Camp Chef SmokePro LUX Wood Pellet Smoker Grill Review
Wood pellet grills and smokers are prized for their convenience. You simply load the hopper with prepared wood pellets that you can buy at just about any grill supply or hardware store. You plug the unit into a standard 110 household electric outlet and set the desired temperature you want. A precisely tuned auger inside the grill slowly feeds the wood pellets to the fire pot which is ignited by a small electric element. An internal fan then keeps the fire fed, while hot air and pleasant smoke waft up past a heat deflector to fill the primary cooking chamber.
If we set the science and mechanics of wood fire grills aside, there are some features and benefits that you want to look for. This includes things like dual thermometers. One for the hood, and one for measuring the temperature of the meat. The Camp Chef SmokePro LUX has these, which is nice. However, if you are making something like multiple chickens of different sizes, or beef and pork ribs together, it would be nice if there was some kind of port that you could run additional probe thermometer leads through.
The Camp Chef SmokePro LUX has digital controls, which allows you to dial in the temperature of the smoke. You can then compare this with the temperature readout of the meat’s stainless steel probe thermometer. It can be very handy to understand the relationship between the two when it comes to problems with a large piece of meat hitting a temperature plateau.
The 18-pound hopper capacity is also better than the 15-pound hoppers you often find with competitor grills in the same price range.
Construction & Ease of Assembly
In general, wood pellet grills need to be made from quality materials, as they are intended to be an investment capable of lasting for years. For the most part, this is true with the Camp Chef SmokePro LUX. However, it does use 16-gauge steel, when a little thicker might be better. This is only a minor issue if you are using the wood pellet grill in very cold or excessively windy conditions.
Assembling the Camp Chef SmokePro LUX is a little easier than other wood pellet grills in the same price range. With a basic household tool kit and the ability to use some screwdrivers and wrenches, you should take you about two hours from opening the box to having it fully assembled.
The Camp Chef SmokePro LUX’s slightly thinner gauge of the metal does pose some minor problems with heat retention. However, this is only a factor if it’s a very windy day or you want to run it during late fall through the winter. In these conditions, it might be better to dial up the heat by an extra 10 to 15 degrees above normal. Moving the grill behind a wind block would also help.
Like all wood pellet grills, there isn’t a direct sear feature with the unit. If you want to make a Steak with a nice crust or really mark the skin on a chicken breast, you will either have to keep a little hibachi nearby or place a preheated cast iron griddle in the smoking chamber.
When it comes to it’s intended purpose the Camp Chef SmokePro LUX does a good job of cooking meats and vegetables while imbuing them with a pleasant amount of smoky flavor. While this wood pellet grill might be a little smaller than some of the giant big boys on the market, it’s certainly not small. It has enough grill space to prepare a significant amount of food.
All told the 19.5″ x 34″ primary smoking rack and the 6″ x 34″ Warming Rack provides you with a whopping 875 square inches of cooking space. This is more than enough to smoke two large flat briskets on the primary grate. Then when they are within an hour or so of being done, you can load the warming rack with linked or ring sausage.
The dual thermometers are a nice touch. Some competitor wood pellet grills in this same class only have a single thermometer that tells you the smoke/air temperature. Being able to monitor how the meat is doing not only helps you estimate remaining cook time, it also spares you having to open the door to stab it repeatedly with an instant-read thermometer.
Ease to Clean
Wood pellet grills are generally easier to clean up than charcoal grills. Just make a point to thoroughly clean the grill grates. Especially the back corners, where the grates touch the frame. This can start to accumulate smoky stubborn grease that gets harder and harder to clean over time. If the grill grates are
The ash in the fire pot can be easily vacuumed out with a shop vac. Just make sure that everything is completely cooled down first.
It’s also a good idea to give the entire hood and chimney a thorough scrub down every 12 to 15 uses. Tiny residual amounts of soot and smoke grime can start to buildup on them. When you shut the door pieces can start to fall off. It’s also a good idea to give the thermometer probe a gentle wipe down every five or six times, to prevent smoke residue from affecting its accuracy.
The Camp Chef SmokePro LUX comes with a “No-Hassle” three-year warranty on all parts and manufacturer components. This does not include the paint and finish. The warranty is only in effect for normal use and not for a wood pellet grill that has been used improperly or damaged by an act of nature.
A warranty of this caliber is a little bit better than you find with other wood pellet grills in the same class.
If you are in the market for a wood pellet grill, then chances are you are spoiled for choice. The Camp Chef SmokePro LUX meets all the basic requirements and even has a few extra notches up on the competition. Still, it doesn’t stand head and shoulders above the competition with any major special features.
- Large enough to make a lot of food
- Doesn’t take up a ton of space
- Dual digital stainless steel thermometer
- Slightly above par warranty
- Slightly thin metal
- Doesn’t sear
- Side shelf is a little small