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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 03-06-2020, 11:39 AM   #1
Wandering around with a bag of matchlight, looking for a match.
Join Date: 03-02-20
Location: Denver Colorado
Name/Nickname : CB
Default I Need Help!!

I'm in the market for a new PG and was hoping you all could give me some input. I apologize in advance for the word vomit and tons of questions but here goes.

A little background on myself - Got into PG's/smoking meats a few years ago, I'm not a fanatic but I do enjoy it. My current PG is a Louisiana Grills LG900. I've had a few issues with it, namely BIG temperature swings. For the most part it actually holds temperature extremely well but a few times it just goes crazy with 100+ degree swings from set point. I've worked with customer service a couple times and reprogrammed the grill and haven't had any issues in the last couple seasons. While the grill actually holds temperature really well now (either dead on or within 5 degrees), I feel like i have to let the grill run for at least an hour before it starts holding temp, it will get up to temp pretty quickly but will take a while before it actually settles in and starts holding accurately. I'm very much about convenience when it comes to smoking so the lack of wifi/app and my past temp issues has me looking for a new PG.

I took a good look at Camp Chef SGX, namely because of the good reputation, price, and ash dump (my LG wont lite sometimes even after one cook because of too much ash). I ultimately decided against the Camp Chef because of the lack of WIFI and a PID controller. I kept coming back to the Traeger Timberline. I really like the look and feel of the Timberline, out of every PG I've looked at outside of a Yoder it actually has some heft to it. The app, wifi, size, controller, and double wall insulation really had me sold and I thought this was going to be my next PG.

Cue my recent visit to a local PG dealer and I saw the new Camp Chef with WIFI and a PID controller! This grill checks all the boxes for me however when I lift the lid on the Camp Chef vs the Timberline I just feel like its cheap and not built as well. I think I'm also nervous about their first generation PID color LCD screen, I think they're going to have some growing pains with that... I was going back and forth whether it was worth $1000 more for the Timberline so I hit the forums for some feedback. The more and more I read the more I kept seing MAK come up with freaking rave reviews (to be concise ive also looked into yoders/memphis/cookshack but for various reasons Im not considering those). I think I've now decided that the Traeger is out, if I'm going to spend that much money the MAK probably makes more sense.

Now here is my dilemma. I've gone back and forth whether or not to go 1 star or 2 star. I really like the concept of direct grilling, that was part of the reason I got the Louisiana and also looked at the camp chef. The direct grilling on the Louisiana sucks, its a super small area and I dont like having to move hot grill parts in the middle of a cook to access the flame, also the camp chef direct grill feature had mixed reviews and I pretty much wrote that feature off. I have an MHP gas grill with the SearMagic grates and that handles all of my sear/direct grill needs so I'm not so sure how important the flame zone feature is to me on a MAK?

How much of a hassle is it to put the covers on/off in the middle of a cook? How fast will it go from 225 to 500? Does the flamezone offer any smoking improvements outside of lower pellet consumption? Am I really going to notice that much of a difference if I sear with wood vs the MHP?? I dont think that I would actually use the cold smoke box on the 2 star outside of some cheese here and there, how important is that to you 2 star owners? Are there any other big differences between the 1 star and 2 star outside of stainless/flamezone/smoke box?

I also have some reservations about the wifi on the MAK. Sounds like you have to use a webpage as opposed to an App, how well does it work? Again I'm all about convenience and I have trouble believing that a webpage system is going to work as well as an app? The MAK website lists MAK Mobile as a $300 upgrade, is that necessary for the newer grills that are wifi ready or is that just the upgrade cost for the older grills?

I guess my big questions are is the MAK worth $1000 or $2000 more than the camp chef? Is the flamezone so good that I wont have a need for my MHP?? Is there anything else Im missing here???
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