Memphis Elite Pellet Smoker Review

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Large shiny stainless steel grill with shelves on each side, mounted on a cart two doors and small wheels.
Elite Pellet Smoker

Memphis Pellet Smokers are extremely well built and designed. We tested the Memphis Pro and Meathead himself proclaimed it, "one of the best cookers I've ever had the pleasure to use". They may be ordered as drop-ins for installation or on a cart. Our posted price includes the cart.

Here's a Memphis Pellet Smoker video from our pal, Malcom Reed, with HowToBBQRight.com Be sure to subscribe to The How To BBQ Right YouTube channel here.

The cooking chamber has two layers of metal with an air gap between and an oven gasket on the lid to provide better heat retention. Just like your indoor oven. It is designed and built like a high end indoor appliance. This allows it to cook hotter and retain more heat and maintain steady lower temperatures. It has two twelve pound pellet hoppers for twenty four pound capacity.

The top grade 304 stainless is thick and extraordinarily well machined. The fit and finish are impeccable. The grates are some of the heaviest stainless rods we've ever seen. There is room for upper grates that allow you to almost double the capacity. The fire pot is in the center below a large stainless "flavor bar" bent in the center to allow grease runoff. There is a gap between the flavor bar and the interior walls to allow hot air to circulate. If you place food up to the edges of the grate, the ends that are over the gaps can overcook or burn, effectively reducing the cooking area.

The "Intelligent Temperature Control" digital control panel is a sophisticated, touchpad PID controller. Simple to operate, much easier than the MAK, it has a meat probe and a few programming options. For example you can set it to cook your brisket up to 200°F and then drop back to a lower temp.

The Elite has a panel on the plate that separates the fire pot from the cooking chamber. Remove the plate and insert a perforated plate called the "Direct Flame Insert" and it exposes the food to the flame. When turned on high it can produce a respectable if not perfect sear on steaks and burgers. The cooking temp range is said to be 180°F to 700°F. Once it reached set temp on our Memphis Pro test model, temperature fluctuation was within 5°F, tighter than most indoor ovens (check yours, it can fluctuate 25°F or more). The controller handled the frigid Chicago winter without a hiccup. This baby is truly set-and-forget ease.

There is a grease and ash tray below the cooking chamber that can hold disposable aluminum pans. They can get hot so you must remember to wear gloves when handling them and don't forget to empty them or you run a risk of a grease fire. In 2012 they added some prongs behind the Intelligent Temperature Control to wrap the power cord up and out of the way when not in use. Previously it just laid on the ground.

In addition to The AmazingRibs.com Best Value Gold Medal, Memphis also won the 2010 VESTA Award for Charcoal, Wood Barbecues and Smokers, the 2010 VESTA Award for Best in Show Outdoor Room Products and First Place in the 2011 International Barbecue Awards.

Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price: 
$5,399
Primary Function: 
Grill
Smoker
Combination Grill & Smoker
Drop-Ins
Fuel: 
Wood Pellets
Primary Capacity: 
844 square inches
Secondary Capacity: 
408 square inches
Main Burners: 
1
Made in the USA: 
Yes
Review Method:

Looked Closely At It

We have seen this product up close and we have also gathered info from the manufacturer,  owners, and other reliable sources.

Memphis Grills

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Memphis Grills offers four models of very high quality, pellet smokers with technically advanced digital controllers. Memphis calls them 3-in-1 Cooking Centers that are grills, smokers, and wood fired convection ovens. Memphis is a division of Heathland Products which also makes stoves, pellets, BBQ sauce and rubs. Hearthland is wholly owned by Dalsin Industries, a leading precision sheet metal fabrication company producing hearth products in their 135,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Bloomington, Minnesota.

In addition to The AmazingRibs.com Best Value Gold Medal, Memphis also won the 2010 VESTA Award for Charcoal, Wood Barbecues and Smokers, the 2010 VESTA Award for Best in Show Outdoor Room Products and First Place in the 2011 International Barbecue Awards.

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Max Good

As AmazingRibs.com's Vice President of Product Reviews & Keeper of the Flame, Max Good is the man in charge of finding the best products for the AmazingRibs.com Equipment Reviews section. Max loves barbecue so much that he took his barbecue sauce recipes, had them bottled, and now sells them around the country.

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