I Need Help!!
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I Need Help!!
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Thread: I Need Help!!

  1. #1

    I Need Help!!

    I'm in the market for a new PG and was hoping you all could give me some input. I apologize in advance for the word vomit and tons of questions but here goes.

    A little background on myself - Got into PG's/smoking meats a few years ago, I'm not a fanatic but I do enjoy it. My current PG is a Louisiana Grills LG900. I've had a few issues with it, namely BIG temperature swings. For the most part it actually holds temperature extremely well but a few times it just goes crazy with 100+ degree swings from set point. I've worked with customer service a couple times and reprogrammed the grill and haven't had any issues in the last couple seasons. While the grill actually holds temperature really well now (either dead on or within 5 degrees), I feel like i have to let the grill run for at least an hour before it starts holding temp, it will get up to temp pretty quickly but will take a while before it actually settles in and starts holding accurately. I'm very much about convenience when it comes to smoking so the lack of wifi/app and my past temp issues has me looking for a new PG.

    I took a good look at Camp Chef SGX, namely because of the good reputation, price, and ash dump (my LG wont lite sometimes even after one cook because of too much ash). I ultimately decided against the Camp Chef because of the lack of WIFI and a PID controller. I kept coming back to the Traeger Timberline. I really like the look and feel of the Timberline, out of every PG I've looked at outside of a Yoder it actually has some heft to it. The app, wifi, size, controller, and double wall insulation really had me sold and I thought this was going to be my next PG.

    Cue my recent visit to a local PG dealer and I saw the new Camp Chef with WIFI and a PID controller! This grill checks all the boxes for me however when I lift the lid on the Camp Chef vs the Timberline I just feel like its cheap and not built as well. I think I'm also nervous about their first generation PID color LCD screen, I think they're going to have some growing pains with that... I was going back and forth whether it was worth $1000 more for the Timberline so I hit the forums for some feedback. The more and more I read the more I kept seing MAK come up with freaking rave reviews (to be concise ive also looked into yoders/memphis/cookshack but for various reasons Im not considering those). I think I've now decided that the Traeger is out, if I'm going to spend that much money the MAK probably makes more sense.

    Now here is my dilemma. I've gone back and forth whether or not to go 1 star or 2 star. I really like the concept of direct grilling, that was part of the reason I got the Louisiana and also looked at the camp chef. The direct grilling on the Louisiana sucks, its a super small area and I dont like having to move hot grill parts in the middle of a cook to access the flame, also the camp chef direct grill feature had mixed reviews and I pretty much wrote that feature off. I have an MHP gas grill with the SearMagic grates and that handles all of my sear/direct grill needs so I'm not so sure how important the flame zone feature is to me on a MAK?

    How much of a hassle is it to put the covers on/off in the middle of a cook? How fast will it go from 225 to 500? Does the flamezone offer any smoking improvements outside of lower pellet consumption? Am I really going to notice that much of a difference if I sear with wood vs the MHP?? I dont think that I would actually use the cold smoke box on the 2 star outside of some cheese here and there, how important is that to you 2 star owners? Are there any other big differences between the 1 star and 2 star outside of stainless/flamezone/smoke box?

    I also have some reservations about the wifi on the MAK. Sounds like you have to use a webpage as opposed to an App, how well does it work? Again I'm all about convenience and I have trouble believing that a webpage system is going to work as well as an app? The MAK website lists MAK Mobile as a $300 upgrade, is that necessary for the newer grills that are wifi ready or is that just the upgrade cost for the older grills?

    I guess my big questions are is the MAK worth $1000 or $2000 more than the camp chef? Is the flamezone so good that I wont have a need for my MHP?? Is there anything else Im missing here???

