By Max Good, Director of Equipment Reviews & Keeper of the Flame, AmazingRibs.com
Note: We rate and review as objectively as possible, measuring temperatures, slamming lids, turning dials, studying warranties, and kicking casters, but inevitably intangibles such as look and feel have to be considered. We consider them among the best of breed in the wide world of luxury priced cookers. They are listed in order of manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), but actual prices can differ particularly since many of these items are often highly customized. Please click the links to read our complete detailed review and find links to suppliers, many of whom sell well below MSRP.
- Fast Eddy’s by Cook Shack PG1000
The Fast Eddy’s by Cookshack PG1000 Pellet Smoker is a collaborative design from respected smoker manufacturer, Cookshack, and competition barbecue circuit pro, “Fast Eddy” Maurin. The FEC line, (Fast Eddy’s by Cookshack) has been popular with competitive teams for years. While most FEC models have a utilitarian appearance, the beautifully crafted stainless steel PG1000 fits right in with your shiny outdoor kitchen.
Most pellet smokers are wood burning ovens, great for ribs, turkey, brisket and butts, not so great for grilling steaks and burgers. The PG1000 was one of the first pellet burners to offer a sear station, a cast iron cooking grate right over the firepot where the wood pellets burn. It isn’t the best setup for searing, but it does OK in a pinch and you can definitely finish your smoked chicken and ribs on it to crisp and brown. The real beauty of Fast Eddy’s design is it produces meat with a deep mahogany finish, much like a competition grade offset smoker. It also has two upper level heat zones for a total of four distinct temperature zones.
Thermostatically controlled pellet smokers are a joy to work with, just set the desired temp like you do on your kitchen oven then walk away. No muss, no fuss, no babysitting, and excellent results every time. Made in the USA.
Complete review: Fast Eddy’s by Cook Shack PG1000
- Englebrecht Grills and Cookers 1000 Series Braten Grill
The Braten 1000 has a cooking grate that can be raised or lowered by turning a wheel that is attached to an axle above the grill. The closer the food is to the coals, the faster it cooks. This design is commonly known as a Santa Maria Grill. But Englebrecht offers some innovations over the typical Santa Maria. The traditional models are open on top so the heat can be applied only to one side of the food at a time. The Braten has a heavy heat absorbing lid which allows you get high radiant heat from below, reflected heat from above, and convection heat from all around as the air circulates. The lid makes it an oven.
Another innovation is that the Braten comes with a firebox on the side to double as a classic offset smoker for long, low and slow cooks, like you want when cooking pork ribs, beef brisket, or pulled pork. Made in the USA, this heavy duty versatile cooker is expertly welded and built to last: a fine example of American know how and quality. In fact President Obama gave British Prime Minister, David Cameron, one of these beauties made in Obama’s home state of Illinois.
Complete Review: Englebrecht 1000 Series Braten Grill
- Klose 20″ x 42″ Grill Chef
The 20 x 42″ Grill Chef is one of Klose Pit’s most popular residential cookers. Klose is among the most respected names in traditional, competition grade “stick burners” – offset smokers that burn logs in a side firebox, separate from the larger smoke box. Klose Pits are handmade with heavy 1/4” welded steel, superior design and tight construction. Grill Chef is a scaled down, backyard version of the big Klose smokers that competition BBQ teams have used for decades to bring home the prize money. Once your stick burning chops begin to develop, you’ll be cranking out award winning smoked delicacies like ribs, butts and brisket.
Many options are available and if you have creative ideas for a customized cooker, Dave Klose is your man. He loves working on unique concepts. Made in the USA.
Complete Review: Klose 20″ x 42″ Grill Chef
The Memphis Elite, launched in March 2012, is the largest cooker in their impressive line of luxury pellet smokers. Memphis Pellet Smokers are extremely well built and designed. The top grade 304 stainless is thick and extraordinarily well machined. Fit and finish are impeccable. We tested the Memphis Pro and Meathead proclaimed it, “one of the best cookers I’ve ever had the pleasure to use”. They may be ordered as drop-ins for installation or on a cart. Our posted price includes the cart.
Memphis Elite is a good-looking, versatile, easy to use machine. The “Intelligent Temperature Control” digital control panel is a sophisticated, touchpad PID controller that holds set temps with more accuracy than most kitchen ovens. Simple to operate, it has an integrated meat probe and some useful programming options. For example you can set it to cook your brisket up to 200°F and then drop to a lower cooking temp to stay warm without overcooking. Made in the USA.
