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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.


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Old 01-11-2019, 05:27 PM   #1
Maynerd
Is lookin for wood to cook with.
 
Join Date: 01-08-19
Location: Redmond, WA
Name/Nickname : Maynerd
Default I can't decide what pellet grill to buy

Hey all,

I’m looking at potentially purchasing a new pellet grill. I’ve used pellet grills for about 5 or so years, so I’m familiar with how they work and their limitations. I’ve been researching for a while (too much probably) and have reached a point of diminishing returns on further deep research and now need some people to chime in for me. 😊

My current grill has a cooking surface of approximately 450 Sq/In of primary cooking area and no shelves so 450 is where I max out. I don’t really want to go smaller than this and going a bit bigger would be a plus.

Here is how I will use the grill.
• Cooking for a family of 4 (2 adults + 2 children) – 75% of the time
• Cooking for 6 adults – 20% of the time
• Cooking for 7 or greater adults – 5% of the time

If I were to guess these are the types of cooks I do
• Short cooks – Steaks and chicken (less than 2 hours) – 70% of the time
• Medium cooks – Ribs and roasts (2-6 hours) – 25% of the time
• Long cooks – Pulled pork and Briskets (6+ hours) – 5% of the time

Important things for the new grill
• Prefer to stay under $2500
• Big enough to feed my family and a couple of friends
• Quality – I need this one to last for a while or my wife will kill me
• High temp cooking - ability to sear steaks (I love me some good steak)
• Ease of use
• Easy to maintain

Not absolutely necessary but very nice to have
• Wifi capability
• Double walled
• Pellet dump
• Method to expose firepot to allow for searing of steaks
• Pellet drop fire pot – I had some burn back into the auger and smoke in the pellet hopper on my first grill (Traeger) and having the pellets drop with a short auger just seems like a better design

Now the line up in price order. I've decided to try to stay with grills built in the USA but am open to others so don't hesitate to suggest something not on my list that maybe I hadn't thought of based upon my needs (when calculating total price I included options such as extra shelf, cover, wifi, searing option, shipping costs and tax)

Grill: Memphis Advantage
Base Price: $2299
Out the door price with accessories, shipping and tax: $2857.80
Main cooking enclosure warranty: 7
Electronics/etc warranty: 3
Low Temp: 180
High Temp: 600
Hopper size: 12lbs
Pellet Dump: No
Pellet Drop: Yes
Primary grilling area size: 427 Sq/In
Expandable additional shelf size: 136 Sq/In

Pros:
• Local dealer I can work with if I have issues
• Highly praised pellet grill
• All stainless (403 stainless)
• Grill grates are broken up making it easier to clean/handle
• Searing kit for high temp cooking
• Wifi
Cons:
• Expensive
• Small hopper size
• No pellet dump
• Not double walled
• Main cooking area is under 450 Sq/In (563 Sq/in with second shelf)
• Possible propensity for grease fires (found a number of people online discussing fires in the grill)


Grill: Mak 1 Star
Base Price: $1700
Out the door price with accessories, shipping and tax: $2685
Main cooking enclosure warranty: 3
Electronics/etc warranty: 3
Low Temp: 170
High Temp: 450
Hopper size: 20
Pellet Dump: Yes
Pellet Drop: No
Primary grilling area size: 429
Expandable additional shelf size: 429

Pros:
• Praised by many owners
• Wifi capable
• Searing option
• Popular grill people say it puts out a lot of smoke
Cons:
• No local dealer
• Expensive
• No Pellet Drop
• Not double walled
• Main cooking area is under 450 Sq/In (848 Sq/In with second shelf)
• Short warranty

Grill: Pitts and Spitts Maverick 850
Base Price: $1749
Out the door price with accessories, shipping and tax: $2553.96
Main cooking enclosure warranty: 10 years
Electronics/etc warranty: 3 years
Low Temp: 180
High Temp: 600
Hopper size: 35 lbs
Pellet Dump: Yes
Pellet Drop: No
Primary grilling area size: 425
Expandable additional shelf size: 425

Pros:
• It’s a TANK – heavy and high-quality metal
• Long warranty
• Quality build – Welded
• Huge pellet hopper
• Great lid design
• Wifi capable
• Searing option
Cons:
• No local dealer
• Expensive
• No pellet drop
• Main cooking area is under 450 Sq/In (850 Sq/in with second shelf)
• Not double walled but with such thick metal does it matter?

