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Best Pellet Grill for Searing: These 5 Get HOT!!

Pretty much all pellet smokers say you can grill on them. But, as you probably know, the indirect heat you get on most isn’t ideal for searing. Yes, it works. But, it’s sort of like trying to grill a steak in a really hot oven. It’s really not ideal.

Thanks to demand and growing innovation in the market, you now have options.

Some pellet smokers can actually do both with dual modes for indirect low and slow heat for smoking and direct high-heat for searing.

It can be time-consuming to find which models are actually set up for both indirect and direct flame modes. So, we’ve put together an assortment of the best.

Here you’ll find the best pellet grill for searing options.

All of the pellet grills here don’t do anything in halves. They’re ideal low and slow machines, and, you can open them up to sear over a real wood-flamed fire. They are the best of both worlds. And, there’s options to suit all budgets.

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Table of Contents

Camp Chef WiFi Woodwind with Optional Sear Box or Sidekick

Camp Chef’s Woodwind range is our leading choice when it comes to an all-in-one pellet smoker and grill solution.

Firstly, the Woodwind Pellet Smokers have a Slide and Grill lever that lets you open up slits in the heat deflector so you can grill right over the pellet fire. It next-levels the results, gets that much hotter, and, still gives you a bit of naturally wood-smoked flavor without using the exorbitant amount of pellets you need to get a regular pellet smoker up to maximum temperature and keep it there.

But, you can also get awesome propane add-ons that replace the side-shelf on the Woodwind and give you another option for grilling and searing too.

One of these is the Sear Box which gives you a cast iron grate that hooks up to a gas bottle for up to 900°F of heat and incredible sear marks. And, the other is the Sidekick which is a propane-powered single burner that lets you add a griddle, grill, oven, stock pot, or more.

So, with the Woodwind, you get way better grilling on the regular pellet-powered side. Plus, the ability to link up a smaller gas grill on the one barbecue. It’s really versatile and very well built.

The Woodwind Series also has WiFi, a PID temperature controller for the most precise heat control, a more durable stainless steel firebox and lid, plus, a separate Smoke Number setting where you can crank the smokiness up or down independent of the temperature.

They’re amazing to use. And, there’s a choice of 3 different sizes to suit your needs and budget. All come with an impressive 4 meat probes and a full color screen controller.

Specs for the Camp Chef 24" WiFi Woodwind with Sear Box

Barbecue material: Stainless steel and powder-coated steel

Grate material: Enamel-coated steel lower rack, nickel plated upper rack, enamel-coated cast iron sear rack

Cooking capacity: 811 sq. in. in smoker, plus 184 sq. in. in Sear Box

Pellet hopper capacity: 22 lbs

Heat Range: 160°F – 500°F for smoking, up to 650°F using Slide n Grill

WiFi: Yes

Fuel type: Wood pellet with propane side-burner

Model: PG24CLSS

Assembled size (in): 30(D) x 49(W) x 42(H)

Weight: 184 lbs

Warranty: 3 years

Pros of the Camp Chef WiFi Woodwind with Sear Box:

  • Slide n Grill lever lets you smoke, bake and roast over indirect heat, or, open the heat deflector up for direct high heat over the pellet fire
  • Precise PID temperature controller
  • WiFi connectivity
  • Stainless steel firebox and lid gives more durability where you need it
  • Smoke Settings let you change the smokiness without adjusting the temperature
  • Includes 4 meat probes that connect to control panel for real-time updates on exactly how cooked your meat is
  • Add-on Sear Box gives you extra space to grill and sear on a propane-powered cast iron grate
  • Easy to use Ash Clean-out
  • Choice of 3 sizes of pellet smoker, all of which fit the Sear Box add-on

Cons of the Camp Chef WiFi Woodwind with Sear Box:

  • Expect some smoke leakage. You can fit a gasket for a tighter seal if you want
  • Attaching the Sear Box means you lose the work space of the side shelf

Pit Boss Navigator

Next up we’ve got the Pit Boss Navigator. This one’s similar to the Camp Chef in that it’s got a Slide Plate Flame Broiler so you can open up the drip tray to get the wood-fired flames rolling through.

Because of that, it gets extra hot and is another great choice for anyone who wants good searing or grilling on a pellet smoker. But, there’s no propane-powered attachment so you’re doing all of your cooking on the one grate (unless you go with the Navigator Combo which halves the smoking space with a propane grill)

Good things about the Pit Boss Navigator are that it’s built from heavy-gauge steel. It is that little bit thicker and heavier than most pellet smokers at this price level, giving good heat retention and sturdiness.

Unlike the Camp Chef Woodwinds, the Navigator has a regular temperature gauge so you’re going to get a bit more fluctuation in temperature. The plus of that is that it’s pretty smoky if you like a stronger flavor in your meat.

