There are several small pellet grills available on the market, but the GMG Davy Crockettis one of only a few truly portable ones. Portable pellet grills are useful for tailgating, for picnics and campouts, or for special events when you don’t want to haul a larger grill in the bed of a truck. The Davy Crockett is one of the two true portable grills available right now, along with the recteq RT-340. The Davy Crockett, unlike the recteq portable, is meant to only be used away from home, while the Trailblazer can be used full-time on your deck or patio as well as taken on the road. (You can see our portable grill comparison to learn about the others.)
How Portable is It?
The Davy Crockett will easily fit in the trunk of most cars when folded up. The legs fold into a built-in handle for carrying, though to be honest they don’t do so very easily. In fact, folding the legs is either a two-person job or one that runs a serious risk of injury. We found the legs very likely to trap your arm between it and the grill body when collapsing them, with no real option other than to ask someone to help.
It’s portable, in that it can go anywhere. But don’t think you can just grab it and go. The grill weighs 68 pounds and so, while it can be carried, it’s not the easiest thing to lift up into a vehicle. We found the process of folding the grill up, unfolding it, and transporting it to be an easy two-person job or a very cumbersome and even dangerous one-person job. Seriously, watch your wrists and forearms, as those legs can clamp down hard on them when folding.
The one advantage the Davy Crockett has over other portable grills is that it better addresses the main problem when running a pellet smoker remotely: the power source. Because pellet grills require a standard outlet, your options for taking them on the road were either to have a generator or a car battery and separate converter. Green Mountain solves this partially by including 3 separate connectors: a standard 110v AC plug, an auto cigarette lighter connector, and a 12v battery option (think miniature jumper cables.) This is a definite plus and one of the reasons that it might be the perfect tailgating-only grill, even if it’s less usable at home.
Their customer service claims field testing with a car battery and getting 40-50 hours of cook time. We took the Davy Crockett on a 5-day fishing trip to Michigan and ran it, along with a recteq off of one car battery and an inverter for 2 very long cooks and several short cooks and never had an issue. On a side note, we had two days of dirt-splashing severe rain and the GMG cleaned up just fine afterwards with no issues.
Also of note is that the grill is Wi-Fi enabled, with the ability to control and monitor temperatures via the GMG mobile app. You can set it up to work “point-to-point” where the grill is communicating with a nearby phone without need for a wi-fi network. The Wi-Fi capability is a very useful feature for a grill at your house, but honestly in a portable grill, we don’t see it as being used for more than impressing people at a tailgate or campsite.
How we determine space: We give a max amount, based on packing items edge to edge on the grate. A pellet grill, however, has hot spots at the edges of the grate that aren’t over the drip pan. This means that at max food capacity, you’ll have to move/rotate food to prevent burning or overcooking. The effective capacity is the number of items that fit without having to rotate. In other words, it’s the capacity without being affected by the hotter edge zones of the grilling chamber.
We classify this as a small-sized pellet grill, based on the size of its main cooking grate. The best comparison grills for size are the recteq RT-340 or the Pit Boss 340.
The Davy Crockett will hold three average-sized chickens, four if you pack them in tightly. You could easily cook two full racks of pork ribs flat (more with a rib rack,) and two average sized pork butts. It has 9” of height clearance—space for cooking a 12-13 lb turkey, and you could cook two at a time if thawed. Maximum space for 16 burgers, but effective capacity is 9 burgers.
The Davy Crockett total cooking surface area comes in at 217 sq. in. for the grate area (our measurements confirm this at 12.75” x 17”). The lid opens up to provide adequate space for a large pork butt or medium-sized turkey.
The Davy Crockett uses a digital controller, adjustable in 5 degree increments. Essentially, this means that it controls the temperature by changing the rate at which pellets are fed into the firepot, combined with a fan controlling airflow into the combustion process. Temperature inside the cooking chamber is monitored and the grill’s controller automatically changes the feed rate and the on-off state of the fans in order to maintain this target temperature.
