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Old 01-07-2019, 09:23 PM   #1
Mr. NiceGuy
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A Barbecue/Smoker Question

Are pellet fed smoker/grills (Traeger, Green Mountain, Camp Chef, etc.) anything special for making succulent smoked or moist grilled fish, or is it more hype and marketing than it is a functional difference?

It seems like everyone who has a Traeger is crazy about it. Eventually, they say they can make cookies.

Is this real or name brand brainwashing?

https://smokegears.com/best-pellet-smokers-reviews/

I've been using a small table top Weber gas barbecue and an old Little Chief electric smoker.
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Old 01-08-2019, 02:58 AM   #2
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I have a green mountain grill. The smallest one. Itís portable so I bring it with me camping and it plugs right into the cigarette lighter. Very convenient and very low power draw. Iíve smoked meats for 12 hours and my truck fired right up at the end of it.

If youíre only thinking of smoking and grilling fish, what you currently have is sufficient. But if you want to turn it on and walk away for 12 hours and come back to perfectly smoked brisket/ribs/prime rib/etc, then I would upgrade to a pellet smoker. All the while the meat is cooking you have a digital readout of the temperature of the meat on your phone. You can set the grill to turn off when the meat reaches a certain temperature, you really have no Excuse to mess things up.

Iíve been told Traeger controller boards go out frequently which is why I went GMG, as did my brother in law and ours have worked flawlessly for years. Company has great customer service as well.
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Old 01-08-2019, 06:38 AM   #3
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I have friends that us the Trager, Green egg. I purchased the Pit Boss from Wal Mart and have had great success at a third of the cost....Happy Smoking..
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Old 01-08-2019, 06:52 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by popo50 View Post
I have friends that us the Trager, Green egg. I purchased the Pit Boss from Wal Mart and have had great success at a third of the cost....Happy Smoking..


Not sure which pit boss you have, but the equivalent pellet smoker to the one I have on Walmartís website shows for $349. The small green mountain grill named Davey crockett (the one I own) is $339 on Amazon. And you get an app in which you can monitor grill temp, meat temp, change grills temp, turn on off grill, etc..
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Old 01-08-2019, 07:10 AM   #5
Saba Slayer
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smokers

...I'm sold on the pellet feed smokers/grills...I bought a Treager...although I was sure it was all hype at first
(LOL... especially after listening to Ron on the radio adds) ...until my neighbor brought over some pulled pork he had cooked on his Traeger. I thought he was the BBQ King...until I realized it was the machine that made it taste so good.



For smoking fish...it's the best I've used in years...with the digital readout you can set a nice low temp and have it stay consistent...the fan circulates the hot air and evenly cooks/smokes the fish. With a pellet feed you can buy a bunch of different flavors and they are delicious.



The smoke flavor can be mild or strong...depending on the pellets used... We tried apple for our last bunch of ribs and pork loins...the Alder wood is really mild for fish and the Hickory and Mesquite are full of flavor for the bolder meats...
The family sometimes prefers a higher temp and a faster cook time to get that black and crisp finish on the meat with some bbq sauce...although the slow cooking with a good rub on the meat is a delicious and moist way to go also. The beer can chicken is really moist and good...sometimes I'll use Apple or Pineapple juice instead.





I don't think you can go wrong with a pellet feed grill/smoker...I'd make the investment if I were you.

Clean-up is easy too...
Dump that Little Chief smoker and you'll be amazed at the difference in quality of your final product.
The machines are pretty simple so the knock-off versions may be well made...although I can't say, as I haven't looked at or compared the lesser priced units.
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Old 01-08-2019, 07:25 AM   #6
Hunters Pa
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Good question here. There are factors on both sides. I use a weber smokey mountain. It is charcoal fired and I use chunks of wood for the smoke. Brief summary of factors i took into consideration:

Pellet

positive
Set it and forget it capability
capacity
consistent quality

Negative
Have to use pellets (big factor for me)
- Variety limited to what the manufacturer produces
- what if they go out of business and no longer make pellets?
- Cost factor when there are only a few makers of the pellets
Need electricity
Cost - these things aren't cheap (but I have no problem paying for a quality product that will last)

