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Traeger pioneered and popularized the pellet smoker and remains the best known brand since it is in wide distribution. And they aim to keep it that way even though competition is growing. They haven't broken into Home Depot or Lowe's yet, but they are sold by some Ace Hardware stores and a large variety on independents. Recently they've been making inroads with Costco as well. Traeger has an interesting variety of pellet smokers from a small portable, to large commercial models, to one that looks like a pink pig.
They offer a full line of branded extras from Traeger Pellets and rubs to Traeger insulation blankets and cold smoker add-ons.
Traeger XL Grill
The XL is Traeger's largest residential pellet smokers. With 836 square inches of primary cook surface it can cook 24 chickens or 16 slabs of ribs. This big boy has a large pellet hopper in front, two chimneys and two drip buckets. Although it has a digital controller, it uses an old style dial control like those made by Ortech. Not bad, but once you get into this price range some competitors feature more advanced touchpad controls that work better and include additional features beyond ignition and set points.
Even the older digital dial controllers provide the set it and forget it ease of use that is the main attraction of pellet smoking. They are often more accurate than your kitchen range and allow you to load up your smoker at 11 pm, set it to 225 F, then go to bed and sleep soundly, knowing you'll wake up to a feast of delicious meat that's been slow cooking for hours at a steady and accurate temperature.
Traeger pioneered and popularized the pellet smoker and remains the best known brand since it is in wide distribution. The consensus is that the more expensive Traegers, like the XL, are reasonably well built, but some buyers complain that since manufacturing moved to China quality has dropped, especially on entry level models.
All Traegers are black powder coated steel with porcelain enamel steel grates.
$1,995 Manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP), actual price may vary.
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GrillGrates(TM) amplify heat, prevent flareups, make flipping foods easier, keep small foods from committing suicide, kill hotspots, are easier to clean, flip over to make a fine griddle, and can be easily removed and moved from one grill to another. You can even throw wood chips, pellets, or sawdust between the rails and deliver a quick burst of smoke to whatever is above. Every gas grill needs them.
The PK Grill has become our favorite charcoal grill. It proves some ideas never die.
Designed in 1952, the rectangular shape is easy to set up in 2 or 3 heat zones, it can easily be used as a smoker, the cast aluminum body is indestructible, airflow is easy to manage, and there is plenty of room under the hood.
Made of rugged 1/8" thick aluminum, 20" long, with four serious rivets, mine show zero signs of weakness after years of abuse. I use it on meats, hot charcoal, burning logs, and with the mechanical advantage that the scissor design creates, I can easily pick up a whole packer brisket. Click here to read more. - Meathead
Mo's Smoking Pouch is essential for gas grills. It is an envelope of mesh 304 stainless steel that holds wood chips or pellets. The airspaces in the mesh are small enough that they limit the amount of oxygen that gets in so the wood smolders. Put it on top of the cooking grate, on the burners, on the coals. It holds enough wood for about 15 minutes for short cooks, so you need to refill it or buy a second pouch for long cooks like pork shoulder and brisket. Mine has survived more than 50 cooks. I like it better than the smoker tubes. Click for more info. - Meathead
These are the same knives used at famous steakhouses like Peter Luger, Smith & Wollensky, and Morton's. Machine washable, high-carbon stainless steel, hardwood handle. And the manufacturer has printed the AmazingRibs.com name on it! Click for more info. - Meathead