The Grilla Grills Silverbac AT is a wood fired pellet grill that stands out in a crowded market. It was our top pick in our recent Best Pellet Grills under $1099 roundup. There are four major categories that the Silverbac towers over the competition, and we’ll talk through the highs and lows. By the end of this article, you’ll know if this is the pellet grill for you.
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Quick Grilla Grills Silverbac AT Specs
Let’s start with the specifications so you can see how much grill we’re working with today.
Dimensions: H53 xW47 xD30
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Cooking Space: 507 square inches (main), 185 square inches (upper), 692 square inches (total)
Cooking Height: 9″
Grill Temperature Range: 180-500°F
Grill Grates: ¼-inch stainless steel rod
Hopper Capacity: 20 lbs
Probe Ports: 1 port, 1 meat probe included
Warranty: 4 years
What’s the difference between Silverbac Alpha and Silverbac AT?
There are two different models of Silverbac pellet grill available. The standard model is the Silverbac Alpha and the all-terrain model is called the Silverbac AT.
In the Silverbac Alpha model, you have a cabinet below the grill and two locking brakes for the small wheels.
On the all-terrain (AT) model, you sacrifice the cabinet for an open shelf storage system, and you’ll gain a large pull handle with 4 oversized full rubber tires. The AT version is made to go off-road, and we haven’t had any trouble getting it through the yard, around the patio, and down the trail.
Packaging and Assembly
Grilla Grills ships this model on a pallet, so you’ll receive it by truck with a lift-gate to your home or business. The grill is largely pre-assembled minus either the cabinet and wheels or cart depending on which model you purchase. It only took us about an hour to assemble the AT cart, and screwing the grill to the cart took just a few minutes.
Looking at the quality of the build, the Grilla Grills Silverbac has a couple of standout features.
First are the stainless steel components, which are rare in this price range. There’s a stainless steel lid and many stainless steel internal components. The burn pot, diverter panel and drip tray are all stainless steel as well, and it speaks to how Grilla didn’t cut corners to meet a big box retailer’s price point like so many other brands.
When I’m looking at pellet grills, I want the grill grates, igniter rod, and drip pan to all withstand the test of time and weather, and this grill seems up to the challenge so far.
The metal that isn’t stainless steel is powder coated, which is common in pellet grills, but what I like about the Silverbac is that the main parts that usually wear out are stainless.
Without completely taking the grill apart, I can’t see what the auger tube and other internals are made of, but what I can see shows me that this grill stands out from the rest in build quality.
Wood Pellet Hopper
If you’re new to pellet grills, the pellet hopper is where you put wood pellets in order to provide fuel to the grill. There’s no propane here, just good old-fashioned pellets of wood to provide both the smoke and fire.
The pellet hopper on the Silverbac holds 20 pounds of pellets, which means you can fit a whole bag without having leftovers. I don’t know about you, but I’m not a big fan of having 5 pounds of pellets in an open bag sitting in the garage waiting to get wet. Another reason I really like this grill.
The cooking space available in the chamber is 692 square inches, which translates to 507 sq. in. on the main cooking grate and 185 in the upper cooking area. That just means that you can fit 2 whole briskets, 4 pork butts, or about 20 burgers on the grill if you wanted to.
I like to tell people that this grill is perfectly sized for a family that likes to entertain. It’s not so big that you’re heating a lot of extra cooking chamber when you’re only cooking for the family. It’s also large enough that you can cook for 15 people coming over without feeling like you’ve run out of grill space.
The vertical height is also worth mentioning, and there are 9 inches of height under the stainless steel lid for turkey, ham and beer can chickens.
Alpha Connect Wifi Control Board
Grilla calls its Wifi system the Alpha Connect controller, and it’s a digital control system for the pellet grill.
It consists of a control board with Wifi capabilities that can connect to your home router, giving you the ability to control the grill from your mobile device. It also controls the mode that your controller runs your grill with, and you can utilize the Alpha Smoke or Pro Modes, which both have different functionality.
A unique feature that I don’t often see in other pellet grills is the pause button on the controller. Press it once before opening the grill lid and it will pause the smoker from feeding more pellets into the auger while you do what you need to do with the lid open.
