- 1 PIT BOSS VS CAMP CHEF: Which Is Better?
- 1.1 Pit Boss Overview:
- 1.2 Camp Chef Overview:
- 1.3 What is a smoker?
- 1.4 Types of Smokers:
- 1.5 Pit Boss and Camp Chef Comparison:
- 1.6 Size/Portability
- 1.7 Price Range
- 1.8 Construction Quality
- 1.9 Temperature Control
- 1.10 Temperature Range
- 1.11 Hopper Size
- 1.12 Cooking Space
- 1.13 Extra Features
- 1.14 WiFi Connection
- 1.15 Maintenance
- 1.16 Cleaning Up
- 1.17 Warranty
- 1.18 What types of wood pellets are good to use?
- 1.19 What are the benefits of owning a pellet smoker?
- 1.20 Are there any disadvantages to owning a pellet smoker?
- 1.21 How to clean a pellet smoker?
- 1.22 How to maintain your pellet smoker?
- 1.23 What precautionary measures should I take when using a pellet smoker?
- 2 Conclusion
PIT BOSS VS CAMP CHEF: Which Is Better?
Smokers have been around for a long time. They have been used to cook various food from fish, meat, veggies, and so on. The most common types of smokers at the moment are electric smokers and pellet grills/wood pellet grills however more traditional ways of smoking meats can also be done using a charcoal grill or even a simple hole in the ground. There is no question that smoking food creates amazing taste and unique flavor for any type of meat you might think of.
In this article, I will compare two of the most popular products for smoking meat in their respective categories: Pit Boss and Camp Chef
Pit Boss Overview:
Pit Boss has been around for a while. They are known for creating various types of smokers that can easily fit your budget and smoking needs. They are no doubt one of the biggest US-based manufacturers for smokers. Their smokers are well created and have managed to satisfy a lot of people from all walks of lifestyle. Their products, in general terms, are easy to use, reliable and convenient. The Pit Boss really shines on their ability to produce both charcoal and electric smokers at affordable prices that can fit anyone’s’ budget while still maintaining high quality.
Camp Chef Overview:
Camp Chef has focused mainly on creating pellet smokers; however, they do offer a few charcoal units. They are known to produce quality products that focus on ease of use and functionality. Their pellet smokers are well known for being very reliable and easy to use with the least amount of hassle possible. Camp chef is committed to giving you a no-nonsense approach to smoking meat whether it be at home or even in your backyard, they will provide you the best smoker for your buck.
Before we compare the Camp Chef and the Pit Boss, let us first discuss what a smoker is and how many types of smokers there are.
What is a smoker?
A smoker is used to generate heat and smoke at the same time for meats. Smokers use wood, pellets, charcoal, or electricity to fuel their burners. Traditional smoking techniques would include using some sort of wood, however, nowadays manufacturers provide you with pellets that can be placed into your smoker without much hassle. The main goal of a smoker is to maintain both smoke and heat for long periods of time while cooking meat slowly whether it’s fish, chicken, beef jerky, or any other food item you can think of smoking.
Types of Smokers:
Two main types of smokers exist in the market today: Charcoal/Wood/Gas & Pellet Grills
Charcoal/Wood/Gas – Charcoal or wood smokers are very simple. You light a fire, let the coals burn for a while, and then put your meat on to cook. Wood chips can also be placed if you wish to give your meat additional flavor/smoke. The issue with this type of smoker is that you need to tend to the fire frequently in order to maintain its heat and ability to produce smoke which can get annoying after a while. Charcoal & Wood Smokers are ideal for cooking large pieces of meat (Pork shoulder, Brisket). A downside of using Wood/charcoal/gas smokers is that they get dirty very quickly which means cleaning them becomes an annoyance however most models provide removable ash-trays which make cleaning up easier.
Pellet Smokers – Pellet smokers are very easy to use and maintain; they work by heating up wood pellets that when burned create smoke which in turn cooks your meat. The great thing about pellet smokers is that you just need to set the desired temperature and put your meat inside, no need to tend for fire or smoke until it’s done since all these tasks are automated. Pellet smokers are well known for producing high-quality barbecue. However, because of their automation features, they can be more expensive than traditional charcoal/wood/gas grills/smokers which might steer some people away from them however in my personal opinion, I would say it’s worth the investment if you want an ease-of-use smoker.
Pit Boss and Camp Chef Comparison:
At first glance, both units look very similar to each other except for some minor such as the color and shape of the control knobs however upon further inspection, you can see that the Camp Chef is actually larger because it holds more meat. The side tables are also very useful for placing food or tools/utensils that you might need to use while cooking.
Both smokers are relatively affordable compared to other brands on the market. If you wish to purchase a high-quality smoker for your backyard, either of these units will do fine without breaking the bank.
Both units are made out of stainless steel and very sturdy however the Camp Chef does have a slight advantage because its frame has been welded instead of riveted whereas the Pit Boss’s construction is riveted. Welding provides more strength than riveting as it fuses two pieces together which would not be possible with only riveting.
