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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When I moved, I needed to replace my gas grill. It was a cheap one, 5 years old and rotted out.

A buddy of mine who is really into outdoor cooking bought a Pit Boss pellet smoker about a year ago. He constantly uses it, and convinced another friend to buy one. well, he uses it as much as the first guy, which convinced another friend, who also had just moved to buy one. Well, 2 guys who can BBQ can't be wrong, so I did the same.

Pit Boss is a less expensive version of the Louisiana Grills, made by the same company.

The first 2 bought 820S's from Lowes, the last friend bought an Austin XL from Wal Mart.

The Austin XL is basically the same grill as the Pro Series 1100 but a lot cheaper, larger than the 820S and $250 less.

Man, this grill is something else. Using a gas grill, I made charcoal, on this, my food is perfect. Almost no flare up as I'm using indirect flame. I'm smoking all kinds of things. Easter ham, pork loins, pork ribs, brisket. My steaks are cooked right, burgers are no longer a chore, etc. I can't say enough good about this grill.

It has a 31 LB hopper and when smoking, the thing runs forever. A 40 Lb bag of competition mix (Hickory, Mesquite and Apple) pellets is about $13. On Amazon, you can get other mixes for about $18. I use Cherry for pork, the competition mix worked well for the ham and for general grilling.

Easy on, easy fill, lasts a long time easy to clean and costs the same as a good gas grill. I encourage you to look at these, for $495 you get 2 digital temp probes, a digital temp gauge, an analog gauge, dial a temp controls, 1005sq" of cooking space, 31 Lb easy change pellet hopper and it's really idiot proof.


It's not a Traeger but it works just as well and has a very affordable price tag.
 
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The quality of pellets will make a big difference in the quality of your cook. One thing to be aware of, some pellets use oils to achieve the various 'flavors', which can dry out over time. In other words the large capacity hopper and low usage may leave you with less than desired results a couple months down the road if you're still using the same bag of pellets.


Pellets grills are definitely convenient, but I still prefer smoking my stuff the traditional way. Of course the large amount of fruit trees I have makes it easy to keep a stock pile of smoking wood on hand.


I also just picked up a food grade 55 gallon drum that I'm going to convert to a dedicated smoker...maybe I'll do a build thread on it.
 

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Got some cheap pellets a year or so ago and they were probably old because they where mostly broken down to saw dust. I pay a little more and get mine from a place that sells a lot and try not to put more in the hopper than I need for whatever I'm doing.

I have used the smoker as a grill a couple times (Traeger) but I can get the Weber hotter faster unless the smoker is already on for something else.
 

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I'm smoke-curious.

I love decent smoked fish and meats, I'll do cook pork in the oven... I grill a lot of meals.

But I've never taken the leap from gas/charcoal "grilling" to smoking.

Educate me about this.

Something like this wouldn't replace my gas grill for typical weekly family meals right? I mean time's a premium. I couldn't realistically use this to make shish-kabobs, burgers, etc. on a school night right?

This would be more for weekend indulgences?

Or am I wrong?

Help?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
There is no reason it can't replace a gas grill, mine did. It's a versatile piece of gear.

It doesn't take long to get going. Takes less time than getting a charcoal grill up to temp. I open mine and start it on smoke, when it starts to smoke, you can hear the jet engine roar of it igniting the pellets. Close the lid, set the temp to where you want it to be and watch the temp display. I do burgers and it's ready to cook in about 5 minutes. I run it at 400 degrees for burgers, when it hits 400, I put my burgers on for about 6 minutes a side and I'm done. Steaks are not much more time.

You have to plan when smoking meats, that takes time. I smoked a Smithfield Bacon marinated loin in about 3 hours, 2:30 on smoke and turned it up to about 200 to finish it up. Smoking the ribs took all day but that was 9 racks, on at 8am, off at about 4pm.

I use the Traeger pellets for special stuff, the cherry pellets I bought for the ribs are Traeger. The Pit Boss Competition blend seem to do a really good job too.
 

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There is no reason it can't replace a gas grill, mine did. It's a versatile piece of gear.

It doesn't take long to get going. Takes less time than getting a charcoal grill up to temp. I open mine and start it on smoke, when it starts to smoke, you can hear the jet engine roar of it igniting the pellets. Close the lid, set the temp to where you want it to be and watch the temp display. I do burgers and it's ready to cook in about 5 minutes. I run it at 400 degrees for burgers, when it hits 400, I put my burgers on for about 6 minutes a side and I'm done. Steaks are not much more time.
So the pellets light really fast. What's the ignition system manual, gas, or electric?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So the pellets light really fast. What's the ignition system manual, gas, or electric?
They light pretty quickly. Mine starts to smoke within a minute or two of turning it on. The pellets ignite withing seconds of the start of the smoke.

The system is electric. There is an auger that feeds the pellets from the hopper to the combustion chamber. The igniter is basically a glow stick. It heats up and ignites the pellets. The auger speed is what determines the temperature. Faster feed, more pellets making a higher temperature.
 

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Dad has a Camp Chef pellet smoker/grill that he has been very happy with. They also offer a side propane burner to sear the steak after it has been smoked/grilled over the lower heat. hope to pick up the add on sear box for him this summer.

 

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I've been using a propane grill for the last few years out of convenience. I prefer charcoal over propane but it's hard to pass up on ease of use when you're strapped for time. When it's time to replace the propane, I may look into these things!

:highfive:
 

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I've been using a propane grill for the last few years out of convenience. I prefer charcoal over propane but it's hard to pass up on ease of use when you're strapped for time. When it's time to replace the propane, I may look into these things!

