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I’m standing in my driveway at 11 p.m., bathed in smoke and illumination coming from beneath a grill’s sturdy lid. I noticed a recipe for smoked apple crisp earlier within the night and I couldn’t resist its name. Just some hours—and roughly $18 price of apples—later, my total neighborhood smells as if I lit the most important, most intoxicating Yankee Candle ever created due to the Traeger Timberline and my hunger-induced fugue state. 

Apple crisp isn’t typical fare for testing a smoker, however the Timberline—the corporate’s flagship pellet cooker—isn’t a median grill. It’s a high-end out of doors cooking machine with tons of options, bells, and whistles that assist within the cooking course of with out interfering with it. When you recover from the preliminary (and substantial) value, it gives probably the most full and fulfilling out of doors cooking experiences you’ll encounter. And, sure, it cooks the hell out of some meat, too. 


What’s the Traeger Timberline? 

The Timberline is a $3,499 cooker that’s designed to deal with all the things from smoking, grilling, baking, and even searing. It affords the corporate’s highest-end finishes, in addition to its most superior applied sciences. This yr’s Timberline mannequin introduces a completely new related management module, which introduces a touchscreen shade show and a revamped consumer interface. It’s a related grill so, whereas you should use it with out the app or the included wi-fi Meater probes, you’ll be lacking out on a bit of the helpful options obtainable should you don’t introduce a smartphone to the combination. 

The usual Timberline affords 880 sq. inches of cooking floor, which makes it concerning the measurement of a typical propane grill. It simply matches greater than a dozen burgers on the principle cooking rack and two auxiliary racks up above make further room for greens or the rest you may wish to bombard with smoke. The Timberline XL prices $3,799 and augments the full cooking space to 1,320 sq. inches. The improve is probably going solely price the additional cash and area should you do a ton of entertaining otherwise you’re recurrently smoking a number of massive hunks of meat on the identical time. Including measurement extends warm-up occasions and requires extra pellets for every cook dinner, so it’s not merely a “greater is healthier” state of affairs for each use case.

As you’d count on with a flagship grill, all the things right here feels high-end. The double-wall stainless-steel lid on the cooking chamber is heavy in the best way you need it to really feel heavy. It’s surrounded by burly gaskets that soften the sound it makes when it closes. The double doorways on cupboards beneath the cooking chamber don’t chatter and clang if you open them. Traeger even added a bamboo chopping board on the lid of the pellet hopper, which I discovered surprisingly useful. Evaluating it to a luxurious vehicle is likely to be an apparent metaphor, nevertheless it’s additionally extraordinarily apt.

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Traeger Timberline grill review light
The lights activate when the lid opens. You possibly can see some ash and grease from the cook dinner in progress. Stan Horaczek

A textured rail surrounds the entrance and sides of the grill. That is a part of Traeger’s P.A.L. (quick for Pop and Lock) accent attachment system. It permits non-compulsory equipment like condiment containers, utensil hooks, and even a sturdy entrance shelf to rapidly and simply connect to the grill. The rail gives a remarkably sturdy connection to the equipment and it made me dangerously inquisitive about what different doodads I may purchase from Traeger to connect to it. The P.A.L. system is a kind of options I appreciated far more in observe than I did after I learn the spec sheet. 

Traeger additionally features a facet burner on the left facet of the principle cooking chamber. As a result of there’s no gasoline tank, Traeger included an electrical induction burner, which is a primary for this sort of cooker. Moderately than counting on an open flame to get the pan sizzling, it makes use of induction, which implies the burner itself stays cool to the contact and the pots and pans warmth up resulting from electrical present. The method is faster and extra environment friendly than it’s with gasoline, however requires appropriate cookware. So, you may’t simply slap an outdated, crusty forged iron pan on and count on it to work.

Organising the Traeger Timberline grill

Traeger Timberline grill review as packed
The items come very effectively packed. Stan Horaczek

Traeger has put a ton of labor into its branding, packaging, and total consumer expertise. That effort actually pays off through the meeting course of. From begin to end, it took my middle-school-aged son and I roughly 90 minutes to place the entire thing collectively at an informal tempo. The package consists of all the mandatory instruments and a surprisingly sparse variety of screws and bolts. It was mercifully easy.

Connecting the grill to your property Wi-Fi community and Traeger app proved easy as nicely (assuming your Wi-Fi is robust, so contemplate an extender if partitions are blocking your sign). Traeger has streamlined that course of and it felt rather a lot like organising a high-end piece of electronics. I did run right into a little bit of bother initially. The primary time you really pump pellets into the grill, it’s meant to run a 30-minute, 500-degree cycle to season the cooking chamber and the racks. For some cause, my grill topped out round 200 and wouldn’t go up from there. I canceled the seasoning course of and went again to it later and it labored positive, however that was the one actual hiccup I hit throughout setup. 

Traeger Timberline grill review assembly process
You’ll desire a helper when placing it collectively. Stan Horaczek

Cooking on the Traeger Timberline

Constructed high quality and Wi-Fi options don’t imply a lot on a grill like this if it could possibly’t put a stable smoke ring in a pork shoulder. The principle cooking chamber features a major cooking grate, in addition to two secondary grates that sit above the principle floor. Throughout my testing interval, I cooked all the things from a whack of brisket burgers and sausages cooked at excessive warmth to a low-and-slow picnic shoulder and pork stomach burnt ends. 

