Oklahoma Joe Rider DLX Reviewed: The Good and the Bad

oklahoma joe rider dlx

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As a BBQ enthusiast, the name Oklahoma Joe brings to mind images of “rugged”, charcoal-burning smokers. That’s because Oklahoma Joe has been making rustic-looking charcoal grills and offset smokers for a long time now. The classic, solid wagon wheels are a recognizable and signature feature of Oklahoma Joe’s smokers.

However, times change and every company in the barbecue and grilling game is seeing the rise of the pellet grill. Sure, people love the smell and taste of charcoal grilling, but not everyone wants to deal with charcoal, manage temperatures during a long cook, or even deal with lighting up charcoal. Well, it wasn’t long before Oklahoma Joe jumped in and created the Oklahoma Joe Rider lineup.

In this article, we look at Joe’s Rider DLX pellet grills, their features, Pros and Cons, and how they stack up against other brands.

Oklahoma Joe Pellet grills

The Oklahoma Joe pellet grill lineup is comprised of two models: the Oklahoma Joe’s Rider pellet grill and the Oklahoma Joe’s Rider DLX. Models with the DLX designation are the higher-tier models with the latest features and technology. The Oklahoma Joe’s Rider models are available in two sizes, the Rider 600 and the Rider 900.

The new and improved series in the Rider DLX pellet grill lineup. This grill features a new temperature controller called the Pit Control System Cook 2.0, a removable ash cup, a base for an Oklahoma Joe’s pellet bucket container, and a larger LCD screen. Also, the DLX models feature rubber all-terrain wheels, and out are the classic steel wagon wheels.

However, during my tests and research, the most useful new feature in the Oklahoma Joe’s Rider DLX is “SEAR MODE”. That’s right! The Rider DLX pellet grill has a dedicated “searing” area easily recognized by the center diamond-shaped grate. Right below the searing grates sits the fire pot; its heat shields can be opened using a lever to expose meat to direct heat and fire. This innovative flex grate and high searing temperatures set this grill apart from other pellet grill brands. Most pellet grills can heat up to 500 degrees.

With a broad temperature range of 200 to 650 degrees Fahrenheit, this grill can handle low and slow smoking but can also sear a nice tomahawk steak.

Oklahoma Joe’s Rider DLX Review

The Oklahoma Joe's Rider DLX

The Oklahoma Joe’s Rider DLX shares a lot of the traits of its less sophisticated relative, the Rider. Oklahoma Joe makes amazing offset smokers and what makes those grills great makes it to the DLX models.

However, unlike simpler and old-school offset models, the Rider DLX pellet grill is packed with modern features. First and foremost, Riders are pellet grills, so you get features like the Pit Control System Cook controller, four meat probe connections, two meat probes included, and even a timer button.

Unique to Oklahoma Joe’s Rider DLX is the innovative “flex grate”. There is a lever clearly marked for sear mode. Slide the level to one side to smoke meats and to the other to grill and sear.

You also get a removable ash cup, which is very convenient when it is time to get some of those pellet ashes out. You also get other convenient features like hooks to place your grates and barbecue tool hooks.

The cooking space is split between three cooking grates: two side grates and the center grate ( or searing grate). The center grate can be set up for normal cooking and grilling and flipped around for searing when the grill is set in sear mode.

By the way, I like the grate tool included with this Joe’s Rider DLX pellet grill. It makes removing these grates easier.

Oklahoma Joe’s Rider DLX Features

Let me go over some of the features you get from the Oklahoma Rider DLX. I have tested and reviewed many grills and smokers and can tell you that a PID controller can make or break a grill. The quality of the cooker can be the best, but if the software and controls are not up to par, the cooking experience will suffer.

The Pit Control System 2.0 / Dual Temp probe cooking modes

The Pit Control System offers you many of the same features found in other grills. However, what makes this PID controller different is that, unlike most grills and smokers, this controller uses two different cooking chamber probes to monitor temperature more precisely. One temperature sensor is configured and set for smoking and the other for grilling and cooking at high temperatures.

