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Should I Buy a Pellet Grill?

NoCoPK360

Newbie
15
13
Joined Dec 19, 2020
Check out the Grilla Grills Silverback. It's made out of a lot of stainless steel and insulated well for cold weather. They are out of Michigan so I think cold weather was a consideration in their design. I had one and didn't have any complaints other than lack of smoke flavor which is common with pellet grills. I sold it and bought a Weber Smokefire. I'm a fan of the Smokefire despite a lot of the negative publicity and early problems. It gets up to 600 degrees and the flavor is much better than a traditional pellet grill in my opinion because of the different design.
 
18
4
Joined Feb 27, 2021
Hence the Masterbuilt Gravity Fed. Load the charcoal in the tower. Firestarter stick in the bottom. 3-5 min set temp and relax. Low temp for smoking. Up to 700 deg for grilling. Easy Peezy, lemon squeezy.
I wish I could see one in person being used.
 
18
4
Joined Feb 27, 2021
I don’t have the Masterbuilt but if you are worried about the simplicity then just watch this video. Charcoal grilling doesn’t get much easier than this.

G
Yeah I did see that already but I can't help but be a bit skeptical.
I wish I could see one in person being used.
The more I read about them, the more I like the idea. I have read many reviews indicating there are quality issues with the paint, switches and fan though. Also, the one year warranty leaves a bit to be desired. I wonder if they'll release an updated version or something in the near future.

I would never consider a charcoal grill if it didn't operate as easily as this one appears to.
 

bill1

Smoking Fanatic
856
297
Joined Apr 25, 2015
Maybe a different way of looking at things...
Modern cookers like pellet grills or MB Gravities have a lot of moving parts. Reliability (as in mean time between failures) is measured in years, not decades. (These are not our grandfathers' smokers.) If you're handy, you can maintain the fans, motors, augers, etc yourself, as long as you ensure you can obtain spare parts, or stock up on them yourself when it appears they're getting harder to get.

So if the reason you want cast iron or stainless steel cooking chambers is because you want it to last decades, well just be aware that chamber corrosion is NOT one of the most likely failure mechanisms. Also, the storage methods (garage or shed) that is necessary to ensure long life for the electronics and wiring also greatly extends the lifetime of the cheapest of steel cook bodies.

Also note that parts availability is plenteous, and probably will be for at least a decade, on the cheapest Chinese units. But the more you pay, the more unique the designs, and the more important it is YOU become your own parts warehouse and repair staff to maintain these far out into the future.
 

RiversideSm0ker

Master of the Pit
1,570
596
Joined Jan 30, 2018
Honestly if the Masterbuilt doesn’t feel simple enough for you then my guess is that you should probably not consider anything with electronics. A Weber kettle will fill your needs for a fraction of the price. All you need is a charcoal chimney and a lighter. It will grill perfectly no matter the temp and it will do it for decades. This Masterbuilt gravity grill is just the best choice available now with the precise temperature control of a pellet grill and the grilling power of any manual charcoal grill. This is just my opinion of course. I hope that you enjoy whatever you decide on.
G
 

retfr8flyr

Smoking Fanatic
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
576
208
Joined May 20, 2013
This is very interested feedback. Thank you. I read things about the pellet grills along the lines of what you're saying so it's not a complete surprise to hear that. I'm really gun shy about the charcoal grills especially because my significant other uses it and she's already told me that she doesn't want anything much more complicated than the gas grill we already have.
It's very easy to get a Kamado type grill, or as PPG1 stated the Masterbuilt Gravity fed grill started. Once your significant other tastes food from one of these grill she won't mind a little extra effort starting one.
 
18
4
Joined Feb 27, 2021
Maybe a different way of looking at things...
Modern cookers like pellet grills or MB Gravities have a lot of moving parts. Reliability (as in mean time between failures) is measured in years, not decades. (These are not our grandfathers' smokers.) If you're handy, you can maintain the fans, motors, augers, etc yourself, as long as you ensure you can obtain spare parts, or stock up on them yourself when it appears they're getting harder to get.

