Looking for a decent Pellet Smoker for under 500

Discussion in 'Pellet Smokers' started by shroomalistic, Mar 2, 2016.

  1. shroomalistic

    shroomalistic Newbie

    So my mom wants to buy me a new pellet smoker for an early birthday present but I want to keep it under $500

    I work at home depot and they have a nice traeger tailgate elite there for $449 so that falls under what im looking for.

    Is there something better I could get for around the same price?  My MES30 w/AMZNPS is nice but im addicted now want to upgrade.

    I only cook for my family,  max is 2 pork butts at a time or 3 tri tips and what not.  

    I live in an apartment so it has to be an electric smoker and the traeger is OK to use.
  2. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    The options are pretty limited if you want to stay under $500.  Some Lowes stores carry a Char-griller Pro pellet grill for $499.  And I think there are at least a couple of Traeger models for under $500.  You can order a Rec Tec Mini for $499, but then you have to pay the shipping costs.  Not sure what the cost is of a Green Mountain (GMG) Davy Crockett is, but I'm sure its under $500.

    You could always shop around on Craigslist or other sites to see if you could find a used rig.  Good deals sometimes show up there on rigs that would cost $1K or more if you were buying it new.

    Hope that helps...Good luck!

  3. shroomalistic

    shroomalistic Newbie

    thanks for the reply's 

    so after hunting around,  I see a MoJack 47102 Myron Mixon Pitmaster Q3 24-Inch barrel style for 500 shipped

    also theres the Rec Tec mini which looks amazing but the extra 100 shipping kinda hurts.

    Getting more to pitch will be difficult,  I barely make it paycheck to paycheck with 3 kids and a pregnant wife so i need the best bang for minimum buck.

    After reading and reading, I think im gonna steer away from the traeger.  While its a good price,  I want something that will be dependable.
  4. I have had a SS Smok-it #2 for about 3 years now, and it is still good as new under my covered deck other than having dust on top of it.  #399 right now with about $50 shipping.

    I would suggest taking a look at it.  It is Very High Quality, simple ease of use, you do not need attachments like an Amaze or anything like that to produce quality end smoke products.  I smoke at least every couple of weeks.  Still working on my second $8 wood chunk bag. 

    Put a couple small plain wood chunks, put the meat in, plug it in, take the meat out when it is done. Stupid simple.  Use less than 3ft of new aluminum foil when the bottom gets dirty and a little wipe out.  No external motors, blowers, tweeking the seals, or any other dinking with it to make it work like it is supposed to.  One moving part (other than the wheels) the on/off thermostat.

    Mine is the original with the similar on/off oven temp control with "Huge Temp Swings" from about 217 to 231 with it set on 225 that make some people crazy, to me, so what?  Wind blowing on your chacoaler make that much difference.  Bottom line, It is much closer than I can manually keep a brisket or PB with a charcoaler or wood burner over the cook time. 

    Just my opinion.  Good luck to you.

  5. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Of the choices above the Rec-Tec has the best Controller...JJ
  6. The very main thing I like about this forum is that while we all have different opinions of equipment we have used, recipes, cooking methods, and different methods in general of doing things, we all share what we have used, what we have done and how we have done it.  Some good, some bad, or what we have thought about doing different, or what parts are important.  But above all there is respect with virtually none of the back biting and snide remarks that come out on many other sites.

    Foil or not to foil opinions on other sites would result in a 4 day spitball war.

    This is truly the best smoking site on the web with the very best people sharing what works for them.  My hat is off to all of you.  You are the people that guided me to get to a point where I feel I am consistent enough with my good smokes that work for me, so much, that I am comfortable throwing out my two cents worth of opinions of what works for me. 

    Thank every one of you, and keep posting, we are still learning from this site.
  7. You could always make one. With you working at HD there's several parts at your disposal, and I'm sure with a discount. You can make a UDS but get a pellet pro hopper and controller from smoke daddy. That way you can customize it to your liking and have the satisfaction of knowing you built it. I have a UDS that I made years ago and am now on to stick burning. But the pellet pro is calling my name for simple overnight cooks..... Look into it. Pellet pro is around 350ish and the drums can be had for cheap. I'd say when it's all said and done you'd be around the 500 mark.

