This is my review of the new Traeger Grills Timberline Pellet Smoker model:

Traeger Timberline
Final assem­bly, late at night
Traeger Timberline Lid Open
I can’t believe how much room this grill has with such a small foot­print

I was lucky enough to be a beta tester for this grill. Of all the neat things I’ve got­ten to do as a food/grill blog­ger, this is one of the coolest. My grill came with this beta tag on it:

Traeger Timberline Beta
In the low­er right is etched “006/150.” That’s the clos­est I’ll ever be to 007!?!

The next day, with much more light I was able to get a good look at this bad boy:

Traeger Timberline Ready to Grill
Tim­ber­line Ready to Grill!

The first thing that comes to mind when look­ing at it is the amount of grilling space it has for such a small foot­print:

Traeger Timberline
Plen­ty of space

I take that back, the first thing that came to mind was when I was assem­bling it with my dad was not about capac­i­ty. It was about weight. We were unbox­ing the hand­ful of small­er box­es inside the big box it came in. I picked up one of the grill grates and was floored at how heavy even the nar­row­est top grill grate was. It was stain­less steel, but was as heavy as cast iron. That alone told me that things have changed quite a bit for Traeger. The sto­ries of poor craft­man­ship and con­struc­tion are over and one day will be a myth. It’s lit­tle things like heavy duty grill grates and sol­id rub­ber tires that tell me these cook­ers are built to last:

Traeger Timberline Wheel
No plas­tic wheels here. These are sol­id rub­ber

Did I men­tion the hinge? I’ve had so many grills over the years. The hinge is what usu­al­ly gets a lot of wear and tear and can be the break­ing point of a lot of grills. The hinge on this is pret­ty unique and I don’t think we have to wor­ry about it break­ing down:

Traeger Timberline Closed Hinge
Wait a minute. How does this work? Wait for it… Wait for it.…

The far right is the hinge, but it’s also attached to the lid by FOUR screws:

Traeger Timberline Open Hinge
That’s a wicked cool hinge.

Some might think it’s just a hinge, no big deal. I’m a grill junkie. A cook­er con­nois­seur if you will. This is a big deal. The lid is held onto the met­al hinges on the side by 8 screws. That’s 4, count ‘em, 4 on each side.

Some of you are think­ing, “With so many screws, I bet that took a long time to assem­ble.” Assem­bly con­sist­ed of putting the legs, wheels and shelves on. That’s it. Legs, wheels and shelves. The rest was already assem­bled. It does take two peo­ple to put togeth­er because the main unit is heavy which again alludes to the high build qual­i­ty. But it took all of about 20–25 min­utes to put it togeth­er for dad and I.

Back to those shelves. Exte­ri­or shelves this time. There are two stain­less steel shelves and a wood­en one. There’s this big one on the left side:

Traeger Timberline Stainless Side Shelf
It’s got 3 hooks on the front to hang uten­sils but sol­id stain­less so no parts to assem­ble or rust

And then we have this remov­able wood­en cut­ting board over the hop­per:

Traeger Timberline Removeable Cutting Board
I sug­gest hit­ting the board with some wood oil after assem­bly

And then there’s the front shelf:

Traeger Timberline Stainless Front Shelf
Per­fect spot for a beer

This shelf isn’t the most use­ful shelf. It’s a great place to set your beer or to put the edge of a big cut­ting board and wedge it against your waist while putting copi­ous amounts of meat into the mam­moth cook­ing cham­ber, but beyond that, it doesn’t do much. I would like to see a big­ger shelf like the one on my clas­sic Traeger 34.

OK, let’s fire this moth­er up!

Traeger Timberline Control Interface
Traeger Tim­ber­line on the inau­gur­al cook

I’ve got pel­lets in the cook­ing cham­ber:

Traeger Timberline Pellet Pot
Here’s where the mag­ic hap­pens

I have to warn you. When you break this rig in for the first time it’s going to smoke and I mean smoke. Like so much smoke that a neigh­bor two hous­es down came by to see if my house was on fire as did some woman who was dri­ving down the street. That’s right. Some lady pulled her car over and asked if she should call 911! Or as I like to call it, the week­end

Breaking in the Traeger Timberline
Smoke BILLOWING out of the Traeger Tim­ber­line

Once this smoke bomb goes off (maybe 3–5 min­utes) thin blue smoke comes out with such a love­ly smell that my wife who came in through the front door (I was on the dri­ve­way and left the out­side and inside garage doors open) asked if I had lit a scent­ed can­dle.

So why a pel­let grill over a char­coal grill or a gasser? A gas grill is for hot and fast meals. I call it my week night grill so I can cook seafood or burg­ers after work for the fam. With a char­coal grill I have to keep mess­ing with the vents, and get­ting my hands dirty adding coal. The Traeger is set it and for­get it. I just fill the hop­per with Traeger pel­lets, set the temp and ignite:

Traeger Timberline at 500 degrees
What the What? Is that FIVE HUNDRED DEGREES?