Electric

positive
Plug it in and set the temp and it can self regulate
Do not need charcoal for heat
Can use chips, chunks or pellets
Typically cheaper
Higher capacity

negative
Need power access
Most do not seem "built to last"

Charcoal based

Positive
no power needed
can use chips, chunks, pellets
Can double as picnic or camping grill
mid range cost
Replacement parts lower cost
Aftermarket items for "hot rodding" available

negative
capacity
need to buy & ignite charcoal
more "hands on" unless you invest in aftermarket mods


I went with the smokey mountain for a couple of reasons. I have an awesome outdoor kitchen with a 42" Twin Eagles grill, multiple kitchen-style stove burners and a 18" wide griddle. The smoker is for smoking or to take camping, to the beach or whatever. I did not want to be reliant on having a power supply. I also did not want to have to buy a product made by a handful of manufacturers that may or may not be around in 10 years, or that may decide to double their prices when to number of manufacturers goes down. Wood chunks are more readily available and in greater variety. You really do get a different result when using something like cherry or olive. The capacity was the main point of hesitation, but the way I smoke food i can transfer to my built in gas grill at the foiling stage and start the next round on the smoker. This does not apply when i smoke fish, so I just need to plan appropriately, but it is the exception rather than the rule when I am using the smoker.

The best thing I did, though, to taking my use of the smoker to the next level was to take a quality class. This significantly shortened my learning curve. The class I took was offered by Harry Soo at slapyodaddybbq.com. He does them mainly at his house in Diamond Bar. A good class will not be cheap, but it will move you forward exponentially.

Just my 2 cents
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Old 01-08-2019, 08:00 AM   #7
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All that said, I am still kicking around the idea of getting a pellet. If I do it will be from Costco as they seem to have the most competitive pricing, I have the exec membership so there is the additional rebate, and they have an awesome return policy.

But I have not had any complaints on my results with the WSM.
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Old 01-08-2019, 12:11 PM   #8
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Just because you buy a Traeger does not mean you have to buy Traeger pellets. Any cooking pellet will work, and there are many different manufacturers of pellets to choose from. My favorite are the Bear Mountain pellets, but I've used Traeger branded and others over the years.
I currently have three smokers, and use pellets in all of them (though one is a dedicated cold smoker). My two hot smokers are both Green Mountain - chose them over the Traeger because of build quality. Unfortunately both are made in China - but materials are just a bit better in the GMG, and the controller is more robust as was mentioned before.
You can cook anything in a pellet smoker, I've baked cakes, smoked home grown paprika, made mesquite smoked salt and made pizza in addition to the normal stuff you associate a smoker with. I'm particularly fond of smoked pizza - especially on a camping trip. The Davey Crockett shown has been upgraded with Grill Grates - which when the smoker is cranked up to 550* put an excellent sear on any steak...
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Old 01-09-2019, 04:05 AM   #9
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Ive been buying this with amazon prime so free shipping. 40 lbs of pellets and a mix flavor. This bag lasts me a LOOOOOONG time.


https://www.amazon.com/CookinPellets...WOL&ref=plSrch


Saying pellets wonít be made anymore is like saying charcoal wonít be made anymore. Theyíre here to stay thatís a certainty.
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Old 01-09-2019, 05:17 AM   #10
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We have a Traeger that I picked up off of Craigslist that had never been fired. My wife uses it more than I do even cleans it when it is time. Really like being able to take it when we go camping and yes we have baked in it, pineapple upside down cakes and pretzels. I have a local BBQ place that has all brands of pellets at great prices and I get any flavor I want. Are they all hype, I don't think so we love ours. Use it two to three times a week for over two years now and no problems as of yet
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Old 01-09-2019, 09:04 AM   #11
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Great responses! Thanks!


Looks like my next purchase will be a Green Mountain pellet smoker/grill. The phone app sounds great.



--------------------------


I have a boneless leg of lamb marinating right now for dinner tonight. Sounds like this is exactly where it should be roasted, rather than in my oven.



