|1||Memphis Elite 39-inch By Memphis||10||Buy on Amazon|
|2||Traeger Junior Wood Black 292 sq. in. By Traeger||10||Buy on Amazon|
|3||Cpg-627 - W/ PID Controller By Pellet Pro||9.8||Buy on Amazon|
|4||Pit Boss 71820 Wood By Pit Boss||9.4||Buy on Amazon|
|5||Camp Chef PG24 and BBQ By Camp Chef||9.3||Buy on Amazon|
|6||Traeger BBQ155.01 19.5K BTU By Traeger||8.8||Buy on Amazon|
|7||Traeger 40" 20000 Btu 567 Sq. In. Black By Traeger||8.6||Buy on Amazon|
|8||Broilmaster Q3X Head, Qrave Liquid Propane By Broil Master||8||Buy on Amazon|
|9||Traeger Bbq By Traeger||7.8||Buy on Amazon|
|10||Louisiana 61100-LG1100 1061 Square Inch By Louisiana||7.4||Buy on Amazon|
Finding the Best Choice on the Market
Nearly every barbecue lover likes the flavor and tenderness of smoked meat. It’s just awesome, and the more you smoke, the more you want to smoke. It’s a vicious cycle.
The issue though, for a lot of guys, is time. Who has time to spend hours babysitting a smoker two or three days a week? Unless you’re unemployed and you live in your parents’ basement, you’re going to have a hard time carving out enough time to do a good job smoking. And if you’re married, you’ve probably already let the kids wander around the house naked rather than leave the meat unattended. Undoubtedly your wife is displeased.
So, how to save the marriage? The answer is a smoker. Pellet smokers take the babysitting out of smoking meat.
The concept is simple – This uses small woods to stabilize the smoking process and produce limited temperature fluctuations because of hot spots in your fuel. This means that, over time, the meat is going to smoke and cook consistently. You’ll need way less time standing by the smoker and babysitting the meat, rather than babysitting the kids.
Some products also include an automatic bore system that feeds these woods into the fire chamber, making the process even more hands off. Among our experts, the autofeed features are great units, both for quality of meat and quality of marriage.
Our Top Picks
So if you’re looking for a fantastic one, look no further, we’ve already done the research for you, and we’ll share our knowledge below. But first, the product that we believe is the best on the market at this point is.
They say tools make the man, and if that’s true, then this tool will make anyone into a successful man. This model is everything you could possibly want in a smoker. It is, without question, the best one on the market. It’s cooking area is literally huge – 1100 square inches of heavy duty porcelain coated cast iron grates. The construction is rock solid, with 14 gauge steel build out with double walled panelling to provide insulation and life span for the unit.
The cooking system is ingenious. It’s build where the small pieces of woods are fed and burned to maintain exact temperatures. It also has 250 nickel plated steel cooking rods that produce heat for the temperature control, and increased local cooking. The pellets are fed into the firebox unit where they are burnt to produce the smoke needed. The hopper is a whopping 24 pound capacity, allowing more than sixty hours of unattended smoking. Different varieties can by exchanged and mixed to hit the flavor point you’re looking for.
The whole system is powered by a dual fan convection system in order to oxygenate the air, and produce the perfect cooking conditions to cook the meat in the fastest and most moisture-saving way possible. The design also eliminates meat-ruining hot spots and produces a system that allows the chef to change the temperature with the touch of a button from 180 to 700 degrees F. And the meat thermometer (Intelligent Temperature Control Probe) is built in.
The entire system is designed to save your marriage. While it won’t help the pocketbook, per se, it is undoubtedly the gold standard on the market today.
However, no matter how bad you want one, if you can’t afford this luxury model, we’ve got a solution for you – our best value one
Traeger holds the household name for a reason. While they make all levels of smokers, the Traeger Junior is a great unit. For a fraction of the price of some of the larger units, the features are nearly equal. The Junior has the same autofeed system, allowing for hassle free smoking, and its selection change for changing flavors.
The Junior also offers the very helpful convection option as well, helping to eliminate variations in cooking temperature. This feature is usually available only on higher end tools, but the Traeger Junior includes it. The construction is also excellent with heavy duty steel and tight welds and seals.
The biggest drawback to the Traeger Junior is the cooking area (only 300 square inches). For far groups and parties, the Junior will have to work double time and you’ll need to pre smoke some meat.
Overall, this model has the features and quality of five times the price, but with less space consumption. No wonder we’ve chosen it as the best value.
