Deciding between 1-star and 2-star
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Deciding between 1-star and 2-star
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Thread: Deciding between 1-star and 2-star

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Deciding between 1-star and 2-star

    Hi all -- I am a total newbie to smoking, though I've done a bunch of reading and have checked out (and sampled the delicious results from) a friend's ~2012 2-star.

    I have read the threads here on the differences between the 2-star and the updated 2016 1-star, which seem to be three: (a) stainless versus powder-coated exterior; (b) smoker box; and (c) flame-zone.

    I don't really care about (a) -- we live in the Bay Area in a temperate year-round climate and it won't take much of a beating. I'll buy/use a cover. I do grant that the 2-star is generally nicer-looking.

    (b) is also not a big deal to me. I could see myself trying out smoking salmon and maybe even getting into that, but it wasn't even on my radar as something I wanted a smoker for.

    (c) seems to be the biggest difference then. Some thoughts/questions on that:

    1. It would be great to have an all-in-one solution and get rid of the Weber gas grill I currently have. But everything I've read (including at amazingribs.com) suggests that neither the MAK 2-star, nor really any other pellet grill, is going to give you a great sear. So one option would be to get the 1-star and spend some of the savings on something like a Solaire Everywhere, which would be used as a small, single-purpose IR searing tool (reaches over 800 degrees). That is sort of where I'm leaning at the moment.

    2. Is the 1-star really a grill at all, or is it best thought of as just a smoker oven? Am I correct that without the flame zone, it does not do direct heat at all?

    3. What are the advantages of the 2-star versus getting the 1-star and a separate searing device? (other than (a) and (b) above, which aren't major considerations for me) What would I be able to do with the 2-star that I would not be able to do with the combination of the other two devices?

    Cost is not really an issue, other than that the MAK 2-star is the outer bounds of what I'm willing to spend; so a 2-star plus another device for searing (other than the Weber I already have, which is not great for that either) is not an option.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Buy the 2 Star (when it's back in stock) and be done with it.

    Your a,b,c are correct. I think it comes down to, do you want a better looking grill, with a warmer box/cold smoker box/table, and the opportunity to grill directly? The warmer box would be nice. I also like the way the 2 Star looks. Not to sound flippant about money but it's only another $700 (less as you'll probably want shelves on the 1 Star) on a luxury grill you'll have a for a long time. I think that's what I've decided to do, although it requires more saving up time.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    There is enough reason mentioned above to support going with the 2 Star. At the end of the day it comes with all you need vs trying to upgrade a 1 Star. Not to mention the (after the fact) continual questioning in your mind if the 2 Star would have been better. IMO, go with the top of the line and be done, 'buy once, cry once'!

    A number of people are satisfied with the searing capabilities of the flame zone. My advise is use it for a number of cooks with varied types of pellets and then determine for yourself. You might find it is capable thereby eliminating the need for your weber or something else. Having said that, my existing grill is large with rotisserie etc... and it's used regularly for those meals we enjoy most from the grill. We use our 2 Star equally and for all the wonderful things it too produces.
    MAK 2 Star #3623
    MAK 2 Star #1915 now w/another smoker
    Twin Eagles Gasser

  4. #4
    Junior Member
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    Thanks. The issue is that I'm not convinced that the 2-star in fact comes with all I need, because 450 is not going to provide a real sear. So the question is whether there is anything that the 2-star can do that I could not do with the combination of a 1-star and a high-end single-purpose searer (other than cold-smoking, which I do not anticipate really doing).

    Also: does anyone know (a) when the 2-star will be back in stock and (b) if/when an updated 2017 model will be released?
    Last edited by shza; 12-31-2016 at 05:05 PM.

  5. #5
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    I grappled with making the same decision earlier this year & ultimately the upgrades that MAK made to the 2016 model of the 1 Star convinced me that it was more than enough to meet my needs for smoking food. The extra money that you would spend on the 2 Star could go to upgrades like the mobile wi-fi add-on, a 1/2 or 3/4 upper rack, a griddle or an extra M4 probe or two. I have no regrets about my decision & the 1 Star looks better in person than in the photos. Neither the 1 Star or 2 Star will effectively sear steaks like a charcoal grill... the decision to go with a MAK should be more about smoking food with an easy to use controller.

  6. #6
    First, welcome to the forum! It's a great place.


    Quote Originally Posted by shza
    ...because 450 is not going to provide a real sear.
    The MAK gets hotter than 450 The MAK is rated for 500 on the "High" setting, BUT that is the overall pit temp for indirect cooking being read by the temp sensor off to the side. When using the FlameZone, which provides direct heat, the actual temp at grate level gets hotter than that.


    Since we do mainly low & slow cooking/roasting, with only occasional grilling, the MAK with the FlameZone and a searing grate is perfect for us. Does it sear like a high temp gasser, or charcoal? No, but does it get hot enough to give a sear? Yes.


    Here are some pics of our 1 Star in action with the FlameZone and a searing grate:






    And if you're the type that prefers an all-over sear (instead of sear marks) then the MAK Griddle does that extremely well!


    Cliff
    <><
    MAK 1 Star General #651 - 2014 Model
    former owner - MAK 1 Star General #171
    22.5" Weber Performer with Stoven Pellet Grill attachment
    27 + year old 22.5" Weber Kettle (still works fine)
    Modified Horizontal Offset Smoker - used mainly for cold smoking.

  7. #7
    Administrator Big Poppa's Avatar
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    honestly if you want to sear you should just get a weber kettle to go along with the MAK. WIth Grill grates I get decent results but I use charcoal for searing.

    If moeny is not the issue get the the two star. They are both awesome but YOu may want some of the features down the road.

  8. #8
    Junior Member
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    I went ahead and ordered the 1-star, based on the same thinking as SmokeMaster above -- I will be using this as a smoker and indirect grill. I used the extra cash to buy an extra probe, extra 3/4 rack, a Solaire Everywhere for searing (w/o having to deal with/wait on charcoal), and some accessories and an outdoor table for that. I'll keep my Weber gasser for a bit but am hoping I can ditch it with this new combo in place.

    The fact that the 2-star is not available anywhere at the moment also helped push me in this direction.

  9. #9
    Administrator Big Poppa's Avatar
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    Shza Im glad we could assist you in your selection. Next time give us an opportunity for the sale....it pays for the forum

  10. #10
    Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Poppa View Post
    Shza Im glad we could assist you in your selection. Next time give us an opportunity for the sale....it pays for the forum
    Thanks. I did buy a 3/4 top rack, a rib rack, and a bag of pellets from you guys tonight.
    Last edited by MAK DADDY; 01-03-2017 at 10:24 AM.

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