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Can't decide on new smoker! Halp!!

Rec-Tec or Weber SmokeFire


  • Total voters
    21

gr0uch

Newbie
27
8
Joined Nov 25, 2019
Rec Tec will obviously win this survey as there are infinitely more Rec Tec owners than there are Weber Smoke Fire owners (exactly 0).

I do not own a pellet grill yet so all of this is IMHO... but I have been researching for months on a perfect solution and have not yet pulled the trigger. I was leaning towards the Stampede but discovered that there is a difference in gauge of steel between the Stampede (18 ga body and 12 ga lid) and the Bull (14 ga body and 10 ga lid) per Rec Tec. Which to me justified the $300 difference in price. Plus the fact that the Bull sells more and thus brings the per unit cost down. Which means the Bull is probably worth more than the cost difference over the Stampede.... but I am getting off point.

So I had decided to purchase the Bull on Cyber Monday. Along comes the Weber SmokeFire. I have changed my mind in 2 days of research.

I too have a weber gasser so the ability to sear is not critical. But I have very limited deck space so if I could get rid of my gasser and replace with a cooker that can do it all that would be a great advantage. Jack of all trades is not always a bad thing. Advantage Weber

The price is of the 2 units are dead even on the surface. I would have to purchase addition items with the Rec Tec that I would not need with the Weber. Such as GrillGrates for searing. a shop vac for cleaning and Downdraft for efficiency. So slight advantage for the Weber but relatively even.

The ability to smoke meat is the unknown here. I have confidence the Weber can handle the task as it will obtain the 200 degree level which is necessary to achieve maximum smoke output. But I will give this point to Rec Tec.

Construction was a key factor in my previous research for both heat retention and longevity. The stainless steel construction of the Rec Tec vs the enamel coated steel of the weber, gives the Bull the edge. Although, the Weber has double walled construction in certain areas so it may have an advantage in heat retention. But the overall point will have to go to the Bull.

Now the weber design has several design features in their unit that the Rec Tec does not. Such as the angled auger with reverse motion on shut down. Better location of control panel. Easy clean out with hidden grease pan and pellet dump. 4 temp ports vs 2. Pellet low level alarm. All add to a better maintenance experience and more importantly "Safer" operations. All advantage Weber.

The point about the smoke stack and how it effects the flow of smoke on the cooking surface is a minor one (again IMHO) but I believe weber has a point. If the smoke stack was not an issue than there would be no market for products like the Don Godke's Downdraft. Advantage Weber.

I believe both are outstanding cooking solutions but the Weber probably fits my long term needs/desires better. You will have to decide which fits your needs/desires.
All great points TBH and well thought out.

Like you this would be my first pellet smoker and I have also been doing research for months because well, it's what I do when I'm going to buy something for this price point.

I can say that I just spoke to someone at Rec Tec and the experience is awesome. It's almost like you called your best friend that's been doing this for years and has a crazy amount of experience and wisdom. This point certainly goes to Rec Tec.

I don't think that Weber WON'T knock it out of the park, I just think that with customer service and build quality, they won't touch Rec Tec's Bull. He also told me that starting tomorrow at 3pm you can see the new deals on their site but can't order them until Friday. He also told me that it would be far superior to my Military discount so take that for what it's worth.

I for one will for sure be ordering a bull and I'll come back and post pictures when it gets here!
 

mike guy

Fire Starter
55
29
Joined Sep 12, 2019
it’s funny to see almost the exact opposite conversations go on with stick burners. You go with big tall stacks and run wide open to improve draw and get the smoke out faster. When you bbq on large trailer size pits, the exhaust is coming out very fast. The smoke spends very little time in the chamber. Suggesting that slowing the smoke down in any way makes it stick to the meat differently or better flies in the face of all bbq knowledge. If that was the case these huge restaurant smokers with high draw wouldn’t produce good bbq, let alone some of the best. i hate to say it, but It sounds like snake oil. A pellet cooker with a fan does not draw, it pushes.

And secondly the burn pot is a pellet cooker is designed to have the fan push through the system. Choking that off doesn’t really change how long the smoke will stay in. It just doesn’t make sense in a positive pressure chamber.
 

Perfect Meat

Newbie
8
3
Joined Oct 29, 2019
All great points TBH and well thought out.

Like you this would be my first pellet smoker and I have also been doing research for months because well, it's what I do when I'm going to buy something for this price point.

I can say that I just spoke to someone at Rec Tec and the experience is awesome. It's almost like you called your best friend that's been doing this for years and has a crazy amount of experience and wisdom. This point certainly goes to Rec Tec.

