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*Based on 4" raw burger with 1/2" space on all sides

Memphis Pro Pellet Smoker

By Max Good

Manufacturer: Memphis Grills

Memphis Grills offers four models of very high quality, pellet smokers with technically advanced digital controllers. Memphis calls them 3-in-1 Cooking Centers that are grills, smokers, and wood fired convection ovens. Memphis is a division of Heathland Products which also makes stoves, pellets, BBQ sauce and rubs. Hearthland is wholly owned by Dalsin Industries, a leading precision sheet metal fabrication company producing hearth products in their 135,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Bloomington, Minnesota.

In addition to The AmazingRibs.com Best Value Gold Medal, Memphis also won the 2010 VESTA Award for Charcoal, Wood Barbecues and Smokers, the 2010 VESTA Award for Best in Show Outdoor Room Products and First Place in the 2011 International Barbecue Awards.

Memphis Pro Pellet Smoker

The Memphis Pro competes well with any pellet burner on the market. Certainly, none is better looking. It is available on a cart or as a built-in. In 2010 the manufacturer sent us a cart-mounted stainless steel Pro to test.

It is extremely well built and designed. We are very impressed with the way this baby is put together. Most impressive, the cooking chamber has two layers of metal with an air gap between and an oven gasket on the lid to provide better heat retention. Just like your indoor oven. It is designed and built like a high end indoor appliance. This allows it to cook hotter and retain more heat and maintain steady lower temperatures.

Available in thick top grade 304 or lower priced 430 stainless, construction is solid and extraordinarily well machined. The fit and finish are impeccable. Our posted price is for the 304 model on a cart. The grates are some of the heaviest stainless rods we've ever seen. The main cooking grate is 25" wide by 17.5" deep and 438 square inches. There is room for upper grates that allow you to almost double the capacity. The fire pot is in the center below a large stainless "flavor bar" bent in the center to allow grease runoff. There is a gap between the flavor bar and the interior walls to allow hot air to circulate. If you place food up to the edges of the grate, the ends that are over the gaps can overcook or burn, effectively reducing the cooking area.

The "Intelligent Temperature Control" digital control panel is a sophisticated, touchpad PID controller. Simple to operate, much easier than the MAK, it has a meat probe and a few programming options. For example you can set it to cook your brisket up to 190°F and then drop back to a lower temp. It has twp nine pound pellet hoppers for a total capacity of eighteen pounds.

Newer models have a panel on the plate that separates the fire pot from the cooking chamber. Remove the plate and insert a perforated plate called the "Direct Flame Insert" and it exposes the food to the flame. When turned on high it can produce a respectable if not perfect sear on steaks and burgers.The cooking temp range is said to be 180°F to 650°F but we managed to rev it up to 680°F on the left side while the right side maxed at 636°F, an average of 658°F. For some strange reason, when heating up, the controller displayed the set temp while our test thermocouples showed it was hadn't reached set point yet. For example, 480°F was displayed, but it was actually be 430°F, and didn't hit 480°F for another 10 minutes. There is less temperature fluctuation after it hits set temp, about 5°F, tighter than most indoor ovens (check yours, it can fluctuate 25°F or more). The controller handled the frigid Chicago winter without a hiccup. This baby is truly set-and-forget ease.

There is a grease and ash tray below the cooking chamber that can hold two disposable aluminum pans. They can get hot so you must remember to wear gloves when handling them and don't forget to empty them or you run a risk of a grease fire. For 2012 they added some prongs behind the Intelligent Temperature Control to wrap the power cord up and out of the way when not in use. Previously it just laid on the ground.

Meathead ran extensive tests on this model. It's appropriate to end this review with a closing statement from the man himself: "I have had a LOT of iron on my deck and this is one of the best cookers I've ever had the pleasure to use".

In addition to The AmazingRibs.com Best Value Gold Medal, Memphis also won the 2010 VESTA Award for Charcoal, Wood Barbecues and Smokers, the 2010 VESTA Award for Best in Show Outdoor Room Products and First Place in the 2011 International Barbecue Awards.

Price: 

$3,800 Manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP), actual price may vary.

Where To Buy (Buying from these suppliers supports this website): 

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Primary Function: 

Grill

Smoker

Combination Grill & Smoker

Drop-Ins

Fuel: 

Wood Pellets

Primary Capacity: 

562 square inches ( about 27 burgers )

Main Burners: 

1

Manufacturer claims that all or practically all of this device is made in the USA

Yes

Review Method: 

Cooked On It

We have hands-on experience testing this product. We have also gathered info from the manufacturer, owners and other reliable sources.

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About this website. AmazingRibs.com is all about the science of barbecue, grilling, and outdoor cooking, with great BBQ recipes, tips on technique, science, mythbusting, and unbiased equipment reviews. Learn how to set up your grills and smokers properly, the thermodynamics of what happens when heat hits meat, and how to cook great food outdoors. There are also buying guides to hundreds of barbeque smokers, grills, accessories, and thermometers, as well as hundreds of excellent tested recipes including all the classics: Baby back ribs, pulled pork, Texas brisket, burgers, chicken, smoked turkey, lamb, steaks, chili, barbecue sauces, spice rubs, and side dishes, with the world's best all edited by Meathead Goldwyn.

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