Where To Buy Traeger Grills
How many people do you expect to cook for? The amount of people will determine how big of a grill you buy. For a family of 2 adults and 2 children, or less, I think you can manage with any of the smaller sized grills. For larger families or families with older children that eat more, the bigger grill sizes are probably a better fit because you can handle more food at once.
where to buy traeger grills
Also consider where you plan on putting your grill. You might be lucky enough to have a condo that allows grills on balconies, but your balcony might only have enough space to accommodate a smaller sized grill.
Aside from older Traeger models, smaller units, like the Ranger or Tailgater, and store-exclusive grills, like the Century, Texas Elite or Silverton, sold at retailers like Costco, Traeger Grills come in 3 main lines: the Pro Series, the Ironwood Series and the Timberline Series. Each of these series has two grill sizes: a smaller one and a larger one. The smaller grills in each line are always less expensive than the bigger ones, as can be expected. More on the specific comparisons below.
Unlike most conventional grills, Traegers use indirect heat to cook food (no direct heat or flame-to-food cooking). At the push of a button and turn of a dial, the wood pellet hopper feeds an internal auger that channels the pellets into a fire pit in the bottom middle of the grill. The fire pit is equipped with a heating rod and small fan. As the pellets get hot from the rod, the fan introduces oxygen and the pellets combust. The fire pit is topped with a heating baffle that deflects the heat, pushing it out towards the edges of the grill. Above it is the grease pan, which catches any drippings that fall while the food cooks, and directs it into a grease pan or bucket. The easiest way to understand a Traeger is to think of it like an outdoor convection oven with smoking, grilling, roasting and baking capabilities. It is the most versatile and user-friendly grill I have ever cooked with.
Thanks to a complete product overhaul in 2019, the Pro Series are actually better than ever. They now come standard equipped with WiFire Technology, which allows you to control your grill from your phone using the Traeger App. The new D2 Direct Drive drivetrain improves start-up and temperature control speeds, which were previously lagging. And thanks to a very recent 2020 software update, the new Pro Series grills can now churn out a maximum temperature of 500F. In fact, on a hot, summer day, my Pro780 has gone up to 506F, which makes for excellent searing capabilities.
Ambient temperatures can sometimes cause the inside of the grill to fluctuate +/- 5F. For the everyday home cook, this is not a huge deal. I run my Pro780 all winter long in Toronto where the temperatures sometimes drop below 30C and I rarely have any issues in cold weather cooking. After all, you can always adjust the temperature dial to run +/-5F to account of the fluctuation. Keep in mind, though, running the grill at a higher heat to account for a colder ambient temperature will increase the amount of pellets used. Also, cold weather will increase the grill start-up time because it takes longer to warm up the interiors. A better insulated grill actually uses less pellets.
The Timberline is the top-of-the-line, fully-loaded Traeger model. The 1300 is by far the largest of the Traeger grills and an absolute behemoth. It has a larger cooking capacity than 2 Pro 575s combined, handling 12 chickens or 15 racks of ribs or 12 pork butts.
A major difference with the Timberline is the internal grease management system. On the Pro Series and Ironwood, grease is channeled down the grease pan in the centre of the grill towards the left side and out through a spout where it gets caught in a hanging grease bucket.
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Invented over 30 years ago in Oregon, Traeger has now revolutionised outdoor cooking all over the globe. Whether watching the rugby or spending the holidays with the family, Traeger offers wood-fired flavours for any occasion. Traeger grills can smoke, roast, bake, BBQ, braai and braise all on one grill. From bobotie, bunny chows, Shisa nyama Chakalaka & pap to boereworse or malva pudding, Traeger can truly cook anything.
Fathers Day and Black Friday are the most common times for Traeger grills to go on sale. When Traeger grills go on sale, you can usually save $100-$200 and sometimes they will throw in a bag of pellets and a cover.
Setting up the Traeger was a straightforward affair. It took me about an hour or so to get the grill up and running -- unpacking everything and attaching the legs takes the most time. The grill came in a big box and I assembled it on my own and only needed help at the very end to stand the grill up once I got the legs on. You can find YouTube videos for setting up most grills these days, and Traeger has an official setup video for the Ironwood 650 and the included printed instructions are pretty clear (I made a small error putting on a couple of the legs but quickly realized my mistake).
All pellet grills have an electrical element and require a source of power. Most people have some sort of power outlet on their patio or wherever they have their grill, but it's not a given, and you should know that a smart grill like the Traeger not only needs to be plugged in but needs a Wi-Fi connection to get updates and interface with the companion app for iOS and Android. The Traeger includes a power cord that's around 6.5 feet long and may or may not be long enough to reach an outlet. I ended up using an extension cord.
Wood pellet grills burn hardwood pellets that basically look like the wood pellet bedding you'd get for a pet rabbit. The pellets come in a variety of flavors including hickory, apple, mesquite and other blends. Some are better for cooking different meats, fish, vegetables or even fruit. Traeger encourages you to use only its pellets with its grills, which is what I've done because the price is similar to what you'd pay for other pellets. (With my laser printer I use off-brand cartridges -- they work fine -- because Canon cartridges cost twice as much.)
In my experience, the price for operating a pellet grill is more than operating a gas grill. It's not a huge difference, but I do get what feels like at least 30 to 40% more grilling out of a 20-pound propane tank versus a 20-pound bag of pellets. Traeger says its grills burn around 1 to 3 pounds of fuel per hour (from low to high heat). That means you'll get around six to 20 hours for each bag.
There's some debate over what the most environmentally friendly way to grill is. While gas grills have much lower emissions than charcoal, a lot of people argue pellet grilling is the most eco-friendly when you factor in its relatively low emissions, its efficiency -- little ash is left over -- and the fact that wood pellets tend to be made out of waste wood.
I feel a little bit the same way about gas grills versus pellet grills. Yes, you can get more sophisticated high-end gas grills, but pellet grills have more modes and more to tinker with. Along with being your basic grill, they're also a convection oven and smoker for slow-and-low cooking. You can also mess around with various pellet flavors.
Other smart pellet grills have these types of features and it's worth noting that some models, like the $1,000 Camp Chef WiFi 24, have a version with a sear box attachment that combines pellet and gas grilling to give you even more cooking options.
It's also worth mentioning that all these apps -- whether it's Traeger's, Camp Chef's or Weber's (which also has plenty of recipes) -- allow the company to collect data on how their grills are being used. In theory, they use that data to help make their products better, but some people may not be keen on having grilling companies monitoring their grilling habits.
The long and short of it is if you're used to allowing grease to drip down into the bottom of your gas grill, where some small portion of it escapes through a hole into a little grease container and the rest ends up stuck to the grill (and might later ignite a grease fire), there's definitely more maintenance with a pellet grill. Also, because it's more high-tech than your basic gas grill, you feel obligated to keep it cleaner and make sure it's operating optimally. You don't have to degrease the grill after every time you use it, especially after shorter grilling sessions, but I ended up degreasing it more frequently than my gas grill.
Traeger's Ironwood 650 is the company's mid-range model with Wi-Fi (the $800 575 Pro is the entry-level model). It's expensive as far as grills go, but it's sturdily built and is packed with a lot of smart features, as well as Traeger's D2 Drive and TurboTemp technologies that allow the grill to heat up faster to precise temperatures. While it lacks a sear box option, I found it easy to operate and Traeger's companion app is well done and ties nicely into the grill, with plenty of recipes to try. 041b061a72