Traeger vs Smoker

treillw

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2017
Messages
1,046
Location
MT
I'm sick of the house smelling like it's on fire after cleaning the oven from making jerky and summer sausage. Time to invest in a smoker.

I mainly make jerky and summer sausage. Typical batch size is 10-20 pounds. Would I be better off with a Traeger or a traditional smoker?

It seems like the Traeger is more geared towards every day cooking (chicken, etc) and a dedicated smoker might be better for higher volumes of meat. That is just my uneducated observation. Does one have advantages over the other, or are they essentially interchangeable?

The biggest reason I want it is for jerky etc, but I'm sure I wouldn't mind messing around with some other recipes for every day cooking with it. But couldn't you do the same thing with a traditional smoker?

I have a standard gas grill.

Thanks!
 

Buffinnut

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2020
Messages
284
Location
Arizona
The traeger is ridiculously easy to use and incredibly versatile. We use it to "bake" things like cornbread stuffing, spiral cut ham, and yams while camping for Thanksgiving. Haven't used it for jerky though.
 

skyler_2010

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2017
Messages
545
Location
Grand Rapids, MN
I have both and like them differently. I just made a batch of jerky on the pellet grill and it comes out way better than oven or dehydrator. More flavor no smell in the house. The pellet grill is nice if you are busy. Set it to your temp let it settle and go to town or whatever you need to do. The stick burner is nice if you are having the guys over and you are just hanging out and can watch the fire and temp. In my opinion they both have their places and both get really good results just depends on your plans for the day
 

rkcdvm

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2020
Messages
115
Location
texas
After getting a Traeger and a blackstone my old grill now just sits and rusts .
Traegers are nice but there are other pellet smokers that are probably a bit better . I’m completely happy with my purchase . Just don’t use Traeger pellets .
 

skyler_2010

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2017
Messages
545
Location
Grand Rapids, MN
That's one thing I forgot to mention is find pellets that work with your system and stick with that brand. Mine personally likes the bear mountain bbq brand any other brand seems to either be too small and jams up in the auger or too big and jams the auger making your fire go out and having to start the grill from the beginning.
 

Whisky

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2012
Messages
1,231
I'm sick of the house smelling like it's on fire after cleaning the oven from making jerky and summer sausage. Time to invest in a smoker.

I mainly make jerky and summer sausage. Typical batch size is 10-20 pounds. Would I be better off with a Traeger or a traditional smoker?

It seems like the Traeger is more geared towards every day cooking (chicken, etc) and a dedicated smoker might be better for higher volumes of meat. That is just my uneducated observation. Does one have advantages over the other, or are they essentially interchangeable?

The biggest reason I want it is for jerky etc, but I'm sure I wouldn't mind messing around with some other recipes for every day cooking with it. But couldn't you do the same thing with a traditional smoker?

I have a standard gas grill.

Thanks!

Here was my initial response:

"You are correct, you already know the answer. Get a cabinet style smoker for meat processing.
You are severely limited on capacity with pellet cookers, and you can't hang anything. Although I have used mine to make jerky and SS, I still want a real smokehouse/good cabinet smoker."

Then, I re-read your post, and saw you only make 10-20lbs at a time. In that case, a bigger pellet grill, with additional rack system, would probably work well as long as you don't intend to get into sticks/sausage where hanging meat is preferred.

I have been eying one of these for my meat processing. You could do traditional BBQ in them as well.

Another thing, most pellet grills I'm aware of only go down to 170*F. A lot of the cabinet style smokers can go lower, which is generally better for what you're looking to do.
 
Last edited:

skyler_2010

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2017
Messages
545
Location
Grand Rapids, MN
Here was my initial response:

"You are correct, you already know the answer. Get a cabinet style smoker for meat processing.
You are severely limited on capacity with pellet cookers, and you can't hang anything. Although I have used mine to make jerky and SS, I still want a real smokehouse/good cabinet smoker."

Then, I re-read your post, and saw you only make 10-20lbs at a time. In that case, a bigger pellet grill, with additional rack system, would probably work well as long as you don't intend to get into sticks/sausage where hanging meat is preferred.

I have been eying one of these for my meat processing. You could do traditional BBQ in them as well.

Another thing, most pellet grills I'm aware of only go down to 170*F. A lot of the cabinet style smokers can go lower, which is generally better for what you're looking to do.
That is a good point on temp but on my pit boss on smoke setting I can change how often pellets are being fed which changes how much smoke you are getting and the temp. On the highest smoke setting depending on ambient temp and wind I can get mine down to 120 or so but that is also a ton of smoke and idk if you like that much smoke.
 

