I’ve been watching the pellet grill market develop considerably over the last decade. There have been many makes and models of pellet grills that have caught my eye in terms of their features, capabilities and price point. However, there has been nothing within the last ten years that has shocked me to the same extent at the Cuisinart Woodcreek (pellet grill) and Twin Oaks (pellet/gas grill). Both of these large/feature-rich pellet grills are available for under $700! For a relatively new player to the wood pellet grill game, Cuisinart is coming in strong. So with this post, I want to run through why I think these grills are really something special compared to the economy/practical pellet grills they are competing against. I’ve also searched and found some of the best owner reviews I can find for these impressive budget pellet grills.
Above I stated that Cuisinart is a ‘relatively’ new player to the pellet grill game. The reason being the Woodcreek and Twin Oaks pellet grills are not the first pellet grills Cuisinart have offered. However, their earlier offerings just seemed to be rebranded Z-Grills. However, the Woodcreek and Twin Oaks pellet grills appear to have been developed in-house and are not offered under any other brand. Hence, these grills appear to be Cuisinart’s first attempt at producing their own pellet grill.
Now, Cuisinart is a very well established cooking appliance brand started in the 1970s. Therefore, you may think they would obviously produce a competitive pellet grill straight out of the gate. Well, you would also think that about Weber. Unfortunately, it appears with their first attempt the SmokeFire pellet grill they need to go back to the drawing board.
Before I start to discuss the features of these grills below, I really do just have to emphasize what good value these grills are. I stated above they cost under $700. Well, the Woodcreek is actually priced below $600. While there are other very good pellet grills around this price point such as Broil King and Camp Chef SmokePro and Woodwind pellet grills there are features on the Woodcreek and Twin Oaks which clearly set them apart.
Introduction To The Cuisinart Woodcreek and Twin Oaks Grills
The reason I’ve decided to cover both the Cuisinart Woodcreek and Twin Oaks within the same post is while they are not the same grill they are of a similar design and construction. The Woodcreek is purely a pellet grill/smoker and the cheaper of the two. The Twin Oaks is a combined pellet/gas grill, in terms of total width its slightly larger than the Woodcreek. The Woodcreek provides a stated 862 square inches of cooking area whereas the Twin Oaks provides 900 square inches split between the pellet grill and gas grill sections. For you to quickly see the size and capabilities of each of these Cuisinart grills I’ve included each of their promotional videos below. Both are very short at under 2 mins each.
Now, for the price point of these grills, they would sit in either the economy or practical class. If you are not sure on the different pellet grill classes please read my post on how to find the best type/class of pellet grill to meet your needs. The Woodcreek and Twin Oaks are offering a ‘lot of bang for your buck’ and compare very well to other pellet grills they are competing against. Camp Chef with their propane sear box/sidekick really started this idea of a combination pellet/gas grill. The Twin Oak is an impressive evolution of the idea, which I think will continue to develop going forward. Below, I discuss the features that stand out on these Cuisinart pellet grills. However, I also what features are lacking compared to other higher specification pellet grills.
Stainless Steel Insulated Lids with Viewing Windows
Normally when I discuss which features on a pellet grill stands out to me I’ll start with the hopper size, ash management system etc. However, with Cuisinart Woodcreek and Twin Oaks grills, the first thing I want to draw your attention to is their lids. Both units feature twin wall stainless steel insulated lids with viewing windows. Not only do you not find this feature on any other pellet grill in the economy/budget/practical segment, but you also don’t find this feature on many premium pellet grills!
For instance, you don’t get a stainless steel lined lid on a Traeger Ironwood, you have to upgrade to a Timberline for a stainless steel insulated lid. Now, just to clarify, I’m not claiming the Woodcreek/Twin Oaks pellet grills are comparable to premium grade pellet grills in other areas because their not. Read more about that in my Traeger vs Cuisinart post. However, with regards to their lids, they are easily a step above the competition in their price bracket.
Viewing Window and Perimeter Lid Gasket
While its generally an undisputed fact that you will produce food with better flavour on a pellet grill over a gas grill it is often argued that pellet grills don’t reach the high temperatures (450+) that gas grills easily reach. Now in some instances with certain pellet grills, this is a fair complaint. Furthermore, you will generally have to wait longer for a pellet grill to warm up over a gas grill. Therefore, on a pellet grill its even more important to keep that heat in as much as possible. So you don’t want to open the lid too frequently as you will lose a lot of heat. With both the Woodcreek and Twin Oaks pellet grills you have full-width viewing window along with halogen lamps in the back of the grill so you can easily see how the cook is going without having to lift the lid.
