Louisiana Grills just launched a premium pellet smoker line and I got my hands on the all-new Louisiana Grills Black Label 800 smoker to test and review. The results were impressive, and after reviewing the Louisiana Grills Kamado, I was excited to check out their pellet grill options.
Rich Feature Set
The new Black Label grills have the look and feel of a premium grill. Black metal handles, heavy steel (14 gauge), large caster wheels that lock on every leg, 2 meat probes included, a digital control panel, and a very sturdy folding shelf to name a few.
The unit has a higher stance than other grills I’ve used and it has clean design lines. There is no smokestack thanks to a proprietary exhaust system that works like a charm.
The hopper size is large enough to sustain any long cooks, capacity is listed at 18 pounds. When filled to the top and used for 15 hours on long, slow cook I still had about 20% left in the hopper. The pellet window gives a quick visual (and adds to the overall grill look) and there is also a pellet sensor when the hopper is getting low.
Just press the power button, preheat the grill, and set the temp. No guesswork needed.
The Black Label 800 is stated at 809 square inches and it is large enough to fit a few pork shoulders at once or a brisket and shoulder at the same time without using the top rack. This is plenty big enough for almost every household.
I do wish the top grate was the full size of the barrel rather than half of the capacity. The smaller top shelf seems to be the standard in grills but I would prefer to maximize the space. I also wish the grate was easier to put it, this is more of a general nitpick but why do grill companies make the shelves 1” or so wider than the opening so you have to tilt and contort to get the shelf in? Are they concerned that the grate might fall off? Just make .5” smaller in width so it is easy to remove (especially when hot) or to pop back in without losing a bunch of heat in the barrel. Ok, small rant over!
Awesome Sear Plate
A standout feature to me is the sear plate that can be adjusted externally. Having a unit that can cook with direct and indirect heat provides tremendous versatility.
The Black Label has an external handle to slide the sear plate open and closed with ease. I smoked a couple of steaks then reversed seared over the open flame to finish them off, was really pleased with the ability to create high heat and flame and the steaks came out great.
Precise Temperature Control
Temperature control is the key to good BBQ. The Black Label has a range of 180-600+ degrees. I can attest to the ability to stay low for long periods (made some jerky at 180) and achieved over 625 in testing the high end (but didn’t cook at that level, I’m a medium-rare guy).
The real magic with the temperature control is the ability to adjust in 5-degree increments. A lot of the competition has 25-50 degree preset temps (200, 225, 250, 300, etc.) or low, med, high but the Black Label allows you to dial in EXACTLY what temp you want. I checked the stated temps on the Black Label with secondary probes and found them to be very close.
The large display screen allows a lot information to be accessed without compromising the ability to see grill temp from a distance. The temp readout has excellent contrast to the unit and could be seen from across my backyard or from the house window.
A couple other handy readouts were an icon for the intensity of the fire and fan, auger, pellet issues or in use indicators. Premium controls include the ability to feed extra pellets into the fire grate increasing the smoke intensity or to bump up the temperature before opening the lid.
You can also program in recipe stages (like smoking chicken quarters for 60 mins at 180 and then bumping to 350 to crisp the skin and finish them off). Set the time and temp for each stage (up to 9) and let the Black Label do the rest.
WIFI and Bluetooth
All of the control panel features can be controlled via your smartphone by using the Smoke IT app. Pairing the unit was easy and you can work the control panel from the comfort of your couch or adjust while at work.
The Smoke IT app did have some issues. I had to close the app and re-open each time in order to get the current readout and make adjustments. A small annoyance that will hopefully be fixed with future updates. Once the app was opened and connected it did work with no issues.
I really enjoyed using the Louisiana Grills Black Label. This a feature packed grill and is very well priced at $799 MSRP against competitors with similar feature sets. The sophisticated look combined with the flexibility of usage make this a grill I can get excited about.
The little details really make the Black Label stand out to me (external sear plate control, wheels on all legs, precise temperature control). I threw brisket, jerky, mac and cheese, chicken, steaks, queso, brats, and even bacon wrapped Oreos at the Black Label using various methods and temps and results were remarkable and consistently delicious (just enough smoke flavor without being overpowering).
In my opinion the Louisiana Grills Black Label 800 is a hidden gem in the pellet smoker landscape. My final rating is 4.8 out of 5 meat hooks.