The pause button automatically sets a 5 minute timer, after which it will resume feeding pellets. However, if you’re done before that and remember to, you can cancel the timer by hitting the pause button again and pellets will resume feeding.
Alpha Smoke vs. Pro Mode
The Grilla Grills Silverback controller has two operational modes. The default is their PID mode, which causes the PID controller to operate very tight to the set temperature. It results in much smaller temperature swings and less smoke during a cook.
The second mode is called their Pro mode or Alpha smoke mode, which means slightly more temperature swings from the set temperature and more smoke during your cook.
The Pro mode is what I use for all BBQ meats since I’m looking for more smoke flavor over a longer cook. The PID mode is what I choose when I’m baking a pie or making cookies or tater tots on the grill. When I want it to operate more like an oven, the PID mode is my go-to.
Grilla Grills App
When it comes to a mobile app that controls a grill, I’ve used them all. Many are functional but visually underwhelming. This simply isn’t the case for the Grilla Grills app. It’s visually clean and crisp, looking like the design was one of the first points of consideration.
I’ve used the app to control the grill remotely while I was away from the house, and it’s incredibly responsive. I can change the temperature, go between Pro and PID modes on the controller, monitor my meat probe temperatures, and more.
It’s all the control I need for a pellet grill that I’m using while I’m at the kids’ games or for a quick run to the store.
There is a high-temperature shut-off and a low-temperature shut-off built into the Silverbac controller. If the grill hits 615°, it will initiate a shutdown of the grill to protect it against overheating. If the grill hits 150 for an extended period of time, it will also shut down since it’s either out of fuel or there’s another issue causing such low internal temperatures.
Getting started with the Grilla Grills Silverbac
With any wood pellet grill or pellet smoker, there are a few things that you should do before you get started. The first is visually inspecting the cooking chamber to make sure all the styrofoam and plastic have been taken out. There’s nothing like firing up pellet smokers with a piece of styrofoam still in the burn pot.
After you know the grill is ready to go inside the cooking chamber, it’s time to prep for the initial seasoning of the grill, or the “burn off” as many call it. Before your first cook, this is a step you don’t want to skip. This is where pellet smokers burn off any excess oils from the manufacturing process by running the grill at 400 degrees for about an hour.
I like to take a can of spray Canola oil and spray all of the bare metal inside the grill that might rust over time, baking on a layer of protection from moisture. I don’t spray the stainless steel, just the metal that’s bare and needs protection.
Once the wood pellet grill is sprayed internally and you have a full hopper, it’s time to prime the auger to make sure pellets can get to the burn pot.
I’ll set the grill to 400 degrees, and take out the grates and diverter panels so I can see the burn cup. It’ll probably take 4-5 minutes for pellets to hit the cup, but once that first pellet lands in the cup from the auger, I shut the grill down and replace the diverter panels and grates.
Once everything is set and ready, then I’ll plug in the Silverbac, hit the power button on the grill again, and monitor it as it comes to temperature. I like to keep the lid open the first time I fire up the grill, so I can hear the pellets igniting from the igniter rod. You’ll see much more smoke coming out of the stack if you leave it closed, but it’s good to get to know your grill and what it sounds like when it’s operating properly at each stage.
Cooking on the Grilla Grills Silverbac
People ask me all the time if a certain cooker is a pellet smoker or a pellet grill or both. I want to show you how the Grilla Grills Silverbac is a “both” wood pellet grill.
Smoking Test: Cooking Low and Slow
Low and slow cooking is usually associated with pork butt or a rack of ribs, so we’re talking about smoking meat here.
We cooked a half pork butt from our local grocery store by setting the grill to 225° and selecting the Pro mode on the controller for more smoke. I stuck the Grilla Grill meat probe into the pork and pulled it off the grill when it hit 200° internally. After 8 hours, we had fall-apart pulled pork with a lovely pink smoke ring.
When it comes to pork back ribs, we ran these at 225 for 3 hours and then wrapped them in foil with a competition wrap recipe. The total cook time was 5 hours, and the meat was smokey and juicy, exactly what I’m looking for in pellet grill ribs.