I don't think that Weber WON'T knock it out of the park, I just think that with customer service and build quality, they won't touch Rec Tec's Bull. He also told me that starting tomorrow at 3pm you can see the new deals on their site but can't order them until Friday. He also told me that it would be far superior to my Military discount so take that for what it's worth.

I for one will for sure be ordering a bull and I'll come back and post pictures when it gets here!
As I haven't purchased yet, I will definitely take a look at the Rec Tec deals tomorrow. BTW according to Rec Tec the military discount only applies to the accessories and not to a grill. Lowes is participating in the Weber SmokeFire Cyber Monday pre-order launch and Lowes will honor the military discount on the purchase. SO another $100-$120 savings for the Weber. Keep in mind, I am really not trying to influence you either way. I am just trying to provide information.
 
Last edited:

gr0uch

Newbie
27
8
Joined Nov 25, 2019
As I haven't purchased yet, I will definitely take a look at the Rec Tec deals tomorrow. BTW according to Rec Tec the military discount only applies to the accessories and not to a grill. Lowes is participating in the Weber SmokeFire Cyber Monday pre-order launch and Lowes will honor the military discount on the purchase. SO another $100-$120 savings for the Weber. Keep in mind, I am really not trying to influence you either way. I am just trying to provide information.
This would be fantastic with Lowe's if they didn't change their military discount policy... punks! They pro-rate the discount now and if it's a deal already (i.e black friday) it's even less than 5% I believe.
 

bregent

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
1,394
408
Joined Mar 1, 2014
I'd go with Weber. Flavorizers seem like a much better idea than drip pan. I do like stainless, but Weber porcelain coated steel is tough. My Weber kettle has been sitting uncovered for 30 years with no sign of cracking or chipping and will certainly outlast powder coating. I also like pellet drop like on my Memphis. Don't recall if Rec Tec has that or not. I like the other innovative features like the perforated fire pot, large direct flame area. It's new so a bit of an unknown, but I would take a chance on it.
 

jmtyndall

Fire Starter
51
26
Joined May 19, 2017
it’s funny to see almost the exact opposite conversations go on with stick burners. You go with big tall stacks and run wide open to improve draw and get the smoke out faster. When you bbq on large trailer size pits, the exhaust is coming out very fast. The smoke spends very little time in the chamber. Suggesting that slowing the smoke down in any way makes it stick to the meat differently or better flies in the face of all bbq knowledge. If that was the case these huge restaurant smokers with high draw wouldn’t produce good bbq, let alone some of the best. i hate to say it, but It sounds like snake oil. A pellet cooker with a fan does not draw, it pushes.
Agreed, this is something I can't quite reconcile myself. People say pellet grills don't give as much smoke flavor because the pellet burn is "so efficient". They add smoke tubes full of pellets until smoke billows out of the thing like a locomotive to try and match the flavor of an offset.

But I've been cooking an offset, and you get better and smokier flavor by burning a hot fire to produce clean smoke without excessive by-products and that's what I would consider efficient, not the white smoke from pellets. It seems to me that the reason for less smoke flavor must be more about sheer volume of combustion gasses, and not at all about the mythical efficiency of pellet burning. My stick burner by all accounts produces less visible smoke than a pellet grill, but moves a far greater volume of air and, since it burns far more fuel by weight than a pellet grill, must produce far more combustion gasses also. We also do as much as possible to keep the gasses moving and prevent stale smoke from hanging around in the smoke chamber and leaving a bitter flavor.

I think any discussions about creating more billowing white smoke, or restricting air so that smoke stays in the smoke chamber of a pellet grill are pursuing the right goal in the wrong way. I don't have a pellet grill and havent experimented with them but based on my other bbq experience I expect that better flavor would come from increasing the airflow and forcing the grill to burn more pellets, thus producing more combustion gasses.
 

mike guy

Fire Starter
55
29
Joined Sep 12, 2019
My stick burner by all accounts produces less visible smoke than a pellet grill, but moves a far greater volume of air and, since it burns far more fuel by weight than a pellet grill, must produce far more combustion gasses also. We also do as much as possible to keep the gasses moving and prevent stale smoke from hanging around in the smoke chamber and leaving a bitter flavor.
It depends. Some of the vapor you get from a pellet grill is water vapor from the pellets. But yes, if you run your stick burner at 275+, you'll probably just see heat waves and very little smoke. Same is true of a pellet smoker. Agreed all around on the other parts. Just because you can't see smoke, doesn't mean your meat isn't getting smoked.