  2. #2
    I'm sorry I don't have any answers for you; basically because I'm in the same boat. I purchased a Treager Pro 22 two years ago. I have had some minor problems with it that make it annoying on occasion. A larger problem is the side smoke stack design. It is definitely hotter on the right side of the grill then on the left side. I have looked at Yoder, Pitts and Spitts, Myron Dixon, Camp Chef, GMG, Louisiana, Rec Tec, and Grilla. I almost pulled the trigger on a Grilla OG. Then I started looking at the Traeger Ironwood and Timberline (I believe the new design addressed all of the issues I have had with my Pro 22). Then I heard about the Weber Smokefire. Through all of my reading I believe everyone that had a Grilla OG loved it. A lot people had great things to say about the Treager Timberline. At some point someone mentioned a MAK in a thread. The more reading and comparing I do the more I keep coming back to the MAK; and I really, really like the fact that they are completely made in the USA and a purchase supports manufacturing employees here in this country. I also went back and forth from 1 star and a 2 star. I like the stainless steel and the flamezone. I don't know how much I would actually use the warming/smoke box. One of my lingering decisions now is the MAK mobile or Remote Pellet Boss. I'm curious what others think about each? I didn't mean to hi jack your thread but it seamed very similar to what I was going to post.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Indianapolis
    Posts
    300
    You can easily get the MAK 1 Star and then upgrade to many of the items that come with the MAK 2 Star. The flame zone use on either works well and yes you do have to remove the plates. Personally I decide to do this at the beginning of a cook if I'm going to use the MAK as a grill vs smoker but frankly that is a rare occasion for me. If I want to grill I've got a nice 42" Twin Eagles that gets regular use. WiFi is an add on for either MAK unit. It works well if you have decent coverage where the MAK will be stationed. There is nothing wrong with the web based approach, it works. I personally use it a lot on long smokes in bad weather. The MAK's are expertly built in Oregon. I couldn't be happier with mine and still see no other product in the market that provides improvement (IMO) over what my MAK 2 Star has. BTW: I got mine here from BigPoppa!
    Last edited by mcschlotz; 03-06-2020 at 09:41 AM.
    MAK 2 Star #3623
    MAK 2 Star #1915 now w/another smoker
    Twin Eagles Gasser

  4. #4
    So I’ve heard the 2* grills really well. Is there a reason you use your Twin over the MAK?

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Indianapolis
    Posts
    300
    Well, the Twin has three controlled areas one of which is a searing station that gets extremely hot along with a number of other features including the fact it's plumbed into our natural gas line. Bottom line it's top notch grill similar to how the MAK is a top notch smoker. The MAK can expertly grill without question and because it can, it's also positioned to be the single solution for many people. I personally went with it because of it's smoking capabilities vs the rest of the market. For reverse searing, I find it significantly easier to smoke on the MAK then sear over on the gas grill.
    Last edited by mcschlotz; 03-06-2020 at 09:42 AM.
    MAK 2 Star #3623
    MAK 2 Star #1915 now w/another smoker
    Twin Eagles Gasser

  6. #6
    We've been very happy MAK owners since 2011 and currently own both a 2017 1 Star and a 2019 2 Star, and absolutely LOVE both!!!

    The grilling capability of the newer MAK FlameZone is awesome, period! My poor Weber Kettle has NOT seen any action since we got our 2017 1 Star with the (then) newly redesigned FlameZone.


    And the smoking & Low & Slow BBQ capability is second to none. I am hooked on charcuterie, and make all my own bacon, hams, smoked sausages, etc. I get just as good of results with my MAK grills as any other smoker.










    The Cold-Smoke Chamber is not just for cold smoking. It's also perfect for holding food to keep it hot, and for warming platters/plates.

    Other than the cold smoke chamber, it comes down to price versus how much stainless steel and upper racks you want. I you want the extra stainless steel, and the capability of having up to three upper racks, then go with the 2 Star. If you want to save a few hundred bucks, and will be happy with one upper rack, then go with the 1 Star and add the FlameZone.

