Big Horn Pellet Grill Reviews: King of the Mountain

Let’s say you want to try your hand at pellet smoking, but you’ve been scared off by the cost of some top-rated models. We can empathize–it can be tough to start a new hobby when it looks like it might put a sizable dent in your income right off the bat.

In this case, however, there’s no need to worry. It’s possible to find a pellet grill at an affordable price. Some of these budget offerings are even built to last more than a few seasons, making the investment well worth it. Take a look at these Big Horn Pellet Grill Reviews to find out if this is one of them.

Big Horn Outdoors is relatively new to the pellet grilling scene. The company was founded in 2012 with an initial focus on outdoor living in general. Today, they manufacture fire pits, patio heaters, and a number of other leisure items in addition to grills and smokers.

Pros:

  • Decent price point
  • Easy to maneuver from one spot to the next
  • Delivers uniform heat across the entire grilling surface
  • Ample space for storage and prep

Cons:

  • Company doesn’t offer a warranty
  • Grease bucket is awkwardly positioned

Big Horn Pellet Grill Reviews: Features & Benefits

Design

This is a barrel-style pellet grill set on a sawhorse chassis, a design that was popularized by the Traeger brand. While the overall construction isn’t as sturdy as Traeger’s offerings, the oversized wheels on the left-hand side make the grill exceptionally easy to maneuver.

A mesh rack is positioned beneath the cooking chamber, giving you plenty of space to store spare pellets or other supplies. There’s also an optional folding shelf located right in front of the grilling area, which can be used to hold the ingredients both before and after cooking.

It’s worth noting that the hopper is positioned so that the flat lid can be used for additional storage or prep space. A set of three S-shaped tool hooks is included on the right-hand side of the unit.

About those tool hooks: They hang from a broad bar-style handle that’s located directly above the grease drip bucket. This configuration makes it difficult to remove the bucket if there are tools on the hooks. Depending on what tools you use, they might also end up covered with grease runoff if you’re not careful.

The lid is outfitted with a coil handle that remains cool to the touch, even when the grill is set to its maximum temperature. A dial-style thermometer is positioned just above it, jutting out of the grill at a slight angle. Although we’re not huge fans of the way this thermometer is designed, at least it displays an accurate temperature.

professional bbq

Materials

Considering the low price point, the Big Horn Pellet Grill and Smoker offers a fairly durable construction. All of the major components are made of high-quality steel, including the all-terrain wheels and the storage shelves. The cooking grids are made of stainless steel as well, but they offer a porcelain coating to make cleanup easier.

The lower storage shelf and the firebox are sturdy enough, and the hopper seems to hold up well (despite its relatively low capacity). In our opinion, the tool hooks and folding shelf aren’t as well-made as the rest of the grill. However, if you’re looking for affordability above all else, you’re likely to be happy with this Big Horn model.

Grilling Capacity

Big Horn’s flagship pellet grill and smoker offers a grand total of 700 square inches of cooking space. As a rule, grills in this size range are considered to be a good fit for groups of 6 to 8 people.

We should point out that a great deal of the cooking space is taken up by the upper rack, which comprises 270 square inches. The main grilling surface makes up just 430 square inches of the total. While this is still sufficient to accommodate about 18 burgers, 6 whole rib racks, or 3 chickens, it’s something to keep in mind if you entertain often.

Heat Retention

This is another category in which the Big Horn earns high marks. The cooking surface heats quickly and evenly, allowing you to gain an accurate picture of when the food might be done. Because some pellet grills are unreliable in this regard (and also in Temperature Control, below), we were pleasantly surprised at this grill’s performance.

The design of the chimney might have something to do with its success in this regard. Some budget models are outfitted with cheap chimney components that allow the smoke to billow out the rear of the grill. By contrast, Big Horn’s chimney is well-constructed, with a tight end cap that keeps the smoke flavor right where you want it.

Temperature Range and Control

On the subject of range, Big Horn might not be the best choice. The lowest temperature setting is 225 degrees Fahrenheit, and the available settings max out at 450. This is bad news if you want to try making your own smoked meat products, such as beef jerky. It also makes the grill unsuitable for grilled pizza and flatbread.

That said, this grill also features an impressive digital control system. While some pellet grills are prone to wild heat fluctuations, this one will generally stay within 15 degrees of your designated temperature. There’s no need to hover over the control panel to make adjustments–you can relax and focus on other matters while the food cooks.

In addition, the Big Horn has an automatic shutdown cycle. This component will activate when the meat reaches the desired temperature, assuming you’ve programmed the system correctly. If you’re the type of griller who prefers to multitask, then this is an excellent feature.

Hopper Size

As hoppers go, the one on the Big Horn is surprisingly puny. Most grills in this sizing category would have a 15- to 18-pound hopper at least. This hopper has a maximum capacity of just 8 pounds, putting it well below the industry standard.

Is this a deal-breaker for the Big Horn? Not necessarily. As long as you’re willing to keep an eye on the fuel supply during cooking, it shouldn’t affect the overall performance of the smoker.

Just to be on the safe side, remember that pellet grills will burn through an average of one pound of fuel per hour at high temperatures, and two pounds per hour at lower temps. If you’re purchasing the grill to make smoked meats like pulled pork and beef brisket, then you might not mind the restricted pellet capacity.

