The Best Pellet Smoker to Up the Ante of Your Grill Game

Finally, welcome to the set-and-forget world of smoke cooking! This type of smoker rose to popularity because it’s easy to use and some are intended for novice grillers. So if you’re looking for a smoker that only requires a bit of patience, you should look for the best pellet smoker to buy. However, choosing a model could be as tricky as nailing the doneness of your first steak.

PELLET SMOKERPRODUCT NAMEMASTER GRILLER
RATING

PRICE

Camp Chef SmokePro
Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker
Check Price
Cuisinart CPG-4000 BBQ
Pellet Grill & Smoker
Check Price

Based on my personal experience, a pellet smoker cuts down the smoking job by 95%. There’s only a little guesswork with the temperature and timing of cooking. If you’re an aspiring grill master who still needs more practice, a pellet smoker would be a big confidence booster.

Also, if you want to enjoy your outdoor staycation with family and friends, this type of smoker will buy you time to bond. You don’t have to keep a hawk eye on the cooking. With that, you won’t miss any of the chit-chats by the table.

How pellet smokers work

One of my biggest pains when it comes to smoke cooking is the demand for monitoring the temperature. Even in an offset type, the task is still hard labor.

When it comes to pellet smokers, a lot of the fleeting variables are stripped off. First, it uses wood pellets instead of a lump or briquette charcoal. That means more smoke and less mess.

But most importantly, pellet smokers have digital controls that save you from manual temp checks. It helps in regulating the flow of the pellets, thus controlled smoke flow and heat.

Take note, though, that old pellet smoker models used the low-medium-high metrics which isn’t very accurate and reliable. Good thing, the latest models have multi-stage controllers that offer better accuracy and control.

Appearance-wise, pellet smokers share the same construction with that of offset smokers. The only difference is that it has a firepot instead of a firebox and there are electronic parts installed.

If you’re a bit lazy with cooking or you simply don’t have the time, pellet smokers are definitely for you.

Top picks – Best pellet smoker for smoke flavor

I’ve seen tons of smokers before and I’ve never been as impressed as with these two picks here. For the most part, it met the standards I have for a smoker plus added convenience. Here’s my quick review for each two:

—>Camp Chef SmokePro Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker<—

Specs

✔️Dual LED temperature readout     ✔️Exclusive ash cleanout system

✔️Electronic auto-start ignition        ✔️Total rack surface area: 570 sq. in

✔️Grill area: 19.5″ x 22″                      ✔️ -Smoking/Warming Rack: 6″ x 24″

best pellet smoker to buyChef SmokePro is the best pellet smoker to buy. First, it has a large pellet hopper that can definitely accommodate more fuel so you don’t have to refill. To pair that is an exclusive ash cleanout system to manage the mess. This makes switching to a new smoke flavor easier.

As for the smoking, I managed to shove two whole chickens and a small brisket all at the same time. Cooking time will depend on the wood pellets you use. The more efficient it is in providing heat and smoke, the faster the smoking would be.

Based on my use, a brim-filled hopper will last for 40 hours. That’s more than enough when I cooked my briskets for 8 hours in 250F. Also, I want to emphasize that Camp Chef’s speed of cooking will depend on the smoke level and temp you set. For this smoker, it can go as high as 500F. You do all these parts right and you’ll never go wrong with this best pellet smoker for smoke flavor.

What I love the most about this smoker is the auto-ignition feature. You don’t have to light it up with a match or lighter which adds a big point to the ease of use.

What could be done better:

Unfortunately, you’ll have to purchase the grill cover separately if you’re using it for such a way of cooking. But in my opinion, it’s worth it even if you have to shell out a few more bucks.

—>Cuisinart CPG-4000 BBQ Pellet Grill & Smoker<—-

Specs

✔️15-pound hopper capacity             ✔️Grill area: 450 sq. in.

✔️Additional shelves                           ✔️All-terrain wheels

✔️Handy grease bucket holder         ✔️6-in-1 cooking

best pellet smoker to buyIf there’s one thing that makes me consider Cuisinart, it would its multi-purpose cookers. I used to own a 5-in-1 griddle and I can say that it really served its purpose for indoor grilling. Usually, Cuisinart isn’t one of the brands I will consider topnotch for outdoor grilling. But as for this pellet smoker, I first want to highlight its 6-in-1 cooking feature. It can bake, braise, roast, smoke, bake, grill, and BBQ. I should say I’m impressed.

What I love here is the spacious racks and grate area. I can cook about five briskets here in one batch although it will take time to cook. This Cuisinart model has added side and front shelves too which I think is a great add-on when we’re talking about convenience. There’s also an attached grease holder on the side which can fit a 12-ounce paper cup.

Like the Camp Chef model, this has an auto-ignition technology and a LED temperature monitor. The only little thing I noticed is the smoke coming out of the lid’s edges. It could be that my pellets are producing too much smoke or it’s not as tightly sealed as it’s advertised. Still, the smoke isn’t enough to trigger the fire alarm. Not a deal-breaker, honestly.

What could be done better:

This isn’t actually a downside but a tiny caveat. This grill would be the best pellet smoker to buy if there’s an addition of a shoot where you can remove all the existing pellets if you wish to switch to another type of wood.

