Some of us, and we’re not pointing fingers because we’re in this club, own more than one piece of outdoor cooking equipment. For many, this means having at least a smoker and a grill in the yard. (And, some of us have a lot more than that.)
The reasoning is that smoked food tastes fantastic, and grilled food tastes amazing, but a smoker can’t grill, and a grill can’t smoke, at least not very well.
Unless that is, you’ve got a Cookshack PG500 Fast Eddy’s Pellet Grill.
For anyone who loves to cook in a variety of ways but either doesn’t want to own and maintain more than one grill, or simply doesn’t have room in their outdoor space, this innovative cooker may be your answer.
If you’ve been looking for a single solution for all your outdoor cooking desires, this Fast Eddy’s Cookshack PG500 pellet grill review might just be the content you need to read.
Contents (Jump to Topic)
- 1 The Cookshack PG500 Fast Eddy’s Pellet Grill in a Nutshell
- 2 A Few Words About Cookshack
- 3 First Impressions
- 4 What’s in the Box?
- 5 Why Do Customers Choose the Cookshack PG500 Fast Eddy’s Pellet Grill?
- 6 Specs
- 7 Key Features
- 8 Ease of Use
- 9 Cleaning and Maintenance
- 10 Available Support
- 11 Available Upgrades, Accessories and Attachments
- 12 Warranty Details
- 13 Should You Buy the Cookshack PG500 Fast Eddy’s Pellet Grill?
- 14 Other Models Might Suit You If
- 15 Quick Tips to Get the Best Out of the Cookshack PG500 Fast Eddy’s Pellet Grill
- 16 Final Thoughts
The Cookshack PG500 Fast Eddy’s Pellet Grill in a Nutshell
Cookshack wants this to be your all-in-one grilling and smoking solution. Thanks to the division of the grates and the position of the heating element, you can grill over direct heat, smoke or roast over indirect heat, and even cold-smoke food in the warming drawer.
The PG500 burns wood pellets fed into the firepot by an automatic auger controlled by an electronic thermostat.
A Few Words About Cookshack
Based out of Oklahoma, one of the great barbecue states, Cookshack began as a husband-and-wife team creating sauces and rubs. In fact, Cookshack still sells their own lines of both.
Over time, the pair moved on to building a better smoker. At first, they marketed them to commercial operations, but scaled-down units for the backyard soon followed. Today, the company is over 50 years old and into its second generation of family operation.
Fast Eddy’s has been selling wood pellet smokers since 1998. Named for the retired Missouri firefighter who started the company, Fast Eddy’s began selling their smokers through Cookshack in 2003. We feature the PG500 in our curated list of the best pellet grills and smokers, so you know we’re fans.
Eddy, himself a championship-winning pitmaster, has moved on to teaching barbecue classes.
Not going to lie to you – when you first get a look at the PG500, you might think it’s an odd-looking contraption, especially if your initial thought when you hear “pellet grill” is “Traeger”.
There’s a decidedly industrial vibe about the all-stainless steel construction, the twin doors, and the oversized handles. That’s probably because Cookshack makes commercial units. By the way, it also looks durable as heck.
It’s a very angular unit, and it wasn’t designed to look attractive in your yard. Rather, it was designed to look like it means business. That’s definitely not a bad thing!
The industrial feel extends all the way to the workbench-style legs and casters, and across all the riveted seams. But, it’s not just a look; the PG500 Fast Eddy’s is exceptionally well put together. It’s a rugged, durable ‘cue that’s built to function and last, and we have great respect for that.
What’s in the Box?
- Registration card, owner’s manual and cookbook
- PG500 Fast Eddy’s pellet grill
- Side shelf
- Drain bucket
- Ash and warming drawers
- Flame deflector
- Grease shield
- Direct, indirect, and top grates
- Casters (pre-installed)
- 40 lbs. of Cookshack hickory pellets
Why Do Customers Choose the Cookshack PG500 Fast Eddy’s Pellet Grill?
Cookshack and Fast Eddy’s have solid reputations in the outdoor cooking world. That means consumers gravitate to their products out of trust. Plus, many people appreciate that their equipment is made in the USA, which is widely considered a mark of quality construction.
