Does anyone own or has owned a PG500 AND a MAK 2 star?  These are the 2 grills that I am looking at purchasing and I'd really like to be able to get a good side-by-side comparison of the 2.  From my research, I feel that the PG500 will be a better griller, but that the MAK will be a better smoker.  I'd like to do a bit of both and for the most part, I'd be cooking for just my family (5).  Also, I've seen several posts on here about the PG500 blowing a lot of ash.  Is this common?  I know the "this grill" vs "that grill" posts probably get old, but as I narrow down my choices, I really want to learn every detail that I can.  Any input would be greatly appreciated!

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I belong to several forums devoted to smoking and grilling and have been doing some research on the ash issue since reading this post.  Ash is normal.   With baffles and heat deflectors in place, very little should reach your food. Several people reported having a lot of ash flying around on very windy days.  Also, grill lids/doors not closing properly and open seams allowed more air in contributing to the problem.  

They and the manufacturers state that it is important to keep the fire pot clean before each long cook or maybe every other short cook;  and to periodically clean the ash outside the fire pot every few cooks.  Also, sifting the pellets in a large hole colander before filling the hopper can remove dust and small particles. Quality of pellets is another factor.  Seems some pellet brands produce more ash than others regardless of pellet grill brand while some grills (or owners) prefer a particular brand of pellet.

It is not too difficult to find reviews and forums devoted to pellet grills from low end models of a few hundred dollars on up to several thousand dollars. You will find pros and cons on just about every imaginable pellet pooper out there. 

I get the itch for a pellet grill every few months and for my money I would go with the PG500 or 1000. Designed by Fast Eddy and all stainless; no paint to chip and no rusting.  In the old format forum, there were a lot of postings on these two models with very little reported problems outside of operator error.  But that is just me. I hope this helps.

Thanks for the insight, Sarge.  On the topic of ash, I wonder if putting actual grease or event water down in the ash "tray" would help trap it and keep it there, kinda like the Rainbow vacuum cleaners?
I have done a fair bit of reading on various forums about pellet grills.  The PG series and the MAK are 2 that I have had a very hard time finding anything negative about.  I know Memphis is another high quality grill, but to me, they are too much $.  I'm not a rich guy, but I DO like to purchase quality products when I can, especially if it's something that can last a lifetime if taken care of.  The MAK and PG grills seem to fit that category without being "overpriced".
Thanks again.

@JAY1924  I ended up purchasing the PG500.  If I'd have gotten the MAK 2, it would have been last year's model at a discount from Big Poppa's, but they are out of stock now, so my decision was made for me!  From what I've read and heard, I would've been perfectly happy either way I went, but truthfully I was leaning toward the PG500 anyway because I like the idea of smoking, then searing without having to remove hot parts from the grill to convert it for searing.  With the PG500, I can just toss the meat into the warming drawer and crank up the heat until it's ready for searing.  I know that might sound petty...

Received the grill today and cooked dinner on it.  Took some pics of the grill, but forgot to take pics of the food!  But it cooked everything we threw at it to perfection!  We did bacon wrapped asparagus, onions and peppers, corn on the cob and cheeseburgers.  After one cook on it, I'm definitely a happy camper.IMG_20190329_171153IMG_20190329_171203IMG_20190329_175555

 

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Just a quick update, I cooked dinner on the PG500 Friday night, Saturday night and last night (Sunday night).  I'd say my grilling experience has always been average.  I grill from time to time, but have never been a fanatic.  And I've never owned a smoker in my life, so take this with a grain of salt.  But I'm 40 years old now and personally I feel like every piece of meat that came off the PG500 this weekend has been the best tasting meat I have ever cooked.  Last night I did two, 2-inch thick bone-in ribeyes using the reverse sear method.  Seasoned them with sea salt and fresh crushed black pepper.  Cooked them to a medium rare using the hickory pellets that came with the grill.  DELICIOUS!!!!!