What to consider when buying a pellet smoker

If you’re still undecided about which of these two pellet smokers are for the money, here are some of my personal standards to help you out. It’s like a brief buying guide:

Combustion system

Most pellet smokers nowadays will come with an auto-igniter and a fire pot. The fire pot is basically steel with holes made for ventilation. Another part of the combustion system is the auto-igniter. It’s a rod that glows red hot once you turn the smoker on. This will be the part responsible for combusting the pellets.

It’s best to get stainless steel igniters as it tends to last long. Also, this part will burn over time which will require replacements. Get the best pellet smoker for smoke flavor with igniters that are easy to replace.

Construction

I always stick to stainless steel for grills and smokers. The more of this material is present, the lower the chance of rusting. You’ll also have a good catch on porcelain-enameled materials. Still, it’s only the second best to stainless steel.

Digital control

Pellet smokers are effortless to use only because it has built-in digital controllers. Without these, it would be similar to an offset smoker powered by pellets. Some of the technology used nowadays can be connected to Wi-Fi which allows you to control the temp through your phone.

This part allows the smoker to work in autopilot. And as an obvious advice, get one that’s tried-and-tested to be accurate.

Convenience and ease of use

Do you know what I hate about grilling? Cleaning. I hate muddled ashes, grates, and a smoking mess all over my grill. So when you purchase a smoker, make sure that a lot of the parts are detachable for cleaning. The grease and ashtrays should be easy to access. Also, the best pellet smoker to buy is one with a removable fire pot.

If you like alternating between different types of wood pellet, you’ll benefit from having a smoker with a clean-out door. But overall, the easier it is to use without sacrificing the cooking power, the better.

Hopper capacity

As the grill master in the house, I spend a lot of time on my equipment every weekend. I love treating my friends and family on my new recipes. That means I need a smoker that will huff and puff without the need for multiple refills.

A large hopper capacity is a champ. This is the reason why Camp Chef is the top choice for me.

Temperature control

Pay close attention to the type of temperature controller that’s on the smoker. Like what I said earlier, some old models wouldn’t have accurate measurements which will sabotage the doneness of your food. Usually, temperature controls in pellet smokers come in three types: PID controller, three-stage controller, and multi-position LED controller.

Anything aside from the three-stage controller is the best pellet smoker for smoke flavor.

More about wood pellets

When it comes to the choice of wood pellets, I advise that you stick on “hardwood flavors”. These pellets have a nice smoke flavor and will burn slowly but with large billows of smoke. Usually, a pound of hardwood pellet would churn smoke for an hour with a temperature between 107F to 225F.

best pellet smoker to buy

Wood pellets are pretty affordable too and they cost just the same as propane per smoke cook. The good thing is that wood pellets are renewable fuel and it produces less ash than charcoal.

There are seven types of wood pellet flavors. Here’s my guide on each one:

Oak – This wood pellet is a middle ground when it comes to the amount of smoke produced. This is best for fish, veggies, and related food items. Overall, it has a stronger taste than cherry and apple but lighter than hickory.

Hickory – This is the most used pellet for smoke cooking due to its strong flavor that matches almost any meat type. But if you find it a bit overpowering, you can balance the flavor with lighter notes of apple or cherry pellets.

Alder – If you’re looking for wood pellets that provide lots of smoke, you can choose alder. It has a mild flavor and aroma which makes it excellent for chicken and delicate food like baked goods and seafood.

Apple – The light fruity smoke of this pellet is great for chicken and pork. If you want to have a stronger tinge, you can mix it with either oak or hickory.

Maple – If you’re smoking turkey or chicken, nothing beats the maple smoke flavor. It has a mild flavor but with a little sweetness too.

Cherry – This one of the most flavorful pellets and a versatile combination to strong-flavored woods. I rarely use this is a standalone pellet but only as an addition if I want an added sweet aroma.

Pecan – Pecan is excellent for meat items due to its nutty and a little spicy flavor. It’s also a nice pick for baked goodies.

Mesquite – If you’re a Texan griller, mesquite pellets aren’t new to you. It has a hearty yet strong flavor which is an iconic taste of many Texas-style BBQs.  It’s the best pair for your best pellet smoker for smoke flavor.

A few tips

Take note that pellet smokers won’t work without electricity. Since the controls here are digital, you simply can’t ignite it manually. Still, it’s just a little issue if you’re looking for something that you can set up and leave behind to cook on its own.

Another thing: check if there are meat probes on it. At least one would be great. This is very important since opening the lid will result in temperature fluctuation and the smoke will escape.

Also, never use pellets that are made for home heating. This isn’t food-grade fuel. It has pine which will taste awful on your food, not to mention the toxic chemicals it contains. Stick to wood pellets made for cooking if you don’t want a trip to the hospital in the middle of a barbecue party.

Take note that steel, electronics, heat, and weather is a pretty crazy combination. Be careful in storing and using wood pellet smokers.

This is just a glimpse of what you should look for the best pellet smoker to buy and what models are hot right now. If you have suggestions and comments, feel free to post it below.

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The Best Pellet Smoker to Up the Ante of Your Grill Game

by George Miller time to read: 8 min
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