Question about pellet smokers.... planning...

Discussion in 'Pellet Smokers' started by yardbird, Sep 13, 2014.

  1. yardbird

    yardbird Meat Mopper

    This'll get a little wordy, but please bear with me as I explain the situation before asking the question :)

    Right now I have a Weber Performer charcoal grill, a Ducane Stainless gas grill, and a Smoke Hollow propane cabinet smoker.

    The smoker is in a "shack on a pallet" that I built for it mostly to keep the wind off it as I use it year round. The Weber and the Ducane get covered in winter and just uncovered when needed. None of these gets "put away" for the winter. They don't go in a garage or anything. They're outside toys.

    We were planning to add about an 8x8 foot area to our patio to accommodate the "cooking area". I was just looking at it (again) and adding up expenses in my head and wondered...

    If I bought a Rec Tec, could it REPLACE the smoker and the 2 grills?

    Now, keep in mind that I can't ever remember running any TWO of these at the same time, let alone all 3. 

    I've done almost 30 pounds of chicken leg quarters in the smoker at one time. Whole turkeys and chickens, ribs, pork butts, LOTS of poultry (which I run at higher temps.... like 375-ish). Would a pellet pooper produce SMOKE at the higher temps? Or would I need a AMNTS? (not sure I got all those letters right.... y'all know what I mean)

    How would it be in winter? I live near Niagara Falls, NY so it can get mighty cold and sometimes the cold and wind isn't real friendly which is why I built the shack on a pallet for the cabinet smoker. Would it need a thermal blanket?

    As a GRILL.... how evenly does the cooking surface heat?

    I mean.... the gas grill has areas that are warmer than other so I have to do the hamburger shuffle if I'm cooking a dozen burgers. I kinda shift steaks around as I turn them so I don't have one end on a hot spot all the time.. stuff like that. Normally I do steaks on the Weber so I only deal with whatever I've created with my charcoal arrangement. 

    Can a pellet grill sear a steak?

    Can a pellet grill cook EVENLY enough to do things like.... swordfish steaks, or marlin steaks? 

    (I LOVE grilled marlin!)

    I'm just thinking that if a pellet grill can pretty much do it all, then I really don't NEED to add on the the patio. I could use that savings toward the pellet grill and if I only have one cooking appliance to deal with it simplifies things immensely. I also have an outdoor electrical plug exactly where I'd be using a pellet grill.

    So .... can a good pellet grill really do it all?
  2. bear55

    bear55 Master of the Pit

    I currently own a Rec Tec grill/smoker and I love it.  The grill reaches 500 easily and can cook steak easily.  It is perfect for poultry although at 375 smoke is diminished and you may want to add the AMNTS.  I do not use mine as I cook my chicken at 300 and I get plenty of smoke.  The Rec Tec cooks evenly with the right side of the grill a little hotter than the left but causes no problems.  I got rid of my old propane grill when I bought the Rec Tec and will probably buy another cheap one due to living in a hurricane prone area and may need it to cook during power outages.  However to answer your question, yes the Rec Tec does it all.
  3. yardbird

    yardbird Meat Mopper

    I have a 5500 watt generator for power outages :)

    And actually, in the house, the cooktop is natural gas and can be manually lit, so.... oh... and I've lived in this area 62 years and haven't seen a hurricane here yet. :)

    Is it PRACTICAL, do you think, to consider getting rid of the Weber, the Ducane and the Smoke Hollow and only having the Rec Tec?

    Is it PRACTICAL.... and convenient, if I just wanted to go out and fire it up to cook like.... 4 hamburgers (It's just the wife and I now that the boys have moved out) or 1 steak? For something like that right now I just pop 'em on the gas grill, but I don't enjoy that as much as the flavor from the charcoal grill which, frankly, is sometimes more bother than the gas grill. :) 

    I'd guess I actually used the smoker as much as... or more than.. I use both grills put together. I think I ran the charcoal grill this year 3 times. The gas grill got popped to do burgers, dogs, steaks, corn, etc. 

    I guess I'm still a little afraid of the ability of a pellet grill to do direct grilling. I don't see it mentioned much and in most cases (not the better ones so far) the comments indicate that the pellet grills don't work well as grills. If I were to do this it would really have to be a good grill as well as being a great smoker.
  4. Take a look at the cookshack/fast eddie pellet grills. There firepots are under an open grate for direct grilling. When smoking they are designed for the heat to come up from the firepot then over to the other side and exhausts feom the bottom.

    My pg500 replaced my propane grill and my propane smoker. I grill a lot more than I smoke, but it does a great job of both.

