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True barbeque and smoker enthusiasts know that the best meats are cooked low and slow. It may not be as efficient as gas grills or charcoal grills, but there is no denying the beautiful smoky flavor that a wood pellet grill adds to the flavoring. And The fact that wood pellets are are available in multiple flavors and mixes including hickory, mesquite, apple, cherry, and pecan hardwoods only add to the flavoring complexity.
Where Are Traeger Grills Made?
As competition became more difficult, Traeger moved manufacturing from Oregon to China; but it’s important to understand why they no longer make Traeger grills in Oregon, and why they instead now make Traeger grills in China.
If you want a Traeger grill, you likely love grilling and smoking, but you want to make sure you are making a wise investment. We totally get that. As a consumer, it’s smart to understand where your products come from, andTraeger has changed some of its manufacturing processes over the past two decades. There is a good reason for this, but it is not a family-owned business anymore, and the decision to move manufacturing ruffled some feathers.
Still, let’s just take a second to appreciate what Joe Traeger started. Traeger grills aren’t just known for providing grills with a delicious wood pellet grill experience — they’re also known for high-quality craftsmanship, and the sense of community enjoyed by Traeger owners. Traeger is about more than grilling. It’s also about the world that Traeger owners have created, sharing recipes and experiences. In addition to grills, Traeger also sells grilling accessories, rubs, seasonings, pellets, grilling sauces, and more.
Many Traeger owners exclusively use Traeger products to create time-tested recipes for family and friends to enjoy. Traeger pellet grills are among the most popular pellet smokers for a reason.
Traeger has long been known as the best pellet grill brand in the United States. Up until 2006, Traeger grills were manufactured inOregon. Traeger had a patent on their unique type of grill which protected their specific model from 1986-2006. When the patent ran out, other grill manufacturers began creating products that were direct competitors to what Traeger had to offer.
The Traeger company still wanted to offer their customers the same high level of quality that the brand became synonymous with, but struggled to manage to offer competitive prices with United States manufacturing costs. In 2006, the company began contracting with manufacturing companies in China to manufacture their grills. The quality of Traeger grills stayed the same, and many Traeger customers have happily continued purchasing Traeger grills despite the manufacturing location change.
Traeger’s Most Popular Wood Pellet Grill
As we mentioned above, Traeger is known for its pellet grills. Traeger grills have a unique, sophisticated look, and look as at home at a backyard picnic as they are at a barbeque competition.
The Traeger Timberland is the brand’s premiere grill line. This state-of-the-art grill offers barbeque enthusiasts three racks to create the perfect feast for their families (or for a crowd). Grills in the Timberland line also offer insulated material that allows grillers to cook even in harsh weather conditions, putting no seasonal limit on when Traeger owners can enjoy their favorite recipes. Timberland grills also include a magnetic bamboo cutting board, making it simple for Timberland owners to complete all of their meal prep grill sides.
The Traeger Pro Series wood pellet grill helps home chefs get the best of both worlds, offering both smoking and grilling options. The set-it-and-forget-it model means that Traeger Pro Series owners can set up their smoker and then go about their day, making it easy to mingle with a picnic or party guests while their meat is smoked to perfection. The Digital Pro Controller that’s included with Pro Series grills helps you control the grill easily.
Traeger is known for its grills and smokers, but that’s not all that the company has to offer. Traeger enthusiasts love the brand’s signature blend of wood chips, which combines cherry, maple, and hickory flavors to impart a unique smoky blend into meats and veggies. This clean-burning option pairs well with all meats, veggies, and baked goods (smoky biscuits, anyone?). In addition to the brand’s signature wood chip blend, Traeger also offers pecan, apple, hickory, cherry, and mesquite wood chips.
When Traeger owners are grilling, they know that they can depend on Traeger products to give their food the flavor it deserves. Many Traeger owners love using the company’s brining kits, which infuse the meat with salt water and give it an extra-tender, flavorful taste, especially when paired with Traeger seasonings. Other popular Traeger flavoring options include Traeger Pork & Poultry Rub, Traeger Chicken Rub, and Traeger Fin & Feather Rub.
