Buying a pellet grill to replace a Performer and a WSM with a ATC?

The only way I feel I could justify a pellet grill is if I replace my 2 charcoal grills with 1 grill. I have a performer and a 14in WSM with PartyQ temperature controller. I grill 5 days a week, and smoke once a month maybe. For me I need the pellet grill to perform as good as my performer for grilling which I am unsure if that is possible. I know it will do low and slow smokes just fine.
 

J Grotz

TVWBB Super Fan
The correct number of grills/smokers to own = n+ 1, where n=the number of grills/smokers one currently owns.

I learned this in a cycling forum years ago and I'm pretty sure it applies to grills/smokers as well as bikes. And I spent the past two days at a Holiday Inn.

;)
 

Jon Tofte

TVWBB Platinum Member
I can say my Rec Tec would not fulfill what you are asking. It can make tasty burgers, but it takes a while. They have great wood smoke flavor but very different appearance from high heat gas or charcoal grilling.

Weber seems to be staking a lot on this new SmokeFire delivering 600 searing heat. That would a good hundred degrees above what my Rec Tec can do.
 

BobJ

TVWBB Fan
According to Weber... MYTH #2: INTENSELY HIGH HEAT IS NEEDED TO SEAR.
The searing process (also known as the Maillard reaction and carmelization) begins at temperatures as low as 300°F, and the effective searing range is about 300°F to 500°F. Searing at temperatures beyond 500°F can dry out food excessively fast, and usually result in disappointing, burnt food.

https://www.weber.com/US/en/blog/burning-questions/how-to-sear/weber-30583.html

Rec Tec sells a set of GrillGrates as their Sear Kit, reviews says it works. https://www.rectecgrills.com/Sear-Kit-RT-700-RT-590?quantity=1
 

Jim Lampe

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Buying a pellet grill to replace a Performer and a WSM
request World Peace instead.

in my opinion (there are many out there that consider my opinion BS, worth the gum stuck to the side walk in New York City) pellet grills/smokers are the creation of Satan, the Devil, himself.

and there is no convincing my point of view whatsoever.
 

Timothy F. Lewis

TVWBB Hall of Fame
I’m not so sure that I would go quite that far Jim but, there is no Omni versatile grill! The performer is one of the most versatile pieces of grilling equipment on the planet! If you WANT a pellet grill, that’s an entirely different story.
 

Jon Tofte

TVWBB Platinum Member
The
According to Weber... MYTH #2: INTENSELY HIGH HEAT IS NEEDED TO SEAR.
The searing process (also known as the Maillard reaction and carmelization) begins at temperatures as low as 300°F, and the effective searing range is about 300°F to 500°F. Searing at temperatures beyond 500°F can dry out food excessively fast, and usually result in disappointing, burnt food.

https://www.weber.com/US/en/blog/burning-questions/how-to-sear/weber-30583.html

Rec Tec sells a set of GrillGrates as their Sear Kit, reviews says it works. https://www.rectecgrills.com/Sear-Kit-RT-700-RT-590?quantity=1
Yes, my used Rec Tec came with the GrillGrates option. They do help. I am not a chemist so I won’t argue about Maillard reactions or whatever. I will just say that my gas Weber grills sear steaks, burger and chops - with cast iron, stainless rods and especially GrillGrates in a way that my Rec Tec pellet grill cannot. And that happens at +500 - more like 600 - degree range. The old Weber Genesis catalogues routinely described 550 degrees as the “ideal” grilling temperature.

I love my Rec Tec RT-700 Bull that I count myself lucky to have bought barely used with lots of add-ons. It still won’t get me to part with either my Genesis grills (plural, yes, I am a little overboard!) or my Weber kettles. Each has its place. I will say that while I greatly admire WSM barbecue pros, I don’t see a big need for one for me now that I have a pellet grill.

One thing I have tried successfully is low heat smoking of steak on my pellet grill prior to actually hot grilling in a gas grill. I think Weber is aiming to have a pellet grill that CAN do it all. That extra 100 degrees could be a big difference and selling point. It will be fun to see it play out.
 
