Trying to make a choice, and need a little more info....
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Trying to make a choice, and need a little more info....
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Thread: Trying to make a choice, and need a little more info....

  1. #1

    Trying to make a choice, and need a little more info....

    Hey Everyone.

    I am right on that ledge, ready to take the plunge into that pellet smoker world. I know I want to go with pellets, because I don't want to babysit the process. My purchase range is between $500 and $800. The two models I am currently interested in are the Camp Chef, and the Green Mountain (Daniel Boone). I have read pretty good reviews for both on several sites. Two of the biggest questions I have are about customer service/parts, and wi-fi.

    Customer service/parts: Which is better (does anyone have any feedback on the camp chef yet, since it is fairly young in comparison?

    Wi-Fi: Those of you who have it... Do you use it a lot? What are some scenarios that show the advantages? Can you get alarms on your phone when your meat temps reach their goal? Things like that....

    I would really appreciate any input.

  2. #2
    I don't like running other brand grills down, but I sure could NOT in good conscious recommend the CampChef. I have seen them in person and they are very flimsy. We had a newer member who recently had a not-so-great experience with one:

    Bad experience thus far




    Be aware that GMG was having issues with their cookers leaving black soot on food. Hopefully they've straightened this issue out by now, but ask before you buy!


    In fact that is my number one piece of advice, ask lots of questions before you buy.


    MAK was the first to offer WiFi on their products, so we do have some members who are using it and can hopefully chime in.
    <><
    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.

  3. #3
    The best part of the MAK WiFi is it is accessible anywhere you have the internet. No fancy setup. easy as can be just log in and see your grill. We presently have two pork butts on we will take to the Stagecoach Music Festival in a few weeks. I will be running errands today or going to the gun club today and will be getting notifications by email as the cook progresses. this way I know when to be home to wrap and take off when finished . No need to hang around the house all day.I don't use this feature daily but when we do it is priceless.
    You have full control of your grill remotely.Save the extra dollars and buy the MAK. We purchased a Royall Grill first and then got a MAK. The Royall was $900. We don't have the Royall but we have two MAK grills.
    MAK Grills ,BPS Drum Smoker, Ole Hickory Pits Ace BP, Hasty Bake Legacy KCBS CBJ

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Indianapolis
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    It's always a tough process. Having a budget but the desire for a product now and then trying to rationally compromise to fit it. Most of the time this results in spending money again after learning the compromise fell way short. Some even go through the process more than once only to finally end up with what they needed to begin with. That is, a true working tool that allows you to continually grow er... smoke!

    "Buy once, cry once!" is the phrase. Having gone down this re-learning path on other items in my life, I made the decision right up front to buy the MAK 2 Star. No wasted money and the associated headaches, just pure enjoyment. Do yourself a favor...

    BTW: Jim's assessment of the MAK's wifi is spot on. I would add, it's very convenient to not have to go outside in 10º weather to check on things. Instead its a simple webpage that allows you to control and watch the progress of your smoke from inside.

    Matt
    Last edited by mcschlotz; 04-12-2015 at 10:21 AM.
    MAK 2 Star #3623
    MAK 2 Star #1915 now w/another smoker
    Twin Eagles Gasser

  5. #5
    Administrator Big Poppa's Avatar
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    La Quinta California
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    8,173
    between those the GMG by far!

  6. #6
    Thanks everyone, I really appreciate the honest feedback. I am finding this a tough decision. I am not a hard core smoker at this point. I have had a few successful runs with setting my Weber Kettle up for a smoke. Basically stacking the charcoal on a c-pattern and setting some wood chunks on top. I did a couple of tri-tips that came out very juicy and tasty, with a decent smoke ring.

    I certainly don't want to buy a junker, but there is no way I can swing at MAK (after looking that their prices). I might have a great pellet smoker, but I would be homeless after my wife kicked my butt and then kicked me out...lol.

    I have seen them, as my local butcher sells them. VERY nice units. He used to sell Tragers, but gave up on them when they went overseas. Too many problems with them after that. $2500 is pretty excessive for me right now.

    Back to the drawing board, I guess. I will research the GMG further and see if they have dealt with the soot problem that was mentioned.

    Thanks again!

    MJ

  7. #7
    You don't have to spend $2500 to get into a MAK. Take a look at the MAK 1 Star from Big Poppa Smokers for $1499.

    That's what we did, because it allowed us to get into a high quality smoker, and add accessories later as budget allowed.
    <><
    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.

  8. #8
    Well, I talked to the boss yesterday, and the $1500 is out of the question. I kind of agree, as we are not going to be using it but 2-3 times a month, to be honest. Mostly for our BBQ get-togethers with friends. Living here in Southern Cal, the weather stays mild, and we have BBQ's once or twice a month. I am now leaning towards the GMG. I did not like to hear about the black soot, but then I read what Big Poppa posted in another thread: "Ok I just corresponded with Jason who is one of the owners of GMG. It is 5:48 in the morning and he is working. He will be signing on later to give a full explanation.

    The black smoke issue was a first generation on the Davy Crockett only. I has been addressed and fixed." This was posted yesterday afternoon, so I am eagerly awaiting the post from GMG today to see what is being done.

    Thanks again for the input! You guys have a very nice and helpful forum here. I am looking forward to getting started in this new world.

    MJ

    Edit:

    JUst saw that Jason already posted his info. Sounds like they may have that soot figured out. I think, if I stay with a model from 2014 or later, it should be o.k....

    It helps to read the entire thread...duh...
    Last edited by Music Junkie; 04-15-2015 at 10:49 AM. Reason: Missed something

  9. #9
    Moderator scooter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    SF Bay Area, CA
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    3,503
    I have wifi on my 2 star. Absolutely love it. Last week I was doing burnt end practice on a chuck roast. I wrapped it and put it back on the MAK. Since it was getting late in the day I needed to go exercise which takes over an hour. I left and went on my 4 mile speedwalk. Midway through the walk the IT hit 200F. No problem, I changed the setpoint to Smoke from where I was and the MAK temp dropped to where it just kept the roast at just under 200F until I could get home and probe it for tenderness.
    Wifi control gives you options and freedom.

    When I bought my Traeger I did so because it was what I could afford at the time. My wife went along with it because she loves BBQ and I delivered her BBQ every weekend. Four months later I upgraded. The wife was hooked on BBQ so there was no argument but I had to sell my Traeger to come up with part of the money for my MAK and I took a loss on some of the money I spent on the Traeger.

    To others who come on here and ask what they should buy I usually respond with the result of my life lesson with buying a cheaper cooker first which is do your homework and buy the best, only cry once. I cried twice... You'll probably have to take the same path I did which is to get her fed with the cheaper cooker then when she tastes what you give her she'll not stand in the way when it comes time to upgrade. Just get her fed real well!!
    - 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
    CBBQA
    KCBS - MCBJ, CTC


  10. #10
    I would certainly go with the MAK, if I could pull it off, but my wife is an awesome woman, and I kind of want to keep her....lol. Unfortunately, she is not a huge fan of smoker BBQ. We BBQ all the time, but I use a Char Broil Elite that I have had for about 14yrs now (excellent unit - killer warranty as well). That, or my Webber Kettle. I've done some nice smokes on the kettle, and she liked it less than just grilling on the gas unit. Go figure. So, this purchase will be mostly for me and my buddies. I am going to call my butcher, as he deals the MAK grills, and see what he has to offer on that route. Hell, maybe I will just wait a bit longer and save up... I've gone this long without one...

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