The Recteq RT-700 is the flagship grill from Rec Tec (now known as Recteq, as of August 2020). The company has a monster of a following. Their owners are more akin to fans, and they aren’t afraid to voice support for their favorite brand of pellet grill. The RT-700 (once known as “The Bull”)–is known for its bombproof stainless steel construction, advanced controller, and great ownership experience. At $1200, it’s not the cheapest large grill you can buy, but is it worth that extra money?
One downside if you want this grill quickly: you can’t buy it at your local big-box store. Rec Tec doesn’t use retail or resellers. You can buy it at Amazon, but only as part of a package. Your best bet is to buy directly from Recteq. Either way, you’ll have to wait a few days to get one.
“Their owners are more akin to fans, and they aren’t afraid to voice strong support for their favorite brand of pellet grill.“
However you acquire one, based on our reviews and on general owner satisfaction, it will be worth the wait. This is a solid grill, with unequalled support from the company to back it up.
Recteq RT-700 Basic Features
The RT-700 is a conventional barrel-shaped pellet grill. The two distinct features immediately apparent, however, are the large amount of visible polished stainless steel and the signature Recteq bull horn handles. The entire barrel is polished stainless steel, though the lid is black powder-coated steel. The Recteq signature polished bull horn handles and unique black plus stainless steel make this a grill that doesn’t look like other pellet grills.
The smoker has a wide-stance with substantial legs and four high-tech easy-rolling wheels. It is substantial, weighing in at 200 pounds.
The RT-700 is certainly an impressive looking pellet grill and we rated it accordingly.
The RT-700 has one cooking level, split into two hefty stainless steel grates. Our measurements put the surface area at 19.25″ deep x 33.5″ wide for an overall grate area of just over 640 sq inches of cooking space (Recteq claims 700 sq in.) . Rec Tec does offer an optional second shelf, which adds over 350 more sq inches of cooking space.
How we determine actual cooking 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 front and rear edges of the grate that aren’t over the drip pan. Any food that is directly above this gap will burn. The effective capacity, then, is the number of items that fit on the grate area above the drip pan. In other words, it’s the capacity without being affected by the hotter edge zones of the grilling chamber.
As you can see, the RT-700’s capacity is 21 standard sized burgers. We use a 4.5” wooden disc as the standard size for burgers. The grill should easily hold 6-8 mid-sized pork butts, 7-9 racks of baby back ribs (more with a rib rack) and at least 3-4 normal sized turkeys.
Rec Tec uses the more advanced PID controller technology, which reaches and maintains the temperature more precisely than a conventional controller. All controllers pellet feed rate and fans to reach a temperature range, and then control the feed rate and sometimes the fans in order to maintain that temperature.
A PID controller, however, uses machine learning via constant feedback from the cook chamber in order to more finely maintain the desired temperature. PID controllers can better adjust to outside variables like ambient temperature, so that it doesn’t overshoot or undershoot a temperature and so it maintains that temperature more accurately.
To summarize, a PID controller offers more automatic fine tuning so that the temperature you set is indeed more accurately maintained.
Notable Features and Conveniences
- Many stainless steel components
- PID wi-fi controller with wireless on/off, temp settings, and grill and probe alarms
- One-step startup and shutdown
- 2 built in monitored (via app) food probes
- 40 lb pellet hopper
- 6 year warranty
- Main Grate Area: 702 sq. in.
- With Optional Large 2nd Shelf: 1,054 sq. in.
- Chamber Capacity: 5,510 cubic in.
- Hopper Capacity: 30 lbs. of pellets
- Overall Height: 43.5 in.
- Overall Weight: 150 lbs.
- Warranty: 4 years, comprehensive
Recteq RT-700 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.
Arrival and Assembly
The RT-700 arrived on a pallet via a local freight carrier. You will not be receiving this grill as a UPS or FedEx drop-off. Have no fear, however. We outline the freight process in our shipping article. The unpacking and assembly isn’t difficult, but you need two people to do it the most efficiently, and plan on about 30 minutes for the job. It’s mostly attaching the lid and the legs, so it’s not as bad as an IKEA shelf. If you can plug in a wire and use a wrench, you can easily assemble this grill.
For an idea of the assembly process, Recteq has a helpful video, which will give you an idea of the process. It’s not bad. An important note: the grill is modular, which means most every component of the grill is easy to replace or upgrade in the future with simple hand tools.
If you didn’t already know, Recteq is pretty much unmatched when it comes to materials and construction quality. The RT-700 is the grill that showcases all of that Recteq quality.