Last edited:

Jon Tofte

TVWBB Platinum Member
I’m not so sure that I would go quite that far Jim but, there is no Omni versatile grill! The performer is one of the most versatile pieces of grilling equipment on the planet! If you WANT a pellet grill, that’s an entirely different story.
Timothy,
I pretty much agree with that. I do appreciate being a purist, too, as I assume Jim is championing. I guess I would just say that with all the electronics available - and being used - for charcoal/wood smoking and grilling (WiFi probe thermometers, electronic thermostatically controlled fans, etc.) I think the distinction between using a WSM or Performer vs. a pellet grill in terms of “pure bbq” is getting more and more blurred. I can’t trash my Rec Tec because it does a great job, but you may have seen my post with pictures of bbq chicken on a kettle with no electronics and some on my computer controlled pellet grill. Not much if any visible or taste difference.

This all a little reminiscent of the John Henry story!
 

Rich Dahl

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
As I have said before my thinking for getting a pellet grill is why should I have two WSMs a performer and a jumbo joe if I can't use them six months of the year or more. If, and it's still a big if I can use a pellet grill in the summer with the fire restrictions then I have a way to smoke and do L&S and get much better results than doing it on one of my gassers. Plus not running in and out of the house in the winter to adjust vents and refuel the WSM would be a big plus for me.
To me it's what goes on the plate, not how it got there.

Like Jon said at the end of the day if you couldn't tell me what the meal was cooked on that is a winner

Yes, I enjoy my performer and my WSM and they wouldn't be going anywhere and I would use them when I could, but having a viable alterative when I couldn't use them would be great.

I wonder if there had been forums when Weber introduced their first gasser in the 80s if this type of conversation would have happened, I think it would have.
 
Last edited:

ShaneF

TVWBB Fan
I have been using pellet grills for about 10 years now. I've had 3 Traegers, GMG, Memphis Pro, and a Camp Chef SmokePro. I am a big fan of them, especially for convenience. With two kiddos and one that played competitive soccer, it made cooking a lot of food convenient on a rare weekend day at home where I could fill the hopper, fire it up and be notified by the grill (a couple of them) or my fireboard when various items were ready all while getting all the other chores done at the same time. Now that my oldest is off to college and no longer playing soccer, I sold the Memphis and bought a Summit Charcoal and the Camp Chef pellet grill (and plan on selling that and getting the Weber SmokeFire when it's out).

The Memphis Pro or a Summit/Kamado are the closest things I've seen to a one grill solution at least as far as wanting to be able to smoke, grill, sear and bake. However, they each have their limitations. I won't do into details, but the Memphis can be susceptible to grease fires. In most regards it's an absolutely amazing pellet grill, but has to be used with some planning and doesn't work the best when you are cooking multiple different things and changing temps drastically during a cook...I.e, don't try to grill some burgers at 500 after smoking pork butts or chuckies at 225.

That all being said, when I sold the Memphis, I had planned on just rolling with the Summit Charcoal and my gasser. I wanted to get more hands on with the cook and fire management. What I found is that I really missed having a pellet grill. I've made some fabulous food on the Summit and have no plans on it going anywhere. However, sometimes, there's just not enough time or motivation to reconfigure everything for the type of cook I want to do, wait for charcoal to be ready, then get the grill to get to temp, etc. It seems that it's usually 30-60 minutes to be ready to put food on. On top of getting out the fireboard/drive system, finding the SnS, or vortex, or diffuser plate, etc. With a pellet grill it's go out and check/fill the hopper, scrape the grates, set the temp and go inside and prep the food to go on. Usually the grill is ready before I have the food ready (10-20 mins).

GrillGrates do work great. I've used them at times on all my pellet grills and even on my gasser. However, sometimes there is just something about direct heat for searing a steak. I personally prefer the taste of a pellet grilled burger over a charcoal one, but completely the opposite for a steak. I'm not sure what it is. However, recently I've gotten some really thick cut porterhouses that I've been smoking on the pellet grill and then searing on the gasser and these have been about as good as any steak I've cooked using any method.

So, I guess for Robert what I'm saying is, I love pellet grills, but depending on what you like to cook and your personal tastes you might miss having a charcoal for some hot and fast direct cooks. Maybe you could justify a basic kettle or jumbo joe to go with it. It will also be interesting to see this new Weber and if the flavorizer bar configuration works better for high heat. Though it still all looks indirect. My Memphis would hit 650 in indirect (and much hotter and direct with the open flame insert) and it still didn't create the same taste.
 

