Im buying a new smoker: recommendations?

Discussion in 'Pellet Smokers' started by shields, Apr 4, 2016.

  1. shields

    shields Newbie

    Im a NYer that got hooked on smoking by a few Texas buddies that worked at Brinkman.  They shipped me an el cheapo about 8 years ago.  Since then I have moved into a Char Broil silver smoker - heavily modded (sold it), and have been using a MES 30 for 3 years now.  

    I want to move to a pellet smoker.  Primary reasons are because I smoke all year round.  Messing with fuel in winter is tough.  The MES works well in the winter, but I hate messing with the chips in the dead of winter and wasnt too fond of the AMNPS.  That thing was super finicky and I tried every tip I could find on here.  I also want my smoke ring back. I looked at green eggs, but I dont want to mess with charcoal either.  I am a tad lazy.

    So, I figured a pellet smoker would be perfect.  If it grills well, I will dump my propane grill as well.  I am looking through all the reviews on amazon, and obviously on here.  Traeger has stood out, but I am really concerned about the chinese versions being less than stellar.  I have heard Yoder, and Rec Tec.  I just saw the Char Griller as well.  I am not afraid to drop $800 or so on this thing.  I love the diamond grates vs the standard ones because I do shrimp, fish and ABTs and other smaller app type of smokes where they fall through.  

    Id prefer digital temp guages.  Any recommendations outside of what I listed here?  Pros or cons to any of these? 

    Thanks Scott
  2. vettedoc

    vettedoc Newbie

    I was recently in your shoes and was going nuts trying to figure out which smoker to go with. I started looking at the Green Mountain Grills - the WiFi set-up sounded really cool until lately when guys are having trouble with them. Then I started looking at the RecTec which it seems like everyone ravs about. But I wanted to be able to see the grill before I bought it - then I thought about Yoder but no one within 60 miles carried them. So I ended up going with a Louisiana Grills LG700 - out of the box they need some tweaking but I just finished smoking a couple of turkey breasts and the temp was within 20 degrees all across the surface.

    So if you don't mind tinkering the LG is a great pit - if you just want to buy it and cook get the RecTec.

    For reference these are the tweaks that I made to my LG700.

    #1 - change the #9 setting on the controller from 100 to 250

    #2 - when assembling the grill you want to make sure the auger is centered in the feed tube and tight.

    I did this by putting 4 flat blade screwdrivers in the end to center the auger then put one washer between the auger and the motor on the RH screw, then tightened the LH screw.

    #3 - These smokers have a lip under the lid that will accumulate grease - you want to put high temp silicone on the inside of that lip so the front of you're smoker doesn't get covered with grease.

    #4 - Fire bricks - this made the biggest difference - place them around the fire pot to help direct heat upward for the first part of the cooker and restrict a little airflow to the RH side - it will take longer for the pit to get up to temp but temps will be steady.

    #5 - I removed the hood thermometer and replaced it with a Tel-True

    You won't be able to get really good grill marks out of a pellet pooper - I bought a Camp Chef sear box and put it on the RH side of my cooker. If you already have a gaser just hold on to it for hot and fast cooking. 
  3. mowin

    mowin Master of the Pit

    Rec tec, Green Mountain Grills, Yoder, are a few to look into. I've got a GMG Daniel Boone.
    Love it. Great food has come off that grill. I can sear steaks, or do a low and slow smoke.

    Many, including me, find the smoke flavor from a pellet grill to be lacking, especially if you're used to the smoke flavor from traditional smokers. I use a amnts for all of my low and slow cooks. It gives me the smoke flavor i like. Oh ya. I get great smoke rings also.

    Im in NY also, so definitely look into a insulated cover for winter use. It will cut your pellet usage considerably in cold weather.
  4. shields

    shields Newbie

    Thanks for the response.  I would really prefer an out of the box, ready to go unit without needed mods.  Ive played that game. The Green Mountain looks great.  I do have concerns about Chinese made. I prefer to buy US products.  Any issues with that? 
  5. Rec Tec is the only company that will stand behind and warranty their product for 6 years, my son has one and it cooks amazing
  6. mowin

    mowin Master of the Pit

    If US made is what you really want, that takes GMG and rec tec off your list.