    Either way the one MUST-HAVE accessory I would add is a FULL upper rack. You can get a 3/4 upper rack, but if you are only getting one upper rack then the FULL upper rack, in my opinion is the best option. Why? Because you can use it up top to double the capacity, or use it on the bottom and use one of the half racks from the bottom up top as a half rack. Of course if you go with the 2 Star then I'd get both a full and a 3/4 upper rack. The 2 Star has three slots for slide-in upper racks, and the very top slot allows a 1/2 or 3/4 upper rack.


    Other non-necessary, but highly recommended accessories: At least one MAK searing grate, and a MAK Griddle. My favorite grilling setup is a searing grate in the back and the griddle up front. You can always add another Searing grate later for full coverage grilling.



    The MAK Griddle, in my opinion is the single most underrated accessory they sell! It is extremely versatile. You can griddle in it, shallow fry (keeps temps around 350-375), cook sauces, gravies, chili, etc. Imagine grilling up some dogs on the back while cooking some chili up front in your griddle, and warming some buns (wrapped in foil) on an upper half rack. You can do that with a MAK!


    Whether choosing the 1 Star or 2 Star, you will love your new MAK!
    <><
    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
    I think the other replies on the features and benefits of the MAK overall, and the differences between the 1 and 2 Star versions really are spot on. As a former Camp Chef DLX owner (the version just before the Woodwind versions were released), I have absolutely no regrets replacing it with the MAK 2 Star with the Wifi chip added.

    As to your question on App versus web browser-based control, I find the browser-based makgrillsmobile.com works great for me. I have a number of other app-driven devices (Anova sous vide, Fireboard remote temp monitor, Thermoworks Signals), and do not discern any significant downside to MAK's approach.

    From a technology standpoint, Apps still require some kind of server-based functions to get your App connected to the grill. There is some kind of device pairing registration that has to exist between the two, so it appears to be essentially no different than MAK's approach. Just sayin....

    The $300 is to add Wifi - none of the MAKs have it as part of their base price. I do not have the cold smoker box, but if you do sausages or other cooks that are best with hanging the food, or lots of cheese cold smoking, it could be worth it. For the little I have ever done, the MAK 2 Star warmer box works quite well for lower temp smoking.

    As for worth - if you value a superior smoker plus grill, built like a TANK, with one of the best controllers on the market, and top-notch customer care and service, I would answer your money question with an unequivocal "YES"! There is that old saying, "Buy Once, Cry once".

    Hope this all helps!

    Edit: there is one feature on the MAK 2 Star that I just LOVE that no other cooker has that I know of. That is the roaming thermocouple. This allows you to place the temperature probe that the pit uses to get the heat to your desired cooking temp. With this, you can place the TC right next to the food you are cooking. I am a bit OCD about pit temps, and with this feature, you get pretty much the temp you desire the food to be cooked at where the food is. Since I do most of my smoking on the upper grate, allowing for a drip pan below on the main, this insures that if I want 225* at the upper grate, that is what the Pellet Boss will deliver.
    Last edited by sschorr; 03-07-2020 at 10:10 AM.
    --Sam

    MAK 2 Star #3634
    Weber Summit E450 gasser
    Blackstone 17" griddle

  8. #8
    I do really like the concept of the roaming thermocouple available, is that available on the 1 star?

    For those of you using flamezone are you assembling/disassembling it based on whether you want to grill/smoke or do you just leave it set up one way and position your meats accordingly? ie always leaving the front off, or back cover off, or both and using the upper rack? do you see any negative smoking side effects if you're in the 225 range with both flame zone covers off?

    How fast does the MAK go from 225 to grill temp?

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    Indianapolis
    Posts
    300
    The flame zone is a lower part that stays in place whether you smoke or grill. A crowned plate with holes covers the flame zone and there are two plates the cover up those holes when smoking. Plates run left to right, one in front other in back. If you are smoking, both plates should be on. You want diffused heat in the chamber, not direct. I've never timed the climb to grill temp.
    MAK 2 Star #3623
    MAK 2 Star #1915 now w/another smoker
    Twin Eagles Gasser

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