1. The KillerFrogs

Vertical Pellet Smokers

Discussion in 'Tailgating/BBQ' started by netty2424, Jul 19, 2020.

  1. Anyone have experience or thoughts on vertical smokers?
    -Pellet smokers specifically.
    -Brand recommendations.
    -Must have features/benefits.
    -Where does the quality cost benefit come play- construction, temp consistency, pellet efficiency(if there is such a thing)?
    -Pellet brand reco’s?

    I don’t need a grill, but would like to invest in a quality smoker. I would prefer a wood smoker, but honestly need something that’s a little more self-sufficient like a pellet option.

    Sorry if there are a hundred of these threads. With the new category format, I wasn’t sure where to look, and there’s only one thread in tailgating/bbq.

    Thanks in advance.

    @Frog-in-law1995 if I remember from your posts, this is something you compete in possibly?
    Frog-in-law1995 likes this.

  2. Yup. I have a cabinet-style pellet smoker. One of the 5-rack Pit Boss brand smokers. Don’t use it anymore, but it worked ok once I figure out how to use it. Wouldn’t buy another one, though. Temp control is in 25° increments (which isn’t a big deal, but the technology to allow any temp is inexpensive, so what the hell?). Really my biggest issue is that when the door opens, it lets so much air in that it’s takes longer than other smokers to get back to temp. I have used a more traditional green mountain pellet smoker, and didn’t have that issue. Also, the pit boss didn’t hold up well to a lot of movement. I’m sure it would be fine sitting in a porch, but moving it around on and off of trailers and over uneven ground really tore it up. Still, it never stopped turning out good Q, provided you used high-end pellets. I like the Green Mountain fruitwood.

    I’m telling you guys, though. If you don’t want to drop coin on an XL kamado, drum smokers are the way to go. They hold temp very well and can go 12 hours at 225-250 on one basket of lump coal. Once you learn it, it’s just as easy as a pellet smoker. Be sure to get (or build) one with a 22” diameter, though. Not those 18” Smokey Mountains or Oklahoma Joe’s.
    netty2424 likes this.
  3. When I’m not using my BGE I’m pretty happy with the quality of my dad’s Traeger. I’ve used it for numerous racks of ribs and a half dozen briskets, and haven’t had a bad experience yet. He looked at vertical smokers, including the Pit Boss model, but decided against it because of the heat loss frog-in-law mentioned. I’m curious if some of the higher end models have the same issue.

    Is there a specific brand you’re looking at?
  4. Thanks for the response and information. I like the BGE, Kamado style and assume it will probably produce better results. I am sure I’ll own one at some point.

    I was at a buddies house yesterday and he put a brisket on a Traeger about 5:30am and it was ready to around 2pm. It wasn’t the best, but it was pretty damn good. Especially for the minimal effort he had to put into it. Outside of trimming it, adding some S&P with mustard and brown sugar, and a few spices, he monitored the temp from his phone by the pool.

    I personally like to be more hands on things like this, but with little ones, that type of efficiency is hard to beat.
    Frog-in-law1995 likes this.
  5. It does seem like that’s one of the bigger issues with the vertical cabinets styles in heat loss.

    Not set on any brand specifically. Pit Boss has done a good job marketing, as they seem to lead the search results. I’m early in my search so more or less trying to get an idea of what’s out there at this point.
    TxFrog1999 likes this.
  6. I promise you that a kamado or a well-built drum is no more work that a pellet smoker once you get the fire lit and up to temp. As long as you don’t move the intake or exhaust dampers, they will hold 225 all night with very little variance. For $60 or so, you can get a digital thermometer with probes for the smoker and meat that will allow you to monitor temps from anywhere. And for between $150 and $350, you can get a thermometer that includes a force draft that regulates air flow into your smoker with a small fan and will keep your smoker temp within 2 or 3 degrees of what you set it at until the fuel runs out. (Higher end models even allow you to adjust temps remotely thru Wi-Fi). Seriously, pellet grills are great, but don’t think you’ve got to get one to avoid staying up all night.

