Louisiana Grills Champion Pellet Grill Review [Updated 2020]

When I got serious about smoking foods—going above and beyond my usual grilling adventures—I realized that traditional pellet grills were no longer working for me. With that in mind, I set out to find a smoker that was specifically designed for hard-core outdoor chefs like myself. That’s when I decided to put together this Louisiana Grills Champion Pellet Grill review.

What To Consider Before Buying a Pellet Grill or Smoker

If you’ve never before cooked with a pellet grill, here’s a brief rundown on how they work.

Pellet grills, also known as pellet smokers, are fueled by cylinders of compressed hardwood sawdust. The pellets are stored alongside the main cooking chamber in a device known as a hopper. When the grill is turned on (via an attached digital control panel), the pellets are fed into the fire chamber by an auger. Both the auger and the digital control panel are powered by electricity, so you’ll need access to a working outlet (or at least a car battery) in order to operate one.

While I find pellet grilling to be a remarkably efficient technique, it’s not for everyone. Those who are used to gas grills might not appreciate having to wait for the fire to reach the desired temperature. Die-hard charcoal aficionados, meanwhile, could find that the cooking process is too hands-off for their taste. In addition, pellet grills tend to be more expensive than either of these alternatives.

Make no mistake—the Louisiana Grills Champion Pellet Grill is a monster of a unit, geared toward serious grillers who want to take their smoked foods to the next level. If this sounds like you, here are a few things to consider before you make a final decision.

  • Cost: Does the grill fit within your price range?
  • Size: Are you likely to take advantage of all the cooking space that the unit has to offer?
  • Construction: Is the grill made of high-quality, durable steel? What about the cooking grates? If it’s outfitted with wheels, are they sturdy enough to support the grill’s weight?
  • Hopper Capacity: Do you often engage in long cooking sessions? If so, will this hopper be sufficient?
  • Temperature Range: What are you planning to use the smoker for? Are you hoping to make your own beef jerky, or will you be sticking to simpler jobs like brisket and pulled pork? Remember: The broader the temperature range, the more dishes you’ll be able to create.
  • Efficiency: Does the grill burn through pellets at an unusually fast clip? As a rule of thumb, the auger should feed about 1 pound of pellets into the chamber per hour at moderate temperatures. When the grill is set to high, it can burn through twice that many.
  • Warranty: Does the company offer a money-back guarantee to customers who are unsatisfied with their purchase? If so, which components are covered in the warranty?

Louisiana Grills Champion Pellet Grill: Product Specifications

Here’s what you’ll find in the box when you unpack your new Louisiana Grills Champion Pellet Grill:

  • 3 separate cooking chambers (main barrel, side smoker, and cold smoker), all constructed of heavy-duty 14-gauge steel
  • Smokestack with damper
  • 3 temperature gauges (one for each chamber)
  • Quality porcelain-enameled cast-iron grilling grates, offering a total of 3432 square inches of cooking space
  • 2 sliding damper vents
  • Hopper with 27-pound capacity
  • Digital control panel with large readout
  • Built-in meat temperature probe
  • Direct flame technology
  • 3 grease pans
  • Water tray
  • Side shelf with bottle opener
  • 4 locking wheels
  • Grill cover

Pros:

  • Individual cooking chambers allow
  • Excellent temperature control
  • Oversized unit with plenty of options
  • Meat temperature probe
  • Durable construction

Cons:

  • Hopper configuration doesn’t allow you to change pellets while cooking
  • Small side table
  • Extremely heavy

Louisiana Grills Champion Pellet Grill Review: Features & Benefits

Now that we’ve gone over the criteria and specifications, how does the Champion compare? Read on to find out.

Cost

There’s no doubt about it: The Champion is priced at the high end of the spectrum, even for a pellet grill. However, when you account for its enormous size (see below for more details), as well as the sheer ingenuity of the design, the high price tag might come to seem like a bargain. I wouldn’t put this one on my short list if I were a casual griller, but for true barbecue enthusiasts, it should pay for itself in short order.

Size

With a whopping 3432 total square inches of available cooking space, the Champion has more space than most people are likely to use at one time. That said, the three cooking chambers also give this unit a versatility that traditional pellet grills lack. With the Champion, it’s possible to prepare cold-smoked cheeses, whip up a batch of teriyaki beef jerky, and roast a few chickens for dinner—all at once. If that’s the kind of experience you’re hoping for, then you’re likely to find that the Champion is just the right size.

Construction

For a unit this large and complex, only the sturdiest materials will do. That’s why I love the fact that the Champion is made of heavy-duty 14-gauge steel. The cooking grates are composed of cast iron, with a porcelain finish to keep the ingredients from getting stuck. This is standard practice for most manufacturers, but the finish can flake off easily if the grates aren’t cared for properly. Even if you have to replace the grates from time to time, however, the Champion is likely to pay for itself in the long run.