There are other considerations that change how we choose the best. Maybe you’re not looking for the kind of massive capacity of the Memphis, but you want something that cooks more than the Junior.
Also, there’s always the price point to consider. If you’re in the market for a midrange, there may be more options for your dollar than just the Junior. But if you’re just searching for a nice machine that produces really high quality smoked meats, there may be other options that are best for you. Make sure you’re budgeting, and don’t forget to figure in the costs, especially if you’re looking for specialty types and flavors. You can spend a truckload of cash, so be sure to budget for that.
Plus, there’s always the risk that the pellets your smoker requires are not widely available. Of course, these days you can find almost anything on Amazon. We always suggest stocking up (especially when discounts are available). Storage is a bit of a pain, but it’s better to have too much than not enough and be hunting all over town for a supplier.
the other factor that may play a roll is space. If you’re sitting on three acres, you don’t have much to worry about space wise, and the market is open to you. However, if you’re in a small apartment, but still want quality smoked meats, you may need to sacrifice some of the cooking area you’re looking for. It’s critical to find the dimensions that work best for your area, and then match those to the best one in your price range.This may limit you to just a few options potentially.
Lastly, consider the quality, durability, and warranty that the company is known for. You may be able to find a cheaper one with similar features. However, that savings may look like a small investment compared to the huge cost associated with replacing a poorly made model.
With all these things to consider, check out the list below for some other really quality brands that are available on the market right now
The Top 10
Traeger BBQ155.01 19.5K BTU
This model is a larger version of the Junior above, but with some slight modifications. You know you’re getting a high quality product with the Traeger name stamped into the hood. The cooking area is larger, with 567 sq. in. of space, and different meats can be easily accommodated. There isn’t a different cooking surface, but the meats can be moved around to achieve the desired affect. Of course, this means babysitting, but after all, good meats are worth that.
But if you’re just cooking a single meat type, this model is fantastic. The autofeed keep it cooking without attention, and the unit can reach temperatures up to 400 degrees. The entire system, including smoke output and temperature is controlled digitally. Plus the powder-coated steel construction is nearly indestructible. If you’ve ever touched a Traeger, you can really feel the quality and care that the company is known for.
The hopper holds up to 20 pounds, and auto ignite hot rod makes start up as simple as possible. The convection blower is also a standard feature on this product, and keeps temperatures uniform throughout the cooking process.
Traeger Lil Tex Elite BBQ
As you can see, we’re big fans of Traeger. The Lil Tex represents a mid point between the previous unit and the Junior. The advantage of the Lil Tex is that it burns far less pellets than the larger model, and so a full hopper, at 20 pounds, will last you quite a while.
This model is well built, with the same Traeger quality standard as above – powder coated steel construction, high quality hard-rubber wheels, coated grates, etc., and with pretty decent cooking space. The Lil Tex provides 418 square inches of grill, ready for as much as five racks of babybacks or six whole chickens. That kind of volume may work out for the sort of parties you’re envisioning. If it’s not enough, check out the one above. If it does work for you, we can’’t really suggest a nicer unit for the money.
This also has many of the same features, with the autofeed hopper, convection system, and digital temperature control that makes managing the smoking process easy. This is a really nice Traeger with some great higher-end features and durable construction.
Pit Boss Wood
This product is really a excellent mid-level machine for the smoking aficionado. The Pit Boss has all the features of the high end ones, including a substantial 820 square inch cooking surface. With that much surface area to smoke on, you can diversify your meat selection without having to do multiple smoking sessions.
The smoking control system is completely digital, and allows a temperature range from 180 to 500 degrees allowing for anything from slow roasting to full searing in one machine. Additionally, the convection fan system controls temperature variation, and helps to seal the meat and keep the moisture intact.
Finally, the equipment has an autostart mechanism and a fast cooling system, all built into a really well made, strong sided and durable system. It is great for mid- to large sized groups.
Broilmaster Q3X Head, Qrave Liquid Propane
You’ve probably heard the name Broilmaster before. After fifty years of brands coming and going, Broilmaster has really stood the test of time. The reason is that they make really fantastic products for outdoor cooking. Made in the USA, this model is a great machine for the money.
The Q3X isn’t exactly a smoker. It’s a propane gas designed for complex outdoor cooking. This model is made of a heavy duty cast aluminum, making it rugged and durable, while at the same time relatively light and easy to move.
The cooking surface is dual level, allowing for searing and fast cooking for steaks and burgers while at the same time allowing for slower cooking for full internal cook levels on chicken and pork items. An auto start and patented drip collection system all make this model a serious contender.