  8. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    This is only one man's opinion, but if the quality of the Traeger worries you, I'd advise staying away from that Myron Mixon Pitmaster Q3.  I've never seen one up close and in person, but I recall reading some pretty bad reviews on it soon after it came out.  

    If you don't mind me asking, why are you steering clear of Traeger?  Granted, the they aren't the top cookers on the market, but nobody has been building pellet grills longer than Traeger...they basically started the pellet cooker industry.  There are lots of backyard pitmasters that turn out great food on a Traeger.  I understand money being tight, and needing to strictly stay in a certain budget...I've been there, done that.  But IMHO, the Traeger will stack up from a quality standpoint with most of the rigs available in the budget range you've set for yourself.

    You might try to send a PM to another member...Chef Willie.  I think he bought one of those Char Grillers from Lowe's a year or so back, and he'd probably be willing to tell you about it.  I assume they can still be purchased for 499 at Lowes...and I think I remember seeing them available on Walmart's website as well.

    Just a thought...hope that doesn't muddy the waters too much...

    Good luck!

    Last edited: Mar 3, 2016
  9. shroomalistic

    shroomalistic Newbie

    I'm really falling in love with the rec tec. I like my mes30 a lot but I want to be able to grill too. My apartment doesn't allow charcoal or gas so electric is my only option. Traeger was doing a demo at my store and made me realize there was more options then my mes30. I use my mes twice a week religiously (my days off) usually a couple pork butts and a tri tip or spatchcock chicken. I miss my steaks and only get to cook them on the community BBQ.

    I didn't even know what the Traeger was about till they did the demo so that's what turned me on to the rest of the pellet grills.
  10. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Very well said, Neighbor!  That's why we all love it here and keep coming back.  I know what you mean about the petty squabbles on other forums...gets pretty tiresome. 

  11. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    If you can swing the extra cost of getting it shipped, my opinion is that Rec Tec Mini is the best quality pit for 500.  Full disclosure...I own the Rec Tec 680, so keep that in mind while I try to give you an objective opinion.  If you just can't afford to go over that 500 mark, you should keep the Traeger open as an option for sure.

  12. shroomalistic

    shroomalistic Newbie

    Bad things I heard about the traegers were electrical issues, quality control from being made in China now, week legs. I know there are good things too but read a lot of cons about them too that are steering me away.
  13. That's why I suggested making your own pellet grill out of a 55 barrel (UDS). You can paint it whatever color you want. It's all 100% up to you. Now if you don't want to build one then get the traeger. I think they are decent, especially if you get a discount on top of that!! I really don't think you'd be disappointed with it.

    My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed building our UDS together but it has just sat unused since I got an offset stick burner. That's why I'll probably be getting the Pellet Pro to install on the UDS we built. Great for long overnight cooks, when I don't want to tend to a fire. Plug it in, set and forget!

    My only beef with pellet smokers, esp the cheaper ones, is the thickness of the metal. If it's windy or cold it makes you burn more pellets thus costing more. That's why I never got into pellet burners.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2016
  14. shroomalistic

    shroomalistic Newbie

    Rec Tec Mini it is. Wifey not happy but she will be ones she's uses it. Gonna place my order Saturday. I haven't read a single bad thing about it yet. Perfect size for what I want. Great build quality. Looks amazing. So excited. Thanks for everyone's input. I'll do a review once I get it. I got some lumber jack mhc blend pellets coming also and for shits n giggles and gonna get a red maverick et-732 to go with it.

    Think I'm gonna get some cookoingpellets blend mix too.

    :yahoo: So excited :yahoo:
  15. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

  16. hank2000

    hank2000 Smoking Fanatic

    I had the same problem could not decide witch one to get. For me I ended up with a Traeger Lil' Texas Elite. Why well i went into my local dealer and they had a lot of what they called last years modals I mean a lot I got the grill front shelf the food down kind the bottom shelf all weather cover two bags of pellets for 529. The grill list for over 700 alone and the big thing for me was other then you price is that they keep all of parts in stock that to me is a plus and i love it I to have a MES 30 and a 40 will keep using them depending on what I'm doing but love my Traeger.
  17. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Congrats!  [​IMG]    Now the hard part is the wait until it is delivered!  I bet you'll be very happy with the Rec Tec.

  18. Congrats on the new smoker and don't forget the Q-view when it comes it in.
  19. shroomalistic

    shroomalistic Newbie

    Order is officially in.... Now the long stall

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