Setup and Maintenance

For beginners, it’s tough to beat the simple setup of the Big Horn Pellet Grill and Smoker unit. As long as all the parts are included in the initial shipment, it shouldn’t take longer than two hours to put this grill together. It might take even less time if you’re able to enlist a friend or family member to help.

We would recommend seasoning the grill before first use for optimum results. You can do this by filling the hopper with pellets and setting the control panel to the highest temperature, then letting it run for 45 minutes.

Earlier, we mentioned the awkward positioning of the grease drip bucket. This makes it hard to access the component when it’s time to empty and clean it. The issue is compounded by the fact that the bucket itself is small, with a design that narrows toward the bottom.

Fortunately, the cooking grates clean up easily, provided that you do so after each use. If any residue is allowed to stick to the grates for too long, it will become that much more difficult to remove it.

Warranty

Unfortunately, Big Horn Outdoors doesn’t back up this product with a warranty. That’s a shame, because the majority of its competitors are willing to provide free replacement parts for at least one year following the date of purchase.

On the other hand, the grill is set at a more affordable price than many similar models. That may make up for the lack of a warranty. It all depends on what your priorities are and what you hope to get out of your pellet smoker.

Social Proof

What did experienced consumers have to say about the Big Horn Pellet Grill and Smoker?

Most of them were favorably impressed by the build quality. A vocal majority expressed delight in the smoke flavor, which is the main reason why most people choose pellet grills in the first place. A few people claimed that they received a shipment with missing parts, but that the company was happy to replace them in a timely manner.

Possible Alternatives

If you’ve read over these Big Horn Pellet Grill reviews and have decided to keep your options open, here are a few of our top suggestions. Each of these alternatives brings something new to the table, so to speak, but they also share certain characteristics with the Big Horn model.

#1 Weber SmokeFire EX4

Although Weber’s founder invented the kettle-style charcoal grill, the company has only recently begun to add pellet smokers to its lineup. Here’s a unit that’s nearly the same size as Big Horn’s offering.

How they compare:

  • Design-Weber
  • Materials-Weber
  • Grilling Capacity-Big Horn
  • Heat Retention-Weber
  • Temperature Range and Control-Weber
  • Hopper Size-Weber
  • Setup and Maintenance-Big Horn
  • Warranty-Weber

If it’s quality and longevity that you’re after, consider the Weber SmokeFire EX4.

#2 Z Grills ZPG-6002B

Z Grills makes grills that fit easily into most budgets. They offer a range of sizes and styles, and the ZPG-6002B has plenty in common with the Big Horn. The main difference is that the Z Grills model offers slightly less cooking space, with just 601 square inches in all.

How they compare:

  • Design-Z Grills
  • Materials-Big Horn
  • Grilling Capacity-Big Horn
  • Heat Retention-Big Horn
  • Temperature Range and Control-Z Grills
  • Hopper Size-Z Grills
  • Setup and Maintenance-Big Horn
  • Warranty-Z Grills

Check out the ZPG-6002B if you would prefer a grill with a broader temperature range and a smaller footprint.

#3 Broil King Regal 500

This imposing model from Broil King offers WiFi technology, three quick-set temperature keys (Smoke, Roast, and Grill), and a rotisserie kit. It also comes with a generous 5-year warranty package. The only drawback is the hopper, which is so large it makes the structure appear ungainly.

How they compare:

  • Design-Big Horn
  • Materials-Broil King
  • Grilling Capacity-Big Horn
  • Heat Retention-Broil King
  • Temperature Range and Control-Broil King
  • Hopper Size-Broil King
  • Setup and Maintenance-Big Horn
  • Warranty-Broil King

If you can afford the high price tag, the Broil King Regal 500 is a solid grill with lots of inviting features.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is this the only grill that Big Horn offers?

Currently, Big Horn’s website is advertising an “Xtra-Large” version of this initial offering. While many of the components remain the same, the updated model offers almost twice the amount of cooking space–1369 square inches in all.

Because very few people require this much surface area, we would recommend the smaller version. It’s still suitable for large groups, but it will be much easier to care for.

Is it safe to use wood pellets for cooking?

Yes. As long as you buy the right type–that is, the ones that are designed for cooking rather than home heating use–wood pellets are a safe and environmentally sound fuel alternative.

As a bonus, you can choose between a range of different flavors. Woods like cherry and apple impart a mild flavor, while stronger ones like hickory and mesquite will imbue grilled beef and pork with bold, smoky goodness.

Why are pellet grills so expensive?

Not all of them are. In fact, if you choose a bargain-priced unit like the Big Horn, you won’t end up spending that much up front. The downside is that cheaper units often require more maintenance, which will lead to higher long-term costs.

If you’re wondering why pellet grills are priced higher than most charcoal-fueled units, it’s because they require electricity to power the auger. The system is more complex in general, which means more components are used in the construction. This translates into higher production costs, which are then passed on to the consumer.

The Bottom Line

We’re fans of the Big Horn Pellet Grill and Smoker for several reasons.

First of all, it’s a great starter unit if you’ve never used a pellet grill before. Secondly, the giant wheels and small hopper make it easy to maneuver. Finally, it offers impressive heat retention for such a low-priced model.

If you’re in the market for a pellet-fired unit that won’t break the bank, click here to take a closer look at the Big Horn Pellet Grill and Smoker.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *