Contributors to this thread:
Traeger or Pit Boss
Anybody had a bad experience with either grill??
Yes. Although the Traeger grill is great their WiFire technology is terrible. I had a Traeger grill for 10 years and it still works. I wanted one that had temperature control and a meat probe option. I bought a new Pro 780 January 14. It took me many calls and hours on the phone troubleshooting with them as my phone wouldn’t connect to the grill to use the app control. They finally sent me a new controller on March 2nd after demanding they take the grill back for a full refund. The new controller fixed the problem. Having the ability to run the grill from my phone is awesome though. You can change the temp, watch timers and shut the grill off if needed while you’re not there. Really helps when you’re smoking meats for a long period of time.
My advice is if you can buy the grill locally make sure your phone will connect to the grill before you buy it or make the dealer put in writing they will come and repair as needed. It was a major headache and a problem for a large percentage of Traeger owners that even had the grills before they did a software update. Check the Traeger forums for more info. Buyer beware!
I went with a camp chef and love it. The camp chef is very versatile with the attachments you can get. Read some reviews and make a decision from there. I have two pork shoulders dry rubbed in the fridge ready to smoke tomorrow.
I've owned a Rec-Tec portable smoker for the past 5+ yrs. Very good quality and no complaints.
I just returned my Trager, I had nothing but problems with it, and they have horrible customer service in my opinion!! It started by not maintaining heat settings and then it would shut down during smoking. It might take 5 minutes or it might take 2 hours, but it would always shutdown. We put in new parts, reset the auger and heat element and just about everything else you can think of. When I say we, it was me and my buddy that manages the store where I bought it... Traeger never returned one of my phone calls, and every time I would call there would be 30-40 people ahead of me in the Que, what's that tell you??? I dealt with these problems for three months and never got it fixed.
Pretty sad for something that retails at over $1000.00
I am now looking for different brand of smoker!
Not a brand you asked about but I have a Green Mountain. It would not work when I first got it. However, customer service was great and they sent me a new controller which I replaced and it has worked fine since. They also sent me a free cover for my trouble.
I think pellet grills make the best jerky and great ribs. I still prefer charcoal and wood the best for pork butt, brisket, and any other grilled food like steaks, etc. Electric smoker for sausages and fish. They all have their place and I use them all.
I just use a weber pro series grill for grilling, and as for smoking the best thing I have found is my smokin tex, built like a tank, I've had it for close to 6 yrs an d has never let me down, no proprietary wood disks t but or overpriced pellets , just my 2 cents.
I've had a Green Mountain for 1.5yrs. Works great! Traeger is the popular brand locally. People seem to like them a lot but I've been told they made some changes as a company and the newer products are the same as the old ones.
I have a Louisiana pellet grill with the cold smoke box attachment. Works as advertised and no problems. All our cheese is now cold smoked with it and makes the best turkey I have eaten. I was pleasantly surprised how wild game, deer, elk, moose, caribou turns out off the smoker. My kids will demolish a smoked deer backstrap now.
Myself and 5 or 6 buddies all have Pit Boss pellet grills. All positive feedback.
Traeger is not the quality it used to be. I’d look at Camp Chef, Green Mountain or RecTec.
I bought the Timberline 1300 last summer. I have had no issues with it. Lots of options out there now for pellet grills! Good luck with the search!
Love my pit boss, have had it for a year use it all the time no problems. I like it better than Traeger and green Mtn. Have used them all. The bigger pit boss is better than the smaller one
Myself and a few friends all have the pit boss and they are great. I can put a pork butt on at 9 pm and at 6 am it is perfect. It does it's thing while I get my beauty rest. Had it a few years and no problems so far. Getting ready to put one on now.
Cookshack. Doesn’t get any easier/better.
Pitt Boss is good when it works. I’ve had tons of problems with mine.
I had the same problem with Traeger customer. 30 people ahead of me and they would never call back if you chose that option. It wasn’t until I elevated a couple manager levels and demanded they take it back that I got real help.
All the people had problems when they had a software update that didn’t sync with their controllers and the software would sync with the customers phones.
Grill works awesome now with the new controller.