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Whatever the temperature you select, the Timberline heats up rapidly and effectively. I began the grill earlier than I began slathering mustard and rub on the pork shoulder and it had hit the 230-degree goal I set for it by the point I used to be performed. It stayed inside 10 levels through the entirety of the lengthy cook dinner, besides after I opened the lid. That double-wall lid does a wonderful job of sustaining temperature in the principle cooking space. It’s significantly higher than the older Traegers—such because the Ironwood 885—I’ve used prior to now. 

Traeger Timberline grill review touchscreen
The touchscreen show is useful, however you’ll primarily use the app. Stan Horaczek

Monitoring temperature

The Timberline comes with a pair of wired probes that hook up with sockets on the entrance of the controller. They work as you’d count on, however the grill additionally comes with a pair of Meater wi-fi thermometers that combine with the controller and the Traeger app. I’ve at all times been a fan of Meater’s merchandise, even earlier than Traeger bought the corporate. They work even higher right here due to the native integration. Simply ensure you preserve them charged earlier than you cook dinner. 

The grill gives a calibration course of for each the wired and wi-fi probes, however I didn’t undergo it as they appear fairly shut straight out of the field when in comparison with my typical instant-read thermometer. 

Traeger Timberline grill review pellet hopper
The pellet hopper sensor additionally has a lightweight. Stan Horaczek

Yeah, however what does the meals style like?

As you may count on, the Traeger does an outstanding job with regards to meat. It’s the best factor to check on a grill like this and I pushed my Costco’s meat choice to its limits. Traeger affords a Tremendous Smoke characteristic, which provides an additional dose of smokey style to meat, however I want to make use of the usual cook dinner. It’s fast and dependable and it does an total wonderful job, even with in a single day cooks in altering humidity and temperature environments. That double-wall cooking chamber does what it guarantees. 

Baking nonetheless feels barely indulgent on the grill. I’ve a countertop convection oven that heats up extraordinarily rapidly and effectively, which I nonetheless want. However, that smoked apple crisp did have a very distinctive (and admittedly, superior) style that I’ll use extra usually. 

Pellet grills promise a simple approach to get meals packed stuffed with smoke style and this totally delivered in each cook dinner I threw at it. 

The induction burner

Induction grill
The induction burner may be very useful when you get used to it. Stan Horaczek

I’m not an induction burner veteran, however I did get just a few alternatives to strive the built-in one on the Timberline. I cooked some bacon to go along with burgers and seared off some steaks that I had put via the reverse sear course of by slowly cooking them on the principle grill first. The induction burner heats up in a short time, stays cool to the contact, and may be very simple to wash as a result of the floor is completely flat. I used to be shocked to seek out that I want it to a gasoline burner like I’ve used prior to now. 

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The little further touches

Traeger Timberline grill review accessory hooks

The extra you utilize the Timberline, the extra little belongings you’ll discover to love about it. The pellet stage monitor now sits straight over the auger so it provides correct readings about how a lot gasoline you’ve gotten left. The grill comes with a pellet storage container and you’ll simply empty the pellets out of the underside of the hopper by merely opening a sliding door. That makes switching pellet varieties fast and quite simple. 

A pair of lights on the facet of the hopper shine into the principle cooking chamber. That’s nice for night time cooking, however additionally they double as a sensor to find out when the lid is open so it could possibly get able to stoke the fireplace and convey the grill again as much as temperature after the warmth escapes. That is the form of element you don’t get with a primary cooker.

Cleanup

Traeger Timberline grill review ash can
This simply detachable canister catches grease and ash for simple disposal. Stan Horaczek

One of many greatest enhancements within the new Timberline exhibits up when it’s time to wash the grill. A fan now blows ash out of the burn pot and onto the slanted floor beneath the grates. Moderately than reaching into the pot, you may merely scrape the ashes and the grease right into a gap. It falls right into a detachable canister that’s quite simple to empty and change. Metallic liners for the canister make it even simpler to wash. 

This cleansing system is a large enchancment over the old-style grills and even Traeger’s lower-end cookers. Cleansing out grease and ash could be sufficient to dissuade me from beginning an out of doors cook dinner, however that’s not the case right here. 

So, who should purchase the Traeger Timberline?

At $3,500 (or $3,700 if you wish to step as much as the XL mannequin), the Traeger Timberline is a critical funding however a worthwhile one for people who find themselves going to make use of it very recurrently. Traeger designed this grill as a complete out of doors cooking answer, and it has actually achieved that objective. Should you plan to cook dinner exterior on the common, it’s laborious to discover a higher or extra versatile cooker. Some purists will say that the additional options hinder the reference to the fireplace. I get the place they’re coming from. I’ve cooked a pig over a cut-apart buying card in a gap within the floor. And whereas that was enjoyable, telling my cellphone to make me an ideal tray of pork stomach burnt ends whereas I play Overwatch 2 is even higher. I’ve embraced my standing as a weirdo who grills up dessert in the midst of the night time and the Traeger Timberline is correct there with me.