I have been a bistro chef for ten years now and I’m always looking to make my meat not only mouthwatering but also aesthetically satisfying to my customers. The Weber SmokerFire Ex 4, gets the job done each time.
In this article, I will recommend the top picks across different brands and outline why each is a great pellet grill for searing.
To achieve a lovely sear, check out the pellet grills below:
My Top Choice
Weber has earned a name for itself in the grilling industry with their expertly crafted line of grills. With over fifty years of manufacturing and distributing grilling and barbecue gear, Weber is a leading authority in this sector.
The SmokeFire Ex4 offers a large cooking area, and premium features like advanced smoke level settings while remaining in the mid-price range. It also offers a higher maximum temperature than most grills on the market. These considerations make it my to-go searing grill.
The Weber SmokeFire Ex4 has a range of 200°F-600°F that you can control using the digital control panel. This high maximum temperature makes it a great pellet grill for searing.
You can bake, roast, barbecue, grill, sear, braise, and broil thanks to this wide temperature range.
For even more control over your grill, Weber Connect smart features are available as long as there is WiFi connectivity to give you remote access to the internal temperature of your appliance.
It also comes with LED lighting in case you ever find yourself searing at night.
The Weber Ex4 has a mostly shiny black, porcelain enamel finish that helps makes the grill more resistant to temperature changes outside the grill. The cooking grates are made with plated steel that is very easy to clean with warm water.
The Weber SmokeFire Ex4 offers a total cooking area of 672 sq. inches split between an upper rack that measures 240 sq. inches and a lower one offering the remaining 432 sq. inches
It has a side table for your preparation needs and a large hopper capacity of 20 lbs. This means that you will not keep refilling the hopper bin as often as you would with other grills.
Below this grill is a tray to collect ash and a disposable grease pan. All you have to do is empty the ash and clean the grease pan using hot water.
The Weber SmokeFire has a 3-year warranty on the electrical components, cooking grates, controller bezel, pellet grate, the heat baffle, pellet slide, and burn pot.
All the other components fall under a 5-year warranty.
I recommend this grill to a versatile griller. The wide temperature range makes this grill perfect to try different recipes on. Should your well of ideas run dry, check out the Weber app. If this pellet grill piques your interest, then you should also consider the Traeger Grill Pro Series 780.
Most Versatile, Affordable Pellet Grill
The Camp Chef Woodwind 24 pellet grill comes from another renowned industry guru. It can function as a pellet grill or a gas grill. This grill was clearly made to be the only appliance you need in your backyard.
It comes with a sidekick attachment and a sear box that makes it the ultimate versatile grill. They both run on propane, giving you all the functionality of a gas grill. The sidekick is compatible with several BBQ accessories like a cast iron griddle, pizza oven, stock pot, and a lot more so there is little you cannot do with this grill.
This Camp Chef grill has a range of 160°F-500°F. It’s fitted with a digital temperature control that keeps the temperature within +/-5°F.
It also comes with a 1-10 intensity smoke adjustment setting. This means that on this pellet grill, you can either choose just a hint of smoke for your searing or a deep smoke flavor.
Aside from that, it features slide and grill technology that facilitates the Camp Chef Sear Box. This sear box allows for direct flame grilling and has a maximum temperature of 900°F perfect for high heat searing and char grilling.
The sidekick attachment offers lets you bake, fry, sear, stew, grill, roast, char grill, and is compatible with a variety of accessories to make outdoor cooking a breeze.
The Camp Chef Woodwind 24 also has smart features to give you access to Camp Chef Connect App should you need more grilling assistance.
This Camp Chef wood-fired pellet grill is made of stainless steel while the cooking grates are made of coated porcelain. Stainless steel will protect the grill from rust while a porcelain coat makes cleaning easier.
It is fitted with a narrow window that lets you keep an eye on the food as it cooks. Its wheels are rubberized, making it easier to move around.
The Camp Chef Woodwind 24 has 811 sq. inches of cooking space. This cooking area is split between two stainless steel cooking racks. The bottom rack offers 429 sq. inches of space while the upper rack offers 382 sq. inches.
It is also fitted with two side shelves, and one front shelf and has a large hopper capacity of 22 lbs. This grill gives a generous working surface and the hopper capacity ensures you do not have to worry about replenishing the fuel.