So if the reason you want cast iron or stainless steel cooking chambers is because you want it to last decades, well just be aware that chamber corrosion is NOT one of the most likely failure mechanisms. Also, the storage methods (garage or shed) that is necessary to ensure long life for the electronics and wiring also greatly extends the lifetime of the cheapest of steel cook bodies.

Also note that parts availability is plenteous, and probably will be for at least a decade, on the cheapest Chinese units. But the more you pay, the more unique the designs, and the more important it is YOU become your own parts warehouse and repair staff to maintain these far out into the future.
That's an interesting perspective! Thank you for your insight. I'm pretty handy and like to think that I can fix just about anything but I've read a lot of negative feedback regarding the quality of these grills. I wonder if I wait 6 months or so they might have fixed some of the problems with the peeling paint and cracks in the charcoal hopper, etc. Or maybe another manufacturer might release something similar.... I'm not in a rush to buy.
 
18
4
Joined Feb 27, 2021
Honestly if the Masterbuilt doesn’t feel simple enough for you then my guess is that you should probably not consider anything with electronics. A Weber kettle will fill your needs for a fraction of the price. All you need is a charcoal chimney and a lighter. It will grill perfectly no matter the temp and it will do it for decades. This Masterbuilt gravity grill is just the best choice available now with the precise temperature control of a pellet grill and the grilling power of any manual charcoal grill. This is just my opinion of course. I hope that you enjoy whatever you decide on.
G
I didn't mean to give the impression that it's not simple enough for me but rather my concern is about the ease and timeliness of being able to fire it up especially compared with a gas grill. I know so little about grilling with charcoal.

Also, I want to buy something that will last for years. I take great care of my things and expect my investments to last.

I appreciate your feedback!
 

PPG1

Smoke Blower
136
108
Joined Aug 22, 2020
That's an interesting perspective! Thank you for your insight. I'm pretty handy and like to think that I can fix just about anything but I've read a lot of negative feedback regarding the quality of these grills. I wonder if I wait 6 months or so they might have fixed some of the problems with the peeling paint and cracks in the charcoal hopper, etc. Or maybe another manufacturer might release something similar.... I'm not in a rush to buy.
You have to pull the plug sometime. 6 months...? I've had mine going on 2 years...No problems. I trust MB that the panels in the stack just protect fire brick for shipping. As for paint peeling on the upper hatch of the stack, I use a small square of tin foil and wallah no peeling. Not to sound rude but if your thinking this is to difficult you really should consider a Weber Kettle.
 

FowlAntics

Fire Starter
35
37
Joined Dec 22, 2020
Honestly if the Masterbuilt doesn’t feel simple enough for you then my guess is that you should probably not consider anything with electronics. A Weber kettle will fill your needs for a fraction of the price. All you need is a charcoal chimney and a lighter. It will grill perfectly no matter the temp and it will do it for decades. This Masterbuilt gravity grill is just the best choice available now with the precise temperature control of a pellet grill and the grilling power of any manual charcoal grill. This is just my opinion of course. I hope that you enjoy whatever you decide on.
G
The Weber kettle is a great solution. Specifically if you get the Weber performer which has the built-in gas ignition system. Weber kettles are known to sit outside without being covered and will still last 10 to 20 years, or more.. They are super cheap so you could spend your extra money on food to practice grilling with charcoal, which you should be able to pick up pretty quickly.

Once the briquettes are lit with the propane ignition on the performer kettle, just keep the vents open for some airflow to keep them going. You have a direct heat side and indirect side. The indirect side would be just like cooking in your oven and the direct side is to put a little char on your food for great flavor.
 
18
4
Joined Feb 27, 2021
You have to pull the plug sometime. 6 months...? I've had mine going on 2 years...No problems. I trust MB that the panels in the stack just protect fire brick for shipping. As for paint peeling on the upper hatch of the stack, I use a small square of tin foil and wallah no peeling. Not to sound rude but if your thinking this is to difficult you really should consider a Weber Kettle.
Haha well OK! My condescending tone detector seems to be providing a warning message!

I'm in no rush to buy a grill. I can pull the plug whenever, really. I have no immediate need to replace my grill and it makes sense to me to not be a buyer of 1st gen technology, when that's possible and makes sense.