Complete Review: Memphis Elite Pellet Smoker
- Komodo Kamado Big Bad 32″
It’s Big. It’s Bad. It’s Beautiful! Komodo Kamado makes some of the most striking, high quality cookers we’ve seen. Stunning assortments of inlaid tile finishes are available from colorful to subdued, but KKs are not just another pretty face. Quality and attention to detail are evident in everything you see and touch from the 304 stainless steel grates and hinges to the heavy duty casters. And the casters have to be powerful to support this Bad Boy weighing in at almost half a ton.
It also comes almost fully assembled. At 32 inches wide, this is the biggest Kamado on the market. Plenty of options are available from teakwood carts to gas ignition.
Complete Review: Komodo Kamado Big Bad 32
Your neighbors will be smitten with envy when this stunning professional offset smoker rolls into your drive way. Jambo Pits is the brainchild of award winning pitmaster, Jamie Geer. On the competition circuit, Geer is famous for superior design, performance and beautiful fit and finish. With colorful enamel paint jobs, and characteristic streamlined trailers, Jambo’s large custom pits resemble race cars.
Geer’s insightful designs, based on experience from his championship days, have led numerous teams to victory across the country. It takes dedication to make an offset sing, but with a little effort, you’ll be running with the Big Dogs of BBQ. Made in the USA.
Complete Review: Jambo Pits J-3 Model
- Fire Magic Echelon E1060 Gas Grill
Fire Magic grills exude elegance and quality. Excellent in design and construction, beautiful to behold and priced accordingly. These are among the finest grills made. Echelon Diamond Series is Fire Magic’s top of the line. All are made with high quality 304 stainless steel burners, cooking grates and housings that carry a lifetime warranty.
The E1060 is the largest Echelon. Four heavy cast stainless steel main burners with a total output of 115,000BTU provide ample fire power. It has a built-in digital thermometer and meat probe, 12″ deep firebox (mighty nice for rotisserie) and double wall spring assisted hoods.
For outdoor kitchen installations, anything in the vast Fire Magic catalog may be incorporated. Some options are a motorized hood, solar panels and a remote receiver to monitor cooking temp and internal meat temp. Made in the USA.
Complete Review: Fire Magic Echelon E1060 Gas Grill
- Kalamazoo K-750 Hybrid Fire Grill
Kalamazoo occupies a rarefied space in the BBQ cosmos. Part Rolls Royce, part tank, with fire power and versatility to spare, Kalamazoo grills are imposing in appearance, performance and price.
In addition to being handmade with impeccable fit and finish, and over-built from head to toe with high quality 304 stainless steel, Kalamazoo is known for superb features like their 25,000 BTU cast brass burners, waterproof cabinets and internal chain-driven rotisseries. But as award winning Chef Rick Bayless observes, the feature that really puts Kalamazoo over the top is their Hybrid Fire Grilling Drawer: A bed of slotted heat tents that slides between the main burners and grates. Empty, the tents radiate and disperse gas heat evenly to the grates. Loaded with charcoal or wood, they provide the best of both worlds with an extended temperature range of 150 to 1,200°F. Made in the USA.
Complete Review: Kalamazoo K750 Hybrid Fire Grill
- GrillWorks The Infierno
Grillworks offers several production models, but all grills, production or custom, are made to order. They don’t stock inventory. “People who are likely to be our customers have unique design ideas in their heads,” says owner, Ben Eisendrath. “They’re not interested in a big stainless steel box with a bunch of modular cabinets.” Case in point: The Infierno, which represents a collaboration between award-winning chef, Dan Barber of Blue Hill at Stone Barns Restaurant in New York, and Grillworks. Barber’s model has independent left and right grills and a wood burning fire cage at the center.
Commonly called Santa Maria Grills, the grates can be raised or lowered, away from or closer to the red hot embers beneath. The central, wood burning fire cage produces a constant supply of burning fuel. One issue: Most have no covers, so they are really meant to be direct heat grills.
Our posted MSRP is for the original Infierno at Blue Hill, but prices are all over the place with these immense, highly customized cookers. Awareness of The Infierno is spreading in elite circles and top chefs are letting their imaginations go wild with a wide array of functional and cosmetic features. Made in the USA.
Complete Review: Grillworks The Infierno
- The Barbecue Dining Boat
The Barbecue Dining Boat from Germany is a floating party that seats up to ten passengers around a charcoal kettle grill in the middle. An OUTDOORCHEF Easy 570 charcoal kettle is at the heart of this vessel. It may be switched for a gas model of the same size. OUTDOORCHEF is a Swiss company with some interesting designs. Some think of them as the European Weber.
Powered by a 30 watt electric trolling motor, it goes 2.5 MPH in calm water and can withstand small waves up to 1 foot 8 inches high. It’s constructed of stainless steel and ABS PMMA plastic with a UV resistant polyethylene hull. If you’ve already dined on shore, swap out the grill with a large ice tray for your favorite beverages and GO MAN GO!
Complete Review: Barbecue Dining Boat
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