Fast Eddy PG 500 vs MAK or Rec Tec

 Interested in purchasing first pellet Grill. Want something that I can grill and smoke on.  

First considered Rec Tec Bull—seems to have good bang fo the buck and solid construction with lots of 304 stainless steel, WiFi, but concerned that grilling would be limited. as there is no direct grilling area.   Rec Tec Rep claims it foes a great job grilling burgers & steaks with optional searing grates, but I’m skeptical.

Read very favorable reviews on MAK 1 Star and 2 Star grills with FlameZone.  Leaning towards 2 Star, but price is $3.1 K with WIFI.  That’s an awful lot for first foray into pellet grilling. Therefore looking at Fast Eddy PG500.  However, have some concerns.  How accurate is the controller?  Is it PID?  How is it as a smoker?  Nearest dealer is more than 1 hr away & has none in stock.  He’s pushing Traeger—says he got rid of his PG500 because it was putting ash in food, the heat was uneven in the indirect zone due to proximity of direct grill, and the smoked and grilled meat was not as moist as on other pellet grills.  

The stainless steel construction seems good, and the presence of a direct grilling zone is a major plus. However, the lack of WiFi, lack of built in meat probe, possible uneven heat are all concerns.  

MAK 2 Star sounds more ideal with more sophisticated controller, available WiFi and FlameZone for direct grilling.  Seems to be more efficient, a better smoker, using fewer pellets and may heat up faster.  However it is much more expensive. 

Any insights would be appreciated.

 

 

 

Original Post

 How accurate is the controller?  

1st mine is a 2011 PG 1000,the insulated version. The controller is accurate. If what you mean by accurate is if you set it at 225, will it maintain that 225 all the way through your cook you need to dig a little deeper into the controller. It has settings you can adjust the pellet feed for different ambient temps and variances in a temp spread you might desire. Yes it can hold a steady temp.

Is it a PID? 

No

How is it as a smoker?

Understand that all Pellet Grills will have a lighter smoke profile than offsets. If your preference is a heavy smoke profile, really do your research and get a taste test before purchasing so you won’t be disappointed, no matter what mfg you ultimately choose. Do they smoke good? Yes definitely, many competitions are won by using Pellet grills.

Putting ash in Food

In the begging it will put out some ash. After it is seasoned this cuts down until it usually only spreads on startup. Let it come to temp and it stops. Ash is also worse if you don’t regularly clean your fire pot and empty your ash drawer. Also your choice of pellets can impact ash production. I have always used (since 2011) until recently, Fast Eddy 100% Hickory and never has problems. There is more to the story than that particular dealer either knew or wanted to share.

The heat was uneven in the indirect zone due to...

Well I can’t even finish retyping that statement. If I can find it I will post a picture of zone 4, the 18x18 indirect zone with biscuits covering the entire zone. They are evenly brown, even ALL around the perimeter. The 500 by the way is just like the 1000 except the insulated top that lifts back and the 500 has doors that swing open. Zone 1 and 2, the lower and top direct zones and zones 3 and 4 the indirect zones are the same.

The lack of WiFi, lack of built in meat probe, and possible uneven heat are all concerns

WiFi, a great tool to monitor your pit and progress. Now a little opinion, I prefer my WiFi temp monitoring to be separate my my pit mfg. WiFi technology has always been improving or changing and in my case since the PG1000 has been serving me greatly since 2011 I know WiFi frequencies have changed. I want to be able to stay on top of that without having to go back to the mfg whose primary focus I want to be on producing a good pit. Depending on how many probs you would like or need would dictate which mfg to research on that. If I need to smoke 3 briskets at once I use my electric smoker and have 6 probes + a pit probe WiFi connected.  Tappecue for 4 probes and a FireBoard for 6 probes and there is the Thermoworks Smoke if you only need 2 probes. All excellent mfg with excellent customer service.

The picture again will quell the uneven temp statement.I can get my temp direct temp to around 700 in 8 minutes. I can put a pizza stone in zone 4 and have it heated to 500* in right at 20 minutes. The pizza will be done in exactly 8 minutes and I best not let it stay longer. I can spatchcock a 22#turkey and smoke it for 3.5 hours in the indirect zone and get raving reviews. I could keep on and I hop others will chime in and contribute as well. And clarify anything they might find In need of it. 

Don't know or remember the pellet consumption on the FEPG, but they are on the website and all I know is back in 2011 it had one of the best consumption ratings on the market. For me 7 years of none breakdown enjoyment and production says something. Last Christmas we did a Brisket a day 3 days in a row, not bad for a pellet grill that old. I speck it will be handed down when they won’t let me play with fire anymore. Should it ever be needed, the Cookshack Customer service is top notch as well. 

Look at the unique heat flow diagram. 

Listen, I hope this is helpful to you in making your decision.  Pictures in next post. Sorry for the long ramble and possible typos.

 

 

 

 

 

De,

Thanks for your detailed response.  Sounds like your FEPG has lived up to your expectations & has been reliable.  Having not seen one in person & relying on internet reviews is less than ideal.  Your response is reassuring.  I was surprised that the dealer I called was relatively luke warm about the product (which he does carry) & was pushing Traeger (a brand for which I’ve come across rather mediocre reviews).  

I have no experience with smoking, but love pulled pork,  ribs and brisket and given the fact that I’m now retired, thought I’d enjoy doing some smoking (especially if a pellet grill makes the process relatively easy). However, this grill is to replace our old Weber gas grill, which is on its last legs, and I’d like to be able to grill burgers, chicken, steaks and kabobs, etc efficiently and deliciously.  

It most likely would be used significantly more frequently as a grill than a smoker, and most frequently be used to prepare meals for two people, but there will be occasional need to cook for larger groups (ie when our 3 married kids are in town or when we have 2 or 3 couples over for dinner).  

If the FEPG controller can reliably maintain temps throughout a cook and provide good smoke flavor, and also effectively grill,  I think I can live without WiFi.  

Any comments on build quality or grilling capability.  All that stainless steel looks impressive in the videos—is it well built and designed? 

Build quality is great, grilling capability outstanding, well built and the design is one of a kind. (See pic with heat flow) Direct heat does not heat up drip pan, rather the drip pan is the end just before exhaust. While the direct grilling area is small, zone 1 10x18, zone 2 is 10x 10, that is plenty for what you need. I have done burgers for groups of 10-12. You can get the zone 1 temps up to 800 easily If you want for a great sear. You can probably find many you tube videos to watch as well or you can call and talk to CS and let them answer any questions. Use the search feature on this sight to search for Pg500 and pg1000. See what other owners have to say. I researched what other owners said for a year before I ordered a sight unseen product that cost so much. By the way, I have no affiliation  with CS other than being a satisfied customer. 

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