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Traeger...Where's the smoke??

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Roguejim

New member
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.
 

sparky

New member
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.
 

Roguejim

New member
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.
 

TentHunter

Moderator
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! :)
 

Roguejim

New member
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?
 

TentHunter

Moderator
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.
 

Big Poppa

Administrator
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)
 

RGrunz

New member
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.
RalphsTraegerSmokeDaddy.jpg
 
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RGrunz

New member
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.
 

RGrunz

New member
Thanks BP, I am honored to be part of this forum. I still learn something new everytime I visit here. Hopefully I can share some of the things I have learned along my journey to great bbq.
 

smokinlobo

New member
I've only been on a pellet smoker for about 2 years, but have been using a $150 CharGriller from Home Cheapo
for about 8 years. The pellet smoker (Trager Lil' Tex Elite) is a lighter smoke but we enjoy it immensely.
When we want a heavier smoke I fire up the old CharGriller and usually add Cherry and Hickory. You see, on
a regular smoker you can control the amount of smoke by adjusting the vents. There are times on the
CharGriller that I actually have all the vents completely closed for a real heavy smoke. We do prefer the
Traeger though.
 

JeremyY

New member
I have had my Traeger 075 for about a year now and much like you I was very frustrated at first. I had trouble getting smoke even on the "smoke" setting. The solution was a different brand of pellets. I'm with you that it doesn't make sense that there would be such a difference in brands but there is... I am now using BBQers Delight and plan to keep experimenting with other brands but I'm very happy

Before you get rid of it or spend money on a mod I would try an order of a non-traeger pellets. You will be amazed. Let us know how it turns out!
 

HoDeDo

New member
Roguejim - It's not to say that "Traeger pellets use inferior trees/wood"... but the type of wood, and the process for the pellet make a difference. Traeger pellets are usually Alder wood, and the flavors are added as an essential oil. Traeger actually has patented this process. They produce more ash, and less smoke. A pellet such as BBQ'rs Delight, uses OAK as a base (good smoke, and nice BTUs), and then adds the actual flavor wood to the pellets, not an oil.

For the smoke profile you are looking for, I would stick with Mesquite or Hickory, or if you really want a wallop, go black walnut. All the other input is good too, but definately get a pellet that will give you the smoke you want.
 

Roguejim

New member
Thanks everyone. I returned all of my Traeger hickory pellets, and will be trying some Bear Mountain pellets since I can get them locally. I will then buy 40lbs of BBQr's Delight pellets from Big Poppa. I'll report back.
 

Scallywag

New member
I want to try something other than the Traeger pellets as well. Being in Canada I have been unable to find an alternative.. any suggestions? I would love to try BBQr's Delight but am sure the shipping costs will be through the roof!
 

TentHunter

Moderator
I like the the smoke profile I get with the BBQ'rs Delight. BPS offers bulk pricing and if you can get a bulk order from BPS the price may offset most if not all of the shipping cost.

I may be worth a phone call to Jessie at BPS. She can give you an estimate.
 

scooter

Moderator
Using a smoke daddy will make a measurable difference in the smoke profile on some meats coming out of your pellet cooker. However, the down side is it will need tending every 20-40 mins while using it which somewhat negates the "set it and leave it" convenience of a pellet cooker. It's not a perfect solution, just a workable one. I've noticed the most impact to smoke flavor has been found on meat I smoke under 3 hours and meat I cook over 300* which are two areas where smoke flavor out of a pellet cooker are the weakest. It doesn't make a big difference in smoke flavor in the big meats on long cooks. It gives you options and might save you from having to sell you pellet cooker!
 

Scallywag

New member
I like the the smoke profile I get with the BBQ'rs Delight. BPS offers bulk pricing and if you can get a bulk order from BPS the price may offset most if not all of the shipping cost.

I may be worth a phone call to Jessie at BPS. She can give you an estimate.

I will give them a call... thanks for the tip!
 
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