- Incredible 936 square inches of cooking space, the most in class
- Everything here is meant to generate — and utilize — flavorful smoke
- Huge hopper holds 29 lbs (you read that right) of pellets
- Built to crush all-day smoking and swap flavors at your every whim
- Survived stress tests that literally included hurricanes and gravel in the auger
Reviewing the Victory pellet grill feels a lot like listening to a favorite classic album on its original vinyl release: everything about it is just better. This is what pellet smoking is supposed to feel like. Every note lands exactly where we want them. Everything about the composition screams quality. Get it going, and you’ll have a timeless experience rife for years of enjoying the moments that matter with loved ones. If you’re in the market for a pellet smoker beneath the $700 price tag, let’s cut right to the point — this is it.
To get all the proof we needed, we asked Chef Tony to perform a thorough and objective review of the Victory pellet grill as if it was from any other manufacturer. That included his usual repertoire of numerical and real-world tests to evaluate the grill’s quality, performance, and features, which combine to give us an overall picture of a product’s value. It’s the same treatment he’d give any other pellet grill, so buckle up and read on to see what our resident grill tester discovered.
Grab your nearest clipboard and prepare to mark off a lot of checkboxes, because this pellet smoker was designed to meet or chew up the expected industry standards for this price point. 16-gauge, powder-coated steel body and cart with a 14-gauge hood? Check. Standard 3-year warranty on the grill body and 3 months on the electronic components? Check. Rock-solid, 7mm porcelain-enameled steel cooking grates? Check. Both the Full-Coverage Diverter Plate and fire pot protector are built using 12-gauge, cold-rolled steel for durability. “It’s one of the sturdiest I’ve seen in the class, for sure,” Chef Tony says of the fire pot protector. “Which is a good idea, considering that this is the grill’s component that will take the most abuse by far.” Meanwhile, the removable side tray and tool hooks located on the right side of the grill are made from stainless steel. So far? Impressive.
And yet, Victory earns an early, notable win against its main competition — the Traeger Pro 34 — with a generous cooking space: under this hood, you’ll find best-in-class 936 square inches of total grilling area. Victory’s engineers have provided grillers with 691 square inches of primary cooking space (and an additional 245 square inches from the secondary warming rack). Add in some serious mobility to swing that heft around: the 2 heavy-duty polyurethane wheels have a metal interior for handling heavy loads on tough terrain, while the 2 locking casters keep the grill in place once positioned. The knurled hood handle is slightly ridged for a superior grip, which makes opening the grill that much easier. Additionally, it lends a tough, rugged look that’s worthy of the Victory name.
Now, onto the testing! Here in Louisiana, we get a handful of environmental stress tests every year that the textbooks call “hurricanes.” We couldn’t — nor would we want to — recreate these conditions during our filmed review, but our R&D department left this Victory model outside and running through two strong storms. Judging by how it shrugged off the churning wind and water, you’d have thought we hadn’t bothered. Even more direct testing — like repeatedly soaking the digital controller, sending gravel through the hopper, and trying to choke the auger with pellets — couldn’t stop Victory. Find a more reliable pellet grill at this price point. We dare you.
First and foremost, the Victory pellet grill smokes quickly, and it smokes in huge amounts. “Initially, you may think you’ve done something wrong,” Chef Tony quips. “That’s how much smoke this grill produces at times.” The flavorful smoke output should be celebrated, but we wanted to know just how evenly the smoke and heat are distributed across Victory’s cooking surface. To find out, Chef Tony placed thermocouples throughout the grill to measure average temperatures. On Smoke Mode (180°F), the average came in at 174°F, with the furthest individual readout just 19°F lower than that — “great” for an Entry-Level pellet grill. The high-heat test at 500°F produced similarly consistent results: an average temperature of 469°F after 15 minutes of preheating, 490°F at 20 minutes, and a maximum variance of 31°F from the average. Any thoughts, Chef Tony? “This is good for a pellet grill, or even probably as good — if not better — than most home ovens.”
