Jump to content

Smoke Flavor: Kamado Vs. Pellet Cooker


Mr Cue
 Share

Recommended Posts

I'm sure it's been discussed a lot but what's one more discussion? Anyways, I'm at a crossroads right now, Big Joe isn't big enough and I'm debating adding another cooker. I want something with a large capacity but ease of use so it's looking like a pellet cooker is the next addition. I want to stay under a grand so I'm looking at the Rec Tec 680 or GMG Jim Bowie. My conundrum is whether or not these cookers are going to cook pulled pork, ribs, and briskets that are going to have a similar smoke profile as if they came off my Big Joe. Then there's the trusty old UDS.. I can save a lot of money and build one for a lot less than buying a pellet smoker and a new Joe is out of the question right now due to cost. Thoughts? 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

19 minutes ago, falcar said:

I just recently entered the kamado arena, but have been using Pellet smokers for a couple years.  I've had really great results with them.  

 

Different feel from a "live fire" type of setup, but the food is delicious.

 

I opted to purchase at a local guy, give  them a look: http://smokedaddyinc.com/

 

 

I've been toying with the idea of having a custom unit built with one of their kits. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The big difference I see between my Kamado Joes and my Traeger on something like a Boston butt is the quality of the bark.  The Kamado is a much more moist environment than a pellet grill where there is a lot of forced air.  I can't tell a big difference in the smoke profile from either.  If you cook on a pellet grill you will likely want to foil the meat and add some liquid after the bark has set.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a pellet smoker and it gets used much more than my 19" Kamado. A Kamado with just lump alone doesn't give me ton of smoke flavor. In that regard a pellet smoker will be better. It's not gonna be like a stick burner but it just the right amount for me.

There are inexpensive ways to augment smoke like a smoke tube. Food does come out great and the convenience factor has me using it all the time. I have a Jim Bowie. Another feature I love is the wifi controller. I can make adjustments on my cooks anywhere I have wifi or cell signal.

Jim Bowie can be hit or miss. I almost sold it but finally fiddled around with it enough to get it to cook how I want it too.

Rectec has very good reviews and terrific customer service. Can't go wrong with either.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, wilpark said:

I have a pellet smoker and it gets used much more than my 19" Kamado. A Kamado with just lump alone doesn't give me ton of smoke flavor. In that regard a pellet smoker will be better. It's not gonna be like a stick burner but it just the right amount for me.

There are inexpensive ways to augment smoke like a smoke tube. Food does come out great and the convenience factor has me using it all the time. I have a Jim Bowie. Another feature I love is the wifi controller. I can make adjustments on my cooks anywhere I have wifi or cell signal.

Jim Bowie can be hit or miss. I almost sold it but finally fiddled around with it enough to get it to cook how I want it too.

Rectec has very good reviews and terrific customer service. Can't go wrong with either.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

What sort of things did you have to do?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What sort of things did you have to do?

 

Honestly I did more than I should have. I have an older single piece drip try and 3 piece deflector. I only use the center piece of the heat shield that covers the fire pot.

 

I made a second shelf out of angle iron six inches above the main grate. I wanted as much real estate so when I made the shelf I made it 36 " x 18" and it wouldn't fit through the mouth. So I had to cut into the lip with and angle grinder. Wasn't thrilled about that but glad it doesn't make difference in how it cooks.

 

The second shelf was key as it reduces hot spots on the cooking grate.

 

9b59c70ed3a0488438a8b5cf386a12db.jpg

 

Cooked about 5 racks of ribs on second grate and all of them came out looking the same from left to right and front to back. Here is a sample of one of them.

 

a9bb1c0b8d82e399e05905db85faadc9.jpg

 

b12d3876660d80ed74c22cc42077e8a3.jpg

 

Numerous temperature testing, fiddling with heat shield placement until I got what I wanted.

 

I also updated the controller to the wifi controller. Then the firmware to the latest beta version 6.5 I think. This is the best version of the software in my opinion.

 

And I used felt nomex self sticking gasket to line the door. But in retrospect not necessary.

 

It may not work for you but the single most important change I made was to make that second grate. I use it as my primary grate now. I wish I had raised it 4" rather than 6 as head room is cut into. I thought I would use main grate even with the second one but the second grate works so much better than the "main" level. So the second shelf is my main cooking grate.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I have been a kamado die hard for the past 5+ years now and recently acquired a Traeger Pro 34 in December.  I love it, I can honestly say that.  I have produced my best butts, and brisket to date on my pellet smoker.  I have learned how to use the smoke feature to add heavy smoke as the cook starts out, then I raise the temp by turning a knob and within minutes I am at my desired temp.  

 

I have cooked about everything that you can cook on a grill with the pro 34, and have not yet been disappointed.  The only downfall is higher heat cooking.  Anything around 350-400, no problem.  I keep a small stainless steel bowl of water in the grill during low and slow cooks to help the moisture environment, and honestly I would say that the pellet smoker beats out the kamado at this point for low and slow. 

 

Busy days and nights, I turn the dial and walk away, no fuss at all.  The other nice feature is cooking without charcoal once and a while.  I have a new appreciation for food without the heavy charcoal flavour.  

 

I have decided to purchase the new Traeger Timberline 1300 when they become available.  The shortcomings that I found with the pro34, the new timberline corrects and it has a huge grilling area with three grates for 1300 sq. inches of space.  

 

If you have a kamado already, spend on a pellet, it is a great compliment 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Big Joe isn't big enough and I'm debating adding another cooker.


Just curious what you don't have enough room for? Ive been messing with extended grids in my Big Joe and feel like I have more space than I need. I don't do any huge cooks, but hope to some day, so I am interested in what the limits may be down the line
Link to comment
Share on other sites



Just curious what you don't have enough room for? Ive been messing with extended grids in my Big Joe and feel like I have more space than I need. I don't do any huge cooks, but hope to some day, so I am interested in what the limits may be down the line

Just curious Mr. Cue, have you added or built an extension rack for your Big Joe? I was concerned about capacity as well, until I added a 22" Weber grate as an entension. Almost like having a second BJ. Well, now a third...


Mr. Cue has recently embarked on a business venture with a good friend. They have a food trailer together to provide food at events. He cooks food for the trailer on his KJBJ at times and probably needs more room to produce the quantities need for the trailer.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

How about a kk 42" Serious Big Bad or a kk 32: Big Bad

42"  Serious Big Bad      $9,200                    $9,460 

32"  Big Bad                    $5,900                    $6,100 

Z      Z     9k=   Z

Oh wait, you mentioned something about <$1000. Well, there is $1000 in the price. ok a lot of $1000s in the price. But look what you get and the extra customers that would stop by and buy just to look at it. If you were near me I'd stop by and buy some food and gaze at it looooooongingly.:rofl:

Link to comment
Share on other sites



Mr. Cue has recently embarked on a business venture with a good friend. They have a food trailer together to provide food at events. He cooks food for the trailer on his KJBJ at times and probably needs more room to produce the quantities need for the trailer.


Sounds exciting! Whether you add another cooker or not, there is definitely space to take advantage of with extra racks. I have a 3/4 tier setup that I've built for my big joe. Have some refining to do, but I don't really have need to cook as much as I am able.

24" KJ grid + 23" vision grid + 20" CGS + 18.5" Weber grid (KJ expander shown for testing). Depending on thickness of meat I can add or remove layers as needed.

b4546e20c6ea6593925d722d1386b092.jpg
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey Cue-

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 :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...