YOU ARE HERE >> AmazingRibs » Ratings & Reviews » Ratings Reviews And Buying Guides » BBQ Tools Toys And Accessory Reviews » Other Cool Tools » Sear Daddy Turns Your Pellet Cooker Into A True Pellet Griller
By Steve Nelson (Pitmaster Club member: Troutman)
No other barbecue rig evokes more opinion, disagreement, frustration, and drama than a pellet cooker. Since Joe Traeger first introduced the pellet cooker in the mid-1980s, it was lauded as the next great cooking device the likes of which had not been seen since the indoor oven. Here was the perfect marriage of convenience and barbecue all rolled up into one package. It took a while, but since then the popularity of pellet cookers has exploded with more brands being introduced each season.
Folks are passionate about their pellet cookers with brand loyalty comparable to automobiles. But note that I continue to refer to it as a “cooker”. That’s because, despite the convenience and versatility, these devices are not true smokers, and they’re not true grills. They do smoke and grill adequately, but they do not shine at either.
Up your game: Join our Pitmaster Club. Try it out for free for 30 days. No credit card needed. No spam. Click here to Be Amazing!
I own a modified Pitts & Spitts pellet cooker, and a few months ago, I reviewed a device from Smoke Daddy called the Heavy D Stick Burning Heat Diffuser that really helps with the first problem: it uses real logs to introduce more wood smoke into the cooker. Now the folks at Smoke Daddy have tackled the second problem. Their Sear Daddy Universal Pellet Grill Searing Station helps turn a pellet cooker into a true grilling machine.
Sear Daddy’s base is a 19″ square funnel of sheet metal that tapers down to a 6″ opening at the bottom. You remove your pellet cooker’s heat and grease deflector plates, then Sear Daddy sits over the burn pot, directing the heat and spreading it out over the Searing Station. Depending on your brand of pellet cooker, the device may sit on the top lip of your cooker or it may wedge up against the nearest wall. It fit almost perfectly on my Pitts & Spitts. If I had maybe another 1/4″ of height it would have fit like a glove.
In the photo, note the studs welded to either side of the funnel base. Those studs hold three heat deflectors or “flavorizer bars” that you drop in place.
These angled bars help channel the heat, vaporize drippings, and hold the lava rocks supplied with the Sear Daddy.
If you ever owned an old-style propane grill, you know that the lava rocks act as a heat sink, spreading out the heat load. And they help absorb grease. I made the mistake of simply opening the bag and dumping the lava rocks onto the top of the angled bars. Unfortunately, there were a lot of tiny lava rocks in the blend, and those immediately fell into my burn pot. You don’t want rocks in your burn pot! I had to carefully lift up the entire device and clean out the pot. Then I put the device over a garbage can and gave it a good shake to get rid of any other tiny lava rocks. Word to the wise: set up the device with its lava rocks over a trash can before installing it in your pellet cooker.
I was a little surprised that Smoke Daddy didn’t supply a grill grate to finish off the build. No matter. I own a ton of grates. I used two GrillGrates from my gasser, and they ended up bridging perfectly over the top of the lava rocks.
As you can see, I could have easily fit two more GrillGrates over the Sear Station for a total grilling surface of about 360 square inches. Still, I had plenty of grill space for a family sized meal. I grabbed a couple cowboy steaks (bone-in ribeyes) and some homemade brats and boudin sausages.
First I grilled the steaks, which took about 10 minutes. While they were resting, I cooked the sausages, another 10 minutes. With two more grill grates mounted, I could have cooked the entire meal in about 12 minutes flat.
As you can see by the grill marks, Sear Daddy worked like a true searing station. To check the surface temperatures, I shot my infrared gun right in the middle of the grates directly above the burn pot and registered 650 to 680ºF. Plenty hot for searing. The perimeters of the searing station fell off gradually to between 550 and 600ºF, which is still pretty hot for a cooker designed primarily for low and slow smoking. Actually, I found it a plus to have a hotter zone in the center and cooler zones at the edges. It acted like a natural 2-zone setup so I could move food from the hot zone to the cool zones as necessary.
Overall, I was impressed. If you have the Sear Daddy pre-installed in your pellet cooker, you could conceivably come home, fire it up, and enjoy a delicious grilled meal in about half an hour. Not bad!
I give the Sear Daddy high marks for turning my pellet cooker into a pellet griller. If you already own a pellet cooker and don’t have other options for quickly searing a steak, I would recommend giving it a try.
Smoke Daddy, Inc. is a family owned business run by a semi-retired machinist who invented the Original Smoke Daddy Cold Smoke Generator. Since 2009, the company has expanded and now produces a wide range of cold smokers, pellet smokers, pellet hopper assemblies, wood pellets, chips, chunks, and custom smoker parts and accessories.
Published On: 3/12/2020 Last Modified: 5/11/2021
These are products we have tested, won our top awards, and are highly recommend. Click here to read how we test, about our medals, and what they mean.
A big part of this site is our unbiased equipment and product reviews. We love playing with toys and we have no problem calling them the way we see them. Some companies pay a finder’s fee if a reader clicks a link on AmazingRibs.com and buys a product. It has zero impact on our reviews, zero impact on the price you pay, and the sites never tell us what you bought, but it has a major impact on our ability to keep this site alive! So before you buy, please click our links. Here’s a link that takes you to a page on Amazon that has some of our favorite tools and toys: https://tinyurl.com/amazingribs
We always liked Grilla. The small 31.5″ x 29.5″ footprint makes it ideal for use where BBQ space is limited, as on a condo patio.
Click here for our review on this unique smoker
Winner of the National BBQ Association’s product of the year award. This 8.5″ x 11″ magnet contains more that 80 benchmark temperatures for meats (both USDA recommended temps as well as the temps chefs recommend), fats and oils, sugars, sous vide, eggs, collagens, wood combustion, breads, and more. Although it is not certified as all-weather, we have tested it outdoors in Chicago weather and it has not delaminated in three years, but there is minor fading.
ThermoWorks’ Thermapen ONE provides an accurate reading in one second or less. The ONE also includes features that are common on high-end instruments: automatic backlight, rotating display, and water resistant seals. Don’t accept cheap substitutes.
Click here to read our comprehensive Platinum Medal review
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 because temperature control is so much easier.
Napoleon’s 22″ Pro Cart Charcoal Kettle Grill puts a few spins on the familiar kettle design. In fact, the hinged lid with a handle on the front, spins in a rotary motion 180 degrees. It’s hard to beat a Weber kettle, but Napoleon holds its own and adds some unique features to make the 22″ Pro Cart a viable alternative.
The PK-360, with 360 square inches of cooking space, this rust free, cast aluminum charcoal grill is durable and easy to use. Four-way venting means it’s easy to set up for two zone cooking with more control than single vent Kamado grills. It is beautifully designed, completely portable, and much easier to set up for 2-zone cooking than any round kamado.