The pros, the cons, and the facts about the REC TEC RT-680 Wood Pellet Grill.
From first glance, the REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill RT-680 is a visual stunner. On a purely shallow level, it gets an A+ for aesthetics. There’s something retro-inspired about the grill’s exterior facade, from the jauntily jutting smoke stack and the flashing bullhorn handles to the curvy lid and the color palette. You should never buy a grill based on its appearance, obviously, but there’s no question that the RT-680 draws the eye.
See, here’s the thing. This REC TEC model is more than just about looking good. It is a fantastic grill. It admittedly has its downsides, although they can be dealt with easily enough, but it’s a more than solid cooker. In many ways, it fulfills every expectation you have for a pellet grill, but you can’t pass it off as merely average because it’s out there doing the same impressive job as grills twice the price.
It’s also enormous. You get 702 square inches of grilling space. That’s enough room for four or five pork butts or like 10 racks of ribs. You can literally make enough BBQ for up to 45 people or thereabouts.
Size, value, durability, dependability—the RT-680 has all of these advantages on its side. As ever, I don’t want you to only take my word for it. Let’s take a thorough look at this grill. We’ll dissect it together.
Benefits Of The REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill RT 680
A true grill master knows that money doesn’t mean everything. There are more expensive wood pellet grills out there that aren’t worthy of their price, and there are inexpensive grills that do a surprisingly good job. The REC TEC wood pellet grill falls into that second category. This large pellet smoker cost under $1,000 and the job that it does is almost worth twice the money it costs. You’re getting more than you pay for, and frankly, that’s what you want with any purchase.
Some additional benefits to consider are…
A Large Cooking Space
Let’s talk size, too. You saw how much food you can prepare on this beast. A spacious cooking grid is like peace of mind to a grill guru. There’s no bigger challenge than attempting to prepare food in rounds. Either your guests all have to eat at separate times, or you hold off serving until everything is done, which means you have to reheat some of your meat and risk drying it into something that resembles jerky. Forget about that BS.
Never mind cooking for the whole family, you could BBQ for an entire family reunion on the RT-680.
A Versatile Cooker That Gives You Choices
I generally don’t want to pay a lot of money for a product unless it fulfills several needs. It just doesn’t feel right. Like other pellet grills, and certainly like other REC TEC wood pellet grills, the RT-680 not only grills, but it also smokes, sears, and bakes. That’s worth mentioning because it gives you the full breadth of what you can do on that enormous grilling space.
Efficient Pellet Consumption
REC TEC did a commendable job of making this grill as efficient as possible. The RT-680 consumes on average only 1 lbs of pellets per hour at 225 degrees. This compares well to many other similar grills that are closer to 2 lbs consumed per hour. This means not having to worry about checking the hopper mid cook, and more savings on wood pellets.
A Modern Grill For Modern Needs
REC TEC really kills its advertising game, as well. Launching their campaign online is clever, and lucrative. It feels almost like a Millennial grill, with respect to the fact that it’s marketed in such a savvy, modern way, in addition to being affordable. The value for money is off the charts, but it’s not so fancy that it seems like a splurge. Maybe it’s just me, but I think that’s smart.
Using The REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill
You may have to put this grill together, depending on where you buy it and what you pay for. If that happens, realize that you’re responsible for connecting the touchpad digital controller, too. After assembly but before you cook, make sure you take an hour and a half or so to season the grill. Fire it up and let it smolder away at 400 degrees for about an hour and a half.
After that, using the REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill RT-680 is child’s play. Fill up the hopper, set the temperature you want on the control panel, and the grill ignites automatically. From that point, the computer senses when to feed extra pellets from the hopper and when to slow down and lower the temperature.
REC TEC Pellet Smoker Description And Features
The REC TEC pellet smoker has a variety of stand-out features that are worth talking about. They make the difference, particularly if you’re trying to decide between several grills with similar attributes. Let’s see what you think.
At A Glance
- Smart Grill Technology™ Controller
- 10 gauge baked-on porcelain enamel lid
- Grill grates made from ¼ inch stainless steel rod
- Temp Range: 180º – 550º + Fahrenheit can be set in 5º increments
- Huge 40 lb hopper capacity
- 702 square inches of cooking space
- Seams are welded, powder coated and caulked for triple redundant weather protection
- Stainless steel hardware
- Automatic interior lighting feature
Precise Temperature Control
Like their competitors, REC TEC pellet grills rely on digital temperature control. That computer is the brain of the entire thing. However, not all computers are necessarily smart. Some work better than others. The REC TEC RT-680 Wood Pellet Grill’s Smart Grill Technology Controller works impeccably. The Digital PID Computer is the most advanced controller currently out there and normally only found on much more expensive, premium wood pellet grills.
