The Louisiana Grills brand is a subsidiary of Dansons LLC. You may not be aware of Dansons, but they own a series of pellet grill/smoker focused brands such as Pit Boss, Country Smokers and Louisiana Grills. Therefore, you will find that several products across the different Danson brands share very similar features. I’ve previously written about the features of the budget Pit Boss range and the Pit Boss Platinum Series. Therefore, I thought it was time to write a summary article on the Louisiana Grills range to show where their products are similar and different to the other Danson products.
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Below I’m going to a do a quick summary of the current range of Louisiana Grills and their features but then move on to discuss their latest/upcoming ranges the Black Label and Founders Series. Its not currently clear if the existing range such as the LG900, Elite and Estate Series will remain or be replaced by the Black Label and Founder Series grills.
Louisiana Grills LG900, Elite and Estate Series Features Summary
The LG900 has been around for several years now as the entry-level grill in the Louisiana Grills range. While Danson generally price their Pit Boss grills under the average Traeger grill, they positioned the LG900 as a direct competitor on price to the Gen 1 Traeger Pro Series. And in certain regards, the LG900 offered features which the Gen 1 Traeger Pro Series didn’t such as direct-flame access with the Flame Broiler to get a better sear on steaks and burgers.
The LG900 is also constructed with 14 gauge steel which again was superior to the offerings from Traeger at the time. However, time has moved on and at just under $800 the LG900 is no longer competitive with offerings from Traeger at that price point (Gen 2 Pro Series) or other offerings such as the Camp Chef Woodwind range or a Grilla Grills Silverback. So what about the Louisiana Grills Elite Range?
The Elite range offers the same core feature set of the LG900, but with a higher price point $1,200-$1,500. For instance, the Elite range also offers direct flame broiling and a temperature range of 180-600 degrees (it will get hotter than that over the Flame Broiler). The main difference being the Elite range features an enclosed cabinet design instead of the open shelf design of the LG900. The Elite range does however also feature a larger pellet hopper over the LG900 at 21 lbs. The other main difference as you can see from the image above is the use of stainless steel for the lid, front shelf and cabinet doors. However, it was the Estate Series where Lousiana Grills offered a full stainless steel offering.
The Estate Series is offered as either a built-in option for an outside kitchen or a full cabinet design on caster wheels. The Estate Series is made from 304-grade stainless steel, which as I discuss in my article on stainless steel pellet grills is one of the higher quality grades of stainless steel you will find on outdoor cooking equipment. However, as a result, the price range of the Estate Series is definitely in the Luxury category at between $1,800 for the built-in unit and $2,500 for the free-standing Estate Series model.
Where The LG900, Elite and Estate Series Are No Longer Competitive
The most significant feature on the LG900, Elite and Estate Series which is lacking compared to its competition and sibling products from Pit Boss is the control panel. Each is fitted with a digital control panel based on previous generation time-based algorithms for temperature control. Hence these pellet grills/smokers can only maintain the internal temperature to within 25 degrees of the set temperature at best. Furthermore, neither the LG900, Elite or Estate Series feature either Bluetooth or WiFi connectivity.
The Louisiana Grills management is obviously aware that their range of grills needs new offerings to compete. Therefore, they are launching the new product lines of the Black Label and Founders Series. Within the Founders Series, there will be two other model specifications of either the Premier or Legacy. These new models do have updated features which will help the Louisiana Grills brand remain competitive, and the projected prices aren’t too bad either.
Louisiana Grills Black Label Series
So first up let’s look at the Louisiana Grills Black Label Series. As you can see from the promotional video below by Dansons CEO Jeff Thiessen, the general appearance and size of the Black Label Series grills are very similar to the LG900 above. The other similarity is the projected starting price point of the Black Label Series at around $800, hence similar to that of the LG900. Though there are important differences/improvements which I’ll discuss below.