I'm thinking  about getting a PG 500.  I already have a FEC 100 and cookshack quality cannot be beat.   I wonder how clean they are in their environment, like on a deck.  Any grease splatters or other messes.  My guess is NO, due to the topside construction and forward doors.  Also, what is everyone's thoughts on the cover and front shelf.  I'm sure the front shelf would keeps some grease splatters off the deck.  I will only used this for searing steak and chicken and such.  No long smokes, as I still have the FEC 100 for that.  I don't' think I'd ever run it for more than an hour at a time.  

chaplainbill posted:

I'm thinking  about getting a PG 500.  I already have a FEC 100 and cookshack quality cannot be beat.   I wonder how clean they are in their environment, like on a deck.  Any grease splatters or other messes.  My guess is NO, due to the topside construction and forward doors.  Also, what is everyone's thoughts on the cover and front shelf.  I'm sure the front shelf would keeps some grease splatters off the deck.  I will only used this for searing steak and chicken and such.  No long smokes, as I still have the FEC 100 for that.  I don't' think I'd ever run it for more than an hour at a time.  

Mine was one of the first Chaplain, so they may be different now, but yes they leak grease down the legs. You will want to put a piece of plywood or rug under it.

There are a lot of after market grill pads available to catch drips and protect the deck.  Another option might be a steel automotive drip tray such as this

https://www.amazon.com/Hopkins...erator/dp/B000F5XQMO

or

https://www.amazon.com/Lumax-L...N5MSEJ5GT390XQE63M9R

Would depend upon the leg to leg measurement.  And being metal, you can wipe up the drips rather than trying to wash them off or out of the rubberized/fabric style bbq pads.

I've had mine less than a month, but I haven't seen any grease dripping from anywhere but the drain pipe.  I've wiped off a few streaks from the front, so maybe with a really long smoke, it might drip down the front and onto the ground/deck/etc.  There was a good bit of silicone caulk down in the bottom of mine along the edges.  This might be something that they didn't do in the early days?

Out of curiosity, if you only want something for grilling, why aren't you looking at their charbroilers?  The direct side on the PG500 is small, compared to the rest of the surface area I mean.  Don't get me wrong, it's plenty big for a few steaks or 6-8 burgers, but I feel like it would be a waste for you not to use the indirect space at all.  Who am I kidding, if you buy one, I'd be willing to bet you use it for more than just what you think.  I've made brownies on mine, cookies, pigs in the blanket, it cooks anything!

glycerine posted:

I've had mine less than a month, but I haven't seen any grease dripping from anywhere but the drain pipe.  I've wiped off a few streaks from the front, so maybe with a really long smoke, it might drip down the front and onto the ground/deck/etc.  There was a good bit of silicone caulk down in the bottom of mine along the edges.  This might be something that they didn't do in the early days?

Out of curiosity, if you only want something for grilling, why aren't you looking at their charbroilers?  The direct side on the PG500 is small, compared to the rest of the surface area I mean.  Don't get me wrong, it's plenty big for a few steaks or 6-8 burgers, but I feel like it would be a waste for you not to use the indirect space at all.  Who am I kidding, if you buy one, I'd be willing to bet you use it for more than just what you think.  I've made brownies on mine, cookies, pigs in the blanket, it cooks anything!

Seems like a very capable and versatile piece of cooking gear. 

You mention caulk.  It might be something like RTV which handles heat up to 400 degrees or possibly something like this:

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Ev...ulk-HTS100/303010415

chaplainbill posted:

I'm thinking  about getting a PG 500.  I already have a FEC 100 and cookshack quality cannot be beat.   I wonder how clean they are in their environment, like on a deck.  Any grease splatters or other messes.  My guess is NO, due to the topside construction and forward doors.  Also, what is everyone's thoughts on the cover and front shelf.  I'm sure the front shelf would keeps some grease splatters off the deck.  I will only used this for searing steak and chicken and such.  No long smokes, as I still have the FEC 100 for that.  I don't' think I'd ever run it for more than an hour at a time.  

Oh, I forgot to mention, I did not get the front shelf or the cover with mine.  I'd heard good things about Mel's custom covers, so I have one on order from her.  I also have a small wooden table that I made years ago from 2x4s that just happens to be the perfect height to put in front of my grill and use as a shelf if I need to.

I bought my PG500 last year along with a cover. The PG500 cooks great and I'm very happy with the results when smoking or charring. The FE cover, however, is another story. As you would expect, it fits perfect BUT the seams are already splitting. It's not very durable and I'm sure I will have to replace it in the next year or two max. Let me know your experience with Mel's covers.

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