OK starter unit at a good price.

A Review On: Traeger Junior Pellet Grill

Traeger Junior Pellet Grill

Rated # 13 in Pellet Smokers
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Ease of Use
Heat Control
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Price paid: $350.00
Joe Fenn
Posted · Updated · 1460 Views · 0 Comments

Pros: Cost. simplicity, cooking guide.

Cons: Size, temp control, no clean outs.

Bought my T. JR 5 years ago at a Costco roadshow.


It made for an affordable start in the smoking and pellet cooker space.

Easy setup, but on burn-in the controller and fan burned out.    Taking the box to 500 to clear the machine oil, I could small burning electronics.   3 hours on the phone with Traeger and I had a new controller, digital temp probe and fan,  on the way to fix it. I had to rebuild the head unit myself with the new parts.


The JR is sort and simple, so I built a new stand for it out of scrap TREX decking.  I added wheels, a bottom shelf, cover tie-down hooks, and a folding front shelf .

Also had to buy the cover separately. (poor)


NOTE If this is your first smoker make sure to do a couple of practice cooks before the big party.   Don't expect to unbox it and eat great BBQ in 1 weekend.


Even though I upgraded, I kept the Jr for steaks and salmon. I really like the Traeger rubs and the free Smoking Guide. 


Reasons I upgraded from the JR:

Size is a problem. I often have to rotate the cooks. (like in the pic below)   For a graduation party I did 4 8lb pork buts,  had to smoke them in shifts of 2 each. Rotating them to the oven every few hours.


Temp balance is a problem.  The cooking surface is too close to the fire pot.   The deflectors help but there is still a  big hotspot spot over the fire. 

Back slots vs chimney allows it to cool too fast. I closed 90% of the opening with foil tape. 


Cleaning is a pain in the butt.  You have to take out the grate, drip pan and deflector shield, then vacuum out the firepot with a shop vac. Pellet clean out is 1 scoop at a time but your are stuck with what's in the auger for your next startup.  ( newer/larger models have the hopper dump, ash dump, and auger load / purge feature)   


Upgraded to a Magnum/LUX but I kept the Jr for steaks and salmon, other things that like a smaller/hotter cooker.



Rotating cooks; 15 lbs Pork butt and Cupcake Chicken = 2 stages.


Taller stand out of scrap TREX decking w. bottom shelf, & folding table.


Best Part: The cookbook as a beginners guide to times and temps.

Use this until you build your own book of best practices.

 I log all of my big cooks in Excel.


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