Furthermore, the lids feature a full perimeter gasket to keep the heat in when the grill lid is closed. You may be thinking ‘is a lid gasket really a standout feature?’, well yes it is. Typically, with wood pellet grills you only find full perimeter lid gaskets on the premium models. I also want to note on both the Woodcreek and Twin Oaks grills you get an analogue temperature gauge. Its personally a feature I always want to see on any pellet grill with a digital controller so you can compare what the control panel is stating the temperature to be compared to the actual temperature inside the grill. Its lets you know if that digital control panel is faulty.
Large 30LB Pellet Hopper and Quick Ash Removal Feature
Another feature which sets the Woodcreek and Twin Oaks pellet grills apart from the competition is their absolutely huge 30lb pellet hopper. On most pellet grills around this price point, you will find an 18lb hopper or maybe a 22lb pellet hopper. Any pellet hopper size over 20lbs benefits from the fact it can take a whole 20lbs bag of BBQ wood pellets in one go. Furthermore, if you are doing a very long and slow cook of say brisket/pork butt overnight you want a larger pellet hopper. Well, at 30lbs the pellet hopper is far larger than the competition. There may be a premium pellet grill out there that has a pellet hopper of comparable size, but at this moment I can’t actually think of one! It also features a pellet sensor to tell you when the hopper is empty. Its not as advanced as the Traeger pellet sensor, but that sensor is fitted to much more expensive grills.
Both the Woodcreek and Twin Oaks also benefit from a quick release ash removal system. You simply pull a slide valve and the ash drops down into the ashtray below. You can then quickly and easily slide out the ashtray. Now, this feature is not only found on Cuisinart pellet grills. Similar ash removal systems are also found on grills from Camp Chef and Broil King. However, its a feature I always like to see on a pellet grill to make them easier to use and clean. As you do have to clean a pellet grill more often than a gas grill for instance. Therefore, any feature which makes clean up as easy as possible helps pellet grills appeal to more people.
Cast Iron Grill Grates and Accessories
As mentioned above, in some cases pellet grills have been criticised for not being able to reach high enough temperatures to properly sear steaks and burgers etc. I do acknowledge that with some pellet grills this is true. While they perform very well as a smoker for low and slow cooking, high temperatures can be an issue for some pellet grills. Well, a feature that definitely helps pellet grills to provide good searing performance is cast iron grill grates. They hold the temperature much better than thinner steel rod grates. Therefore, cast-iron grill grates are able to get to those higher temperatures over 450 degrees to sear. Both the Woodcreek and Twin Oaks pellet grills feature cast iron grill grates.
Digital/Bluetooth Control Panel
Ok, so now let’s discuss the control panel fitted to both the Woodcreek and Twin Oaks pellet grills. It features a large and bright LCD screen displaying the current temperature of the grill. To the lower right, the set temp is displayed according to the position of the rotating dial. The maximum temperature of the pellet burner on both grills is 500 degrees. I’ve included an owners review below which shows these grills are generating sufficient heat to cook burgers etc. You also get two external meat probes which are a nice feature. Bluetooth is also included which means in theory you can control the pellet grill from up to 120 feet (36m) away.
Limitations of the Cuisinart Digital Control Panel
I do believe the Cuisinart controller is functional and easy to use. Furthermore, for a grill in this price range its comparable to several others in terms of features. In fact more so with the inclusion of Bluetooth and the Cuisinart app. However, I just want to make it clear how this digital control panel and its features compare to pellet grills at a slightly higher price point. If you notice, the control dial goes up in 25-degree increments up to 300 degrees. After 300 degrees the temperature control jumps up in 50-degree increments. Similar to a first-generation Traeger Pro Controller. Therefore, you shouldn’t expect precise temperature control. For instance, it will not be as accurate as the D2 Controller found on the Traeger Pro Series or the Camp Chef Gen 2 Controller. Both of those pellet grill controllers use PID technology, which you can learn more about in the video below.
