New to pellet. Need advice
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New to pellet. Need advice
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Thread: New to pellet. Need advice

  1. #1

    New to pellet. Need advice


    As the title says I am in need of some advice. I am interested in getting a pellet or electric? Can someone give me the pro's and con's of pellets vs electrics? I realize this will probably be biased as this is haha but I am interested in your opinion.

    What type of pellet do you recommend? I have looked at the MAK and coockshack. Concerning the MAK, is there that big of difference between the 1 and 2 star to justify the large increase in price?


  2. #2
    I just made the decision to go with a 1 star. My decision was based on price. The only thing the 1 star can't do is the smoke chamber/warmer that the 2 star has. Outside of the stainless finish just about every other option is available later by separate purchase. I will most likely get the new sear zone at some point, but that's just $375.

    If it was a couple years ago I would have went with the 2 star because it had a larger cooking space as well as the quick change pellet chute that the 1 star didn't have until recently.

  3. #3
    First, welcome to the forum!

    Electric versus Pellet:

    Electric smokers are great if you are a sausage maker. There's lots of room for hanging sausages and being able to give them a very light smoke if you want. They are okay for other things such as ribs, chicken, pork shoulders, briskets, etc. I think they lack the oomph I want for doing serious BBQ. And you cannot get a smoke ring with an electric smoker (if you care about that).

    I have an electric smoker and use it mainly as a portable oven for baking Mac & Cheese and the like for large cookouts that I do a couple times each year. I use my MAK for 99% of my sausage smoking, bacon, hams, etc.

    Pellet cookers in general offer a lot more flexibility in what you can cook. And some pellet cookers, such as the MAK's, offer the utmost in versatility.

    Cookshack versus MAK: I have personally never cared for the zone cooking idea of the Cookshack. I want and need to be able to utilize my entire grill, upper and lower racks, for pork shoulders if I want. I couldn't do that on the cookshack (at least not when I looked at them years ago).

    I also wanted the highest quality, made in U.S.A., and backed by the best customer support and that is exactly what you get in a MAK.

    1 Star versus 2 Star - Here are the main differences between the two:

    > 2 Star: Features an all stainless steel cook chamber (the rest of the body is aluminized steel with a 1200° powder coat finish), the FlameZone feature already built-in, the cold smoke chamber/warming drawer. You can also add the cabinet kit which adds a really nice fished look to the grill.

    > 1 Star: Cook chamber is the same aluminized steel & powder coat as the rest of the body, includes a regular blank drip pan (the FlameZone can be added at any time), and it does not have the cold-smoke chamber.

    Like Christopher Hall mentioned above, it basically boils down if you want the FlameZone already included, prefer the all-stainless cook chamber and want the cold-smoke chamber/warming drawer. If yes, then definitely go with the 2 Star.

    If you go with the 1 Star, then you'd be cheating yourself if you don't plan on adding the FlameZone at some point. Yes the FlameZone works that well!

    I've done a write-up about the new FlameZone here: 2017 MAK FlameZone, Searing Grate & Griddle - Detailed Review!

    Call Big Poppa Smokers. They can answer any other questions about the MAK's.
    Last edited by TentHunter; 02-06-2018 at 03:45 PM.
    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.

  4. #4
    Wow talk about some great replies! Thanks! One additional question. How expensive are the pellets and how much do they burn? Do you guys recommend a good place to get them?

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Lake Stevens, WA
    Pellet consumption depends on what temp. you're cooking at. and ambient air temp. Tent probably has a better handle on that. I think there's some info re: consumption on the MAK website. I use BBQ Delight and buy them from the host of this site.

  6. #6
    I may be just getting my MAK, but I have been using pellets for quite a while. There are LOTS of choices, but over the years I've been using pellets the two companies that I'm always happy with are A-maze-n products and They both have great single wood pellets as well as "pitmaster blend" mixes. I will say this.....they are NOT what I'd call cheap, but I gladly pay to support two good companies and consistent pellets.

    I won't bash other pellets. It's been so long since I dealt with other brands that they may have improved since then and I may be totally wrong.

  7. #7
    Thanks guys. I am now down to a MAK 2 star or a Yoder ys640. I really dont think I can go wrong with either but I am having a really hard time deciding.


  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Roseville CA
    I’ll be the first to admit, the Yoder is one heck of a nice looking grill. But IMO, does not come close to the quality of a MAK. Google Yoder YS640 paint issues or pellet consumption... just for starters.

    Check out a recent post I saw. I thought this was a pretty cool post re: MAK:

    Many here may not know this, and I will try to be as accurate as I can, with my apologies to MAK if this is out-of-turn:

    MAK Metals - the parent of MAK Grills - is one of the country's main providers of the equipment that most of us have ignored, but we pass by it every day. The big brushed stainless boxes that are on one corner of a light controlled intersection. These "boxes" contain some pretty sophisticated electronics that control the traffic lights and can link up with an entire network of others, which can be controlled remotely to alter traffic patterns/flow. So, the boxes must be robust - and the electronics MUST work.
    This is the background - rugged weather durability and dependable electronics design/implementation - that MAK Metals brought into the outdoor cooking industry.

    MAK is a true locally owned, American made product. It is well supported because they designed the controller themselves. ( reference above business experience - you can begin to see the relevance of their history and success in the outdoor cooking industry) The only other companies I have seen even attempt this - have been miserably poor controllers, that have needed ( and still need from everyone I know using them) constant firmware up-dates. MAK does have a few up-dates....but not because of "problems" with the previous ones. Just adding features and an occasional "tweak" . The rest of our industry buys their controller from 2 or 3 companies that make "canned" - or standard models which approximate different size pits in cooking volume. Whereas the MAK controller recognizes the air flow, and individual characteristics that make MAKS cook so evenly across the grill surface.
    Just look at the awards they have won - from the same industry association that serious outdoor cooking manufacturers are part of:
    These are recognition by your peers/competitors that you are building a superior product, and offering the consumer great value.
    Quality does not cost - it pays....because you will never need to replace a MAK because you "wore it out". Their focus is not the same as many companies - whose philosophy is based on "life cycle" . Those companies plan on trying to sell you another, and then another, and another grill when you "wear out" your grill.
    Again - my apologies to MAK if I mis-spoke here....But they are one of those quiet, focused companies that does not do much advertising. They don't need to I suppose, when their customers are their marketing dept! ��

    MAK 2 Star -- 26.75" Weber kettle -- Camp Chef FTG900

    I am not a vegetarian, but I eat animals that are...

  9. #9
    Go with the 2 Star. MAK will stand behind the machine if anything ever goes wrong with it.
    2016 MAK 2 Star #2817~Remote Boss

  10. #10
    Moderator scooter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    SF Bay Area, CA
    MAK has been making pellet cookers years longer than Yoder. Yoder began making pellet cookers when they could no longer ignore the potential profits in the pellet cooker industry. MAK was winning awards for their pellet cooker designs before Yoder began making them.
    Do your homework and buy the best and only cry once. No one will take better care of you than MAK and Big Poppa Smokers before and after the sale.
    - MAK owner for life! -
    2015 2 Star General prototype #0 with WiFi and beta FlashFire™ Ignition System
    2009 2 Star General #28
    2 BPS Engineered Drum Smokers, steel & stainless steel
    Smokin' Yankee's Competition BBQ Team


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