Big Rec Tec or smaller US made unit? Size VS Value

Discussion in 'Pellet Smokers' started by rodbolt, Jan 21, 2016.

  1. rodbolt

    rodbolt Newbie

    Hello all,

    I'm new to the forum and need some help! I've been doing bbq for 15 years on a simple charcoal side burner. With the craziness of life, work, 2 kids, the yard work, etc. I end up using it only a couple times a year. Hence comes my desire for a pellet smoker! The bbq crock pot! Set it and forget it....?!

    Anyhow, my awesome wife bought me a GMG JB for Christmas (my idea, I thought it's what I was after). I ended up returning it to the local dealer for a multitude of problems starting at the initial burn in. I will spare everyone the gory details as that is not the purpose of this thread. The purpose of this thread is what should I buy now?

    Initially my first choice from the little bit of research I did was a Rec Tec (I went with GMG for price and local dealer). I still like the looks of them a lot, but being a bit battered and bruised from my experience I'm entering this world of cooking with increased caution now. After more research I've also come to like the looks of the Blaz'N and Yoder grills. However the US made ones in comparable size to the Rec Tec are simply out of my budget (the Rec Tec is pushing it as it is). If I step down to a Yoder YS480 or Blaz'N Grand Slam I'm only about $100 more at my doorstep than a Rec Tec with the front shelf added to the order (the shelf is standard on the others).

    So my question... Am I better to spend an extra $100 on a smaller grill because it's made in the USA? Are they truly better grills? The smaller grills have upper shelves that technically increase their capacity to the neighborhood of the Rec Tec. Is this space using an upper shelf truly as usable as having a large lower area like the Rec Tec and are the temps up there higher? (Yoder claims they aren't).

    I know you're going to ask if I need that much space. The answer is usually no. I'm typically just cooking for my family of 4 but we have thrown big parties before. Big briskets are my fav and the lower grate has to be able to at least accommodate one of those. That said, I'm excited about the versatility that pellet grills offer like pizza for instance. I also anticipate using this grill quite often due to the ease of use and that may create a desire for a bigger grill.
  2. mowin

    mowin Master of the Pit

    Sory to here about you troubles with you GMG. Head over to for reviews on all makes of pellet grills.
    I happen to like my GMG very much, and haven't had a bad cook on it yet.

    Edit: I see you already have visited pelletheads. Lot more activity over there as far as pellet grill go.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2016
  3. westby

    westby Smoking Fanatic

    You are opening up a huge can of worms with the question - mainly because everyone has their opinion.  I'll give you mine:

    I have a Rec Tec.  I got it after a bunch of research and I love it and have absolutely no issues with it.  From what I can tell, the vast majority of Rec Tec customers are happy with their pits.  Are there issues? . . . . . Sure there are.  Some people have actual temp vs set temp issues.  These are usually taken care of with a call to Rec Tec and a tweak to the controller settings.  There are occasionally some failures (heat rods, temp probe, controller, etc).  These are taken care of quickly with a call to customer service.  I personally have had no issues.  My set temp vs actual temp is typically within 5 degrees.  The temp variation from right to left across my grill is within 5-10 degrees (the right side is usually a touch hotter).  I would recommend a Rec Tec to anyone looking at one.

    With that being said, there are some really nice US made units out there.  You mentioned the Yoder and Blazin.  If I ever need another pit, it may likely be one of those two.  The issue is price - they are a bit more.

    One that I think you could consider besides the Rec Tec that is a touch cheaper is the Firecraft Q450.  This seems to be a really solid pit that is getting some fantastic reviews.  It is a bit smaller than the RT, has a smaller hopper and is a side feed vs center feed.  None of those should be considered deal breakers by any means.  The size is good for most family's needs (and is about the same size as the Yoder 480), nobody else makes a 40 lb hopper (or needs one actually), and many others pits are side feed (including the Yoder).

    Good luck with your search.

  4. phrett

    phrett Smoke Blower

    You can easily add a second shelf to any unit with a grate and a few carraige bolts for less than $20, A Factory installed second grate is not a big deal. Even the smallest unit will cook food for your family, and more. I don't go by the bigger is always better mantra and do great with my DB, even for large groups. The only made in the USA unit that I think truely shines aqbove the rest is the Memphis line, but then the cost reflects that, also. Other than that they all cook great food at about the same level of efficiency and reliability. Sorry you had a bad GMG experience, I've had my DB for 7 years and love it, the DC for 8 months and love it, and the Memphis Pro for 6 months and love it also. I've cooked ono the Blazin and Rec Tec with our team at the Royal and they were fine units. The time I used a Yoder it was disappointing but very early in their history. +1 on checking the reviews at
  5. smokinpapist

    smokinpapist Smoke Blower

    I have the Yoder 640 and totally love it. I would have no qualms about the 480. Super well built units.

    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
  6. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Sorry to have missed this thread the first time around, so thanks to SmokinPapist for bumping it...although it seems like the OP has never been back...

    Everyone tends to think their grill is the best take this for what its worth.  I own a Rec Tec and am very happy with it.  It'll do anything a Yoder or a Blazin' will do, and it's considerably less expensive than the comparably optioned and sized rigs from those companies.  Just one man's opinion, but I believe it's about the best value out there for the money.  I won't get into the Made in USA vs. imported debate...every buyer makes that decision for themselves.  

    If money were not a consideration, I'd go with Phrett and own one of those Memphis Pros.  Those are some very nice rigs...but very pricey.

  7. rodbolt

    rodbolt Newbie

    Sorry I never got back to you all.

    I ended up getting a Yoder YS480 and love it! Exceptional quality and it cooks great! I came close on the Blaz'N but the upper shelf in the Yoder is twice as deep offering significantly larger cooking area. I also preferred the painted finish as opposed to powder coat. Much easier to repair when it's needed.

    Thanks for all your help!
  8. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Congrats Reed!  I'm glad to hear you're happy with your choice...those Yoders are nice rigs!

    When you get the chance, be sure to show it off here with some pics of your cooks...we love to see Qview!  [​IMG]


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