While Oklahoma Joe’s may be most well-known for its competition smokers and not selling anything that uses propane, it’s making its way into the world of pellet grills as well. We’ve been using the Oklahoma Joe’s Rider DLX 1200 pellet grill and are ready to share our experience so you can decide whether to pull the trigger.
We teamed up with Nathan Sligh to put it to the test on a variety of meats. When he’s not running his lawn care business, he’s enjoying his passion for cooking. With a large family to feed, there’s no shortage of opinions as to how the food turns out.
Oklahoma Joe’s Rider DLX 1200 Pellet Grill Basics
The Rider DLX 1200 has a total of 1234 square inches of cooking space—578 on the primary surface and 656 on two secondary grates. It’s enough to fit 8 racks of ribs or 10 whole chickens.
The hopper can hold up to 20 pounds of pellets, and a high-torque auger feeds them to maintain between 200°F and 650°F. Compared to a Traeger that tops out at 500°F, your searing capability is significantly better. Plus, there’s a lever that switches from a well-distributed heat deflection during smoking to a direct sear when you want that high heat.
If you’re familiar with Oklahoma Joe’s first-generation pellet grills, note that the auger has been upgraded in this generation. It’s much stronger and didn’t bind at all during our tests.
One thing that sets this grill apart from others is the Pit Control 2.0 system. It uses two temperature sensors to maintain a more accurate grill temp while you’re cooking. One covers the main barrel like other pellet grills. The other covers the center near the fire box for when you’re cooking at high temps or searing.
You set the temp in 25° F increments with the dial on the digital control interface. Its clean layout makes operating the grill easy and the function of each button is simple to identify.
There are a total of four meat probe ports. When you’re smoking a lot of meat, it’s far better than the one or two that come on most pellet grills. Oklahoma Joe’s includes two probes that store out of the way below the controls, and you can snag two more from the online store if you like.
Beyond the Basics
There are several things in the design that stood out compared to other pellet grills we’ve reviewed. Oklahoma Joe’s skips the plastic wheels and uses metal ones with solid rubber tires. The large size and solid construction makes moving the grill much easier than other models.
Underneath the barrel, there’s a collector for the ash. It makes the amount of ash that builds up in the barrel less than other designs, and cleaning it out regularly is easier.
On the more subtle side, a pair of hooks on the rear of the barrel allows you to store unused grates out of the way. If you’ve ever “stored” your top grates on the ground next to your grill, you’ll immediately see the value in these.
When you’re finished cooking, it’s good practice to empty the pellets so they don’t pull in moisture and swell inside the system. The Rider DLX 1200 has the best system we’ve seen for emptying them out. An Oklahoma Joe’s bucket fits below the hopper. By pulling the level on the side, the bottom opens up and drops your extra pellets straight in.
- Heavy-duty steel construction
- Modular side shelf and towel bar
Cooking on the Oklahoma Joe’s Rider DLX 1200 Pellet Grill
A great design is only worth it if what you’re cooking comes out great as well. We tested several different meats, including the king of the smoker—brisket.
Once you turn on the power, set your temp and give the grill about 15 minutes to warm up. You’ll see white smoke coming out of the dual smokestacks. Wait for that to clear out before adding your meat.
Once the grill is stable and you have the more flavorful smoke rolling, it’s all about knowing what temperature you want to pull the meat. Oklahoma Joe’s Pit Control 2.0 does a fantastic job of maintaining a stable temperature, so all you have to do is make sure the hopper is loaded up.
Everything we cooked came out great. The pulled pork was spot on, chickens came out juicy and tender, and the ribs were falling off the bone like they should be.
Cooking at higher temps was effective, but note that the searing section is small compared to the overall size of the cooking surface. If you’re cooking for a large group, you’ll need to rotate food through.
It was the brisket that surprised us, though. Nathan is an accomplished cook, so when he said the brisket was the best he ever made, that sealed the deal for us.
Oklahoma Joe’s Rider DLX 1200 Pellet Grill Price
There are several configurations for the Rider DLX 1200, and the base model starts at $899. If you don’t need quite that much cooking space, take a look at the Rider DLX 900 at $799.
The Bottom Line
With the incredibly delicious results we got from the Oklahoma Joe’s Rider DLX 1200 pellet grill, it earns a hearty, well fed recommendation from our crew. We’d love to see a Wi-Fi control and monitoring component in the future to take it to the next level. Perhaps we’ll see that option in a future expansion of the line. Even so, if you’ve been holding back on buying a smoker because babysitting a grill all day isn’t your idea of fun, the Rider DLX 1200 pellet grill puts serving pitmaster-quality food in easy reach with helpful fatures you won’t find from other brands.