×

Our Pitmaster Club can up your game!
Benefits include:

• No more ads, faster page loads!
• "The Pit" forum with tons of info & scores of recipes
• Monthly newsletter
• Video seminars with top pitmasters
• Weekly podcast with news and interviews
• Comprehensive Temperature Magnet ($10 retail)
• Monthly giveaways of Gold Medal grills and smokers
• Discounts on products we love
• Educational and social Meat-Ups
• Support for Operation BBQ Relief
• Support for Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves
• Support for AmazingRibs.com!

AmazingRibs.com BBQ Logo

Search Our Reviews and Ratings

Click Search to see all our Reviews and Ratings. Use the filters below to refine your search.

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

FireCraft Pellet Q-450

By Max Good

Manufacturer: FireCraft

FireCraft is a family owned and operated e-tailer that carries a large selection of barbecue products, including some hard to find items. They cater to backyard cooks and competition teams with a mix of well-known popular residential brands and real deal pitmaster smokers that can be hard to find. FireCraft also has their own Q-450 branded pellet smoker.

FireCraft Pellet Q-450

The FireCraft Pellet Q-450 is a mid-size, stainless steel pellet smoker. In addition to being made almost entirely of stainless steel it has a couple other unique features. Foremost is an impressive optional sear station. Although they are often called pellet grills, most lack the ability to effectively achieve high temperature searing. FireCraft accomplishes this with 3 stage small flame, medium flame, and high flame firepot settings and an optional "Sear Station" shown below. The Sear Station consists of of two extruded aluminum cook surfaces with a flat side and a raised grate side that amplify and even out heat over the entire left side of the cook surface. They are custom made for the Q-450 by GrillGrates and come with a FireCraft branded forked spatula used on the raised grate side. All Q-450 models come standard with a digital thermostatic controller with the 3 stage flame settings, but the Sear Station, which is a necessary option for optimal searing, runs about $50 extra.

firecraft sear station

When the Q-450 rolled out, FireCraft pitched it as the only all stainless steel pellet smoker made in the USA for under $1,000. Initially it was made with 430 grade stainless and had an MSRP, (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price), of about $900. Now it is being made in China with higher quality 304 grade stainless steel with an MSRP of about $1,000. Click here to learn more about stainless steel. We tested the first US made model. FireCraft tells us there is little functional difference, "Like the US made grill you have, all the exterior pieces, the majority of the interior pieces, and the hardware is stainless. A few pieces inside in the pellet hopper are galvanized steel and the grill grates are chrome-plated. The only changes are that the grade of stainless switches from 430 to 304 and the factory moves from the US to China". If you buy online direct from FireCraft, they sell for the new MSRP of about $1,000 with Free Shipping. So far their new dealers are selling at the MAP, (Minimum Advertised Price), of the original $900 target.

Set It and Forget It

Pellet smokers work much like your indoor kitchen oven with a sensor inside that relays the current cooking temperature to a controller that turns on an electric element or gas burner as needed to hold your set cooking temp. Pellet smoker controllers feed wood pellets to a burning firepot as needed in a similar manner. They are outdoor ovens with smoke. The Q-450 has an 18 lb. capacity pellet hopper that will hold enough fuel for many hours of low and slow smoking. You can put a brisket on at night, set the temp to 225°F and go to bed for an evening of sweet dreams, knowing you'll wake up to tasty smoked meat. FireCraft's pellet hopper can easily be emptied via a small chute at the bottom. This is handy when changing wood types or packing away for storage. Click here to learn more about pellet smokers.

FireCraft uses an advanced PID touchpad controller, (below), that is extremely accurate. It also has an integrated meat temperature probe. Plug the probe in on the right side of the controller and thread it though a meat probe port on the smokebox to insert into foods. The LED display can toggle between set temp, actual temp and internal meat temp. When using the meat probe you must select the internal meat target temp. If cooking brisket you would set the meat target temp to 203°F. When the internal meat temp hits 203°F, the controller automatically drops the cooking temp down to 180°F to stop cooking and keep warm. Internal meat target temps cannot be set below the default holding temp of 180°F, so if you're cooking something like chicken to 165°F you have to do it the old fashioned way. Keep an eye on the meat probe temp and pull it off at 165°F or the controller will keep cooking until internal temp it hits 180°F.

