The BBQ smoker UK market is made up of dozens of different grills designed for different cooking processes and finishes; from the convenience of a gas grill for the modern home, to the authenticity of a wood fired grill which is often the go-to for campers.
The fact is that the BBQ grill you have says a lot about you as a chef – and is often reminiscent of your chosen style of cooking indoors as well as outdoors. For the chef who looks for convenience and control, prioritising an even cook over intense flavour, the gas grill will be your go-to. Whereas for the family who like to cook on the go, the portability of a wood or charcoal fired grill is likely to be the best choice for you.
But what if we told you there a player on the market that encompassed all of these cooking types and more, in one easy to use grill which is not only stylish, but also enhanced by technology and large enough to cook multiple items at once.
We are, of course, talking about the pellet smoker. We’ll be comparing 2 of the most popular brands and models on the market, particularly heralded for their sheer size, immense cooking capacity, and ability to create different cooking experiences depending on how you use them.
Exploring the Louisiana Grills 1200 series
One of the things we love about Louisiana Grills is that across most of their ranges, one model is not enough – with every type broken down into 2 different models to present a series: the Premium model and the Legacy model. What separates these 2 models is the extra thought and features that Louisiana Grills put into the Legacy model, which boasts an additional side shelf and a sleeker design, including built-in tool hooks and extra surface space which elevates the usability of the grill as a standalone device.
The other feature that Louisiana Grills has implemented in their modern recent ranges is the addition of a WiFi and Bluetooth connection – giving the user the ability to link their grill up to their smartphone and control it remotely through their own screen. This technological intervention is apparent across the whole 1200 series, taking the complete control that gas grill users love and channelling it into an innovative and user friendly pellet smoker model.
Then we come to the cooking process itself – something which this brand takes very seriously, with a versatile range of 8 different cooking methods in 1. What does this mean?
In short, it means that everything you love about your gas grill or your wood fire is available through the Louisiana Grills pellet smoker, simply via the transference of heat and the easy-to-adjust flame broiler which can either cover up and contain the direct flame, or expose it to the meat directly. Through this internal design, pellets are funnelled down from the pellet box into the fire pit, located right in the centre of the grill underneath the cooking plates. The fire pit is fed on a continual loop by the pellet box, while the user slides the cooking plate atop or to the side of the flame itself to allow for a flame grilled finish or the low and slow smoking process via the indirect transference of heat and smoke.
In terms of cooking space and value, Louisiana Grills 1200 series has it all, offering an impressive 1205 square inches of cooking space at an affordable price. The Legacy model in particular boasts extra ergonomic and user-friendly features which elevate the cost but also increase the value and experience to match – making it an additional investment worth paying.
Traeger Timberline 1300
In a move similar to the Louisiana Grills 1200 series, the Timberline 1300 has increased its cooking capacity but without affecting the bulk and size of the grill itself – instead choosing to separate the cooking space over three shelves, 2 of which can be removed or moved as required. Though this is an advantages in terms of maximising the space around the grill itself, we would say that 3 shelves means the internal cooking space becomes a little cramped and affects the size of the meat you can cook on each of these shelves– and removing a shelf or 2 cuts the cooking capacity, leaving you with a far smaller surface area than you could have with a grill that was built wider for increased space.
Like the Louisiana Grills series, the Traeger 1300 has been designed with optimised technical intervention, ranging from the digital control screen to the addition of a WiFi connection and a dedicated control app which elevate the user experience and ensure that complete control which so many users love. Though the digital screen is at a safe distance from the source of the heat, we would argue that the addition of a removable screen cover from Louisiana Grills serves a useful job in protecting the screen and ensuring that it isn’t easily tampered with by mistake – something which Traeger could consider to further heighten the effectiveness of their Timberline 1300.
Having said that, the additional features are enough to rival the Legacy model of the Louisiana Grills series, including not just a side shelf but a specialised bamboo chopping board and plenty of space to store and hang your BBQ tools and utensils.
But all this comes at a cost and as has become the standard with Traeger pellet smokers and grills, the cost is a high one. Despite the fact that this grill can be used for 6 different cooking methods (2 shy of the Louisiana Grills capability) with its quick heating and controlled transference design, the cost is well above entry level and is likely to become a sticking point for many.
That said, a pellet smoker is an investment and one which will serve you well throughout the whole year – complimenting not just your BBQ parties and events, but also your Sunday roasts and your mid-week meals. For a lower cost with extra warranty and additional cooking methods all packaged into one, it seems the Louisiana Grills 1200 series offers far greater value, without compromising on any quality.