Cookshack Pellet Grills and Smokers Review

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Cookshack has been a major force in the market for nearly 5 decades. The company started business with barbecue grills but later diversified into ovens and pellet smokers.

Cookshack is well known not just among households but commercial establishments as well. You will therefore find Cookshack pellet grills and smokers for both domestic and commercial use.

Since Cookshack makes all sorts of grills, there is a good chance that you will find a model well-suited for your needs.   

Fast Eddy’s by Cookshack PG500 Pellet Grill


The Fast Eddy Grill is a versatile model since it performs equally well at both low and slow cooking as well as quick searing.

The grill is the result of collaboration between Cookshack grills and ‘Fast Eddy’ Maurin who is a champion BBQ chef. This is a grill designed by the champion for champions. It is a hot favorite with competitive BBQ chefs. Since Fast Eddy Maurin has expertise in grilling while Cookshack has grill manufacturing expertise, the collaborative venture between the two was bound to succeed.

From the very outset, Eddy realized that conventional pellet grills will appeal to those interested in low and slow cooking but will not hold much value for chefs interested in quick searing. Eddy envisaged a versatile all-in-one grill capable of both direct-flame and indirect heating.  

The PG1000 was capable of quick searing meat at high temperatures and slow cooking at low temperatures with wood pellet fuel. This capability was a completely new concept when the PG1000 was launched back in 2010. But Cookshack did not rest on their laurels. They made further innovations and changes. The end result was the PG500 which contains several refinements and improvements over the PG1000.

On the surface, it doesn’t appear to be too different compared to other grills. However, the innovative design of the Cookshack is radically different. Most grills follow a standard pattern where there is a firebox at the bottom, a diffuser plate above it and a cooking grate on top. Due to this configuration most pellet smokers cook by virtue of indirect convection. It is almost impossible to deploy direct heating with this arrangement. Consequently, pellet smokers are not ideal for direct flame cooking.

But with the pioneering design of the fast eddy you finally have a grill that permits 4 zone cooking.

The first zone is a direct flame cooking area that spans 10 inches wide by 18 inches deep. This region is perfect for quick searing through an open flame. This makes it one of the few pellet grills that can directly sear meat with an open flame without the need for a separate searing box.

The second zone is situated towards the right side of the firebox. This zone cooks food using indirect heat with or without pellet smoke. It measures 18 x 18 inches.

The third and fourth zones are located on a secondary surface that lies above the first and second zones. The third zone is located vertically above the firebox. Due to this placement it is substantially hotter as compared to the fourth zone. The fourth and final zone is located on top of the indirect heating zone.

The direct zones are covered with cast iron grates that are known for superior conductive properties. The other two zones have nickel-plated grilling grates.   

By creating these zones, the PG500 has simplified the art of fine grilling. You can now smoke your steak at low temperatures on one side. When smoke has permeated the steak for the right taste, you can take it off and then sear it in the direct flame zone. There are few grills that are as versatile as the PG500.

Although the PG500 appears to be more expensive than bargain pellet smokers, it is nevertheless a good deal since it is basically a two-in-one grill. You don’t need to buy a separate gas grill or a charcoal grill to quick sear smoked meat. You are gaining the full functionality of a separate charcoal/gas grill with the PG500 pellet grill.  

While the PG500 has many similarities with the PG1000, it also has key differences. The PG1000 was insulated but the PG500 is not. Perhaps one of the reasons why the manufacturers skipped insulation is to keep the cost down. The PG500 is indeed much cheaper as compared to its predecessor the PG1000 which at its time was perhaps the most expensive pellet grill.

Another important difference is that although the PG500 does have a side shelf, it has done away with the cart and storage area. These are probably cost reducing measures to make the grill more accessible to the masses.

Besides these key differences, the PG500 has many of the good qualities of the PG1000. This means that it retains most of the qualities that made the PG1000 a runaway success with professional barbecue chefs. It has retained these qualities while reducing the price significantly.

The construction quality of the PG500 is imposing. The grill structure is composed from riveted stainless steel plates due to which it has the appearance of a heavy duty commercial appliance. The high-grade stainless steel imparts corrosion resistance and durability to the grill. Due to corrosion resistance, the grill will not accumulate heavy rust even at elevated temperature. The grill will be able to work reliably well into the future. Besides rust proofing, stainless steel also imparts high aesthetic appeal to the grill.

Due to high quality construction material, the grill can last for a long time and keep your investment safe. This is a major advantage because powder-coated steel (that most pellet grills are made of) does not have the same quality as stainless steel. It is not just the exterior of the grill that is constructed from stainless steel. Several key parts inside the grill like the firebox and the diffuser plate are made out of stainless steel. This is important because these parts are continuously exposed to high heat throughout the duration of grilling. Ordinary steel can weaken over time and corrode when it is exposed to this level of heat for a long duration. In short, the enduring PG500 is built to last.   

The electronic digital controller is easy to operate. Even if you have little or no experience working with pellet grills, you won’t find the simplified controls of the PG500 to be challenging.

The ash drawer is mounted at the front of the grill for easy cleanup of ashes. Thanks to the drawer feature, ash removal has never been this easy.

Ash removal is important because it can interfere with grilling. if too much ash accumulates, then it will choke the airflow and put out the flame. Buildup of excessive ash can cause large temperature swings due to which it will be more difficult to maintain stable heat levels. The grill can even shut down halfway through the cooking session. Hence it is necessary to ensure that the grill is free of ashes. But unfortunately, ash cleanup is not that easy on most conventional pellet grills. You have to delve deep into the grill to vacuum the ashes. With the PG500, ash cleanup is as simple as opening the ash drawer. This will make ash removal much easier.  

