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!
I need all the butcher diss­ing, non brisket smok­ing haters to line up in here and com­ment that this brisket needs …… https://t.co/apEVxJXIWK — 9 hours ago
Scott Thomas

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15 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

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