This controller also offers nice features like a timer mode, temp probe mode, and multiple setup options.

QuickDraw Hopper & Pellet Bucket Mount

Many pellet smokers and grills include a pellet cleaning system of some sort. Most commonly, a clean out door is installed in the hopper that lets users “dump” wood pellets out of their hopper In the DLX a trap door is opened by lifting the spring-loaded grips under the floor. Pellets drop into the bucket below within seconds.

This system is pretty clever, if you have a few pellet containers laying around you can have different flavors stored in the buckets, grab the bucket flavor you want, dump some pellets in the hopper, put the bucket underneath the cleanout doors, and when you are done dop the remaining pellets back in the bucket. Nice!

This system will help you keep pellets always in a container, dry and safe.

I enjoy using different pellets to produce different foods. Cherry, hickory, and oak are wonderful with meat, and hickory pecan and apple are fantastic with pork.

Ryder DLX Flex Grate & Flex Rack System

I have already talked a few times about the Flex grate but let me tell you about the entire flex rack system.

The center grate can be substituted with Oklahoma Joe’s accessory parts like the griddle and deep dish pan. Also, instead of two longer racks, you can use a smaller Multipurpose Flex Rack or Ribflex Racks. This level of versatility and flexibility is really available and gives this Rider an extra edge over other brands.

A Removable ash cup

Ashes are a “thing” in any grill that burns wood pellets or charcoal. In the DLX you get a removable ash cup. When you are done cooking, pull out the removable ash cup and empty the ashes. In other grills, you need to use a shop vac to clean out the ashes.

Meat Probes

The Joe’s Rider DLX pellet grill supports up to four probes for different temp probe cooking modes. Joe’s Rider DLX pellet grill includes two meat probes but you can purchase two more and monitor four different cuts of meat.

Using meat probes helps you nail the ideal internal temperature during those long cooking sessions.

Specifications

The Rider DLX is available in two sizes, the 1200 and the 900, and the model numbers are indicative of the total cooking space of each model.

Specifications of the Rider DLX 1200

Model Number: 22202150

Assembled Dimensions32 x 53.6 x 58 inches
Assembled Width58.2 inches
Assembled Height53.6 inches
Assembled Depth32 inches
Primary Cooking Area578 square inches
Secondary Cooking Area656 square inches
GratesPorcelain Coated Cast Iron
Weight255 pounds
Warranty2 years

Specifications of the Rider DLX 900

Assembled Dimensions32 x 48.5 x 58 inches
Assembled Width58.2 inches
Assembled Height48.5 inches
Assembled Depth32 inches
Primary Cooking Area578 square inches
Secondary Cooking Area328 square inches
GratesPorcelain Coated Cast Iron
Weight236 pounds
Warranty2 years

Our impressions

I like cooking with pellet smokers and grills. You set the desired temp, hook up a couple of probes, let the grill feed pellets, and enjoy a beer. The flavor is always great if you pair the right pellets for smoking meats. There is always a place for charcoal and a charcoal smoker in the hands of a pro will always yield amazing results.

When you open the box, the Rider DLX looks like an iron block. Built out of heavy gauge steel construction, this grill is heavy and feels solid. You will need some help getting this big boy out of its box.

The Joe’s Rider DLX pellet grill does have a tall body smoke chamber which adds to the size of this cooker.

Assembly is pretty straightforward. The tall body smoke chamber is one piece and only the legs and controller need to be attached to the grill. I do recommend you get some help as you will need to turn the Rider upside down to attach the legs and the controller/hopper assembly is a bit heavy.

After putting the grill together its size is unmistakable.

Cooking with the Rider

Cooking with the Rider is easy and I like the broad temperature range. I own a Z Grills 7004DE and I love that grill. Is simple to use, has ample storage, great cooking space, and the price is outstanding. My only complaint about my 700 is that it only reaches 450 degrees and I like to sear steaks. Nevertheless, it does a great job at keeping target internal temp so it is my go-to and daily cooker.