Some of the hardware improvements on the Black Label Series compared to the LG900 that stand out to me are the following. First, the redesigned hopper with a quick emptying shoot is a good feature to have. As I’ve discussed previously, you don’t want to leave pellets in the hopper over an extended period of time. Second is the external Flame Broil leaver, on earlier generations of Louisiana Grills and Pit Boss grills to use the Flame Boiler you had to remove the grates to slide the Flame Broiler open. This external leaver to open/close the Flame Broiler is much more convenient.
Another nice feature is the viewing window on the side of the hopper to quickly check the level of pellets. Now, some may state the 18lb hopper on the Black Label Series is still lacking as it cannot take a 20lb bag of pellets. And while yes, that is a small inconvenience, in most instances you will get along just fine with an 18lb hopper, as pellet usage/consumption is pretty low in the spring/summer months. However, for winter grilling/smoking, you would probably want to get a thermal blanket for the grill so excessive pellet consumption with the 18lb pellet hopper is not an issue.
The Biggest Improvement, The Control Panel
The Pit Boss Platinum Series were the first products from Dansons to feature PID temperature control and Bluetooth communication. You can learn about why a PID temperature controller is superior to a time-based temperature controller through the link to my article above. Briefly though, a PID control panel is much smarter than the panels fitted to the LG900, Elite and Estate Series. A PID control panel can maintain the temperature to within just 5 degrees of the set temperature, not a 25-degree float in temperature typically found with previous generation control panels.
Notably, the control panel fitted to the Black Label Series features both Bluetooth and WiFi connectivity to control and monitor the grill from a smartphone. When the Pit Boss Platinum series was launched it actually only came with Bluetooth. The reality is that WiFi is a much more practical means to communicate with a pellet grill/smoker as I discuss in my article on WiFi pellet grills/smokers.
Louisiana Grills Founders Series
Under the Founders Series range, there are actually two different specifications, the Premier and Legacy. The Premier are the lower specification units with the Legacy being the higher specification models. To be honest, at this point I’m struggling to see the additional features/benefits of the Premier over the Black Label Series. However, I think the Founders Series Legacy models do have more to offer and could be a very compelling offering if the projected prices come to be true.
So first off, both Premier and Legacy models in the Founders Series feature a PID control panel with Bluetooth/WiFi functionality. The appearance of the control panel is different to the Black Label Series above, but the hardware is very similar. Second, the Founders Series grills as stated in the video above feature a cooking barrel 2″ taller than previous models providing a bit more space for taller cuts of meat.
As I’ve stated above though, its the Founders Series Legacy model which I find the most interesting. First, it not only features several components made of 304-grade stainless steel, but the cooking barrel is also twin-wall insulated. What that means is pellet consumption on the Legacy models will be less than that of other Louisiana pellet grills/smokers. On average most single wall pellet smokers will consume 1-2 lbs per hour when smoking. With the Legacy models while smoking, consumption should be closer to 1lb per hour, potentially less.
The other benefit with the entire cooking chamber being stainless steel is it will make cleaning the pellet grill a whole lot easier. The stainless steel finish also helps to give the Legacy pellet grills a more premium/luxury appearance. Pricing for the Legacy models is stated in the video above to start from £1,200. That would make them very competitive with the likes of the Traeger Timberline for instance and other offerings from brands such as RecTeq.
Conclusions On The Louisiana Grills Pellet Grill/Smoker Range
For many years when it came to pellet grills/smokers it was a choice between picking up a Traeger or Pit Boss product. Then the market really opened up with brands such as Camp Chef and Grilla Grills competing in the medium to high end of the market and brands such as Z Grills competing on the low end. Personally, my opinion on the Louisiana Grills range has been that their pellet grills/smokers were not competitive on price/features. However, I think with the introduction of the Black Label Series and Founders Series the Louisana Grills range will be much more competitive on price/features.
That’s it! Thanks for reading, I hope the above helped you to understand the differences between the current and upcoming Louisiana Grills models. If you would like to learn about all your pellet grill/smoker options whatever your budget may be, please check out my Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide. 🙂