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WBDubya

Kamado Joe owner considering a pellet cooker

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I have had my BJ for years now and also had an Akorn and still have an Akorn Jr. I recently added a pellet grill to the assortment and couldn't be happier with my decision. The pellet grill is a little easier to maintain but, to me anyway, hardly surpasses the BJ in terms of ease of use, I have a CyberQ WiFi so my BJ is fairly automatic also. The big difference is in the flavor of the food that comes from the pellet grill. Some complain there is not enough smoke flavor from a pellet grill but I think mine does just fine. The pellets give a different kind of flavor then the lump does, it's more of a cleaner taste. My Timberline doens't have the gritty hit you in the face flavor of the lump from my BJ but I actually prefer the cleaner taste wood on many different foods.

 

Since you are thinking about adding a pellet grill, I would highly recommend finding one of your friends that has one and sampling some of his cooks. If that is not possible maybe one of the stores that carry PG's in your area will have a cookout sales event and you could try some. My wife is thrilled with the new grill, as she is not a big fan of heavy smoke flavoring.

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best move ever for me personally.  As much as I love the Kamado and charcoal, there are times when I just want to make a quick meal or have limited time.  Pressing the ignite button on the pellet grill and being at temp in minutes compared to starting the fire and waiting for it to heat up allows me to cook anytime of the week.  We are a busy family and this allows me to cook on nights that I would have said no grill time.  

 

I too have read so many comments about a light smoke profile.  I have learned how to utilize the smoke setting on the pellet grill and prefer the smoother smoke flavour now opposed to the heavy charcoal hit.  Lets face it, some foods shouldn't have that charcoal hit.  

 

My one critique of a pellet grill is that they don't get screaming hot like a Kamado.  My Kamado has become my dedicated steak searing station and to be honest that is about all these days.  I have a pizza oven for baking and pizza as well as roasting, and then the pellet fits the bill for everything else.  

 

Everyone has their own opinion of what they need and want.  I don't buy into the hype of one grill does it all anymore.  I read a post hear years ago by Big Green Craig that changed my mind.  He had just received a rec tec pellet grill after being a dedicated egg user for years.  He stated that he now understood the concept that there is a right tool for every job. 

 

That sparked my interest which lead me to a pizza oven, multiple traeger grills and dropping down to one Kamado.....

 

I hope this helps you.  I am not slighting any cooker in anyway.  The Kamado is a great grill and is truly the swiss army knife of BBQ.  It can do every task well.....  I have learned that other grills can just do more specific tasks better.

 

Ryan

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Thanks for all of the great information. Maybe I'll sell the Big Joe, replace it with a pellet and keep the Jr. for searing.

I've used a PartyQ in the past to regulate temps on the Big Joe for low and slow cooks and it works ok but not great.

Getting the Big Joe up to temp takes an awfully long time which limits it's use to weekends only.  If I'm going to invest in a Cyber Q Wifi or similar product to automate things better on the Big Joe, why not just get a pellet to set it and forget it?

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4 minutes ago, WBDubya said:

Thanks for all of the great information. Maybe I'll sell the Big Joe, replace it with a pellet and keep the Jr. for searing.

I've used a PartyQ in the past to regulate temps on the Big Joe for low and slow cooks and it works ok but not great.

Getting the Big Joe up to temp takes an awfully long time which limits it's use to weekends only.  If I'm going to invest in a Cyber Q Wifi or similar product to automate things better on the Big Joe, why not just get a pellet to set it and forget it?

 

Personally, I would keep everything until you decide what you need or prefer.  You may appreciate the larger space over the jr. 

 

my dad is set up with a classic and a pro 22 and my best buddy had all three KJ sizes.  When he added a Timberline to his line up he kept his classic and sold his big joe and jr. 

 

my brother in law got my old pro 34 Traeger and has since added a big joe to his line up.  

 

 

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9 hours ago, retfr8flyr said:

 The pellet grill is a little easier to maintain but, to me anyway, hardly surpasses the BJ in terms of ease of use.....

