Last summer we were all stuck at home during the quarantine, and we decided to take on a huge project of turning our sad 10x12 patio into a full blown outdoor kitchen. We’ve fallen in love with real wood fire pellet cooking, and we knew that we wanted to build a pellet grill into the final setup.
We looked over all of the pellet grills that were available as built-ins, and found the Memphis Pro that fit our space and needs rather nicely.
Our kitchen project is not finished yet. Our progress got rudely interrupted by winter weather, but now that spring is upon us we look forward to finishing up the remaining work. We did make sure however that before the weather stopped us, we got our Memphis Grills Pro installed and hooked up so that we could still use it through the winter.
We're so glad we did. We have enjoyed many wood-fired meals through the winter in spite of the weather.
So after using the Memphis Pro wood fire grill over the past 4 months, we want to share our review of what we love, what could be improved, and anything we've learned along the way.
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Memphis Pro Product Information
574 square inches or 848 sq. in. (with optional upper grates)
W28" x H28" x D29"
18 lb. dual pellet hopper
Shipping and Packaging
The Memphis Pro isn’t a light unit, so it ships on a pallet and comes on a truck with a lift gate if you’re having it delivered to a residence. We suggest that you make at least 6 feet of room in your garage when it’s out for delivery, that way you’ll have a bit of wiggle room when you ask your delivery person to pallet jack it into your garage for you.
Assembling the Memphis Pro
When compared to many of the cart grill models that we build here at the Lab, there really isn’t much to assembling a Memphis Grill built in. You start by attaching the controller bracket to your kitchen countertop support, inserting the controller into the bracket, connecting the controller to the grill, and then screwing in the stainless steel wings on the back and sides of the unit.
The Memphis Pro comes with detailed instructions that are actually easy to understand, and we really appreciate it when instructions make sense. Memphis Wood Fire Grills did a good job here.
Before using any wood fire pellet grill, it’s best practice to burn off the oils and any residue left from the manufacturing process. Memphis Grills recommends to set the grill to 450 and let it run for 20 minutes before putting any food on the grill.
Grilling on the Memphis Pro:
The Memphis Pro is both grill and a pellet smoker equally, and that’s not something I can say about most pellet grills. With a low end temperature of 180 and a high end of 650, this unit is equipped to both smoke and grill with ease, using the direct flame insert. Let’s cover the grilling aspect first.
Over the last 4 months putting this unit to the test, we’ve grilled a bunch of things. The first one I’ll mention is the Filet Mignon that we made for Mom’s birthday. We wanted to reverse sear these steaks, and the Memphis is built for that. We set the Memphis grill to 180°, and put the steaks on to smoke until they hit an internal temperature of 110°. Once they hit temp, we pulled the steaks off and turned the grill to the max temperature of 650° and set the controller to direct flame cooking.
We took out the deflector plate and replaced it with the direct flame attachment on the Savorizer. After about 10 minutes of getting up to temperature, we had a great flame to sear with, and we finished the steaks off at a nice Medium Rare just the way Mom likes.
After the steaks came off, we put on some Argentinian Shrimp Skewers and seared them over the direct flame. It didn’t take long, and even though we soaked our wood skewers for a couple of hours before we put them on, we still burned through the skewers faster than we thought because of the high heat. So, just know that Memphis grills isn’t messing around when it comes to high heat grilling over the direct flame insert.
If you haven’t tried it yet, pizza on the grill is fantastic, and we have a tradition of pizza Fridays here at the house. We made a Detroit style pizza on the Memphis, and with the grill set to 525°, it was like having a pizza oven out on the patio.
Smoking on the Memphis Pro:
Now let’s talk about smoking on Memphis wood fire grills. One of my favorite things to smoke has to be a beef chuck roast that we’ll eat with Chipotle style Mexican burrito bowls. We set the Memphis grill to 275°, applied our favorite Mexican rub and let the roast smoke for 4 hours before we checked it. I love being able to set this grill and just forget about it while the controller controls the cook and we can get work done. After 4 hours it was time to get the roast into some braising liquid in a dutch oven so it would pull apart in time for dinner. The results were fantastic. Smokey flavor, pull apart beef and we barely had to pay attention to the cook while working at home.
