybe, Recteq, camp chef maybe?

        Luxe. Very high quality materials 'built like a tank', great attention to detail and build. Can last decades. MAK, Yoder, Grilla, etc.

        Personally, I think working the high end of the Very Good stuff is where you get best bang for the buck. But YMMV. I'd never spend $3000 for a pellet grill that doesn't cook any better than a $1000 one, but if the difference isn't material to someone or they just really want to have something premium, cool.

        Comment

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        Meat-Up in Memphis 2021

        SOLD OUT! Secure your spot on our waitlist now. First-come, first-served!
        Click here for details. (https://amazingribs.com/memphis)
        See more
        See less
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        Meat-Up in Memphis

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        These are not ads or paid placements. These Are Some Of Our Favorite Tools And Toys.

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