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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've been grilling 3-5 times per week /year round, for many years - originally with charcoal but eventually moving over to propane. I loved propanes easy on/easy off, and I could always add wood chips if I wanted to. But recently I became aware of pellet cooking and made the jump (specifically I'm using a 34" Traeger Smoker).

I find it equally easy to use with nearly instant on, a quick shut down cycle, AND easier to keep clean. To me the only drawback is its capability to sear steaks. The literature (and user feedback) claims it's doable, but I can do it on my propane grill in fewer min,, not the 30 min. this type of unit requires to heat up.

So while I won't give up my propane grills (both Webers) I'm now sold on this pellet smoker. Anyone else using one?

Happy eating.
 

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2006 Ridgeline RTS in Steel Blue
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That's on my short list of what the backyard gets next.

I have a co-worker with one, and he even made jerky on it, freaking amazing
 

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I've been using a Brinkmann electric smoker with great success for years, but Brinkmann went out of business. I was able to buy a new water bowl for it before the parts chain dried up, so I'm good to go for the summer.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0009WG6R0/?tag=whois03-20

Now I'm eying the Masterbuilt electric smokers....

https://www.amazon.com/Masterbuilt-20072115-Bluetooth-Smart-Digital-Electric/dp/B00TJ1OZR0/ref=sr_1_2?s=lawn-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1488376354&sr=1-2&keywords=masterbuilt+electric+smoker

https://www.amazon.com/Masterbuilt-20101113-Digital-Electric-30-Inch/dp/B00BJ28G36/ref=sr_1_7?s=lawn-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1488376354&sr=1-7&keywords=masterbuilt+electric+smoker
 

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I've got a slightly older version of the Brinkman Smoker, in Black, I've been able to source some parts before they went out of business, although, You basically have told me my days are numbered. My friend has a Masterbuilt, and I think he wishes he got a Traeger now that he's had several meals from one.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I received a wood pellet recommendation many times over (specifically the Traeger as a solid economical unit) from a camping site I belong to.

I went there searching for an electric smoker, to replace my propane fueled Char Broil bucket that I was unhappy with. This bucket was always too hot (and too small) for smoking slow (and /or large cuts) plus any wind would frequently blow my fire out.

Their recommendations were (almost 100%) to go pellet and forgo the strictly electrics. The biggest drawbacks to electrics were they generated much less smoke, even with chips, as the electric power was often cycling on/off which leads to an inability to keep the smoke flowing.

These pellet burners actually use electric to start the fire; the pellets are made of wood and burned in a bucket, all computer controlled to augur pellets in the bucket as needed, so the entire cooking is from wood. Just keep the temps down and you'll get smoke, cooking on high will burn too complete to generate smoke.

And as I said, much easier to clean up. Wipe down the grates and vac out the ash with a shop vac. Easy peasy.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
For anyone interested I should add, I'm not advocating the Traeger brand as the only brand, it was just the name that mostly came up. Pellet burners start at $500 and go up to $5000 (yikes). For $5K I assume it comes with both Hot and Cold running maids.

This Traeger retailed at $1000 but I argued it down to $900 (including an optional front folding shelf and one 20# box of pellets); with tax it was back to $1K. I added an optional bottom shelf after the sale, maybe $60 from Amazon.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
In fairness allow me to add another observation. Both bottles of propane and/or an electric outlet are easier to handle than feeding it bags of pellets.

Traeger recommends using only their brand of pellets; I'm gonna assume the other manufacturers probably only recommend using their brands.

Long time pellet users have posted many observations about many alternatives that they've used. Some brands are cheaply made and turn to (unusable) sawdust in the shipping process. Some brands mix cheap wood with better woods, to economize. Some brands have better (or lesser) smoking capability. To date I've only used the Traeger brand ($20/bag, plus or minus), but many users have had good luck with a much cheaper brand found in Walmart ($11/ bag) - which I've now picked up two different wood flavors to try in the future.

The literature says on smoke setting the unit burns 1 pound/hour. Obviously if you turn it on high you'll increase that heavily - but I don't remember the stated amount. A 20# Propane ($20) would last me several months on my small grill, so likely cheaper fuel wise. But the smoked tenderness this one provides is heaven.
 

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I joined "Team Traeger" this past weekend with a Pro 22 from Ace Hardware near the house. Added the folding front shelf and a cover.
Like Wrascal, I'll never give up my Weber Genesis grill for grilling but wanted to add the Traeger for a simpler smoking unit.
Ace did the assembly for me and we took it home and did a nice Salmon filet and some shrimp. Salmon was excellent using Alder wood ((Traeger pellets), shrimp I would have preferred Mesquite wood.
Can't wait to try a Pork shoulder and some ribs!
 

