Which pellet stove should I get? Or should I go with Propane?

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Original poster
Mar 15, 2011
I have a Little Chief that has worked well but for many dishes I have to finish in the oven.  I want something that will do ribs, turkey, etc without the oven.

I don't want to tend things much so I am leaning toward propane or pellets.  I am also very frugal.  I can get a pretty decent propane smoker for $170 after mods.  (thinking of the Master Forge).  Pellet smokers are more.   Also, my primary concern is the cost per session.  How much will I spend on propane and chips versus how much will I spend on pellets?   Are there getting to be cheaper pellet manufacturers since they are getting so popular?    Also, how well can you guys cook steaks on your pellet smokers?
I have a Mak Grills 2 Star General and I find the pellet consumption to be very low and reasonable.  On a smoke setting a 20lb. bag of pellets will last me 20 hours.  They burn quicker on a higher setting.  Searing Steaks?  On the Mak Grill 2 Star you have the flame zone which is  a 200 Sq. Inch area to where you can get a direct sear.  I grilled steaks on it last Sunday evening and was very pleased with my sear marks.  They also offer a Searing Grate which would definitely enhance those marks, however I do not have one yet.  As you said you are frugal, the Mak Grill 1 Star General offers the same great grill without a few options, but built of the same great 304 stainless steel vitals, as well as the Pellet Boss, the heart and soul of the Mak Grill.  This 15 function programmable controller allows you to do a lot of things not found on other pellet grills.  The 1 Star is priced much lower and gets to 500 in a heartbeat as well is a smoking machine.  The searing capability will be offered soon, probably within the month from what I hear.  Hope this helps some. 
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