I might be DONE with my GMG..... need some recommendations

Discussion in 'Pellet Smokers' started by testar77, Apr 5, 2016.

  1. testar77

    testar77 Smoke Blower

    Looking for recommendations on pellet grills to replace my Jim Bowie GMG. I'm done messing with it. Temperature variation around grill is somewhat annoying but the Biggest issue is soot. I have spent hours online trying different tricks and things to get rid of the soot issues. I finally contacted GMG a while back and went through everything I had tried, he told me based on what I had already tried the culprit was the circuit board. So they sent me a circuit board. I swapped it out and it got a little bit better but not much. Between work getting busy and my son having some serious health issues I didn't have time to mess with it. When things slowed down I sent another email to the gentleman who I had been dealing with letting him know that the soot issue remained but I never got a reply. I'm pretty disappointed because I was super excited to get this grill converting from a propane smoker I had always smoked on . I am going through withdrawals and need to be smoking meat again.

    So...... other than Traeger and GMG, what are some grills I should be looking at? I have been researching Rec Tec and it seems pretty good so far. Thanks in advance folks
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2016
  2. bregent

    bregent Smoking Fanatic

    Other than GMG and Traeger and RecTec.  I would estimate there are close to 200 models of Pellet grills out there. I'm sure I've missed a few, but start with these (in no particular order):

    Camp Chef
    Blaz'n Grillworks
    Pellet Pro
    Smokin Brothers
    Char Griller

    All of the above have loyal followers. It's hard to narrow it down without knowing about your criteria. Do you have a price range? Any features you absolutely require? Any more details you can provide?
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2016
  3. testar77

    testar77 Smoke Blower

    Well I definitely am not in a position to spend $2,500+ on one. I would like similar size as my Jim Bowie. I would like as little temperature variation as possible (I understand there will always be at least some). I would like something that holds temp well. One of the things that interests me about the Rec Tec is that extra smoke option. I would like enough height to smoke turkeys. Smoking below 200* isn't super important but would like it to get hot enough to grill steaks and burgers. Oh and I would really like it not to cover everything in a layer of nasty soot :)
  4. muralboy

    muralboy Smoking Fanatic

    Sorry to hear about your troubles. Frustrating I'm sure

    I have the smaller PelletPro - my first pellet smoker - and love. THey have a larger size that would be comparable to the JB plus a full size upper rack. Great value grills for the money. Well built. A lot of people buy their hopper assembly and PID for their custom builds and upgrades.
  5. bregent

    bregent Smoking Fanatic

    > Oh and I would really like it not to cover everything in a layer of nasty soot :)

    Well you sure are demanding :)

    Along with the PelletPro that was already mentioned, the following meet you criteria of <2500 and have primary grilling space of 650 sq in  or more.

    Blaz'n Gridiron

    Yoder 640

    CampChef Lux

    Smokin Bros 30

    As far as getting hot enough to grill steaks, other than the Yoder, I don't think they have direct grill options. But they do get hot enough and many folks use use GrillGrates with their pellet grills.

    And if I understand RecTec's Xtreme smoke mode, many grills with PID controllers work in that mode automatically when the grill is set to <300F, so that may not get you much more smoke. I think they can all handle a large turkey on it's side - not standing up though. You probably need to visit PHDC to get more details and comments.

    One more thing, how many hours a week do you expect to use the grill?
  6. testar77

    testar77 Smoke Blower

    Really depends. Some weeks little, some weeks lots
  7. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Hi Testar...sorry to hear about your troubles with that GMG.  I'm sure that's very frustrating.  The weird thing is, I know of plenty very happy GMG owners...sounds like you were unlucky enough to get stuck with a lemon!

    I'm not sure I can add much more to what's already been covered, other than it sounds like cost is an important factor for you.  If you want to find a quality cooker that is in the same price range as that Jim Bowie (at or less than $1K), I'd steer you toward Rec Tec or Firecraft...and maybe Louisiana Grills.  I've owned a Rec Tec for 3 years, and am very happy with its value and performance.  If you can afford to spend a little more, I'd look at Yoder, Blazin Grillworks, MAK, and Fast Eddy by Cookshack.  They each have a very nice cooker that is in the $1500-2K range, and if it matters to you, they are all American made.

    If money were no object, my Bucket-List pellet cooker would be the Memphis Pro or Memphis Elite...They are some mighty nice cookers!  But you're talking a base price for the Pro at over $3K, and the Elite starts at around $4K.

    Hope you find the right grill for you needs and budget...good luck!  [​IMG]

  8. testar77

    testar77 Smoke Blower

    It has definitely been frustrating. I am dying to get back to smokin
  9. vettedoc

    vettedoc Newbie

    Before you get rid of your GMG have you thought about just putting a kitchen magnet over the fan air intake? This would limit the amount of air coming in and may solve your soot issue. Another thought it just to put some fire bricks around the cook chamber to build walls to keep the soot from flying out. Menards has 5 fire bricks for under $20.

    I just got a Louisiana Grills LG700 and after some tinkering I have it within 20 degrees across the cooking surface.

    It does have a cover over the drip pan you can slide open to grill directly under the flame but I don't use it (I have a gas powered sear station for hot and fast).

    For reference these are the tweaks that I made to my LG700.

    #1 - change the #9 setting on the controller from 100 to 250

    #2 - when assembling the grill you want to make sure the auger is centered in the feed tube and tight.

    I did this by putting 4 flat blade screwdrivers in the end to center the auger then put one washer between the feed tube and the motor mount on the RH screw, then tightened the LH screw.

    #3 - These smokers have a lip under the lid that will accumulate grease - you want to put high temp silicone on the inside of that lip so the front of you're smoker doesn't get covered with grease.

    #4 - Fire bricks - this made the biggest difference - place them around the fire pot to help direct heat upward for the first part of the cooker and restrict a little airflow to the RH side - it will take longer for the pit to get up to temp but temps will be steady.

    #5 - I removed the hood thermometer and replaced it with a Tel-True

    #6 - Just to make sure I didn't have any smoke leaking out of the lid I applied Lavalock high temp gasket around the lid and the hopper cover - I also added a clasp to pull the lid down tighter.

    I'm like personalizing things so I couldn't help but mess with the grill after I got it - it may cook fine right out of the box but these are things that I did to try to get the most out of it.

    The LG700 can be had for around $750 on Amazon, they also have a 900 and 1000 if you want more cooking space.
  10. testar77

    testar77 Smoke Blower

    I have decided to reach out to GMG one last time before I continue shopping for another pit. I hate thinking I threw money down a rat hole. We'll see what happens.

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