I would be in Italy working on a film, longing for something simple, like God, I would just kill to be sitting at a barbecue having a beer right now - Chris O’Donnell
As much as we love football, baseball and NASCAR, barbecuing, grilling and smoking are America’s favorite pastimes.
They’re the lifeblood that makes our weekends, Summer evening and vacations flow, and when we get together with our friends and families, the chances are, we’ll be doing it around a smoker or a grill.
It’s who we are, it’s who we always have been, and who we always will.
We love to have a good time with the people we care about, and good times don’t get much better than when they’re spent hanging around, and cooking with, a smoker.
Choosing the right smoker for those gatherings though, that can be tough. And in the last decade, it’s become harder than it’s even been as the number of companies making their mark on the smoker world has increased exponentially.
The grilling and smoking market can be a tough place to navigate if you’re relatively new to it, and that’s why we’ve made a list of five of the best pellet smokers that the would-be, and the more experienced, griller can use to perfect their barbecuing skill set with.
All you have to do is choose the pellet smoker that captures your imagination, invite your family and friends to join you and then you’ll be given the keys to Good Times City.
It’s time to open those gates and start smoking…
OUR TOP PICK
Based in Nevada, Green Mountain Grills are a company that was started because they believed that everything tastes better when it’s cooked using wood.
Claiming to be the best of the best at everything smoker and grill related, including price, Green Mountain has come a long way since their humble beginnings, and the Davy Crockett epitomizes everything that they learned and discovered on their smoking journey.
The Davy Crockett is, to quote Green Mountain, the go-to grill and smoker for small families, RVer’s, tailgaters, and anyone who wants to have a good time with a couple of racks of ribs, some steaks, and a whole bunch of burgers.
That sounds like an invitation to a party to us, and with this fully portable smoker, you’ll have two hundred and nineteen square inches of sealed cooking space to channel all of the smoke and heat that the hopper, which can hold nine pounds of pellets, produces over.
Digitally controlled and fully WiFi-enabled so you can monitor and control the smoking process from your smartphone or tablet, the Davy Crockett not only brings the party to you but also makes sure that you can take the party with you, whenever the mood takes you and wherever you want to go.
Weighing in at sixty-eight pounds, this tough little smoking hombre might not be the biggest pellet fired grill out there, but it won’t tie you down to one location either.
Thanks to its lightweight, versatile design, you can fold it up and haul it to the game, campsite or your best buddies place in the bed of your truck or in the back of your SUV.
Blessed with the same can-do spirit as the Alamo’s most famous son that it’s named after, it’ll keep on smoking right up to the bitter end.
- It’s small, lightweight, and compact, and no matter where you decide to make your base and party central, with the Davy Crockett, as long as you’ve got somewhere to plug it and a whole bag of pellets to fuel it with, you’ll be ready to start smoking in minutes.
- Fully WiFi enabled, you can control the entire smoking and grilling process from your phone or tablet and spend the time that you would have spent hunched over the grill with your loved ones instead.
- It’s a precision grilling instrument that offers an incredible degree of control so that you can smoke whatever you’re cooking as much or little as you want and get all the flavors that the smoke will make just the way you like them.
- It is not the biggest of smokers, so if you’re expecting large crowds at your cookouts and barbecues, you’re going to want to find a smoker with a larger cooking surface than the Davy Crockett offers. And while its WiFi is easy to use and the app is straightforward, it takes a little of the fun out of smoking. We’re old school smokers and grillers and we like to get our hands dirty while we’re cooking, so we’ll probably never be fully converted to the WiFi smoking cause.
Bigger, hotter, heavier are the three rules that the family-owned and operated grilling and smoking behemoth, Pit Boss adhere to rigidly.
And in their twenty-year history, those guiding principles have never steered them wrong and have firmly pointed them in the direction of, and made sure they set sail for, smoking glory.
With eight hundred and twenty square inches of total cooking space, a fully dialed in digital control that’ll allow you to set the smoker temperature anywhere between one hundred and eighty and five hundred degrees, and a twenty-pound hopper that’ll let you keep on smoking all day long, this Pit Boss grilling and smoking monster will instantly become the centerpiece of any get-togethers and shindigs that you, your family and all of you friends throw.
And if you decide that you want to try a little something new, you can use the Pit Bosses’ open flame broiler to try your hand at searing, or any of the other possibilities that this surprisingly versatile smoker offers.
