I haven't been on this forum for awhile, a little busy with moving from New Jersey to North Carolina. Gettin settled in and finding less time available to babysit my vertical smoker, I spent a few dollars - Traeger Texas Smoker. Besides, I'm in BBQ country now so I need to step up my game!
Not sure this is the right spot for posting (I think it loosely qualifies as a wood smoker) Tomorrow it will be christened with an 8lb. Boston butt. But that is getting ahead of the story. My son was very helpful in taking pictures (thank you buddy!) from box to seasoning and I thought I would share the experience, especially for anyone considering buying a Traeger.
I bought it at Hudson's Hardware in Clayton - fine friendly staff. To start, you definitely need 2 to unload:
Everything was packed very well with no parts damaged from shipping.
There weren't very many parts to assemble and the instructions were very clear. A thick recipe book came with it - time will tell if there are any golden recipes in it. The quality of the parts are good, nothing felt cheap. The steel used for the smokers isn't 1/4" but it doesn't feel flimsy. All the parts including, legs, handle, hinges, doors, etc.,. all had a nice fit and finish. The tires have nice rubber - not too hard or soft.
Here is the smoker with grill, grease pan and baffle removed.
Here is heavy guage stainless steel heat baffle in place.
Here is heavy guage stainless steel grease pan in place. Pan fits on lips, tilting to one side to drain into trough (you can see trough in pic above to the right). the trough has drain hole that bucket hooks to on the outside.
Here is the smoker with porcelain coated grill in place. Rack space is about the same as the three racks combined on my vertical smoker. I should be able to get 6 rib racks laying flat no problem.
Assembly was a snap, less than 30 minutes from unloading to finish with a total of 10 bolt sets. Allen wrench and two wrenches were included.
Here is the pellet hopper ready to go for intial startup.
First time use requires running the unit for about 7 minutes until pellets start dropping into the firepot and about another 15 minutes until the pot fills up and ignites. Waitin for the pellets to come out was like a kid waitin for gumballs to drop after puttin my nickel in!
Here pellets are starting to smoke.
... a lot more smoke!
...and finally a full flame per instructions. At this point, instructions say to shut off and let cool down.
Hard to see hear but TBS coming out of the stack after running for awhile for the seasoning. The inside and out smoked a bit once it hit 400+ degrees burning off the manufacturing oils.
Seasoning is to run on high for 45 minutes (I gave it an hour and a half) Here is the controls with digital readout that indicated about a 15 degree swing once it hit operating temperature - the primary reason for buying this unit. It was about 9o degrees today and peaked out around 440. The dial has detents so you pick one of 8 presets. The panel is a little hard to read unless you bend down a bit. I respect the art of smoking but "set and forget it" leaves more time for beer and friends!
And here is the smoker after the seasoning.
So far it looks like a great smoker. Nit-picking, the legs are sturdy but cross bracing would inspire more confidence. I could see getting hung up and pulling to hard and bending a leg. The spread on the legs is a little narrower than I would like. It would be nice to have a bracket to wind the cord up when not in use (just hangs from bottom).
The lid has a button hole with cap on right of lid for an optional thermometer. I need to figure out where I am going to run my probe wires for my Maverick wireless. I'll need to add a bracket somewhere to hold the Maverick sending unit.
I can't wait to fire 'er up tomorrow! I'll post the boston butt from beginning to end and continue the story...