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View Full Version : Camp Chef Smokepro XT - Disappointed


Blue Kettle
03-16-2018, 04:07 PM
I recently bought a new Camp Chef Smokepro XT pellet grill. From Camp Chef's site this was supposed to be functionally the same grill as the more expensive Smokepro DLX (just missing a side table and the pellet dump).

So far I've been pretty disappointed in it. Chief complaints

1) Wide temp. swings by 40+ degrees at times (especially if also using a smoke tube in there, apparently it puts off more heat than expected but the PID controller should be able to account for that I thought). How can I set it and forget it if the sunuvabich is going to do that?

2) Smoke flavor is lacking despite spewing out a ridiculous amount of smoke from the gap around the lid and up the smokestack. Seriously, I was afraid the neighbor was going to call the fire dept. But flavor wise its feels more like you've dusted the meat with smoke than the meat has actually taken on a smoky flavor.

Of less concern but still disappointing is how long it takes to warm up. I had hoped I could use this every night but with how long it takes to get going the gas grill plus a smoke tube combination is way faster and similar in terms of smoke flavor.


Anyway, I just wanted to warn anyone else who is thinking of taking the pellet plunge looking for convenience. Its not all sunshine and rainbows.

(Wish I'd spent the money on a 22.5" WSM or even a Performer).

Huskres
03-16-2018, 04:46 PM
What Pellets are you using? How many smokes have you done?

mrp116
03-16-2018, 05:21 PM
I just received the Camp Chef SmokePro DLX, and I have cooked on it four times. My temp swings are not that severe, but they are a lot more than my WSM. However, from doing a lot of research about pellet grills, I expected that. I also expected a much lighter smoke profile than using the WSM. I did an overnight brisket on "High Smoke", and it ran between 212 and 230 consistently. The bark was not as firm as I get on the WSM, and the smoke taste was much lighter, but there was a nice pink ring on it. My other three cooks were wings and burgers cooked at higher temps.

I did not buy the cooker to necessarily be my "smoker". My cooker (I do not refer to the CC DLX as my smoker) goes through the eight minute start up process, ends up right around 190, and climbs from there. It took an additional 5-7 minutes to get to 375 last night in windy conditions and outside temps around 40. I bought it for the versatility that it offers, and it fits in nicely between my Performer and WSM. If I was looking for a dedicated smoker, and I could only have one, I would pick the WSM everyday. Looks like you were looking for a smoker and ended up with a cooker that can impart some smoke flavor.

Shagbark
03-16-2018, 06:11 PM
I donít have a Camp Chef and donít pretend to know anything about them. I do have three different makes of smokers and for me there was a learning curve with each one and yes it got frustrating at times.

The most important thing I learned was not all pellets are created equal. Some makes provide a very mellow or hardly noticeable smoke flavor while others are a little more bold.

After trying Traeger, Lumber Jack and BBQrís Delight pellets the latter provided the best smoke flavor. I prefer hickory in the hopper and cherry or apple in the smoke tube.

I hope you get things worked out and start turning out some outstanding que.

MountainMan
03-16-2018, 06:22 PM
Sorry to hear that.
But compare the cost with some of the better pellet grills.

It's the same old story, "You get what you pay for".

Blue Kettle
03-16-2018, 07:06 PM
What Pellets are you using? How many smokes have you done?

Pit Boss from wal-mart. I'm almost out of them and won't be using them again. They're hard to get burning even in the smoke tube with a blow torch (whereas the Amazn brand worked great) so I am wondering if that will help both problems.

I've done 4 smokes on it. One was actually just cooking a pizza.

BBQchef33
03-16-2018, 07:14 PM
for what its worth, my FEC100 has 40 degree swings... if set for 275, pellets start feeding at 255-260 and it overshoots to 285-290 before setting in.. Then it waits to drop to -20 from set temp to start feeding again.

jsperk
03-16-2018, 10:18 PM
I have a camp chef and mine runs pretty good temp.

I am using pit boss comp blend, they are mild. I did try B&B hickory and they gave me nice smoke. I will pick up another bag of those. Last cook I put some cherry chunks on the steel plate above the fire pot.

Also call camp chef for support. They are very helpful.

Huskres
03-17-2018, 09:54 AM
I see you're in oklahoma. Do you have an Atwood's close by? They sell lumberjack for a reasonable price.

nmeyer414
03-17-2018, 11:29 AM
academy sports sells B&B pellets. I have NEVER had a bad bag of B&B

airedale
03-17-2018, 01:46 PM
IMO people are too concerned about temp swings, egged on by people who sell controllers.

Sure, at some point the temp swings will affect the food but think about this: Only the surface and near-surface of the food even knows about temp swings. If the meat takes hours to get up to temperature, you can be sure that swings in the mean time are not going to have any affect. At the surface, maybe an excessively high swing might contribute slightly to drying out the meat, but low swings aren't going to have any effect at all. A bigger problem is if the average temp is not where you want it. IMO this is the thing to watch a lot more closely than temporary excursions.