Did I men­tion I can get the Tim­ber­line to 500 degrees? That’s right. It can do low and slow and it can do hot and fast. I loves me some ver­sa­til­i­ty!

Speak­ing of high temps and my fam­i­ly. See, I have 4 kids. As of the pub­lish­ing of this review, my chil­dren ranged in ages from 8 years to 1 year. Right, I have lit­tle kids. With the amount of grilling I do, it’s only a mat­ter of time before one of them is head­ing to the ER after a burn. Let me show you some­thing cool about this grill. Here’s my hand flat on the grill for not one Mis­sis­sip­pi but two:

Traeger Timberline at 440 degrees
Touch­ing the grill at well over 400 degrees

And here’s the temp of the Traeger:

Traeger Timberline at 441 degrees
441 degrees inside, I can hold my hand on the grill for 2 sec­onds

As a father of four small chil­dren, that peace of mind means the world to me.

Did you notice that bot­tom num­ber and that lit­tle white male jack in the pic above? That’s the temp of the probe insert­ed into my tri-tip which was my inau­gur­al cook. Here it is after I reverse seared it. Actu­al­ly it was more like reverse roast­ed. More on that in a sec­ond:

Tri-tip cooked on a Traeger Timberline
Just the tip…

Why is it a reverse roast rather than reverse sear? Well, reverse sear is smok­ing first then sear­ing. I smoked it at 225 and once it hit about 110, I pulled the tri-tip out of the Tim­ber­line and cranked up the heat to 500. Once it hit 500, I tossed the tri-tip back on. While the air inside the Traeger is 500 degrees, I didn’t get any grill marks because I don’t think the met­al inside was rag­ing hot.

Here’s a 2.5 pound cow­boy rib eye I did the the same way but let the cook cham­ber sit at 500 for a few min­utes. I got a hint of some grill marks, but not what I’m used to:

Massive Steak cooked on a Traeger Timberline
Mas­sive Steak!

Both of those reverse sear cooks, had a cer­tain time pres­sure to them in that I had peo­ple wait­ing for food and so I couldn’t let the grill sit at 500 for say 20 min­utes. I’m hop­ing for bet­ter grill marks then. I’ll update the review when I get a chance to test that with­out any time pres­sure from annoy­ing­ly hun­gry peo­ple in my fam­i­ly (the nerve!).

Let me show you one oth­er cook I did on the Tim­ber­line:

Bacon Cooking on the Traeger Timberline
BACON!

That’s a pound off bacon spread across a cou­ple cast iron grid­dles. That’s right, I cooked bacon on the this cook­er. Put the grid­dles on, crank the Traeger up to 500 degrees and come back in about 20 min­utes and insert the bacon. Pret­ty soon the bacon will look like this:

Bacon Cooked on the Traeger Timberline
Cooked BACON!

Bacon cooked to absolute per­fec­tion. There was not one slice of bacon that was crispy in the mid­dle with those rub­bery tips. Each one was crispy from end to end. Bonus! Being a pel­let smok­er, the bacon had an extra infu­sion of smoke too.

I didn’t even get into the fact that you can con­trol this rig with your phone over their new WiFire tech­nol­o­gy. I haven’t even have a chance to use that piece yet.

Let’s sum up some pros and cons

Pros:

  1. Ease of cook­ing — Set it and for­get it
  2. Sim­ple assem­bly
  3. Out­stand­ing fla­vor of the food
  4. Stur­dy con­struc­tion
  5. Copi­ous amount of grilling space

Let me elab­o­rate on that last one with this pic­ture:

Six Slabs of Ribs Cooking on a Traeger Timberline
SIX slabs of ribs. SIX!

That’s six slabs of St. Louis style ribs and I prob­a­bly could’ve got­ten 9 on there, but I only had 6. Three on the bot­tom, 2 in the mid­dle and 1 on the top. I prob­a­bly could’ve got­ten a 4th slab on the bot­tom, a 2nd on the top, and 2 halves on the mid­dle rack.

One more pic of those gor­geous ribs on the bot­tom rack:

Three Slabs Cooking on a Traeger Timberline
Mmm­m­mm, Ribs!

Cons:

  1. I wish the front shelf was deep­er
  2. It takes some time for the smok­er to get to 500 degrees (maybe 15 min­utes)
  3. I would pre­fer a ded­i­cat­ed sear sta­tion on one side so I could do a reverse sear much faster

Oth­er than that, I’m ecsta­t­ic with the Traeger Tim­ber­line

Full dis­clo­sure, Traeger com­pen­sat­ed me for this review, but this is an hon­est review and my own words. Traeger did not edit this review one bit.

