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 - 11 months ago
Scott Thomas

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46 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?

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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.

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

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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

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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

Did you wrap the ribs after the first 2 hours or uncovered the whole time? Were the bottom ribs more cooked than the top ones? Spritz or mop? They look great and would like to make some good ribs.

Gordo,

I did not wrap at all. And I generally don’t. The bottom does cook faster on the far edges of each side. Either rotate racks or simply avoid those couple inches on each side…

…….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

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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?

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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

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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?

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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.

Same issue with my 850, the smoke coming out of the unit is faint, even with super smoke on. Meats get some smoke, but overall, I’m pretty disappointed with the smoking ability of this unit, I expected more for nearly 2k.

Scott,

You don’t want billowing smoke out of your cooker. I get amazing smoke rings from mine and the smoke is faint. Don’t sweat that it doesn’t look like a chimney.

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?

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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.

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Scott – really appreciate the extensive review and real-life cooking experience. I got my 850 last weekend and appreciate your comments regarding being slowed down by tiny pictures and few words regarding assembly!

Couple of questions now though – can you post some pics of how you have your drip tray positioned? I’m not confident mine is in the right place – I have the front lip over the top of the channel, so that grease runs off the front into the channel -that’s right, isn’t it? The back of the drip tray is only just touching the back and don’t seem to be resting on anything – it’s quite floppy.

Have you got anything on your drip tray, like some foil? Even after only a couple of cooks, mine is covered in some fairly nasty black deposits, but being new to smokers, I’m not sure if I should be cleaning that off before each cook…

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Damian,

Mine has lots of black gunk on it too. I probably should’ve wrapped in foil before I put it in the cooker. You just want the drip tray to run down and lead the grease to the trap. With as dirty as my tray is, I’m not sure a pic will work here.

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….

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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.

I have just got mine from Ian hodget at Hayes in Ambleside delivered to Lincoln in 3 days free of charge and the BBQ shop staff at Hayes are fantastic great range of traeger smokers and accessories

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After owning a Lil tex for several years now, I decided to upgrade to the Timberline 1300 a couple of months ago. Initially, I wanted to take the pellet box of the size and mount it to the older pellet stove. I am still working through thehe differences as it really does cook a lot different than the lil tex. I do not get the same smokey flavor as I did with the older model and it feels like an outdoor convection oven rather than a smoker. I have a feeling it will take me a while to get used to the differences.. I do love the ability to look up recipes and have the trager automatically adjust the temperature for me.

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