REC TEC has been in the pellet grill game for over a decade now, as it was founded in 2008. Based in Georgia, USA, just outside of the city of Augusta REC TEC focus on making Practical/Premium Class pellet grills with notable features such extensive use of 304-grade stainless steel and PID controllers. You will quickly know if you’re looking at a REC TEC pellet grill with their unique bull horn lid handles, encouraging you to ‘take the bull by the horns’ and get cooking. REC TEC has quite an extensive range of pellet grills/smokers which I want to discuss in this article. Starting with their smallest grill the Bullseye up to their huge grills the BFG (I’ll let you guess what that stands for) and The Beast.
As I stated above, REC TEC produces a wide range of pellet grills/smokers. Some of their products fall into the Practical Class category such as the Bullseye. While their larger grills which use quite a lot of stainless steel in their fabrication such as the RT-700 and BFG definitely fall into the Premium Class, maybe even the Luxury Class. If you are not sure on the different classes please check out my post on how to choose the best pellet grill for your needs/budget.
Introduction To REC TEC Pellet Grills/Smokers
Whenever I write these analysis/review articles on different pellet grill/smoker brands I like to provide some context on how the companies started. I think it helps you to appreciate what a particular brand is focused on. Are they trying to offer the most affordable products they can, or are they trying to produce something to a higher quality but more expensive? I feel REC TEC are trying to hit quite a broad range of potential customers. After all, within their range, they have pellet grills under $500, under $1,000 and under $2,000. With the REC TEC Beast and Chuckwagon (a trailer-mounted Beast) those pellet grills are $8-10K respectively to meet the needs of the commercial sector/catering industries. Below is a video from founders of REC TEC, Ron and Ray on how REC TEC got started.
Its important to note you can only purchase a REC TEC directly. There is no dealer network and you won’t find REC TEC in the big box stores like Walmart/Lowes who typically sell Pit Boss/Traeger pellet grills. The reason REC TEC only sell direct is so they can offer a better quality product at a lower price point, as they don’t have to factor in 20-30% for dealer fees etc. I should also quickly note, while their residential pellet grills are not made in the USA, their largest pellet grill The Beast/Chuckwagon is made in the USA.
REC TEC Pellet Grills/Smokers
Below I’ll briefly go through each of the REC TEC pellet grills and I’ll highlight the features which stand out to me. However, if you want to check out all the specs its best to visit Rectecgrills.com. As things change, for instance, their smallest unit the Bullseye has recently gone through quite a significant change in specifications which I’ll discuss below. Before we go into the specifics on each REC TEC grill I wanted to include a video I found of Ron and Ray discussing what they feel sets REC TEC pellet grills apart from the competition.
In the video above its stated that the REC TEC Bullseye doesn’t feature a PID controller (I’ll discuss what that actually means later). However, since the above video was made REC TEC have redesigned the Bullseye which we’ll look at below. However, while the Bullseye does now feature a PID control panel just like all the other REC TEC grills it does not feature WiFi like all the other REC TEC pellet grills. However, as you’ll see below, the Bullseye is such a small pellet grill the use of WiFi on this grill isn’t really something that you’ll miss.
The REC TEC Bullseye Pellet Grill
The Bullseye (also known as RT-B380) is REC TECs smallest pellet grill. In fact, this is one of the smallest/lightweight pellet grills on the market today. Its actually smaller than most portable pellet grills. Though the Bullseye is not really designed as a portable/tailgating grill, the slightly larger RT-340 discussed below is more suited for that use. The Bullseye is more intended to be a small grill that sits on your porch/patio and can be used to cook up a small BBQ for a couple of people at a time.
When I first started doing my research before writing this post on REC TEC pellet grills the Bullseye was very different to the image you see above. For instance, it didn’t feature a stainless steel body/lid which the current version does which is a welcome improvement. Furthermore, the control panel on the first version of the Bullseye wasn’t really a control panel in the traditional sense at all. It was simply a variable speed dial for the pellet feed auger motor. However, this latest version of the REC TEC Bullseye features a PID control panel. Other than the GMG Davey Crocket, another pellet grill currently of this size with a PID controller. Further down in this article I’ll discuss the benefits of PID control panels.
The REC TEC Bullseye provides 380 square inches of cooking space, sufficient for around 25 burgers. The REC TEC PID ‘Smart Grill Technology™’ offers a temperature range between 225-500 degrees. However, as the video above shows on the FULL setting the cooking surface may be able to get quite a bit hotter than that depending on ambient temperature conditions (summer yes, winter no). However, REC TEC also provides the option of GrillGrates with all their pellet grills, including the Bullseye and they are well worth considering. REC TEC has actually done a separate video on the advantages of GrillGrates, which they package as their Sear Kit.