The other point I want to bring up about the Cuisinart controller is that its only Bluetooth and not WiFi. This is an important difference. Both of the controllers from Traeger and Camp Chef are WiFi which means once set up with your homes WiFi router you can control the grills from anywhere. While you’re at a game, down the shops etc. Therefore, the Cuisarnt BBQ app is not comparable to Traeger WiFire or Camp Chef Connect.
Also, I personally find Bluetooth quite hit and miss. Therefore, while the theoretical distance you can control the grill is 120ft, that’s in open space. So from the other end of your yard/garden sure, not so much through the walls of your home. Therefore, only having Bluetooth and not WiFi functionality does limit the usability of the Cuisinart controller. However, the Traeger and Camp Chef grills with WiFi capability are more expensive than the Woodcreek or Twin Oaks which is always important to remember. Hence, they are not in direct competition.
Cuisinart Woodcreek and Twin Oaks Pellet Grill Reviews
Below I’ve included the best owner reviews I can currently find on the Woodcreek and Twin Oaks grills. I’ve also included a quick video which shows the Woodcreek cooking burgers so you can understand how well/evenly the grill distributes heat under the cooking surface.
Woodcreek Pellet Grill Owner Reviews
The best/most balanced review I’ve come across for the Woodcreek is by the channel BBQ & Bottles. They like my self do think this grill is excellent value for the money, giving people access to wood smoke flavoured food with the convenience of operating an oven. They also discuss how this grill was able to maintain temperatures even in a very cold climate. Again, that is where several low-priced/economy pellet grills normally struggle.
BBQ and Bottles did note in the video review above that the horizontal chimney does mean that smoke escapes much more easily than some other pellet grills, reducing the intensity of the smoke flavours produced. Furthermore, they noted the assembly of the Woodcreek pellet grill can take several hours and will likely require some patience.
Searing and Heat Distribution
The second video I wanted to add on the Woodcreek shows that while it can sear burgers etc on the maxium heat setting the heat is not consistent across the grill racks. The heat is concentrated on the right side of the grill directly over the pellet firepot. Hence, while you do have a large cooking area you are going to need to move food around the grill from the hot end on the right over to the cooler end on the left and vice versa. This sort of variable heat output is found on all pellet grills and is not unusual. You can make it work to your benefit if you are cooking a range of different food types at the same time.
Now, I should point out that as the Twin Oaks has a smaller pellet cooking area heat distribution on that grill is not as significant. In fact, on the Twin Oaks, the pellet firepot is almost centrally located under the cast-iron grates. Though you obviously have a smaller area to cook with pellets. Unfortunately, neither the Woodcreek or Twin Oaks provides the option of flame broiling/searing which is found on some models from Camp Chef, Pit Boss and Broil King.
Twin Oaks Gas/Pellet Grill Owners Review
I’ve included below the best/quick video review I can currently find on the Twin Oaks which is the combination pellet/gas grill. In the video, Zach discusses why he opted for the Cuisinart Twin Oaks over a similar priced pellet/gas combination grill produced by Pit Boss. Namely, Zach opted for the Twin Oaks due to the lid gasket, quick ash removal system and the Bluetooth/App functionality. Zach appears to be using the app to monitor the grill from inside his house just fine. Therefore, my concerns over using the app/Bluetooth from inside maybe not be an issue with these Cuisinart grills.
Conclusions On The Woodcreek and Twin Oaks Pellet Grills
As you should have gathered by now from my comments above, I’m very impressed with these pellet grills when looking at their size/features for their price point. I do want to point out, these are still entry-level grills and they are not built to compete with professional/luxury grills. For instance, the general construction is folded thin steel panels. Furthermore, the firepot does not appear to be stainless steel so its not going to last as long as other pellet grills. Then again, these grills are available for less than $700, for their size and capabilities these are still excellent entry-level pellet grills/smokers. For anyone looking to purchase their first pellet grill who wants to use the grill occasionally and don’t expect it to perform as a professional/everyday grill, I think these Cuisinart pellet grills should be one the first considerations.
That’s it! Thanks for reading, I hope you found my comments and videos above useful/interesting. You can order either the Woodcreek or Twin Oaks pellet grills over at Cuisinart.com and also Walmart.com. I have lots of other posts on many different makes and models of pellet grills. Please review my wood pellet grill/smoker guide. 🙂