Just my thoughts, opinions and experiences... I have been cooking outdoors pretty much year-round/non-stop for the past 25 years. I have cooked on everything from cheap to expensive... gas, charcoal, wood and pellets. I am a nut in the sense that I like to try new things and play around, therefore having gone through my fair share of cookers over the years. Just ask my wife... lol!! I was introduced to pellet cookers in 2004. I was lucky enough to find a lightly used American made, all stainless steel Traeger for $200. I used the heck out of that Traeger for 3 years and then sold it for $800...lol. Yep, it was time to try something new again. Left the pellet world for about 8 years while cooking on other cookers. Then a couple of years ago, I came across a used MAK 1 Star that my buddy was selling. Decided to take advantage of the offer and add a pellet cooker back into the mix. I was blown away by how much I used it and how much my family/friends raved about the product that I was turning out. I can honestly say that over the past 2 years, the pellet cooker has become my preferred cooker. Did NOT expect that!
This is the 1st time that I have disclosed this on kamado guru... so here goes. We recently moved into a new home. Our new home has a much smaller area for my cooking arsenal. Prior to the move, I had 4 cookers. 1) Kamado Joe Big Joe 2) M1 grill 3) MAK 1 Star 4) Blackstone Griddle. It was quite the setup, but did take up a lot of space. With MUCH thought and consideration, and really thinking through how I cook, and what I cook... I had to make the painful decision as to how I was going to pare down my cooking arsenal. At the end of the day, EVERYTHING was sold off except for the Blackstone Griddle. I then took the proceeds from the sales and purchased a brand new MAK 2 Star. In my opinion, and for my needs, and with the way that I cook... a very capable pellet cooker alongside a griddle gives me pretty much everything I need. As mentioned, I thought long and hard about my decision, and I was unable to come up with any cooking situation what I would NOT be able to overcome with these 2 cookers.
IMO, the pellet cookers lay down a light and clean smoke profile. It's almost like a smoke seasoning vs just smoked. I have received nothing but positive comments about the food that comes from my MAK... and I definitely have a few friends/family that are brutally honest
As far as pellets... I exclusively use cookinpellets. I buy bulk and have shipped straight to my door. The price is very competitive, and the quality of the pellets are top notch! http://www.cookinpellets.com/our-premium-pellets/600-lbs-15-bags-of-perfect-mix-pellets./
Another thing that has become a huge deal for me is how much more often I am able to cook outdoors. With the set-it-and-forget-it nature of pellet cookers, I have the MAK running quite often, unattended, during the week. Something I would never be able to do with other cookers. Example... my family was craving pulled pork earlier this week... Tuesday evening, I applied rub to a pork butt, placed it on my MAK at 6:30pm with a pit temp of 210. I let it run all night at that temp. Woke up at 5:30am to find it entering the stall. Placed it in an aluminum pan uncovered and went to work. The MAK was programmed to cook the remainder of the cook at 225, and once the IT hit 200 it was programmed to drop back to the smoke setting and hold the pork until dinner (5:30pm). We had a fantastic pulled pork dinner last night... something I would not be able to pull off with any other type of cooker (at least not without hassle).
The other thing I really like about pellet cookers vs round cookers, is how easily they will accommodate large portions of meat, and how easily you can add a full 2nd level to most of these cookers. My MAK is only 429 sq inches, but doubles to 858 when I add the full upper rack. That is big enough to comfortably hold 8 big butts, or 4 large briskets. And of course, the Rec-Tec that you are looking at is even bigger then that. You can really pack a pellet cooker down with meat. The grease drainage system on pellet cookers is also really nice... making cleanup super easy.
I hope that no one misunderstands me... I LOVE kamado cooking. If I had to label kamado cooking with one word, it would be FUN! Kamado's are a blast to cook on, and they turn out some really good eats! The only reason I no longer have a kamado is because a pellet cooker better meets my needs, and allows me to cook way more often.
Why am I still on this forum? I find backyard kamado chefs to be some of the most creative and interesting guys/gals out there... plus I've been around long enough, that this place just feels like home.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it