Fast Eddy’s by Cookshack PG500 Pellet Grill Review
The Fast Eddy’s series of smokers by Cookshack is a collaborative venture by Cookshack and Grand Championship winning competitive BBQer, Fast Eddy Maurin. Fast Eddy knows a thing or two about BBQ and Cookshack know how to make great grills. The partnership was destined to succeed, and they have. In 2010 Cookshack release the Fast Eddy’s PG1000, which was a very innovative grill that could smoke low and slow but also sear a steak at very high temperatures. It did all this using a wood pellet system, which was unheard of at the time. Now they’ve refine the PG1000 design, taken out a few unnecessary parts and introduced it as its own product – the Fast Eddy’s by Cookshack PG500.
- The PG500 main cooking area with control system
- Warming Drawer
- Side Shelf
- Pellet Drop
- Meat Probe Slide Opening
- Utensil Holder
- 40lbs Hickory Pellets
- Operator’s Manual
Dimensions: 56″W x 54″H x 25″D (with doors open 41.5″ D) – 142cm W x 137cm H x 63.5cm D (with doors open 105cm D)
19″ x 13″ x 4″ Warming Drawer – 48cm x 33cm x 10cm
Shipping Weight: 330lbs – 150kg
Build Quality and Design
As you can probably see from the pictures, the PG500 is made from 100% stainless steel. Its main body is riveted together to ensure a very sturdy build. It definitely feels strong and almost industrial in its construction. It’s very weighty and it even has a 2 year limited guarantee. Whilst we haven’t had the experience of multiple cooks on it in the long term we expect it to last very well. Other reports have claimed that it works just as well years after purchase.
It’s based on commercial smokers, but built for home use. Honestly, it could be used anywhere. The built is so good that you could easily use it every day in a restaurant or outdoor cookery. The 36,000 BTU burner will ensure that all your cooking needs are covered in one grill. It’s a powerful and reliable burner that has an auto-start feature and a draft fan for optimal air flow.
The electronic controller runs from a 5 amp and 120 VAC source. Its buttons are solid and the controls are simple. The Fast Eddy’s PG500 also features a total of 784 square inches of cooking space on quality, stainless steel and nickel plates grates.
Ease of Use
The ease of use is where pellet grills flourish. They are the easiest to use grills on the market, doing everything themselves. The Cookshack PG500 is no different.
It has a 23lb hopper with a pellet dump door at the bottom. This is a very nice feature that allows you to easily switch out the flavor of pellets you’re using.
What makes the Fast Eddy’s PG500 a little bit special is that the design features four cooking zones. The first is the main grilling area. This is situated directly above the fire pot so is able to get direct heat from the fire below. This area is where you can grill and sear your food up to temperatures of 600°F (315°C).
The next cooking zone is the main one. It’s where you can do all your smoking. This area is an indirect heat zone that will allow you to roast with or without smoke. We think this is where you will doing most of your cooking on the PG500.
The last two zones are above the aforementioned two. They both don’t get as hot as the lower alternatives but are very useful when it comes to smoking and grilling. Having a series of different zones is a very nice feature, it allows a lot of flexibility and makes cooking how you want much easier.
Clean up is also made simple with a few small additions. Firstly, the grill is a pellet grill. This means you get a significantly smaller amount of ash that you would with charcoal. The ash is collected in an easy to access front ash drawer. Simply slide it out and throw the ash away.
The digital control system is very simple to use and has a nice range of features. It can be set to run for low and slow cooking at around 225°F. It does this very well and is without a doubt the stand out feature of the whole thing. The results give a great finish to the meat. It can also be set up to run continuously at temperatures closer to 600°F. From our one use with the grilling system we found the set up easier than the actual grilling and the results were decent.
What’s good about the Fast Eddy’s PG500
- Produces some of the best smoked meat we’ve tasted. It reminded us classic large scale competition meat, with a nice bark and great flavor.
- Very simple to use and easy to produce great results. The digital controller makes smoking a breeze and can be done by anyone.
- Very versatile. Not many grills have the amount of versatility that the PG500 offers. This is a great all-in-one smoker that can handle most tasks very well.
- You can easily cold smoke with the warming drawer.
- Has a flat top which can keep your food hot whilst you do something else. This was actually one of our favorite features, surprisingly. Your food maintains a lot of heat and it makes for useful storage if you’re smoking up different cuts of meat that finish at different times. It might only be so good because the main body of the PG500 isn’t insulated at all, which we don’t like. But we’re happy to make the most of a bad point.
- Clean up is nice and simple. We’re expecting this from most grills now-a-days but as the PG500 has a small fire pot over one section of the grill it makes collecting and disposing of ash very easy.
- Uses charbroiler technology to really bring the taste of the flame to your meat.
What’s bad about the Fast Eddy’s PG500
- The front opening doors just got in the way. We thought it was a nifty feature to start with and looked really cool. But when we actually got into grilling with the doors open we found they were more of a nuisance than anything.
- The main body isn’t insulated. This isn’t a huge problem because it still manages to hold its temperature quite well, but we can’t help but think some insulation could have transformed this into a much more pellet efficient machine. This might also make it a better winter cooker and short smoke smoker.
- When you’re grilling ash can very easily get into your food as there is no cover over the flame.
- It’s difficult to control the heat when grilling. You only really get two options for your heat when grilling because of the two grates and it just feels a bit clunky.
The Fast Eddy’s by Cookshack PG500 is a brilliantly innovative grill. It features a great design that hasn’t been seen anywhere else before and brings some of the best parts of competition smoking to the backyard. It has a range of great features and the grill and smoker combo might be exactly what you’re looking for. The build quality is fantastic, it looks striking and you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to use.
There are a few things we don’t quite get though. The grilling isn’t the best. Whilst the food that it produces tastes fantastic the process of grilling is clunky and awkward. Also, you have to choose between grilling and smoking. You simply can’t grill something when smoking because they are both housed inside the same body. Comparing this to the Smoke Hollow 4 in 1, which can smoke and grill at the same time and you suddenly get a lot less useful features from the PG500.
There is also the cost to take into consideration. For less money than the PG500 you could buy a REC TEC Pellet Smoker, a Weber Kettle and a Masterbuilt Electric Smoker with the Cold Smoker Accessory. These separate products would allow you to smoke just as well, grill just as well (arguably better) and cold smoke all at the same time for less money.
Having said all of that we still really like the Fast Eddy’s PG500. It’s a solid piece of kit and produced some of the best BBQ we’ve tasted. If you’re looking for an innovative, all-in-one smoker and grill combo then the PG500 might be exactly what you’re looking for. There are alternatives out there though that might do the job you’re looking for better. It will all depend on what you want out of your smoker. We do recommend the PG500 and think that it would make a great addition to anyones backyard.
Read more: ‘Masterbuilt 30″ Electric Smoker Review‘
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