When it comes to pellet grilling, the word is officially out: These units are as simple to use as gas-powered units, but manage to deliver all the intense flavor that we’ve come to expect from ingredients cooked over a charcoal fire. Rec Tec is a relative newcomer to the industry, having been in business for just over a decade. So how do their units stack up against the competition? Here are a few Rec Tec grill reviews to help you learn the answer.
In this article, we’re going to review the following Rec Tec pellet grills:
Shopping For A Rec Tec Pellet Grill: What You Need To Know
Even if you’ve owned a pellet grill in the past, chances are there’s always more to learn. Read on for an in-depth look at the convenient and delectable world of pellet grilling.
What are the advantages of cooking with a pellet grill?
When you cook with a pellet grill, most of the hard work is done for you. While cooking with a charcoal grill requires constant supervision and a certain measure of skill, you can set a pellet grill to the desired temperature and walk away for several hours. Even gas grills, which are designed to be user-friendly, are far less versatile than pellet-fueled units. You’re also bound to get better and more consistent results when cooking with a pellet grill, assuming that the temperature gauge is in good working order.
How do I go about choosing the right model?
There are certain attributes that every quality pellet grill should have in common. To name just a few:
The pellet grill should be made of heavy-gauge steel, sometimes with a powder-coated finish. All of the parts should be included in the shipment and fit together properly during assembly. If there are noticeable gaps in problem areas, or if the parts grind together roughly during use, then the product is probably not high-end.
Also, look for grilling grates that have been constructed of restaurant-grade stainless steel or cast iron. Often, the grates will be finished with porcelain. The enamel will help keep the metal from rusting and ensure that the grates are that much easier to clean.
On average, a pellet grill should consume about one pound of fuel per hour. Note that this is a rough estimate, assuming that the unit is running at a moderate temperature. At lower temps, the auger might feed only a half-pound of pellets into the barrel per hour, while high-heat applications can consume up to two pounds per hour.
Accurate Temperature Control
When you set the grill to smoke at 250 degrees Fahrenheit, it should remain accurate to within 20 degrees of that temperature. Higher or lower fluctuations could indicate a problem with the auger component, the control panel, or the overall construction of the unit. Be aware that the temperature might be less accurate in cold or windy weather, so if you plan to use your pellet grill year-round, you might want to invest in a thermal blanket or grill cover.
As a side note, be aware that pellet grills should offer a temperature range of about 180 to 550 degrees Fahrenheit. The broader the range, the more versatile the unit.
Reliable Temperature Readouts
Sometimes, the temperature gauge will give you a faulty readout even when the fire is burning to your exact specifications. Of course, since the fire is largely out of sight, you’ll have no way of knowing that unless your food is ruined. The temperature gauges should be well-calibrated and accurate. It helps if the unit includes a separate device to gauge the doneness of the meat, but only if this gauge is accurate as well.
In addition to the criteria listed above, there are a few other considerations that you’ll want to keep in mind while shopping:
- Price: Map out a budget in advance, and try to stick with it. Check this list of our favorite budget options.
- Size: Choose a unit that’s big enough to suit your needs without going overboard.
- Hopper Capacity: This usually correlates with the amount of available grilling space, but 18 pounds is the standard for most full-sized units.
- Type of Control Panel: Most modern pellet grills with be outfitted with a digital control panel, often with an LED readout display.
- Other Features: As mentioned above, dual meat temperature probes usually come in handy. Some models might be equipped with Wi-Fi, so you can keep an eye on the internal temperature using your smartphone or tablet.
What’s the best way to use a pellet grill?
You can use a pellet grill for a variety of cooking applications, from slow-smoked southern barbecue to flame-seared filet mignon. Personally, I prefer using my grill for low-heat methods such as braising and smoking, since the wood pellets infuse the meat with more flavor that way. Also, since you can simply walk away and let the fire do its work with minimal interference, these methods give you more time for entertaining or relaxing while the food cooks.
Check out this YouTube tutorial for a practical demonstration on how to make superb Texas beef brisket on a Rec Tec smoker:
Are there any safety hazards or precautions that I should be aware of?
With a pellet grill, it can be easy to forget that you’re cooking over a live fire, especially when the lid is closed for hours at a time. It’s a good idea to check on the grill periodically to make sure that the fire hasn’t gotten out of hand. Flare-ups can be common during high-heat cooking applications, so exercise extra caution when grilling fatty cuts of meat.
The auger and hot rod components in a pellet grill run off of electricity, so there will be a power cord in the vicinity of your cooking area. Make sure it’s safely out of the way so it doesn’t pose a tripping hazard. Also, check your fuel supply regularly to ensure that the pellets haven’t gotten wet, since this can cause the auger component to jam up during use.
Finally, if you’ve heard about the health risks incurred by cooking over an open flame, try not to worry. These hazards are lessened when the food is cooked slowly at lower temperatures, especially if the fat is allowed to render without dripping directly into the fire.
Rec Tec Grill Reviews: Product Guide
The RT-340 is the smallest unit on our list, offering 340 square inches of grilling space and lockable folding legs for tailgating. The wheels have a funky rollerblade design, which helps to increase the portability of the unit. The temperature range is advertised as 200 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, which is on the higher side for a standard pellet grill, but suitable for a travel-sized model like this one. In any case, you’ll be able to perform a wide array of cooking applications in that range.
