Trarger Grills

Discussion in 'Slicers, Grinders, Tools, Equipment' started by striper, Oct 21, 2010.

  1. striper

    striper Meat Mopper

    Just a bit of a rant here about these grills.  I've been using the lil Tex for a bit over a year and have had mostly great luck with it.  However on 2 occasions it has over smoked the meat.  Actually turned it into Creosote Coated Crap. (Even though I didn't have the unit set to smoke either time)

    Then my GF decided to buy me the Junior complete with the Tail Gating kit, to use while I travel during the winter.  Both of these units have the costly upgraded control.  Of course you have to install that control yourself.  After spending a good amount of time putting the Junior together, including getting my arms covered with fiberglass from the Tail Gating kit.  THE DAMN THING DIDN'T WORK.  When I returned it to the dealer he told me they have been experiencing between 20 and 25% failure rate on the new controls.  These units are now made in China and in my opinion have gone way down in quality.  However the price is still very high for them.

    As for the Pellets, I have found that I need to run them through a screening process to remove all the saw dust before they are usable.  For something that costs as much as these units and their associated supplies do, I find this situation to be a real P!SS OFF.

    Striper
     
  2. geaux tigers

    geaux tigers Newbie SMF Premier Member

    I bought a Treager 075 last year. It works OK. Never got the over smoked taste. However, on 225 de. it would run as high as 286. I burnt racks of BBR several times. I gave my daughter the Treager last week as I now have a Memphis PRO. 
     
  3. yrrndsmoker

    yrrndsmoker Smoke Blower

    Same problem for me, I have the 75 lil tex.  Usually run it on the 225 setting and temps can run anywhere from 180'-270'.  Close to 100' difference is unacceptable.  I called the manufacture and they told me about the setting adjustments but it didn't help at all.  Luckily I bought mine from Costco so it will be returned with no hassle.  I think i'm going to go with the MES 40".
     
  4. pokey

    pokey Meat Mopper

    Sorry to hear about your problem with Traeger QC. I hope they get it under control and do right by you.

    I may be telling you stuff you already know, but here goes:

    I've been using a Lil Tex since June and had one of what they call a "Flame Out". What happens is that for some reason the fire box gets overstuffed with pellets and when the fire gets going, causes an oversmoking condition where you get that creosote you described. I did it to myself by accidentally turning the unit off and on again too quickly. That causes it to start its automatic startup process which dumps a bunch of pellets to start a new fire. The problem is that there's already pellets in the fire box and the fire is already going. You end up with an over-fired situation. It hasn't happened to me since.

    There's a setting called the "P" setting that controls the rate at which pellets are fed into the firebox when it's maintaining a specific temperature. The correct P-setting varies depending on ambient temperature, wind, phase of the moon, and what all. Some Traeger smokers test and set the P-setting every time they smoke. I haven't touched mine, but I'm still a newbie at this stuff. There's a web site that has a lot of useful info on using these things called pelletheads.com.

    Good luck. And life's too short to stay angry.

    Oh, and don't use Traeger pellets. They suck. Go with Bear Mountain or cookinpellets or BBQers Delight.
     
  5. nwdave

    nwdave Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    [​IMG]Joe, tell us what you think .  Sorry you're having these problems.  Looks like you're just going to have to relearn how to use your BB GOSM.  You can always burn the pellets in it's smoke box, dust and all.  The irony is that at the Bellingham Costco, they've got a traeger display with their specialists, this month.  Maybe you ought to stop by and "grill" them.
     
  6. squirrel

    squirrel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I have one and let me just say that if I didn't get such a good deal on it I would be smackin' around some Traeger folks. I can't rely on it to do large quantities for deadline cooks. The digital temp. is always wrong. Sometimes I can get it up to temp but most of the time not. Forget about getting it past 300F. If I do it jumps around. I can't tell the difference between any of the pellets (flavor). When I first got it I was actually thinking about upgrading to a larger one. NOT GONNA HAPPEN.
     
  7. dick foster

    dick foster Smoking Fanatic

    I'd be ticked off too. There is absolutly no excuse for the temps to run away like that on something that is electic and cost as much as these things and the pellets to use them do.

    Call me cheap but I guess I'll be sticking with lump and chunk and doing the little bit of extra work every three hours or so to fuel the thing myself. I think it real wood is probably better that stuck together pellets of sawdust waste anyway. Talk about a racket.
     
  8. yrrndsmoker

    yrrndsmoker Smoke Blower

    I was under the impression when i bought mine that I was buying the "top of the line" smoker.  Sounds like temp control is one of their biggest problems.
     
  9. striper

    striper Meat Mopper

    Well if you really, REALLY want to know, right now I think it's a piece of sh!t.  While I haven't had the heat problems that others here mentioned, I am pretty disgusted with something that costs as much as these units do and performs as poorly as they seem to.  While I've used my lil Tex with very good results, overall, I am tired of having to screen the sawdust out of the pellets.  The local dealer has fixed the problem and the company wants me to call them about it.  Right now they really don't want to talk to me.[​IMG]   I'll call them next week.  And you are right, I do need to go back to using my BB GOSM more.
     
