BBQGuys.com has long been a resource for all your BBQ needs as both a brick and mortar store and an emerging e-commerce giant.
They recently launched their own line of Victory grills, a BBQGuys-owned brand aimed at providing entry-level grills at affordable prices.
They sent me the Victory 35 inch pellet grill to test out and see how it stacks up against competitors in the market.
In this review, I’ll go over my experience cooking on the Victory wood pellet grill, what I like about it and what I think needs some work.
BBQGuys sent me this grill for free in return for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Victory 35-Inch Wood Pellet Grill overview and first impressions
BBQGuys have been on a tear since they were acquired by a private equity company back in 2020. They have been rapidly expanding their product range, and even putting out some great recipes.
Retailing popular brands is different from launching your own products, so I was eager to see how their first foray into consumer grills turned out.
Knowing they could comb through their tons of comments and get good voice-of-customer feedback, I wanted to see how this would be integrated into their grills
I got my hands on the pellet grill, which has a 3-year standard warranty on the grill and body.
The Victory pellet grill is larger than I thought, with enough room for six bone-in pork butts at the same time if you remove the upper rack.
This will have you wondering if you should take a few catering jobs.
Let’s take a look at the specs:
|Cooking Area||936 square inches (691 main rack + 245 top rack)|
|Pellet Hopper Capacity||29 lbs.|
|Temperature Range||180°F – 500°F|
|Shelves and Storage||Front folding rack, removable side rack with three utensil hooks|
|Construction||16-gauge powder coated steel|
|Price||Check Latest Price|
With a large cooking area, you go through a lot of pellets, and that’s where a lot of other pellet grills fall short.
Because their hoppers need refilling before the meat is cooked. Victory has taken that into account and built their hopper to hold 29lbs of pellets at once. That’s enough to last those overnight cooks without having to wake up and reload.
It’s made for low-and-slow cooks without having to add fuel. Other grills, like the Weber SmokeFire, come with WiFi capability and have alarms for when your pellets run low. That’s a great feature, but a massive hopper is the next best thing.
The hopper has an easy release that dumps fuel from the bottom rather than the back, making it easy to switch out pellet woods for other flavors or blends. The front of the hopper has a convenient window to see when you’re getting low.
I was thoroughly impressed with the smoke output of this pellet grill. Usually, you don’t get a lot of smoke above the smoke setting on most pellet grills, but the Victory grill had steady clean smoke rolling even at the 275°F – 300°F range.
It’s the largest smoke output I’ve seen with a pellet grill outside of the low-temp “smoke” setting.
With a large cooking chamber, I expected equally large temperature swings. That was not so with the Victory, as it has an electronic PID controller built into the thermostat panel. At 250°F, the largest temperature swing I measured was a 13° variance, and at 500°F, about 28°F.
These are very good for the price point and rival your kitchen oven.
Speaking of the controller, I thought it looked familiar so I compared it to my Pit Boss Sportsman 820.
With a virtually identical layout, it’s possible BBQGuys are using the same manufacturer as
This isn’t necessarily a negative, I just found it interesting. There were plenty of other differences between the two grills.
What I like:
- Massive cooking area – The Victory 35in wood pellet grill sports 936 square inches of cooking space: 691 square inches of primary cooking space and an additional 245 square inches from the secondary warming rack.
- Best-in-class hopper capacity – With so much cooking area to heat, the grill burns a lot of pellets, but the Victory is made for that with its 29lb capacity pellet hopper. In this price range, that’s about ten more pounds than the Traeger Pro 780.
- Smoke output – The Victory grill had steady clean smoke rolling even at the 250°F – 300°F range. Noticeably more than other pellet grills in the same temperature zone.
- Temperature control – The Victory grill kept temperature swings at a minimum, especially at the 250°F setting.
What I don’t like:
- Lid didn’t seal – The way the grill lid sits in the hinges caused it not to seal all the way. There remained a ¼ inch gap between the lid and the grill body. The lid is heavy enough it should seal under its own weight, but my unit may have one of the hinges welded a bit off.
- Large footprint – I love the large cooking capacity, but it comes with a large footprint. You will definitely need patio or garage space to store the Victory gill, but if you’re constantly cooking for large groups, it’s well worth it.
Keep in mind, the grill still performed great even with that small gap. An aftermarket gasket knocks this issue out no problem. I’d love to see the heat efficiency with a sealed lid.
Unboxing and setup
The grill arrived in great condition packed in a thick cardboard box with lots of styrofoam, cardboard, and plastic wrapping around every part. The packaging is well thought out and keeps any parts from blemishes, scratches, or dents.
The firebox is already attached to the grill body – which generally is the most time consuming part of the assembly.
Full assembly took 45 minutes. I was doing this alone, so it would definitely be quicker if you had a helping hand.
With most of the grill assembled already, you only have to attach the lower body, handles, wheels and other ancillary parts.
Some bolts are in tough to reach places with a mechanical nut driver, so a hand screwdriver is necessary, but assembly is still a breeze.
The Victory 35in wood pellet grill is a beast. It’s made of 16-gauge steel and the body is powder coated for added durability and protection.
It feels heavy in a good way. It’s sturdy and the parts fit extremely well together. The two caster wheels make navigating the grill around the patio a piece of cake. Four caster wheels would have made movement easier, but having two is a plus.