The Davy Crockett controller has digital temperature and mode selector, and a digital readout for actual temperatures. It also has a food probe input with selectable readout for monitoring its temperature.
The controller has a Low Smoke mode, a High Smoke mode, and claims a temperature range from 150 to 550 F. There is an input for the included food temperature probe. The display of the grill temperature and the food probe temperature are toggled with a button on the controller.
Notable Features and Conveniences
Portability: the legs fold into a carrying handle for transport
3 Power Options: standard 110v outlet, 120ac (car adapter) and 12v direct-to-battery connection
Low Pellet alarm for pellet hopper
Wi-Fi Smart Control, allowing you to control and monitor the grill via mobile app
Cooking Grate Area: 219 sq. in.
Chamber Capacity: xxx cubic in.
Hopper Capacity: 9 lbs. of pellets
Overall Height: 31.75 in. legs open/20.5 in legs closed
Overall Weight: 68 lbs.
Warranty: 3 years
Davy Crockett Grill Hands-On Review
We tested a fully assembled grill in our offices, using our standard testing protocols. Our final summary ratings appear at the end of this review.
The Green Mountain Grills Davy Crockett is a unique looking pellet grill because of its compact size and its spindly chrome legs. It uses stainless steel on the lid only. The remainder of the grill is black painted steel, except for the previously mentioned chrome legs. The grill isn’t the most sturdy or substantial feeling, which is understandable to try and keep the weight down for portability. The Woodwind smoker definitely doesn’t come across as hefty or solid as other more expensive grills. One particularly cheap feeling part is the grill grates. They are comically thin and cheap, an odd choice considering it is the part of a grill that receives the most physical abuse.
The cooking chamber of the smoker is flat on all sides. This allows for a large front opening, which is useful for inserting and removing larger items like turkeys or pork butts. There is a small detachable wire shelf with hooks for hanging utensils which is a nice touch.
The major function of this grill is its portability, so some of the material quality and even its overall cooking performance should be taken with that in mind. This isn’t meant to be the best pellet grill for performance, it’s meant to be a way to take pellet grilling on the road. In fact, the Davy Crockett grill, unlike the recteq RT-340, won’t really function well as your “home” grill, due to its lack of a sturdy base and its inability to stand at a functional height. The grill when folded up sits on some spring-mounted metal feet. When unfolded, it’s plenty stable. It works great on a picnic table
That said, the portability isn’t all that great. First, it weighs 70 pounds, without wheels. Carrying this thing with one hand and lifting it up onto a tailgate or onto a picnic table is no easy task for someone of average strength. And the process of folding and unfolding the legs is not just cumbersome for one person, it’s kind of dangerous. When folding it up, without a helper, the way the legs fold can trap your arm between the leg and the grill body, clamping down on it with the leverage of a 70 pound grill. There’s no easy work-around—laying the grill on its back doesn’t help in the process as it prevents access to the rear leg. The only solution is to make it a two-person job.
Again, the material choices for the grill were most likely made with portability in mind. The lid is stainless steel (see our article for our review of stainless steel types in pellet grills) and is of below-average thickness at around 1.6mm. The grill body is painted 1.5mm thick carbon steel and is the one area of the grill that is the same thickness as non-portable grills. It seems Green Mountain, though it made some parts thinner for weight-savings, decided to retain “home grill” cooking performance and heat retention by not skimping on the cooking chamber materials.
The main components inside the cooking chamber are, however, some of the thinnest seen in pellet grills and are made of carbon steel rather than stainless. The grates are stainless steel and at 2.5mm thick, are about half the thickness of even the most average quality grates. These grates are laughably thin. The drip pan is 1.0 mm steel, and the heat deflector is 1.3mm stainless, both of which are noticeably on the thin side. Also of note is that the ignitor rod is stainless, rather than the much more durable ceramic type. Know that a stainless ignitor rod could fail, depending upon environment and other conditions, within a year or two, whereas a ceramic ignitor rod has an almost lifetime length of use.