Temperature control for both units is relatively easy to use and understand, provided that you read their instruction manuals carefully. The buttons and knobs might look confusing but if you read up on what each button does and how they work, it will become second nature to you in no time. Grills/smokers usually don’t provide much adjustment room so getting exact temperatures might be difficult unless you are willing to get up at all hours of the night or day to check on your food.
The Pit Boss and Camp Chef both provide a wide range of temperatures however the lower end is slightly better with the Pit Boss after taking into consideration that you will need to remove your food from the grill once it reaches its desired temperature, leave it for 5-10 minutes, and then place it back on if you wish to cook using lower than normal temperatures such as smoking. The Camp Chef might be more ideal for someone who does not want to stand watch over their unit since the low range is about 180-200 degrees Fahrenheit (120-120 degrees Celsius) which can make cooking at lower times difficult.
The Pit Boss has a larger hopper which is about 1.1 cubic feet (0.3 cubic meters). It can hold about 24 pounds of pellets at any one time. The Camp Chef’s hopper is smaller and only holds about 10 pounds of pellets at a time, however, it comes with a pellet loader that makes refilling the unit much easier compared to the Pit Boss where you have to remove the entire front panel in order to access it.
You can fit more food on the Camp Chef than you can on the Pit Boss however the Pit Boss is definitely more spacious if you plan to cook for more people. Also, with both units, it’s recommended that you do not overcrowd them because this would lower the temperature of your unit which will prolong cooking time and decrease grilling quality. Other than that issue, you should be able to fit all sorts of meat in both units without any major issues.
Both units have removable drip pans for easy cleaning however the Camp Chef’s has a unique design which is basically an inverted V-shape that catches pan drippings right underneath the grill rack, eliminating the need to scoop out excess fat using a separate container or paper towels. The Pit Boss provides more cooking space by adding an additional large shelf on top so you can cook even more ribs at once compared to the Camp Chef. The raised lip around its lid also prevents excess heat from escaping during cooking which speeds up your cooking process slightly, especially when smoking meats slowly however it isn’t very noticeable unless you monitor both units’ temperatures regularly throughout their cooking process.
Both units provide WiFi connection however the Camp Chef has an advantage because you can control your grill or smoker using your mobile phone, tablet, or laptop. Just download the app and connect it to your unit and you’re good to go, even if you’re not at home. The Pit Boss only allows you to monitor temperature levels remotely but doesn’t allow for manual control like with the Camp Chef which is a bit of a drawback if you prefer checking on your food’s cooking progress more often.
While both units are made out of stainless steel, we noticed that they were slightly difficult to clean compared with other grills/smokers we’ve seen before due to their design and size. However, this can be easily overcome by washing them regularly after every use and ensuring that all panels are properly aligned so excess grease can run off easily.
The Pit Boss has the upper hand in this category for sure since its entire bottom tray can be removed easily to dump out any ashes or collect spent pellets which make cleaning up a breeze compared to the Camp Chef, where you would need to remove its legs and stand the smoker upright to get access underneath it which is very inconvenient.
Pit Boss comes with a 3-year warranty however keep in mind that this product is designed for household usage rather than commercial thus if you are planning on using this product for your restaurant or catering business, 3 years might not be enough. Camp Chef comes with a 5-year warranty however once again, this is only for household usage and might not be suitable if you’re planning on using it to run your catering business or even restaurant because of its small capacity hopper.
So, which one is better and more suited for your needs?
It depends. While the Pit Boss is definitely a much better deal in terms of features, it also costs twice as much which means you’ll have to dish out an additional $500 when purchasing this unit. Of course, when it comes to cooking ribs or other meats that require low heat for long periods of time, the Camp Chef can easily do the job but if you are planning on smoking large cuts of meat like brisket or shoulders at higher temperatures, you might want to consider something larger with more features. The bottom line? If you are looking for something that can do it all, go with the Pit Boss. If you’re looking to smoke meat occasionally and don’t care about WiFi connectivity/remote control cooking then the Camp Chef will serve you well.
What types of wood pellets are good to use?
Both units use different types of wood pellets so it’s important to know which one is compatible with both grills. The Pit Boss uses conventional hardwood pellets made from Oak, Hickory, or Mesquite while the Camp Chef Grills can use a variety of flavors including Hickory, Mesquite, Apple, Cherry, and Maple.
Oak – It burns hot and imparts a slightly sweet flavor to the meat. This type of wood is good for grilling beef, pork, fish, fowl, and even vegetables because it has a milder taste compared to other types of wood.
Hickory – It’s one of the most common woods used in smoking because it burns at a high temperature which makes it ideal for searing steaks or roasting poultry. Its strong smoky flavor makes it popular for cooking ribs as well because people love its “Memphis-style” barbecue.
