Skip to main content

My PG500 shipped today, arriving Thursday or Friday. Got the front shelf, cover, 18" sq. stainless steel rack, and various rubs/spices.
Having read the forums, are there any "Don't ask me how I know this but...", type tips to pass along to a newbie? This will be a learning curve for me. Thanks-
Original Post

Replies sorted oldest to newest

Welcome to the PG500 family Smiler. My dad owns one now and so do a few of his friends all in WA. I am sure you already know to foil the drip tray and cooling drawer in HD foil. Also make sure you break in your smoker for a couple hours at 225. Then on your first smoke put a big fat piece of butt or shoulder in there and let her rip for 12 to 14 hours at 225. Change your foil and use a shop vac to get rid of all the ash. After all that it's just a simple repeat of methods for smoking. I have had mine for about 2 years now and use it 3-5 times a week. PM me if you have any questions. I get those faster then I check the boards. Enjoy the new smoker. It will ruin your desire for a restaurant steak. Sorry about that. Smiler
GratefulB, Congrats on your PG500. You bought just what I did 2 years ago, and I still tell my wife how much I love that grill every time I use it! I know you will enjoy your new grill.

Buy a bunch of pellets because it uses pellets, especially for those 3-5 hr or longer cooks. It will use more pellets in the winter time due to our cooler weather than in the summer. Play with the LHT & HHT settings to find what works best for you. See the post Padrefan98 referenced above. Watch for condensation under hopper lid on cool damp days - keep your pellets dry!!

Change the foil on the drip tray when it gets grungy. Same for the drip bucket.

Don't set anything on top of the main smoking/grilling cabinet as it gets hot since un-insulated unit. I know it's a nice flat spot to set a tray/pan for a moment or two, but things heat-up super fast up there. Use the warming drawer for a few moments instead - that is such a great feature.
Thanks everyone. I've checked out most of the links and threads.

Thank you jdaniels, the pelletheads site has a lot of useful threads and it's kept me occupied.

Olysmokes, what is your source for pellets? I found out that the WINCO stores in our area have food grade pellets for a very reasonable price (Lil' Devil, $6/20lb bag) I bought a bag to try out, but have zero experience with them. I was also wondering about condensation, have you had problems with swollen pellets that were left in the hopper, even under cover?

Padrefan98, got a butt defrosting and I treated myself to a mini shop vac for cleaning(wife loves it, said it did a fine job on her car...). I will have fun experimenting with the settings, what settings gave you the best bang for your buck?

Update: the Fedex tracker says my grill was stalled by weather, now in transit- Boise, Id. Hmm.. 692 miles away but promised by 1700hr tomorrow.
I use both Cookshack's pellets and Bear Mountain brand pellets. Cash & Carry stores carry Bear Mountain brand which are made down in Oregon. I think Cookshack's pellets are the best and I bought a 1/2 ton 2 years ago. I also have a FEC100 so I do use lots of pellets. There are many brands out there, and some have varying quality/performance. I DON"T want to start a pellet review thread here so I will say no more on that.

So far I have not had any pellet problems caused by the condensation inside my hopper due to our damp/humid weather. I do check each time I use it and wipe-out any I find there. I also store my grill back inside my garage when not using it so that also helps keep it dry & happy. Just keep an eye out for any moisture, and remember to clean-out your hopper every so often so you don't get too much sawdust build-up in your auger. Happy smoking/grilling!
Thanks olysmokes- My pellet grill and accessories arrived last night intact- they did a really good job of packing and this thing is a beast! Seasoned it, did a couple of hamburgers on it and you could definitely tell the difference between doing them on a Weber gasser and this grill. Just a hint of smoke- not overpowering but definitely a big difference. Tonight, a low and slow with a pork butt at 250* I'll have to figure out how to upload some pix. Thanks for the hints-
GratefulB - Glad your grill arrived and all is good with both it and you now! A pork butt will definitely be good on it. How big was the pork butt and how many pellets did you go thru?. (Just curious as I use my FEC100 for those long cooks instead of my PG500.)

I would be willing to bet you will soon join many of the other pellet grill users (such as I) that get rid of our gasser grills as we just don't use them anymore. LOL. My Weber went up to my daughter & her husband in Bellingham where they will use it for a few more years.
olysmokes- an update: I did a 6 pound boneless pork butt at 250*, took about 15 hours. I used about 3/4 of a hopper. Got a smoke ring! It was quite tasty with crunchy bark- up until now I was using my electric 50 which is a more moist environment. A tad bit drier, I could have pulled it sooner. Thursday night it was a Papa Murphy's pizza (no pan) on a Big Green Egg stone on indirect and 450*- couldn't taste any smoke given the temp setting but cooked up great. Last night was cut up chicken pieces @ 375*, crunchy skin! Tonight I'm doing a 2 bone prime rib. 2-stage, just put it in at 215*, taking it to 100-110*. After it rests and I get the grill up to 450* give it a nice sear to finish and pull at 125-130*
I would send my gasser off but my wife wants me to hang on to the Weber- she's more comfortable with it and we like to do grilled oysters on it.
All in all I'm a happy camper and glad I saved up for this grill. No buyer's remorse...
GratefulB - Thanks for the pork butt long smoke info. On pork butts, try a uncoated butcher wrap (similar to what Aaron Franklin does to his briskets) for the last couple of hours. I find it keeps the meat nice and moist while also keeping the bark from getting too thick & crunchy, but does not let bark get mushy as a foil wrap tends to do.

Sounds like you are well on your way to getting that new grill seasoned-up right!! I've had my PG500 for just over 2 years now and still am so very glad I got it.
A follow up two years later: Did two racks of baby back ribs for the extended family for Memorial Day. Williams rib tickler rub, 3-4 hrs 235 degrees. Had 3 bones for leftovers. No issues with my PG500, the Cookshack cover is still in great shape (besides the logo getting a bit faded) no rips or tears. Still a happy camper. Have a couple of polish sausage dogs going as I type for lunch. Hope everyone enjoyed their weekend-

Add Reply

Link copied to your clipboard.