I recently added a Traeger pro 34 series to my BBQ collection, and what a fine addition it has made. A truly awesome piece of engineering that has made cooking for large numbers a walk in the park.
A Traeger you say, what’s that? I had seen the Traeger showcased on many an Instagram post and being a sucker for advertising been sucked in by its sleek look and the billowing smoke it produces.
A Traeger is wood burning pellet grill, which has to be plugged into electric socket. It’s fuelled by pure hard wood pellets that give you that delicious Smokey flavour we all love about BBQ food.
Normally a BBQ at the shack will cater for Meat eaters, veggies and Vegans all in on sitting so having a work horse that’s versatile and easy to use was essential.
Don’t get me wrong I am not listing my charcoal and gas BBQs on Ebay just yet, but Traeger has arrived in the UK and is here to stay.
Let me break down some of its features, which I think make the Traeger a must have:
The Traeger is fuelled by hardwood pellets that come in all sorts of flavours; and for us Brits woods like hickory, pecan and mesquite are not indigenous to the Uk and buy default are hard to come by and tend to be pricey when you do find them.
What I am impressed with is the different pellets actually perfume the food how you would expect, sweet notes from the cherry, rich nutty-ness from the pecan and rich smoke from the Oak.
Traeger are the only company in the wood pellet game that own and control their own Wood mills. They have four at the moment dotted around the USA which allows them to offer a top rate fuel source using sustainable wood. The same team have been leading their pellet mills for 20 years, creating the perfect patented process for the highest-quality pellets on the market. They have also recently partnered with Tree UTAH, helping to plant new trees in the community.
Now I was worried that the Trager would burn through pellets like no one’s business, and I’m pleased to report this is not the case. A 20 Ib bag of pellet OR 9kg to us in Blighty, will see you through at least 20 hours of low and slow cooking or 5 hrs if you crank that dial to its maximum 232c.
Not bad when you consider a 5KG bag of gourmet hard wood charcoal will set you bag exactly the same as bag of hickory pellets….do the maths.
The wood pellets even give gas a run for its money. In my experience a 13 KG gas bottle will initially set you back around £70 as you are buying the bottle, after that a refill will cost you £34 pounds. Now you may get longer cooking times from gas, but refills can be hard to come by if a sunny bank holiday is on the cards and you don’t get any extra flavour from the gas.
So I planned to do a comprehensive description of the build of the Traeger from the box, but it was so simple. The box is designed to fall away around the Traeger, no massive pieces of polystyrene that break apart causing a small snow storm in the garden as your unpacking it. The cooking chamber and the Hopper are already attached. Then it was as simple as putting the legs, numbered 1-4 in their corresponding holes and screwing them in. then it’s on with the chimney and then I was ready to cook.
Then you follow the easy instruction which makes sure the hopper feeds the Auger correctly, the auger slowly feeds the pellets into the hot pot producing you wood fire, which produces you heat and smoke. Essentially you have a small wood fire that cooks your food and just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there. This is hidden by
Then a 45 mins blast as high as the Traeger will go, this rids it of all the oils that protect it during transit and storage. Then you are ready for Tragereing.
MY FIRST TIME
Now I wish I could say that my first cook was an amazing slow cooked Brisket or shoulder of Pork, it wasn’t. In fact, the first thing I cooked was two Greggs sausage rolls. Yes, not the greatest BBQ snack but a tasty delight none the less and hell it was breakfast time so what’s a guy to do? There was method to my madness, I wanted to see how the quick the traeger got up to temp, what the temperature differential was to the actually setting and didn’t want to risk a decent meat joint.
Traeger advise that it will be roughly 5c difference. I found that it was about 5/6c but this was a cold windy day which the traeger doesn’t respond well to and since I have used it in better weather it holds temperature perfectly.
Since the first outing I have reversed seared a 2kg rump steak, smoked a 2.5kg turkey crown amongst other staples such as corn fed chickens, sausages and pork belly. All of which came out perfectly and with minimal attention, this is definition of “set it and forget it”.
Now since the Traeger came into my life I have found myself at a quandary, I once looked down on those who opted for a gas BBQ, muttering “it’s not the same” under my breath by I have learned to embrace all elements of alfresco cooking.
Using the Traeger does feels like I have activated a cheat code in the BBQ game. But what is BBQ at its essence? For me, it’s having a beer in the garden with family and friends and eating some damn fine food. So anything that can take the stress away from that is a bonus
I still love the getting my hands dirty with charcoal when time allows and I am in maximum potter mode.
However The Traeger lets me spends more time relaxing and less time worrying about temperature dips and spikes. No multiple checks to make sure the coals haven’t gone out as I would with charcoal and hey if my vegan brother in law turns up with his mung bean patties that needs to be cooked at 190c for 30 mins and I’ve got a brisket low and slow on the go... Guess what no problem, twist of a dial and it mung bean time.
I’m so impressed in fact that I am finding myself recommending it as an alternative to people over a gas BBQ especially as it’s a really good choice for people who are not confident to cook with charcoal or those with less time and patience exclaiming, “charcoal takes too long to light” leading them to naturally opt for a gas grill.
Not only will the Traeger satisfy this issue allowing you to indulge in additional beer drinking time, but your overall manliness will go up a few notches cooking on flame.
There are various models differing in size available in the UK that would suit any garden, balcony or communal area. The pro 22/34 have a clever internal design which forces all the by-products of you cooking endeavours out into a small bucket that can be foiled lined and disposed of easily. The enamel coated cooking grates can be easily cleaned in hot soapy water and the inside of the hot pot can be hovered.
So Traeger is the perfect for novices and seasoned chefs alike. Traeger should be held in the same esteem as a charcoal and gas bbq and as far as I am concerned wood fired grills are here to stay in the UK.
Sales in the UK are growing exponentially and show no sign of stopping, so join the wood fired revolution and get investing. Get yourself down to the Riverside Garden Centre where all the staff in there know their stuff and really can't do enough to help you out. For a sneaky peak at what they have in store you can visit their website here.
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