Size-wise, there’s three options to suit with large pellet hoppers. And, you’ve got a front and side shelf for maximum working space.

Overall, the Navigator’s a good, strong smoker that does a fine job of both low and slow and high heat searing. Compared with the Camp Chef, there’s no WiFi and fewer probes. But, it’s priced a little lower for a very durable smoker. It’s definitely not a second-rate choice!

Specs for the Pit Boss Navigator 850G

Barbecue material: Powder-coated steel

Grate material: Porcelain-coated cast iron

Cooking capacity: 879 square inches

Pellet hopper capacity: 27 lbs

Temperature range: 180°F – 500°F + direct flame mode

WiFi: No

Fuel type: Wood pellets and electricity

Price guide: $$

Model: PB850G

Dimensions: 58″ W x 47″ H x 37″ D

Weight: 185 lbs

Warranty: 5 years

Pros of the Pit Boss Navigator Pellet Grill:

  • Slide Plate Flame Broiler lets you grill and sear over the open flame by pulling a lever
  • Heavier metal build for sturdy and durable feel
  • Large pellet hoppers give long unaided cook time
  • Three different size options to suit your needs
  • Front and side shelves give lots of place to wrap meat and leave utensils, sauces, a beer, etc.
  • Prime button lets you manually heat up the grill faster either on startup or after opening the lid
  • Clear pellet hopper window and emptying door makes managing pellets easy
  • Long warranty period

Cons of the Pit Boss Navigator Pellet Grill:

  • Temperature fluctuations cause more smoke which does equal more flavor. But, if you live close to other houses, might annoy the neighbors
  • No WiFi
  • Rear vent instead of a chimney design does let wind and rain in if you’re using it out in the weather

Z Grills Flame Elite 600D3E

Coming in at one red hot price is this neat little option from Z Grills, the Flame Elite 600D3E.

Holding a smaller but still reasonable capacity of 572 square inches (about 24 burgers or 4 whole chickens), the 600D3E has a precise PID temperature controller like the Camp Chef’s. And, there’s a fire access door so you can bump the temperature up to 750°F with direct flame access for better grilling and searing.

The metal’s a little thinner than you get on the Pit Boss. But, don’t be put off by the lower price! Z Grills is a top notch option (and, one of our favorites). The temperature distribution is remarkably even, you get a stainless steel lid, side shelf and enclosed storage cabinet for such a great price.

To us, the only real negative about the 600D3E is that the pellet hopper’s a little smaller too. It holds 8 pound of pellets which will give you around about 8 hours of low and slow smoking time so you’ll need to refill for longer cooks.

There’s also no WiFi if that’s a deal-breaker for you. We really don’t mind because Z Grills are so consistent and reliable anyway.

Use our exclusive code – 5%off – at the checkout for 5% off anything Z Grills, including already on sale smokers!

(Valid on the Z Grills website only)

Specs for the Z Grills Flame Elite 600D3E Pellet Smoker

Barbecue material: Heavy-duty steel with stainless steel lid

Grate material: Porcelain-coated steel

Cooking capacity:  572 sq. in.

Pellet hopper capacity: 8 lbs

Temperature Range: 160°F – 500°F (750°F in direct flame mode)

WiFi: No

Fuel type: Electric / wood pellets

Model: 600D3E

Price guide: $$

Dimensions: 46″ L × 21″ W × 49″ H

Weight: 84 lbs

Warranty: 3 years

Pros of the Z Grills 600D3E Pellet Smoker:

  • Open flame mode gives superior grilling and searing
  • Precise PID temperature controller for consistent results
  • Even temperature distribution throughout the grill
  • Smaller size suits smaller to medium sized families without needing to heat a larger area
  • Enclosed storage cabinet
  • Side shelf with hooks gives extra work space
  • Stainless steel lid gives added durability where needed

Cons of the Z Grills 600D3E Pellet Smoker:

  • No WiFi
  • Smaller pellet hopper capacity means you’ll need to refill for really long smokes
  • Thinner metal than some of the competitors

Use our exclusive code – 5%off – at the checkout for 5% off anything Z Grills, including already on sale smokers!

(Valid on the Z Grills website only)

Pit Boss Sportsman Combo

If you’re understandably a bit unsure about buying a single pellet smoker that claims to do it all, going for a full-sized combo might make you feel more comfortable. And, when it comes to combos with pellet smokers and propane grills, we are fans of Pit Boss’s Sportsman Combo.

On one side you’ve got about 630 square inches of set and forget, wood-smoked cooking space. And, the other gives you another 630 square inches to grill and sear as well. It’s versatility and total convenience all wrapped up into a strong and durable barbecue.

