Camp Chef Smoker Pro DLX - 4 (1)
Brand spank­in’ new Camp Chef Smok­er­Pro DLX

How do I best sum up how I feel about this Camp Chef Smoke­Pro DLX with Side Sear Box? I’ve cooked on a ton of dif­fer­ent grills — kama­dos, ket­tles, gassers, porta­bles, trail­ered so let me start off by say­ing this is my favorite grill of all the grills I’ve ever used. It is now my go to grill. Why? Let me tell you a sto­ry.

Camp Chef Smoker Pro DLX - 1 (5)
Nice size cook area in the cen­ter cham­ber PLUS an upper rack as well as a sear­ing box on the side

My fam­i­ly and I moved into a new home in Decem­ber. I own a dozen grills, but the only one I had access to at the new house when we first moved in was my old ket­tle. It was snow­ing so of course I was grilling. I slathered some ribs with some jerk sea­son­ing and slapped them on the ket­tle. I hadn’t cooked on that grill in at least 5 years so I’d for­got­ten how much I had to fid­dle with it. I was so used to set­ting up the kamado and not hav­ing to check on any­thing except the temp of the meat for the entire cook. Well, I went out to check on my ribs and I had the vents open to much and I burnt them pret­ty bad. I don’t have the time or incli­na­tion to stand over a grill and keep tweak­ing vents and air flows and adding smoke wood and mov­ing the meat around, etc. When I got my first kamado, I actu­al­ly missed that aspect, but now my sched­ule and respon­si­bil­i­ties (e.g. my four kids all 8 years and younger) don’t allow me to do that.

Camp Chef Smoker Pro DLX - 2 (3)
This could eas­i­ly hold three slabs down low and one on the upper rack with­out a rib rack

I love my kamado until I have to clean it. What a mess. And adding smoke wood while the grill is hot is a night­mare. With the Camp Chef Smok­er­Pro DLX, to add fuel, I have to open a trap door and pour in some pel­lets:

Camp Chef Smoker Pro DLX - 5 (1)
I know it looks a lit­tle like rab­bit food, but the­se pel­lets do some­thing mag­i­cal to meat

To clean it, unlike just about any­one else in the pel­let grill seg­ment. Sim­ply pull this rod out that sits under the Sear Box:

Camp Chef DLX Review - 1 (1)
Slide that met­al brack­et up
Camp Chef DLX Review - 3
Then pull the rod out as far as it will go

Next, twist this cup and it will drop down:

Camp Chef DLX Review - 2
Only do this when the grill is cold

Dump the ash (and some grease):

Camp Chef DLX Review - 4
Dump that stuff

Most pel­let smok­ers require tak­ing all the guts out of the grill to get to the ash. And I mean greasy, grimey guts. Not quite greasy, grimey, gopher guts, but any­one that has had to do it knows it’s a hor­ri­ble mess!

Anoth­er phe­nom­e­nal aspect of the Camp Chef Smok­er Pro DLX is a dig­i­tal read out on the front of the pel­let hop­per that tells me the exact temp inside the grill. It also has a built in probe ther­mome­ter:

Camp Chef Smoker Pro DLX - 2 (2)
Built in probe ther­mome­ter

Plug one end of the the probe into the hop­per and the oth­er end into the meat and then hit the lit­tle but­ton on the grill to tog­gle it back and forth between the cham­ber and the meat.

This is show­ing me that the inter­nal temp of those pork chops (some time after the above pic was tak­en) are sit­ting at 131:

Camp Chef DLX Review - 1
Hit that upper green but­ton and it will show me the temp of the cook­ing cham­ber. Hit it again and the Camp Chef goes to the probe.

Let’s talk about an inher­ent flaw with pel­let smok­ers. All they do is smoke. Can’t cook burg­ers, brats or dogs on them, right? That’s wrong, Wrong, WRONGGGGG! Well first off, don’t cook brats over high heat. You’re bet­ter off cook­ing them in a smok­er than a rip­ping hot grill, but that’s anoth­er sto­ry. But I get it with steaks and burg­ers and such. You can do more than smoke on this bad boy! This grill has an option­al Sear Box:

Camp Chef Smoker Pro DLX - 3 (2)
Time to get my sear on!