SIDEBAR: I found pomegranate molasses at Vine Ripe to try this:
1 leg of lamb (without the shank), boned, and butterflied
For the wet rub:
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
4 cloves coarsely minced garlic
1 tbsp fresh chopped rosemary
1 tsp Aleppo pepper, or other red pepper flakes to taste
2 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp mint
1 tsp fresh English thyme



Marinate lamb overnight, and roast at 350F. for about 1 3/4 hours, or until the internal temperature of 135-140F. is reached, for medium-rare to medium.


* I will try 125 internal temp for rare rare to medium-rare, followed by a rest period under foil for moisture and succulence.


Caramelized carrots on the side. Albie's Steakhouse in Mission Valley used to have GREAT sweet, soft carrots. Too bad they lost their lease and had to finally close down. I'm trying to recreate those carrots tonight.
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Old 01-09-2019, 09:12 AM   #12
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On the subject barbecued Beer Can Chicken: That's one of the most amazing, moist flavors for chicken I have ever had.



I was at Costco Business Center (more restaurant supplies than regular Costco) and noticed whole chickens there are only $1 each.



*pulls mustache, .... ponders, ....
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Old 03-19-2019, 09:36 AM   #13
Hunters Pa
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So, I pulled the trigger and bought a Traeger at the Fred Hall Show. I received all the "extras" via UPS, but had not heard anything regarding shipping of the grill itself. So I called in on Friday and multiple calls later, time spent in the queue to get a person and customer service reps that could not find me in their system, they tell me the grill I ordered is on backorder and they have no idea when it will ship.

Then they tell me it is the "Canada version" and they have other model numbers for the same grill and would get back to me on Friday or, latest, Monday with an update.

I ended up calling yesterday afternoon as I had not heard anything. More shuffling, time in queue multiple times, on hold for 8 minutes and then cut off, having to dial back in and wait in line again. Person told me they would call back in 40 minutes. I called back 2 hours later and they left for the day.

A supervisor called me today to follow up. They still don't have an estimated ship date. She is the 7th person I talked to on this.



I'm not looking for anything free

I'm not asking for expedited shipping

I paid in full and was charged the same day.

All I want is to be kept informed and know when to expect it to ship


This had better be an awesome freaking grill, a hell of a lot better than the customer service department. They have all been courteous and professional, but 7 different stories from 7 different people.
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Old 03-19-2019, 09:50 AM   #14
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subscribed, this seems like a very interesting thread
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Old 03-19-2019, 01:34 PM   #15
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Total bummer about the huge run around - hope you got some killer show discount to make up for it...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hunters Pa View Post
So, I pulled the trigger and bought a Traeger at the Fred Hall Show. I received all the "extras" via UPS, but had not heard anything regarding shipping of the grill itself. So I called in on Friday and multiple calls later, time spent in the queue to get a person and customer service reps that could not find me in their system, they tell me the grill I ordered is on backorder and they have no idea when it will ship.

Then they tell me it is the "Canada version" and they have other model numbers for the same grill and would get back to me on Friday or, latest, Monday with an update.

I ended up calling yesterday afternoon as I had not heard anything. More shuffling, time in queue multiple times, on hold for 8 minutes and then cut off, having to dial back in and wait in line again. Person told me they would call back in 40 minutes. I called back 2 hours later and they left for the day.

A supervisor called me today to follow up. They still don't have an estimated ship date. She is the 7th person I talked to on this.



I'm not looking for anything free

I'm not asking for expedited shipping

I paid in full and was charged the same day.

All I want is to be kept informed and know when to expect it to ship


This had better be an awesome freaking grill, a hell of a lot better than the customer service department. They have all been courteous and professional, but 7 different stories from 7 different people.
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Old 03-20-2019, 06:56 AM   #16
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The package was $150 cheaper than Costco. But with a Costco I would have brought it home the same day and avoided a lot of frustration
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Old 03-20-2019, 07:27 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by penak View Post
subscribed, this seems like a very interesting thread
WOW, hadnít thought of putting SPAM in the smoker before ....
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Old 03-22-2019, 07:33 PM   #18
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Plans on Popular Mechanic

I built one of these. Much more rewarding when you make your smoker yourself. I added some mods such as removable legs. My neighbor has a body shop and welded my nickname onto it.