I don't have a pellet grill and havent experimented with them but based on my other bbq experience I expect that better flavor would come from increasing the airflow and forcing the grill to burn more pellets, thus producing more combustion gasses.
I do have both, and while I like little more than sitting around tending my offset all day, I have two kids now and just don't give up that kind of day anymore. A pellet grill can get you 90-95% of the same product if you use them right.

One big difference I see in pellet grills is the fan strength. Moving air and smoke is key, and the higher end pellet grills that produce tons of air burn hotter, and cleaner, which tastes closer to my offset (and my neighbors competition trailer) than grills that try and cycle the fan on and off a bunch or have weak fans.

TLDR: Air is the name of the game, you want lots of it. It leads to hot clean combustion, and rapid exchange of the chamber gasses. I'm pretty sure if most pellet smoker owners started with an all wood fire first, a lot of these myths wouldn't exist.
 

jmtyndall

Fire Starter
51
26
Joined May 19, 2017
It depends. Some of the vapor you get from a pellet grill is water vapor from the pellets. But yes, if you run your stick burner at 275+, you'll probably just see heat waves and very little smoke. Same is true of a pellet smoker. Agreed all around on the other parts. Just because you can't see smoke, doesn't mean your meat isn't getting smoked.
On bigger offsets you can run lower temps, like the 225 number people love, while still having clean smoke. Dilution with cool ambient air will bring the temps down a bit without compromising the burning of the wood. Upper air vents can help with that.


I do have both, and while I like little more than sitting around tending my offset all day, I have two kids now and just don't give up that kind of day anymore. A pellet grill can get you 90-95% of the same product if you use them right.
Totally agree. That's why I am shopping for a pellet grill now. Some days I want to tend a fire, other days I want to come home and take a shower while some meat smokes itself on the patio. I'm not the type to argue that theres only one right way to smoke meat!

One big difference I see in pellet grills is the fan strength. Moving air and smoke is key, and the higher end pellet grills that produce tons of air burn hotter, and cleaner, which tastes closer to my offset (and my neighbors competition trailer) than grills that try and cycle the fan on and off a bunch or have weak fans.

TLDR: Air is the name of the game, you want lots of it. It leads to hot clean combustion, and rapid exchange of the chamber gasses. I'm pretty sure if most pellet smoker owners started with an all wood fire first, a lot of these myths wouldn't exist.
Agree again. Do you know which grills have strong fans and move air like you're talking about?
 

gr0uch

Newbie
27
8
Joined Nov 25, 2019
On bigger offsets you can run lower temps, like the 225 number people love, while still having clean smoke. Dilution with cool ambient air will bring the temps down a bit without compromising the burning of the wood. Upper air vents can help with that.



Totally agree. That's why I am shopping for a pellet grill now. Some days I want to tend a fire, other days I want to come home and take a shower while some meat smokes itself on the patio. I'm not the type to argue that theres only one right way to smoke meat!


Agree again. Do you know which grills have strong fans and move air like you're talking about?
I agree with all of these points. I have 3 kids, and the youngest is the one that takes the most time but... miss a few moments and you never get that time back you know?

I'm pretty sure that the Rec Tec is considered one of the pellet smokers that has a higher end fan because it seems to me like it does move air quite a bit. I could be wrong and I'll wait for others to chime in but I think it fits the bill.

I enjoy how technical this talk has gotten, it's not just about producing "smoke"... it's about having a clean fire for great taste.
 

mike243

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
1,356
349
Joined Feb 25, 2018
I'm not sure any of them have weak fans, all of them are DC and can be ramped up or down, the controller is what decides what it is going to do . My pitboss does fine and not sure how any of them stack up against the others as I haven't ate food from any but mine. I wont be spending a lot of $ to try to fix something not broken.
 

mike guy

Fire Starter
55
29
Joined Sep 12, 2019
I didn’t mean to suggest it was a brand issue. I think the fan size and strength has more to do with model than brand. Any of the brands can have a high volume cfm. But I have seen smaller models that don’t push nearly the volume.

I do get skeptical of any brand who wants to choke the airflow off, or suggest that a positive fan has chimney draw.
 

jmtyndall

Fire Starter
51
26
Joined May 19, 2017
Maybe "weak fans" is the wrong way to say it. I'm sure any of the fans could move as much or more air than a similar sized offset. The difference is in the controller cycling or modulating the fans in a way that reduces total airflow.

