The Best Pellet Grills For Searing

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Few things in life are quite as satisfying as outdoor cooking on a warm summer’s day. There’s a cold drink in your hand, some classic tunes playing, and the sweet smell of cooking food drifting off on the breeze- perfection.

It even makes cooking, which can often be a bore, just downright fun, doesn’t it? It certainly beats slaving over a stove inside, especially when the weather warms up.

Whatever you’re cooking, though, there is one thing that is objectively true. No matter how good the chef is, what you use to cook your food matters. Your food just won’t taste quite as good if your grill isn’t up to scratch!

So what kind of grill should you go for? Well, we think that you can’t quite beat the multi-functionality of a good pellet grill. They’re super easy to use, too.

Now all you have to do is to work out which pellet grill will best suit your searing needs. Given the number of products on the market, this can be quite daunting, and that’s where we come in! We’re here to help you find the perfect pellet grill for searing the way you like it.

Contents

Z GRILLS ZPG-550B 2020 Upgrade

Z GRILLS ZPG-550B 2022 Upgrade Wood Pellet Grill & Smoker 8 in 1 BBQ Auto Temperature Control, Cooking Area, 550 sq in Black ZPG-550B Grill & Smoker

If you’re looking for a way to sear your steak but are new to pellet grills, the Z GRILLS ZPG-550B could be the perfect grill for you. It comes with a bunch of cool features that just make grilling that much easier, especially for beginners.

A good example of this is the ZPG-550B’s automated pellet-feed system that ensures you’ll never have to worry about topping up the fire- the unit will constantly feed more pellets into the fire to ensure that the grill remains at a constant temperature and no heat is lost.

How does it know when to top up the pellets? Well, this grill features a neat bit of twenty-first century technology- a digital temperature control system.

Whenever the temperature of the grill is about to drop too much away from your preferred temperature, the automated pellet feed system kicks in and feeds more pellets into the flames.

This is great for consistently cooked food! The temperature control system also has a digital display for you to keep an eye on the grill’s temperature.

So it’s got some neat features that make it easy to use, but what about actually cooking? Well, the ZPG-550B doesn’t disappoint there either! The hopper capacity is a more than ample 15lbs, making hopper refills a rarity.

The grill itself has a temperature range of 180 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. It also has an absolutely massive cooking area clocking in at 538 square inches, meaning you can cook plenty at once!

The cooking area consists of a stainless steel grill and comes with a foldable warming rack and delivers an excellent grilling experience. On the subject of stainless steel, the whole construction of the grill is of steel coated in a finish to prevent corrosion, so it sure is built to last.

Two further features that make this grill so easy to use are an electric ignition that makes it painless to light, and a waste oil collector that improves user safety whilst also stopping messy oil from getting all over the place!

Pros

  • Large cooking area and hopper capacity.
  • Durable and built to withstand corrosion due to its stainless steel build.
  • Heat control system makes the grill easy to use and great for searing.

Cons

  • No specially designed searing box built-in.

Camp Chef 24 in. WIFI Woodwind Pellet Grill & Smoker

Camp Chef 24 in. WIFI Woodwind Pellet Grill & Smoker with Sear Box (PGSEAR) - WIFI & Bluetooth Connectivity

This grill incorporates all the features you could ever want from a pellet grill (and more!) and is an excellent choice if searing is your main concern. Honestly, we think it’s just flat out one of the best pellet grills on the market.

The Camp Chef Woodwind has a few features that make it perfect for searing. Firstly, the grill comes with a specially designed searing box that can reach temperatures of up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit.

Whether you’re searing juicing steak, tasty ribs, or poultry, the searing box has it covered. All you need to do is select the temperature for the type of meat you’re cooking and the grill will do the rest!

On top of this, the grill comes with slide and grill technology. Basically, the grill has a sliding heat diffuser plate that you can simply slide aside to expose the flames. That way, you can choose whether you want to sear your meat directly over the fire or by indirect heat.

In terms of general specifications, the Camp Chef Woodwind comes with a cooking area that is plenty big enough at 570 square inches and has a removable warming rack, too.

The grill itself has a temperature range of 150 to 650 degrees Fahrenheit and is super versatile to boot. As a top-end pellet grill, it also has automated pellet feeding and temperature control to ensure your food is cooked to perfection.

You might be wondering where the WIFI aspect comes in. Well, you might have guessed it- the grill has wifi and Bluetooth connectivity! This means you can manage the grill’s temperature, switch it on, and more from the purpose-built app. You don’t even have to get up from your seat!