I have a CC DLX and couldn't even tell you exactly what the swings are. Probably +/- 30 or 40 from setpoint. I couldn't care less. It makes great food.

Meat is mostly water. If you want to see the effect of temp swings on food, put a bowl of water in the cooker with a temp prob held so it measures the center of the bowl of water Set your cooker to 225 and monitor. I'll bet you see no swings at all.

jstrand
03-17-2018, 05:55 PM
I agree. I monitored my oven one day and that had plus or minus 25 degree swings. My Davy Crockett doesn't have very big swings but at the grate is about 20 degrees warmer than the setting, that's more important to know for me.

Just got done doing those crappy center cut beef ribs from Walmart. Never done beef ribs before so thought WTH. 6 hours later and several beers, it was 46 degrees with no wind so I sat on the deck, what little meat there is was tasty but won't waste my time with those again.

BKING!
03-17-2018, 06:11 PM
Temp swings are normal in pellet smokers and won’t impact the cook. In fact the temp swings are necessary and intentional to produce more smoke flavor and decrease the likelihood of the fire going out mid cook.

As far as smoke flavor... it won’t be as strong as a charcoal or stick burner. However, it can still produce food that is as good tasting as a charcoal or stickburner. Smoke is only one component of the overall flavor.

I like to think of bbq as a seasoning blend. Let’s use taco seasoning as an example for instance. Some blends will have a lot of cumin in their seasoning blend and some will not. Same for bbq. Some bbq will have more smoke than others. Both taco seasoning blends and bbq will be good assuming the rest of the ingredients are balanced around the level of cumin and smoke flavor respectively.

BKING!
03-17-2018, 06:15 PM
With that said, some people just need more smoke flavor. If that’s you then sell your pellet cooker. For me personally, I can appreciate the subtle smoke flavor.

Rib Rub
03-17-2018, 09:30 PM
I have the Camp Chef Woodwind and the only thing I agree with is that is does throw plumes of smoke time to time, but I would imagine that all pellet grills do that if they drop a few to many pellets. I watched last weekend as I did a east Carolina Boston butt and the temp was right on the nose. I mean you open the lid and you will lose 40 degrees, but for the most part if I set it at 250 and it will be with in 1 to 5 degrees. Myself I have been doing like 70-30 mix of pellets. (70 Hickory and 30 Cherry) and I get a nice smoke ring and plenty of smoky flavor. I try to keep the grill out of the wind as I move the grill around according to where the wind is blowing. Behind the shed or in front of the garage and so on.... Personally for the extra money I would have gotten a Yoder, and plan on doing that really soon and I will use the Camp Chef for sides and for parties or quick burgers. Keep us updated on how it holds up.

Rib Rub
03-17-2018, 09:38 PM
academy sports sells B&B pellets. I have NEVER had a bad bag of B&BI use B&B also. $9 bucks at Walmart. I also use Traeger Pellets as Ace and Home Depot sell them here locally. My ACE has a pretty incredible BBQ section of Grills, smokers and BBQ supplies I have found that the Traeger pellets are a good pellet and run about $18 bucks a bag and IMO I donít mind the extra $$ for a better pellet however for long burns and fuel the B&B are great! I use 70% Hickory and 30 Cherry on my most cooks. Maybe a little Apple mixed in also.

TyJones
03-17-2018, 10:35 PM
I have a CC Smoke Pro that I cook on at least 5 nights a week. It was the first cooker outside of gassers that I had and it has some miles on it and puts out great food. I cook everything from meat of all kinds to take and bake pizza and cake on it. With out a doubt it has some temp swings. I can't argue with the fact that it doesn't produce the smoke flavor that the stick burner does, with out some kind of "kicker". Here is what I'm getting at, I set the temp, flip the switch, and put the food on. It taste's good when its done and I don't have to worry about the fire going out or the air flow or if the wood I use is seasoned or if the.........etc. For less than $500 that I paid for it, it is awesome. That's my honest 6ish beer deep opinion.

Blue Kettle
03-18-2018, 06:47 AM
I used the smokepro again yesterday. I noticed that the temp when set at 400 would occasionally dropped to 350 but then quickly recovered to about 400. I'm now starting to wonder if this is actually part of the programming, because every time the temp would dip like that it would belch out quite a bit more smoke for a short time. So maybe what I had initially construed as a problem might might actually be according to plan. It occurs to me that in the middle of a 10-hour cook if the temp drops suddenly for 50 degrees inside the cooking chamber for a minute or two and then recovered that really wouldn't make much difference to the end result of the food.

Blue Kettle
03-18-2018, 06:55 AM
I see you're in oklahoma. Do you have an Atwood's close by? They sell lumberjack for a reasonable price.

Will definitely try to check that out as soon as I'm near one. I think the closest one to me is in Norman.