  10. squirrel

    squirrel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Today I set it for 325. 30 minutes later it was extremely hot at 425. It seems to be going from one extreme to the other. I contacted the local dealer and he is going to pick it up Monday, seems like a nice guy. I hope they can get it to work properly. I can see where it will be a useful item if it works properly. I'm starting to look at the MES 40" stainless with the door. [​IMG]
     
  11. striper

    striper Meat Mopper

    I have my lil Tex running now and the temps are holding fairly close.  With it set at 250 it's running a little over 265.  So far so good today, got a batck of Halibut in it for a light smoke.
     
  12. dick foster

    dick foster Smoking Fanatic

    Good lord, my charcol fired offset with a stoker fan does a lot better job if temp regulation than that. There is no valid excuse at all for an electric unit not to be dead nuts on all the time. Absolutely none. Time to get up to temp yes, but after that it should be within five degrees of target all the time. If not, then someone built crap then put it on the market.

    Essentially an electric smoker is no different than any other electric oven found in kitchens everywhere.  And no one would expect or put up with that sort of nonsense from a Maytag.  
     
  13. yrrndsmoker

    yrrndsmoker Smoke Blower

    When i bought mine I was under the same impression. You would think it would be more like a rheostat that would just have a +-3 degree setpoint that kicked the auger on or off.  It seems that Traeger pulled an epic fail on that design issue.  Hopefully they listen to their customers and do some redesigning before they no longer have any customers.
     
  14. harley

    harley Fire Starter

    Call the company!!  They have been great for me to work with when I have had problems.  I haven't had to pay for a part yet.  That sucks about the digital temp control.  I was thinking about getting one.  Guess I will stay old school.
     
  15. pokey

    pokey Meat Mopper

    It's nothing like an electric oven. In an electric oven the heat is provided by something electric. In the Traegers the heat is provided by burning wood pellets. Heat control is performed by managing the addition of pellets to the fire box. There is an electric igniter whose job it is to assure there is a fire/smolder happening, but not to directly provide heat to the cooking chamber.

    I'm not making an excuse for them, but just clarifying. When I bought my Traeger, I had not done the proper amount of due diligence and I too thought I was getting a top of the line smoker. The more sophisticated smokers have separated the generation of smoke from the generation of heat for cooking and  therefore are arguably better at both. Live and learn.

    If I had really domne my homework, I'd have probably gotten an A-MAZE-N Smoker and first tried to smoke in my Weber grill. Then I'd have graduated to something else, probably not a Traeger. Oh well.
     
  16. dick foster

    dick foster Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks for clearing that up for me. I was under the impression that they operated like the MES units do where the pellets were just there for the smoke and heat was provided by a heating element.

    Still with a temperature controller involved there isn't a lot of room of an excuse, not for swings that large anyway. Not unless they are really messing the fuel up and loading it with something that would make it burn much much hotter or something along those lines. Either that or the temp controllers they are using simply aren't worth taking out of the box. Something is obviously very haywire.

    Think I'll be sticking with my charcoal/stick burner just the same. It gets the job done and now that I've modified it so much, it has been working quite nicely, especailly for a smaller smoker like I wanted. If I make any changes at all, I suppose next I'll just build one from scratch myself. Some of the builds I've seen here are indeed awesome and make me want to give it a try.
     
  17. pokey

    pokey Meat Mopper

    The rate at which the pellets burn and the amount of heat they give off is dependent on a number of factors, probably most important, the pellets themselves. The P-setting is their way of putting control over that in the hands of the owners, and seems to work according to folks who have played around with it. I haven't found a need to.

    I'm not complaining. I've been lucky and have had great results. But I probably would have gone in a different direction if I knew then what I know now. But I'm not going anywhere!
     
  18. striper

    striper Meat Mopper

    Had my chat with Traeger yesterday.  Let's just leave it with my final statement to them before I hung up, "Sir you can rest assured that I'll NEVER own another Traeger product as long as I live".
     
  19. smokinbrent

    smokinbrent Newbie

    I have an 075 and have had NO issues with the temps.. I DID put some bricks in the bottom tho due to the cold temps this time of year to help stabalize the temps. The elect/door top thermometer temps are quite different however the INTERNAL temp stays quite close to the electronic temp. I do make it a point of keeping the bottom cleaned out and the pot cleaned as well. JUST went out and checked it.. 300 on the electronic gauge... 305 on the oven temp unit inside.. OUTSIDE temp is 7 deg above zero.When it's COLD out the bricks HAVE to help??

    Brent
     
  20. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Geez, I'm glad I don't own a Traeger. Almost bought one a couple of years ago, but it was a little pricey for me.
     

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