Built to last by a brand that’s as serious about smoking as they are about grilling, this Pit Boss smoker is an outdoor cooking workhorse that’ll follow all of your smoking instructions to the letter without deviation.
Bigger, hotter, heavier isn’t just a slogan to Pit Boss, it’s a way of life.
- With a total cooking space of over eight hundred square inches, there isn’t a party, function, or get together that this leviathan won’t be able to take in its stride. If you want to smoke it, the Pit Boss can do it.
- It’s surprisingly well-endowed in terms of cooking ability, and its functionality can only be matched by the imagination of the cook who uses it.
- It’s a durable, strong, and made to last long smoking and grilling Titan that’s been designed to be easy to get to grips with, even if it does take a lifetime to master.
- Even though we’re confirmed Luddites and prefer to smoke the old way, we can, and do appreciate the benefits of modern technology, unlike Pit Boss. There’s no WiFi control or internet enabling with this smoker, so you’ll have to fully immerse yourself in their grilling world if you want to make the most of this smoker
- All of that toughness and durability? It makes this smoker heavy. At one hundred and forty-two pounds, when you roll this smoker into your yard, wherever you situate it, it’s going to be staying there.
For Joe Davidson, it all started with a dream.
He wanted to make smokers that made a difference, so with two thousand dollars he’d saved and scraped together, he built twelve smokers and took them to the Oklahoma state fair in nineteen eighty-seven.
On the first day, he was there, he sold all of the smokers he’d made and taken orders for another hundred. That was the day his dreams came true, and Oklahoma Joe’s was born. And since that day, they’ve never looked back.
This offset smoker (meaning that the firebox and hopper are offset from the main body of the smoker), has a total cooking area of nearly one thousand square inches and can hold up to twenty pounds of the finest flavored wood pellets in its hopper at once.
All you have to do is place whatever you want to smoke and grill on the cooking shelf of the main chamber (and the secondary shelf in the firebox), turn it on, turn up the heat, step back and let Oklahoma Joe take over.
The multiple dampers that Oklahoma Joe’s (we like to think that Joe takes control of every build, and has a hand in every smoker that his brand makes) Highland Offset has means that you can finely control and adjust the amount of heat and smoke that it’ll deliver to the main, and secondary cooking chambers.
You’ll be in full control of your own smoking destiny with the Highland and able to explore a universe of smoke-filled barbecue flavors that you never dared to dream existed.
- With a combined cooking area of nearly one thousand square inches, the Highland Offset was made to conquer and feed the largest of family parties, so you’ll never have an excuse to leave anyone off the invitation list ever again.
- Its twenty-pound hopper is designed to smoke all day. Just fill it up, turn it on, and let it do what it does best; smoke.
- The simple, but incredibly effective set of dampers that the Highland uses puts you firmly in control of the smoking process at every step of your barbecue journey.
- Like all of the best pellet smokers, Oklahoma Joe’s Highland weighs more than the Ozark Mountains and once you’ve set it up, this one hundred and seventy-pound modern pellet smoking miracle won’t be going anywhere.
- It’s an old school, manually controlled pellet smoker. There’s no wires or technology or weird world wide web tomfoolery involved in the construction of the Highland, just good old fashioned engineering and spit and sawdust know-how. If you don’t want to be a hands-on smoker, it isn’t the grill for you.
Since they were founded thirty years ago, Camp Chef has had one objective, to provide a better way to cook outdoors.
They challenged themselves to raise the steaks (it’s their joke, it isn’t ours - we just borrowed it) of grilling and smoking outdoors, and they’ve risen to the challenge with grace and purpose and made some incredible pellet smokers along the way.
One of Camp Chef’s latest generation of pellet-fired smokers, the DLX has four hundred and twenty square inches of cooking space and an eighteen-pound hopper, which thanks to Camp Chef’s patented Ash Can cleanout system is even easier to clean than it is to fill.
The DLX’s digital control unit provides a precise temperature readout and is simple to master, and asserts a rare level of dominance over the accuracy with which this smoker can cook and grill.
Temperature flat spots and fluctuation are a thing of the past with the DLX, which leaves you free to enjoy more time with your family and friends.
Featuring an automatic pellet dispenser that only activates when needed and shuts down when the hopper runs dry, the DLX is a smoker that’s been designed and engineered to cater to the middle ground and has just enough space to cook and smoke for the smaller family gatherings and poker night get-togethers.
It is, as Goldilocks once intoned “Just right”.