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Love my Big Green Egg. I also have a knockoff "Char-Griller AKORN 20-in Kamado" that I really like.

Nothing beats cooking over real wood.

With some practice you can cook at any temperature you want.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Outfit, welcome to Traegering; I've now used mine quite often ... from my personal observations:

I prefer burning for steaks, porkchops and burgers on propane (as I like them seared). My bride prefers the smoker for porkchops.

The verdict is still wishy-washy on racks of ribs (I did two ribs yesterday), but I think there it's the ingredients (and prep) and not the appliance.

Now the boston butt, prime rib and pork shoulders were all standouts; in my opinion none of these can be properly cooked on propane.

I've also cooked odd-ball items such as corn on the cob (peel back the leaves, oil it up then rewrap the leaves, place directly on the smoker); reheating items such as shrimp (Saturday), mac n cheese, baked beans, etc. My bride even did a fish or two (yuck).

Twice I've done veggie baskets. Precooked (boiled potato and carrots) then add them to a wok mixed with green peppers and onions before going on the smoker. Real good.

I've also been happy with the BBQ brand of pellets available at my Walmart, much cheaper than Traeger brand ($11 vs $19); do note that Amazon carries Traegers brands.

If there are any complaints it would be that I'm too conservative and try to cook things too low, nearly all of my meals have eventually had to have the temps bumped up to finish in a timely manner. The above boston butt cooked 20 hours (on smoke) before I gave up and increased the heat.

Meat thermometers are a must, my unit came with two built in; I also use my original ones for making quick checks.

I'm keeping lots of notes so that any followups can be better adjusted.

Added in: for those that like chicken (whole or pieces) the smoker was greatly preferred. I don't care for chicken that way, for me its gotta be fried.
 

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Outfit, welcome to Traegering; I've now used mine quite often ... from my personal observations:

I prefer burning for steaks, porkchops and burgers on propane (as I like them seared). My bride prefers the smoker for porkchops.

The verdict is still wishy-washy on racks of ribs (I did two ribs yesterday), but I think there it's the ingredients (and prep) and not the appliance.

Now the boston butt, prime rib and pork shoulders were all standouts; in my opinion none of these can be properly cooked on propane.

I've also cooked odd-ball items such as corn on the cob (peel back the leaves, oil it up then rewrap the leaves, place directly on the smoker); reheating items such as shrimp (Saturday), mac n cheese, baked beans, etc. My bride even did a fish or two (yuck)

Twice I've done veggie baskets. Precooked (boiled potato and carrots) then add them to a wok mixed with green peppers and onions before going on the smoker. Real good.

I've also been happy with the BBQ brand of pellets available at my Walmart, much cheaper than Traeger brand ($11 vs $19); do note that Amazon carries Traegers brands.

If there are any complaints it would be that I'm too conservative and try to cook things too low, nearly all of my meals have eventually had to have the temps bumped up to finish in a timely manner. The above boston butt cooked 20 hours (on smoke) before I gave up and increased the heat.

Meat thermometers are a must, my unit came with two built in; I also use my original ones for making quick checks.

I'm keeping lots of notes so that any followups can be better adjusted.

Added in: for those that like chicken (whole or pieces) the smoker was greatly preferred. I don't care for chicken that way, for me its gotta be fried.
The additional time or higher temp seems to be a common theme with these. It took the Salmon about 45 mins longer than we thought but temp ran about 10 degrees less than we had it set at.
The Salmon turned out fantastic, moist and flaky and the spices we used from our favorite recipe were even better with he Alder wood smoke.

I'm doing a recipe that I have had for awhile today. Smoked cabbage with venison. Foil roaster with chopped cabbage on bottom, a layer of thin sliced red taters, dusting of Tony Chacheres Cajun seasoning some butter patties then a layer of venison bacon burger and topped with more cabbage and onion and then finished off with slices of venison German sausage.
Cover loosely with foil and smoke at 250-275 for 2 hours.
We will see how this works out and I'm using Mesquite pellets.

This weekend I plan on testing out one of my favorites, a bacon wrapped stuffed pork tenderloin (cream cheese and jalapeño slices stuffing) and seasoned again with the Tonys.

Looking forward to chicken as everyone seems to agree that it is great on a Traeger.

I did many a wild hog shoulder or ham on the Weber but really had to monitor the temp and chip smoker for best results. This should make it a better and easier program going forward.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
OutF2: So many additional options for good eatin with pellet smokers!
Tonight it was was two thick (1.5") angus T-bones on the smoker. I smoked them at 180* for one hour then upped the temp to 225* for an additional 30 min. From there they went on the sizzlin hot Weber for 2.5 min (each side). Pretty good eats. (Note: I used my previous steak cooking notes to adjust my temps higher than the last time, they helped me adjust).