Wow, great feedback guys thanks. I'm old school and still use propane but am ready to upgrade. I will let you know what i get.
I run a Rectec trailblazer and bfg. Amazing grills
WEBER SMOKEY MOUNTAIN
I second the Cookshack, high end quality.
Tech is beyond me if not being able to run a barbecue with your phone is a problem.:} :}
My Traeger wouldn't work at all, much less the damn tech crap!
You guys worry too much about temp control. In a nut shell, as longs as you get the cooker to average 225-250, allowing the pork butts to hit 200 so they get all ghewy inside, the rest is irrelevant. Same for beef brisket, etc..... Just cook to a lower internal temp.
Get whatever you are smoking to 7 degrees from desired doneness, remove and wrap in quality aluminum foil. It will self cook the rest.
You boys know sous vide. I know barbecue. :^)
I've got a pit boss and love it. Ran into an issue with the heating element, called them, and they 2-day shipped a replacement free. Can't complain about their customer service either.
Green mountain grill here had it 3 years or so and ZERO problems. Use it a few times a week and highly recommend it
Pellet grills are nice because you don’t have to fuss over the cooking temp. Just set it for your application and forget it. They turn out some good food. Be prepared for increased food consumption!
Joe Treager, creator of the pellet smoker, sold his company...then went to work for Dansons. Danson owens both Louisiana and Pit Boss brands. I have five Treagers and two Louisiana’s. No bells or whistles, I don’t need an app to operate my smokers and don’t care for the idea of them tracking my cooking habits. I have had good success and no issues with any of them.
All of the pellet smokers use the same concept but have different designs due to patent infringements. They are what I think of as a wood fired grill or a wood fired oven. If you are looking for a heavy smoke, then go with a true smoker. My experience is that they all seem to have hot spots so you just need to get familiar with whatever you go with and adjust accordingly.
The Louisiana’s consume more pellets per hour, the Treagers are more efficient. I throw a welding blanket over the units when it is cold outside to help them operate more efficiently. I use them mainly because of fire consideration when I am cooking in dry conditions. If you watch them at night, they don’t emit sparks like an open pit bbq. (I can't duplicate my open pit bbq on a pellet grill though.)
I vacuum mine out after each use (after they are cold, don’t need a fire in my shop vac) to control ash buildup. I line the trays and change out the foil after each run. Treagers have a flat, tapered diffuser while the Louisiana’s have a dome shaped diffuser. The Treager is easier to keep clean. Spray the grill down with no stick cooking spray helps to make clean up a breeze.
Treager pellets don’t produce as much visual smoke but also have a cleaner flavor. But they seem to produce more residual ash. I use oak for beef, apple and alder for fish. If the oak pellets come from the west coast, they are 30% oak and 70% alder. If the oak pellets come from the east coast they are 30% alder and 70% oak....no idea why that is. Other pellets have more smoke flavor up front but have a bad finish, people have commented about a bitter aftertaste with other pellet brands. You have to do your own experimentation to see what you or whoever you cook for prefer. It varies regionally.
Pellet smokers are kind of like archery... once you fall in it is a bottomless pit and you can’t remember what life was like before it.
After using propane all these years it seems very inexpensive to grill some chicken. When using a good brand of pellet, how much, $/lbs per hour of cooking, of pellets do you burn?
I had nothing but problems with pellet grills, finally gave up and built me a big stainless smoker. It’s definitely more work but I love to cook.
My son and his wife bought us a Treager 34 inch for Christmas last year. We smoked/cooked two buffalo prime ribs on it for Christmas dinner and it was amazing. Smoked a nice rib-eye on it last night for about 50 mins or so, then seared it in a hot pan for a couple of minutes each side. Delicious. It did arbitrarily shut down during its pre heat phase though. Worked ok after that.
I was looking into pellet smokers before that and based on reviews and function was leaning toward the Camp Chef. Based on the above comments about controllers acting up, I would definitely review their controller function per reviews and recommendations.
We enjoy our Traeger immensely and it will probably be our main cooking source this year. I have some elk and antelope meat I need to smoke, slice and freeze as it looks like the media driven panic has affected all the stores in my location. So the ole Traeger will be getting a work out in the coming days.