- It isn’t too big and it isn’t too small, the DLX sits somewhere between both and as such is ideal for those more intimate, smaller backyard cookouts in which lifelong memories are, all too often, made.
- The pinpoint digital control system that the DLX uses lets you fine-tune and adjust your cook whenever and however you want to.
- The Ash Can cleanout system that Camp Chef uses on all of their pellet smokers and grills makes cleaning the hopper straightforward and easy. There’s no more scrubbing and no more having to spend an eternity after everyone else has gone home cleaning up after them. It’s one of those little blessings and gifts that you’ll wish you’d discovered before and will, if you’re anything like us, transform you into a Camp Chef true believer.
- While the digital control system that the DLX uses is a nod in the right direction, it feels a little like a half measure and left us wondering why they didn’t fully embrace the digital age and imbue their smoker with WiFi connectivity. Still, it’s one small step for the DLX, one giant leap for smokers and grills.
Traeger invented the original wood-fired grill in Oregon over thirty years ago and has been at the forefront of the smoker based barbecue pellet revolution ever since.
A leading light in the design and manufacture of pellet grills and smokers, Trager is incredibly proud of the fact that all of their smokers and grills are made to be as easy to use as your home oven and are determined to welcome as many people as possible to the home smoker movement.
The Ironwood 650 is one of Traeger’s most popular pellet smoker and grill combinations and has six hundred and fifty square inches of cooking space, a twenty-pound hopper capacity, can be fully controlled from either your smartphone, tablet, or Alexa thanks to WiFire technology that Trager uses and is versatile enough to smoke, barbecue, braise, roast or bake whatever you want it too.
It’s push-button ignition and simple to use app and direct, straightforward manual controls have ensured that this smoker is a perpetual favorite among the home barbecue faithful.
An all-inclusive brand that happily welcomes anyone and everyone to the Traeger Hood, these pellet pioneers have made their name by engineering the sort of smokers and grills that makes cooking outdoors easy, fun, and exciting.
Welcome to twenty-first-century smoking and cooking the Traeger way.
- Fully WiFi and Alexa enabled, you can control whatever you’re smoking with the Ironwood from anywhere you can get a connection. And the WiFire app it uses comes with hundreds of recipes that you can download straight to your smoker and it will follow them to the letter thanks to the magic of technology.
- With six hundred and fifty square inches of cooking space and a hopper that can hold twenty pounds of pellets, this smoker can cook all day and every day, and what it can, and will smoke, is only limited by your imagination.
- It’s versatile too, and won’t just smoke your food. It’ll barbecue, roast, braise and bake it too. Finding a list of things that the Ironwood can’t do is much harder than finding the list of things that it can do.
- It’s plagued by the same problem that all pellet smokers are. It’s a heavy smoking and grilling combo that thanks to weighing one hundred and fifty pounds won’t be going anywhere once you found a spot for it. And if it does and you try moving it by yourself, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll end up in the emergency room.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is A Pellet Smoker?
A pellet smoker is an outdoor grill designed to smoke and cook food at, more often than not, low temperatures for a long period of time and infuse whatever is being cooked with a rich, dense smoked flavor.
Made to be durable, strong, and easy to use they have large cooking surfaces that can be used to prepare a variety of different meat, fish, and vegetables at the same time.
Pellet smokers use purpose-made wood pellets as a source of fuel and smoke to flavor the food they’re used to cook.
The wood pellets are usually loaded into a hopper or firebox, set alight, and then the smoke and heat they produce are funneled and channeled into a cooking chamber to cook whatever is being grilled and saturate it with all sorts of smoke based flavor.
Which Pellet Smoker Should Take Pride Of Place In My Yard?
Before you decide which pellet smoker is the right choice for your yard, you need to set a budget and stick to it and decide whether or not you want your pellet smoker to be a permanent resident.
If you don’t want your pellet smoker to live in your yard forever and want the freedom that comes with portability so that you can take it where you want to, whenever you want to, then you won’t find a better pellet smoker than Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett.
It may not have the largest cooking surface, but it packs a lot of inventive and innovative smoking power.
But if your budget isn’t an issue and you’re more than happy to have your smoker dwell in your backyard forever, then the only pellet smoker that you’ll ever need is the Traeger Ironwood 650. It’s a versatile, technological miracle that makes the art of great smoking simple, fun, and interesting.
Get your pellets ready and prepare your food and your recipes, it’s smoking time.
Last update on 2021-04-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API