I struggle to come up with a metric you could use. More pellets per hour definitely means more combustion gasses, but can be caused by too much heat loss through the skin rather than being an indicator of good air exchange. But burning more pellets doesn't necissarily mean you're getting the combustion gasses you want, because burning too cold or without enough air still causes the white billowy smoke. Most likely theres no single metric to compare
 

sweetride95

Smoke Blower
123
47
Joined Jan 31, 2018
I took the Weber no-chimney approach as a borrowed idea from Traegers Timberline grills. I think they say is helps even the heat and makes the smoke roll around the cooking chamber just a little bit longer. Traeger has also migrated that idea to their Ironwood line. I'm not sure it counts as downdraft concept or not. I think it looks a little nicer as an entire grill package, but time will tell if it's an advantage.

The more I look at this damn Weber, the more I want to buy it. LOL
 

gr0uch

Newbie
27
8
Joined Nov 25, 2019
*Update*

Wife bought me the package today with the RT-700, Shelf and pellets! It should ship next week sometime and I'll have to update this again once it's all here and put together.

I think it goes without saying that I'm excited and can't wait to get the first cook underway!
 

Perfect Meat

Newbie
8
3
Joined Oct 29, 2019
*Update*

Wife bought me the package today with the RT-700, Shelf and pellets! It should ship next week sometime and I'll have to update this again once it's all here and put together.

I think it goes without saying that I'm excited and can't wait to get the first cook underway!
Congratulations!!!

I looked at the Cyber deals and they don't appeal to me as I wasn't looking to add most of the accessories. I just wanted the cover and GrillGrates. They don't offer that package. I am going to take a leap of faith that the Weber will perform to expectation. Look forward to the pics of your cooks.
 

CedarSavage

Newbie
3
2
Joined Nov 29, 2019
Interesting. First I’ve heard of the Weber pellet grill. Mike has good points, I would buy a smoker if you want a smoker. A pellet grill would be handy at times but the sear would be difficult at best. My two cents...
I don't claim to be an expert on pellet smokers but I had to chim in here. My new Pit Boss Classic 700 has a sliding cover over the crucible. Slide it back and you can flame sear or broil. 1.75" rib eyes were crisp on the outside, warm but rare in the middle. If you have never flame broiled then be advised, you need to stand right there and keep flipping. I worked in various restaurants as a youngster. It reminds me of those big gas fired steak broilers.
 

Perfect Meat

Newbie
8
3
Joined Oct 29, 2019
Rec Tec will obviously win this survey as there are infinitely more Rec Tec owners than there are Weber Smoke Fire owners (exactly 0).

I do not own a pellet grill yet so all of this is IMHO... but I have been researching for months on a perfect solution and have not yet pulled the trigger. I was leaning towards the Stampede but discovered that there is a difference in gauge of steel between the Stampede (18 ga body and 12 ga lid) and the Bull (14 ga body and 10 ga lid) per Rec Tec. Which to me justified the $300 difference in price. Plus the fact that the Bull sells more and thus brings the per unit cost down. Which means the Bull is probably worth more than the cost difference over the Stampede.... but I am getting off point.

So I had decided to purchase the Bull on Cyber Monday. Along comes the Weber SmokeFire. I have changed my mind in 2 days of research.

I too have a weber gasser so the ability to sear is not critical. But I have very limited deck space so if I could get rid of my gasser and replace with a cooker that can do it all that would be a great advantage. Jack of all trades is not always a bad thing. Advantage Weber

The price is of the 2 units are dead even on the surface. I would have to purchase addition items with the Rec Tec that I would not need with the Weber. Such as GrillGrates for searing. a shop vac for cleaning and Downdraft for efficiency. So slight advantage for the Weber but relatively even.

The ability to smoke meat is the unknown here. I have confidence the Weber can handle the task as it will obtain the 200 degree level which is necessary to achieve maximum smoke output. But I will give this point to Rec Tec.

Construction was a key factor in my previous research for both heat retention and longevity. The stainless steel construction of the Rec Tec vs the enamel coated steel of the weber, gives the Bull the edge. Although, the Weber has double walled construction in certain areas so it may have an advantage in heat retention. But the overall point will have to go to the Bull.

Now the weber design has several design features in their unit that the Rec Tec does not. Such as the angled auger with reverse motion on shut down. Better location of control panel. Easy clean out with hidden grease pan and pellet dump. 4 temp ports vs 2. Pellet low level alarm. All add to a better maintenance experience and more importantly "Safer" operations. All advantage Weber.