    And, if you ultimately go the kamado route, look at the Kamado Joe. They’re edging out BGE as the best out there.
  7. My problem with pellet grills is that they don't put enough smoke flavor into the meat.. Last brisket I did on my Traeger tasted like a pot roast done in an oven..
    netty2424 and Frog-in-law1995 like this.
  8. You’ve mentioned this before and I think I’ve discounted it, but realized that I don’t think I’ve ever actually smoked a brisket with pellets before. Could totally see this being an issue for long cooks.
  9. I have a pellet grill (Smokin Brothers out of Jackson MO) and have absolutely no problem getting smoke flavor in any meat even a brisket. Starting out at a lower temperature 180* for several hours gets the smoke flavor imparted and then crank it up a bit higher 225* later. The best thing about these is you can start the brisket before you go to bed and let it roll all night as long as there is a fuel source. Check out Jeff Phillips Smoking Meat website and forum. He reviews every smoker on the market and gives his feedback, pro's and con's etc. Also can subscribe to his weekly recipe with pictures and he has a few good videos out there as well.
    Double D and netty2424 like this.
  10. The Original Upright Pellet Smoker

    Peacefrog and netty2424 like this.
  12. I have several Masterbuilt Electric smokers that I use pellets in and have very good results. I got my Stainless 40 in. smoker at Acadomy on sale for about $200.00. You can also use wood chips in it. Temp. is set by thermostat and pellets add smoke and flavor.
    netty2424 likes this.
  13. I’ve been pleased with the ribs, bacon burnt ends and -irk butt I’ve done on my Weber Smokey mountain. Not a pellet smoker but it’s vertical.
    netty2424 likes this.
  14. I don't know much on the vertical pellets. I love my Rec Tec grill. It is awesome, and they are worth the extra money. l get plenty of smoke, and I have learned how to add more if I feel like it is needed. There are a ton of people who over smoke their meats to the point where it is inedible.

    I grew up in house where it was burn and turn then dry it out. I researched every type of outdoor cooker on the market. I have 5 grills at my house. The Rec Tec is the last of the lot. Each outdoor cooker has its advantage. I love a steak cooked on a kamado or Weber. I love the simplicity of gas for a quick cook. I have have always been impressed with the stick burners. I know a ton of people that have huge events and the vertical smokers are a must. I didn't want to spend time learning to cook on a smoker so I went with the pellet. Not all pellet grills are the same. There are some great ones on the market like the Rec Tec, but there are also plenty of bad ones. Also not all pellets are the same. I have had some really bad bags, and I have had to learn the profiles of different woods. A lot of pellets use a base of oak with another wood.

    I think the biggest concern I would have with a vertical smoker is the variance in temps at the different levels. I think that would have to be even greater with a pellet.
    netty2424 likes this.
  15. Just ordered two of these, except matte colors. Stoked. Also, I may have a bbq problem.

  16. Man, those two seats on the side look really uncomfortable. Talking about burnt ends!!!

    Are you going with a firebox door, or without?
  17. Haha.

    Without. They look cool, but I’m not really sure what purpose they serve. Never needed to add fuel during a cook before. I suppose they’d be handy for cleaning out ashes, but my shop vac can reach from the top. I just see them as another potential source for air leaks.
    netty2424 likes this.
  18. So a newbie question here and will probably answer my own question in the question.

    I’ve mentioned on the site a few times that I live rural, and as most rural living folks do, we have burn barrels for some of our random trash like hay bale nets or things we don’t put in trash bags. I have to replace these every few years because they eventually burn through the sides. Granted I don’t store them in my shop like I would a smoker, and I don’t keep them throttled, so they get full fire as long as there’s trash inside.

    Will these eventually do the same, or is the fuel/fire not as hot due to the controlled burn you need to manage the heat in a smoker?
  19. Not entirely sure. I suspect a barrel that never gets hotter than 350 or so would wouldn't have that issue, but I’ve only been cooking on drums for a couple of years now. I can tell you that cooking temps don’t hurt the exterior paint or powder coating at all, but if you leave the lid open and let the fire get super hot, it will burn off all your paint pretty quickly. That makes me think that if you keep the heat regulated, the barrel will be fine.
    netty2424 likes this.

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