REC TEC RT-340 Pellet Grill
I’ll describe the RT-340 as REC TECs smallest ‘conventional’ pellet grill, apposed to the round kettle design of the Bullseye above. Its sometimes referred to as the Trailblazer. However, REC TEC don’t appear to be using that product name on the website currently. In terms of cooking area and the main grate its actually a bit smaller than the Bullseye at 340 square inches. However, with its more conventional design, an upper cooking rack can be fitted which ups the total available cooking area to 511 square inches. The RT-340 features a stainless steel burn pot (not found on the Bullseye) along with a stainless steel heat deflector and grease tray. The main cooking chamber on the REC TEC RT-340 is also stainless steel which is a real standout feature at this price point.
The hopper capacity on the RT-340 is 20lbs, therefore that will provide for around 20 hours of continuous cooking with a temperature around 225 degrees, hence going ‘low and slow’. The RT-340 has a PID temperature controller. However, unlike the Bullseye, this version comes with WiFi. Therefore, while you’re doing a low and slow cook you can be down the shops etc and still monitor and control your pellet grill. What is interesting to note, on the REC TEC website it states you can turn the grill on (not just off) from the app. The reason this is interesting is because with Traeger WiFire or Camp Chef Connect you can only turn those grills off and not on.
REC TEC RT-590 Pellet Grill
The RT-590 in size sits between the RT-340 above and the RT-700 discussed below. It offers 592 square inches of cooking area on the main grate, which rises to 787 square inches if you factor in the optional second upper shelf. The RT-590 doesn’t look like any other REC TEC pellet grill in that its not based on a round barrel design. Whether there is some advantage in terms of reduced manufacturing costs I’m not sure. However, in terms of internal cooking space, it can provide benefits for certain large cuts of meat.
As with the RT-340, the RT-590 features full stainless steel internals. The pellet firepot and grease tray are stated to be 304-grade stainless steel. However, its not clear what grade of stainless steel the cooking chamber is made from. There are actually lots of grades of stainless steel. For instance, Cookshack uses quite a bit of 201 stainless steel on the outside of their pellet grills. Whereas Memphis use both 304 and 430, and the most expensive built-in pellet grills you can currently buy from Twin Eagles use only 304. In those posts linked above, I discuss the pros and cons of different grades of stainless steel.
In terms of temperature control the RT-590 uses the same PID/WiFi controller as all the other REC TEC pellet grills (except the Bullseye) so I’ll discuss that at the end of this article. Therefore, the RT-590 has a temperature range of 200-500 degrees. In terms of hopper capacity on the RT-590 its 30lbs, therefore you get an additional 10lbs of pellet storage over the RT-340.
REC TEC RT-700 Wood Pellet Grill
So now we get to the RT-700 which would appear to be REC TECs most popular pellet grill watching YouTube/reading various forum posts etc. Its not the largest REC TEC pellet grill, however its large enough to meet the requirements of most people when cooking for friends and family. What you should quickly notice about the RT-700 from the video/image below is this pellet grill doesn’t look like the smaller RT-340 or RT-590. Sure, its got the bull horns and the black lid and stainless steel cooking body, but look, no pellet hopper?!
Of course, there is a pellet hopper, in fact on the RT-700 its a massive 40lb pellet hopper. However, instead of being positioned on the side of the pellet grill its placed at the back. The advantage of this rear-mounted hopper design is the RT-700 can have a centrally positioned pellet burn pot with a short auger length. To reduce the chances of auger blockages you generally want to keep an auger a short as possible. Now, there are some other pellet grill manufacturers (Weber cough, cough) who have had problems with a rear-mounted pellet hopper design. If the angles in the hopper are too shallow the pellets will ‘bridge’ and not continue to fall into the auger. However, its appears users are not experiencing this issue with the rear-mounted pellet hopper on the RT-700.
In terms of cooking area, the RT-700 provides 702 square inches over the main grilling grate and a total of 1,054 square inches if you add in the cooking area of the optional second cooking rack. Now, what you might notice in the video above is a temperature reading of 600 degrees on the control panel. So you might be thinking ‘Chris, you said the REC TEC PID/Wifi control panel has a range of 200-500 degrees?!‘ Well, it does, however, it also features a ‘FULL’ setting. With FULL selected the REC TEC pellet grills can achieve temperatures over 500 degrees. How hot it will actually get will depend on ambient temperatures around the grill. Is it summer or winter? Is it calm or windy? Etc
The REC TEC RT-2500 BFG Pellet Grill
Now, the RT-2500 is definitely a Big *beep* Grill, its huge in every sense of the word. It features 2,535 square inches of cooking area over the main grill racks and two upper racks. It features an equally massive 53 lb pellet hopper for around 53 hours of continuous cooking at around 225 degrees. On first impressions, it generally has a similar appearance to the RT-700. However, you’ll notice the BFG comes as standard on its own competition cart with large (lockable) caster wheels. You should also notice this pellet grill has two chimney stacks on either side. With pellet grills this large, you want two chimneys to help draw the heat/smoke equally over the cooking surface to reduce issues of hot/cold spots. Something else which should give you a clue that this is indeed a big grill is the hydraulic lid assisters.
