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

MAK Grill 1 Star General Pellet Grill

By Meathead Goldwyn

Manufacturer: MAK Grills

MAK Grills makes two very impressive residential pellet smokers and one large commercial smoker. They are Meatheads favorite pellet smokers and earned our AmazingRibs.com Best Value Gold Award. MAK took the pellet world by storm and quickly developed a reputation as a best in class producer largely due to their sophisticated "Pellet Boss" controller. The Pellet Boss is easy to learn, intuitive and highly accurate. It also has some useful added features like three independent meat probe inputs and wireless capability. Furthermore construction is solid, durable and effectively holds even, set temps.

MAK Grills is a family owned business that grew from MAK Metals, an Oregon company engaged in precision metal fabrication since around 1990. They have about 70 distributers, mostly in the northwest.

MAK Grill 1 Star General Pellet Grill

Top Ten Charcoal Grill 2014MAK Grills have the distinction of being Meathead's favorite pellet smokers. He recently tested their 1 Star General and 2 Star General Residential Pellet Smokers. MAK also makes a large, commercial size 4 Star General smoker. Here is his review on the 1 Star General.

Introduced in fall 2010, the 1 Star is a real star, and it sells for about $1,500, $1000 less than the 2 Star. In 2013 MAK made a few changes. It now has a silver vein powder coat instead of plain black, attachable legs so it can be used free standing or as a built-in, a removable baffle in front of the rear exhaust vents for easy cleaning of the vents and an ash clean-out door at the bottom of the cook box. 

The 1 Star is shorter (44"), narrower (20" deep and 37" long) than the 2 Star, with a smaller cooking surface (20" wide x 18" deep and 12" high), but there is still plenty of room for a whole lot of chicken parts or pork chops and tall enough for a turkey. It uses the same Pellet Boss digital controller as its big brother, so it has the same set-it-forget-it convenience. I used it in below freezing December weather and it held temp steady within 5°F with my best testing equipment. The entire unit is aluminized steel, an excellent material for heat retention, and the paint is high-temp powder coat, also top drawer.

MAK Grills Mobile WiFi option, released in 2013, is an upgrade to their previous Remote Boss bluetooth remote control. MAK Mobile enables owners to control and monitor their MAK from any device with an internet connection, anywhere in the world. It requires easy installation of a chip and antennae. Remote Boss can be upgraded to MAK Mobile. 

mak grills mobile app

We caught up with MAK's Bruce Bjorkman, aka Mr. Barbecue, at the 2015 HPBExpo in Nashville who was kind enough to give us a tour of the newest model MAK 1 Star.

The hood is a roll top meaning it does not need a lot of rear clearance like some competitors. As with the 2 Star, it is built to last: Heavy gauge and solid! Best of all, there was no assembly other than screwing in the casters. Assembling the 2 Star took some time. The hopper is capacious, holding more than one 20 pound bag of pellets. You can order several options, a bottom storage shelf, a right side shelf, a tool hook, and an upper grill grate. Most importantly, the meat it produces has plenty of moisture, tenderness, and the delicate smoke flavor typical of pellet burners. MAK recently got rid of their external grease bucket and replaced it with an internal grease drawer that accommodates a disposable foil pan to easily remove ash and gunk. As with the 2 Star, I would like to see a reel for the cord or some way to store it out of the elements. Also, you should make sure to buy a cover for it. Water got into the Pellet Boss on mine and it ceased functioning. I took it out of the unit, air dried it, and it worked just fine. To be safe I ran a bead of silicone caulk around it to prevent encroachments again.

Price: 

$1,500 Manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP), actual price may vary.

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

Big Poppa Smokers

Primary Function: 

Smoker

Fuel: 

Wood Pellets

Primary Capacity: 

380 square inches ( about 18 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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Digital Thermometers Are
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Gold BBQ AwardA good digital thermometer keeps me from serving dry overcooked food or dangerously undercooked food. They are much faster and more accurate than dial thermometers. The Thermopop (above) is about $29. The Thermapen (below), the Ferrari of instant reads, is about $96. Click here to read more about types of thermometer and see our ratings and reviews or more than 150 models. - Meathead

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GrillGrates Take Gas Grills To The Infrared Zone

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Gold BBQ AwardGrillGrates(TM) amplify heat, prevent flareups, make flipping foods easier, keep small foods from committing suicide, kill hotspots, are easier to clean, flip over to make a fine griddle, and can be easily removed and moved from one grill to another. You can even throw wood chips, pellets, or sawdust between the rails and deliver a quick burst of smoke to whatever is above. Every gas grill needs them.

Click here to read more about what makes these grates so special and how they compare to other cooking surfaces. - Meathead

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The Pit Barrel Cooker

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The PBC has a rabid cult following for good reason. It is absolutely positively without a doubt the best bargain on a smoker in the world. Period.

This baby will cook circles around the cheap offset sideways barrel smokers in the hardware stores because temperature control is so much easier.

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Best of all, it is only $299 delivered to your door!

Click here to read our detailed review and the raves from people who own them. - Meathead

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Is This The Kettle Killer?

PK Grill

The PK Grill has become our favorite charcoal grill. It proves some ideas never die.

Designed in 1952, the rectangular shape is easy to set up in 2 or 3 heat zones, it can easily be used as a smoker, the cast aluminum body is indestructible, airflow is easy to manage, and there is plenty of room under the hood.

Click here for more about this cool tool. - Meathead

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Made of rugged 1/8" thick aluminum, 20" long, with four serious rivets, mine show zero signs of weakness after years of abuse. I use it on meats, hot charcoal, burning logs, and with the mechanical advantage that the scissor design creates, I can easily pick up a whole packer brisket. Click here to read more. - Meathead

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Amp Up The Smoke With
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Mo's Smoking Pouch is essential for gas grills. It is an envelope of mesh 304 stainless steel that holds wood chips or pellets. The airspaces in the mesh are small enough that they limit the amount of oxygen that gets in so the wood smolders. Put it on top of the cooking grate, on the burners, on the coals. It holds enough wood for about 15 minutes for short cooks, so you need to refill it or buy a second pouch for long cooks like pork shoulder and brisket. Mine has survived more than 50 cooks. I like it better than the smoker tubes. Click for more info. - Meathead

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The Best Steakhouse Knives

Gold BBQ AwardThese are the same knives used at famous steakhouses like Peter Luger, Smith & Wollensky, and Morton's. Machine washable, high-carbon stainless steel, hardwood handle. And the manufacturer has printed the AmazingRibs.com name on it! Click for more info. - Meathead

About this website. AmazingRibs.com is all about the science of barbecue, grilling, and outdoor cooking, with great BBQ recipes, tips on technique, 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 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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