Traeger vs MAK

Discussion in 'Wood Smokers' started by blueteam, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. blueteam

    blueteam Newbie

    I live in Toronto, Canada and I've decided to try my hand at some real BBQ and have settled on a pellet smoker.

    My local hardware store and a large BBQ store near my work both sell Traeger.  I was looking at the Deluxe model since my wife gave it an OK based on looks.  I was about to buy this unit for $1,300.  All the dealer was willing to do was throw in one bag of pellets and a generic cover.

    My issue is that I've heard that since they moved manufacturing to China, the build quality has gone down.  Also, when I read Blogs people rant and rave about their MAK smokers.  The price online for a MAK 1-star was just over $1,000.  I'm just worried that if something goes wrong with a MAK, where would I turn for help as there are no dealers in Canada that I can see.

    Any suggestions?  I'll looking to smoke lots of chicken, ribs, brisket and veggies.  I have NG 5 year old webber to cook steaks, so I don't need it for high temp cooking.  Thanks in advance.
  2. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Cover = $50

    20# Bag of Pellets = $20

    MAK = Made In USA

    Nepas has both and his Traeger is an older one Made In USA

  3. striper

    striper Meat Mopper

    Blue,  I had 2 Treagers.  The Lil Tex, which gave me pretty good service and cooked a whole lot of good food and then a Junior which didn't work when it came out of the box.  Got it repaired and it worked 2 and 1/2 times, died in the middle of cooking a rack of Ribs.  I sold both of them and now have a Yoder YS 640. 

    You might want to include the Yoder in your search.  They make the YS480 which is slightly larger than the Treager Lil Tex, but weighs more than twice as much.  It will also Grill a Steak, which is one thing the Treager will NEVER do.  Yoder is also MADE IN AMERICA.  They are also currently trying to expand their dealer network, so might be available somewhere near you.

  4. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Let us know what you decide.
  5. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    I have an older Traeger Lil'Tex USA made, works good  (key word good)

    I have used many types of pellet grills with some of them being garbage.

    My MAK II Star is outstanding and will run circles around any of the pellet poopers (Any) I have had the opportunity to use the MAK1 Star also which will also run circles around any of the others.

    I wouldnt worry about problems with a MAK. Their customer service is great and i'm sure they would bend over backwards to remedy any problems.
  6. blueteam

    blueteam Newbie

    I went by the really large BBQ store in my area and the dealer told me that Traeger quality actually got better when they moved to China (which seemed a bit off to me).  He also recommended me not to go with the deluxe as the pellet hopper was inside the main grilling area and could accumulate grease and soot.  He suggested the little Tex Elite.  I decided to wait to check with my wife as she wasn't crazy about the looks of that grill.  

    Just as I'm leaving the store, I get a response from BigPoppa Smokers telling me the additional charge to ship to Toronto is only $75 (using my own customs broker from my business).  So a MAK-1 General is what's its going to be.

    I'll post once I get it.  And pics from my first attempt at real BBQ.  Probably some baby back ribs, as they seem easier that say a brisket for my first time.
  7. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Me (left) & BP in New Holland PA


    I did the MAK demo at Meadow Creek open house. No i dont work for the MAK, BP or MC companies. Just good friends with them both.

  8. blueteam

    blueteam Newbie

    Got my New MAK 1 Star General today.  Looks great.

    I "seasoned" it as per the instructions using some tragger apple pellets.  There was a slight plasticy smell. I thought I had removed the two zip ties holding down the diffuser.  There was also a white residue on the inside of the unit.  Not sure if that's standard or not.  Anyways, I let it cool down a bit and wiped as much of the white residue off as I could without letting the unit cool down completely.  I was just too excited to cook something.  Starting with some simple chicken parts.  Let you know how it turned out.
  9. Blue, 

    Funny that you posted this as I'm in the midst of the same thought process: whether to get a Traeger to fill my pellet "void" or go for the MAK.

    I've pretty much decided on the MAK.  So now I'm all knotted up on trying to figure out whether to get the One Star or go for the Two Star.  My question is whether you are satisfied with the One Star and, what, if anything, do you feel you've missed out on by not getting a Two Star?

    Whatever, hope your having a fun with your new MAK.
  10. nepas

    nepas Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Traeger dont even come close to the MAK line
  11. tikigriller

    tikigriller Smoke Blower

    This is a very old thread, so I probably won't get an answer...but I was just offered to buy a year and  a half old Traeger 075 for $300.  For those of you that had the frustrations of the Traeger, would you say this is still a good deal to gab based on the fact this will be my first pellet grill with no BBQ skills really at all.  I do the basic stuff of Tri Tip, Chicken Pieces, (never done a whole chicken), steak, corn on the know...picnic food.  LOL

    I was planning on going new, and was leaning heavily towards the Yoder YS640 or 480 if it is big enough, but now this Traeger has popped into the mix from someone I know.  He is selling because his boys moved out and just wants to downsize.

    Would appreciate opinions here.  Saving over $1000 makes it a bit more interesting.

Share This Page