All cooking surfaces are hefty stainless steel, as are the handles, the barrel, and major components. Only the lid and legs are powder-coated steel, but even these are noticeably beefy. This grill should last years, if not decades, with proper care. Note: See our article about the different types of stainless steel to see why 304 stainless is superior.
List of Stainless Steel Parts on the RT-700 Pellet Grill
- Drip Pan: 304 Stainless Steel
- Heat Deflector: 304 Stainless Steel
- Fire Pot: 304 Stainless Steel
- 1/4″ Stainless Steel Grill Grates
- Grill Chamber
- Fastening Hardware
- Bull Horn Handles
- Towel Ring
- Controller Shelf
- Pellet Hopper Lid
- Pellet Hopper Handles and Hinges
- Recteq logo
- Lid stops
- Grease bucket hook
- Smoke Stack cap
- Pull bar/handle
- Fastening Hardware
Open the lid and the inside is almost mirror-like, due to all that stainless steel. The ledges, the RTD temperature sensor bracket, the barrel walls, even the drip pan are gorgeous stainless steel. That shine won’t last past your first cook, but make no mistake that the durability of these surfaces–surfaces subjected to not just high heat, but acidic smoke and fats and oils–is something to note.
Grill Component Specifics
- Lid: 2.7mm Powder Coated Carbon Steel
- Body/walls: 1.7mm Stainless Steel
- Grate: .25″/6mm 304 Stainless Steel (grate is 2 pieces)
- Drip pan: 2.3mm 304 Stainless Steel
- Heat Deflector: 1.9mm 304 Stainless Steel
- Firepot: 3.5mm 304 Stainless Steel
- Ignitor Rod: Ceramic
Those XXmm thick stainless steel grates are noticeably hefty. To be fair, they are basically the same gauge steel as the Camp Chef Woodwind and the Z Grill 700 Series. But they are noticeably heavier and definitely more sturdy (and pricey) than regular steel, which is the norm many pellet grills.
One advantage stainless grates have over even porcelain coated grates, as you’ll see in the better Traeger grills: stainless doesn’t chip or scratch. Porcelain can.
Even the ceramic ignitor rod is a big upgrade over the norm and has a lifespan of at least 10x over the conventional type steel rod. Another indicator of the attention to detail by Recteq is their use of silicone thermal caulk over the seams in not just the cook chamber, but even the pellet hopper. You don’t see this in other grills. It’s visible in the photos, as it’s red.
Overall, we rate the Rec Tec RT-700 as having outstanding materials and construction quality.
Grill Operations and Controls
The Rec Tec Smart Grill Technology controller is a true PID controller. It controls both its pellet feed rate and its fans in a constant fine-tuning dance to maintain the desired temperature. This system has advantages over conventional pellet grill controllers because it won’t be subject to wild swings in temperature that some grills can experience.
If you’ve ever had a grill spike to 300 on a hot August day, unable to stay at 225, then you can understand one of the benefits of the PID controller.
The Rec Tec control panel uses an LCD display, which means it’s visible in direct sunlight. Some controllers use LED (like a digital alarm clock) which can be illegible in direct sunlight. The panel is backlit and very visible in the dark. Buttons are membrane-type and a bit on the small side. It’s a minor complaint, but the controller could use a chunkier interface, like the Traeger or Weber.
Temp selection is via a rotary dial and the display shows both the set point and actual temperatures, as well as both probe temperatures, all at one time without toggling. The Recteq wifi app can control all these functions with your phone. Temperatures are selectable in 5-degree increments with a Lo/Extreme Smoke setting, 200 up to 500 degrees, and then a Hi/Full setting. See our testing below for actual temperature performance, but the RT-700 was able to reach 500 degrees at the top end.
Temperature Probes and Recteq App
The RT-700 has two monitored food probes, which are included. One nice thing about this controller is it displays both controller temps as well as the set point and actual temp, all at once, with no toggling between them necessary. The Recteq app allows you to set temperature alarms for both the grill and each individual temperature probe.
If you’ve ever had a grill spike to 300 on a hot July day, unable to stay at 225, then you’ll see the benefit of the PID controller.
Startup and shutdown are one-button easy and begin pre-programmed startup and shutdown sequences. Other grills require additional steps to either start or turn off your grill. Both startup and shutdown are able to be done via the wifi app as well.
One other minor gripe with the Recteq RT-700: the wiring from the controller to the grill has an exposed connection that hangs below the stainless controller shelf. It’s a minor issue, but in an outdoor piece of electronics, it makes us a bit nervous.
Rec Tec’s wifi app allows you to turn the grill on and off, set and adjust the temperature, and see temperature probe readings. It also allows you to set and receive notifications for temperature targets for both the grill and the two probes. One additional feature of their app is the ability to see a line graph history of your cook, including set point, actual grill temp and probe temps. You cannot, however, archive these graphs.
