What is a weekend without friends, the bright warm sun, beer, and a perfect barbeque in the backyard?
Barbeques complete the essence of a long-needed break away from home or a homely get together you have been looking forward to. They are easy to make, they taste fantastic and the best part, it can travel with you anywhere you want!
Vertical pellet smokers changed the way people used to imagine grilling. It uses charcoal or wood to generate heat which slowly reaches the cooking grate through a water bowl situated in between. It maintains the cooking temperatures within the desired ranges and adds humidity to the smoking chamber.
Brew out mind-blowing recipes from very simple ingredients with an excellent vertical pellet grill by your side. But we understand the pain of choosing the right one that suits your familial and outing needs. “What’s the build type?” “How much cooking space it has?’ ‘’What’s the size?”…these are some of the many questions one needs to consider while going for the right grill.
Do not worry, though. We have got you covered. In this blog post, we are going to choose from the three grills dominating the market right now.
Our Top Picks
1. Camp Chef XXL Vertical Pellet Grill and Smoker
For those who have an eye for the classics, this wood pellet grill from CAMP Chef should be your go-to. Amid the vast array of wood pellet grills available today, Camp Chef XXL stands out due to its vertical smoke chamber and handling of lower smoke temperatures.
Coming with four grill grates and three racks, overall you can get going for your lively, vibrant house-party without a worry about what’s cooking! Grill 36 sausages at one go on the three racks, with the classic vertical pellets, two temperature probes, and the drippings cup, improving your overall cooking and wood pellet consumption.
Smart Smoke Technology
Except in cold and windy weather, the Smart Smoke Technology optimizes the overall cooking efficiency alongside wood pellet consumption as it is coupled with two temperature probes.
Vertical Smoke Chamber and 3 Jerky Racks
So much better than the barrel-style pellet grills that do not allow space for more than 20 smoking sausages at one point in time.
Why Do I Like It?
I prefer this product from Camp Chef mainly because of the vertical wooden pellet grill it offers. It has an 18-pound hooper, four grates and three jerky racks. The hooks on the jerky racks favor immense volume cooking (make more than 4 kinds of sausages at one go), governed by precise temperature control.
Most barrel-style pellet grills and even vertical charcoal grills lack these premium features. It can hold all kinds, cuts, and sizes of meat with ease.
The two temperature probes are a good addon to the usual single one.
This model is a fusion of the classic pellet grill and the modern technology of smart cooking, giving you an efficient, clean, and controlled cooking in a warm, backyard picnic scene. 2400 sq. in. of smoking space and the decent dynamic temperature range from 150-350 F allows for slow cooking as well as baking and heavy roasting.
Transport, clean up, and built-in sensors have been improved over the previous models of Campchef. Swivel castor wheels make way for efficient movement of the grill from one part of your home to another. Place your party anywhere!
The Camp Chef XXL would be your best bet as it also comes with ‘cook it and forget it’ technology. This is why I like it. Being a people’s person, I would indulge in a glass of my favorite wine and let the Camp Chef do its job!
What Could Have Been Better?
Due to its enormous size, the cost is also high. But in comparison to the warranty it offers, which is of 3 years, prices between the range of USD 500 to 600 is still quite a high amount to pay.
Although it is compatible with the Deluxe Collapsible Side Shelf, its every individual part also costs a decent amount. The temperature range could have been a bit higher, as medium and high range smokers today easily reach 500 F.
The ash cleanout system is flexible too, although if you are smoking a substantial volume of meat, the drippings cup might overflow. So, be cautious!
Pros & Cons
Flexible temperature controls
Unnecessarily large and thus not suitable for picnics and outings far away from home
2. Pit Boss Grills 77550 5.5 Pellet Smoker
Among the traditional smokers and grills, the Pit Boss 77550 gives a fierce competition to Camp Chef. Porcelain-coated cooking grates are an advantage of Pit Boss Grills over Camp Chef, removing the fuss of scraping the beds after heavy cooking.
It boasts of an 1830 sq inch cooking space, a 40+ lb hopper capacity, and a fully controlled 150-450 F temperature range.
If you are a volume cooker, this is one of the cleanest, hustle-free choices for you. Smoking and grilling have never been easier. Its large viewing window and its seal can withstand the highest temperatures very easily.
However, it has some functional and performance issues which we would carefully study and give you the best results.
The 40+ lbs Hopper Space
The ample hopper space with pellet purge alongside the grilling area of 1830 sq. inches gives you a long-lasting burning, optimizing fuel consumption.
Easy to Assemble
Auto-start 300-watt igniter with auto shut-off. Just load your meat and push the auto-ignition button and go on to engage with your friends and family. The auto shut-off also works after the grill is on for 12 hours straight. It comes handy when the number of guests overpowers your cooking and hospitality skills.
Why Do I Like It?
First, the temperature range is just cool! You wouldn’t require anything higher than 450 degrees for any meat you want to cook. You can easily customize and control the cooking with the digital LED display that reads the internal temperature.
I also like the five grilling plates it has to offer within its quite large 1830 sq. inches of cooking space, making way for a large amount of food to be cooked together. This comes in handy when you have planned a broad array of dishes for your guests, irrespective of the number.
One significant improvement of this model over its previous ones is the introduction of double-walled construction and blanket installation from the inside. They kept in mind the cold wintry nights and the house-parties of that time, and so, freezing temperatures and slow cooking are problems of the past.
