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They are a great idea in theory but aren't really as hands off as they claim to be because their pellet feeding systems can be very finicky.  The bbq they produce is fine, but isn't as good as what real wood or charcoal produces.

Edited by kevwun

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The pellets are good for seasoning a pit that's gone bad or had so much "touch up" it smells like paint.  They burn fast with a lot of smoke.  Also good to throw on your brother-in-law's shitty hot dog grill to at least make what he cooks tolerable.

The problem with the pellet grills I've been around is the overall build - kind of cheap, Oklahoma Joe's-level metal, poor fitting, leaks, etc.  This also makes them drink pellets, which causes the feeder (also not all that well made) to jam up.

I'd be curious what a really high-end build with pellets would do.  

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I have one as I have three kids 4 and under and I am lazy as a result. Plus I won one at a school auction for cheap. They work fine as long as you understand that what you are getting is not of the same quality as a good smoker.

Traeger is like the Bose speakers of pellet grills, look elsewhere if you can. If you are going to get one, make sure its a large one and with a big pellet box. One that can hold 7-8 hours worth of pellets. The smaller ones only hold 4 hours worth, and if you want to have to check on it every couple of hours you might as well get a real smoker. Make sure you have a good shop vac too as you will need to clean it every couple of smokes or you will be getting a lot of ash. As mentioned before the metal gauge is an issue on Traegers cause of this I like the Green Mountain Grills I have seen. Last Black Friday I was seeing them about 30-40% off here in Boise. 

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33 minutes ago, Liquor and Poker said:

I'd be curious what a really high-end build with pellets would do.  

Have good friend that recently starting competing in local BBQ cooks.  Knows his stuff and got a Rec Tec (Yoder another higher end model).  He also has a small child going through some medical issues.  So for him, it's perfect.  His time to tend a fire is limited.

To me, they are outdoor ovens.  You plug them in.  Fill the hopper.  And dial up your temp.  Smoke is "ok", but as stated, not going to come close to an offset and is moderately behind a BGE.  You can get smoke tubes to increase the smoke output.  But they are what they are.  Their biggest value prop is ease and convenience.  Keep that is mind.  

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26 minutes ago, BabaYaga said:

Have good friend that recently starting competing in local BBQ cooks.  Knows his stuff and got a Rec Tec (Yoder another higher end model).  He also has a small child going through some medical issues.  So for him, it's perfect.  His time to tend a fire is limited.

To me, they are outdoor ovens.  You plug them in.  Fill the hopper.  And dial up your temp.  Smoke is "ok", but as stated, not going to come close to an offset and is moderately behind a BGE.  You can get smoke tubes to increase the smoke output.  But they are what they are.  Their biggest value prop is ease and convenience.  Keep that is mind.  

See this makes them sound like those electric "refrigerator" smokers.  You can put some chips in those and get some far-above-backyard-average brisket and ribs.  You can even put one charcoal lump in there and get a passable smoke ring.  I've had pulled pork from one of those that was crazy tender, juicy, and smoky enough to pass.  Nothing life changing or even amazing, but far better than your standard neighbor's Kingsford and Eckrich cookout. 

Since those things are under $200 all the time, that's what I'd do rather than cough up 2-8x that on a pellet machine.

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Yeah, my fil has one of those and we did a brisket in it one time and it turned out really well.  We had to finish it in the oven because the one he has doesn't get hot enough to cook a brisket all the way during winter, but that wasn't a big deal.   His runs on disks instead of pellets. The main drawback is that a lot of them are small and you can't fit a whole brisket in them.

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20 minutes ago, Liquor and Poker said:

See this makes them sound like those electric "refrigerator" smokers.  You can put some chips in those and get some far-above-backyard-average brisket and ribs.  You can even put one charcoal lump in there and get a passable smoke ring.  I've had pulled pork from one of those that was crazy tender, juicy, and smoky enough to pass.  Nothing life changing or even amazing, but far better than your standard neighbor's Kingsford and Eckrich cookout. 

Since those things are under $200 all the time, that's what I'd do rather than cough up 2-8x that on a pellet machine.

Not even remotely similar.  That little Masterbuilt "fridge" smokers are fine for fish/chicken/pork.  They impart a subtle smoke flavor via their electric coil heating chips in a small box and can render fat (pork) well enough.  Keep in mind a pork shoulder is damn hard to screw up.  Ovens.  Croc pots.  Etc.  It's not a standard I'd put a ton of weight behind.

*and a smoke ring isn't from smoke*  But that's another thread.