- Dimensions: 56.5” wide, including hopper and side shelf; 52.5” high including casters; 23.5” deep
- Weight: 330 lbs.
- Portability: Semi-permanent location
- Fuel type: Wood pellets
- Hopper capacity: 22 lbs.
- Fuel consumption: 1 lbs./hr. @ 400F
- Total cooking surface: 784 sq. in. – 180 sq. in. direct; 324 sq. in. indirect; 280 sq. in. top rack
- Warming drawer dimensions: 19 x 13 x 4 inches
- Pre-heat time: 6-8 minutes. Approximately 20 minutes to 400F
- Temp range: 170F to 600F
- Direct and indirect heat zones
- Warming drawer
- Electronic auto-feed pellet hopper
- Ash clean-out system
- Stainless steel direct cooking grate
- Nickel-plated indirect cooking grate
- Side shelf with tool hooks
- Probe slot for wired thermometers
- Pellet drop for changing pellets
- Double-door access to cooking surfaces
You can tell right away the PG500 was designed by people who understand both smoking and grilling. How? Just look at those double doors!
The wide door on the right allows access to the indirect side, making it easy to slide in racks of ribs, roasts, whole poultry, and other large items. The smaller door on the left is all you need for dropping steaks, chops, dogs, or burgers over direct heat. Opening just one door at a time helps keep heat and smoke inside where they belong.
Cookshack’s designers also understand that grilling and smoking can be a bit of a juggling act. That’s why there’s a spacious side shelf, for resting plates, sauces, rubs, seasonings, beer, etc., when you need a free hand. This shelf makes us wonder why ALL shelves don’t have six hooks for keeping utensils out of the way when they’re not in use!
Looking at the functionality, it’s hard not to be in love with the automatic auger for delivering pellets to the firepot. You just set the desired temperature, and the thermostat tells the auger when to deliver more pellets. There are presets for how often pellets are fed in, depending on if the temperature is above or below target. But, you can adjust them, if need be, to compensate for high or low ambient temperatures in your yard.
The main selling point for the Cookshack PG500 Fast Eddy’s pellet grill, however, is the ability to grill and smoke on the same cooker. And not because it’s a hack, either – it’s purpose-built to do it all.
This is awesome because it enables you to grill and smoke without taking up a lot of room. Also, you get automatic multi-zone cooking without having to move charcoal, adjust burners, or set up baffles. It’s a significant time-saver, freeing you up for other things.
Ease of Use
As smokers go, this is a straightforward one to operate. For starters, the hopper has a 23-pound capacity, and most bags of pellets are 20 pounds. That means you can dump the whole thing in at once, and when it gets low you can add another full bag.
Ignition is automatic with the touch of a button cleverly labeled “On” and “Off.” From there, just set the desired temperature with the up and down arrow buttons, and the thermostat and auger take care of the rest.
Beyond that, it’s no different than operating any other grill and may, in fact, be less intimidating than some smokers we’ve seen. That makes it beginner-friendly, but still worthy of experienced smokers.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Clean-up is simple with the PG500. To quote their website, “If you can load a dishwasher, you can clean this smoker.” The grates and shelves are dishwasher-safe, but be sure to scrape off any large debris first.
The ash drawer collects most of what’s left of your pellets, as well as some of the grease. Most of the grease, however, will find its way into the drain bucket. Empty both of these after each use and remove any ash still in the firepit.
Occasionally, you’ll want to scrape down the interior walls to get rid of any scaly build-up and give it a wiping down. Also, keep an eye out for sawdust accumulation in the hopper and suck it out with a shop vacuum before it becomes a problem.
It’s important to keep any grill dry between uses, but it is vital with a pellet grill. If moisture gets into the hopper and your pellets get wet, they may swell up and jam the auger, so keep your PG500 covered when it’s not in use.
Routine maintenance is limited with the PG500. Cookshack recommends removing the access panel at the bottom of the hopper once a year to clear out sawdust. And, they suggest oiling the hinge pins twice a year to keep them moving smoothly.
Need help with your PG500? You can call Cookshack in Oklahoma on weekdays, but you’re out of luck on Saturday and Sunday.
