An Expert Guide to Camp Chef's Pellet GrillsPublished on 08/08/2022 · 9 min readGrill Expert Ethan Scherer details Camp Chef's versatile line of pellet grills and a few of the can't-miss accessories that will make grilling easier than ever!
Photo by Z Grills Australia
Grilling is a worldwide pastime that brings people, flavors, and culture together, but the food and its timing are massive factors in how it can be done! Do I get a gas grill? Pellet smoker? Should I cook low and slow? What temperature can I get a good sear at? And what grilling solution is the easiest to use? All are valid thoughts that run through most novice or intermediate-level grillers' noggins when shopping for the right outdoor cooking solution. Depending on what you cook and if you grill (high heat) or BBQ (low and slow), things might get a little confusing!
One company that combines efficiency and ease of use is Camp Chef. The Camp Chef pellet lineup is versatile because you can grill, smoke, bake, roast, and barbeque! They also carry other categories of grills—stoves, propane grills, flat tops, firepits, and cast iron components—so you can find anything and everything you might need! Founded in Utah in 1990, Camp Chef has been searing, roasting, and slow cooking their way to glory ever since!
When analyzing my grilling game plan, the first thing I consider would be visiting guests! How many people are you cooking for? If you are cooking for yourself and are limited on cooking space (i.e., living in an apartment), things like grilling regulations and grill size can be very important! If cooking for your family or to entertain, you may want a grilling solution with big grill grates, multiple grilling levels, and a large surface area that can cook multiple food types at once. Camp Chef’s new pellet grill/smoker line has many sizing variations to fit your needs. Throughout the course of this article, I will break down the options so you know which Camp Chef pellet option will be right for your backyard!
Pursuit 20 Portable Pellet Grill
The Camp Chef pellet lineup starts out with the portable Pursuit 20. With a temperature range from 160° to 500°, this grill is perfect for smoking a brisket or getting a sear on a marinated chicken breast. The Pursuit pellet grill comes standard with 501in2 of cooking space, which is a good fit for four tri-tip cuts of meat, four chickens, or 24 quarter-pound burgers. For a portable grill with folding legs, this amount of space is one of the best in class.
The Pursuit 20 also comes standard with the Gen 2 PID-equipped controller with a low-glare digital display. This controller will help keep temperatures within five degrees of your set temperature.
Feel free to compare this to the Legendary Traeger Tailgater at 300in2 of grilling space and a 450° temperature max! It is clear to see that the Chef Pursuit 20 portable grill is a big-time contender for you apartment dwellers and adventurous car camping aficionados.
If you are looking for a larger grill for entertaining or family cooking, check out the next options!
DLX 24 Pellet Grill
Breaking out of the portable space, the DLX by Camp Chef is a 570in2 grill with plenty of grilling space for couples or small families.
It is similar to the Traeger Pro Series 22 grill that has 575in2 of cooking space, an auger-fed hopper like the DLX, and a digital controller. The main difference between the two is temperature regulation. Personally, I find the Traeger system to be adequate for long cooks and grilling, but the temperature fluctuation in the 22 and the lower minimum temperature give a slight advantage to the DLX. The Traeger starts at 180 degrees and goes up to 450, while the range on the DLX is 160-500 degrees!
The Camp Chef DLX has a two-tier rack system, an 18lb pellet hopper for long cooks, and the same Gen 2 PID control for precise cooking temperatures. Overall, this is a great option for a couple with a townhouse or smaller deck space that wants a reliable and easy-to-use grilling platform without fancy features like wifi control or direct flame searing (Woodwind Camp Chef series). Perfect for the outdoorsy cooking couple looking to save a buck!
If you are a novice griller or pellet smoker looking to save a buck on your first backyard grilling rig, the SG series by Camp Chef is a must-see! The SG lineup starts with the 24—the smallest grill of the SG series—which is equipped with a two-rack layout and 811in2 of cooking surface. It has Camp Chef’s fantastic PID controller to keep you within five degrees of your desired cook temperature, a remote connect app to monitor your cooks, and a beastly 22lb pellet capacity in the side-mounted hopper.
My favorite feature in this series is the easy Ash cleanout which makes cleanup a breeze and keeps your Camp Chef running at consistent temperatures.
The SG series comes in 24, 30, and 36-inch models—the sizing consistently gets bigger if you are looking to cook for a larger family or to entertain parties and friends. If you prefer finer-tuned features like wifi notifications for your cook temperatures check out the Wifi SG 30. Customers who chose the Wifi Sg 30 can kick back and hit a few golf balls, or run to the store for some cold brews while their grill sends updates to their phone in regards to cooking temp. Overall, this is a killer series if you are breaking into the pellet grilling scene and want something easy to use with a mouthwatering, woodfire flavor on your meats, veggies, or other playful grillables!
