MAK Grill 1 Star General Pellet Grill
MAK Grill 1 Star General Pellet Grill
MAK 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 $1,300, $700 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.
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. So far my only criticism is that the grease bucket hangs out in the open on the right side and it is easily accessible to dogs and wasps. I plan to make a plastic cover for it. 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.
$1,299 Manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP), actual price may vary.
Where To Buy (Buying from these suppliers supports this website):
380 square inches ( about 18 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.
Reviewed By: Meathead
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