The REC TEC Beast/Chuckwagon Pellet Grills
The reason I’ve put the Beast/Chuckwagon under the same heading is they are essentially the same pellet grill. The Chuckwagon is just the trailer-mounted version of The Beast. Theses two pellet grills are made in the USA and likely made to order. They are primarily designed for the catering industry. Though if you take your BBQ competitions very seriously and you’re a genuine Pit Master, sure the Beast/Chuckwagon may be right up your alley. In terms of cooking area, the Beast/Chuckwagon doesn’t appear to offer much more cooking space over the BFG. However, it features a dual pellet firepot design. Hence, for grilling/searing lots of meat at the same time, that’s where the Beast/Chuckwagon will outperform the BFG.
REC TEC PID/WiFi Smart Grill Technology™ Controllers
The entire REC TEC pellet grill range now features PID temperature controllers. PID stands for Proportional, Integral, Derivative. What this means is a PID control panels is constantly reading the thermometer within the grill and comparing that temperature to your set temperature. The PID controller is then constantly making adjustments to the fan/pellet feed auger to maintain the temperature of the pellet grill to within 5 degrees.
Now, there are some that claim to prefer older time-based controllers such as the first generation Traeger Pro Controllers. There is an argument to that as those time-based controllers cannot hold temperature as precisely (within 25 degrees). Hence, they cannot control the combustion process as efficiently, and you get more smoke with inefficient combustion. Grilla Grills with their Alpha Control panel have chosen to integrate both time-based and PID modes into their controllers to offer both options. I’ve not seen complaints about the REC TEC controllers in terms of insufficient smoke production. Therefore, its likely in the lower smoking temperature settings REC TEC has designed in a bit more float to create additional smoke, as Camp Chef has done with their PID controllers.
All of the REC TEC pellet grills (except the Bullseye) also come with WiFi integration. As Ray/Ron stated in their video above, WiFi is simply just superior to Bluetooth which is found on some pellet grills (Cuisinart/Pit Boss). With WiFi control panel properly hooked up to your homes WiFi router and a 4G/5G signal on your phone you can control the grill from pretty much anywhere. With Bluetooth, your limited to controlling the grill within your yard and maybe from inside your house (if you’re lucky). I’ve not done a proper analysis of the REC TEC app features as yet like a did for the Traeger WiFire vs Camp Chef Connect, but I might get around to that at some point.
REC TEC Pellet Grill Owner Reviews
When I write these analysis articles on the features of various makes and models of pellet grill I like to search for a couple of owner reviews to add in as well. With this article on REC TEC grills, I’ve found two pretty good owner review videos on the RT-700 and the BFG. First up its a review of the RT-700 by Kegan of the YouTube channel Seared and Smoked.
Kegan appears generally very happy with his RT-700 and a fan of the external appearance/design along with its stainless steel internals. He did have quite a bit of ‘fun’ getting the WiFi/App setup with his router. However, this is not uncommon with pretty much all of the WiFi-enabled pellet grills on the market today. Therefore, be prepared to have to take some time to play around with various settings before your up and running on the WiFi/app front. Next up is a review of the BFG by the YouTube channel Kutz Q BBQ.
In reality, the BFG is far larger than most people are going to need. I think the RT-700 is really all the grill your average backyard cook could want. However, each to their own, and if you have the space and the coin, sure consider upgrading to the BFG. Just note as shown in the video above, it is also a heavy grill, we’re talking 450 plus pounds!
Conclusions On REC TEC Pellet Grills
REC TEC really is playing a strong game to compete against the mass market ‘big boys’ of Pit Boss and Traeger. Neither of those brands is offering pellet grills with stainless steel cooking chambers and PID/WiFi controllers at this price point. The big grills such as the BFG and The Beast are very impressive pieces of kit. However, personally, the functionality and features of their smaller/compact/portable grills such as the Bullseye and RT-340 really appeal to me. As a pellet grill of sufficient size to cook for all your friends and family though, the RT-700 is where its at. For its size and full stainless steel cooking chamber with PID/WiFi controller for under £1,200, that’s a highly competitive package. I discuss this more in my Traeger vs REC TEC post.
That’s it! Thanks for reading, I hope you found my analysis of the REC TEC pellet grill range and the customer reviews above interesting/informative. If you want to do a deep dive into all your pellet grill options please check out my other articles as part of my wood pellet grill/smoker guide. 🙂