As a writer for Drapersbbq.com, it is my job to find interesting things to blog about. Often I have to cold call different companies and arrange for samples to be sent to me to try out and review. Small things like sauces or rubs are very easy to ship via what ever postal carrier you choose. Grills and smokers on the other hand, those are a whole different story. So right off the bat, I would like to thank Jason from Green Mountain Grills (GMG) and Bob from BBQ Bonanza in Kansas City, KS for providing me this GMG Daniel Boone model to try out and review for our readers. Jason made all the arrangements and Bob had the GMG delivered right to my front door, unpacked it and even loaded it with a few pellets. They could not be nicer folks to work with.
The GMG brand is no stranger to us here at Draper’s BBQ. Mike has owned a GMG for sometime now and I have a next door neighbor that has one as well. Our intent is to give you a review through the eyes of a first time user (me) and a longtime owner (Mike). We hope this will give you some helpful information if you are in the market for a new pellet grill. You can read Mike’s long term review here.
Lets talk about the features of the GMG Daniel Boone model I cooked on. The Daniel Boone features a 27×16 inch stainless steel grate for 432 sq inches of cook space. Team that with a 13.5 inch clearance and you have a very large cook space. The Daniel Boone weighs 152 pounds which makes it very portable. Some pellet cookers can weigh over 300 lbs. GMG gave this machine a digital control for easy use, a meat probe, utility hooks to hang your tools on and a thermal sensor to measure ambient temperature. This thermal sensor tells the GMG to kick it into high gear if it is cold outside so you don’t have to wait for you grill to heat up in cold weather. GMG also equipped the Daniel Boone with a positive pressure hopper fan to prevent burn-back and a “fan only” mode with auto shut off to blow ash out of the firebox when you finished. All of this for less than $800, making the GMG Daniel Boone one of if not the most affordable pellet grills on the market. You can also purchase extras like a stainless steel (no warp) lid, a form fitting cover, a dome thermometer (to measure temps at the top of the grill) and a remote. Bob was nice enough to include the remote with my Daniel Boone. I was really excited to try that feature out. Green Mountain Grills also includes an instruction/recipe book and an instructional DVD to help new owners.
Start up would have been easy if I would have read the instruction book that was given to me. Being a man, I did not read it until I became frustrated. To start up the grill you must turn on the power switch then hold the increase temperature button. I assume this is a safety feature so the grill does not accidentally get turned on by a child or accidental bump. This is a very nice safety feature. Once started, the grill begins to go through the motions of starting up and getting to temp. The grill is automatically set to get to 320 degrees F, then you must set your cooking temp. I lowered mine to 230 degrees F and opened the lid to help the temperature decrease. This entire process took about 15-20 min.
Once I reached my desired temperature I put my brisket on and inserted the food probe so the Daniel Boone could keep track of the meat. I turned on the remote control and headed inside to relax and watch the BBQ Pitmasters marathon on Destination America. The remote worked flawlessly. I could check the temp of my cooker and the meat with just the push of a button. I waited until the meat’s temperature was 145 then I put it in a foil pan with some beef broth and covered it until it was time to take it off. Total cook time for a 4.67 lb brisket flat was about 7 hrs and 45 min. This is a picture of the finished product.
The next day, I wanted to test the Daniel Boone out as a grill. I cooked a flank steak for fajitas. I took the grill up to 500 degrees F (its maximum) for this. The GMG took about 15 to 20 minutes to get to this temp. I placed the steak on and heard the sizzle. I could not wait to have those fajitas. I took about 40 minutes to cook the flank steak to 155 degrees F. This was longer than it would have taken me on my propane grill but the Daniel Boone cooked an incredible steak. It was very juicy and flavorful and I did not have to worry about flare-ups with the GMG. With the fan circulating the heat all around the food, I would almost call this smoke roasting vs grilling. It takes a little longer to grill on the GMG but the result was just as good. I did have substantial pellet usage while grilling at that high of temp so the cost to use the Daniel Boone as a grill is higher than a propane or charcoal grill but the products put out on the GMG were very tasty.
My overall impression of the GMG Daniel Boone model was excellent. Start up was easy (once I read the instructions), the cook was good, and the temp of the GMG only fluctuated a degree or 2 all day. This was a very hot day in KC (high 101 degree F) and I did not use a lot of pellets. My estimate was less than 5 lbs of pellets for the almost 8 hour smoke. This pellet grill has a lot of high end features that you do not find on higher priced pellet grills. I love the meat probe and the remote control. I only left my recliner 3 times all day to check on the grill. A few concerns I have about the GMG Daniel Boone are the thickness of the metal used in construction. Will it insulate well enough in the cold weather months? Will it warp and bend over time with the high heat of grilling? Mike can probably address these questions in his review as a long time owner. For the price, I do not think you can beat this pellet grill. It performs well under normal conditions, has some high end features that you wont find on higher priced pellet grills and the company has been very accommodating and easy to work with.
One footnote to my article: The GMG Daniel Boone that I tested was an older model and may differ in specs from the current model. Sorry for any confusion.