Your best bet is to go to the Cookshack website. Here you’ll find warranty information, manuals and spec sheets, installation instructions, recipes and cooking videos, service videos, a user forum, and FAQ section, plus links to resource pages.
If you enjoy interacting with your favorite brands, then you’ll be happy to know that Cookshack offers a subscription newsletter, as well as maintaining social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, and YouTube.
There is a smattering of Cookshack fan groups on Facebook, the largest of which is CookShackers – BBQs & Smoking with nearly 1000 members.
CookShackers link: CookShack owners Facebook group.
Through its website, Cookshack operates a forum for anyone with questions about their grills and how to use them. There are literally thousands of posts here to sift through, making it a great place to either get your questions answered or share your knowledge with others.
We were unable to dig up any bad reviews of Cookshack’s customer service, and a couple of owners who were missing parts said they were able to get replacements with no trouble at all. The Better Business Bureau gives them an A+ rating, and no one has ever filed a complaint against Cookshack.
Available Upgrades, Accessories and Attachments
Want to get even more out of your Cookshack PG500 Fast Eddy’s pellet grill? There are several optional accessories you might want to try.
If you love seafood, consider ordering the 18” x 18” seafood grill. It’s also great for veggies. Of course, there’s a rib rack, good for up to 7 baby backs. They also offer racks for cooking jalapeno poppers or ABTs, jerky rods, and more.
One of the best accessories Cookshack has for the PG500 is the optional front shelf. It runs the full width of the grilling area, and it’s about a foot deep. This is ideal for sliding food right off the grill and onto a platter.
If you buy nothing else, though, make sure you pick up a cover to protect your grill. You don’t want moisture mucking up the electronics or ruining your pellets.
The warranty on the PG500 (and all Cookshack grills) is 2 years.
Parts and labor are covered on any manufacturer’s defects for the first 90 days. From day 91 until 2 years after purchase, only the parts are covered.
Just contact Cookshack by phone, and they’ll help determine whether a repair or a replacement is in order.
What We Like
- Allows you to smoke and grill on one unit
- Automatic temperature control
- Pellets are less messy than charcoal
- Real smoke flavor every time
- Now comes with 4 casters instead of 2
What Could be Improved
- No built-in Wi-Fi or probe ports, but you’ve probably already got a wireless digital thermometer. And if you don’t, you should really get one, anyway.
- The size of the indirect grill may seem limiting to some, but we think that’s more than made up for by the ability to grill on a smoker.
Should You Buy the Cookshack PG500 Fast Eddy’s Pellet Grill?
The answer to that question depends on whether you like fantastic food cooked just about any way you can think of?
The versatility of this grill provides practically endless options for trying new things and perfecting your favorites.
If you really love all kinds of barbecue and are the type that’s out grilling every weekend if not more often, you’ll get full value for your money from this unit.
Other Models Might Suit You If
- You want something with portability; at 330 pounds, even with wheels, this thing isn’t traveling far
- You’re only interested in basic grilling; if you have no intention of ever using this as a smoker too, there are probably better ways for you to spend your money.
- You’re only interested in smoking; if you don’t want or need a direct grilling option, you may prefer a dedicated smoker with more space for meat.
Quick Tips to Get the Best Out of the Cookshack PG500 Fast Eddy’s Pellet Grill
- Line the ash drawer and drip bucket with heavy-duty foil to make clean-up easy
- Adjust the automatic temperature adjustment settings to suit the weather
- Place a 9”x13” cake pan full of ice on the rails above the warming drawer for cold smoking
- The roof of the cooker is uninsulated, allowing use as a keep-warm zone
This brings our Fast Eddy’s Cookshack PG500 Pellet Grill Review to an end.
There is probably such a thing as owning too many grills. We can’t confirm that, but it seems theoretically possible. The Cookshack PG500 Fast Eddy’s pellet grill may be the one grill to rule them all. At the very least, it’s so versatile you may not need another cooker.
The ability to hot or cold smoke, roast, and grill all in one very well built cooker is impossible to resist. If you love outdoor cooking of all kinds, this ought to be in your yard – especially if you just don’t have room for a separate smoker and grill.
Thanks for checking out this review, and be sure to browse the site for tons more reviews, tips, and everything else to do with living your best grill-side life.
Cheers, and happy grilling!