MikeCantell

TVWBB Super Fan
Well I have a performer with gas assist lighting and a pit boss pellet smoker that works great, that said the performer will be the last grill standing here. the pellet smoker works great but the charcoal and hickory wood give a different flavor profile that the pellet grill cant give. Everybody is different on tastes and opinions lol good luck picking just 1
 

Tom Chilton

TVWBB Fan
I have been using pellet grills for about 10 years now. I've had 3 Traegers, GMG, Memphis Pro, and a Camp Chef SmokePro. I am a big fan of them, especially for convenience. With two kiddos and one that played competitive soccer, it made cooking a lot of food convenient on a rare weekend day at home where I could fill the hopper, fire it up and be notified by the grill (a couple of them) or my fireboard when various items were ready all while getting all the other chores done at the same time. Now that my oldest is off to college and no longer playing soccer, I sold the Memphis and bought a Summit Charcoal and the Camp Chef pellet grill (and plan on selling that and getting the Weber SmokeFire when it's out).

The Memphis Pro or a Summit/Kamado are the closest things I've seen to a one grill solution at least as far as wanting to be able to smoke, grill, sear and bake. However, they each have their limitations. I won't do into details, but the Memphis can be susceptible to grease fires. In most regards it's an absolutely amazing pellet grill, but has to be used with some planning and doesn't work the best when you are cooking multiple different things and changing temps drastically during a cook...I.e, don't try to grill some burgers at 500 after smoking pork butts or chuckies at 225.

That all being said, when I sold the Memphis, I had planned on just rolling with the Summit Charcoal and my gasser. I wanted to get more hands on with the cook and fire management. What I found is that I really missed having a pellet grill. I've made some fabulous food on the Summit and have no plans on it going anywhere. However, sometimes, there's just not enough time or motivation to reconfigure everything for the type of cook I want to do, wait for charcoal to be ready, then get the grill to get to temp, etc. It seems that it's usually 30-60 minutes to be ready to put food on. On top of getting out the fireboard/drive system, finding the SnS, or vortex, or diffuser plate, etc. With a pellet grill it's go out and check/fill the hopper, scrape the grates, set the temp and go inside and prep the food to go on. Usually the grill is ready before I have the food ready (10-20 mins).

GrillGrates do work great. I've used them at times on all my pellet grills and even on my gasser. However, sometimes there is just something about direct heat for searing a steak. I personally prefer the taste of a pellet grilled burger over a charcoal one, but completely the opposite for a steak. I'm not sure what it is. However, recently I've gotten some really thick cut porterhouses that I've been smoking on the pellet grill and then searing on the gasser and these have been about as good as any steak I've cooked using any method.

So, I guess for Robert what I'm saying is, I love pellet grills, but depending on what you like to cook and your personal tastes you might miss having a charcoal for some hot and fast direct cooks. Maybe you could justify a basic kettle or jumbo joe to go with it. It will also be interesting to see this new Weber and if the flavorizer bar configuration works better for high heat. Though it still all looks indirect. My Memphis would hit 650 in indirect (and much hotter and direct with the open flame insert) and it still didn't create the same taste.
Sometimes you want to pellet, sometimes you want to play with charcoal on the kettle (maybe even rotisserie), sometimes you want to kick it Old Skool with the WSM, sometimes you want to Egg - it’s all good! I’m just doing this for fun and having a lot of options keeps it fun for me. If I wanted to I could cook anything on my 30 year old 22” kettle, but I like switching things up.

Another fun thing about pellet cookers is using different types of wood pellets. I see Weber is also going to be coming out with their own pellets. The temperature control also gives a lot of options - start at 185° for 2 hours, then 250° until the butt is 202°, then down to 200° to hold, or whatever. Cook chicken at 350°.

I really can’t wait to get this. I better get the bigger one.
 

Lew Newby

TVWBB All-Star
Robert, a pellet grill will replace the WSM but not the Kettle grill. A used Camp Chef Smokepro DLX can be had for $250 or less . It will run at 160° for Jerky as well as doing low and slow or hot and fast BBQ. Rec Tec and Weber make fine products but "perfection is the enemy of good enough" and the CC is good enough. Lots of value there.
 