If you’re looking for a cut of meat to smoke when getting started with smoking, the pork shoulder is the perfect choice. It’s incredibly forgiving due to the amount of fat, and it’s a cut that you can put on the grill in the morning and not check again until dinner.
Brisket enchiladas is a dish that we’ve been preparing on the wood fire pellet grill lately, and adding a subtle smokey flavor on the grill instead of putting them in the oven is one of the best things we’ve done to take our recipe to the next level. .
For the big game this year, we smoked a batch of chicken wings, and they turned out crispy and delicious. We set the grill to 250°, put the wings directly on the grate and let them go for a little over an hour and a half. With half lemon pepper and the other one of my favorite bbq rubs, there was bound to be something for everyone.
After the wings were done, we put on some smoked queso and pulled pork potato skins. If you haven’t tried smoked queso out on the grill, you’re missing out. It’s melty, smokey and delicious, and we prefer it to any queso we’ve made in the Crock-Pot. When you can add a little smoke flavor, why wouldn’t you?
When we do a grill review, we always want to discuss the storage options of each grill. With this being a built in unit, there’s not any moving it around for storage, but there is an optional cover that you can use to protect this grill from the weather. We didn’t include the cover for our Memphis grill as it’s installed under a pavilion, but if you’d like a cover to go with your unit, there’s one available.
Memphis Wood Fire Grills Warranty:
Memphis Grills have a 7 year limited warranty, and you can read more about the details of that warranty on the Memphis Grills website.
What We Loved About the Memphis Pro
304 Stainless Steel Construction
The Memphis grill is made of so much stainless steel, that we don’t worry about it being out in the weather. Our last 304 stainless steel grill has lasted us for 15 years without any signs of external wear, and we’re thrilled to have a pellet smoker built out of the same material.
Direct Flame Grilling
While most pellet grills are actually pellet smokers, the Memphis Grills Pro is both pellet grill and a smoker in one. It’s rare to find a true hybrid when buying a pellet smoker, and we’re loving the range of this grill.
We love it when a pellet grill can be connected to the cloud, and the WiFi capability of the Pro is one of my favorite features. I can put a pork butt on the Memphis grill in the morning and head out for a day of running around, and all the while know exactly what’s going on with grill and meat temperature while I’m on the road.
Mobile App Capability
The mobile app allows me to change temperatures, see what each meat probe is reading, change probe alarms and even shut the grill down. It’s a ton of wireless control at my fingertips when I’m trying to both smoke an awesome dinner and still get stuff down around town.
Full Coverage Lid
The cooking chamber lid is a full coverage lid, meaning that the sides of the lid cover all the way down to the cooking surface. The grilling chamber is also double walled to make sure that the weather and wind don’t increase pellet consumption during the colder months of the year.
There’s an oven grade gasket seal all the way around the lid to make sure that the seal is tight whenever the lid is closed. I have quite a few grills where wind blows through the lid to create uneven temperatures in the cooking chamber, but this isn’t a problem with the Memphis Pro wood fire grill.
Easy Ash Clean-out
The grease drawers and disposable liners make cleanup really easy. Just pull out the drawer, change out the aluminum foil liners, and you’re ready to cook.
This is something you don’t get with other grills that we’ve tested. The grate tool is a multi-function tool that’s designed to allow you to move the internal components around without having to touch them directly. We all know how dirty the internal components of a grill can become after cooking a few pork shoulders, and the grate tool lets us change cooking modes without needing to go in and wash our hands each time.
The fan system that’s included with each Memphis wood fire grill creates a convection cooking environment to evenly distribute heat around anything you have on the grill. It effectively eliminates hot spots that are common on pellet grills in any price range.
