GMG Jim Bowie vs Rec-Tec 680

Discussion in 'Pellet Smokers' started by flyguy333, Mar 30, 2016.

  1. flyguy333

    flyguy333 Newbie

    Hi all, new member here. This group seems to be full of knowledge so I am asking for opinions.

    About to buy replace my various charcoal smokers with a pellet and can't nail down whether to get the Jim Bowie or the RT-680. I would have purchased the JB already save for the abundance of reports regarding temperature discrepencies between the setting and the real temp, as well as the variation from one side of the smoking surface to the other. The finite settings allowed with the wifi is of particular interest to me.

    On the other hand the 680 seems to be a solid construction, limited setting and controls but the 40 lb hopper is very appealing for those long brisket smokes.

    I want something I don't have to modify or add after market upgrades to. In my opinion fr $1000 it should work out of the box. I would love to hear input from you guys so please feel free to chme in.

    FYI I smoke a lot of pork including butts, ribs, briskets and pigs up to 60 lbs or so as well as cold smoking salmon and cheeses etc.


    Edit: thanks everyone for the insights. I think i will go with the retec. After further reading GMG is still struggling with temp accuracy issues and the rectec construction may be a bit more sturdy. Thank you all.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2016
  2. Was in a similar situation. Was going to replace my grill with a pelet grill, i liked the GMG, then found a great deal on a MES and used the extra money to put new interiors in my existing grill. But I was having tough time deciding between a GMG and a RT both seem pretty solid to me so interested in seeing other opinions.
  3. westby

    westby Smoking Fanatic

    I'm not sure what you mean my limited setting and controls on the RT.  It has 5 degree temp adjustments, extreme smoke setting and one of the better PID controllers on the market.  It does not have wifi.  I'm not sure I would want wifi after reading about some of the issues the GMGs are having (go to the pelletheads site and read up on them in the GMG section).  If you like and understand that stuff, by all means, go for it.

    Both grills are solid.  I think the RT is built a little sturdier.  40 lb hopper will never really come into play unless you like to sleep over 12+ hours, so don't base your decision on that.

    Temp variance has been an issue on GMGs lately based on what I have read, but I can't speak to it more than that.  It can be an issue on RTs as well, but I haven't seen any on mine.  I think either grill would benefit from a downdraft mod.  It has helped mine by evening out temps across the grates.  I did not purchase an $80 downdraft - I went with a $3 aluminum 3" duct with a 90 degree bend.  Below is a graph that shows you temp fluctuations and variance from right to left on my smoke from last weekend.  Probe 1 was on the right side, probe 2 on the left side and 3&4 were in the meat.  You can see where I changed temp settings from 230 to 250 at around noon.  You can also see where the right side heats up a bit more than the left side once the meat got to temp.  Almost all pellet grills will have this left to right fluctuation - some are more than others.

    Good luck with your decision.

  4. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Hello Flyguy333,

    First off, welcome to the group!  I own a Rec Tec 680, so I can give you my impressions and experiences with that unit.  I've had it for 3 years, and I am very happy with it.  I'd buy it again today, and have no reservations in recommending it to others.  Very solidly built cooker, and IMO the best value at that price point.  All I know of the GMG JB is what I've read and heard, but you already seem to have a grasp on it's features and limitations, and westby is correct that there have been some bugs in their wifi controller...but perhaps GMG has worked those bugs out by now.  I can't say the JB is not a good product, because I believe it is...and there are many happy GMG owners out there.

    I agree with westby...don't base your decision on that 40 lb. hopper.  IMO, it is overkill.  I've done many overnight cooks that didn't use even 20 lbs. of pellets.  And the RT becomes a little top heavy and unstable with a full 40 lbs. of pellets in the hopper.  Not a problem unless you need to move it across uneven ground.

    Just one man's opinion, but that wifi feature doesn't interest me at all, especially with the tech problems they seem to be having with them.  I use a Maverick wireless remote thermometer to monitor my cooking and meat temps, and since I have no interest in running my cooker when I'm not home to tend it, I have no need for wifi control...just something else to malfunction IMO.  And just about any smoker with an exhaust stack is gonna have at least a little temp variance from side to the RT, the slightly hotter side is the right side (stack side)...and I assume the same would be true in a GMG.

    Don't know for sure what you mean by "limited settings and controls".  Other than no wifi, the RT controller compares pretty favorably to most controllers on the market.  Temp range is 180-500* in 5* increments, and I've never had a problem reaching and maintaining any temp setting.  

    Hope that helps...good luck!  Half the fun of buying a new pit is the comparison shopping!

    Last edited: Mar 30, 2016
  5. bregent

    bregent Smoking Fanatic

    >About to buy replace my various charcoal smokers with a pellet

    >and can't nail down whether to get the Jim Bowie or the RT-680. 

    First of all, have you tasted food from a pellet grill? If not, then you might want to see if you can find some. Many folks coming from charcoal or stick burners are not satisfied with the level of smoke from pellet grill, so it's good to know before you invest. Of course, most folks are happy with smoke levels.

    Also, is there any particular reason you've narrowed it down to those two grills? 

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