Lid: 1.63 mm Stainless
Body/walls: 1.5 mm steel
Grate: 2.5 mm stainless steel
Drip pan: 1.0 mm stainless steel
Heat Deflector: 1.3 mm stainless steel
Ignitor Rod: stainless steel
Overall, we rate the Woodwind as slightly below average materials and construction quality. While we recognize that the portability is key and would allow for some thinner materials to achieve lower weight, we feel like the grill grates are not the place to do that.
Grill Operations and Controls
The Davy Crockett grill uses a digital controller, with temperature selections from 150-550 degrees in 5-degree increments. The controls are straightforward with four main buttons: a power button, up and down temperature selection arrows, and a button labeled “Food” to toggle between the grill and food temperature readouts. There is also an led bulb indicator for Wi-Fi signal.
Startup and shutdown procedures are straightforward and simple. When powered on, the grill controller readout cycles from 1 to 3 on its display as it begins the process of ignition and heat up. When the grill reaches 150 degrees, you can select your temperature. Shutdown is equally simple. Pressing the power button begins the shutdown sequence, and “Fan” displays on the controller.
The grill can also be controlled with your mobile device. Wi-Fi control of the grill is via Green Mountain’s mobile app, available for both Android and iOS users. The app is similar to most manufacturer’s apps, with the ability to power the grill on and off, change and monitor temperatures the grill, and monitor probe temperature. One difference in GMG’s app is the ability to run “profiles,” which are pre-programmed formulas for cooking, for example, a pork butt or brisket. The app also includes the usual additional features like alerts, recipes, support, timers, and even a flashlight. As with most Wi-Fi enabled devices, you’ll see various reviews ranging from “terrible…doesn’t work” to “greatest thing ever.” And, as with most wifi grill apps, if you can follow simple directions, the Wi-Fi controller works most of the time but is subject to the occasional connectivity glitch.
The digital readout displays various mode or status codes as well as current temperature of either the grill or the one temperature probe. The red LED display is bright and large and readable, though it can be hard to read in direct or bright sunlight without shading the area with your hand.
Our temperature tests are important because the two critical components in smoking delicious food are time and temperature. The ability to accurately control temperature and cook time, combined with wood smoke, is what makes your food taste amazing and also makes the pellet smoker such a revolutionary backyard grill. Accuracy in temperatures, then, is vital for a successful cook and in a quality pellet smoker.
You can read more about our testing procedures, but to summarize, we use industrial laboratory grade temperature probes and data logging on multiple surface points in the smoker to record several categories of data:
Time to reach a set temperature
Accuracy of temperature readings (for both probe and grill controller)
Consistency of temperature readings (swings in temps)
Actual high and low temperatures of the grill
Smoke produced (subjective, not measurable)
Initially, our tests showed the Davy Crockett wildly inaccurate in its temperature control. It was off by 50-75 degrees at low to middle temperatures and even climbed up over 700 degrees when set at 450. Even more troubling is that the temperature readout on the grill was reading 450 when the actual temperature was over 700 degrees! A call to customer service offered a solution: our heat deflector needed to be moved to the right about an inch. This seems to have resolved the issue, but on a portable grill, having to fine tune a heat deflector’s position for proper temperature control seems to be a bug, not a feature. And the fact that the grill readout didn’t match the actual temperature definitely gave us trust issues.
Overall, after the adjustment, we found the Davy Crockett to be fairly accurate to within 20-30 degrees, with actual temperatures usually 10 to 20 degrees higher than what the controller on the smoker reads. The Woodwind’s included temperature probe was accurate compared to our temperature data logger.
As for actual temperature capabilities, our testing showed the Woodwind able to hold a low temperature of 165 at the “Low Smoke” setting. This is a solid and usable low temp setting on a pellet smoker. We were able to get the Woodwind to a high temperature of 508, consistent with Camp Chef’s stated max of 500. Below you’ll see the time it took to reach these temperatures.
Time to Reach
Our Measured Temp
Grill Control Says
Grill Probe Says
As for smoke production, we found the Davy Crockett to produce adequate amounts of smoke, especially at the 200 to 225 range. We also noticed that the grill “flamed out” and had to restart its fire several times around 200-225 degrees, which produced large amounts of smoldering smoke when the pellets reignited.