    I have had a couple small issues with my GMG, but their customer service is top notch and these were resolved quickly. Another reason I went with GMG was local dealers. I could physically go look at them.

    If you do go with GMG, make sure your dealer has the newer version with the SS heat shield and drip pan. It seems most issues with the uneven temps left to right are with units with older components. My temps evened out completely with the new style guts.

    Good luck on your search.
  7. If you don't want to mess with mods, go with the Yoder YS640. Order the second shelf, thermal jacket and an extra probe port. Ask about upgrading to the new two-piece deflector plate and get the grill grates. The new two-piece deflector plate has a removable hatch over the fire grate that makes it easier to clean out the ash and also switch from smoker to direct grilling in a couple of minutes. If you have no need to move the smoker, mine has been in the same spot on my deck for two years, you can get by with the standard cart, otherwise go with the competition cart. 

    Yoder has a 10 year warranty on the pit and a 3 year warranty on the controller. Customer service is next to none. Recently they offered a reinforced deflector plate to all registered owners at no cost except for $30 to cover shipping. You can order direct from ATBBQ dot com, this is Yoder's retail arm. RecTec's warranty is a limited warranty and they don't specify exactly what is covered and any warranty claims from years 4-6 are subject to a hundred dollar charge.

  8. jbdestep

    jbdestep Newbie

    Bought Yoder 640 a couple months ago on South Shore MA. Got optional thermal jacket. Smoked well in 30mph winds, raining and 40 degrees out. Yoder is a beast.
  9. rogerwilco

    rogerwilco Meat Mopper

    We ended up going with a Yoder YS640 and have been well pleased. Compared to our Large-sized BGEs, this thing is huge...I can't believe how much real estate it has. Oh, and it's operation is so easy as to be almost boring, but the food coming off is terrific. Although the Grill-Grates were purchased with the unit, we haven't used them yet, as grilling a steak is just too easy on the BGE, but it seems that the Yoder would have no problem getting hot enough.
  10. jbdestep

    jbdestep Newbie

    Haven't used the direct grilling yet on the Yoder. Saw some posts on two piece diffuser upgrade, probably going with that option. Curious if anyone has gone full +600degrees with you get a roaring fire going to keep that temp? Love high temp for pizza and steak. I saw the warnings on blowback, don't want to destroy the toy just yet.
  11. I have a trager and it has been awesome to me. And you can use it for smoking or grilling high heat i have hit 600 degrees cooking steak and pizzas. I called there customer service about a rebate that i did not qualify for but thought i should and they gave it to me anyway now thats good customer service in my mind . If there willing to give you free money i know they will stand behind there product.. it is built great and i have not had to do anything to it.
  12. bregent

    bregent Smoking Fanatic

    >Although the Grill-Grates were purchased with the unit, we haven't used them yet, as grilling a steak

    >is just too easy on the BGE, but it seems that the Yoder would have no problem getting hot enough.

    Ya think :)
  13. Trager by far the best in my book. Absolutely love mine.
  14. :sausage:Trager by far the best in my book. Absolutely love mine.:sausage:
  15. What about the camp chef? Does anyone know the manufacturing location of the camp chef?
  16. yahoot

    yahoot Newbie

    Camp Chef is made in China as are Traegers. Louisiana smokers (Dansons) are mostly made in the US/Canada, but I hear some of their lower lines will start coming from China.

    That said, I was playing with the camp chef at a trade show last month. Great bunch of guys from the wilds of Utah. Really innovative - I love the ability to dump the ashes out of burn pot without disassembling the grill. I would definitely consider one, if you like the bottom auger design (like trager and many others). Personally, I prefer the auger feed-to-ramp system like on the Danson - no auger fires.
    brucelowe likes this.
  17. The trager is made both here and in China if my research is wright. And i own one and it smokes awesome and i even make bread in mine and the heat goes high enough that i can cook my steaks on it. Its all really personal preference and what you get for your money. I have noticed any different in mine or my friends that has a trager and hes was built in the usa years ago if anything i get way better smoke rings. Check out my pictures. Good luck makeing your selection its a tough one.:grilling_smilie:
  18. I personally went with the Yoder ys640. I looked at the GMG, camp chef and traeger, they all seemed to be nice. They all seem to basically have the same setup

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