The Rider, just like other pellet grills, is easy to power on, set temp, and start cooking. What I find most useful when comparing this grill to other pellet grills is its flex racks systems combined with its hi temp searing features.

There isn’t anything jaw-dropping about the controller, it does mostly the same other grills do. Power on the grill, turn a wheel, to set the temperature, and cook.

Pros

  • The Rider DLX lets cook at fire red hot temps in sear mode. Hi temp searing is not always easy with pellet grills but the Rider DLX makes it possible.
  • Expansive temperature range.
  • The removable ash cup is great for quick cleanup.
  • The Flex racks system is genius and allows for greater flexibility.
  • The Pit Control System is easy to use and supports four probes.
  • The Sear Mode!
  • The build quality has classic, strong, and rustic Oklahoma Joe’s traits.

Cons

  • No Wifi. This is a big letdown. Most grills at this price range feature Wifi. Sure, my 700 doesn’t have a lot of features but it cost half of what this Rider DLX does.
  • Less expensive grills like my 7004DE include a 3-year warranty.

How Is the Rider DLX Pellet Grill Different than the rest?

Instead of having a metal diffuser plate running the whole length of the grill, it has a round heating baffle covering the fire pot. The baffle shields have holes and when you move the lever from smoke to grill/sear it rotates the baffles to line up the holes and expose the food to open fire.

The shields are stacked on top of each other allowing for easy access and cleaning.

center sear "Flex Grate"
Center sear “Flex Grate”

How does it rank among the rest?

The Rider DLX is a good grill but when comparing this grill to other models in this price category, well, I wished Oklahoma had added some features. People spending this kind of money on a grill are looking for a premium pellet grilling experience. This means WIFI, BlueTooth, cooking apps, and automation.

However, this grill offers unmatched versatility, a good tall body design, side shelves for food prep, and plenty of hooks for your BBQ tools.

I give Oklahoma Joe’s a lot of credit. This company is known for making good offset smokers and jumping into the pellet/smoker race is not easy. They have managed to build something good using their expertise in offsets and likely will become better.

At this price point, there are other brands with more grill models that are ahead of the curve. Brands like Traeger, Z Grills, and Camp Chef have many years of experience building grills and offer incredible features.

Who should consider the Rider DLX? Those who want a large pellet grill that can sear right on pellet fire at red hot temps. Also if you like the brand’s looks and build.

The BBQ Grill Academy Score

Now is time to give the Rider DLX pellet grill a BBQ Grill Academy Score. We have been researching and testing grills for a long time and I have to say I do like the Rider DLX. It has so many traits of its predecessors and Joe’s signature is still there.

Still, when talking about pellet smokers or grills, well, it is a different ball game. There are a lot of pellet brands making amazing grills, and the competition is fearless. Let’s go over the score results.

We use a five-point rating and rank the grill’s build quality, features cooking experience, technology, and price.

Build Quality – 4 out of 5

This build quality is similar to most grills but at this price range, there are brands offering just a “bit” more.

Features – 4 out 5

The Rider offers you good features including meat probes, side tables, and storage. The only reason we give this grill a score of three is that it is missing WIFI. most grills at this price offer WIFI or Bluetooth connectivity.

Cooking Experience 5 out of 5

Cooking on the Joe is amazing. It does everything well but it adds that searing mode.

Technology – 3 out of 5

When discussing pellet cookers, technology contributes to their strength or weakness. Compared to charcoal grills, pellet cookers are purchased in part due to their technology. Consequently, the absence of WiFi connectivity on this grill places it below other brands that offer WiFi at this price point.

Final Word

In short, I think Oklahoma Joe’s has done a great job with the Rider lineup. They have managed to improve their grills and offer something that many pellet cookers can’t, a good working sear mode.  

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