I go to an annual BBQ contest and come in second a lot against all the high end expensive smokers brought out by the pros. Word gets out about my contraption and they end on migrating to my camp to check it out.

I use Cowboy lump oak charcoal and add different wood types to match what I am cooking. After smoking pork butts for 12 or so hours, I still have 1/3+ basket full of uncooked charcoal. It is very efficient.

Also the smoke is wet when it comes out the top vents as the food is dripping onto the coals. I was afraid everything would dry out since the fuel is directly under the food, but that is not the case.

This type of cooker is popular in the south.

https://www.popularmechanics.com/hom...5-gallon-drum/

Bought a new 55 gal drum from ULine and most everything else from plumbing supply.
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Old 04-01-2019, 07:48 AM   #19
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Latest update

I talked to a customer service "supervisor" a few times. I had to call her back as she did not call me when promised ( she said 2 days, I gave her 3). So, they said they are "upgrading the model i am going to get, at no charge, due to the runaround and also going to refund the cost for the extra rack ($60). This was March 22. Grill was supposed to ship by end of day Monday, March 25 and I would be notified of the tracking number.

I call in Tuesday mid-day because, yet again, I have heard NOTHING. I was told that it had shipped and I would receive on Thursday. Thursday comes and here is my grill!!! But it is the model I originally ordered, NOT the upgraded model i was promised to keep me from cancelling my order altogether. I call in, yet again, and talked to Rebecca, the customer service supervisor I have been dealing with. I get the same answer to all my other questions - "I don't know what happened. It should have been the upgraded model that shipped."

So, they are going to send the upgraded controller (not holding my breath) and a manager (next step up, in different office, could not transfer me, takes a few days for request to get to them in the "system") is supposed to call me by the end of the day tomorrow (3 working days from my call). AND I have still not been credited for the extra rack.

I did not get to assemble the grill until yesterday. Assembly was very straightforward and it came with the tools needed. The grill is very sturdy and appears well made. There is an initial first-firing procedure and you have to run it on high for 45 minutes to burn off any residue from manufacturing. I follow instructions and first-fire kicks in. Success!

I set it on high for the 45 minute burn-in. I come back 20 minutes later to check on it and there is no smoke coming out. There is an error message on the LED. WTF!!!! I reset it and the burn-in goes fine this time.

So, Stater Bros has Porterhouse on sale for $4.99 a pound, so I get 3 nice slabs for a test run. Recipe book says to smoke for 30 minutes and then set to 450 and cook until desired level of doneness. The control dial does not have 450. It goes from 375 to "High". I look through the recipe book and other recipes call for temps of 400, 425, 450. Yet that is not an option on the controller.

SO, I set it on high and pull the steaks at internal temp if 130 on my instant read thermometer. I had done two in our normal marinade and one with just salt and pepper to get a feel for the flavor imparted by the grill.

The steaks were really really good! The way it is designed you do not get a flare up. The wood imparted a richness to the beef fat (my favorite part) that made it incredible. Wife and kids loved it as well. It does not get that "sear", however, if that is what you are looking for. I like a sear, but the steaks did not suffer in its absence.

After cooking there is a run-down cycle to clear the fire pot. At this point I put our mini baked potatoes on the grill to hit them with a bit of the smoke as well, which was the perfect amount.

As it stands right now, the grill seems very well made. The steaks turned out phenomenal. Customer service gets a FAIL across the board. I have talked to 12 people, soon to be 13 or 14 if the manager does not call back by end of day tomorrow. I have not received the credit nor the upgrade promised (shipment of upgraded controller TBD).

Recommendation - it is a really good machine, but pricey. The small bit of savings I got from purchasing at the show was not worth the headache and frustration and delay. Cookbook does not match the capability of the machine.



Sorry for the thread-jack. I wanted to follow up on my previous posts, however, for anyone who had the morbid interest in how the saga continues to unfold.
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Old 04-01-2019, 11:46 AM   #20
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The reason you got an error code when you first started it is because the pot needs to be primed if it is completely empty. The smoker basically ran double the pellets in the first time to start up, because the pot was dry.
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