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I am a proud owner of a SMO25. My gas grill went belly up at the end of summer and need to replace it. I'm looking for something that will primarily be used for grilling (steaks, chicken, hamburgers, hotdogs, etc) and am considering a pellet grill (PG500). If I already have a SMO25 should I consider a PG500? With the majority of the space indirect heat is it a grill or glorified smoker that can sear over a small space? I'm struggling to understand where this fits in ones arsenal of BBQ tools. I'd like to hear others thoughts on this?


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I'm in the same boat your in. My gasser is 12 yr old grand turbo that was pretty spendy when i bought it. It needs about $400 in parts to get it back to good. I ordered the pg500 with the thoughts that when I grill its for my family of 4. When I smoke it can be for as many as 20. There was only 1 time when my Amerique was over loaded but I managed to make it work. For me I'm thinking the pg500 will make life easier when smoking for allot of people and not having to worry about staging. I also look forward to th high heat inderect for pizza and chicken. I love burgers and steak on a charcoal grill but hate the hassle. I'm hoping the pellet grill will give me that taste. I love the idea of the 4 zone cooking but to be honest I'm intimidated by the settings. I'm sure once i put my hands on it and get some practice it will be all good. I have been surfing the net and cookshack forum and seeing all the great looking food folks are putting out on these pellet grills and its getting me excited. Everything from baking cakes to cold smoking salmon. I guess the real main reason for me is its a new toy and a new challenge.
Good Luck with Your decision.
I own and use an FEC100, SM070, Weber Gas Grill, WSM's, Big Black Egg, Traeger 070 (since sold) and recently got an FEPG500. It replaces all except the FEC100 and SM070 which have a larger smoker capacity. With that said, I'm planning on getting rid of all except the smokers, the pellet grill and the Large Black Egg (a birthday present from my wife and we all know hell hath no fury like a wife scorned:-)) There is a large grilling area as well as other zones which will accomplish all but the grill marks.

In addition, it is simple to use. The low and high feed setting can be thought of as your car gas consumption. The low is idle (too low and it dies and too high and you have to use the brake to go thru the school zone) and the high is how fast you want to get there and the cost of gas. The faster you go, the more likly you will have to go around the block the get to the setpoint. I've only used them to do cold smoke but leave them at 15 and 75 for the rest of my use so far. This may change as the weather warms up and the overshoot goes up or it get colder and it takes too long to get there at the 75 feed rate.
I'm in the same boat, old grill about shot. I've had the chance to see the PG500 in person a couple times. Since it is only the Mrs's and me at home, I'm comfortable about it being big enough.

If a person does the reverse sear, which I've come to like, I'd think that a person could time steaks to where you could cook quite a few. Most folks like their's a little different in finish temps anyway or at least it's like that around my place.
Been there, had the same questions. The most common question is the one you ask.

Think about quantity and HOW you plan to grill? I used my old grill with zones so the change wasn't big for me. I had a hot zone and turn the temp down on other burners. I didn't cook everything hot and fast just because I had a grill.

If you only grill and it's all direct heat, I'd look at the 24 charbroiler, although it's double the price I know.

It's not only a grill. I use it for smoking, indirect and all the options because I have that option.

When I do burners and steak on the PG, I cook indirect for doneness and then sear on the grill. Similar to how Chefs will sear then finish in the oven. I like that method.

You have the direct zone, the hot zone (the grate along the top) and the indirect zone. With the 500 you have the warming tray, I can't speak to that as I don't have that option.
For what it's worth. I had a SM020 and a Gasser before getting my PG1000. I haven't uncovered the gasser in over a year and the SM020 has only been used twice, both on big cooks smoking brisket and pork for about 50 people.

It does take a while to learn the zones etc. but its a great grill/smoker. You won't regret it.

Check out my blog Nordy's BBQ for a sampling of what I've cooked on the PG1000 over the past year...

Regarding settings... check out this post
LHT HHT Settings

It makes a lot more sense once the grill is in front of you and you are using it.

Last edited by nordy
Thanks for the replies everyone this is very helpful.

Great blog Nordy!

Smokin- The charbroiler 24 is out of my price point. My wife would make me sleep in it if I spent that much money.

I'd love to see a PG500 in person but I'm from the Chicago area which means no Cookshacks can be found. When I smoke food in my SMO25 people come running for the scraps. Not many people know how to BBQ around this neck of the woods.

I'm curious on pellet consumption? It gets cold here and I'll bet dollars to doughnuts finding quality pellets won't be easy which means I'll have to get them shipped. Can't imagine that will be cheap. Also, I'm guessing this can't be left out in the winter with a cover?


PS: For fun here are some pics of finished product from my SMO25.

SMO25 Good Eats

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