Desk Jockey

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2015
Messages
4,096
Both have their place. I like my Weston cabinet smoker but you have to reload the chip tray and fiddle with the valve to get the right temp. If you only smoke a few times a year, I could get away with just using my gas grill and a smoker box.

the traeger and grills like it is a different animal. Crazy easy to use. More versatile.

iMO smokers are great but they are one trick ponies. Traeger type grills are more versatile. If I had to pick one, it would be the traeger.
 

Castronova

Member
Joined
Jan 5, 2020
Messages
85
Traeger is one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. Didn’t want to buy into the hype but now that I have one I rarely use anything else. It’s super easy and reliable.
I do agree you should look at other brands too if you choose a pellet grill.
I absolutely hated babysitting my smoker.
 

Stalker69

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2019
Messages
815
Jerky I do on a dehydrator, summer sausage Traeger. I do have a smoke daddy attached to it also. Gives a true traditional chunk wood smoke. So you get the best of both worlds, pellet grill and chunk wood smoker in one.
 

muddydogs

Senior Member
Joined
May 3, 2017
Messages
1,083
Location
Utah
What all do you plan to smoke? It's hard to get wood to smoke if you are trying to smoke something at low heat. With a cabinet smoker I can cold smoke butter, cheese, salt or crank the heat to cook something in a few hours. With a pellet grill your limited on how low you can go on temp plus they are basically overpriced barbecue's. For 1/2 the cost of a pellet grill a guy can purchase the Mac Daddy of cabinet smokers with all the bells and whistles.
 

hunt-n-ski

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2018
Messages
44
Location
Colorado
Several people have mentioned looking at other brands than traeger for a pellet grill. What brands have worked best for people?
 

skyler_2010

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2017
Messages
545
Location
Grand Rapids, MN
Several people have mentioned looking at other brands than traeger for a pellet grill. What brands have worked best for people?
I have a pit boss and love it. Only one I have had but will probably stick with it and as I get bigger grills will upgrade the board with a rectec board so I can have the wifi capabilities that traeger offers at way too much. In my opinion a traeger is like a yeti you are paying for the name. Not saying they are bad or anything like that just feel like the price is a little out of control
 

TX_Diver

Senior Member
Joined
May 27, 2019
Messages
809
Pellet grill is much more versatile as compared to an electric or propane smoker, and much easier than a stick burner.

I have a pellet grill (camp chef) and a weber kettle w/ a slow n sear and I can cook anything.

I got my pellet grill for about 40% off about this time last year when the 2019 models went on clearance. Check your local farm supply stores and see if you can have the same luck.
 

Lytro

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2019
Messages
178
Location
SD
I've used both, but only have a Traeger Ironwood now. Both seem to be equally effective. You're limited on space with a Traeger, but you may be able to expand that with accessories. I did make a hanging system with my old vertical smoker that worked great for sausage and jerky.

With both, I've found it best to start jerky out in the smoker for the flavor and finish it off in the dehydrator to prevent it from overcooking. They can turn into dog treats real fast if you smoke them too hot or if your smoker doesn't regulate temp very well.
 

Brendan

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 27, 2013
Messages
3,621
Location
Boston, MA
Been thinking about picking up a dedicated Propane Smoker for just smoking, sausages, etc. The big camp chef smoke vault looks intriguing...

Currently have a Kamado that I'm having some hinge issues with, have to fix that but may eventually sell that and move to a pellet grill as well - best of both worlds!
 

JJ8277

Junior Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2020
Messages
11
Location
Austin, Texas
I think it would be easier to use a vertical smoker for jerky and summer sausage. I've done quite a bit in mine and with the ability to hang the summer sausage, it allows you to smoke a larger batch. The Trager would require you to lay the summer sausages horizontally unless they have a vertical style smoker that I have not seen. Jerky would work just the same in either cooker, but I think a vertical smoker would hold more jerky as well.
 

Bear_Hunter

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2017
Messages
121
Location
AK
Well specifically with summer sausage, I use my Green Mountain (Jim Bowie) pellet grill, mainly because of its size. And yes I lay them horizontally, nothing wrong with that. I have a Bradley smoker and not only is it not tall enough to hang the summer sausage in, the heating element is in the bottom back, so even with constant rotation, things just don't cook that even. It's fine for things I can put on racks (like salmon) and quickly move the trays around for an even cook. However, while the Green Mountain has better heat dispersal, it's hard to maintain a low enough temperature to start with. I don't have experience with jerky. Hope some of that helps.
 
Top