This Camp Chef grill has a grease bucket to collect the grease coming out of the chamber and an ash clean-out system attached to the bottom of the barrel. It also features a pellet hopper clean-out system they like to call the purge.
Camp Chef has a considerate 3-year warranty for some components like the body, lid, legs, hopper body, bottom shelf, and cooking grates.
Other components fall within a 1 year warranty period. These include valves, drip trays, burners, auger motors, pellet sensors, wheels, probes, and others.
This Camp Chef Woodwind is a great option if you often sear or grill for larger gatherings of more than 5 people.
This grill has a sidekick attachment and a sear box that make it possible to employ any recipe your little heart desires because it is the ultimate versatile premium grill. Considering all its specifications, this grill is reasonably priced compared to all other premium pellet grills that are currently on the market.
For The Long Haul
Traeger is the founder of the pellet grill so you can expect them to feature a star pellet grill that can allow you to sear your meat.
This grill features a sturdy construction with Traeger’s signature dual wall design for better insulation that in the long run will save you a lot on fuel and time. Meet The Traeger Pro series 575 pellet grill:
This pellet grill gets to a maximum temperature of 500 degrees Fahrenheit and comes with a turbo boost. It is controlled by an advanced D2 controller. It is also equipped with WiFire functionality for more control over your grill.
The Traeger 575 Pro Series lid comes in either all-black or rustic bronze.
The cooking chamber, sawhorse chassis, and pellet hopper of the Traeger Pro 575 are all made of heavy gauge stainless steel which makes it resistant to rust. Its cooking grates are made of porcelain-coated grill grates that are really easy to clean.
The Pro 575 will give you a total cooking space of 572 sq. inches. The upper rack gives you 154 sq. inches of searing room while the lower rack gives you 418 sq. inches.
This Traeger grills wood pellet grill has added storage hooks and a large hopper capacity of 18 lbs. This is ideal since you will not disrupt the cooking process when the hopper needs a refill.
The only feature that aids in this grill’s clean-up job is a trapdoor that empties the hopper.
Traeger 575 grill comes with a reasonable 3-month warranty period.
Traeger 575 wood pellet grill will be a bonus if you love smoked meat. It smokes really well. It is also great if you are a stickler for consistent results.
It is very durable and offers great performance. A good alternative for this grill if storage space is a must for you is Z Grills 700D4E.
On A Tight Budget
The 440 Deluxe is especially affordable for a grill that offers all the functionality of searing grills and includes a broil function. 350 dollars is a fair price for it.
The Pit Boss 440 Deluxe offers a temperature range of 180°F-500°F. It can go low enough to slow-cook a brisket and get hot enough to sear a piece of steak. It gets better.
It is also fitted with a flame broiler feature that allows for direct flame searing using very high heat. This temperature can get to 1,000°F. It has a digital controller where you dial in your pull temperature and control your pellet grill.
Via WiFi or Bluetooth, you have optimum control of your grill from your device. This makes for a controlled searing experience.
The body of this Pit Boss Deluxe is made out of stainless steel, so rust won’t be a problem. The cooking grates are made of porcelain-coated steel, making them easy to clean.
The 440 Deluxe grill by Pit Boss gives you a total cooking surface of 518 sq. inches, perfect for small-medium size gatherings. This space is split between two cooking racks.
The lower rack offers 373 sq. inches of cooking space while the upper rack offers the remaining 145 sq. inches.
It comes with a small pellet hopper capacity of 5 lbs which is not sufficient for long cooking sessions and will require constant monitoring as well as a refill.
This Pit Boss pellet grill allows you an organized work surface with one foldable side shelf and tool hooks to hold your tools. It also has extra storage space in the form of a bottom utility shelf.
For easy cleanup, this grill comes with a steel grease bucket that you can wash regularly with warm water.
The Pit Boss 440 Deluxe comes with a generous 5-year warranty that is great value for money.
With this grill, you can eat your cake and have it too. If you are working with a tight budget but are not willing to compromise on the other features, then this grill was made for you.
On The Go
Next is yet another industry titan, Green Mountain Grills with a fairly new pellet grill dubbed the Trek. Let’s take a look:
A good pellet grill for searing will offer the high temperatures required for searing while being highly portable. This is what the Trek brings to the table.
It is a compact grill that weighs only 63 pounds and does not need any setup to get started, unlike other portable pellet grills including Traeger’s Tailgater or the Pursuit by Camp Chef.