Pellet grills aren’t meant to be scientifically precise in their temperatures, but they should be predictable and consistent and accurate within 10% or so. The Davy Crockett isn’t the most trustworthy smoker in this regard. The fact that its heat deflector positioning (which can shift in transport) is critical to its performance, along with the fact that the grill temperature readouts don’t match the actual temperature when that positioning is “off” concerns us. The grill works adequately when functioning properly, but it might overcook your food without your knowledge if things aren’t perfect. Given that this might happen at a tailgate or family camping trip and you can see that you had better do some test cooks before your outing to make sure you understand the grill’s performance.
The fact that its heat deflector positioning (which can shift in transport) is critical to its performance, along with the fact that the grill temperature readouts don’t match the actual temperature when that positioning is “off” concerns us.
Our opinion is that the grill’s temperature quirks are due to its small size. Small variables are amplified in a smaller cooking chamber. That 1/2” extra gap between the deflector and the grill wall allows for greater airflow on the stack-side, which increases combustion and raises temperatures. Not as noticeable in a grill twice the size, but it can wreak havok in this small chamber.
Overall, we rate the temperature control as poor.
Davy Crockett Grill Ownership Experience
Pellet smokers are largely maintenance-free, other than routine cleaning. But there are some complex components that have been known to fail, and there are some parts that need periodic replacement, like the ignitor rod. Because of this, we like to do a review of manufacturer warranties, as well as common issues that a model might have.
The Davy Crockett, and all Green Mountain pellet grills, has a 3-year warranty. As well, they have a toll-free customer service number for service issues or product support questions.
Our call to customer service was answered quickly and by an actual human being. The representative was friendly and helpful on the phone.
Issues with grills are most likely to happen when you’re cooking on a Friday night or during the weekend. GMG’s tech support is available weekdays 7am-7pm Pacific Time and 8am-5pm on Saturday and Sunday. That’s good coverage in case of problems, but not perfect.
Ease of Ownership
Green Mountain Grills has been around for a long time and so their online community is extensive. The Green Mountain Grill Owners group on Facebook, for instance, has over 37,000 members. As you can imagine, you can probably find plenty of helpful tips, recipes, as well as service and maintenance tales in this or several other Green Mountain sections of online forums.
If you’re going to own a pellet grill, you should join the online community of your grill manufacturer. The recipes, tips, and ideas you’ll find, as well as the support available, can increase the enjoyment of ownership and the quality of food you cook. Green Mountain has a robust online community on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube that is updated daily and offers even a beginner an easy path to cooking amazing food.
We look to online forums as well as manufacturer Frequently Asked Questions in order to try and find the most common issues with a particular model. For the Davy Crockett, we found people mostly satisfied. The most common recurring issues we saw were:
Reports of ruined cooks due to overheating (fixed if and when they discovered the proper heat deflector positioning)
Fan and motherboard replacements (replaced under warranty)
Wi-Fi connectivity problems
Obviously, we aren’t saying the above are known defects, just that they’re the more common issues we found.
Davy Crockett Grill Overall Rating
The Davy Crockett is a unique pellet grill in that it is a true portable, and only a portable. This won’t function very well as your daily grill that can also–with a bit of hassle–go on the road with you. Instead, it is meant to be carried (though not easily.) In that regard, it fills its role well. It is portable, it fits in a car trunk, and it smokes food. But it has some issues with temperature trustworthiness. Though it runs accurately once the heat shield is properly adjusted, we worry that adjusting it will be necessary every time you travel with it. Perhaps you can etch a line in the bottom once you figure the proper placement for yours.
Aside from that, the grill has some flimsy materials that we don’t think will have super long life, but we understand the choices made for weight savings. One thing is clear: this is NOT a good main grill for you. This is, however, a solid way to take your pellet grill on the road for that tailgate or camping trip. And for less than $400, it’s a pretty solid choice.