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Thread: Traeger...Where's the smoke??

  1. #1
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    Traeger...Where's the smoke??

    I've about had it with this Traeger 075. Early this morning I put on an 8lb butt, using Traeger hickory pellets. I put the unit in SMOKE mode, and left it for 7 hours. I then turned up the thermostat one click to 225F, and let it go for 6-7 more hours until I hit 197F internal temp. The smoke flavor is almost nonexistent. I've had this Traeger for 2 1/2 years now, and will probably be looking for a stick burner soon, or scrap smoking altogether. I've never gotten good smoke flavor from it. The other day I bought a brisket sandwich from a new local bbq joint. I could smell the smoke as I opened the sandwich wrapper. The guy cooks on a Charbroil $150 smoker!! I think of the money I've spent on this Traeger tur*, and I could just puke. I should have researched further before buying.

    Some folks have told me that Traeger pellets are not too good. What? Is Traeger using inferior trees, inferior wood? How can pellets possibly vary in the smokiness they produce?? Thanks, but I'm at a loss to figure it all out.

  2. #2
    Senior Member sparky's Avatar
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    i started w/ a lil tex. it got me into pellet bbqing. i did have my problems w/ it and am very glad i purchased a mak. i have owned 4 different pellet grills and the mak is the best one for me.
    Bo, PDS
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  3. #3
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    I think I could get more smoke flavor out of a Little Chief or Brinkmann. I doubt I would buy another pellet smoker after this. It doesn't seem that you can actively control the amount of smoke flavor you want, only the temp. And, the higher the temp, the less smoke. At least with a stick burner, you can add as many wood chunks as you want to get the desired level of smoke flavor. More versatility, I think.

  4. #4
    Moderator TentHunter's Avatar
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    Hmmm. I have heard this before about pellet cookers before & can't help but wonder what kind of smoke flavor you're after. The reason I ask is even with my kettle & stick burner I much prefer that controlled light blueish smoke that enhances the flavor without overwhelming it.

    A few other things worth trying (if you haven't already done so):

    For pork shoulders or when I want additional smoke flavor, I'll add a foil pouch of BBQ'rs delight 100% flavor wood pellets on the heat diffuser overtop the firepot. That way it puts out smoke even when the firepot isn't.

    Here's one I swear by - be sure your meat is COLD when you put it on to smoke. The longer it takes for the outside to reach 140° the more smoke can penetrate (and better smoke ring). SquirtTheCat uses this technique cooking many many butts with great success.

    Add a foil loaf pan with hot water to keep the moisture level up. If the outside of the meat dries too soon it can seal & limit smoke penetration.

    Maybe something with your rub is sealing the pores of the meat. I have read that rubbing the meat with vinegar before applying rub opens the pores. May be worth a try.

    Man it sucks being frustrated with a grill you spent good money on. Hope you get it figured out!
    <><
    MAK 1 Star General #651 - 2014 Model
    former owner - MAK 1 Star General #171
    22.5" Weber Performer with Stoven Pellet Grill attachment
    27 + year old 22.5" Weber Kettle (still works fine)
    Modified Horizontal Offset Smoker - used mainly for cold smoking.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by TentHunter View Post
    Hmmm. I have heard this before about pellet cookers before & can't help but wonder what kind of smoke flavor you're after. The reason I ask is even with my kettle & stick burner I much prefer that controlled light blueish smoke that enhances the flavor without overwhelming it.

    A few other things worth trying (if you haven't already done so):

    For pork shoulders or when I want additional smoke flavor, I'll add a foil pouch of BBQ'rs delight 100% flavor wood pellets on the heat diffuser overtop the firepot. That way it puts out smoke even when the firepot isn't.

    Here's one I swear by - be sure your meat is COLD when you put it on to smoke. The longer it takes for the outside to reach 140° the more smoke can penetrate (and better smoke ring). SquirtTheCat uses this technique cooking many many butts with great success.

    Add a foil loaf pan with hot water to keep the moisture level up. If the outside of the meat dries too soon it can seal & limit smoke penetration.

    Maybe something with your rub is sealing the pores of the meat. I have read that rubbing the meat with vinegar before applying rub opens the pores. May be worth a try.

    Man it sucks being frustrated with a grill you spent good money on. Hope you get it figured out!
    Thanks for the advice. I swear neither my wife or grandkid could taste any smoke flavor either. I always add the meat cold, and don't really think my rub is a problem. I may have to spring for some BBQers Delight pellets. I wonder if they're available in Oregon?

  6. #6
    Moderator TentHunter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roguejim View Post
    I may have to spring for some BBQers Delight pellets. I wonder if they're available in Oregon?
    Big Poppa has BBQ'rs Delight for the same price as Traeger pellets around here ($1/lb for hardwood flavors), and its free shipping. The closest Traeger dealer is a 30 minute round trip. With gas prices the way they are, it's actually cheaper for me to order from BPS website.

    In addition to the BBQ'rs delight, Big Poppa also sells the "Heat Resource - Black Walnut" (I believe also made by BBQ'rs delight). They have a heavier, bolder hickory-like flavor and seem to burn pretty cleanly with very little ash. They mix well with other flavors like Apple to give me that Apple/Hickory blend I love for pork.
    <><
    MAK 1 Star General #651 - 2014 Model
    former owner - MAK 1 Star General #171
    22.5" Weber Performer with Stoven Pellet Grill attachment
    27 + year old 22.5" Weber Kettle (still works fine)
    Modified Horizontal Offset Smoker - used mainly for cold smoking.

  7. #7
    Administrator Big Poppa's Avatar
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    Im trying to figure out this rant.....you are on pelletsmoking.com....BUt let me try to help

    If you like heavy smoke then no pellet or pellet cooker will get it for you.....pellet smoking is about one flavor in the food profile and intentionally not a dominant one. It is a beautiful gentile smoke. Scooter adds a Smoke Daddy top inroduce additional smoke and is very very happy. Maybe before you give up you should try one of these?

    If not there are some great choices out there....(I even use and sell them too)

  8. #8
    Member RGrunz's Avatar
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    I have been smoking for more years than I care to remember. I have owned about ever type of smoker there has ever been. I finally decided to purchase a pellet smoker for cooks where I did not want to spend the whole day tending my smokers. I selected a Traeger Little TexE. I love it for a lot of different cooking but it definitely is NOT a smoker, it is a lot closer to a grill than a smoker. And as a pure grill it is actually pretty lame. I still have to use my gasser if I want to sear steaks..... however, I still want to do somkes on it so I installed a Smoke Daddy on it and I am pleased with the enhanced smoke it provides. I would urge all pellet smokers to consider it seriously as a modification. I also feel that Traeger pellets are the worst possible choice, they may be fine for people in Oregon who only smoke salmon, but they suck for real bbq smoke flavor.... As other's have posted, my choice is BBQ Delight.... well thats my two cents worth.
    Last edited by RGrunz; 05-30-2011 at 08:30 AM. Reason: typos

  9. #9
    Administrator Big Poppa's Avatar
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    I think I like Rgrunz great post

  10. #10
    Member RGrunz's Avatar
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    I think you are exactly correct when you say that pellet smokers offer a unique flavor profile. I think it is an excellent reason to own a pellet smoker. Another great reason is the ability to do long cooks at constant temperature without having to sit next to your smoker....However, I still enjoy heavier smoke flavors on occasion, especially on butts and briskets.... as my other post indicates; I used your suggestion and installed a smoke daddy.

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