 

my experience on this point is polar-opposite:

 

Kamado:

  In order to use the big joe, you have to remove the grill grates & deflectors, remove ash, add lump, start fire, wait, put grates/deflectors in, adjust vents, (wash your hands a few times in between) let temp settle, keep any eye on temp, you know the process.....

 

Pellet Grill:

turn dial to desired cooking temp.  

press ignite button

wait about 20 minutes.--built in thermostat (not talking about wifi option) handles the temp control

put food on 

 

of course there is an ash & grease trap clean out every couple of cooks but pellets are much cleaner & easier to load & maintain than charcoal.

 

11 hours ago, WBDubya said:

Can you give some benefits a pellet has over a Kamado?

 

sorry about that, i was on my phone & had to get on the keyboard for a better answer.

 

this answer is going to be subjective because a kamado & a pellet grill (or any other grill) do exactly the same thing in that they provide a heat source to cook..... anything beyond that is personal preference.

 

for me:

ease of use (my wife even uses it and wanted no part of a charoal grill) my BBQ comes out 10x better (juicer meat and better bark) i have timberlines & capacity is incredible, the smoke profile is 'pure' (doesn't taste like a fireplace) in summary, like you said below, set it & forget it with superior results.

 

i ran my tiimberline 850 on thursday for 16 hours and used 1/2 hopper full of pellets.  single-digit ambient temp and 15-18 mph winds.  if i needed to add fuel, just add pellets to hopper, dont have to take food and grates out of the grill.

 

53 minutes ago, WBDubya said:

Thanks for all of the great information. Maybe I'll sell the Big Joe, replace it with a pellet and keep the Jr. for searing.

 

thats what i did.  gifted my Big Joe and Jr and kept the classic.  i've fired the Classic up once to sear a tri-tip since getting the pellet grills but i still like it and plan to use it more.  Also took @bosco advise not to get rid of anything right away but at that point my Big Joe was only being used for smoking and IMO my smoking resulrs from the Timberline were much better so i gave to my brother-in-law and made him extremely happy.

 

53 minutes ago, WBDubya said:

Getting the Big Joe up to temp takes an awfully long time which limits it's use to weekends only.  If I'm going to invest in a Cyber Q Wifi or similar product to automate things better on the Big Joe, why not just get a pellet to set it and forget it?

 

I automated my big joe with a flameboss 200 wifi model and it worked very well (its listed here in the for sale section b/c i no longer have the Big Joe).

 

if you are only looking to solve the issue of wifi/phone app/automation, then (in my experience) you ca easily do this for a couple hundred bucks with a pit controller.

 

However, if you are interested in trying something new and expanding your cooking arsenal, then a pellet grill is an amazing edition.  I enjoy pellet cooking very much.  take a cruise through the non-kamado section of the forum, several of us have posted some pellet cooks and it will give you some good ideas.

 

Good luck with your decision, if you have any questions on the Traeger Timberline 850 or 1300 or Traeger Ranger or would like to see any pictures, i would be glad to discuss & help.

 

 

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I like my pellet burner because I can cook overnight and sometimes close to 24 hours for super low and slow meats like brisket and pork butt.

I got interested in long cooks from the show Man meat fire (or whatever it's called) where the host interviewed a gentleman who only cooked 24 hour pork butts, the results were amazing, tenderness and moisture wise.

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11 minutes ago, Chasdev said:

I like my pellet burner because I can cook overnight and sometimes close to 24 hours for super low and slow meats like brisket and pork butt.

I got interested in long cooks from the show Man meat fire (or whatever it's called) where the host interviewed a gentleman who only cooked 24 hour pork butts, the results were amazing, tenderness and moisture wise.

 

I’m trying this!!!

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I had been considering getting a pellet smoker for a while  and was researching which one I wanted to sink some money into. Then I found a great deal on a Pit Boss Copperhead vertical. For $109 I was able to get one and see if I really like pellet smoking. I've only done a couple of cooks on it, but I like it so far. The smoker has a ton of space too which is nice. You can check the link below to see if there are any of the units on clearance in your area if you want to dip your toe in the pellet waters for cheap.