Grill: Kuma Platinum SE
Base Price: $1699
Out the door price with accessories, shipping and tax: $2353
Main cooking enclosure warranty: 5
Electronics/etc warranty: 3
Low Temp: 180
High Temp: 600
Hopper size: 18 lbs
Pellet Dump: Yes
Pellet Drop: Yes
Primary grilling area size: 465
Expandable additional shelf size: 673

Pros:
• Above 450 sq/in for primary (673 sq/in with one additional shelf – 3 additional shelves max)
• Easy to switch to direct flame
• Wifi capable
• On paper checks the most boxes
• Double walled
Cons:
• No local dealer
• Front to back grilling area (depth) is short 15.5”
• Limited information from owners online makes it hard to determine quality and long-term use

Grill: Cookshack PG500
Base Price: $1795
Out the door price with accessories, shipping and tax: $1954.97
Main cooking enclosure warranty: 2yr
Electronics/etc warranty: 90 day parts and labor
Low Temp: 180?
High Temp: 600
Hopper size: 22 lbs
Pellet Dump: Yes
Pellet Drop: Yes
Primary grilling area size: 324 Sq/In indirect & 180 Sq/In Direct
Expandable additional shelf size: 280 Sq/In

Pros:
• Amazing indirect cooking
• Nothing but good things to say by owners
• Unique door design
• Multiple cooking zones
Cons:
• No local dealer
• Primary grilling area size for indirect cooking is very small @ 324 Sq/In (784 Sq/In total cooking area)
• Not double walled
• Multiple zones may be difficult to manage
• No Wifi

Grill: Yoder YS480
Base Price: $1224
Out the door price with accessories, shipping and tax: 1778.81 (I might add shelves for 269)
Main cooking enclosure warranty: 10
Electronics/etc warranty: 3
Low Temp: 150
High Temp: 600
Hopper size: 20
Pellet Dump: No
Pellet Drop: Yes
Primary grilling area size: 480
Expandable additional shelf size: 320

Pros:
• Lowest price of all grills I’m considering
• Above 450 sq/in for primary (800 sq/in with one additional shelf)
Cons:
• No local dealer
• No Wifi
• Not double walled
• Questionable quality regarding paint, users reporting rusting early into ownership
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Old 01-11-2019, 05:39 PM   #2
Ron_L
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Honestly, it would be hard to go wrong with any of those!

I've had my Memphis Pro for about 7 years (lost count) and love it! I haven't had any issues at all and it is built like a tank! I haven't seen the Advantage in person, but just based on my experience with the brand, and having access to a local dealer, that would be my recommendation.

My second choice when i bought the Memphis was Mak, so I would list that as my number two recommendation.
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Old 01-11-2019, 05:42 PM   #3
Burnt at Both Endz
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Agree with Ron, hard to go wrong with any of those on your list, I have the PG500. Don't be worried about any of your negative/con thoughts about it.
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Old 01-11-2019, 06:57 PM   #4
rwalters
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Default I can't decide what pellet grill to buy

Question first… which ever direction you go, will the cooker be exposed to rain or will it always be under a patio cover?
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Old 01-11-2019, 06:58 PM   #5
Huskres
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I went from a rectec 680 to a Memphis advantage. It grills a hell of a lot better than the rectec but it’s small. Mine doesn’t have WiFi and I haven’t heard good things about the WiFi either.
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Old 01-11-2019, 07:00 PM   #6
Maynerd
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Join Date: 01-08-19
Location: Redmond, WA
Name/Nickname : Maynerd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwalters View Post
Question first… which ever direction you go, will the cooker be exposed to rain or will it always be under a patio cover?
I live in Washington state we get a lot of rain out here. :)

I have a small gazebo that covers most of the downward falling rain but anything coming from the side will probably hit the grill. I will buy a rain cover for when it is not in use but I sometimes am lazy and forget to cover the grill since I have to wait for it to cool down first.

So the grill will be exposed to the rain but it won't be just sitting out there 24/7 without any cover.
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Old 01-11-2019, 07:01 PM   #7
Maynerd
Is lookin for wood to cook with.
 
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Location: Redmond, WA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Huskres View Post
I went from a rectec 680 to a Memphis advantage. It grills a hell of a lot better than the rectec but it’s small. Mine doesn’t have WiFi and I haven’t heard good things about the WiFi either.
Oh the wifi is no good on the Memphis? What sort of problem are you hearing about?
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Old 01-11-2019, 07:08 PM   #8
gtsum
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Default I can't decide what pellet grill to buy

WiFi works fine on the Memphis.

You can sear very well on the Memphis and Yoder (I have owned both).

Searing space is more limited on the Pitts and spitts than the Memphis.

Mak will not sear as well as a Memphis or Yoder (with grill grates and 2 piece diffuser) IMO as it doesn’t get as hot and there is no direct flame access. That being said, awesome cooker and likely a better smoker than my Memphis??

Kuma- lots of great features. I would like to see one in action


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Old 01-11-2019, 07:09 PM   #9
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I should add the pg500/1000 would be great choices if they are big enough for your needs. Awesome char broiler. I like the pg1000 much better than the 500 due to the doors and looks


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Old 01-11-2019, 07:23 PM   #10
rwalters
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maynerd View Post
I live in Washington state we get a lot of rain out here. :)



I have a small gazebo that covers most of the downward falling rain but anything coming from the side will probably hit the grill. I will buy a rain cover for when it is not in use but I sometimes am lazy and forget to cover the grill since I have to wait for it to cool down first.