Jon Tofte

TVWBB Platinum Member
I wouldn’t argue with that advice. I count myself very fortunate to have landed an almost unused Rec Tec with lots of extras including the stainless drop down front table, cover, Grill Grates and second inside stainless shelf for $750. I was willing to part with a beautifully restored Broilmaster and some other stuff to pay for it. I do like having a large pellet grill for cooking for small events, etc. That said, I too have seen some decent mid-size used pellet grills that would most likely work fine for regular family bbqing.
 
Last edited:

Dwain Pannell

TVWBB Hall of Fame
I guess I’m old school. The new Weber pellet grill looks fantastic but I just can’t see getting rid of a WSM or Kettle to get one. Meathead said it’s the only one on the market that can properly sear a steak. My Kettle is seeing its age but I can’t bring myself to have to have electricity to grill. Yet...
 

Lew Newby

TVWBB All-Star
Jon, you got a fantastic deal on your Bull and I really like the quality in Rec Tec products. If you detect some degree of "grill envy" you're right. :D
My son loves my Craigslist Rec Tec RT-300 that I passed on to him and it couples great with his Genesis gasser. I've had need to use Weber and Rec Tec customer service and they are both top notch even if you bought one of their products used. In time the Weber SmokeFire will hit the used market and some folks are going to get great deals on them. I'll wait and get by with "good enough".
 
Last edited:

Rich Dahl

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Sometimes you want to pellet, sometimes you want to play with charcoal on the kettle (maybe even rotisserie), sometimes you want to kick it Old Skool with the WSM, sometimes you want to Egg - it’s all good! I’m just doing this for fun and having a lot of options keeps it fun for me. If I wanted to I could cook anything on my 30 year old 22” kettle, but I like switching things up.

Another fun thing about pellet cookers is using different types of wood pellets. I see Weber is also going to be coming out with their own pellets. The temperature control also gives a lot of options - start at 185° for 2 hours, then 250° until the butt is 202°, then down to 200° to hold, or whatever. Cook chicken at 350°.

I really can’t wait to get this. I better get the bigger one.
Tom, just a reminder the lowest temp on both models is 200 degrees, so if you need like 185 these may not be for you.
 

Jon Tofte

TVWBB Platinum Member
Jon, you got a fantastic deal on your Bull and I really like the quality in Rec Tec products. If you detect some degree of "grill envy" you're right. :D
My son loves my Craigslist Rec Tec RT-300 that I passed on to him and it couples great with his Genesis gasser. I've had need to use Weber and Rec Tec customer service and they are both top notch even if you bought one of their products used. In time the Weber SmokeFire will hit the used market and some folks are going to get great deals on them. I'll wait and get by with "good enough".
With Weber nowhere in sight in the pellet grill area back a couple years ago, I came to the conclusion that a Rec Tec was the one for me. But as others have mentioned, although Rec Tec prices their grills very competitively (especially for the heavier construction and significant use of stainless) $1200 for just the grill - not to mention extra for a folddown shelf and a cover (very much needed for my situation) plus the cost of a start up on pellets was out of my league. I was blessed to find a guy who was being transferred and who had bought all the doodads plus 300 pounds of pellets (Lumberjack, Rec Tec and Cookin Pellets.com - all very good). He just wanted it moved out, and we hit it off. What a great deal that I have enjoyed very much.

There are other deals out there, and I think it is true that in a year or so even these new Weber SmokeFires will start showing up. I have seen two barely used Traeger Timberline 850s both asking $1,200. $1800 new. Probably could be had for less than the $1200.
 

Rich Dahl

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Jon, you did get the deal of the year on your Rec Tec and I think you're correct you will probably see some Weber pellets pop up because they may be to high tech for some people and they will just give up.
If I found a deal like you got I wouldn't even be looking at a Weber pellet.
The big turnoff for Barb and I is that grease pail of the Traeger's and Rec Tec's. Perfect height for our two big dogs to get their noses into and I know I'll forget to remove it when I'm done or I'll be in the house and one of them will get burned trying to lick the grease.
 

Lew Newby

TVWBB All-Star
I think the advertised low temp for Rec Tec is 200° but the controller has a low setting/max smoke and that's 180 which I use for Jerky. I can't find enough about the Smokefire controller to see if it has a low setting. Another wait and see.
 

Top