BBQGuys states the Victory sports a heavy-duty auger that performed even when tested with gravel, sand and glass, and I believe it.
The auger itself is heavier than other pellet grills I’ve tested, and the spacing seems to be a little wider between blades. Pair this when a strong motor and gearbox and you can feel comfortable knowing your auger won’t get clogged or bogged down.
Cooking on the Victory 35in wood pellet grill
The Victory grill aligns with what you’d expect from pellet grills in the market. It’s very simple to set up and get started. Fill it with pellets of choice, set your temperature and you’re off to the races.
The display is large and easy to read even in direct sunlight, and the controls are straightforward: just set the dial to your desired temperature.
Smoking on the Victory 35in wood pellet grill
I was very impressed with the Victory grill’s ability to smoke. Not only does it offer steady temperature control, but it outputs a lot more smoke than I’m used to seeing in a pellet grill.
Despite my lid not completely sealing shut all the way, my food retained great smoke flavor cooking at 250°F. You could see more of a smoke ring than when cooking on other pellet grills too, which was a pleasant surprise.
As a smoker, the Victory grill is one of the better pellet grills to consider.
Grilling on the Victory 35in wood pellet grill
Setting the temperature to 500°F to grill and sear was easy enough on the Victory, but I’d like a more direct-heat option.
The diverter plate covers the whole bottom of the grill, and while that’s great for smoking and heat management, it doesn’t give you a direct high-heat option.
What it does do is evenly distribute that high heat around the cooking chamber. Grill marks were ok and better toward the back of the cooking chamber.
I was tempted to test grilling with the diverter pate removed, but then the fat would have dripped into the bottom of the grill and into the firebox, which is no good (plus the manual probably says not to do it).
As a grill, the Victory performed well enough for your weekend cookout, but ultimately I prefer the smoking option.
Storage and prep areas
The Victory sports a front folding shelf that spans the length of its long cooking chamber. It also has a removable side shelf that lifts in and out, making it easy to transport food and ingredients from the kitchen to the grill area.
There’s also a lower shelf between the legs where you can store cooking utensils, pans and more.
They’re not new features by any means, but having storage and prep areas makes the whole process convenient whereas otherwise you’d need a separate side or folding table nearby.
Ease of cleaning
Cleaning the Victory is pretty standard. Enamel grates clean with a wet towel and grill brush. The outside can be wiped down with ease, and the fire box will need to be shop-vacced from time to time to clean out the pellet ash, and of course empty your drip pan when necessary.
As always with pellet grills, I recommend placing a layer of aluminum foil on the diverter plate to keep it clean. If not, drippings accumulate on the plate and burn while cooking, giving an acrid smoke flavor to your food. Best to wrap in foil for easy clean up.
Hopper capacity and pellet change out
The Victory grill’s 29lb hopper is a boon to pellet grill users. You won’t have to wonder if the hopper is getting low on those overnight brisket or pork butt cooks. Nothing worse than waking up to a cold grill and half-cooked brisket.
Victory knows its grill is made for smoking and the hopper is sized accordingly. They also make pellet change out a breeze with pellet release on the bottom of the hopper.
The placement being on the bottom of the hopper vs. the back side keeps errant pellets from pouring outside of your container. They go straight down. Simple, I know, but nonetheless thought out.
Testing and benchmarks
I ran a few standard benchmarks to see how fast the grill gets to a target temperature and how much variance you can expect.
Time taken to get to temp
The initial startup took the grill 15 minutes to get to 250°F per the PID controller. This is impressive for how large the cooking chamber is.
From startup, it took about 17 more minutes to get to the maximum temperature of 500°F for a total time of just over half an hour.
Those are fairly typical numbers compared to other grills we’ve tested, although the fact the victory grill is on the large size makes this impressive.
Temperature variance and accuracy
To test temperature accuracy throughout the cooking chamber, I used the ThermoPro TP27 Long Range Wireless Meat Thermometer, and set two probes at the middle and right sides of the grill at grate level.
The Victory grill has two probe inputs on its own as well, if you don’t have an external meat probe or thermometer.
This grill performed very well for having such a large cook chamber as well as the door not sealing completely.
The largest swings I noted throughout the cooking process were 13°F at 250°F, and 28°F when calibrating to 500°F.
Other grills to consider
It’s a good time to be a pellet grill consumer, as the options and competition continue to grow.
The Traeger Pro 780 is similar in size and capacity to the Victory, but is significantly more expensive and has a smaller hopper at 18lbs. It seems that Victory has targeted the Traeger Pro 34 as a direct competitor and sought out to make better features and usability.
If you’re looking for something that’s wifi enabled, the Weber name.
If you don’t need wifi, Z-Grills is another brand you should consider. They used to manufacture Traegers and ventured to make their own brand. For great value, performance and ease of use, Z-Grills should be considered if you’re in the market.
The Victory 35in wood pellet grill is a solid foray for BBQGuys into the Great Pellet Grill Race. I love the construction quality, the thought-out mechanics, and especially the smoke output. It’s a solid backyard performer.
The Victory grill is made for the barbecuing crowd pleaser, and can handle a ton of food at once. It should definitely be in your line of sight if you’re looking for a pellet grill in the under $700 range.
I expect Victory to keep growing its line of products as investments and product development continue to grow. Peyton, Eli and Archie Manning can’t be wrong!
If you’ve got your hands on a Victory pellet grill, let us know your experience!