The pellet hopper has a capacity of 25 pounds due to which it can hold enough wood pellets for prolonged smoking sessions without interruptions. Once you fully load the hopper, you won’t find that the grill has paused midway through a long cooking bout simply because it ran out of pellets.

Another great feature of the PG500 is the cold smoking ability. If you are interested in pellet smoking then you may want to smoke fish or cheese at some time. A number of delicious recipes call for these items. There is one catch however. Cold smoking on these delicate items must be carried out at only 90 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas, most conventional pellet grills have a low temperature threshold of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

To remedy this situation, you have to buy an attachment or accessory that will expose the food to smoke without subjecting it to excessive heat. This additional item is not required for the PG500. The unit has a warmer drawer that is capable of keeping food warm and cold smoking. This is a rare feature that you will not find in other standard pellet grills.

Cookshack Smokette Elite Electric Smoker

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Electric smokers have several advantages that cannot be found in even the best gas and charcoal grills. If you love smoke-flavored gourmet barbecue and need to cook large quantities of food, then you should consider the Cookshack Smokette Elite Electric Smoker.

The most interesting aspect of the Cookshack Smokette Elite is that although it is built for domestic use, it is very much akin to a heavy duty commercial machine. The design of the smoker makes this evident at first glance. It has the same appearance as commercial smokers. The key difference lies in size. The Cookshack Smokette Elite is not as large as its commercial counterparts.

This is not to say that the capacity of the Cookshack Smokette Elite is small. Quite the contrary. It is small only with respect to restaurant electric smokers that require high capacity to serve hundreds of customers each day.

The Cookshack Smokette Elite can accommodate up to 25 pounds of meat in one grilling session. It is safe to say that this electric pellet smoker is more than enough even for large families. In fact, it is the ideal appliance for feeding a large crowd of partygoers who have gathered in your backyard for a barbecue party.

The 750 watt heating element has ample power for cooking and smoking large quantities of food in one go. The entire grill is fabricated largely from stainless steel which imparts durability, rust resistance and visual appeal to the grill. The interior is also insulated for better heat retention. With better heat retention, heat losses are minimized. This means that you can cook more food for the same bag of wood pellets. Strong heat retention therefore brings down pellet fuel consumption which leads to higher savings.

The grill is able to achieve this high level of heat retention thanks to double walled stainless steel lining. Double walled steel sheets have good insulation capabilities because they have an air gap between them which is an efficient insulator. But since Cookshack is aiming for the best quality, the designers were not content with just an air gap. To take insulation to the next level they included fiber glass insulation which is even better at retaining heat. Thanks to use of high-quality insulation material, the Cookshack Smokette Electric Smoker will not get as hot as other ordinary grilling models even at high temperatures.

The cooking area is divided between 2 nickel-plated grills. The cooking area of each grill is 500 square inches, meaning that grill has a total cooking surface area of 1000 square inches. Despite the vast area, it has a much smaller footprint. The grills are easily detachable due to which they are easy to clean. You can also remove the upper grill if you want to grill larger items like whole chickens and turkeys.

At dimensions of 20.5 x 17.75 x 31.63 inches, the electric pellet smoker does not occupy as much volume as commercial models do. This is a big plus point, because the fairly compact dimensions mean that it can be stored with a fair amount of ease.     

The control interface is located conspicuously at the top. The bright red display on the tilted screen is hard to miss and it gives the grill a rather futuristic look. In fact with the bright red LED screen and scintillating stainless steel body, it looks quite like a space age grill. The grill has a clean and shiny look which tells you much about its quality and craftsmanship.

 There is a large detachable drip pan within the interior to collect grease that emanates from food as it is heated. Since the drip pan is easily removable, grill cleanup following a cooking session will be easier for you. The good news is that all removable parts are dishwasher safe. This means that you get to worry less on cleaning and focus more on grilling. This is a welcome feature since hardly anyone enjoys doing chores following a grill fest.

The grill is equipped with a built-in temperature probe that allows you to closely follow the temperature of your food. You are therefore aware at all stages of grilling of the extent to which the meal is grilled. With the temperature probe in place, you can cook the food without worrying that it will be burnt or overcooked and dry.

The state-of-the-art electronic controller maintains heat levels close to the target temperature. The heat sensor relays temperature readings of the grill interior to the controller which then sends signals to the electric heater. Due to this arrangement, the temperature swing is minimal.

Since the temperature control is so precise, the grill is very simple to use. You do not need to mind the grill constantly to monitor the temperature. The grill works well on its own close to the target temperature. Even beginners will therefore find the grill to be very user friendly.

The cold smoke baffle is an interesting accessory that you can purchase separately to cold smoke food. With this equipment, you can cold smoke cheese, fish, vegetables and other delicate items that require low heat levels.

The grill looks quite sturdy and is definitely not light since it is constructed from thick gauge stainless steel. Thankfully, the unit is supported by no less than 4 caster wheels so that you can haul it over short distances with less exertion. The wheels are also lockable so that you can safely install the grill in one place without fear that it may start moving away.

This is the closest that you will get to a commercial-grade electric smoker grill for your home. This grill should be at the top of your priority list if you seek a heavy-duty grill that is very nearly commercial-quality.

The robust construction means that the grill is enduring and built to last. Thanks to stainless steel sheets the grill has high resistance to rust and corrosion. It can therefore last for a long time without wearing out. Your investment will remain safe since this is a long lasting grill. In fact, you will get a good return on investment since this a grill that borders on commercial-level performance.

The major downside of this smoker is that it is a specialized product due to which its upper temperature threshold is just 300 degrees Fahrenheit. You should buy this grill if you are interested in smoking food rather than quick searing it.  

You cannot go wrong with a company that has almost 5 decades of experience in the grilling realm. If you love the idea of delicious gourmet barbecue meals then you should pay attention to the best Cookshack Pellet Grills and Smokers.

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