Timothy Woods
Published by Timothy Woods
Last Updated On: April 14, 2022

Rec Tec is one of Traeger’s biggest competitors. Both offer high-end pellet smokers and similar price points, with bells and whistles you won’t find in entry-level brands.

But most people know that Traeger moved production to China after founder Joe Traeger sold it in 2006. Thus, we went to the experts to see if Rec Tec also moved their operations.

Quick Summary

  • Rec Tec grills are made in China.
  • Assembly, quality control, and the computer are made in the USA.
  • Rec Tec began in a garage in 2009.
  • Rec Tec rebranded to “recteq” in 2020.
  • Rec Tec customers still receive the founder’s cell phone numbers.
  • There are still some USA made grills.

Are Rec Tec Grills Made In China?

Made in China boxes

Rec Tec founder Ray Carnes’ has been open about the fact that their grills are made in China.

However, he insists it has no adverse impact on quality, stating, You can build a quality product over there [but you] can’t go to the lowest bidder [1].

However, Rec Tec does employ Americans, including in the grills’ production.

Because while the bulk of the grills are made in China, aspects are American-made.

The “brains” of the grills, their computer, is made in the United States. A facility in Georgia also applies the USA-made powder coat, performs the final assembly, and is in charge of quality control.

Is Rec Tec A United States Company?

Made in USA boxes

Rec Tec is a United States company [2]. The founder, Ray Carnes, was born in Michigan. He met his business partner Ron Cundy, originally from upstate New York, while selling vacuum cleaners in 1991.

Ray eventually found a career in the used cars industry. But in 2008, The Great Recession arrived, and, as Carnes’ put it, I couldn’t give way a car.

With the car industry stalled, Carnes set to work in a garage with the aim to make the “ultimate grill.”

However, being an entrepreneur takes money and a head for figures. Realizing he couldn’t do it alone; Carnes contacted his old buddy, Ron Cundy. Thus, a friendship widened into a business partnership. The pair sold their first grill in 2011.

When Did Rec Tec Become “recteq”?

Rec Tec rebranded to the all-lowercase “recteq” in 2020 [3]. The shift to “recteq” was made to reflect the company’s positioning as a “lifestyle brand” that sells a lot more than grills, but rubs, coolers, and merch, including flannel jackets, beanies, and face masks [4,5,6].

The “Q” in recteq signifies two things:

  • A nod to BBQ
  • A reflection of the company’s commitment to quality

Can Rec Tec Customers Contact Both Co-Founders?

Customer calling on phone

When customers buy a Rec Tec grill, they are given the cell phone numbers of founders Ray Carnes and Ron Cundy.

The men or one of their employees answers, although possibly not at 2 a.m. However, Jody Flanagan, Rec Tec operations manager, told The Augusta Chronicle she’d answered the phone a 5 a.m. to answer the phone.

We all have, she admitted; I’ve heard Ray talking to customers on a Super Bowl Sunday.

But customer service is a Rec Tec strong point, regardless of whether customers are phoning the founders or making general inquiries.

In fact, it is hard to find a pellet grill company that can beat Rec Tec when it comes to customer service.

Is Rec Tec or Traeger A Better Buy?

Both Rec Tec and Traeger produce quality products that are primarily made in China.

They both still have their head offices in the United States and employ Americans. However, with Traeger being the original pellet grill, they have the luxury of being able to charge customers a bit more for their name.

Rec Tec is still priced in the high-end pellet grill market and are not cheap.

But they do cost a pinch less than a Traeger like-for-like product. Thus, the customer gets more for their buck with Rec Tec, although they lose out on the “own a Traeger” bragging rights. They do, however, get to call the Rec Tec founders if they choose.

Bottom line: Customers will get a fantastic pellet grill regardless of whether they buy Rec Tec or Traeger; one simply costs slightly less.

Are There Any Pellet Grills Made In The USA?

Grill cooking and USA flag

The number of brands making pellet grills in the United States is dwindling. However, not all have hopped over to cheaper-labor shores. Nor have those that have moved production over to countries such as China not employing Americans. Head offices, marketing, and the technology hub are all still done in the USA.

However, there are pellet grills out there for those committed to buying American-made products. In fact, we’ve highlighted a few for you.

1. Blaz’n Grill Works: USA Made Pellet Grills

Blaz’n Grill Works started in 2011 and operates in Beatrice, Nebraska [7]. They have an easy clean burn pot with a handle that makes an ordinarily greasy job simple and a lot less messy. While they have their award-winning range, they will customize their pellet grills for clients.

2. Pitts & Spitts Grills: USA Made Pellet Grills

Pitts & Spitts Grills is a Texas operation established in 1983 [8].

Thus, they’ve been working in the BBQ game before pellet grills were even a thing.

Nowadays, they have a broad offering, including:

  • Charcoal grills
  • Custom trailers
  • Pellet grills
  • Outdoor kitchens
  • Smokers
  • Spice rubs

Read More: Pellet Grills Made in USA

Conclusion

Rec Tec, now recteq, has their grills made in China but is committed to keeping their quality standards high.

Rec Tec’s customer service is also one of the best in the pellet grill industry.

However, if you are committed to buying only products made in the United States, there are pellet grill companies still manufacturing in the USA.

Check out this comparison of Rec Tec and Traeger Pellet grills and see which is the better brand.


References:

  1. https://www.augustachronicle.com/story/business/2017/11/19/no-bull-augusta-company-grabs-pellet-grill-market-horns/14243816007/
  2. https://www.recteq.com/pages/the-recteq-family
  3. https://www.augustachronicle.com/story/business/2020/08/08/scuttlebiz-rec-tec-grills-embraces-lsquolifestylersquo-branding/114927956/
  4. https://www.recteq.com/collections/bbq-rubs-sauces
  5. https://www.recteq.com/collections/icer-coolers
  6. https://www.recteq.com/collections/recteq-merch
  7. https://www.blazngrillworks.com/
  8. https://pittsandspitts.com/
  9. https://cookshack.com/

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