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Traeger Grill First Impressions

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Post Sat Jul 13, 2013 10:20 pm
Old Smoker well done
well done

Posts: 1243
Well I've used our new Traeger 3 times, been hard to do any cooking with the rain and all. The first firing was the burn off, set the temp dial to HIGH and it hit 415-420 and held for an hour then I shut it down, very satisfied with this. Okay the first cook was 2 whole chickens a little over 5lbs. each, set the dial for 350 and the temps floated between 340-353, took 2 hrs. for the birds to finish, skin wasn't as crisp as I would have thought and not a very deep color for that temp so I wasn't exactly over joyed at this but I must say the flavor was very good which after all is really the important thing. The second cook was a meat loaf which was close to 3 lbs. using a pork, veal, ground beef mix with some chopped pulled pork, this addition though my daughter and I liked, my wife and SIL wasn't real crazy about. Cooked at 350 with the same temp swings for 1.5 hrs. The loaf cooked nicely in an aluminum loaf pan that I poked hole in to let the grease out. Didn't have a deep dry looking color like some meat loafs I've made but was lightly browned but once again it was good tasting. This last cook I brined 10 boneless skinless breasts, after brining I put 5 in a baggie with Italian dressing and just seasoned the other 5. I also had a dozen wings that sat in a baggie of Franks and Texas Pete for about 5 hrs. Fired up the grill and set it to 350 and on went the meat. The 5 pieces that I had in the Italian dressing never did get brown except for a little around the edges, the other 5 did take on a little color of which part was do to the rub. The wings never really browned up that much and once again the skin just didn't get that crisp and this cook was 1.5 hrs. at 350 then I cranked it up to HIGH until the internal temp hit 165, the cooking temp never went over 380. I turned the wings into hot wings and despite my thoughts about the appearance was really good and the skin was crispier than I thought. I thought the breasts were pretty good as well though I was informed by my wife that they were maybe a tad to spicy. My thoughts are that the weather and humidity must have affected the grill's ability to hit the higher temp, after all this is suppose to be a smoker. It really is unbelievably easy to use a total no brainer. They do make a bit of a whooshing noise as they burn due to the fan and the fire. Because of the higher cook temps and the measured amount of pellets that is fed into the fire pot the smoke flavor wasn't real heavy but I am after all more use to the WSM. The flavor of everything over all was quite good and very moist and I can't wait for the weather to clear up so I can try a few more cooks. No pics I realize but as I said, I wasn't overly impressed with the looks of some things and the only camera I have is on my not so smart phone, maybe later when I get the hang of this thing better.
22.5 WSM - Chargriller - Traeger Texas
I cook to eat not to compete

Post Sat Jul 13, 2013 11:58 pm
CharredGriller User avatar
BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 5820
Location: Central Alberta, Canada
Looks like there's a bit of a learning curve for both the smoker and the phone, but I'm glad to hear that things are coming together. I've cooked on Traegers and a few other pellet smokers and once you get used to their cooking style they can turn out some really good food. On days like this when I'm repainting the SFB on my Outlaw, I sometimes wish I had a smoker like that. :D

It's amazing that ten or twenty degrees can greatly affect the temps on a smoker, but I've run into this issue as well. I see the same thing on my gas grill - on a 65 or 70 degree day it cooks nicely if a bit slow, but on a 90-dgree day it gets so hot I've got to be careful that things don't burn.

I wonder why that is, when the grill temps are between 400 and 600 degrees (or higher)? I don't see this issue nearly as much when cooking over wood or charcoal.
Unlike propane, you'll never wake up scorched and naked in another county because you mishandled a bag of briquettes.

Post Sun Jul 14, 2013 9:21 am
Old Smoker well done
well done

Posts: 1243
I think my situation has something to do with the amount of moisture in the air but not real sure. I've done a lot of searching and even checked with the folks at Pelletheads but all I get is "yep weather can affect the way your grill works" I'm not disappointed with this unit by any stretch and I realize for a little more I could have got a Weber Summit or BGE but the request was more for something not charcoal or gas related. The fact that it requires some form of electric input to run doesn't thrill me but it will run off an inverter for that and it does use less power than a 60 watt light bulb once it gets fired. I have also considered changing the digital control that comes with it to a Savannah Smoker II which allows for 1 degree incremental change as opposed to the 25 degree the stock one has and also has an auger by pass which allows the feed auger to run continuously, I've read it's more stable all around but still it's a good unit right out of the box. Next time I fire it up I'll use my Maverick to check temps from side to side and I'll probably end up cutting the cooking grate to make it 2 pieces, Seems there isn't many Traeger owners on this forum.
22.5 WSM - Chargriller - Traeger Texas
I cook to eat not to compete

Post Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:22 am
CharredGriller User avatar
BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 5820
Location: Central Alberta, Canada
Old Smoker wrote:
The fact that it requires some form of electric input to run doesn't thrill me but it will run off an inverter for that and it does use less power than a 60 watt light bulb once it gets fired.


Now that I didn't know. That's very efficient and I think their smaller grills would run very nicely off an inverter or battery pack indeed. Something like the PTG, Junior or Lil' Tex might be great for camping or tailgating. This would be especially true in wooded areas that have periodic fire bans - most bans don't allow live fire including charcoal but will allow for propane or electric grills. The Traeger would fit the latter category.
Unlike propane, you'll never wake up scorched and naked in another county because you mishandled a bag of briquettes.

Post Mon Jul 22, 2013 6:57 pm
archer75 raw
raw

Posts: 5
Location: Oregon
I've had one for a couple of years and it's served me well. I primarily use it in the garage. I just open the door and wheel it to the front. As such it's never been rained on and not too affected by the weather. Traeger does sell an insulating blanket for it. I don't get large temp swings. However the temp outside does affect how hot I can get the traeger. Upper 300's is normal for the fall/winter and low 400's for the summer.

I've cooked all manor of things on it, brisket, pork shoulder, chicken, turkey, ribs, meat loaf, salmon, veggies, bread, etc.

I just ordered an a-maze-n tube smoker for it to get more smoke in my meats. I'm also thinking of getting grillgrates for it.

Post Mon Jul 22, 2013 9:07 pm
Old Smoker well done
well done

Posts: 1243
archer75 a few questions, do you use the Traeger pellets? I'm also wondering why I haven't been able to hit 400> since the first time I fired it up, the weather has been warm, wet and humid, the cooker stays on a covered porch, the pellets are dry , the time I hit 400 I started it up and turned the dial to high the only other time I tried I had been running at 350 for 1.5 hrs. then up to high but it never went over 380, the unit is new. Now I hadn't thought about it until now but I've ran the ceiling fan every time I've used it except the first time, hmmmm, could it be that simple ????
22.5 WSM - Chargriller - Traeger Texas
I cook to eat not to compete

Post Tue Jul 23, 2013 12:00 pm
archer75 raw
raw

Posts: 5
Location: Oregon
I use bear mountain pellets. They review pretty highly. Right up there with bbq'ers delight. But cost half as much. I had nothing against traeger pellets, these were just cheaper.

I hit higher temps when I have more ash build up in the traeger. I only clean out the interior once a month or so and as ash builds up I get the higher temps. I've also lined the bottom of the traeger with ceramic briquettes to better hold temps.


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