Last updated January 21, 2019
Disclosure: REC TEC provided me this grill at no cost. Opinions are my own.
Note: This grill is no longer in production. It was replaced by the Bull RT-700.
As the owner of around 20 grills, people often ask me what my favorite grill is. I honestly can’t narrow it down to one. My answer always depends on the meat I’m cooking.
But there is no doubt that when that meat needs to serve a crowd, I like cooking on my REC TEC 680. With 702 square inches of cooking space, I can easily cook up 5-6 pork butts or 10 racks of ribs. That’s enough to serve around 75 people.
There are a few grills out there with large amounts of cooking space, but I love that this one is a pellet grill, because face it, when you’re serving a crowd, you have more things to worry about than keeping the fire at temp.
You know Aunt Nelly wants mac and cheese, and Bud wants baked beans, and that lady around the corner wants her vegetarian salad. Who invited her anyway?
With the REC TEC 680 (RT-680), all you have to do is load the double hopper with pellets, set the Smart Grill Technology™ Controller to your desired temperature, rub your meat and add it to the grill. Then, get on with your side making, wine drinking, table setting day.
The RT-680 is a little more difficult to assemble than the REC TEC Mini. You will need a second set of hands to pull this beast out of the box. But other than needing a little muscle, assembly is pretty easy. The only tools I needed were a screwdriver and a wrench.
The nuts and bolts are metric – for what it’s worth. And I wish the screws were stronger. The heads were a bit soft, so I started to strip a few, but it came together nicely. And its solid construction has held up being dragged to multiple grilling competitions.
You will have to do one thing unique to grill assembly. You have to connect the motherboard – the brains of the grill. It was just an easy plug-in, but it was kind of cool to do. In addition to being a proud female griller, I also felt a little bit like an engineer.
Fire It Up
Once it’s assembled, you need to do the traditional burn-off to season the grill. Plan on about 1 1/2 hours for this.
Fill the gargantuan double hopper with pellets. It can hold up to 40 pounds. Set the temp to 400 degrees. It will take about 10 minutes for the first pellets to drop and another five minutes for the fire to ignite. In about 15 minutes, it will reach a temperature of 400 degrees. Then, just let it burn for an hour.
It monitors the temperature inside with a temperature probe. This probe talks to that motherboard you installed and tells the grill if it needs to add more pellets to create more heat or if it needs to slow down a bit to let the temp drop.
This is what makes pellet grills so great. You don’t have to stoke the fire or worry about the elements Mother Nature throws your way. You tell the RT-680 you want to cook at 400, and by golly she works her magic to keep the temp at 400, just like an oven with the added benefit of smoke-infused flavor.
The Smart Grill Technology™ Controller can be set from 180ºF to 500ºF in 5º increments. You can view the set temperature or the actual temperature. It also features an Xtreme Smoke setting, so you can add even more smoke to your cook.
How is the REC TEC 680 Different?
The first things my friends notice about the grill are the stainless steel bullhorn handles. They add a complete wow-factor to the 10-gauge baked-on porcelain enamel red-orange lid. I found they do get a little hot at high temps, so as with any grill, it’s good to have a set of heat gloves nearby.
The RT-680 also has a full mode setting, so you can crank that temperature above 500 degrees. This is great if you want to sear steaks or bake pizza. And unlike using a traditional gas or charcoal grill, the deflector pan above the firebox, protects your food from burning at high heats because there are no flare-ups.
Like the REC TEC Mini, the firebox is in the center of the grill. I like this feature, because I feel like I get a more even heat across the 702-square-inch-surface.
I also love the flat surfaces all around this grill. You can set a pan on the hopper or the side control box, and if that’s not enough, you can get the optional front folding shelf. I highly recommend adding this feature. It makes moving meat to and from the grill, so much easier.
One other feature worth pointing out is the interior light. Those of you who smoke know that meat often goes on in the dead of night. It’s nice that with the flip of a switch on the control panel, you can see inside the grill.
- Usually $1,598 – on sale for $998
- Proprietary PID algorithm maintains temperature precisely
- Drip pan catches food drippings and protects against “flare ups”
- High temperature durable textured powder coat finish
- 4 tool hooks
- Hopper lid, smoke stack cap, and side shelf are 304 stainless steel
- Rollerblade style wheels and locking casters
- Probe wire access port
- Six-year warranty