On the pellet side, you’ve got a regular temperature controller powered by a large 21 pound hopper. The cooking space is split over two shelves so you might need to remove the top one for larger meats, cutting the size down again. But, there’s two meat probes to monitor your progress plus a prime button to boost the heat quickly after opening the lid.

For grilling and smoking, you’re looking at 3 independent burners giving you a total of 30,000 BTU’s. Like the smoking side, the cooking space is split over two grates. So, while the top’s good for warming or doing sides, your actual grilling space is limited to just over 300 square inches.

It’s enough for most people. But, just something to keep in mind when working out if a half/half solution is right for you.

Specs for the Pit Boss Sportsman Combo Pellet and Propane Grill

Barbecue material: Powder-coated steel

Grate material: Porcelain-coated steel

Cooking capacity: 1,261 sq. in.

Pellet hopper capacity: 21 lbs

Heat Range: 180-500°F

BTU’s: 30,000

WiFi: No

Fuel type: Wood pellets

Model: PB1230SP

Price guide: $$$$

Assembled size (in): 69.54″ W x 31.69″ D x 50.17″ H

Weight: 203 lbs

Warranty: 5 years

Pros of the Pit Boss Sportsman Combo:

  • You get the best of both worlds; a dedicated pellet smoker and a dedicated propane grill rolled into one
  • Solid Pit Boss build quality
  • Large pellet hopper gives you about 21 hours of unaided low and slow smoking time
  • Includes 2 meat probes so you’ll know exactly when your meat is perfectly cooked
  • Front and side shelves give work space
  • Long warranty

Cons of the Pit Boss Sportsman Combo:

  • For what’s a pretty physically large barbecue, you’re getting half the space for smoking and half for grilling. But, because it’s double racked as well, it’s actually got a fairly limited capacity
  • There’s no WiFi
  • Not PID temperature controlled so you will get a decently large temperature fluctuation on the pellet smoker. It will give you more flavor. But, something to keep in mind because the larger swings do bother some users

Camp Chef Pursuit Portable Pellet Grill

Last but not least, we’ve got a portable option that makes the cut as one of the best pellet smokers for grilling.

It’s the Camp Chef Pursuit Pellet Smoker. And, like the Woodwind’s reviewed above, the Pursuit also has Slide and Grill Technology so when you’re ready to reverse sear, or, just want to fire up some burgers fast, you can slide the lever and get access to the extra heat of the direct, wood-fired flame in the firepot.

But, the Pursuit’s got a lot of other things going for it as well.

Firstly, it’s actually very sturdy for a portable smoker. The legs fold in with the push of a button and the lids lock, turning the whole grill into a rolling suitcase that’s actually easy to move.

The temperature’s reliably controlled by Camp Chef’s updated PID-based system which also lets you set the smoke level independently of the heat. And, there’s 2 meat probes included so you can monitor your meat’s progress directly on the control panel for perfect results every time.

As you’d expect on a portable model, the cooking space is reduced to 501 square inches. It’s still enough to do 4 racks of ribs at a time, 4 pork butts, or a brisket. But, the hopper’s also a smaller 10 pounds.

From that you’ll get about 10 hours of smoke time before you need a refill. So, it’s still enough to do overnight cooks with a refill in the morning.

Even though the Pursuit’s a portable model, it’s definitely large enough and sturdy enough to use regularly at home as well. So, it’s also a good option for the budget-conscious buyer who’s still after a lot of features and great function.

Specs for the Camp Chef Pursuit Pellet Grill

Barbecue material: Powder-coated steel with stainless steel lid

Grate material: Enamel-coated wire

Cooking capacity: 501 sq in

Pellet hopper capacity: 10 lbs

Heat range: 160°F – 500°F

Fuel type: Wood pellets

Model: Pursuit PPG20

Assembled size (in): 41(H) x 38(W) x 18.5(D)

Weight: 82 lbs

Warranty: 3 years

Pros of the Camp Chef Pursuit Pellet Grill:

  • Slide and Grill Technology gives you indirect heat for smoking or direct high heat for excellent grilling and searing
  • Solid build with durable stainless steel lid
  • Updated Camp Chef PID temperature controller with separate Smoke Control settings
  • Includes 2 meat probes for perfect results every time
  • Easy to fold legs with locking lids
  • Very good warranty for a portable pellet smoker

Cons of the Camp Chef Pursuit Pellet Grill:

Kate Brown, the founder and voice behind Burning Brisket, is not your typical pitmaster or restaurateur. Her expertise in barbecue grew from a humble desire to cook exceptional meals for her family. From overcoming burnt brisket mishaps to establishing her boutique cattle ranch, Kate shares her passion to help 'ordinary' individuals cook extraordinary barbecue, believing that simplicity often yields the best flavors. Kate is commited to making great barbecue accessible to all with the right resources and some tasty practice.