I recently saw the Louisiana Grills Champion Pellet Grill. For me, it is the largest pellet smoker grill in the world! This behemoth has a larger cooking space than the Camp Chef XXL by a mile. But is it efficient for grilling or smoking? Can you really utilize all (or almost all of the) 3,432 square inches of the total cooking area for a big block party or reunion?
After doing a test of Louisiana Grills as they compare with Traeger models, I've taken the liberty of reviewing the Louisiana Champion Pellet Grill and the key features, including the size, functions, cooking temperature range, cooking zones, and hopper size.
First, the cooking space is its differentiating factor. The grill has three cooking chambers, the main grill, the secondary cooking area or hot smoker, and the warming grill or cold smoker. All these amounts to a total cooking area of 3,432 square inches. I've never seen a smoker or grill that big. Or have you? So this would be great for a family reunion or a block party.
I also have to say the Champion series has what a lot of the Traeger pellet grills don't have – the sliding plate. This gives access to direct flame up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit when searing steak.
As it's a direct vent pellet grill, the two smoking cabinets feature separate ventilation controls that allow for hot and cold smoke simultaneously.
Digital control is possible with the programmed meat probe. Integrated exhaust systems improve airflow and reduce the amount of air in the mouth when opening the barrel's doors.
Something that Traeger grill owners complain about is the lack of ability to sear a steak. You can't sear your meat to seal and lock in the juice.
The first time I saw this grill, my thought was, No, this cannot be a grill, but a kind of vertical offset smoker like the Dyna-Glo charcoal smokers. But, yes, you can grill or sear on the Louisiana Grills pellet grill despite how large the size is. This is something that large smoker grills don't have.
Forget about its size, this grill works like any pellet grill or smoker. Pellet grilling or pellet smoking is powered by compressed sawdust. The pellets in the hopper are made to pass through an electric cylinder containing the auger.
Upon ignition, the pellets are fed into the fire chamber through the auger. Of course, the digitalcontrol panel is powered by electricity. Therefore, the user must have access to an electric socket to start using it.
There's a lot to talk about this giant grill. I'll start with the three cooking zones.
Seeing what the Louisiana Grills Champion Pellet Grill could do and how expansive the temperature range is, I must say this is the ultimate smoker grill. The Louisiana Grills product can go as low as 60 degrees Fahrenheit. This helps for warming your foods or for cold smoking.
You also have a large cooking capacity in the main grill. This grill can go all the way from 180 degrees to 600 degrees for all sorts of smoking and grilling recipes or reverse searing styles. The hot smoke chamber can smoke at 150 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
There's also the cold smoker which has a range of 60 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use this warming grill to throw a few racks of ribs on or warm or reheat your bread.
You have an amazing digital control panel located on the left side of the grill.
I know most people are used to using a dial or knob for controlling gas grills. But the digital touch display is easier to use. With a few touches on the Temp dial indicated by arrows, you can bring the grill down to 180 or 600 degrees.
The digital touch display also features a primer button. With the primer button, the Louisiana Grills pellet smoker has a way of automatically pushing pellets into the auger system. So if you push and hold the primer button, it's going to feed pellets into the machine. Therefore, if you want to boost the grill to some searing, you can push the primer.
Of course, the Louisiana Grills Champion has a meat probe too. And it's programmable. You can set the internal temperature you want (maybe 130 to 135 for a medium rare or up to 145 for medium doneness).
Then plug one end of the meat probe into the port labeled "meat probe" on the display. Next, plug the other end into your meat.
The amazing thing this grill has unlike other pellet grills is it will write when your meat reaches that desired temperature that you set it for.
Once the Louisiana Grills Champion reaches your desired cooking temperature, it's going to shut down automatically. Don't tell the ladies, but that means you could be sleeping while you're grilling!
The Louisiana Grills Champion series is going to shut down for you. It then tries to keep your meat warm while not overcooking it.
The grill has a 27 lbs large-capacity pellet hopper. They also sell an extension that you can add to the pellet hopper. This helps you to make it higher if you're going to do a really long smoke.
The warming chamber is on the right side of the grill. It has four racks and the internal temperature in the chamber goes from 150 degrees all the way up to 350 for medium-temperature smoke.