    The grill area is big enough for 4 decent size ribeyes or 10 chicken thighs once they have cooked down some on the indirect size. The indirect size can hold 2 decent size briskets, or 3 butts.

    Also once you figure out the different cooking zones you can usually figure out how to cook multiple things at different temps fairly easy.

    So for instance if you have a butt smoking at 250ish, the direct grill is probably around 300-325 so plenty hot enough to do a burger.

    One of the other sites that reviews pellet grills showed and infrared thermo max out at 999 degrees when at the grate when it was cranked wide open.

    My pg500 does fine here in Colorado in the winter time, but the insulation in the pg1000 would save on pellet use
  5. striper

    striper Meat Mopper

    Don't own a Rectec, but I do have a Yoder YS 640.  Only me in the house and I have no problem firing it up to cook a steak, some chicken, or whatever for dinner.  I recently added Grill Grates to it and now use it even more for those single serving cooks.
  6. yardbird

    yardbird Meat Mopper

    Know what I can't find on Rec Tec's site? 


    How LONG is the Rec Tec (from outside end of the side shelf/controller, to the outside edge of the chimney)?

    And how DEEP is it? (either WITH the front tray or without. I can figure out from there)

    Trying to see if this will fit in a certain space 

  7. yardbird

    yardbird Meat Mopper

    After a lot of reading I told my wife I wanted this. Her reaction?

    "It's a lot of money and why do you need another grill?"

    That kinda ticks me off quite frankly. Since I retired and she's still working, I do the grocery shopping and all of the cooking. I look at this as trading in 3 "appliances" and getting one that does everything. So.... take care of ONE appliance instead of 3. And no more taking things apart to clean spiders out of venturi tubes right about the time you should be lighting the grill or smoker. When we redid our kitchen (I built all the cabinets, hand made all the trim, learned to fabricate Corian, and built an 8ft x 3ft island top out of walnut,,,) I wanted a Bertazonni gas range. Money was tight. So we reused our gast cooktop which wasn't that old, but.... it was a compromise that I have to live with every day. A 30 inch cooktop with controls on the side gives you the equivalent cooking space of a 24 in stove. C'mon.... seriously?

    So... I just flat out told her. "It's not an emergency and winter is coming. But I want to plan to order in late April for a May delivery."

    Not sure she's listening.
  8. oconeeal

    oconeeal Smoke Blower

  9. yardbird

    yardbird Meat Mopper

  10. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    I looked on the website, and I couldn't find the dimensions on their spec page I went out and took a tape measure to mine.

    overall width from the left side shelf to the smoke stack:  about 56"

    overall depth from back of pellet hopper to the front edge of extended front shelf:  about 40"

    This wasn't a very scientific measurement...its dark and I didn't drag the pit out in the open...but that ought to get you very close.

    Last edited: Sep 15, 2014
  11. yardbird

    yardbird Meat Mopper

    Thanks, Red. That's perfect. 

    Kinda odd they don't have overall dimensions on the web site. Thanks for goin' out in the dark and measuring this for me :) 

    Now all I gotta do is get the wife on board. 

    Rec Tec called me yesterday to see if I had questions which of course I did and I FORGOT to ask them the dimensions! :) 

    Anyways... if I wait until April, he said they'll have the thermal blanket and a custom cover for it. We also drive down (my brother an me) to Gainesville, FL in March for the GatorNationals drag races and as we pass through Columbia, SC we're about 45 minutes from where we'd need to go to pick up the grill in Georgia. Not sure it's worth the side trip to save about $90. I'd have to pay Georgia sales tax but I'd save shipping. AND I'd have to figure out how to arrange everything in the truck to fit the grill in there along with all the other crap we take. :)

    So.... we'll see. 
  12. chef willie

    chef willie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Yardbird...seems to me you're living the retired dream!! Fla for racing, building projects everywhere, all the shopping/ cooking.....sounds like me except I do it all on the cheap....LOL. No, seriously, I just got a pellet pusher recently and am considering getting the grill grates as I hear that's the proper way to do a steak or chops on them. There is no smoke at higher temps so I use my AMNS when needed, which isn't to often as the GF is not crazy about heavy smoke taste. And, I'm not surprised about your wifes reaction.....comments like that are built into their DNA and start to appear at a certain age, usually around the time they get married. I'm pretty much retired, work 2 days a week for extra vice $$, but the GF still works and, somehow, expects more out of me than when I worked FT. Unfortunately, I had to disappoint her. I only have so much time left and intend to enjoy myself as much as possible

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