Fast Eddy's by Cookshack PG500
Fast Eddy's by Cookshack PG500
In the beginning pellet cookers were used mostly as smokers because they didn't really have high temperature grilling ability. After more than a decade of design revisions, most of the pellet burners still cannot do both well. Introduced in 2010, the Fast Eddy's by Cookshack PG1000 took an innovative approach to being both a low and slow smoker and a fast cooking grill. Now Cookshack has introduced the PG500, which has the same primary cooking surface area and very similar cooking capability, but sells for several hundred dollars less. The main differences are the PG 500 has a smaller cart with no lower storage shelf and very little work space. The PG500 also does not have an insulated hood. In fact it has two doors that access the cookbox rather than the tradition flip up hood.
Although similar to other backyard pellet cookers in appearance, the PG500 differs most significantly from the competition by moving away from the standard design of a fire pot on the bottom, a diffuser plate in the middle, and a cooking grate above. This design makes most pellet cookers exclusively indirect convection cookers, so it is impossible to have a 2-zone system, the best configuration for grilling, or to get direct flame contact for a high temperature sear.
Fast Eddy's revolutionary design provides four distinct cooking zones:
-Zone one is a 10" wide x 18" deep direct cooking area with the firepot directly below so flames can directly contact the food for high temperature grilling.
–Zone two located to the right of the firepot is an 18" x 18" indirect zone for roasting with or without smoke.
-Zones three and four are spread across a 10" x 28" secondary cook surfaces above Zones one and two. Zone three above the firepot, is significantly hotter than Zone four above the indirect primary cook surface.
The direct zone has cast iron grates which produce superior conductive heat for searing but are prone to rust. The other two zones have nickel plated wire grates. Total cooking surface is 784 square inches.
The digital controller is simple and easy to use, but has some useful features that enhance performance for low and slow cooking and searing. When cooking at low temps like 225, one can modify the controller program to reduce temperature fluctuations over long cooking periods. It smokes meats beautifully creating a deep mahogany finish much like the big heavy offsets used in competitions. For searing, the controller can be recalibrated to run continuously and produce maximum heat. Results are not bad. We are still testing this feature.
The ash drawer is front-mounted making cleanout easy. The 25 pound capacity pellet hopper is mounted on the side. The body is stainless steel and the whole unit is covered by a 30-day money back guarantee and a 2-year limited warranty. When is the last time you saw a money back guarantee on a grill?
Although the combustion cup in the direct grilling zone puts out plenty of searing heat, the temp drops off rapidly as you move away from the center of the relatively small area. If you are grilling steaks with the doors open, you cannot control the heat output from the burn cup. As much as we recommend the 2-zone system, this is an awkward configuration. In addition, the fact that there is no cover over the flame allows ash to blow into the cooking chamber, often landing on your food. Interestingly, this configuration creates a convection flow of hot air cooking from the top on the indirect side rather than the bottom as do most other pellet smokers.
The PG500 comes with a side shelf and 40 pounds of pellets.
$1,595 Manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP), actual price may vary.
Where To Buy (Buying from these suppliers supports this website):
Combination Grill & Smoker
784 square inches ( about 38 burgers )
Manufacturer claims that all or practically all of this device is made in the USA
Cooked On It
We have hands-on experience testing this product. We have also gathered info from the manufacturer, owners and other reliable sources.