Camp Chef XXL Pro – The Best Pellet Smoker Ever?

Hi, I’m Chris. I started back in 2007.

With the huge range of pellet smoker brands we now have on the market, the competition to offer the best product at the best price point has never been tougher. To stand out from the crowd, new products have got to offer something new and innovative. Well, with this article, we are going to discuss the Camp Che XXL Pro vertical pellet smoker. Which may just be, as we’ll discuss below, the best pellet smoker to come onto the market. Right, let’s get into this!

Camp Chef XXL Pro Vertical Pellet Smoker
The Camp Chef XXL Pro Vertical Pellet Smoker has features not currently found on any other vertical pellet smoker: Image –

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.

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Introduction To The Camp Chef XXL Pro Vertical Pellet Smoker

When it comes to pellet BBQs and the first brand that comes to mind (Traeger), most people think of your typical horizontal pellet grill/smoker.

However, as I’ve argued previously in my article on horizontal vs vertical pellet smokers, I think many people would actually be better served with a vertical pellet smoker if they already own a gas grill.

With a vertical pellet smoker for the equivalent cost of a horizontal pellet grill/smoker, you are getting a much larger cooking area which is also better suited for cooking things like a beer can chicken.

Camp Chef is no strange to the benefits of vertical pellet smokers. Their previous effort, the standard XXL vertical pellet smoker, was best-in-class in many ways. However, they now have the XXL Pro.

Being able to get more smoke from a ‘smoker’ is obviously an improvement: Video –

Before we discuss the new features of the Camp Chef XXL Pro and why it may very well be the best smoker for its price point to date, I’ve provided a quick table below with some key figures.

Camp Chef XXL Pro Vertical Pellet Smoker Specs
FeaturesCamp Chef XXL Pro
Cooking Area2,408
No of Racks8 (301 per rack)
Temp Range150 to 350 F
Hopper Capacity30 lbs
PID Temperature ControlYes
WiFi/App SupportYes
Weight145 lbs
Typical Price$899

Its All About The Smoke Box

So you may look at the specs above and if you are familiar with other vertical pellet smokers, such as the wide range of Pit Boss vertical pellet smokers, and go, so what!?

What is the Camp Chef XXL Pro bringing to the table that we have not already seen before on other vertical pellet smokers? Well, its the Smoke Box, obviously.

Those ‘in the know’ will be aware that the Camp Chef Smoke Box was first seen on the Woodwind Pro, which is a horizontal pellet smoker/grill.

Camp Chef has now taken that concept and used it to upgrade their vertical pellet smoker to now be what I personally regard as the best product of its kind currently on the market.

Camp Chef XXL Pro Vertical Pellet Smoker Smoke Box
The Smoke Box is what set’s the Camp Chef XXL Pro apart from all other vertical pellet smokers: Image –

With the addition of the Smoke Box, users, when they choose to, can add additional smoke flavour beyond that of just burning pellets to smoke with wood chunks/chips or charcoal.

The Smoke Box sits above the pellet burn pot. Hence, you do not have to manually ignite the fuel within the Smoke Box. The pellet fire will ignite the fuel in the Smoke Box.

You may be thinking, ‘but how do you control the level of smoke produced from the Smoke Box?‘ Well, that is achieved with the adjustable butterfly valve.

Camp Chef Smoke Box
On the left, you can see the butterfly handle, which can be adjusted to control the rate of burn in the Smoke Box: Image –

Why Can A Smoke Box Produce More Smoke Than Pellets?

You may also be wondering why a pellet smoker would even need an additional source of wood chips, chunks or charcoal to produce additional smoke?

Well, the reason is that pellets, by design, burn very efficiently. Hence, you can get a lot of heat output from burning a small number of pellets, which has obvious benefits.

Many pellet smokers have a Smoke Setting that will reduce the rate of new fuel/pellets and air fed into the burn pot to make the pellets smoulder to a certain extent.

However, a small smouldering pile of pellets will not produce as much smoke as smouldering lumps of wood/charcoal. Hence, this is why the Smoke Box provides additional functionality.

The combustion of pellets still provides stable cooking temperatures within 5 degrees with the PID control panel fitted to the XXL Pro, and the Smoke Box can provide additional smoke flavour.

The Camp Chef XXL Pro Is Also A Cold Smoker

The lowest temperature setting on the XXL Pro when burning pellets is 150 degrees. Its not really possible to have a pellet fire burning lower than this without a flameout situation.

However, what the control panel on the XXL Pro allows the owner to do is run the control panel in Fan Mode only. Hence, no new pellets are being added to the burn pot.

This means with some wood chips, chunks or charcoal in the Smoke Box, once ignited, Fan Mode can just maintain that smouldering for cold smoking cheese, fish, nuts etc.

Camp Chef XXL Pro vs Woodwind Pro

As I’ve discussed above, the Smoke Box from Camp Chef was originally introduced on the Woodwind Pro models, and those models do have additional benefits over the XXL Pro.

For instance, the Woodwind Pro models feature a stainless steel cooking chamber. Furthermore, as a horizontal BBQ, it can also be used as a grill.

However, as I discuss in my article on the Woodwind Pro, its a pellet smoker first and foremost and its grilling/searing performance is limited due to its lack of direct-flame access.

Camp Chef Woodwind Pro Models
While the Woodwind Pro 24 (left) and 36 (right) are very capable, I would argue the XXL Pro is better value: Images –

While the Woodwind Pro models can grill (sort of), they are nowhere near as capable of grilling/searing as a standard Camp Chef Woodwind or the Camp Chef Apex gas/pellet grills.

Therefore, when comparing the new XXL Pro vertical pellet smoker vs the Woodwind Pro models, we are really just talking about smoking/going low and slow.

Well, when it comes to value, I think the XXL Pro blows the two Woodwind Pro models out of the water, as the Woodwind Pro 24 is $1,199, and the Pro 36 is $1,499.

In terms of cooking area, the Woodwind Pro 24 provides a total of 811, and the Pro 36 provides a total of 1,236

As a reminder, the XXL Pro Vertical Pellet Smoker is priced at $899 and provides a total cooking area of 2,408 and still features the same PID/WiFi technology but with a larger pellet hopper to boot.

Final Thoughts On The Camp Chef XXL Pro…

I genuinely believe more people should consider a vertical pellet smoker over a horizontal pellet grill/smoker if they already own a gas grill.

Often for less money, by purchasing a vertical pellet smoker used alongside an existing gas grill, you can smoke and sear with the best of them.

On the vertical pellet smoker side of things, there is little doubt in my mind that the Camp Chef XXL Pro, for its feature set of PID temperature control, WiFi/App support, and the new Smoke Box, its the best vertical pellet smoker currently on the market.

That’s it! As always, thanks for reading. If you would like to learn more, please check out my Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide or my Grilling/Smoking Guides. 🙂

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Chris -

Hi, I’m Chris. I started back in 2007. This website is intended to be an educational resource on BBQ pellets, pellet grills & smokers. I hope you find the information useful.

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