:highfive:
Farm and Home on the west side has a good selection of Treager, Pit Boss and CampChef so you can compare all 3 at once. They are also about $100 off of the retail price if you were to order directly from CampChef.
 

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Farm and Home on the west side has a good selection of Treager, Pit Boss and CampChef so you can compare all 3 at once. They are also about $100 off of the retail price if you were to order directly from CampChef.
:highfive:

I'll have to check them out next time I'm in there. My Grandpa has a Treager and so far he really likes his.
 

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Here's goes my Maiden Voyage on a New to me, Oklahoma Joe Longhorn Smoker this weekend that started, after pressure washing 2 days ago, drying out with towels, then short 2 log fire to dry it out until I could get back to it after the Florida rain. Covered yesterday. Today 3 Hour reseasoning process after knocking out the previously well taken care of user's feasts. I know, like it's his grease, or the deceased animals, right? But still, we all like to start with a semi-clean slate, Right?...Here we go...without any Bluetooth, and just monitoring temps with 3 analog thermometers with flashlights, and my know-somewhat-learning-senses and research. I am the Batman and my own neighborhood watch tonight, including the coyotes that frequent. But hey, I have good tunes, Bud-light, and a 6'er of Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy (WOW) to keep me Aware and on Point. Let's see what happens!


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I'm now 1 full day into my "Meat Coma" grinning ear to ear!
Now, I'm not trying to highjack a thread or anything, just adding to the conversation, with my experience, albeit my first since doing proper research. I was doing it ALL WRONG in my previous attempts years ago.
I will say that this Offset Stick Burner as it is commonly known as, is Labor or Attention Intensive vs. the Pellet Smokers in the discussion. We did a Total Smoke Time of 17 hours.
The Prime Cut Brisket approximately 15lbs trimmed fat down to about 12 lbs, rubbed with Montreal Steak Seasoning to begin Fat side up. Hydrated while smoking via water trough at temps ranging from 225 to 300 degree window through the waves of adding mostly hickory and occasional mesquite logs to the firebox approximately every hour adjusting the intake vent to hit the gas or brake pedal so to say, to achieve the fabled blue smoke. Each hour spraying down the meats with a half and half mixture of apple cider vinegar and water. Wrapped it in heavy duty aluminum foil at hour 5 (going for mild to medium smoke to accommodate my eating audience), and returned to the chamber this time Fat Cap down to render down in its own juices to continue until morning.
Baby Back Ribs were trimmed and rubbed with a Pork Rub seasoning we got from Sam's Club. Pretty much the same treatment as above, but turned over each hour until wrapping at hour 5, then total time being taken off at hour 9 or 10...the beer was doing its job. Put the Ribs in a Hotel Pan to just rest inside our oven inside with no heat but its own. Looking to have these for lunch, took them from the oven and put back on the Smoker next to the Marathon Meat (Brisket) to heat back up to a serving temperature for 1 hour.
I have to say...I went out with my family for lunch at a local BBQ Pit restaurant the week prior, and we had these 2 items sharing amongst each other. I am NOT KIDDING, ours put them to ABSOLUTE SHAME. Even accounting for the Proud Factor Increasing the Taste Factor. JUST PURE, JUICY, MEAT CANDY!
In conclusion, I can attest that this is time consuming and a great deal of work, but for me it is fun to maintain and very rewarding. I will say that I DO NOT have any first hand experience with the Pellet Smokers or Propane Smokers for that matter. The man that I bought the Oklahoma Joe Longhorn Smoker from last week happened to be a Fireman with obvious knowledge of the subject. Upon my initial inspection of it, my query to him was: So, why are you letting it go? He told me a truthful answer by exclaiming all that I have come to know about the attention that is needed, and proceeded to show me his new Propane Upright Smoker that requires less attention. So I surmise that it all just comes down to: How much time and effort with it you want to spend and if you are willing and/or able? Some may want the Set It and Forget It Cruise Control Type. Anyways, that was my first experience. Did I make anyone hungry?


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This is interesting to me, but I recently decided to switch to electric smokers as it's more environmentally friendly. I'm new to this, but I found a lot of information about this on the internet. I often read articles on the smoker guy's blog, for example I recently found Top Electric Smokers article. It really is very simple description of how to choose good smoker and what disadvantages popular smoker models and brands have. Do you think it's realistic to choose quality smoker at a low price? I try to choose one of the inexpensive smokers because I'm new to this and I'm not sure if smoked food will become my permanent hobby.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I wouldn't call an electric smoker as environmentally friendly, the electricity is generated someplace and usually is a result of burning a fossil fuel.

Whats your definition of a low price? $100, $300, $500?

In reality, once you get the hang of smoked meats, you are hooked. I have done so many types and styles of meats and fish on my smoker that I never would have dreamed of before. The right pellet smoker (which uses waste products from the forestry industry made food safe as a fuel) can grill, sear, smoke, etc. They are capable of direct or indirect heat plus the ability to smoke. I have not yet had a meat that hasn't come out tender and juicy. Done pork ribs, pork loin, pork chops, chicken, turkey, spiral cut ham, beef brisket, corned beef, steaks, burgers and even Argentinian shrimp on it. Haven't ruined a cut of meat yet and on a gas grill, I burned everything.

Walmart is where I bought mine, a Pit Boss Austin XL 1005 sqin which was $497. They have smaller ones for less ( a 340 sqin cooking surface for $297 and a 700 sqin surface for $335 but the size I got compares to a Pit Boss 820 sqin surface in price at Lowe's, has more cooking surface and a larger (31lb) hopper.
 
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