The only component that I take issue with is the side shelf, which is small enough to feel like an afterthought. Fortunately, it comes with a bottle opener—always a redeeming factor. If you need additional shelf space, the hopper is large enough to hold a few tools or condiments. If you do, just take care when lifting the lid on the main cooking chamber. The lower cabinets can be used for storage as well.

Hopper Capacity

The Champion has a hopper capacity of 27 pounds, which is generous for most pellet grills. Given the size of this one, however, it can be best described as adequate. You can expect to get 12-25 hours of cooking time out of one load, depending on how hot your fire is. If you use your smoker on a daily basis, make sure to check the hopper often to make sure the level isn’t getting too low.

Temperature Range

Louisiana Grills advertises a temperature range of 60 to 600 degrees Fahrenheit for the Champion. That’s an outstanding range even by pellet grilling standards. Not only is it suitable for cold-smoked foods like salmon or salami, it can be used to put a strong sear on steaks and pork chops. You can even bake pizza or desserts in the main cooking chamber.

Efficiency

The heavy-gauge steel gives this unit superb heat retention. If you preheat the smoker to a temperature that’s slightly higher than you’d like, you’ll have even better results. Simply let the fire burn at the higher temp for about 15 minutes, then reduce it. The cooking chamber should hold its heat for the remainder of the cooking process.

Warranty

The company that manufactures Louisiana Grills offers a five-year warranty on all parts and electrical components. That means that if you experience any malfunctions in the first five years, you’ll be entitled to replacement parts.

Note that this guarantee doesn’t cover damage resulting from normal wear and tear. If you’ve scrubbed all the enamel from the cooking grates, for example, you’ll have to buy new ones yourself. If they arrived that way when you received them, on the other hand, the company will issue a replacement.

What Other Customers are Saying

How do other consumers feel about the Louisiana Grills Champion? To find out, I conducted a quick internet search.

On the whole, the reviews were positive, with the majority of users claiming that the temperature gauge was accurate and the results consistent. One satisfied griller was particularly impressed with how easy it was to assemble, given its size. There were some issues reported with faulty ignition switches, but these defects are covered by the warranty and seem to be the exception rather than the rule.

Possible Alternatives to the Louisiana Grills Champion Pellet Grill

The Champion has much to recommend it, but it’s not the only pellet smoker in its class. If you’d like to expand your search, here are a few more viable options.

#1 Pit Boss Vertical Pellet Smoker

Like the Champion, this offering from Pit Boss has several shelves for holding different ingredients. There are no separate cooking chambers, however, which subtracts a few versatility points. It also has a much smaller footprint—and a lower price tag to boot.

How They Compare

  • Cost—Pit Boss
  • Size—Louisiana Grills
  • Construction—Louisiana Grills
  • Hopper Capacity—Pit Boss
  • Temperature Range—Louisiana Grills
  • Efficiency—Louisiana Grills
  • Warranty—Tie

If you’re looking for a high-capacity smoker but want something slightly less challenging to operate, take a closer look at the Pit Boss Vertical Pellet Smoker today.

#2 Z Grills ZPG-700D

The ZPG-700D is smaller and more manageable than the Champion—more like a traditional pellet smoker. It does, however, offer 700 square inches of cooking space, as well as a sturdy build and a decent temperature range.

How They Compare

  • Cost—Z Grills
  • Size—Louisiana Grills
  • Construction—Louisiana Grills
  • Hopper Capacity—Louisiana Grills
  • Temperature Range—Louisiana Grills
  • Efficiency—Tie
  • Warranty—Louisiana Grills

Grillers who are looking for a relatively large but standard pellet grill might want to give the ZPG-700D a try.

#3 Camp Chef XXL Vertical Pellet Grill and Smoker

This is another vertical smoker with a single chamber, giving it more in common with the Pit Boss grill than with the Champion. However, it comes equipped with impressive ash cleanout and grease management systems, as well as hanging racks for smoked sausages.

How They Compare

  • Cost—Camp Chef
  • Size—Louisiana Grills
  • Construction—Louisiana Grills
  • Hopper Capacity—Louisiana Grills
  • Temperature Range—Louisiana Grills
  • Efficiency—Louisiana Grills
  • Warranty—Louisiana Grills

Consider making the Camp Chef XXL your choice if you’re primarily interested in making smoked pork shoulder and brisket.

In Conclusion

If you’re looking for a serious pellet smoker that can make you look like a pro, the Champion lives up to its name. It’s durable, efficient, and has a capacity that puts most pellet grills to shame. Assuming you have the space for it, this unit could be a worthy addition to your outdoor kitchen—possibly the last grill you’ll ever buy.

Click here to give the Louisiana Grills Champion a closer look. Best of luck on the next stage in your grilling adventures!

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