Pros

  • Comes with a sear box purpose-built to sear your meat to perfection. It also has separate temperature control.
  • Slide and grill technology allows you to choose to sear directly over the flames.
  • Wifi connectivity means you can handle your cook entirely from the comfort of your chair via the Home Chef App.

Cons

  • One of the more expensive pellet grills on the market.

Pit Boss Navigator 850

PIT BOSS PB850G Wood Pellet w/Fitted Grill Cover and Folding Front Shelf Included, 850 sq. inch, Black 850 sq. inch Grill Cover

The Pit Boss Navigator 850 is another fantastic grill. Pit Boss manufacture some of the best grills out there, so you know you’re onto something good with this product. In fact, Pit Boss was one of the most popular pellet grill brands in the U.S. in 2020 in terms of sales.

With the Navigator 850 grill, you can see why Pit Boss are so popular. The grill boasts advanced grilling technology, with porcelain coated cast iron cooking grates. The overall build is of excellent quality, being constructed of stainless steel, and should stand the test of time. It comes with a lot of cool features, too.

Much like the Camp Chef, the Pit Boss Navigator 850 also comes with a simple slide plate that allows you to choose to expose your grill to the flames and get the flame-broiled tasting meat.

Pit Boss advertises the Navigator as having a temperature range of between 180 and 500 degrees Fahrenheit, but we reckon that when the grill is in direct heat mode it can get plenty hotter than that! Many other reviewers have also said the same thing.

Like many pellet grills these days, the Navigator 850 comes with a digital control panel to manage your cook. All you have to do is pop in one of the meat probes and let the grill do the work. How could anyone go back to doing things the old-fashioned way?

One of the best features on this grill is the sheer size of the cooking area. Unbelievably, the Navigator boasts a whopping 879 square inches of cooking space! That alone makes this grill a fantastic choice for parties or large outdoor gatherings. You’ll be able to sear meat for all the family- and when I say all, I really do mean all!

Pros

  • Huge capacity, with 879 square inches of cooking surface.
  • Slide plate feature allows you to expose your meat directly to the flames.
  • Reasonably priced.

Cons

  • Only comes with one stainless steel meat probe included.
  • No built-in wifi connectivity or app functionality.

Weber SmokeFire EX4

Weber SmokeFire EX4 Wood Fired Pellet Grill, Black, 2nd Generation

As titans of the grill industry, Weber were surprisingly somewhat late to the pellet grill party. Don’t worry, though, they used that extra time wisely to construct one of the best pellet grills on the market.

The Weber SmokeFire Ex4 has a whole bunch of features that make this a great grill generally, and great for searing, too! We’ll start inside the cooking chamber, which is where Weber really excels.T

he main cooking grate and warming rack, made of stainless steel, comprise an impressive 672 square inches of cooking space between them. The grill also has a baffle system in order to distribute heat evenly across Weber’s patented ‘flavorizer bars’.

The grill itself has a temperature range of between 200 and 600 degrees Fahrenheit, which helps it to sear as well as it smokes.

One thing that is particularly cool about the SmokeFire Ex4 is the hopper system. Not only is the capacity quite large at 20lbs, but Weber have also included an electric auger that helps to feed the fire pot without any annoying jams.

Unlike some other pellet grills, the auger is specifically designed to be powerful enough to feed the pellets through consistently to promote efficient burning and without the need to unblock any jams. This system also means rapid preheating- up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit in fifteen minutes!

As with other modern pellet grills, it comes with an LED temperature control panel. On top of this, it also comes with an accompanying app, so you can manage the grill from a distance.

One thing you’ll have to do up close and personal is clean out the ash. Luckily for you, Weber’s clever engineering means it all accumulates neatly in a tray beneath the grill. No mess, no fuss, and importantly the tray has a large capacity- you won’t need to empty it often.

Pros

  • Rapid preheating- reaching top temperature within fifteen minutes.
  • Innovative design diverts ash and grease to easy to empty ashtray.
  • Electric auger prevents jams and manages pellet flow well.
  • Temperatures of up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit make searing possible.

Cons

  • The accompanying app can be a bit basic.
  • No sliding plate for direct flame-grilling.

Oklahoma Joe’s 20202105 Rider 900 Pellet Grill

Oklahoma Joe's 20202105 Rider 900 Pellet Grill, Black

Although not coming from one of the more established brands in the pellet grill arena, this grill packs a punch whilst still being more affordable than certain other models.

It has nearly all the bells and whistles of the most expensive models, including a temperature control system which you can use to cook your meat to your desired temperature. It does, however, lack an accompanying app.

With this grill you have a downright enormous cooking area of 900+ square inches, so capacity certainly won’t be an issue. You’ll be cooking on a porcelain coated cast iron grill, and the Rider 900 also features an accessible fire plate that’ll do an excellent job of searing your food.

This grill can get pretty warm- some reviewers have suggested between 600 and 800 degrees Fahrenheit on its highest setting. Whether that’s exactly the temperature we don’t know, but it certainly does get hot enough for some great searing action.

The whole thing is a solid, sturdy construction that is built to last, and also has plenty of shelf space built in, which we appreciate when you’re cooking with a few utensils!

The hopper has a 20lbs capacity and feeds pellets into the fire acceptably enough, with a quick draw feature for easy access. When you’ve burnt your pellets, too, cleanup is quick and easy, with ash directed to a removable ash cup.

Pros

  • Huge cooking area, with extra shelves.
  • Reaches high temps and has a hot plate for searing.
  • For the quality of the grill it is comparatively affordable.
  • Well designed and built to last.

Cons

  • Somewhat clunky temperature controls, going up to 300 degrees and then low, medium and high.
  • Doesn’t cook 100% evenly- it gets hotter in the middle around the searing plate.

Buyer’s Guide

So, what do you need to look out for when buying the perfect pellet grill that will sear your food to perfection? There are a few key factors to consider:

Temperature Range

The importance of temperature if you’re looking for a grill to sear your food can’t be understated. In essence, the higher the temperature, the better the sear you’ll get on your food, so if searing is a priority you should opt for a grill that can hit those higher temperatures.

Whilst you can get something of a sear from temperatures of around 450 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll need to be well above that to get a decent sear. If you want a really well-defined sear, you’re looking at temperatures of approximately 800-900 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cooking Grate/Grill Material

Another important question to ask when buying a grill with searing in mind is the metal which the cooking grate is made from. Typically, there are two options, and there is a bit of a trade-off involved.

On the one hand, you have porcelain-coated cast iron. Cast iron certainly delivers a good searing performance, as the metal heats quickly and retains heat well.

Unfortunately, though, cast iron grates aren’t especially durable. When the porcelain coating eventually wears off, the grate will be vulnerable to rust and corrosion. Eventually, it’ll have to be replaced. Cast Iron is typically used on lower-end models.

On the other hand, you have stainless steel cooking grates, which are extremely durable and easy to clean. They also have excellent heat retention capability and can be excellent for searing, too, and are often found on the most expensive models.

However, just be aware of the size of the grate- the thicker it is, the more heat it’ll hold, and the better it’ll be for searing!

Cooking Surface Area

You need to pick a pellet grill that suits your needs. Obviously, if you’re the life of the party and plan on hosting large gatherings, you’ll want a grill with a bigger surface area.

Likewise, if you’re not planning on hosting large numbers of people or only have a small outside space, there’s no point in having a grill that could feed the five thousand.

Temperature Control

Obviously, one of the main reasons to choose a pellet grill over types of grill in the first place is its unparalleled temperature control. I mean, we all know that different meats have to be cooked at different temperatures to cook them to perfection, right?

You should pay close attention to a grill’s temperature control when buying. You should ask how well the grill maintains heat close to the target temperature, and also the functionality of the grill’s temperature control system.

Does it have an app or just a control panel? Is the app good quality and easy to use?

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Should I Buy A Pellet Grill?

There are several reasons why we think a pellet grill is a great option for your cookouts. One is straightforward versatility, as pellet grills offer you the chance to cook your food in a variety of different ways: grilling, smoking, searing, baking, and more.

There’s also the fact that pellet grills are easy to use, hands off grills that more or less cook by themselves. Who doesn’t want that? As if that isn’t enough, we also suggest that buying pellets is both cheaper in the long run and less of a pain than dealing with heavy propane tanks or bags of charcoal briquettes.

How Much Do Pellet Grills Cost?

Pellet grills typically cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars for the more basic grills to well over a thousand dollars for the higher-end models. They might cost a little more up front compared to say, gas grills, but we think it’s totally worth it. Especially when you consider pellet grills are cheaper to run!

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