Mesquite – It’s highly acidic but provides an earthy and bold flavor that makes your food delicious while being very easy to light up too. Mesquite is preferred by many restaurant owners because it makes food taste like it was cooked over an open fire pit.
What are the benefits of owning a pellet smoker?
Both units provide different types of features which make them unique however they all share some common benefits like:
– These units can be used even in the wintertime because you don’t need charcoal to cook your food, just press the start button and get cooking!
– They allow you to control the smoke flavor that goes into your meat because you can adjust their air dampers to increase/decrease the flow of smoke. However, if you’re using wood chips instead of pellets then this won’t matter since pellets already have built-in smoke flavors.
– There are no flare-ups so there’s no need to stand by the grill and babysit your food.
– They provide consistent heat which means you can leave them on overnight and wake up to perfectly cooked meat.
– Pellet smokers use 30% less fuel than traditional offsets, reduce the amount of time required to prepare their meals by 50%, and cook 80% faster!
Are there any disadvantages to owning a pellet smoker?
Of course, they aren’t perfect and have a few disadvantages as well.
– You can only use pellets in a pellet smoker which means you can’t add wood chips from your old grill to make the food more flavorful.
– There’s a learning curve when using them for the first time so make sure that someone experienced with pellet smokers shows you how everything works before attempting to use it on your own. This will help reduce the risk of accidents that might happen if you don’t know how to use the grill properly.
– They are more expensive compared with other types of grills however you have to keep in mind that the money you’ll spend on this will be worth it because you won’t need to buy charcoal or propane.
– You’ll need to season/clean up your grill regularly so it doesn’t accumulate rust & debris.
– These are still relatively new products so there’s still some learning being done regarding their proper care and maintenance.
How to clean a pellet smoker?
A lot of people are curious about the cleaning process for pellet grills because they are really easy to clean plus there’s no need for scrubbing or wire-brushing. For best results, you should try cleaning your grill after every use so you can prevent rusting and prolong its life span. Here are some tips for keeping your grill clean:
Use a damp cloth to wipe down any debris on the outside surface of your machine. Make sure to remove all grease & oil too especially if it dropped onto the drip pan because this will make putting out fires more difficult.
After using your unit, give it 30 minutes to cool down then clean up all the ash that accumulated on the firepot/drip pan which is located below the heating element.
Use a water hose to remove leftover ash stuck on the grates and clean the grease trays with soapy water after every use.
You can add cooking oil directly to your grill to prevent rusting and make it easier to wipe off dirt in the future however you should know that this is not a permanent solution. How often should I perform these steps? People who own pellet smokers recommend cleaning/seasoning your unit every 10 uses or after each use if you’re using really smokey woods like mesquite or hickory.
How to maintain your pellet smoker?
To keep your smoker grill running at peak conditions, you should follow these simple tips.
You’ll need to maintain a constant temperature inside your cooking chamber so that after each use you should check the internal temperature and indicator lights. If needed, clean up any ash or residue from the firepot/drip pan then close all air dampers.
Clean the grates with a wire brush every 20 uses or whenever they get too dirty to make food release easier. Don’t forget to clean out your grease trays after each use too!
Spraying down your pellet grill with cooking oil is not a permanent solution however it will prevent rusting & make it easier to wipe off dirt in the future. It’s recommended that you do this every 50 uses or when you notice that corrosion has formed on some parts of your machine.
Never use water or any type of cleaner when you’re cleaning up after cooking meats because this will make the rusting process faster plus it’ll cause a foul taste that’ll get into your food.
What precautionary measures should I take when using a pellet smoker?
Using a pellet smoker at home is relatively safe however you should still take the following precautions when using this machine.
If you’re using your unit for overnight cooking, make sure to extinguish the fire by closing all air dampers then opening the lid and letting it cool down. You can put out a fire faster by spraying water into it or throwing in some wet wood chips however this will only work if there’s still smoke coming from the grill.
If your temperature gauge doesn’t move after an hour and you don’t see any flames inside the smoker, remove the meat and close all air dampers. Give it 30 minutes to cool off then open up your machine so you know what caused this to happen.
Place a sturdy table near your pellet cooker so that opens/closes its lid easily plus makes bonfire containment easier too. You can also use a fire extinguisher as a precautionary measure though you should only need it as a last resort.
Keep your grill away from combustible materials like trees, bushes, plastic sheeting & deck railings because these products will catch on fire if they get too close to the grill especially during windy conditions.
Be sure to clean up all grease and food debris out of the drip pan before cooking over hot coals so that there won’t be any flare-ups!
Pit Boss and Camp Chef are the most popular pellet smoker brands in the market. Their products are easy to use and require minimal maintenance. If you’re a beginner, these two brands will work just fine if you have no experience starting a fire or using a smoker at all. Regardless of which product you choose; make sure to read all instructions first before using this machine because every smoker is different and may require specific procedures during cleaning & maintenance.
As always, thank you for reading this article and we hope that this article was able to help you learn more about pellet grills/smokers.