Key to performance here is the Full-Coverage Diverter Plate. It serves two important roles: first, it functionally operates as a giant diffuser to evenly spread heat from end to end, and it channels errant food drippings to the hanging grease pail outside the grill. Aside from the simple cleanup, Chef Tony is impressed with how the Diverter Plate results in “few to none of the flare-ups that can happen, or spotty cooking zones. Overall, for an Entry-Level pellet grill, (the Victory has) excellent performance.”
Most other aspects of performance are directly tied to the grill’s features (more on those in a second), but what we can tell you is that the grill’s heavy-duty auger is the unquestioned champion in this class, where serious jams are common. Our aggressive R&D testers fed this machine rocks, glass, wood chips, insulation — just about any unfriendly substance you could imagine to be found in a warehouse — and yet Victory’s auger kept on pumping. We can’t kill this thing, short of burying it in concrete for a later civilization to find. Even then, we’re not certain future archaeologists won’t excavate this beast and turn it straight back on.
But the feature list is where Victory claims the biggest win against its main competitor, the equally-priced Traeger Pro 34. While Traeger’s front shelf is available separately as a not-insignificant upsell, Victory’s shelves (yes, plural) arrive right there in that first big package. The fold-down front shelf and removable, stainless steel side tray provide valuable work space; look forward to the bottom storage shelf (perfect for pellet bags) and those 3 removable, washable tool hooks. Neither of these latter two are available on the Traeger Pro 34. Chalk that up as another win for the Victory pellet grill.
While we’re tallying triumphs, Victory’s 29-lb pellet hopper is easily the largest in this price range; this guarantees ample reward for the “set-and-forget,” all-day or overnight pellet griller. (Comparatively, the Traeger Pro 34 and Camp Chef SmokePro DLX offer just 18-lb capacities. If you know your math, we’re talking over 50% deeper above either choice.) The rear of Victory’s hopper also has a pellet release that dumps fuel from the bottom, allowing you to swap flavors in about 10 seconds flat.
Setting aside brawn for now, let’s talk brains: boasting pre-programmed temperature settings between 180°F and 500°F, Victory’s Digital PID Controller intelligently monitors the fan and auger speeds — and constantly maintains heat targets with little deviation, as noted in the prior section. For good measure, Victory’s controller includes a pair of ports for meat probes for hands-on internal temperature monitoring without opening the lid, which would release all that precious heat and smoke. But our favorite controller function might be Smoke Mode, which downshifts fan speed to keep those pellets smoldering while cycling for temperature maintenance at 180°F. This creates a — you guessed it — thick but flavorful tide of smoke within the grill to bathe and blanket your meats.
The Victory pellet grill’s power cord is rated for 120 volts/15 amps, meaning it can be plugged into standard outlets. No hardwiring or special circuit necessary — which is certainly a boon to the pellet veteran. An adjustable exhaust cap screws into the chimney to prevent rain from entering the cooking chamber, while protecting the fire pot from baleful wind interference that might cause random temperature swings during long cooks. Finally, Chef Tony found that the flanged hood indeed traps large portions of valuable heat and smoke inside the grill, leading to more flavorful results in his many food tests.
Tally it up all together, and what do you get? A pellet grill that will drink (and efficiently use) every pellet in sight, provide jaw-droppingly long smoking sessions, babysit its own temperatures, bathe everything inside in a thick layer of flavorful smoke, and has successfully laughed at two out of two hurricanes.
Slam all of this together in a hefty design that’s nimble on its wheels with industry-leading features… and then slap an Entry-level price tag on the box. We’re not trying to be in the business of calling a clear victor in this class of the pellet grill market, but let’s not kid ourselves — it’s even in the name. Why don’t you put a bow on this review, Chef Tony? “If you’ve been considering adding a pellet grill to your collection of grilling gear, then you should definitely consider the Victory pellet grill.”