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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 12-13-2010, 06:33 PM   #1
nrok2118
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Default What pellet pooper, if any, to buy?

Well Im thinking about commiting some money to my bbq hobby, and have been searching around for a good smoker in the $1000-$1500 range. My goal is to make a delicious product that can feed a few or a bunch of people and possibly dabble in a local comp or two. I started with a wsm, built a UDS, and have produced some good food. I was looking into stickburners but stumbled across pellet grills in my price range (I always assumed they were much more costly). After some reading and research I like the idea and ease of use. Yeah its badass to throw logs into your pit every hour but at the end of the day I like the idea of set it and forget it, which is why I went with a wsm as my initial smoker.

So after looking around the popular models are the Traeger Texas and the Country BBQ 680. I found some posts from years back talking about the two but seems the Traeger has advanced a little more since than. It appears the Traeger uses a digital temp control leading me to beleive the feeding system works on actual pit temp not just a constant feed rate? If this is true does the CS-680 still work on a time-based feed system?

All input is greatly appreciated, Id love to hear what owners think. In all my research so far I havent found anyone who owned one and didnt like it.

Thanks!
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Unread 12-13-2010, 06:41 PM   #2
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If it were my choice again I would save up $500 more and get the MAK Grill.

I have fairly extensive review on my blog. I'll post the link when I get home.



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Unread 12-13-2010, 07:06 PM   #3
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I do not own a pellet cooker, but, I can tell you of two dealers, no names, that really do not like Traegers, one even dropped the line completely. They both had significant problems with customer service. YMMV
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Unread 12-13-2010, 07:34 PM   #4
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I love my CS680...has better build quality in my opinion on the steel and whole structure and yes, I have seen both in person before buying my 680

David
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Unread 12-13-2010, 07:43 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBQ Grail View Post
If it were my choice again I would save up $500 more and get the MAK Grill.

I have fairly extensive review on my blog. I'll post the link when I get home.

I searched MAK Grill and found your review, very nice! Though i noticed for a larger price tag it only has 429 sq in cooking space compared to 648/680 of the other models. I like the idea of the "User Programs" and other cool features but honestly, as with buying anything, it started as looking for something $500-1000 range than became 1000-1500. I just dont think I could pull the trigger on a $2000 grill.

That being said, how do you like your traeger with conventional bbq items like your ribs, butts, brisket?
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Unread 12-13-2010, 07:55 PM   #6
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Besides the Traegers and Country Smokers, take a look at Green Mountain Grills. One of our members in Milwaukee let me cook on his and i was impressed.

You should also look at the Memphis Pro line of pellet grills by Hearthland products. i have a Memphis Pro and love it.
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Unread 12-13-2010, 07:57 PM   #7
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i second the green mountain grills....they are great cookers
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Unread 12-13-2010, 08:50 PM   #8
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I have found some posotive things about green mountain cookers, Im just afraid of the build quality with them
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Unread 12-13-2010, 08:56 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nrok2118 View Post
I have found some posotive things about green mountain cookers, Im just afraid of the build quality with them
I was not impressed with the quality when I had a chance to look them over and use one.
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Unread 12-13-2010, 09:44 PM   #10
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More than your budget, but I have a Cookshack FEC 100 and wouldn't trade it for anything. Great machine that produces great product, in spite of the cook!
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Unread 12-13-2010, 09:59 PM   #11
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Quote:
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More than your budget, but I have a Cookshack FEC 100 and wouldn't trade it for anything. Great machine that produces great product, in spite of the cook!
Everyone that own's one say's that, but I can't find any PICS of butts or briskets smoked by one, FEC100 that is
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Unread 12-13-2010, 10:20 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BRBBQ View Post
Everyone that own's one say's that, but I can't find any PICS of butts or briskets smoked by one, FEC100 that is
What are you expecting/hoping to see? they look pretty much like any other brisket or butt I have cooked on any of my other cookers. 90+% of the butts and briskets that I cook in my FEC are for competitions and the only pictures that i have of them is the turn in boxes. i suspect that a lot of other FEC owners are in the same boat.
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Unread 12-14-2010, 01:30 AM   #13
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I've only used the Traeger 075 that I bought used from Plowboy. I'm very satisfied with it except fot two things: 1) it needs to have a work shelf on the front, and 2) it could use a second cooking rack. Luckily both of these are easy home-made fixes. Oh yeah, mine is one of the older made in USA models so it has heavier metal than the newer ones.
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Unread 12-14-2010, 07:55 AM   #14
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For your budget you should look at Memphis (Hearthland), MAK, FE (Fast Eddie - Cookshack among others. Yoder has just come out with a pellet offering also but I haven't seen it tested.
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Unread 12-14-2010, 08:06 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BRBBQ View Post
Everyone that own's one say's that, but I can't find any PICS of butts or briskets smoked by one, FEC100 that is
Here ya go:








That was my first ever cook on mine.


Here is a recent cook:





How about some bacon on the FEC



How about some Bread...


Pizza...





What else would you like to see! ;)
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