When the warmer weather starts rolling in and the garden begins to look fairly inviting, a large percentage of us pull out the BBQ grill – or head off to buy ourselves a shiny new one. And while so many products and devices on the market now offer year-round grilling and smoking options to support your everyday cooking as well as large gatherings and summer celebrations, the association between an outdoor BBQ and a sunny day is still rife.
The decision to purchase a new grill or BBQ is one which, thanks to the internet and the power of online reviews, is now a thoroughly well-researched experience – and yet still we find that many buyers stumble at the first hurdle. They are fully aware that a pellet smoker is by far the best product on the BBQ smoker UK market, and yet have no further knowledge on what different brands offer in terms of their main features, their distinct advantages, and any drawbacks to be aware of.
Here, we at Buff BBQ have taken a look at some of the most renowned brands, homing in on 2 specific products from their original classic ranges – the Pit Boss Classic, and the Traeger Pro D2 575.
Exploring the Pit Boss Classic
Knowing what to look for is only half the story when it comes to comparing modern pellet smokers and BBQ grills. Most of what you see on the grill will influence the user experience – the quality of the meat is primarily dictated by your personal preference and usability.
The Pit Boss Classic boasts the same versatility as all the other pellet smokers in the Pit Boss range, with 8-in-1 cooking functionality which allows the user to transform their single grill into a roaster, a chargrill surface, a smoker and even a baking oven – depending on how the fuel source is utilised in contact with the cooking meat. This immediately elevates the Pit Boss Classic above many of its competitors with the simplest of comparisons – even the Traeger range only boasts 6 different cooking methods in their grills.
But of course, what use is different cooking methods if you don’t have the capacity to fully utilise them? Luckily, the Pit Boss Classic has this covered with an impressive 700 square inch cooking cavity, which includes two cooking racks and enough space for 31lb of pellets – extending cook time massively. When it comes to deep smoking and chargrilling, the position of the meat in relation to the direct fuel flame is absolutely key to a great cooking experience – and with the Pit Boss’ innovative flame broiler which controls the exposure of the direct flame, it’s easy to turn your smoker into a BBQ, a boiling station or a baking oven.
Add to that the exterior control of temperature and cooking time using a clever digital panel on the side of the grill, and you’ve got yourself one of the most user-friendly pellet smokers on the market.
Other advantages of the Pit Boss Classic include the sturdy build quality and extra thought regarding storage and shelving space – though it is worth noting that this particular model is not easily transportable, and so if you are looking to grill on the go you would be better off exploring the portable models offered by Pit Boss.
Exploring the Traeger Pro D2 575
Traeger was responsible for bringing the wood pellet smoking to the mass market over 30 years ago; sparking a transformation of the BBQ smoker UK market ever since. As the first brand to sell pellet smokers, Traeger has a solid reputation and are one of the most popular brands on the market – but how does one of their classic models, the Pro D2 575, compare with the classic Pit Boss?
Firstly, when it comes to grill space and capacity, and it is fair to say that the Traeger Pro provides good competition, falling short by only a few inches at 575 square inches. Despite this loss of cooking space, the Pro D2 575 will comfortable cook up to 24 burgers or 4 whole chickens in one sitting – so is still optimum for a gathering or party, or simply a big Saturday night feast.
We have previously explored the idea of pellet smokers and pellet grills being ideal for all-year-round use – a phenomenon that the UK market is quickly realising as they see that outside grilling is not just perfect for summer – and the Traeger Pro actually takes this one step further with their technologically-advanced built in WiFi system. This allows the grill to be linked to a smartphone via a specialised app; giving the user complete control over the grill temperature and cooking time whether they are right next to it or pouring drinks at the other end of the garden.
This remote control access to the grill gives the Traeger range an edge that many buyers are looking for in an increasingly technology-focussed world, though buyers can expect to pay for the privilege, with the full Traeger range often topping the price charts of other similar products, such as those offered by Pit Boss.
Additional features on the Traeger include the 6-in-1 cooking functionality, as well as a chimney to one side to maintain a balance within the cooking cavity and allow smoke to be constantly replaced with fresh smoke to really elevate the overall taste of the meat.
The final comparison
As researchers into the pellet smoker market, you will already be aware of the ultimate advantage that sits behind both of these models – that wood-smoked texture and flavour that comes from a perfectly cooked piece of meat.
Both of these grills seek to achieve that flavour – and both do a very good job. The main differences lie in the additional features, the cooking capacity and the overall price point – with Pit Boss ultimately coming out on top, based on the fact that the Classic is not only super easy to use with a large cooking space, but that it offers all that at a much lower price. It may not have the WiFi connectivity that Traeger have built into their models, but when you’re using something as effective as the Pit Boss Classic, you may not even have a need for it.