Between those 2 options PitBoss all day. Treager has a big following but their quality is not nearly what it used to be. I know several people who have the Pitboss including myself and they are great quality and twice as heavy duty as the Treager's I looked at. I have the Pro Series 1,100 and it is fantastic.
Green Mtn is another good one.
I've had the pro 34 for over 3 years now and use it all year. Even in the middle of winter in Wisconsin.
I ordered mine online because I had a discount code for 50% off. From the factory the barrel for my grill was dented. customer service when I called was very apologetic and sent me out a new barrel.
The treager has worked flawlessly for me.
Scar - were you were getting an LRL error and the traeger shutting down?
I've found on extremely windy days I can't run it just on smoke because the wind will keep the grill below 125 and then put it into automatic shut off. On those days I'll bump it up to 180 deg and be good to go.
My only complaint is the smoker does not get hot enough to sear. I max out at about 430 deg.
Also, the pellet smokers are too easy to use. Almost feels like cheating. Like an able body person shooting a crossbow.
My next purchase will be a kamado Joe kamodo grill.
Have a Treager Tailgater and a Smokin Brothers full size. The SB holds the heat better when it’s opened up. The Tailgater cleans up better. They both preform great. I think that any brand name grill will work for you for many years. Have my own thermometer, so don’t have a need for fancy options.
Had a Traeger for a couple years, wasn’t worth the metal it was made from. Bought a GMG and it is absolutely the real deal!
Yes I got errors all the time, at the end it would shut off in 5 minutes or less. If you call windy 5MPH then maybe... Other than that, no. I just got fed up with the lousy customer service and the fact that I had a $1000.00 worthless POS in back yard! I WAS VERY DISAPPOINTED!
Not in your two products, but I'm a happy RECTEC owner. I have three of them and and am happy with them all and I haven't had any issues. I haven't had to use it but they have an excellent reputation for customer service as well.
That sucks. Sorry to hear about your experience.
Ever think about picking up a Big green Egg or Kamado Joe? I hesitated for years until my wife got me a Kamado Joe for Xmas. I absolutely love it. I can go 225 degrees for 15 hours straight without touching a thing or get it up to 750 degrees for home made pizza. Steaks come out amazing in a cast iron pan at 600 degrees. it is inexpensive to run too since hard wood charcoal is $12 a bag and will last you a lot of cooks.
I currently have a Traeger, when it wears out I will not buy another. It is the most high maintenance thing I have ever owned. Shuts down mid cook, or if not cleaned after every use, it will burn the meat. For what they cost I wouldn't think one would have to babysit them so much.
So just to throw a little bit different option in there. I just picked up a Masterbilt 560 gravity fed charcoal grill. Only have one cook on it so far but really did a good job. You just fill the hopper with charcoal, light it and it works like a pellet grill but with real charcoal. Will cook as low as 165 and as high as 700. You can smoke on it as well and the temp control seems to be pretty precise. Masterbilt is owned by Kamado Joe. Might give it a look. Like I said, I just have one cook on mine, but it did a pretty good job. I haven't hooked up the wifi or bluetooth yet, but it has those and also has 4 seperate meat probes as well.
My Camp Chef has worked amazingly for me, not one issue since buying it (5 mos ago). We use it 4-5 days a week.
55 gallon drum. Two round grilling grates from Walmart’s sporting goods section. A three inch gas elbow. A 3 inch gas coupler. 8 5/16” bolts 3 inches long. One metal milk grate. One grill thermostat. Cost goals $80. Takes about 35 minutes to build. Smokes and grills with the best of them. Been using it for four years now.
My brother bought the green egg. That’s what I’d buy if I didn’t want to make another barrel up.
Bought a Traeger about 7 years ago, No problems, cook about 1 once a week, and use it for brisket for 12 hours at a time. The BBQ place where we go to eat uses 2 to cook all his meat.
Would love to have a green egg to add to the arsenal but they sure don't give them away! $$$$
I've heard the to get a deal on a kamado Joe you need to find when the kamado Joe road show is coming to your local Costco.
That is what I am going to do when all of this BS is over.
Best money that I have ever spent on my Traeger Timberline 850.