Biggest difference is the sear option on the pellet grills and the true smoke imparted from the pellets over long periods of time.  You can get a real bark with those.  Like I said, close to what you can get with a ceramic smoker.  I like them.  I have an egg, so I don't need one.  But I think they work well for what they are designed to do (cater to the on-the-go weekend suburb crowd with more money than time). 

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5 hours ago, kevwun said:

They are a great idea in theory but aren't really as hands off as they claim to be because their pellet feeding systems can be very finicky.  The bbq they produce is fine, but isn't as good as what real wood or charcoal produces.

Had a Traeger for 5+ years and never had an issue with the auger feed.

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My engineer has a Traeger and loves it (and has done bbq competitions in the past, he’s not a rookie) and he talked my boss in to one and he loves it too. I’ve been considering one for the tailgate due to portability but never used one. I have a large BGE which is decidedly not portable.

My engineer did say that you have to keep them clean or the fire can back up the feeder tube and potentially set the whole pellet box ablaze.

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1 hour ago, Buzzrock said:

My engineer has a Traeger and loves it (and has done bbq competitions in the past, he’s not a rookie) and he talked my boss in to one and he loves it too. I’ve been considering one for the tailgate due to portability but never used one. I have a large BGE which is decidedly not portable.

My engineer did say that you have to keep them clean or the fire can back up the feeder tube and potentially set the whole pellet box ablaze.

For tailgating, check this grill out.

https://www.amazon.com/Green-Mountain-Grills-Crockett-Pellet/dp/B01G5YFF7W

For reviews, check this forum for reviews.

https://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=5

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20 hours ago, kevwun said:

They are a great idea in theory but aren't really as hands off as they claim to be because their pellet feeding systems can be very finicky.  The bbq they produce is fine, but isn't as good as what real wood or charcoal produces.

Have you cooked over them?  Do they grill hot and can they also do  low and slow?

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I have a friend who had a traeger.  It never blew me away and he ended up getting rid of it because of problems with the pellet feeder.  The temp range you can set it on was pretty wide.  I think as others have said that there are better options if you really want one.

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18 hours ago, BabaYaga said:

Have good friend that recently starting competing in local BBQ cooks.  Knows his stuff and got a Rec Tec (Yoder another higher end model).  He also has a small child going through some medical issues.  So for him, it's perfect.  His time to tend a fire is limited.

To me, they are outdoor ovens.  You plug them in.  Fill the hopper.  And dial up your temp.  Smoke is "ok", but as stated, not going to come close to an offset and is moderately behind a BGE.  You can get smoke tubes to increase the smoke output.  But they are what they are.  Their biggest value prop is ease and convenience.  Keep that is mind.  

That is what I’m aiming for.  I have a conventional wood fired pit, but i usually don’t have the time to tend the fire all night on a brisket.  I’d like to replace the gas grill too and was thinking this might be a good option for both.

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17 hours ago, Liquor and Poker said:

See this makes them sound like those electric "refrigerator" smokers.  You can put some chips in those and get some far-above-backyard-average brisket and ribs.  You can even put one charcoal lump in there and get a passable smoke ring.  I've had pulled pork from one of those that was crazy tender, juicy, and smoky enough to pass.  Nothing life changing or even amazing, but far better than your standard neighbor's Kingsford and Eckrich cookout. 

Since those things are under $200 all the time, that's what I'd do rather than cough up 2-8x that on a pellet machine.

I’ve had the electric smokers.  They’re convenient but they’re weak on smoke and the the element and digital controllers go out really easy.  

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1 minute ago, Gene Parmesan said:

There is something less manly about plugging in your smoker.  Playing with fire is some of the fun.

I gave up my man card and got my "lazy ass want to put on the brisket and go back to sleep in 15 minutes" card

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8 minutes ago, Teamdirtyleg said:

That is what I’m aiming for.  I have a conventional wood fired pit, but i usually don’t have the time to tend the fire all night on a brisket.  I’d like to replace the gas grill too and was thinking this might be a good option for both.

I think you'll be pleased.  Get the sear option.  Keep it covered (not even remotely as robust as a BGE or conventional offset).  Many still opt for external dual temp probes.  Probably a good idea.  In the end, it's just another medium to manage the smoke/time/temperature bridge that is BBQ.  A good cook is a good cook.  And as stated, when my "purist" BBQ cook/blogger friend was forced to make the switch due to his daughter...and he was happy, it changed my perspective.  He settled on Rec-Tec FWIW.  I podcast John Dudley and Meatchurch.  They both love (and are sponsored by) Traeger.    