firecraft pid controller

Sear Station

Most pellet smokers have a flat drip plate right beneath the cooking grates which is tilted to channel drippings into a grease tray or bucket. The Q-450 has an arched drip plate, below left, with a removable cut out above the firepot. Remove the cut out to expose the firepot, then remove the steel rod grate above it and replace with the Sear Staion, below right. You then preheat the smoker to 425°F. Open the lid and raise the cooking temp to 500°F. The display will show options for F1 (small flame), F2 (medium flame), and F3 (large flame). A column of fire shoots up licking the bottom of the Sear Station. The column of flame increases in size from F1 to F3. Always leave the lid up when using the sear option. The aluminum grates store the heat and even it out. Some other pellet smokers have similar designs that expose food to direct flames from the firepot, the Q-450 is one of the best we've tested although it relies heavily on the optional Sear Station.

firecraft sear station

Smoking and Roasting at 225°F and 325°F

The PID controller held cooking temps accurately and heat was very even across the cook surface. The Q-450 doesn't have a chimney. Instead they use rear vents that run from left to right along the back. FireCraft feels this enhances their even heat profile. The meat probe with automatic drop to hold function is nice when cooking pork butts and brisket that benefit from this safety feature, but one needs to be mindful that auto hold doesn't work for foods like fish with internal doneness temps below 180°F.

Packaging was good with all parts protected from damage in transit. All stainless steel was completely covered with laser film, below.

firecraft packaging

Leaving laser film on stainless steel cookers is a common practice for obvious reasons. Stainless steel can be expensive and buyers will be upset if their shiny new grill has blemishes. It's usually a pain to remove, but lovers of the shine appreciate the manufacturers' intentions. However, some of the Q-450 film was tucked under folded parts or rivets and impossible to remove completely, below. Additionally some edges were rather sharp.

firecraft laser film

That said, if you're hooked on the look of shiny stainless steel and want a set it and forget it all stainless pellet smoker that can double as a grill, the Q-450 is the least expensive model we know of.

Three year limited warranty against defects in material and workmanship, two years on electronics. Does not apply to firepot, grill grate, meat probe, internal sensor or damage caused by corrosion.

Price: 

$1,000 Manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP), actual price may vary.

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

FireCraft: Free Shipping

Primary Function: 

Smoker

Fuel: 

Wood Pellets

Primary Capacity: 

450 square inches ( about 22 burgers )

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

No

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.

Return to top

Please read this before posting a comment or question

grouchy?1) Please use the table of contents or the search box at the top of every page before you ask for help, then please post your question on the appropriate page.

2) Please tell us everything we need to know to answer your question such as the type of cooker and thermometer you are using. Dial thermometers are often off by as much as 50°F so if you are not using a good digital thermometer we probably can't help you. Please read this article about thermometers.

3) If you post a photo, wait a minute for a thumbnail to appear. It will happen even if you don't see it happen.

4) Click here to learn more about our comment system and our privacy promise. Remember, your login info for comments is probably different from your Pitmaster Club login info if you are a member.

Moderators:

  Max
  Clint
  Jerod
  Huskee
  Henrik
  Browne
 Click to Show Comments or Add Your Own

Return to top

Logos of various organizations that we support

Return to top

LeaderDog.org Ad on BBQ site

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.

Brought to you by readers who support us with their membership in our Pitmaster Club. Click here to learn more about benefits to membership.

Advertising. AmazingRibs.com is by far the most popular barbecue website in the world, still growing rapidly, and one of the 25 most popular food websites in the US according to comScore, Quantcast, and Alexa. Click here for analytics and advertising info.

We have strict standards for ads: They are confined to the top of the page and the right column on computers and most tablets. On smartphones and smaller tablets they are confined to boxes. Ads are not allowed to take over the screen or play audio unless you OK it. If you see an ad violate our rules please take a screen shot and post it to the comments section on each page and we will ban it. If you hate all ads, remember, we block them for members of our Pitmaster Club.

© Copyright 2017 - 2017 by AmazingRibs.com. All text, recipes, photos, and computer code are owned by AmazingRibs.com and fully protected by US copyright law unless otherwise noted. This means that it is a Federal crime to copy and publish or distribute anything on this website without permission. But we're easy! We usually grant permission and don't charge a fee. To get reprint rights, just click here. You do not need permission to link to this website.