The grill offers a temperature range of 180 degrees Fahrenheit to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, and you set it in increments of 5 degrees. That leaves less margin for error and fewer large temperature fluctuations as the grill does its thing.
It’s worth mentioning that you can technically go above 500 degrees. It’s a fantastic option for baking a pizza or searing a few steaks. The grill includes what they call a full mode. Just engage that and give the grill a few minutes to reach a higher temperature.
Stainless Steel Firebox That Is Centrally Placed For Even Heat
I love the placement of the firebox on this beast. It’s right in the middle, a design choice found in the brand’s Mini pellet grill, as well. Along with the convection system characteristic of all wood pellet grills, this placement allows for a more even distribution of heat.
Don’t worry about dealing with cold spots just because your cooking area is expansive. The RT-680 also has a deflector pan located directly above the firebox, which prevents burning or gross charring when you cook a high temp. No flare-ups, either. Who doesn’t appreciate that?
Special Smoking Features
The RT-680 has an amazing feature that every outdoor cook will want to try. As long as you’re smoking at a low temperature—no higher than 250 degrees Fahrenheit—you have the option of engaging the grill’s Xtreme Smoke setting. It triggers the fan to begin oscillating. It also switches on and off to make the pellets smolder instead of burn and produce more smoke, which then flavors your food.
The grill plugs into an AC power source, and because of that, there’s even an interior light inside the grill. That’s helpful for those late-night smokes, as well as for grilling after dark.
Thick, Heavy Duty Construction
The body of this grill is made from thick 10 gauge steel which is a good thing. The heavy-duty design helps retain heat making for better temperature control. This baby is built with heavy-duty hardware inside and out.
Divided Hopper Chamber
The 40 lb Hopper has a divider that lets you put two different types of pellets per side. The pellets will automatically be combined as they are fed by the auger to the firebox. This is a great way to experiment with different smoke flavor until you find just what you like.
Stainless Steel Rod Grill Grates
The RT-680 features thick, one-quarter inch stainless steel rod grill grates, that are built to last.
Who Was The REC TEC Pellet Grill Made For?
The REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill RT-680 is ideal for pellet newbies and experienced grill masters. It’s also a great grill for anyone who prefers smoking meats as this grill handles low temperatures very well. The price point is great for the build and features this grill brings to the table and provides excellent value for your money.
Why You Should Think Twice
If you have read any of my previous pellet grill reviews, you will know that one of my pet peeves is not having an easy way to remove unused pellets from the hopper. The RT-680 model falls into that category. Luckily, REC TEC just released a new model called the Bull (RT-700). This new pellet grill includes an easy pellet removal feature along with several other really great options.
There is also no way to truly sear your food over an open flame with the REC TEC RT-680. Your best bet is to buy the revolutionary GrillGrates accessory as a way to get the sear you want.
Pros And Cons
- Smart Grill Technology Controller
- Xtreme Smoke setting
- Hanging hooks
- Storage space
- Deflector pan
- Double 40-pound hopper
- Balancing temperatures can take a while
- No direct flame cooking option
- Can’t easily empty extra pellets
Prices And Warranties
Typically, the REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill RT-680 is a four-figure grill, but it currently goes for $998. It’s a steal at that price. You’re also paying for excellent customer service. REC TEC allows you to return your grill for any reason within the first 30 days. After that, a 6-year warranty kicks into effect. That’s impressive.
The Bottom Line
The REC TEC Wood Pellet Grill RT-680 has a few problems, there’s no denying that, but you can work around them with practice. Use only the amount of pellets you need whenever possible. Discover the exact fluctuations between the set temperature and the actual temperature. You ultimately get more than what you pay, especially considering the size and advanced built-in temperature controller.
Even considering the issues raised above, I’m going to say that this is a very good grill for the price. If you want one with more options and better performance, you’re going to have to pay a lot more.
Have you used this grill? Do you have something to add? Leave your review in the comments! We always welcome your input and I would love to hear about your experiences with it.
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A backyard warrior, certified carnivore, lover of good whiskey, grill master and I’m Living The Grilling Life!
I have a passion for cooking with live fire and smoke, no matter the weather. I’m a real person just like you, who loves outdoor cooking and BBQ. Food, fun, and time spent with family and friends are what it’s all about! It is my mission to take my passion and knowledge for outdoor cooking and all things BBQ and share this expertise in techniques and grilling equipment with you. In other words, Living The Grilling Life!
I have personally tested over 150+ Grills and Smokers and hundreds of grilling thermometers, temperature controllers, grill brushes, grilling tools, fire starters, and other BBQ products.