Pellet smoker advice?

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robthetreeman

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Original poster
Feb 26, 2024
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1
I’ve been cooking and smoking for awhile on my kettle Joe and love it. But I do need more space and sometimes a little more convenience. I’m still very new to the whole BBQ thing but I like buying quality stuff. My budget is about $1,000. I’ve been looking at recteq and grilla smokers. From what I understand these brands separate themselves from the ones found in big box stores.

Another thing I was considering is a vertical feed charcoal smoker but it seems they are known for cheap build quality.

If you had a $1,000 to spend what would it be?
 
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I run a Yoder YS-640, bit if I wanted to do it again and just had 1K to spend it would most likely bring a Rec-Teq home
 
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IMO, snab a camp chef for $400-500. You will only get so much smoke with pellet grills (you will get a richer flavor with your kettle joe). Camp chef is great because they work extremely well and have the side kick option which can make for some great gassing.

I personally wouldn't want to spend more than $500 for any pellet grill when they are so far behind in smoke flavor. Convienence is what they offer, although if your kettle joe is anything like a weber smoky mountain, I'd say those are pretty close to convienent too. Sure, it's not push a button convienent, but it is pretty close to set it and forget. I totally get it though that it's nice to push a button, then toss a pizza on it within 10 minutes rather than starting from lump. About all I use my pellet grill anymore is for 1) pizza, 2) fish, or general "make all this stuff warm" use cases. I actually use the side kick more!

Some people on this forum say that you can get used vertical feed charcoal smokers for $300, but I've yet to see that in my area after being on the watch list for 8 months. In my area, people are asking $600-800 used, and IMO, you are correct that the quality doesn't match the price point.
 
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I'm pretty happy with Camp Chef. It doesn't deliver the flavor like my OKJ stick burner, but it is convenient when you don't want to sit there tending a fire.
 
IMO, snab a camp chef for $400-500. You will only get so much smoke with pellet grills (you will get a richer flavor with your kettle joe). Camp chef is great because they work extremely well and have the side kick option which can make for some great gassing.

I personally wouldn't want to spend more than $500 for any pellet grill when they are so far behind in smoke flavor. Convienence is what they offer, although if your kettle joe is anything like a weber smoky mountain, I'd say those are pretty close to convienent too. Sure, it's not push a button convienent, but it is pretty close to set it and forget. I totally get it though that it's nice to push a button, then toss a pizza on it within 10 minutes rather than starting from lump. About all I use my pellet grill anymore is for 1) pizza, 2) fish, or general "make all this stuff warm" use cases. I actually use the side kick more!

Some people on this forum say that you can get used vertical feed charcoal smokers for $300, but I've yet to see that in my area after being on the watch list for 8 months. In my area, people are asking $600-800 used, and IMO, you are correct that the quality doesn't match the price point.

Im not so much worried about getting a heavy smoker flavor. More so I just need the space and convenience of the pellet grill. I’m also setting a higher budget as I want a quality built unit if that even exists in the pellet grill world. I’ve seen a lot of flimsy junk in the $500 range that I wouldn’t even consider bringing home. I’ve read good reviews on the camp chef grills though.
 
Unless you get like a $3000 yoder pellet grill, then everyone is going to pretty much have decent quality at the $500 level.

Just mentioned the smokiness thing so that you are aware. It will be mild at best, which will be sizable step down from what you run with now. That may be enough for some people though! Just didn't want you to find out after the fact.
 
If you’re wanting a pellet smoker go with the Yoders. I have a Yoder Wichita stick burner and was starting to hate the stick burner until a blessing fell my direction.
I had two professional bbq pit masters contact me. One from El Paso Texas and another from Austin Texas. I was operating burning my Yoder stick burner very totally wrong. It sure was a blessing. I know what am doing now. I smoked beef jerky two weeks ago on hickory and now am getting the classic sweet smokehouse flavor that bbq enthusiast love.
 
I learned burn a wood (wood not lump) charcoal fire 🔥
and you’ll get an exhaust like my picture and you’ll get a much better flavor.
 

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I’ve been cooking and smoking for awhile on my kettle Joe and love it. But I do need more space and sometimes a little more convenience. I’m still very new to the whole BBQ thing but I like buying quality stuff. My budget is about $1,000. I’ve been looking at recteq and grilla smokers. From what I understand these brands separate themselves from the ones found in big box stores.