The point about the smoke stack and how it effects the flow of smoke on the cooking surface is a minor one (again IMHO) but I believe weber has a point. If the smoke stack was not an issue than there would be no market for products like the Don Godke's Downdraft. Advantage Weber.

I believe both are outstanding cooking solutions but the Weber probably fits my long term needs/desires better. You will have to decide which fits your needs/desires.
Here are a couple of additional points:
I read where Weber will be adding a Smoke Boost option on their controller (https://www.engadget.com/2019/11/18/weber-smokefire-wifi-pellet-grill-announced/). This just further boosts my confidence that they have addressed the issue of smoking meat adequately.

I didn't address some issues between the Bull and Weber as they maybe issues for me and not necessarily the masses. One, Weber is assembled in Illinois. As I live in Chicago, I think we can all agree it is advantageous to support your local businesses. Two, I am not a fan of the horns on the Bull. I know this has nothing to do with the ability of the cooker to cook but it is a personal preference. Reading some these forums, it does appear that I am not alone in this preference.

The PID controller/software Weber has chosen to employ (in partnership with June Technologies) appears to have one up'd the Rec Tec system.

If the Weber Smoke Fire is constructed like my Weber gasser (15+ yrs old and 3rd owner), I think Weber has a true winner.
 

kstone113

Smoke Blower
111
28
Joined May 24, 2019
Congrats on your Rec Tec Bull purchase! I have the Bull and LOVE IT!!!

If I was in your situation right now....man, it is a tough call. A TON of unknowns with Weber SmokeFire. I have watched videos on it and it appears with their new set-up, you can sear steaks and other stuff with it. I wonder about the clean-up though from long smokes with lots of grease from a brisket or pork shoulder. I've been a Weber fan forever as my first grill was a Weber Q and then a Weber Genesis.

I have heard(don't have a source) from a forum to where someone said they knew someone who works for Weber and they are having lots of issues with temp swings with their PID and that's the real reason why it wasn't available this year and not till next year. That does make sense as I heard it was supposed to come out on Black Friday. So I won't say for even a milisecond that Weber's controller has one up'd Rec Tec at this point. I can attest from experience that it is insane how accurate Rec Tec's PID controller is. For hours and hours and hours, it will hold within a degree or two.

To me, the Weber SmokeFire can (if it is a hit) only make others step up their game. And from a customer service point of view, I don't know if I have ever had better customer service as I get with Rec Tec. Weber does do a decent job also but it would be a tall task to even get in the same ball park as Rec Tec there.

But all this said, I am very curious how the SmokeFire will do and test out when people really get their hands on them.
 

gr0uch

Newbie
27
8
Joined Nov 25, 2019
Congrats on your Rec Tec Bull purchase! I have the Bull and LOVE IT!!!

If I was in your situation right now....man, it is a tough call. A TON of unknowns with Weber SmokeFire. I have watched videos on it and it appears with their new set-up, you can sear steaks and other stuff with it. I wonder about the clean-up though from long smokes with lots of grease from a brisket or pork shoulder. I've been a Weber fan forever as my first grill was a Weber Q and then a Weber Genesis.

I have heard(don't have a source) from a forum to where someone said they knew someone who works for Weber and they are having lots of issues with temp swings with their PID and that's the real reason why it wasn't available this year and not till next year. That does make sense as I heard it was supposed to come out on Black Friday. So I won't say for even a milisecond that Weber's controller has one up'd Rec Tec at this point. I can attest from experience that it is insane how accurate Rec Tec's PID controller is. For hours and hours and hours, it will hold within a degree or two.

To me, the Weber SmokeFire can (if it is a hit) only make others step up their game. And from a customer service point of view, I don't know if I have ever had better customer service as I get with Rec Tec. Weber does do a decent job also but it would be a tall task to even get in the same ball park as Rec Tec there.

But all this said, I am very curious how the SmokeFire will do and test out when people really get their hands on them.
Great points and I wonder how true it is about them having problems. I can honestly see it happening as it's not an easy task to enter this world and be competitive.

I talked to the Rec-Tec folks to finish up the order that my wife made and holy crap man, they are seriously the friendliest people on the planet. They sent me a bunch of rubs and stuff to get me started and they truly are amazing.

The only issue now is that the Rubs have arrived, but the grill has not!! The wait continues and boy am I impatient to get this thing and get it fired up. Now I have to figure out what my first cook will be, maybe I should create a poll for that! haha. Glad to be a part of the Rec-Tec crew, it's going to be a great adventure for sure.
 
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