Overall, we found the RT-700 to be accurate to within 10 degrees, with actual temperatures usually within 5 degrees of what the controller on the smoker reads. The temperature was incredibly accurate across the entire grate.
Our temperature testing showed the far right of the grill, on the grease drain/smoke stack side, to be 12-15 degrees hotter. If you know this about your grill (which you should if you do the biscuit test), you’ll be fine.
|Setting||Time to Reach||Our Measured Temp||Grill Control Says||Grill Probe Says|
At the Lo/Extreme Smoke setting, the grill did indeed produce good amounts of wispy white smoke. We noticed that the grill didn’t flame out and re-ignite at low temperatures, which some grills are prone to. When it does happen, it can produce more acrid smoke temporarily and impact flavor. This didn’t happen with the Rec Tec. As with any pellet grill, the higher the temps, the lower the smoke. At 350, little smoke was evident. This is normal.
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 Recteq was well within this range at both low and high temperatures. We actually hit almost 600 on this grill at the Full setting, which is great.
We rated the RT-700 temperature performance as excellent.
Recteq RT-700 Ownership Experience
Pellet smokers are largely maintenance-free, though they require routine cleaning out of the firepot every 3-5 cooks. But there are some complex components that have been known to fail, and there are some parts that need periodic replacement, like an ignitor rod. We therefore like to do a review of manufacturer warranties, as well as common issues that a model might have.
The RT-700 has a 6-year comprehensive warranty from Recteq. This warranty is tops among pellet manufacturers. They also have a 30-day money-back guarantee and a toll-free customer service number for service issues or product support questions.
Rec Tec is known for their customer service, and with good reason. With each grill, you’ll get a customer support card with a number to call for any questions, from assembly to cooking issues. Finally, the community of Recteq pellet grill owners is large and helpful and easy to join on Facebook, Reddit, or online.
Some manufacturers only man their phones Monday-Friday, which doesn’t help when you run into an issue on a weekend–a much more likely scenario. Also of note: it is true that you can reach one of the two Recteq owner/founders on the support lines. You can’t necessarily call them directly, but Ray and Ron, the founders and owners, do field service calls often.
Rec Tec lists their service hours on their website as Monday-Saturday, morning to evening, but when you purchase a grill, you get a special number to call anytime.
We called with a simple question on a Friday afternoon. The call was answered by a person after two rings. The person that answered the phone was able to diagnose a (hypothetical) technical issue. In other words, we weren’t subjected to a call tree, being transferred around, or a person that was simply looking up answers on a web page.
This is real customer service by knowledgeable employees who are (we asked) actually sitting in a chair at Rec Tec’s headquarters. We were offered a quick fix to our (hypothetical) problem, with a very quick offer to replace a part free of charge if the fix didn’t solve the problem. You will be happy with Recteq’s customer service.
The hype around Rec Tec’s customer service is absolutely real, and deserves our top rating.
Ease of Ownership
Many people buy an appliance like a grill hoping that nothing goes wrong. But if you own a Rec Tec, it seems you can be sure of two things:
- Rec Tec will go to great lengths to make things right
- The Rec Tec community is knowledgeable, easy to find and join, and loves helping each other. I’ve seen this fanbase referred to as the “Rec Tec Mafia” due to their level of engagement and enthusiasm. (see the Recteq Forum for examples of recipes and general help for specific grills)
Purchasing a Rec Tec is a substantial investment and is not the cheapest pellet grill on the market. But as far as customer service and peace of mind, the additional investment seems well worth it.
Dependability, based upon an extensive reading of online owner feedback, seems to be very good with Rec Tec. With the RT-700, there are sometimes some temperature inaccuracy issues. This appears to rare and usually resolved with a few adjustments with guidance from Recteq customer service. We’ve seen no fatal flaws, as with Weber Smokefire grills. The most common issue we saw was with performance of the wi-fi app, which is often due to user error or wi-fi performance.
Overall Rating of the Recteq RT-700
Most grills will cook food just fine. If that’s all you’re shooting for, then perhaps you can get by spending less. But if you can spend more, you’ll gain superior temperature performance, top-notch materials and construction, and incredible customer service.
The MSRP of $1199 is definitely not the cheapest large-sized grill on the market, but it’s also not the most expensive. We feel like any difference in cost between this grill and similar offerings from other brands is easily justifiable based on just the amount of stainless steel you’ll be getting, much less the peace-of-mind from the superior ownership experience Rec Tec provides. Add in a full 6-year warranty and we think this is a class leader in large-sized pellet grills.