So the grill will be exposed to the rain but it won't be just sitting out there 24/7 without any cover.
Well, every cooker on your shortlist is definitely a solid contender! Looking at YOUR list of wants/needs/requirements, in my opinion the Kuma rises to the top. I agree with you, it definitely checks off the most boxes on your list of priorities. I have spoken with the staff at Kuma on numerous occasions. Honestly, they seem to be some of the most genuine and down to earth people that I have ever encountered with any grill/smoker manufacturer... and this is coming from a MAK owner. I have also spoken with numerous Kuma owners who all rave about their cookers.

The reason I was asking about rain, is because of the way that Kuma has designed the logo into their lid. If you look closely, you will see that the logo is actually a cut out. Smoke escapes through it, and of course rainwater would get into it. Thinking back, that is the only question that I have never asked the company nor a Kuma owner. I am not sure how the lid/grill is designed to handle rainwater. Definitely something that I would want to know before buying.

Other than that, I honestly do not think you will find a grill on the market that is more closely suited to your needs :-)

One more thing that I really like about the Kuma, which I do not think you mentioned, is that they use aluminized steel under their high temp powder coat finish. By using aluminized steel, you will never have to worry about rust issues which is a huge plus!
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Old 01-11-2019, 07:26 PM   #11
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If you do yoder get the 640. All I got
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Old 01-11-2019, 07:32 PM   #12
Maynerd
Is lookin for wood to cook with.
 
Join Date: 01-08-19
Location: Redmond, WA
Name/Nickname : Maynerd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwalters View Post
Well, every cooker on your shortlist is definitely a solid contender! Looking at YOUR list of wants/needs/requirements, in my opinion the Kuma rises to the top. I agree with you, it definitely checks off the most boxes on your list of priorities. I have spoken with the staff at Kuma on numerous occasions. Honestly, they seem to be some of the most genuine and down to earth people that I have ever encountered with any grill/smoker manufacturer... and this is coming from a MAK owner. I have also spoken with numerous Kuma owners who all rave about their cookers.

The reason I was asking about rain, is because of the way that Kuma has designed the logo into their lid. If you look closely, you will see that the logo is actually a cut out. Smoke escapes through it, and of course rainwater would get into it. Thinking back, that is the only question that I have never asked the company nor a Kuma owner. I am not sure how the lid/grill is designed to handle rainwater. Definitely something that I would want to know before buying.

Other than that, I honestly do not think you will find a grill on the market that is more closely suited to your needs :-)

One more thing that I really like about the Kuma, which I do not think you mentioned, is that they use aluminized steel under their high temp powder coat finish. By using aluminized steel, you will never have to worry about rust issues which is a huge plus!
Whoa, I didn't notice that it was a cut out...yes that is a bit concerning with regards to rain intrusion into the grill. Thanks for pointing that out.
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Old 01-11-2019, 07:53 PM   #13
ChrisL
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You really can't go wrong with any of those, I can give you my experience with my YS480.

First of all, if you leave a Yoder outside year round, it will start bubbling rust under the paint in a year or two. If you don't have a way to store it inside when not in use, I am going to guess you will not be happy how it looks in short order. Stainless steel excels in the long-time longevity game. Problem is, thick stainless is cost prohibitive. The Yoder is 1/8" steel and with very basic maintenance will last forever. I much prefer the painted finish over powder coat which looks nice but is impossible to touch up. I use my Yoders down to zero degrees and they have no issues maintaining smoking temperatures. I cooked 80 pounds of butts on my YS1500 just last week for a party with a whipping wind.

The firepot is offset which is a huge advantage as a smoker, but a disadvantage as a grill. The left third of the grill is searing hot at all times, and food will burn there easily. The best tasting steak I have ever had has been off my Yoder with the grill grates, it imparts an incredible wood flavor that nothing else can reproduce. I have tried everything, Solaire infrared, gas torch, cast iron pan, charcoal, etc, the Yoder taste is the best.

I don't know if I would love it as an everyday grill though. I have a Weber Summit (stainless of course) for burger and chicken duty. You need to rotate the meat through the searing zone otherwise everything does not get cooked evenly.

As a parting thought, go for the YS640, not for 480. Even if you don't need the extra 6" for cooking, it is nice to have the option to place a water pan, or just move things around. I have never heard anyone wish their grill was smaller. I also like the competition carts, it makes the grill much easier to move and look more substantial.

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Old 01-11-2019, 08:06 PM   #14
Huskres
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maynerd View Post
Oh the wifi is no good on the Memphis? What sort of problem are you hearing about?
I’ve just heard it isn’t all that great. Same thing with most pellet cookers WiFi it seems. I’ve seen a lot of people complain about the rectec WiFi as well. I wouldn’t base your decision on that.
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Old 01-11-2019, 08:32 PM   #15
Banjobob
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My Yoder has been under my patio since the beginning. Today, it is covered in rust. I regret it’s purchase despite the fact it works very well. I look forward to replacing it with a MAK.

The Yoder pisses me off every time I look at it, my Shirley on the other hand...
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