Pros and Cons of Electric Pellet Smokers

2012/05/18 05:29:36
Are any of you pitmasters out there using a Pellet Smoker?
If so, how's it working? 
I've been researching Electric Smokers, thinking along the lines of Bradley, Cookshack, Masterbilt, etc.
And then I ran into a very knowledgable BBQ store owner and Competition Champion who sold me on the merits of a pellet smoker. They've been blowing away competitors who use conventional smokers.
Pellet smokers are a relatively new concept that's growing by leaps and bounds. It's professed to be the next generation of smoking meats and will surpass conventional smokers in due time.
The major drawback is Price. The lowest priced units I found range from $700 to $1000 Bucks!
As production increases, prices will come down I'm sure. Some are made in the USA, Some in Canada and some in-- where else, China. Traegar Grills was one of the first companies to make them in the USA and then they took production to China and the quality went to hell.
Here is a web site I recommend to anyone thinking about buying ANYTHING outdoor cooking related.
Their buying guides are terrific.
"The Definitive Buyer's Guide and Reviews of Smokers, Grills, Cooking Accessories, Tools, Gadgets, Books, Magazines, Sauces, Ingredients, and More." 
post edited by Foodbme - 2012/05/18 05:31:31
Re:Pros and Cons of Electric Pellet Smokers 2012/05/18 10:00:02
He has a typo with foodpron....and it's the last word.
Re:Pros and Cons of Electric Pellet Smokers 2012/05/18 16:20:31
Chiming in...
I sold the Traegers.  They made wonderful barbecue.  My brother also sells them and one our our local restaurants uses Traegers for their smoked meats.
Supposedly pellets are cheaper than propane.  Not sure about that.
They are electric grills that use a hot plate to ignite the pellets that are fed into the grill by an auger.  They work well.
You can't sear a steak.  They are not made for grilling.
If you don't clean the grease that collects on the plates you can find yourself with a grease fire.  Easily remedied with aluminum foil.
It's a slow process but that's what it's supposed to be.
Hint:  If you buy your pellets a small bag at a time, you are paying a lot.  When they first came out, you were married to Traeger for your pellets.
Now you can get them in bulk but make sure the pellets are for cooking and not for wood stoves to heat your house.
Go for it!
Re:Pros and Cons of Electric Pellet Smokers 2012/05/18 16:23:43
Me again.  I owned a Cookshack and it's the best of the bunch. I didn't use it enough and gave it to my brother.
I also sold Bradleys.  They work well, but they're cheaply made.  They work best with the Bradley biscuits, but you could place a chunk on their burner system.   I had a demo Bradley in use at my shop and I made incredible jerky with it.  Never used it for anything else but they do work.
Re:Pros and Cons of Electric Pellet Smokers 2012/05/18 16:25:21
Traeger makes a junior model without all the bells and whistles.  It works as well as the bigger models.
I think it runs around $400.
Re:Pros and Cons of Electric Pellet Smokers 2012/05/18 17:15:25
Thank you for your extensive knowledge! I was hoping you'd respond!
Has your brother been selling the Traeger's since they started making them in China? I understand they're not as well built as the originals made in the USA.
The largest Cook-off ever held in AZ is going on this Sat & Sunday over here in Scottsdale. Wanna come?
Next time you're in this area, checkout this store, BBQ Island Inc. It's the biggest, best equipped BBQ store I've ever seen!
Will make an old BBQ retailer drool! It's in Tempe just off I-10 East at Warner. across the street from IKEA.
Re:Pros and Cons of Electric Pellet Smokers 2012/05/21 01:52:25
Even IKEA makes me drool.
I'll be working my brother's store this Saturday.  It's the biggest BBQ sale day of the year.  If I remember, I'll ask him about the Traeger.
Traeger kind of blew it with their dealers.  It's now available in Costco.
My brother had stainless steel, wood fired pizza ovens manufactured for him in China.  I'm going to be in charge of the demo.  Nice as I've never seen one or cooked on one.  Should be fun.  At least I'll eat.