Voila! Tin foil protects the paint! Who knew? You did, apparently. Not sure what part of my previous replies indicated I needed a simpler grill but I'm not sure that I agree, nor do I understand why you'd conclude that. I don't need to understand your reasoning though.

I want a high quality grill that's easy to light, maintain and will last for years. I like the idea of having the remote monitoring technology that is offered by the MB gravity fed charcoal grill and that it behaves more like a grill than the pellet grills.
 
18
4
Joined Feb 27, 2021
The Weber kettle is a great solution. Specifically if you get the Weber performer which has the built-in gas ignition system. Weber kettles are known to sit outside without being covered and will still last 10 to 20 years, or more.. They are super cheap so you could spend your extra money on food to practice grilling with charcoal, which you should be able to pick up pretty quickly.

Once the briquettes are lit with the propane ignition on the performer kettle, just keep the vents open for some airflow to keep them going. You have a direct heat side and indirect side. The indirect side would be just like cooking in your oven and the direct side is to put a little char on your food for great flavor.
Oh this sounds really cool. I'm going to check it out. Thank you!
 

JCAP

Smoking Fanatic
SMF Premier Member
730
842
Joined Jun 12, 2019
I'm not adding anything that hasn't been said already but I have an pretty cheap pellet grill that I enjoy though there's not much smoke flavor. It doesn't get hot enough to sear or grill either. I agree with the other above....a kettle would be a fantastic investment. Heck, you could even get the 22in and 26in for less than many pellet grills!
 

RiversideSm0ker

Master of the Pit
1,570
596
Joined Jan 30, 2018
If you like the idea of the performer kettle there is always the ultimate charcoal choice from Weber the Summit. It’s pretty high end at $1500 but can do everything your normal kettle can do plus it’s insulated like a kamodo grill without the insane weight or cracking. Of course you have the propane start like the performer. I would imagine that it would do really well in your frigid temps. So that’s about it for my suggestions. I’m sure that you will find something to meet your needs when the time comes. I look forward to seeing some of your cooks once you make a final decision. Stay warm and safe.
G
 

PPG1

Smoke Blower
136
108
Joined Aug 22, 2020
Haha well OK! My condescending tone detector seems to be providing a warning message!

I'm in no rush to buy a grill. I can pull the plug whenever, really. I have no immediate need to replace my grill and it makes sense to me to not be a buyer of 1st gen technology, when that's possible and makes sense.

Voila! Tin foil protects the paint! Who knew? You did, apparently. Not sure what part of my previous replies indicated I needed a simpler grill but I'm not sure that I agree, nor do I understand why you'd conclude that. I don't need to understand your reasoning though.

I want a high quality grill that's easy to light, maintain and will last for years. I like the idea of having the remote monitoring technology that is offered by the MB gravity fed charcoal grill and that it behaves more like a grill than the pellet grills.
My apologies for sure. I am the last person to be condescending. I was afraid that i was coming off that way and never should have posted the way I did. I'm just an old redneck from South Carolina who loves to cook outdoors and sip my JD old #7. Please don't think I'm condescending i'm just not real good at expressing things
 
Last edited:
18
4
Joined Feb 27, 2021
My apologies for sure. I am the last person to be condescending. I was afraid that i was coming off that way and never should have posted the way I did. I'm just an old redneck from South Carolina who loves to cook outdoors and sip my JD ole #7. Please don't think I'm condescending i'm just not real good at expressing things
I appreciate the clarification. Cheers!
 
18
4
Joined Feb 27, 2021
I reached out to Masterbuilt today and they were very quick to advise the following:

"The paint peeling issue has been resolved with the new hopper middle and upper assembly being porcelain coated.

We have updated some of the components including the switches, hopper, and charcoal grate to address the issues. We have started stocking units with the upgrades but, due to existing inventory, cannot guarantee that an ordered unit will have the upgrades. If you decide to purchase one and it does not have the upgrades, We will be happy to provide you with the updated components."

If you receive a unit with the extra wide gaps in the charcoal grate, it's an older model.

This is great news!

I'm strongly considering ordering one. I may need to get some advice on negotiating tactics so I can convince my spouse that she wants it. :emoji_laughing:

I really wasn't expecting to be considering a charcoal grill when I came here for advice. I appreciate all of your feedback!
 

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