R17: I have no personal knowledge about any of the other brands; I purchased my Traeger based on numerous recommendations from prior pellet owners. Personal experience/ word of mouth was worth spending the extra money to me; and I wasn't about to go $4k - $5+k that some of the premium brands were asking.
 

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Wrascal, I see an increase in my meat bill at Costco (best meat in DFW, IMHO) with this smoker/grill!
Steaks are an interesting challenge as i had alway seared a steak on both sides and then turned down the heat to get the internal temp to doneness level while not drying it out. It appears that the reverse will be the method mow.
Pork Chops tonight!

R17, like Wrascal stated, recommendations from others played a large roll in my decision and the buy once, cry once has proven true way too many times in my past. I wanted the 3 year warranty and more important was the 2 integrated meat temperature probes the Traeger offered with the Pro model.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Coincidentally it's also pork chops for us tonight.
Tonight I plan on starting with a higher initial temp of 180* for 90 min then upping heat as necessary. I'm thinking potato salad, apple sauce and a green salad to round it out.

First time I smoked chops (on lowest setting) for 90 min., then raised temp to 225 for additional 30 min., then upped temp again to 250* for an additional hour. Yummy and moist.
Second time chops I smoked (low) 1.5 hr then temp raised to 250. for an hour. Also used chicken rub on them. Not ideal but what I tried. Sweet but just OK.
Third time I smoked them (again on low) for 2 hrs then upped the heat to 250* for another 30 min. Internal temp reached 143+ and removed meat. Another success.

Each time I marinated them for 5-6 hours. The first time I used Balsamic Vinaigrette, the second time I used apple juice, the third one (and now the forth) I'm using zesty Italian salad dressing.

I'm still experimenting (personally I like them better burned on the Weber and slathered with BBQ sauce) but I got ta keep momma happy.
 

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Love my Big Green Egg. I also have a knockoff "Char-Griller AKORN 20-in Kamado" that I really like.

Nothing beats cooking over real wood.

With some practice you can cook at any temperature you want.

Second on the green egg. Fun and does awesome job. :)
 

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Coincidentally it's also pork chops for us tonight.
Tonight I plan on starting with a higher initial temp of 180* for 90 min then upping heat as necessary. I'm thinking potato salad, apple sauce and a green salad to round it out.

First time I smoked chops (on lowest setting) for 90 min., then raised temp to 225 for additional 30 min., then upped temp again to 250* for an additional hour. Yummy and moist.
Second time chops I smoked (low) 1.5 hr then temp raised to 250. for an hour. Also used chicken rub on them. Not ideal but what I tried. Sweet but just OK.
Third time I smoked them (again on low) for 2 hrs then upped the heat to 250* for another 30 min. Internal temp reached 143+ and removed meat. Another success.

Each time I marinated them for 5-6 hours. The first time I used Balsamic Vinaigrette, the second time I used apple juice, the third one (and now the forth) I'm using zesty Italian salad dressing.

I'm still experimenting (personally I like them better burned on the Weber and slathered with BBQ sauce) but I got ta keep momma happy.
Change in plans for tonight as son and family coming over for some "tech support", so it's filet mignons with some fresh asparagus bundled with a piece of bacon. Steaks seasoned with Snyders Prime Rib seasoning, fresh black pepper and course ground kosher salt.
Really struggling with this as my instinct says to sear on Weber and finish on Traeger. A couple more Gin and Tonics and I'll figure it out :smile:

Speaking of pork chops, we have a local Carnicera that has fantastic smoked pork chops that we grill frequently. Neat little place and they also have the best marinated fajita meat I have ever tasted. Some pretty interesting things in that butcher shop I can assure you.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Minor change of plans on this end too, meaning the chops went on late.

Cooked 65 min on 180 then 35 min on 300. First bite out of the brides mouth was ummm. Second bite she uttered good stuff.
My assessment was is was ok but I still prefer it grilled.

As for steak, she prefers filet migs and baked potato while I prefer rib-eyes and mashed potato (or fries).

In the past I always seared the streaks first then allowed the insides to cook (med/ med-rare). My current method - smoking first is only to get the smoke flavor in the meat then searing it quickly.

Now cutting to the bone, I DON'T LIKE GIN. Whiskey, Vodka (sometimes rum) are my poisons of choice. For beer it's the IPAs.
Oh lets not forget Jagermeister and Southern Comfort, both for medicinal purposes (cough, cold, flu, good company, etc).
 
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