While there are the typical accessories you can get for a Camp Chef pellet grill/smoker such as a front shelf or additional racks for jerky etc, there are really three accessories that any current or future Camp Chef owner should be aware of. They are the Gen 2 PID/WiFi Controller, the SideKick or Sear Box Accessories and finally the Camp Chef Blankets. Either/all of these pellet grill/smoker accessories can provide additional utility/convenience to your cooking experience. So let’s discuss these Camp Chef accessories/upgrades in a bit more details and who each accessory is best suited for.
Disclaimer: Hey! By the way… any links on this page that lead to products on Amazon or other sites are affiliate links, and I earn a commission if you make a purchase.
Gen 2 WiFi/PID Control Panel Upgrade
There are three ranges/types of Camp Chef pellet cookers. You have the entry-level SmokePro range, the more expensive/premium Woodwind range and then they also produce a vertical pellet smoker, the XXL.
The current second generation of Woodwind pellet grills/smokers already feature WiFi/PID functionality. However, if you own or are looking to purchase a second-hand SmokePro or Gen 1 Woodwind, then this Gen 2 WiFi/PID control panel may be of interest.
I have a separate article that does a deep dive on what additional benefits and features this Gen 2 WiFi/PID control panel can provide, but I’ll provide a quick summary here.
In terms of WiFi/Smartphone functionality, it means you will be able to monitor/control the grill from your phone. With the Camp Chef Connect app you can not only adjust the temperature, monitor the internal meat probes and set timers you can also independently adjust the smoke level from 1 to 10.
Now, if you mainly spend your time grilling/searing then WiFi functionality may not be that useful, as you are stood next to the grill most of the time anyway.
While Camp Chef pellet grills with ‘Slide n’ Grill’ functionality can sear well, all pellet grills are still first and foremost best at being indirect cookers.
Long ‘low and slow’ cooks are not just where WiFi/Smartphone functionality comes in, it’s also where the second feature of the Gen 2 control panel comes in, PID temperature control.
PID stands for Proportional, Integral, Derivative which is a mathematical algorithm and a more precise means of controlling the temperature in a pellet grill/smoker.
In my article on PID control panels, I go into detail on the benefits, but it essentially provides tighter temperature management to within 5 degrees of the set temperature.
It also importantly means the pellet grill/smoker can adapt to changes in the ambient temperature around the pellet cooker and wind speed changes.
Camp Chef SearBox Or SideKick Upgrade
With pretty much all Camp Chef pellet grills a propane Sear Box or SideKick can be added. On the Camp Chef website, many models are sold as new with the option of either of these accessories.
Now, the Sear Box and SideKick are two separate accessories that perform a very similar purpose. Therefore, you would only ever choose one of these accessories, not both of them, so what are the differences between them?
In my separate article on the Sear Box vs SideKick, I discuss the differences and the benefits of each. While the initial purchase price of each is the same (currently just under $300), that doesn’t tell the whole storey.
For instance, the SideKick can ultimately provide more utility/functionality as well as providing a higher BTU heat output. There are lots of accessories for the SideKick making it currently the best propane attachment for a pellet grill/smoker on the market.
The Sear Box on the other hand is not as flexible and is not compatible with a wide range of additional accessories, so why would anyone choose the Sear Box over the SideKick?
Well, the Sear Box when it comes to searing is the cheaper option, to sear with the SideKick will require additional accessories hence additional cost. Therefore, if money is tight and you’re only interested in additional searing functionality, the Sear Box may be the better option.
I previously wrote an article on Pit Boss accessories/upgrades and referenced their single burner tabletop griddle.
When it comes to pellet grills in general they are best suited to indirect cooking, and while some with direct-flame access which includes Camp Chef and Pit Boss grills are good grills, having the additional high heat of propane on hand can still provide a lot of utility.
Camp Chef Insulated Blankets (Seriously Consider)
Unfortunately at the moment none of the models in the Camp Chef range feature twin-wall construction, therefore, any Camp Chef owner should seriously consider a Camp Chef insulated blanket.
Their blankets are available for 24″, 30″ and 36″ wide grills which cover all of the current Camp Chef models. Furthermore, an insulated blanket is also available for the Camp Chef vertical pellet smoker the XXL.
If you’re curious how much of a difference an insulated blanket can make to the internal temperatures inside a pellet grill/smoker, please check out my article on insulated blankets.
You’ll see that during the cooler months of the year, the difference an insulated blanket can make is significant, not only to the amount of money you’ll save on pellets but also in the quality/consistency of the food you will produce.
A pellet grill/smoker is a significant investment for most people, therefore to make the most of that investment to be able to get good results all year round you should seriously consider an insulated blanket.
The price range for these Camp Chef insulated blankets is between $100 – $200 depending on their size. Are there cheaper generic insulated blankets on Amazon etc?
Sure, should you get one of those instead though? Well, remember that the generic blankets are not designed to fit a specific grill, hence opening and closing a grill lid with a generic blanket could get frustrating quickly.
Also, I would personally always stick to a blanket that attaches to the grill with magnets like the Camp Chef blankets above. Using straps to secure a blanket to a grills lid etc is just asking for trouble with trapped straps etc.
Conclusions On The Best Camp Chef Accessories/Upgrades
So above are what I believe to be the most important/best Camp Chef accessories/upgrades currently available, and ideally, where applicable all of them should be considered.
But let’s say money is tight and you can only consider one of the above upgrades, which should you consider first? Well, it all comes down to individual circumstances. If your available time to monitor the cook is really limited, then the Gen 2 WiFi/PID control panel upgrade should really be a top priority.
However, if you live in a cold climate and you have the time to monitor the cook, then an insulated blanket would probably be your best first option.
In most cases, I would probably suggest the Sear Box/SideKick should be considered after the Gen 2 WiFi/PID controller or an insulated blanket.
While the Sear Box/SideKick provides a lot of additional functionality/convenience, it is possible via other means by taking the meat back into your kitchen to finish it off with a sear etc to achieve the same results.
Then again, if you do have the funds available, to make your outside cooking experience as easy as possible then the Sear Box/SideKick is definitely worth considering.
That’s it! I hope you found this summary of what I believe to be the best Camp Chef accessories/upgrades useful/interesting. If you have more questions my Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide should come in handy. 🙂
Back in 2007 when I first become aware of pellet grills and smokers the only brand I was really aware of was Traeger. Traeger is really where this whole concept of cooking with pellets started in the 1980s. It was a ‘slow burner’ (pardon the pun) but since the 2010s is really when pellet grills and smokers started to get mainstream awareness, discussed alongside gas and charcoal grills. There are now over 30 pellet grill/smoker brands that I’m aware of, and the link above goes to my A to Z list of brands article.
Now, you may already be aware of a few of the other brands such as Pit Boss, Camp Chef, Z Grills and I’m sure you are aware of Weber, though you may not have known they have entered the pellet grill game. However, they are now many, many more brands to look into. Some may be what are commonly referred to as ‘Traeger clones’, but many others are offering their own unique designs and features.
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In this article, I provide details on over 20 brands of BBQ wood pellets, their range of flavours, whether they are 100% single wood species or hardwood blended pellets, their typical price and where they are available. I also provide tips on how to get the best deal when buying BBQ wood pellets and how to test pellet quality. Finally, I discuss the new kid on the block, charcoal pellets and their special attributes compared to all other hardwood BBQ pellets.