“Should I upgrade to a Traeger Timberline?”
This is a question I am often asked and up until recently my answer has always been “yes.” But now, that’s not necessarily my response. Now when asked this question my answer varies but I strongly urge people away from upgrading to a Timberline.
So why the recent change when faced with this question? To be completely honest I was ill informed. Up until recently I only had low and slow cooking experiences with a Traeger Grill. I bought my first Traeger nearly three years ago and have been consumed in everything barbecue everyday since. I now have six Traeger’s in my collection (outlined below) and there is one thing they all have in common. All the food tastes the same.
*Pro Series 34
* Two (2) Traeger Beta Units
It doesn’t matter if I’m slow smoking ribs or a brisket on my Timberline 850 or the Tailgater I bought used for $150. The food that comes off of them tastes the same.
There are some benefits to owning a Timberline and it has some great features. The larger hopper, the double walled insulation, WiFIRE technology, pill shaped barrel and three tier stainless steel shelves, are all great features. Though, these are all great features and make cooking on it a little more convenient, it does not change the actual cooking experience or taste of the food.
You may be wondering about that Super Smoke setting? There’s a reason I didn’t mention it. Notice I said GREAT features. The Timberline’s Super Smoke setting is the biggest disappoint of the Timberline series. I have never had any luck with the Super Smoke setting and don’t know many people who have. When used for any length of time it has left a heavy coating of soot on my grill and food.
When you strip away the different bells and whistles, all Traeger’s are equipped with a hopper that feeds pellets into a firepot. The cooking experience and taste of the food does not change.
I recently joined Primo Ceramic Grill team and now am consumed in low and slow cooking using hardwood lump charcoal and wood chunks. The barbecue I’m pulling off the Primo is some of the best I have ever made. The wood flavor is more robust and the flavor profile can be easily changed by simply adding or removing wood chunks. The grill reaches unbelievably high temperatures for searing and it’s an entirely different cooking experience. More on the Primo in a future post.
You may be wondering what’s the motivation behind this blog. No, this is not a dig at Traeger. Traeger makes a great product and I know they will continue to be at the forefront of the barbecue market. I wrote this post for two reasons.
First, I wanted to share my experience looking at it through a different lens. If you have a Pro Series 22 (or any other model) is the Timberline worth the $1,700 for a little extra space and a few convenient features? Or would your money be better spent buying a completely different platform, with an entirely different cooking experience and flavor profile? You decide.
Secondly, I have received some messages (like the one below) over the past year from people who have spent their hard earned coin on a Timberline and been completely disappointed. These messages are always hard for me to read. I honestly feel by staying silent on this issue I am doing my followers/readers a disservice. I now have a better understanding of barbecue and different cooking experiences.
Now when I’m asked “Should I upgrade to a Timberline?” I ask what’s the motivation behind wanting to own a Timberline? If you are trying to grow with the Traeger brand and secure one of Traeger’s many social influencer positions, absolutely get a Timberline. If you’re happy with the Traeger product but want more cooking surface and not interested different cooking experience. Go ahead and get a Timberline, but don’t be surprised when the foods taste the same as the food you have been pulling off your older model Traeger.
If you are looking for an entirely new cooking experience and flavor profile don’t upgrade to a Timberline. Consider another cooking platform. There are many other options available that fit into everyone’s budget. Consider a vertical cooker, barrel style cooker, ceramic and/or offset grill. I would highly recommend stepping outside the safety net of a Traeger and trying different styles of barbecue. I’m only speaking from experience and currently having more fun with barbecue than I ever had before.
Follow my barbecue journey on Instagram and Twitter @freedomsohard. Don’t forget to subscribe on the right side of my home page. I’m going into to 2019 with some great partnerships and you will not want to miss what will be dropping.