Another feature that makes it ideal for the road is the receptacle fitted in the rear of the grill which makes it possible to use multiple power sources.
It has a 115 VAC to 12 VDC that you can plug directly into the standard wall outlet and a wire with a male plug on both ends that can be connected to the cigarette lighter in your car.
If that won’t work for you, you can use a pair of alligator clips to connect it to your car battery. This grill is ready to go whenever you are.
The temperature on Trek ranges between 150°F-500°F, low enough for slow cooking and high enough to sear. It is fitted with a digital controller to maintain internal temperatures.
It also comes with smart control functions and access to the GMG App enabled via a WiFi network. The GMG up lets you set and adjust the temperature, monitor your grill, ask for assistance, and turn off your grill remotely which is a big help when you are trying to soak up the outdoors.
The body of the Trek by Green Mountain is made of powder-coated steel which is quite simple to clean. The other components are made of stainless steel, which makes it rust-resistant.
This grill has one rack that offers a cooking space of around 219 sq. inches on one rack which is sufficient for around three people. It has a pellet hopper capacity of 9 lbs which is enough for short barbecue sessions.
The Trek comes with a stainless steel bucket for grease management.
Green Mountains Grills stands by their product with a 3-year warranty period.
The Trek is the best portable pellet grill. It is designed for the traveler, tail gaiter, camper, hiker, and even the sailor.
The ideal searing temperature ranges between 450°F-600°F. Most searing is done at 500°F but higher temperatures will give you mouth-watering sear marks. The best pellet grills for searing have a maximum temperature of 500°F and above.
If you mostly grill for a family of five or less, a cooking area of about 400 square inches should be enough. For a crowd of more than six, you will be better served by a cooking area of roughly 600 sq. inches.
You could also hunt for a grill that comes with a sear box attachment. Just as the name suggests, the sear box is designed specifically to reach high temperatures, which is perfect for searing. Unfortunately, attaching the sear box means you have to do with a smaller working surface.
Most of the pellet grills on the market will have two cooking racks to maximize the cooking surface.
You should also consider the size of the grill, your storage space, and lifestyle. If you have a large outdoor space that can fit a large grill, go for it. For a small space, you should go for a smaller pellet grill model.
Some can even be rolled away meaning you set it anywhere and sear without much hustle.
Most pellet grills are efficient for indirect heat cooking which requires a temperature of up to 450°F.
Although you can sear at this temperature, you will not achieve the sear marks. The best pellet grills for searing are those that have a maximum temperature of 500°F and above.
The cooking grate comes into direct contact with the meat you sear, so you might want to go for a material that absorbs and retains more heat.
Some cooking grates are made of coated porcelain, others from stainless steel, while others are made of cast iron grates. I recommend metal because it can absorb a lot of heat. Thermodynamics dictates that metal is a great conductor of heat.
If you like nice sear marks on your meat, get one that has cast iron grates. Cast iron grates absorb a lot of heat and can stand the test of time.
To make cleaning easier, go for pellet grills that have features like an ash clean-out to empty the fuel remnants and a drip bucket to collect the grease pouring out of the cooking chamber. Some manufacturers call this a grease management system.
A pellet grill is a high-utility equipment that should be sturdy enough to withstand drastic temperature changes, regular movement, and a lot of moisture content without rusting or getting damaged.
The best pellet grills will feature heavy gauge steel construction for longevity.
The larger the better. I prefer not having to replenish pellets all through the duration of the cook. A hopper capacity of 15 lbs. should be enough for most recipes.
Technology is integrated into pellet grills to give the owner automatic temperature control. Many consider it a necessity but I have done some of my best work without using tech.
That said, it can be a very useful tool for novice grillers, and I love that you can always get your grill started remotely.
My top recommendation, based on the temperature needed to achieve the most aesthetically pleasing sear marks, is the Weber Smokefire Ex 4. At 600°F your sear marks are certain to impress.
While there are many grills to choose from, Weber Smokefire Ex 4 tops my list of the best pellet grills for searing. Its advanced smoke level settings coupled with high cooking temperatures make it ideal for getting those eye catching sear marks. But, it might not be the most affordable choice.
If you’re on a budget, I suggest the Pit Boss 440 Deluxe Wood Pellet Grill. Despite its comparatively lower features, it will still get the job done.
In the end, the ideal grill for you comes down to your requirements. I hope you find the right balance between price and specifications.