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.