 

https://brickseek.com/walmart-inventory-checker?sku=876324460

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On 2/1/2019 at 8:42 PM, WBDubya said:

I own a Big Joe and a Joe Jr (Jr. sees more cooks these days). For those of you that own a Kamado and a pellet cooker is it worth having both?

What pellet grill are you considering?

As I researched pellet grills myself, I remember a post (here or elsewhere?) made in reference to someone 'dipping their toes' into pellet grilling. Something along the lines of don't judge all grills based on your decision to start with a low-end grill. I'm disappointed with my GMG Davy Crockett, I mostly blame myself as it simply wasn't the right grill for me (although there are other issues). I thought it would be a grill I could use for everyday cooking and also be able to take on vacations. Too small for some of my usual cooks, not nearly as portable as the Akorn jr.

When things have gone well with it, the food has been great. Plenty of smoke, delicious results with salmon, chicken thighs.

The cons though out weigh the pros. I'll be selling this one on as soon as I get the temp controller repaired/replaced (out of control after about 8 cooks, set at 350 the other night, app beeped to tell me temp has been reached, went out and handle too hot to lift the lid, got out my own thermometer, running at 505 degrees!).

It will not prevent me from buying another pellet grill. But it will be a bigger and better pellet grill...I will also be keeping both Akorns, at least until I (hopefully) replace the full size Akorn with KJ Classic II. Points made above about each grill having their strengths and benefits are spot on.

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On 2/2/2019 at 9:04 AM, freddyjbbq said:

i ran my tiimberline 850 on thursday for 16 hours and used 1/2 hopper full of pellets.  single-digit ambient temp and 15-18 mph winds.  if i needed to add fuel, just add pellets to hopper, dont have to take food and grates out of the grill.

 

Wow !! The main reason that I never used my Traeger 060 was that it ate pellets. On smoke it used almost none but at 300 , I could almost  watch the pellets go down. But it is a single layer of metal with a rounded door where the smoke just flowes out.

I used to smoke the pork but and finish it in the oven.

 

 

23 hours ago, O C said:

As I researched pellet grills myself, I remember a post (here or elsewhere?) made in reference to someone 'dipping their toes' into pellet grilling. Something along the lines of don't judge all grills based on your decision to start with a low-end grill. I'm disappointed with my GMG Davy Crockett, I mostly blame myself as it simply wasn't the right grill for me (although there are other issues).

I agree but that is a bit of a problem because buying a good quality grill is not cheap and one just does not know until one has it. A place with demo models would be the perfect solution. LOL

I can not agree more that getting a grill that suits one is important. For me it has to be reliable and QUALITY $$.

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3 hours ago, O C said:

What pellet grill are you considering?

As I researched pellet grills myself, I remember a post (here or elsewhere?) made in reference to someone 'dipping their toes' into pellet grilling. Something along the lines of don't judge all grills based on your decision to start with a low-end grill. I'm disappointed with my GMG Davy Crockett, I mostly blame myself as it simply wasn't the right grill for me (although there are other issues). I thought it would be a grill I could use for everyday cooking and also be able to take on vacations. Too small for some of my usual cooks, not nearly as portable as the Akorn jr.

When things have gone well with it, the food has been great. Plenty of smoke, delicious results with salmon, chicken thighs.

The cons though out weigh the pros. I'll be selling this one on as soon as I get the temp controller repaired/replaced (out of control after about 8 cooks, set at 350 the other night, app beeped to tell me temp has been reached, went out and handle too hot to lift the lid, got out my own thermometer, running at 505 degrees!).

It will not prevent me from buying another pellet grill. But it will be a bigger and better pellet grill...I will also be keeping both Akorns, at least until I (hopefully) replace the full size Akorn with KJ Classic II. Points made above about each grill having their strengths and benefits are spot on.

 

I think I’ve narrowed my choices down to the Timberline 850 or the Yoder 480. My concern with the Yoder is that some owners are experiencing rust issues, temp overshoots and it doesn’t have a wifi controller. I haven’t seen too many negatives regarding the 850. 

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