New to Traeger… help

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Original poster
Jan 16, 2024
I recently purchased a model TFV88PZ Traeger. I’m not necessarily new to pellet grills but I am new to this brand. I’ve smoked a lot of tri-tips and usually smoke them at about 225 for an 1 1/2 hours. I looked up online some tips on smoking tri-tips on the Traeger and it said a 3 to 5 pound trI-tip at 225 should take about an hour to 1 1/2 hours as well. Twice now, I’ve smoked one and three-quarter pound tri-tip (very small) and it’s taken almost 3 hours or more. I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong, but was wondering if it could be the pellets. I’m using a Costco brand pellet. Also any tips on smoking tri-tips n general would be great.
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Welcome. I would not think the pellet brand would influence much. Do you have at least a double probe therm? One for the meat and one probe for ambient cooker temp? I would follow the temp with therm first. Times published on the net/recipe guides etc have too many variables. Your wind, chamber temp, meat size etc could all be different than what is written down somewhere. You can cook it to your desired temp. Meat does not care about my time, I need to adjust to it. Part of the fun and challenge.
Welcome to the group from New Mexico.
Don't trust what the Traeger controller temp says.
As B BigW. said, get a probe (from a thermometer you trust) on the grate that the meat is on.
You can find out how accurate or inaccurate your controller reading is.
1-1/2 hours seems fast at 225. I would expect the 3+ hours to be more normal.
Maybe what you were cooking on before was actually higher than 225 which is why you got done in 1-1/2 hours.
Last edited:
Yup, built-ins have a somewhat notorious record of being inaccurate. Best advice is to pick up a well known calibrated thermometer. There are a number of options, I use a couple from Thermoworks.
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Yup, built-ins have a somewhat notorious record of being inaccurate. Best advice is to pick up a well known calibrated thermometer. There are a number of options, I use a couple from Thermoworks.
Yup as said above.

The smoke time for anything has many factors. In the end, its about meat temp - times are guesstimates.

Also when you say “smoke a tritip” are you doing a reverse sear or what is you goal temp of the beef. 3 hours sounds long to me, but I like them to come off at maybe 100-110. Then sear it very hot to medium rare.

I have read some folks cook them through like a brisket - but I cant bring myself to do that to a TT.
Oh and to what internal temp (INT) are our trying to smoke to? The other question I have, does your Traeger have the "dial" controller or the D2 controller (I couldn't find that model #)? The dial controller is just a temp controller and will vary plus 50 to minus 50 degrees i.e., a 225-degree cook will really bounce between 175 to 275. If it's cool outside, then the cook will run 175-230 is so it could take longer than a true PID controller. If you are cooking to an INT of 150 ish then the above could take 3+ hours to get to that..... It its hot outside and the temp bounces between 220-275 the cook would be 1.5 hours or so to a 150 INT. Your previous smoker could have been running hot as well. If it has the D2 controller it will/should run very close to the set temp provided the internal temp probe is functional. As the others have said add a remote temp probe and monitor a cook vs the controller temp.

I use Costco pellets (about 600-700 lbs a year of them) and can confidently say it's NOT the pellets, provided they are still in pellet form. It's the controller and temperature profile between your previously used smoker vs your new one. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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