With the automatic ignition and auto shut-off technology, you can quickly grill your meat with slow cooking for over 24 hours. Surprise your guests with the perfect blend of the meat and marinade sauce. As the racks are coated with porcelain, the process of scraping and washing the plates have become much easier.
In comparison to the Camp Chef and all its features, this model of Pit Boss Grills is more comfortable to assemble as they modified the top pellet hopper to the rear of the smoker. The price is moderate, taking into consideration the cooking and hopper space it offers.
What Could Have Been Better?
Well, now is the time to return to the operational issues. Despite the 24-hour functionality, the water tray isn’t customized to suit the grill. More often than not, the water inside makes the interior too humid, as a result of which the pellets become moist and sticky after heavy usage. I hope they seriously consider this lack and change it in the future models they produce.
Pros & Cons
A vast dynamic range of temperature: 150-450 F
An internal meat temperature thermometer
Auto-ignition and auto shut-off technology
A quite large capacity cooking area
Water trays require better ventilation
The auto shut-off prevents overnight cooking after 12 hours of usage, so one needs to pay attention before leaving it all in the hands of the grill.
3. Z Grills Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker with Patio Cover,700 Cooking Area 7 in 1
If you are looking for convenience, ease of use and a one-stop cooking giant, Z Grills is your indispensable friend at hand. 7 in 1 smoker. Can you imagine? Your recipes are just waiting to be cooked, and Z Grills will never let you down in your delicious cooking experiments.
This model of Z Grills is the most optimum grill you could ask for. It is best suited for house parties, tailgating as well as picnics at your uncle’s. Pack this nice, little giant in the backseat and forget about it. Its 520 sq. inches main rack is accompanied by a 190 sq. inches warm rack to accommodate all sorts of dishes at one go.
Play Denver on loop and roast the delicious pork, ham, and chicken away after a long week. This is life! But is it all good? Let’s find out.
7-in-1 cooking module
Out of the three, this comes as a complete cooking package without limiting itself to only barbeque or simple grilling.
The electronic thermometer maintains a steady temperature during colder nights.
The grilling area is vast in comparison to cost. You can accommodate 20 burgers at one go very smoothly.
Why Do I Like It?
Let’s begin by its versatility. The 7-in-1 cooking module makes space for all that you could ask for. Smoke, grill, roast, braise or bake, this grill does them all with pure expertise. The cooking space is just optimum to be carried everywhere, and all different food items can be cooked simultaneously.
Next comes the ultra-flexible dynamic range of temperature that goes up to 475 F. The electronic control system makes way for smooth up and down of temperature without any hassle, and the sleek design makes it all the more attractive. It is available in black and silver, and I would recommend you to go for the latter.
The company has distinctly improved the temperature control apparatus, and the Smart Digital Controller maintains the exact temperature as specified, and the machine is extremely user-friendly. I haven’t come across a grill easier than turning a simple dial.
The integrated plug or spigot keeps the grill clean when it is operating for longer periods of time. Just attach a small bucket, and the extra hot grease will be poured into it slowly. This process makes way for the lasting performance of grills.
The wood-fired flavor is one of my favorites when it comes to barbeque, and very few could beat the Z grills along that line. Also, the cabinet comes with good quality caster wheels making way for easy transportation. Although substantial, its relatively small size makes it more portable than the other two grills reviewed above.
What Could Have Been Better?
Well, the model would have been perfect if they could improve the heating mechanism a bit. It’s the same age-old problem of getting very hot around the grill when it reaches the searing temperatures. Also, many reviewers have pointed out that if you have been using the gas grill (which has a temperature of 500-600 F), the Z-grills is no match for that. Also, the ash cleanout mechanism needs a bit of improvement, and then this model would become the king of the chosen three!
Pros & Cons
Outstanding value for money
3-years standing warranty
Very easy to clean
It doesn’t have an ash cleanout
It gets too hot while nearing the upper limits.
So, who wins?
As I mentioned before, it all depends on your needs. But needs and desires not always suit our pockets, right? So, among these three grills, who wins is the one most versatile and flexible – Z Grills Wood 7-in-1 Pellet Grill & Smoker.
First, for the fans of classics, I must say, the Z Grills silver model will hit you with all its glaze, shine, and distinct features. Although Camp Chef has an even larger cooking space, the Z Grills is cheaper than the former.
Wouldn’t you like to trade the Camp Chef for all those traditional dishes you could cook at one go in the Z Grills? On top of that, the highest reachable temperature you get from Z Grills is no match for Camp Chef.
For all those inching towards the 5-year warranty of Pit Boss Grills, think twice! Yes, a solid 5-year warranty is alluring but is it worth it when you are getting something free from the fuss of sticky and moist grills? Also, unlike the 7-in-1 Z-grill, the Pit Boss isn’t easily portable owing to its huge size and shape.
What beats everything else is the grease management technology of Z-grills. Forget about cleaning the grills after a night of heavy cooking. Instead, place a bucket near the spigot and keep emptying it from time to time.
The final words are for those who are still apprehensive. Well, it is always smart to go with your instincts. I have laid down for you all there is to know about the three models.
All these vertical pellet grill models are incredibly proficient in what they do, that is why they are topping the market charts, right? So it finally boils down to your needs, passion, and cooking specifications. While Z-grills is the best value for money, Camp Chef will give you a sturdy slow cooking beast and Pit Boss will auto-start your cooking recipes.
But rest assured, all three will gift you with delicious, delicate recipes that will leave your guests with a warm aftertaste. Cheerio!