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 detail and who each accessory is best suited for.
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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 into 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 standing 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.
Camp Chef Insulated Blankets (Seriously Consider)
Unfortunately, at the moment, none of the models in the Camp Chef range features 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 about 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 to 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. 🙂
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