Oh, and one more pret­ty rib pic of those six slabs on the cut­ting board just because I know you love the grill­porn!

Six Slabs of St. Louis Style Ribs
That col­or!
Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas, the Orig­i­nal Grillin’ Fool, was sent off to col­lege with a suit­case and a grill where he over­cooked, under­cooked and burned every piece of meat he could find. After thou­sands of fail­ures, and quite a few suc­cess­es, near­ly two decades lat­er he start­ed a web­site to show step by step, pic­ture by pic­ture, fool­proof instruc­tions on how to make great things out of doors so that oth­ers don’t have to repeat the mis­takes he’s made on the grill.
Scott Thomas

@GrillinFool

https://t.co/lVWgniik3V#Grill­Porn abounds here. All meat, all the time!
Oh my wow! There is so much per­fec­tion right there! 😲✔️👍😎 . Video shot by the insane­ly tal­ent­ed @carlaocarvalho77 …… https://t.co/uKHWyunSxp — 3 weeks ago
Scott Thomas

Latest posts by Scott Thomas (see all)

38 comments

Been wait­ing for a review, thanks. In a future update, can you com­ment on the Super Smoke set­ting. This was added after crit­i­cism of pel­let smok­ers not giv­ing off enough smoke fla­vor. Can you add your two cents?

Reply

Ran­dall,

It has plen­ty of smoke and I’ve nev­er done the super smoke thing because it can only be turned on between 165–225. I like to smoke high­er than that. But yes, I will test that at some point. Maybe this week­end I’ll pick up a pork butt and put it at 225 and check the super smoke set­ting…

.……Scott

Looks awe­some. I m in the mar­ket for a pel­let grill in the next two weeks I will buy one. I m lean­ing toward Traeger.

Reply

So is the Beta ver­sion you used the 850 or the 1300?

Reply

Edward, I have the 850…

.……Scott

Would be inter­est­ing to see how you like super smoke and if you can actu­al­ly reverse sear some­thing. Please post up com­ments if you try both of these. Thanks for the review

Reply

Shaun,

I did the super smoke set­ting and it was pret­ty killer. Smoked some baby back ribs for 2 hours at 225 with super smoke then kicked it up to 275 for 2 more hours and they were fall off the bone. One slab broke in half when I pulled it out of the grill!

.……Scott

I’m con­cerned about the com­put­er with­stand­ing the freez­ing tem­per­a­tures in win­ter and well over 100 in the sum­mer. Also, does it have a man­u­al over­ride if you have a com­put­er issue

Reply

Chris­tine,

I’ll let you know next year…

.……Scott

Did you move the bot­tom shelf low­er when you attempt­ed to sear the meat? I’m excit­ed about the sear­ing capa­bil­i­ties and no grill marks on the new Traeger is kin­da upset­ting.

Reply

AJ,

I did not move it low­er. It’s as low as it can get. I still haven’t cranked it up to 500 and left it there for 20 min­utes and then tried to sear. I’ll get to it even­tu­al­ly…

.……Scott

Curi­ous as to size. I love to do briskets, chick­en and oth­ers, oh say a turkey. Is there room for at least one brisket or turkey?

Reply

Jason,

You could prob­a­bly do both a brisket and a turkey on it at the same time!

.……Scott

Are the upper shelves remov­able? I do 2 turkeys at a time.

Reply

Rich,

Yes, the shelves are remov­able. Heavy as heck, but yes, remov­able!

.……Scott

What are the dimen­sions of the low­er rack of the 850? Is the grease catch easy to access?

Reply

Not entire­ly sure on the dimen­sions, but the grease is a breeze to col­lect and remove!

I just got my 850. I did the sea­son­ing. It only smoked at the begin­ning. Not near­ly as much as yours. Also on Super smoke there’s not that much smoke either. It got to 511 degrees. But burned clean. I’m going to go and fire it up to see if it smokes more today.

Reply

Great write up Scott !! Been look­ing at the Tim­ber­line.… Thanks

Reply

When will the tim­ber­line be on dis­play at local retail­ers near savan­nah ga,

Reply

I’m not entire­ly sure, Ver­non.

How much ver­ti­cal space is between the racks? I have a Texas mod­el and if I real­ly cram it, I can get six pork butts on to smoke. I would like to have more room in between them; and was hop­ing the tim­ber­line would at least allow two lev­els of pork butts.

Reply

Eric,

Pret­ty sure you could do more than six on this bad boy.

. I have the tim­ber­line 1300 and it takes about 40 mins to get up to 400 degrees . If I open the lid for less than one minute it takes about 15 mins to recov­er .This extreme­ly dis­ap­points me . I have con­tact­ed Traeger and they keep send­ing me new parts. ( auger fan and now I’m wait­ing for a new auger) My 075 traeger takes about 12 min to get to 400 degrees. How long does you tim­ber­line take to get to 400 degree?

