5 Amazing Grills and Smokers Under $500

Ready for a new rig? Believe it or not, a brand new, good quality gas grill, smoker, or pellet grill doesn't have to break the bank. For many folks, the sweet spot is about 500 bucks. That kind of money, or even a little less, will buy you a very good piece of machinery that you can rely on for years to make steaks, burgers, chicken, brisket, ribs, pulled pork, and just about anything else you throw at it. These 5 grills and smokers are all winners of our highest honor, the AmazingRibs.com Platinum Medal for Best Value. These cookers have been tested, rated, and reviewed by Max Good, our full-time tester of outdoor cooking equipment, so you can be sure that you are getting a solid unit that is worth the money. To read the full reviews of these cookers, click the links below.
Black charcoal kettle grill with a shiny bucket on the bottom. Mounted on a cart with four wheels and a lower storage shelf.
There's reason why Weber kettles enjoy generation after generation of popularity and loyalty. They are affordable, cook just about anything and last forever. This AmazingRibs.com Platinum Medal winner is set in a large rolling cart with all the bells and whistles including gas ignition! read more
Gas grill with lid up mounted on a cart with black sides and shiny metal double doors.
Lowe's calls this exclusive model the Char-Broil Commercial Stainless/Black 3-Burner Gas Grill. It was previously called TRU-Infrared. This AmazingRibs.com Platinum Medal winner has an inner double layer to keep in heat. We tested this model, It is capable of high enough heat for searing, and low enough for smoking. read more
Man pulling a folded up blue gas grill on two wheels through a grass field.
Napoleon’s new TravelQ TQ285X is one impressive little clam shell style portable gasser, with some unique features not found from competitors. We award his tailgater our AmazingRibs.com Best Value Platinum Medal. The fold out scissor cart is one of the most solid versions we've seen. read more
Small boxy pellet smoker with chimney on the right side sitting on the back of a truck with green grass in the background.
Green Mountain describes their small portable Davy Crockett smoker as the Ultimate Tailgater Pellet Grill. It's also gaining popularity with people who want to add a small, set it and forget it smoker to their BBQ arsenal.We tested Davy Crockett and award it our AmazingRibs.com Best Value Platinum Medal. read more
Black bullet shaped smoker with a large shiny steel door on the front. It sits on a patio with grass and bushes in the background.
We tested this original, mid-size version of Weber's popular charcoal smoker. Weber Smokey Mountains are often seen competing head to head with large commercial cookers at practically every competition AND WINNING! Click here to learn all about this high quality, Best Value AmazingRibs.com Platinum Medal winner. read more

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Dave Joachim

AmazingRibs.com Editor David Joachim has authored, edited, or collaborated on more than 45 cookbooks including four on barbecue and grilling, making him a perfect match for a website dedicated to the “Science of Barbecue and Grilling.” His Food Science column has appeared in "Fine Cooking" magazine since 2011. 

What people say about us

"The world’s leading outdoor cooking resource." Larry Olmsted, Forbes.com

"An amazing compendium of barbecue knowledge." Aaron Franklin, Franklin Barbecue, Austin

"I was crowned World Brisket Champion at the Jack Daniels World Championships using your Big Bad Beef Rub. Your site has played a pivotal role in my development." John Lattuca, WeekendWarriorBBQ, Montreal, Canada

"This meal was as memorable as my first sex, only better." Marie Overholt, San Francisco, CA

"The BBQ community is so extremely fortunate to have someone as passionate and articulate as you." Frank Ostini, Chef Winemaker, Hitching Post II Restaurant & Winery, Buellton, CA

"I adapted your brisket rub recipe this summer and my customers love it (8,000 pounds served in 6 months)! My brisket even won 'best beef' in the Sonoma County Harvest Fair." Chef Larry Vito, BBQ Smokehouse, Sebastapol, CA

"Meathead is the best writer covering this part of the culinary world." John Markus, Producer, BBQ Pitmasters TV show

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"I got laid last night because of your pastrami" Name withheld for obvious reasons

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"I have worked as a professional cook in high end French restaurants for several years, so when I hit the internet looking for some BBQ info, I was really pleased to find an in depth and expansive site that had all the tips I was looking for." Aaron Ettlin, Portland, OR

"A Famous Dave's commercial came on claiming the best ribs in the world, and my honey shook his head and said, 'nope, it's right here.' Many, many thanks!" Red Taylor, San Francisco, CA

"We had a fantastic season winning two Grand Championships and five Reserve Grand Championships. I always appreciate referring to your site. Thanks." Steve, Grills Gone Wild, IA

"I have always loved cooking ribs but with our new gas grill they were never as good as charcoal. Well that all changed last night when I made the greatest ribs I have ever tasted. My wife wanted to know if I bought them somewhere and then claimed I cooked them myself." Allen Nicley, Mont Alto, PA

"The Memphis Dust and the pulled pork are excellent! I had to dang near run people out of my house!" Aswad Johnson

"I was about to buy a new smoker. After reading your article about setting up a horizontal smoker, I decided to try rehabilitating something the previous owner of my house left in the backyard. Total investment: $100. I figure I saved at least $500!" Coleman Shelton, Calvert City, KY

"Amazingribs.com is the most information packed barbecue site known to man." Pitmaster and BBQ Columnist George Hensler

"AmazingRibs.com is the world's go-to place for a barbecue treasure house of reliable information." Ardie "Remus Powers" Davis, author of numerous barbecue books

"This is my new go-to method for prime rib." Candy Weaver, President, Kansas City Barbeque Society

"We've won five Grand Championships and two Reserve Championships in the past three months. Learned much about BBQ from you and wanted to give you credit." Harry Soo, SlapYoDaddyBBQ.com

"The Alton Brown of Que." Joe Mizrahi, Smokin' Joe's, NYC

"I have always loved to travel and eat. Life became boring when I had to give up my worldly adventures. Thanks to you I now love to cook. I am now having adventures at home in my kitchen and my back yard. I am no longer bored, and my large family is grateful too. Thank you so much." Dugan Hoeflinger, Tucson, AZ

"I am in the process of opening a cafe and thought your simple sweet sour slaw is an amazing winner." James Murray, Toronto

"I had two ribs and my boyfriend ate the other 3 1/2 pounds. He couldn't stop to talk. He had to bring a box of tissues to the table because these ribs are so good they make him weep. He tells me that my ribs have deepened his love for me. Well, fine, but I know that just means he wants more ribs." Nancy J. Mostad, Minnesota


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