Hot and Fast Test
It’s not just low-heat cooking where the Grilla Grills Silverbac shines. Hot and fast cooking is setting the grill temperature to around 400 degrees and still cooking indirectly. Indirect cooking is where the heat comes from around the meat rather than underneath, and we ran both a half chicken and a batch of chicken wings for our tests.
The half chicken was incredibly easy. I cut down the backbone and through the breast bone of a whole chicken using my OXO poultry shears and seasoned the chicken with some Cloak & Dagger rub from Smoked Bros. (Save 20% with the discount code: BBQLAB20).
400° on the smoker for just shy of an hour, and the chicken hit an internal temperature of 160° in the breast, which I know will hit 165° in carryover temperature as it rests. The chicken was juicy and the rub had a toasted flavor, which made this blackening seasoning really stand out.
Direct high heat cooking isn’t something that this grill can do, since there’s not a sear station or a hatch that you can open to gain access to the flame while cooking. What this doesn’t mean is that it’s not a grill though. We made some grilled hamburgers and grilled chicken breasts to prove that this cooker can grill as well as smoke, and here’s how it went.
We picked up some 80/20 ground beef at the supermarket and made 1/3 pound patties. We dropped in a Grill Grates Sear Station (save 10% with discount code: BBQLAB10) on half the grilling surface and tested to see which put on the best grill marks. The high setting on the Grilla Grills Silverbac is 500°, so we set it to high and let it warm up for a half hour before putting the burgers on.
After 3 minutes on the first side, we flipped the burgers and found that the Grill Grates panels put on wider sear marks than the factory grates did, but the Grilla grates still performed better than the other 8 pellet grills that we tested head-to-head.
The Grilla Grill is one of the few pellet grills that can grill a whole main grate of burgers without having a sear station. That really makes it stand apart from the others in the space.
Cleaning and Maintenance of the Grilla Grills Silverbac
When it comes time to clean the Grilla Grills Silverbac, there’s not that much to it. Other than cleaning the grates each time you finish cooking and wiping down the exterior with a damp cloth, it’s just the deep clean that you need to worry about.
Every 3-4 cooks, I take out the grill grate, drip pan, and heat deflector and assess the cleanliness of the inside of the grill. There’s likely to be an abundance of wood pellet ash, and I attack that with a vacuum cleaner. I make sure to sweep all of the internal components, leaving the pellet cup and bottom of the grill clean for my next 3-4 cooks.
The grill also has a pellet dump feature on the hopper, which allows you to change the type of pellet that’s in the grill. If you decided to run Hickory wood pellets for a brisket and want to change to Apple pellets for some chicken, that’s where the pellet dump comes in handy to change out wood pellets.
Grilla Grills Warranty
There’s a 4 year warranty on the Grills Grills Silverbac, and that’s a great warranty as far as pellet grills go. You have a hard time finding a pellet grill with a longer warranty. They do exist, but this is quite the extended coverage for a pellet grill.
Recommended Accessories for the Grilla Grills Silverbac
The cover on this pellet grill is fitted quite well, but it’s not so fitted that it’s hard to put on the grill. That’s a frustration I have with so many of the covers on the market. They’re either incredibly snug and you need another person to get them on, or they’re super loose and blow off when the wind hits.
Grilla Grills does a great job with this cover balancing fit and easy on and off, making it a must-have if you’re going to store this grill outside.
Folding Front Shelf
We installed the front shelf on the opening of the pellet grill, and it’s extremely useful. It’s a stainless steel shelf, which means that it won’t rust and is easy to clean up when I’m flinging BBQ sauce around. The shelf folds flat for easy storage, yet it’s very sturdy once it’s locked into place.
Our Grilla Grills Silverbac Review
It’s hard to find things that I don’t like about the Grilla Grills Silverback. The usual corners that are cut to hit the price point of a big box store aren’t found in this Grilla Silverbac.
We found the overall quality and performance to be superior when compared with the other 7 pellet smokers in our roundup and can whole-heartedly recommend this grill.