Edit:  and keep those little pellets dry.  They get wet or high humidity, they swell and create all kind of feeding problems.  

Edited by BabaYaga

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Don't have one but have used a friend's traeger a ton. It's nice. Easy to use and versatile, don't have to check it every 45 min. You can make some good bbq on them but it's not going to be in the same league as an offset but the convenience helps level it out. I'd stay away from traeger and look at rec tec or pitts and spitts, buddy of mine just got a pitts and loves it.

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The Traeger Junior Elite is a piece of crap. Doesn’t keep temp and a small hopper. I threw mine in the trash. I got the larger model and it works great! I used to use a conventional  smoker but the Traeger brisket tastes much better. 22 hours at 180 with no problem 

Edited by Flexhorns

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I need to see this traeger that can get meat to 200ish while set at 180. That's Mensa level cooking right there. 

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On 11/14/2018 at 10:11 AM, Gene Parmesan said:

There is something less manly about plugging in your smoker.  Playing with fire is some of the fun.

This.

On 11/14/2018 at 10:14 AM, AustinMT said:

I gave up my man card and got my "lazy ass want to put on the brisket and go back to sleep in 15 minutes" card

I also lack time, but I also don't need to eat brisket all that often so it's okay that I go months in between.  I like finding the perfect weekend to go all out and full manliness smoke out.

Edited by 'stache

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33 minutes ago, Flexhorns said:

Wrap it for the final 8 hours and the heat builds up

Yeahscience.gif

Edited by NateHitch

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1 hour ago, Flexhorns said:

Wrap it for the final 8 hours and the heat builds up

Ok, cool. 

Hook em. 

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52 minutes ago, 'stache said:

This.

I also lack time, but I also don't need to eat brisket all that often so it's okay that I go months in between.  I like finding the perfect weekend to go all out and full manliness smoke out.

The Traeger does make it easy to throw on pretty much anything on a regular basis, so it gets a lot of use

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If you drain the plutonium from your traeger’s flux capacitor and drizzle it over the brisket when you wrap it it will definitely build up the heat. You guys don’t know shit. 

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8 minutes ago, Flexhorns said:

Yeah ok. My digital meat probe is lying to me

It could be off.  Or your Traeger thermometer is not accurate.

My problem is cooking anything for 22 hours.  Low and slow is fine, but you get to a point of diminishing returns.  I'm thinking 22 hours at any temp would get to that point.  

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Dafuk happened to this thread?  Cold smoking a brisket?  The fuck?  How exactly do you render fat?  You spent the better part of the entire day making a giant piece of jerky.  Cold smoking is done to remove moisture and impart flavor.  You do it with cheese, fish, sausage.  Not F-ing brisket.  

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18 minutes ago, BabaYaga said:

Dafuk happened to this thread?  Cold smoking a brisket?  The fuck?  How exactly do you render fat?  You spent the better part of the entire day making a giant piece of jerky.  Cold smoking is done to remove moisture and impart flavor.  You do it with cheese, fish, sausage.  Not F-ing brisket.  

Ditto. 

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I gave up my man card and got my "lazy ass want to put on the brisket and go back to sleep in 15 minutes" card


Big Green Egg solves for this as well.

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15 hours ago, kevwun said:

If I'm smoking something for an entire day, it's going to be a whale sized piece of meat.

Your mom told me the same thing.......

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On 11/14/2018 at 10:07 AM, kevwun said:

I have a friend who had a traeger.  It never blew me away and he ended up getting rid of it because of problems with the pellet feeder.  The temp range you can set it on was pretty wide.  I think as others have said that there are better options if you really want one.

Went ahead a purchased one as a Christmas present to myself.  Being a little suspicious of the whole system there was no way I was spending a thousand dollars on one.  I spotted a good deal on the Pit Boss Austin XL for around $350.  So far I really like it except for one huge caveat.  I've had two flameouts, both on overnight brisket smokes.   I check on it at 2am and everything is going fine, wake up and it's all ambient temperature.   The first one I had a pile of pellets inside the smoker.  Once the fire went out it just kept feeding.  I guess it overwhelmed the firepot and could never light again.   The second time I think there weren't enough pellets in the box to exceed a pellet piles angle of repose and it stopped burning.   It set me back a little on finish time, but both turned out great.  I'm still getting a little acquainted with it and hoping the flameouts are just operator error, but I like it so far.

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