Pop the shelf off on one side and attach the Sear Box which is pow­ered by a propane tank. It’s stain­less steel, cranks out 16,000 BTU’s and is 180 square inch­es of cook­ing sur­face that allows me to do pret­ty much every­thing on one cook­er with­out hav­ing to do much else than put meat on the grill and set the dial to heavy smoke.

But can it smoke? Boy can it. Here are some pork steaks I smoked for about 2 hours. Look at that smoke ring. Can you imag­ine a pork shoul­der for 8 hours?

Pork Steaks - 1
1.5 inch thick pork steaks with some seri­ous smoke pen­e­tra­tion

Time to get down go over the finan­cials. The Camp Chef Smoke­Pro DLX has an MSRP of $699. The side Sear Box goes for $249. The exact mod­el I have costs about as much as a large Kamado, alone. Most kamado grills require a num­ber of acces­sories on top of the base price of the grill itself. The price point for the Camp Chef is right about mid­dle of the pack among the big names of this type of grill.

No grill is per­fect. There are always going to be pros and cons. Some will be deal break­ers. For me, I love this grill, but I must address the neg­a­tives as well.

Cons of the Camp Chef Smoke­Pro DLX:

  1. It has to be plugged in — That’s not con­ve­nient for some
  2. It real­ly has to stay out of the rain because it’s both elec­tric and if the pel­lets get wet it’s real­ly bad
  3. Start up and shut down is a lit­tle con­fus­ing at first — It takes some time to get used to the process

I just put a roof with light­ing over a big chunk of my deck so I could shoot pics at night and keep myself and my grills dry. As they were run­ning the pow­er for the light­ing I added an extra out­let near my grills, so cons 1 and 2 are no big deal for me, but they may be issues for some. If you don’t have a roof to keep it under, make sure to get a cov­er. The start up and shut down takes a lit­tle prac­tice to mas­ter, but it doesn’t take long. Oh, one more thing. There was a 4th thing I didn’t like about this grill. The grill grates didn’t make the pret­ti­est grill marks. Well, then I flipped the grill grates over and real­ized that I put the grill grates in upside down. So if the grill marks look like crap, it’s not the grill’s fault. Flip the grates over.

This grill is not ide­al for every­one, but it’s close for me. It’s my favorite grill of all the grills I’ve ever owned and I’ve owned a lot of grills from a lot of man­u­fac­tur­ers. I wish it had WiFi con­nec­tiv­i­ty. I’m not one who wants to be able to turn the cook­er off and on with my phone, which means a hack­er could do that too. I would just like to be able to mon­i­tor the temp from inside as well as set a thresh­old so the unit alerts me when my meat hits that temp.

Full Dis­clo­sure — Camp Chef paid for this review. As you know, I’m not going to be all pup­pies and sun­shine about some­thing I review. I’m going to show the things I don’t like as well to bet­ter let the read­er decide.

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas, the Orig­i­nal Grillin’ Fool, was sent off to col­lege with a suit­case and a grill where he over­cooked, under­cooked and burned every piece of meat he could find. After thou­sands of fail­ures, and quite a few suc­cess­es, near­ly two decades lat­er he start­ed a web­site to show step by step, pic­ture by pic­ture, fool­proof instruc­tions on how to make great things out of doors so that oth­ers don’t have to repeat the mis­takes he’s made on the grill.
Scott Thomas

@GrillinFool

https://t.co/lVWgniik3V#Grill­Porn abounds here. All meat, all the time!
Pulled pork skills on point! . Video cour­tesy of @bbq_bboy : Pulling Pork Like A Boss 🐷 . You ready to take your I…… https://t.co/3QuPwwo0ZD — 7 hours ago
Scott Thomas

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