Debating between Traeger Elite 34 and Louisiana Grills LG900ci

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Smoke Blower
Original poster
Apr 14, 2018

I picked up a Traeger Elite 34 at Costco (Roadshow) here in SoCal, but it's still in the box as I am unsure if I want to keep it. I know Traeger's run more expensive than other brands and am willing to pay more for ease of use and reliability, but when I wanted to the back of Costco, they had a Louisiana Grill (LG900CI) for the same price. It seemed to be roughly the same size as the Elite 34, but also had a cold smoker box attached to the side, slider to expose the flame for direct grilling, temp gauge on the outside of the cooking chamber, and a few other things like cover, shelf, and temp probe. The LG900 also will go up to 600 degrees vs 4xx with the Traeger, unsure if that's important.

From what I remember, the Traeger seemed to have a drip pan that is easily lined with foil vs. the LG which was a convex design. The LG has the flame box on the left side vs. the center with the Traeger, the latter seems best for consistent temperature in the barrel but maybe this isn't as big of a deal as it seems. I've read about temp swings and neither brand seems to be loved for their ability to hold temperature well, but I'm also in CA so unsure now much ambient temp. plays into the swings.

Are the Traeger's that good to justify the cost over other brands with more features, or are the other brands just a better value?

What I want to use the smoker for:
I already have a gas grill that currently is used for all outdoor cooking. My neighbor has a gas smoker and the smell makes me hungry all day when he's using it. I'd like to make beef (steak, tri tip, burgers), slow cook chicken so it falls off the bone, perhaps a turkey for Thanksgiving. Once comfortable, branch out into other types of things like ribs or pork shoulder. I eat low carb so not into sugar sauces, but do enjoy savory BBQ flavors and rubs/spices.

I never knew I could smoke cheese at home until I saw the cold box on the LG and googled what it was for. I love smoked cheddar and gouda (real, not flavored), but haven't read up on it to see what's involved. Unsure if that's something doable or if it's a "project" that I'd never do. Of course, this option is available on the Traeger for $200.

Is the LG "good enough" for the same price? Do the extra features make up for any shortcomings (Small hopper, etc.)? Is the Traeger better for a noob to smoking? These are the questions rolling through my head. :)

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