Grilling and smoking have become even more popular these days, with people acknowledging the many benefits of cooking at home.
To be able to grill and smoke with professional results, you will need the right gear. It can be dizzying to look up the market for the right grill, as there are so many.
For this post, I will limit ours to two exceptional companies, Traeger and Camp Chef. Pitting Camp Chef vs.
Traeger is a natural comparison. These two brands have been trailblazing in the smoker field. The trusted and iconic Traeger dominates the market. The relatively new kid on the block, Camp Chef, excels with their no-nonsense product line.
I hope this post can shed some light clear the smoke (pardon the pun) that may be clouding your judgment to purchase an appropriate griller. (Read Best Way To Boil Water Camping)
Camp Chef – Affordable Quality Grilling
Camp Chef gained popularity in 1990 owing to their Pro 60 stove, while also offering practical and easy-to-use outdoor cooking gear. It is also notable to point out that all Camp Chef products are U.S. designed but made in China due to lower manufacturing cost.
Since they began in the early 90s, Camp Chef has given grilling enthusiasts alternative products for fire pits, stoves, cast iron cookware, and smokers.
Lately, the company has thrown its hat in the ring for pellet grills. Admittedly though, a Camp Chef pellet grill does not offer the same depth of range in their product line as Traeger.
Nevertheless, Camp Chef pellet grills continue to enjoy success due to their standard of quality at prices that will not break most wallets.
Is Traeger a Good Smoker? – The Traeger Grills Story
Joe Traeger developed the first wood pellet grill in 1985 and got his design patented a year later. Having the exclusive patent gave Traeger grills legal authority and a monopoly over the pellet grill design. The company enjoyed a respectable amount of success, until 2006 when it was sold to a Florida venture capitalist.
On the corporate side, Traeger became mired in legal disputes. This was over issues concerning ownership of the brand name and marketing strategies involving the original Traeger family. Their partnership with Danson’s, another grill manufacturing company, became particularly problematic.
However, on the retail side, Traeger did not stop providing grilling and smoking aficionados outstanding products.
These grills available today tap into modern technology while maintaining a level of craftsmanship that beckons to their early days in the smoker/griller market. (Learn How to Keep Food Cold While Camping)
What Exactly Is a Pellet Smoker?
Pellet grills depart from the traditional modes for fuel. Rather than charcoal, wood sticks, or a gas grill, the original Traeger patented grill design uses wood pellets. One loads a hopper with little cylindrical wood pellets for a fuel source.
These feed into a firepot located under the cooking chamber, where a ceramic rod acts to ignite the pellets.
To regulate the burning, electric systems are employed, giving the “pitmaster” control over things like rate of burn and temperature to achieve desired grilling results.
Now, for a look at two offerings from these two excellent grill manufacturers. The Camp Chef vs Traeger showdown.
Camp Chef SmokePRO DLX 24 Pellet Grill
This model was created to make your grilling experience easy and trouble-free. True, it is not state of the art because it does not have cutting edge features like WiFi and app control. What it does not skimp on are its practical features to keep your grilling simple and straightforward.
A notable part is the griller’s Ash Cleanout system. What this provides the grill’s user is the extreme ease of emptying the ash from the firebox. You accomplish this by merely pulling a lever, negating the need to vacuum.
Another thing worth mentioning is the option of adding the SmokePro BBQ Sear Box. This accessory latches to the side of the pellet grill, giving you a searing cast-iron grate that reaches a scorching 900º F. This allows you to create the perfectly seared steak, time after time.
The unit employs a straightforward temperature selection system control, accessible via a dial on the front part. I found out that it can maintain temperatures that range from 160º F (71°C), all the way to a searing 500º F (260°C), ideal for picture-perfect and mouth-watering grilling.
Other features are Camp Chef’s proprietary Smart Smoke Technology and the electronic auto-start ignition. You also get an LED temperature screen that reflects temperature readings of the internal cooking and food temperatures.
Cooking surface is also a significant consideration. There are 570 square inches of cooking space along with an 18 lbs pellet hopper for placing Camp Shelf pellet grills.
Camp Chef’s unit is just about the same size as the Traeger Pro 575, (which I will be tackling in a while). The dimensions are 51″ W x 47″ H, which includes the chimney and weighs in at 140lbs.
The SmokePRO DLX Spec Sheet at a Glance
- 570 square inch cooking area divided between a lower and upper and lower rack.
- The over-all chamber capacity is 3,778 cubic inches
- Dial style temperature control system with a range from 160º F (71°C) to 500º F (260°C)
- Meat probe, side shelf, and a warming rack
- Exclusive Ash Cleanout system for trouble-free cleaning
- Stainless steel construction of body and trays
- 3-year warranty
Traeger Pro 575 Pellet Grill
I think that the Pro 575 distinguishes itself from other grills like the desirable SmokePRO DLX with its adoption of App technology. Thru what Traeger calls WiFIRE, you monitor and control the Pro75 from your smartphone using a Traeger App. This feature thrusts it into the top of the line category.
The unit also uses Traeger’s newfangled Pro D2 Direct Drive. The system regulates pellet flow. Working in conjunction with the Turbotemp system, fires-up the grill rapidly to cooking temperature in no time. You likewise get a cooking space of 575 square inches working with an 18lbs pellet hopper capacity.
As I mentioned earlier in the capacity department, the Pro 575 and the SmokePRO DLX are practically neck and neck in inches of cooking area. External dimensions are 53″ H x 27″ D x 41″ W, and the total weight is 124lbs.
Temperature system manual control is via a similar dial knob as the Camp Chef. It provides a temperature range from a low of 165 F (73°C) to a searing 500 F (260°C). (Learn How to Make Coffee While Camping)
The Traeger Pro 575 Spec Sheet at a Glance
- 575 sq inches overall cooking surface divided between a lower and upper rack
- Dial style knob on the control panel, with a temperature range from 165 F (73°C) to 500 F (260°C)
- WiFIRE technology that enables control of grill via the Traeger Grillguide app on your smartphone
- A standard grill cover and two bags of signature blend pellets
- Corrosion-resistant stainless steel construction of body and trays
- 3-year warranty
Camp Chef vs Traeger – Is Camp Chef better than Traeger?
So which side of the pellet grill fence are you on? The debate is a good one no doubt, as Camp Chef and Traeger are both at the top of the grilling game. Do you fancy the bells and whistles of the Traeger Pro 575 or the straightforward, more traditional features of the Camp Chef?
Frankly, I think both are winners and will pamper every grilling experience you have.