Reply

I’m not entire­ly sure, Peter. I took mine to 500 and it took about 20 min­utes. I know I had a prob­lem when the low­er grill grate wasn’t pushed back over the lit­tle lip. The grill looks closed but if you look at a cer­tain angle, there’s this gap you can see. You have to lift up on the grill grate and slide it back about a half inch to get it com­plete­ly in there.

Peter did you ever get your temp to rise faster after get­ting the auger. I also got a new fan and still takes about 40 mins. I also at times when I change temps from 165 degrees to 200. My temp only low­ers.

what makes this cook­er able for you to set it and for­get it? Is that because of the meat probe?

Reply

Tom,

Because as long as it has pel­lets in the hop­per, it will main­tain exact temps for hours…

.……Scott

I ordered one 4 weeks ago, I was told it would be in the fol­low­ing week. I called to con­firm and go pick up my new smok­er. The store told me the truck did not show up with my order and oth­ers. I ask the store for updates each week and they tell me that Traeger has giv­en them no up date on where the smok­ers are or when they will be in stock. I feel we at least should be updat­ed on the loca­tion and expect­ed deliv­er date of the Tim­ber­lines. I worked 15 years in the trans­porta­tion indus­try includ­ing ocean freight. It is ridicu­lous that they do not give my the retail store I am using an update. I may have to switch to the Yoder or oth­er brand.

Reply

So sor­ry to hear that, Mark. Any word?

Great review — pret­ty thor­ough run of all the fea­tures and facts!
I have the Texas Elite and love it but want anoth­er and have been watch­ing them fly off the shelves. I real­ly like a clean smok­er and my Texas would take a good day to real­ly clean the inside walls, lid and grates etc…how does the new dou­ble wall insu­la­tion clean up? ANy trou­ble scrub­bing with a brush or will it scratch a non-stick enam­el sur­face?

Thanks in advance and keep up the great work
-Fel­low Man of the Smoke

Reply

Geno,

I don’t real­ly know. I haven’t cleaned it out yet. I need to clean the bot­tom plates soon, but the sides seem pret­ty clean so far…

.……Scott

I have the 1300 and am get­ting almost no smoke, even between 165–200. Any­one else have this issue?

Reply

Rob,

The smoke is faint, but are you see­ing any smoke ring? Make sure the meat is wet on the out­side when you put it in (spritz with apple juice) and throw it on the smok­er. When you take the meat off (whether pulled pork, brisket or ribs), there should be a pink smoke ring and plen­ty of smoke fla­vor. You want faint smoke, not smoke bil­low­ing out of the cook­er.

Just got 1300 and not get­ting any smoke between 165–200, but am get­ting a lot of soot on inside. Any­one else hav­ing this issue?

Reply

Thank you so much for your review. Espe­cial­ly about the smoke!!!! I thought I was doing some­thing wrong. Luck­i­ly before I pan­icked to much, I went to my trust­ed google😊Your review came up. Now I can enjoy my 4th of July. Thanks again. By the way, your ribs looked deli­cious.

Reply

Cur­rent­ly, I have a Pri­moXL (with cyberQ WiFi) for smok­ing and a small Weber Spir­it gas grill for quick burg­er and chick­en. I have a 1300 on order think­ing that, being elec­tric with the capa­bil­i­ty of get­ting to 500 degrees, it would be a great gas grill replace­ment for quick meals like bugers, bone­less chick­en and hot dogs as well as a smok­er that is easy enough for the wife to use (to smoke a big piece of meat).

After read­ing this, I real­ize that per­haps it isn’t a good choice for a gas replace­ment for bugers, etc. Any thoughts on this?

I am also dis­ap­point­ed to find reports of slow tem­per­a­ture build up with the 1300 (and quick heat dissipation/slow tem­per­a­ture recov­ery when open­ing the lid). Won­der­ing if I need to rethink my order and keep my gas.…

Reply

Chris,

Yes, the temp build up is slow­er than a typ­i­cal gas grill. I’ve com­pen­sat­ed for that by turn­ing the grill on and then going about prep­ping the food and by the time I’m done prep­ping, the cook­er is up to temp. That being said, I have not used the 1300 so I do not know if there is a big dif­fer­ence between the 1300 and the 850. Also, the bot­tom rack has to be lift­ed up over a lit­tle lip to get it slid back all the way into the cham­ber and if it it isn’t, when you close the lid there is a gap and that caus­es the grill to take a lot longer to get back to temp. Once I noticed that, I was able to get the temp back up more quick­ly because the lid was sealed prop­er­ly rather than hav­ing a lit­tle gap.

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