Cpg-627 - W/ PID Controller
This model defines heavy duty. Make of 14 gauge steel, this beast weighs in over 140 pounds before you add in the pellets. Porcelain racks and a powder coated finish complete this tool. Temperature ranges from 140 to as high as 400 degrees on the side, and even as high as 500, depending on conditions. Excellent construction and great capacity (627 sq. in.) make this one of the top ten.
This product is designed to give the meat a wood-fired flavor, rather than a charcoal smoked flavor, making this an ideal system for the smoking enthusiast. The digital controls allow for a set-it and forget it system, with a slow bore from the hopper into the firebox, producing a great flavor on the meat. Especially designed with longer cook times and fall-off-the-bone preparation, this model is built to infuse wood flavor into meat at every temperature.
Camp Chef PG24 BBQ
This model boasts the best digital control system on the market, designed to regulate temperature perfectly. The auger system moves the small pieces of woods into this cooking equipment to keep heat at exact temperature and produce exact volumes of smoke for perfect flavor.
Built for at home use, this product has the features of a fully industrial system but at backyard proportions. It has the ability to smoke, barbecue, and roast every food item for your dinner party. Because the digital system provides exact detail for the temperature of the smoking device, you’ll be able to pick the perfect temperature for what you’re cooking. The range is large as well – from 160 to 500+ degrees.
The capacity is excellent as well, with 570 sq. inches of cooking surface, and a removable upper warming rack with space enough to smoke an entire turkey without any hassle. Plus with the digitized temp controls, you can get the flavor exactly right.
Cleaning this equipment is super simple, with a patented ash cleanup system. Simply pull a lever and catch the spent ash under the product, and get started cooking again. No need to fight with the vacuum or the wife after you’ve cleaned out the smokey residue.
Louisiana 61100-LG1100 1061 Square Inch
This product has been named as one of the best products on the market today. This model is built like a tank, with heavy duty 14 gauge steel housing, and porcelain coated cast iron racks.
The cooking surface is really substantial – over 1100 sq. inches – and the temperature maximums go to well over 600 degrees. The temperature control is to 5 degree increments but the system is digital so it allows for careful setting.
The model also has a flame broiler and a finely tuned thermometer in the lid to ensure proper cooking temperatures. The auger and hopper structure is compact and well built for long use. Overall, with the size and build quality, this is an excellent choice for larger parties.
With all the the best ones on the market, it’s tough to choose. There are a lot of great models and builds, but the list above should give you a good idea.
Of course, if you’re in the market for the of the best, we’d obviously suggest the Memphis Elite 39 Inch. It’s the best the market has to offer for sure when you consider construction, quality, and durability. Take some time to review the specs on Amazon, and we know you’ll agree.
If you’re not in the market for something that size, check out the Traeger Junior. It’s everything there is in the Memphis, but on a smaller and cheaper scale. If you’re not cooking for the National Guard, this may just be the ultimate one for you.
No matter what, do your research. Take the time to make sure you’re getting what you want, and don’t skimp on the quality. This machine will pay dividends for years to come!
Best Overall: Memphis Elite 39-inch
If you’re after the best one you can currently get, then there’s no other model out there that can compete with the Memphis Elite Vgb0002s(View on Amazon.com). This massive 1100 sq. inch device is the first and last you’re ever going to buy not only because it is built like a tank from 14-gauge steel, but also because it’s going to help you cook some of the most delicious meals you’ve ever had. No matter if you’re a novice or experienced with smoking meats and want to cook either for a small group of friends or for a large party, the versatility, amazing set of features and ease of use of the Memphis Elite Vgb0002s are going to win you over.
Best Value: Traeger Junior
If you still want to get a high quality model, but don’t really have the cash for a high end model, then you may want to take a closer look at the Traeger Junior. This is the revised version of the more compact Junior sized and it comes with a wide range of features that will help you smoke and cook some of your best meals yet. You get a total cooking surface of 300 sq inches which is ideal for professional and home chefs alike.
What you’re certainly going to love about it is that you won’t have to deal with hot and cold spots anymore thanks to the convection blower installed in the cooking chamber. And since the Junior boasts a heavy-duty construction, it’s easily going to withstand to frequent, long term use like a champ. All in all, if you want one of the best value-oriented ones out there, it’s highly recommended that you give the Traeger Junior a shot. You’ll be very impressed by how well this small, yet powerful unit is going to cook and smoke your meals!