Per others here I bought some B&B yesterday and used the rest of my pit boss bag so I'm hoping that works out.

Rib Rub
03-18-2018, 08:42 AM
I have a CC Smoke Pro that I cook on at least 5 nights a week. It was the first cooker outside of gassers that I had and it has some miles on it and puts out great food. I cook everything from meat of all kinds to take and bake pizza and cake on it. With out a doubt it has some temp swings. I can't argue with the fact that it doesn't produce the smoke flavor that the stick burner does, with out some kind of "kicker". Here is what I'm getting at, I set the temp, flip the switch, and put the food on. It taste's good when its done and I don't have to worry about the fire going out or the air flow or if the wood I use is seasoned or if the.........etc. For less than $500 that I paid for it, it is awesome. That's my honest 6ish beer deep opinion.I have 3 racks on right now as I speak on my CC Woodwind and I sat and watched the temp gauge. I have it set on 250 and 251 was on the clock. However it dropped a bit as I watched about 15 degrees!! I since took it down to 225 for the rest of the cook.

Really what to think about is it is backyard cooking. I mean you don’t buy a pellet smoker if you want competition style ribs. I myself am proud of my Camp Chef. I have made some really good food on the CC and allot of people have complimented me on it. I am looking at other grills to add in the line up. (Big Green Egg XL and Gateway 55 Barrel) Going to get one or the other in the next month or so.

Rib Rub
03-18-2018, 08:52 AM
I used the smokepro again yesterday. I noticed that the temp when set at 400 would occasionally dropped to 350 but then quickly recovered to about 400. I'm now starting to wonder if this is actually part of the programming, because every time the temp would dip like that it would belch out quite a bit more smoke for a short time. So maybe what I had initially construed as a problem might might actually be according to plan. It occurs to me that in the middle of a 10-hour cook if the temp drops suddenly for 50 degrees inside the cooking chamber for a minute or two and then recovered that really wouldn't make much difference to the end result of the food. Watching mine this morning, it seems like when the auger was running that it dipped in temp, but only about 15 degrees. For the most part when I go out to work on my food the temp always seems to be on the nose. I just think it is the design as you said. It is not a steady burn like charcoal and wood. Compressed pellets falling into a firebox is going to give you swings and extra smoke. I myself don’t even bother looking at it anymore. I just follow my cook times and set my thermometers to the proper cooking temps. I do notice that sometimes my alarms go off earlier than they should so I think my grill actually cooks hotter than cooler. I am cooking my ribs today at 225 today vs 250 to see if I get a better result. Will wrap in 3 hours.

airedale
03-18-2018, 11:28 AM
With that said, some people just need more smoke flavor. If thatís you then sell your pellet cooker. For me personally, I can appreciate the subtle smoke flavor.No need to be drastic. Just buy an Amazn adjustable tube (http://www.amazenproducts.com/product_p/oet.htm) and set the length to the front/back length of your CC. Then put it at the far right side of the cooking grate. It won't take any serious amount of grate space and you can load it with whatever pellets you like for extra smoke.

The maze (http://www.amazenproducts.com/product_p/amnps5x8.htm) would work fine, too, and I have one but it takes up too much grate space.

Rib Rub
03-18-2018, 11:40 AM
No need to be drastic. Just buy an Amazn adjustable tube (http://www.amazenproducts.com/product_p/oet.htm) and set the length to the front/back length of your CC. Then put it at the far right side of the cooking grate. It won't take any serious amount of grate space and you can load it with whatever pellets you like for extra smoke.

The maze (http://www.amazenproducts.com/product_p/amnps5x8.htm) would work fine, too, and I have one but it takes up too much grate space.I would like to try that with those Jack Daniels charred pellets. As somebody mentioned on here they are probably to rich to use for fuel, but would be great in a tube smoker.

Blue Kettle
03-26-2018, 10:51 PM
Update on this post:

I took the advice above and got some B&B pellets after finally using all those Pit Boss pellets. The Smokepro has improved 100%. Temps much more consistent, smoke is solid too (though I am juicing it with a smoke tube loaded with the same pellets but whatever). Smoked a pork tenderloin yesterday that was absolutely amazing. And the best part was I was able to throw it on the grill within 10 minutes of turning it on. Absolutely great piece of gear.

And as for Pit Boss pellets? I don't know if I had just gotten a bad bag or what but I'm sure as heck not buying those again.

Rockinar
03-27-2018, 12:01 AM
The term "smoke flavor" is highly subject. In my opinion the meat should not taste like smoke, it should taste like meat. Other people will not be happy unless the food taste like you just licked warm
asphalt.

jstrand
03-27-2018, 10:17 AM
I just burned a full hopper of Pit Boss pellets and had no issues on my Davy Crockett, in fact I've had no issues ever burning the Pit Boss pellets. I have Lumberjack also and the Pit Boss have a larger diameter than the Lumberjack, other than that no issues with either brand.

Glad you got it working to your satisfaction.