Armored Meat Probe
I don’t know that Memphis Grills would call their meat probe an armored probe, but I love that the meat probes that come with the Pro have a shielding around them to keep them from getting kinked and needing replaced. Memphis probes are the Cadillac of meat probes on the market today if that Cadillac were an Abrams tank.
Heavy Duty Grates
As soon as you lift one of these grates to move it around, you’ll notice that these aren’t the cheap porcelain grates you find on most pellet grills. The grates are incredibly heavy, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. The grates are substantial, and the round bars are close enough so that chicken wings don’t slip through while being far enough apart to allow the flames direct access.
I love that there’s a meat probe port built in to the side of Memphis wood fire grills. I have way too many meat probes where the wires have gotten kinked from being closed in the door of a smoker that didn’t have a meat probe port. I also really like that the probe port on the Memphis is large enough to allow more than 1 meat probe at a time so I can monitor more than just 1 piece of meat.
Dual Pellet Hopper
The pellet hopper has a capacity of 18 lbs of pellets that’s divided into 2 different chambers. This design allows the ability to mix and combine different types of wood pellets, so I’m not just cooking with oak pellets, but I can fill the other side with cherry pellets to get a deeper smoke ring with that unmistakable oak flavor.
Anything under a temperature of 295° is automatically set to smoke mode on Memphis grills. That means that the controller is set to maximize smoke while maintaining temperature. If we’re lucky, on other smokers we might have a button where we can turn on a smoke mode, but for most manufacturers it’s not something we can control. With Memphis wood fire grills, it’s an afterthought because it’s already been solved for us with a simple setting of the temperature on the grill.
Opportunities for Improvement
The Memphis Pro has the hopper placement on the rear of the grill. The new Beale Street from Memphis Grills puts the hopper on the front of the grill, also doubling as a shelf. While I like having the pellet hopper out of the way so I can get closer to the food I’m cooking, it’s harder to get wood pellets into the hopper from the front of the grill.
I’ve found it much easier to walk around to the back of the grill to put pellets in, especially since the hopper lid opens towards the front of the grill, meaning that you need to lift over the raised lid to fill wood pellets from the front. A minor gripe, but it’s an opportunity for improvement for those who are considering installing this up against a wall in an outdoor kitchen.
No Pellet Clean Out
There is not a pellet cleanout on the Memphis Pro that we’ve found, so changing the type of wood pellets that we have in the grill means that we need to fish them out with a cup or a shop vac. I’ll admit that we don’t often change the type of wood pellets in our grills even when we do have a pellet cleanout, but if I’m loaded up with fruit wood pellets for a chicken or pork cook and I’m going to be moving to brisket next, I really do like to be able to change my wood pellets out for something more robust.
Tips for the Memphis Pro
Rear Panel Access
When you’re looking to build in the Memphis Pro unit, make sure that you have access to the rear panel with the ability to see what’s going on inside the grill. In addition to installation of the grill, we’ve had to take the back panel off of the grill to reset the WiFi on the unit, and I’m glad that we built in enough room for back panel access like the installation instructions told us. When you’re planning, give yourself some room behind the grill to be able to take that back panel and surrounding supports off in case you need to get in there for some reason like we did.
With this tool, you can scrape the cooking grid, remove the grill grates (even when hot), clean out the burn pot, scrape the flavorizer and even open bottles. Once you get to know it, you’ll wonder why every manufacturer doesn’t include one with their grill.
Is the Memphis Pro Built-In Worth It?
After many months with the Memphis Pro, it’s easily the best pellet grill that I’ve had the privilege to cook on. From classic low and slow bbq meats to pizzas and enchiladas, bread baking, grilling steaks and everything in between, it’s the one grill that’s irreplaceable in our outdoor kitchen.
If the Memphis Pro is in your budget for your outdoor space, get it. You won’t regret it.
MikeSeptember 4, 2021 1:07 am
Thanks for the detailed review.
Can you comment on the Pro vs. Elite model? Do you ever wish you had more space than the Pro? Thanks!