Another thing I was considering is a vertical feed charcoal smoker but it seems they are known for cheap build quality.

If you had a $1,000 to spend what would it be?
In my opinion the pellet grills smokers don’t provide the classic smokehouse flavor but there easier to smoke with but the isn’t the greatest. The offset smokers provide the best flavor. Goldees bbq in Texas took best bbq in Texas and that’s what Goldees is using the offset smokers. Including Aaron Franklin.
 
I would recommend the Recteq. The deck boss is on sale at the moment and is a nice cooker. The beast is about 100 plus tax more than your budget but you get nearly double the cooking space and a 6 year vs 4 year bumper to bumper warrantee. They have a removable shelf that will fit in the boss as well to get more space if you are firm on your budget and all that would be on your door step in about a week shipped free.

I have the 1250 and I love it! I have many smokers, wood and open fire, but if i could have only one it would be my pellet (I have about 2300 ish hours of smoking on it since it got it 2.5 years ago). Ps I also had a higher budget than the recteq at time but settled in the 1250 based on other forum members experience with Recteq.
 
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I’m not totally against a traditional offset wood smoker. I just like the idea of set it and forget it with the pellet. I’ve been running wood stoves my whole life so not new to fire control by any means and have a good understanding of it. It’s just discouraging to read about how many people get turned off by them and go to a pellet smoker.
 
I’ve been cooking and smoking for awhile on my kettle Joe and love it. But I do need more space and sometimes a little more convenience. I’m still very new to the whole BBQ thing but I like buying quality stuff. My budget is about $1,000. I’ve been looking at recteq and grilla smokers. From what I understand these brands separate themselves from the ones found in big box stores.

Another thing I was considering is a vertical feed charcoal smoker but it seems they are known for cheap build quality.

If you had a $1,000 to spend what would it be?
Welcome to SMF Rob. Both of those would most likely be good choices. The Grilla is new to the scene so not much by way of input on them yet. RecTeq has been around and a number of people here use and like them. I'd probably lean towards the RecTeq because of that.
 
I’m not totally against a traditional offset wood smoker. I just like the idea of set it and forget it with the pellet. I’ve been running wood stoves my whole life so not new to fire control by any means and have a good understanding of it. It’s just discouraging to read about how many people get turned off by them and go to a pellet smoker.
I most definitely agree. The pellet smokers would let me get some sleep while my brisket is cooking but the flavor profile is going to be a little different. We have a Dickies BBQ and the restaurant smokes with a pellet smoker. There are only 4 cars there all day long. Rib Crib is one mile down the road and there using a southern pride wood burner and doing a good business. The offset smokers require advanced fire management and someone can mess up a cook if one little mistake is made. Offset smoke using coals from the fire which is the old school method. Pellet smokers wasn’t around 50 years ago and people were forced to leaned the offset smokers. Those probably goes back 100 years.
I’m not totally against a traditional offset wood smoker. I just like the idea of set it and forget it with the pellet. I’ve been running wood stoves my whole life so not new to fire control by any means and have a good understanding of it. It’s just discouraging to read about how many people get turned off by them and go to a pellet smoker.
 
The Rider DLX 1200 is what I have. Really great grill but because of the temperature controller, and poor product support I can not recommended it unless you grill more than smoke.

The controller can be off by as much as 50F. I had to modify it so it is only 25F off.
Has a lot of great features. Just the controller sucks.
 
I would recommend the Recteq. The deck boss is on sale at the moment and is a nice cooker. The beast is about 100 plus tax more than your budget but you get nearly double the cooking space and a 6 year vs 4 year bumper to bumper warrantee. They have a removable shelf that will fit in the boss as well to get more space if you are firm on your budget and all that would be on your door step in about a week shipped free.

I have the 1250 and I love it! I have many smokers, wood and open fire, but if i could have only one it would be my pellet (I have about 2300 ish hours of smoking on it since it got it 2.5 years ago). Ps I also had a higher budget than the recteq at time but settled in the 1250 based on other forum members experience with Recteq.
Rec teq all the way! Ive had mine longer than I can remember. No issues, works like new every time. I had questions and called customer service a couple times, they were super helpful regardless of how stupid my question was.

Makes great smoked meat of all kinds.
 
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