You can add racks of ribs on each one of the grates, or anything you want to smoke. I liked that there's a lot of space between the four racks. You can even slide another rack in to make it a fifth rack on the upper side. If your ribs aren't that big, you can even have up to six or seven racks, which is incredible.
This cooking compartment also has two sliders. The small one draws a small amount of heat and smoke. Meanwhile, the second one is a bit larger and helps to draw on a larger amount of heat.
You'll be able to control the smoke and heat by pulling those two sliders.
As for the third chamber, the cold smoker, this is something you don't see on a Traeger or other large pellet smokers.
The cold smoker is there if you want to cold-smoke foods. You can smoke cheese, pork belly, or make some bacon in it. You can get to a minimum of 60 degrees and get a maximum of 180 degrees smoking temperature.
The cold smoker has two racks but obviously, it's got enough room to have up to six racks in there. On the other hand, there are up to eight racks in the hot smoker.
So you could be making the meat for your sandwiches in the main chamber, have more meat in the second chamber and you can have breads in the warming chamber.
The grill also has an on-off damper at the top which looks like a chimney. This helps to draw the smoke out and keep the smoke in. It all depends on how much you want the smoke inside to be.
There's a grease drawer below each smoker. Altogether, there are three of them and they have stainless steel handles. Don't worry, they won't get hot.
What the grease catchers do is collect the grease from your juicy food as they cook. But you have to take them out and clean them periodically.
As expected, the grill has a set of four large but strong industrial wheels on the bottom. Louisiana Grills thought about the safety of the grill with these rolling wheels. So they provided lockers so you can lock the wheels when you get the grill in place.
The two other spaces at the bottom of the grill which look like another set of cooking chambers are actually for storage.
You could stick a couple of large bags, store your pellets, extra racks, or store sheet pans in each of these great storage cabinet spaces.
Louisiana Grills also made a provision for a side shelf. Here, you have your towel rack and a nice cutting tray or holding tray, whichever how you want to see it. In addition, a propane burner can fit on that side table if you want. Another extra feature on the side table is the bottle opener for smoking and chilling. Otherwise, the bottle opener would be handy when you are handling a BBQ sauce recipe.
How well does the grill perform? How demanding is the cleaning and how sturdy or durable is it? Read on to find out.
You can't imagine what the Champion Wood Pellets could do. The temperature can drop to 60 degrees which is a great smoke output for cold smoking inside the side cabinet. You can also make it go up to 600 degrees for grilling.
In addition, it has an open grating system for smoking half a dozen rack steaks or meat. You can grill pizzas or smoke shrimp or seafood on the grill.
Louisiana Grill uses strong materials to create a durable grill that lasts many generations. That didn't change with the Champion series. They are constructed using heavy 14-gauge steel. The entire thing is then coated with a durable powder coat.
The high-quality cast iron grill grates on the other hand are coated in an anti-slip coating. Heat retention is maximized by the heat retention system and the removable shelves are easily cleaned after the procedure.
However, due to the size, installing the Louisiana Grills Champion Pellet Grill may be an arduous endeavor. After all, it is a large unit. There are quite a lot of components, and when it's completely assembled, the weight is incredible!
The Champion wood pellet grill is quite a beast. So, you can expect that the cleaning process takes you several days to finish once you have used the entire room.
However, it consists mostly of porcelain enameled grates so it prevents food from sticking. Grease can be removed when washing with clean soapy water. I like that the porcelain coating will protect against corrosion.
A number of people reported smoke circulating inside the house while using this. However, this problem exists in most smokers, regardless of the quality of construction.
The most suitable way is to buy smoker gaskets that are 1/8” thick. Besides, I don't see why anyone should be comfortable with using a barbecue grill indoors. 2.67 percent of wood pellets amount to CO2 emissions. So, a pellet grill is meant for an outdoor kitchen or any space on the terrace or backyard.
Also, large pellet grills like this produce large amounts of grease. It is necessary to remove grease from a machine every time to prevent grease from burning. Thankfully, there are three grease trays in the grill, one beneath each chamber to catch all the flowing grease.
The Louisiana Grills Champion is not popular among grillers but it's pretty incredible. It's the largest grill you've ever laid your eyes upon. If you host a party and want to have a lot of cooking going on at once, you better go for this. Plus, it's not sold for the price of a regular charcoal offset smoke. This is an electric pellet grill and the good news is it costs just a thousand bucks.