This unit is equipped with Wi-Fi technology, so you can calibrate the temperature from the comfort of your recliner while the meat cooks. If you’re taking it on the road, this feature will allow you to relax and enjoy the festivities without being chained to the grill. Dual built-in meat probes are also included, making it easy to keep an eye on both the internal temperature of the grill and the progress of the meat itself.
The control panel allows you to set the temperature in increments of five degrees—another impressive feature, especially for a travel grill. When the unit is set to “LO”—that is, around 200 degrees—the RT-340 will automatically produce more smoke for maximum flavor. When you’re finished cooking, you can alert the unit to enter “cool down” mode with the touch of a button. There’s even an automatic shutdown feature that kicks in when the temperature climbs too high.
The build quality of the Rec Tec is noticeably high-end, with a 304-grade stainless steel construct on the main chamber as well as the grilling grates. The interior cooking chamber is made of stainless steel as well, making this unit exceptionally easy to clean.
The RT-340 has a hopper capacity of 20 pounds—generous for any grill, but especially for a portable tailgating unit. The lid of the hopper can double as a side shelf for prep or storage, and is large enough to hold a sizable meat platter.
Lastly, note that Rec Tec offers premium bundle packages that include a starter pack of pellets, a grill cover, and two mesh grilling mats.
- Easy to assemble
- Accurate temperature control and readout
- Heats quickly and efficiently
- Wi-Fi technology
- High price point
- Not a great deal of grilling space
- Tricky balance when moving from one place to another
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This high-end model is large enough to suit an average-sized family, with plenty of room left over for guests. With its 592 square inches of cooking space and eye-catching octagonal design, it should be sufficient to satisfy the needs of any grilling enthusiast. This design gives it significantly more volume than most barrel-style grills, meaning that you could easily fit at least one Thanksgiving turkey inside. A second grilling rack offers up an additional 180 square inches of space, and is easy to remove when not in use.
The RT-590 offers the same quality stainless steel construction as the 340 model, with an open cart-style design. The rollerblade-style wheels are outfitted with locking casters for stability, and a lower shelf adds storage space without ruining the lines of the grill. The steel cooking grates are durable and rust-resistant, allowing you to get a great sear on your ingredients. Best of all, the 30-pound hopper capacity allows for many long hours of cooking with no need to refill.
Like the RT-340, this model is Wi-Fi compatible, with a PID controller to help the temperature remain accurate throughout the cooking process. The stainless steel drip tray funnels grease out of the cooking chamber and into the waiting bucket, making cleanup that much simpler. It also shares the 340 model’s temperature range of 200 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, controllable in five-degree increments from your tablet or smartphone. Rec Tec’s premium package is available for this unit as well.
- Durable quality
- Heats to the desired temperature quickly
- Large enough to accommodate a family of four to six people
- Wi-Fi capability
- Attractive design
- Very high price point
- Time-consuming assembly
- Wheels are flimsy considering the unit’s size
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Like its smaller counterparts, the RT-700 is sturdily constructed of 100 percent stainless steel. That gives it the edge over some of its closest competitors, some of whom have a tendency to paint the exterior of the grill, leading to issues with peeling and flaking.
The RT-700 offers a grand total of 1054 square inches of cooking space—702 inches on the main grate, with an additional 352 available on the optional second tier. While the cooking grates aren’t finished with porcelain, the steel is of such high quality that it’s naturally rust-resistant. I would still recommend cleaning them thoroughly after each use, along with the rest of the components. Remember to wait until the fire has died down completely before attempting to clean the interior. The hopper can hold a whopping 40 pounds of pellets at once, which is impressive, but could lead to problems if the grill isn’t used often enough. Be sure to check the hopper periodically to ensure that the pellets have remained clean and dry, especially in inclement weather.
This grill can be controlled using “Wi-Pellet” technology via the Rec Tec Grills app, downloadable on your smartphone or tablet. Dual meat probes are plugged into the grill’s control panel, where the information is transmitted to the app. The temperature control is calibrated by a PID algorithm to keep it accurate within 5 degrees. Like its smaller counterparts, the RT-700 offers a temperature range of 200 to 500 degrees. This may not be hot enough to turn out decent pizza or flatbread, but it should be more than sufficient for most other cooking applications, from dehydrating to broiling. Since this model is larger and therefore pricier than the rest, the bundle package might offer the best value of all.
- Generous grilling capacity
- Excellent smoke flavor
- Stainless steel interior makes cleanup a snap
- Very user-friendly, even for beginners
- Some shipping issues reported
- Large, bulky design
- Somewhat difficult to assemble
- Slightly narrow temperature range for a unit of this size
- Time-consuming assembly
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During the composition of these Rec Tec grill reviews, I was favorably impressed by all that they had to offer. It was difficult to narrow the field to choose a favorite, especially since they’re all so similar in construction and reliability.
Of the three, however, I believe the RT-590 has the most to offer. It’s large enough for entertaining, and its overall design is eye-catching without overwhelming the outdoor kitchen space. The oversized hopper is a definite plus, as long as the grill is used frequently enough to move the pellets along. If you’re looking for a low-maintenance, standard-sized grill that can hold up to long years of use, then the RT-590 fits the bill.
Whether you choose to follow this advice or head down a different path altogether, may your next grill yield mouthwatering results and scores of delicious memories.