When entertainment and ease of use come into play, having a large grill with higher-end features is crucial. Enter the Camp Chef Woodwind series—with 24-inch and 36-inch sizes! Beautiful stainless hoods and access to direct flame grilling make this grill an obvious choice for entertainer grillers, large families, and pitmasters looking to get a nice char on different meat types.
The Woodwind series is very similar to the Ironwood series by Traeger. However, the Direct Flame grilling slide on the Woodwind models allows for a nice char on a steak, and this feature does not come standard on many higher-end smokers like the Traeger Ironwood or Pro series. If you are looking for a large cooking surface and high-end features, look at the Timberline series by Traeger! The Timberline cranks up to 500° temps with great features—like 1300in2 of cooking space and wall insulation for temperature precision—but it is costly.
As mentioned previously, the Camp Chef PID controller is precise within five degrees of cooking temperature and is now combined with the Woodwind wifi app—allowing you to receive notifications when your meat and grill reach the desired temperature. Now you can crush the driving range or enjoy a tasty beverage while your grill does the work for you!
The Woodwind is also compatible with the Sidekick, a flat-top, propane-powered, 14-inch cooktop. This add-on allows the average backyard chef to cook with an artisan oven, griddle, stock pot, and other options. This is a great inexpensive addition if you are looking to diversify your outdoor cooking experience!
Overall, the Woodwind series is a great option for experienced pit masters, mid to large families, newer grillers who want a high-end option that’s easy to use and can be “set and forget”, and backyard entertainers who throw lavish parties and like to prepare great food for friends and family!
Camp Chef Accessories
Along with grills, there are many pellet-smoker-friendly accessories you can add to your Camp Chef grill to elevate your outdoor cooking experience. The Sidecar Flat Top and Sidecar Searing Flat Top allow you to sear, griddle, oven bake, stock pot, and stew your way to cooking perfection with the 28,000 BTU propane add-on. A steel griddle is included, so you can grill bacon and cook eggs in the morning, making this grill a three-meal option! Versatility is the name of the game with Camp Chef pellet grills.
Furthermore, if you live in a cold climate, maintaining the temperature on your grilling surfaces is more difficult. (Believe me, I live at altitude in Utah, and winter grilling is tough!) The Camp Chef Pellet Grilling Blanket, which comes in 24-inch, 30-inch, and 36-inch sizing, insulates the grill and helps keep your grill temperature steady—making your grill a four-season machine!
Maintenance and protection are also important for your Camp Chef pellet grill, so protect your investment. Grab a Camp Chef Grill Cover (comes in 20 to 36-inch sizes) and keep the rain and inclement weather from rusting out your grill!
The Camp Chef Pellet Grill lineup is making a direct impact on the grilling market and changing the way people prepare food! Long gone are the days of grease fires, burnt burgers, rusty grill grates, and steaks that taste like chemicals or propane. The secret to the formula is in the pellets! The all-natural Camp Chef hardwood pellets contain no chemicals, oils, or binders. These pellets infuse your meats, veggies, and grillables with an amazing flavor that cannot be matched by propane or charcoal. They come in many flavors, like apple, cherry, mesquite, alder, hickory, competition blend, and oak, so you can mix and match them depending on what and how you cook.
Choosing a pellet flavor can sometimes feel daunting! Personally, I find the apple to be great for pulled pork smoking and prefer lighter pellets like alder for salmon and quicker smokes/grills. Whether grilling, smoking, preparing a roast, or baking, the Camp Chef Pellet lineup is a great option for the adventurous griller that favors versatility for cooking a wider variety of meats, fish, veggies, and creative dishes.
Camp Chef has plenty of other accessories, including, front shelving, pizza stones, jerky racks, cutting boards (great to toss on the pellet hopper), and tool sets. Toss in a wireless thermometer/meat probe as well to set it and forget it. One addition for increased workspace during grilling is a big side shelf. Don’t forget to pick up a bag of these premium Camp Chef Pellets and other accessories and get your sweet new smoker rolling!
Overall, Camp Chef and Traeger are both brands that focus on quality and performance versus cheap price points and inferior components—these grills perform and hold up to the elements. However, the temperature precision and ease of cleaning make the Camp Chefs my top choice!
Contact a Curated Grill Expert for specific questions about the Camp Chef lineup and to find your perfect model!