Jeremy Andrus and the Traeger Grills Takeover in 2014
In 2014, the Traeger brand was 26 years old. Entrepreneur Jeremy Andrus of Skullcandy saw something special in the brand and decided to acquire Traeger while partnering with Trilantic Capital Partners.
When he looked at Traeger, Andrus noticed that it wasn’t just about the grill itself. The company built an entire lifestyle brand, with a loyal band of followers who wanted to infuse Traeger style into all aspects of their lives. The brand has nearly 1 million followers on Instagram, a testament to the number of Traeger owners who can’t get enough of all that their wood pellet grills and smokers have to offer. Sometimes a venture capitalist might strip down a company’s culture, but it was largely because of this culture that Jeremy Andrus know he was on to something special that he could transform into a larger company.
Andrus belies in the importance of talking with consumers about the experience they’ll have with Traeger, as it’s more than just a tool to cook food. When customers purchase a Traeger grill, they get to experience cooking in a new way and can talk with others who are enjoying this new, exciting way of cooking as well.
There’s Something Special About Traeger
Many Traeger owners feel like their grills and smokers finally help them get good at cooking, something many people struggle with, in a standard kitchen. Traeger grills also offer unique opportunities to customize flavors by using different wood chips, seasonings, and rubs. Customers can use the same blend every time, or get creative and make new blends to create new flavors.
One of the most exciting parts of using Traeger’s natural wood chips? Customers get a slightly different flavor experience every time, as the wood varies and can offer stronger or weaker flavors. Grillers who want to create a specific flavor experience can pay close attention to the foods on their grill or smoker to ensure they’re creating exactly the combination of flavors that they want.
Traeger owners often find that they’re able to make fast friends with fellow grillers. As confidence in their own cooking soars, Traeger owners get excited about cooking for friends and family and want to share their newfound hobby with others.
And you should rest assured that Traeger grills are built to last, and should operate in most weather conditions. We would recommend putting your pellet smoker over the top of a sprinkler, but your Traeger grill will work in the rain, wind, and even snow.
Pellet Smokers Are As Easy To Use As Gas Grills
Currently, there are a million and a half Traeger grills in operation. Andrus shares that it’s not just about the high-quality grilling experience that Traeger offers, rather, it’s about the community that grilling creates. Cooking with wood isn’t anything new — people have been sitting around fires and enjoying wood-smoked foods for millennia. Traeger takes that community experience and brings it back, making it simple for families to enjoy delicious smoked food, enjoying hours of conversation with the grill as a centerpiece.
A Sense of Cooking Community
The possibilities are endless when Traeger owners begin to come together. For many, using their grills and smokers becomes a hobby, and a way to become part of something bigger than themselves. While putting food on the table is a huge part of enjoying a Traeger grill, many also find that getting online and talking with others about the foods they’re making is another exciting part of grilling and smoking. As with any new piece of cooking equipment, there’s a learning curve when it comes to figuring out exactly how to grill and smoke food, and Traeger’s community welcomes people who are just learning to share questions and successes, and the community provides encouragement along the way. Traeger’s online community (both on the company’s website and social media) offers Traeger users a fun way to connect with one another.
Alternative Pellet Grill & Smoker Products
Traeger isn’t the only manufacturer of pellet grills. Dansons Inc. is quite the pellet grill manufacturers, making both Pit Boss grills, and Louisiana Grills. And as the popularity of backyard grills that use pellets continues to grow, more and more pellet grill companies have started to emerge.
On Amazon, you might find brands such as Z Grills, which make a standard pellet grill, and if you spend much time researching via Google, you might run across a brand called RecTeq, as well. Plus, you may find that a traditional barbecue grill manufacturer like Weber or Char-broil has started to introduce a pellet grill & smoker, too. Still, despite the growing amount of competition, Traeger is THE MARKET LEADER in the pellet grilling industry. In most instances, Pit Boss is the most logical alternative to Traeger. Of course, Pit Boss grills are made in China, too, so if you are looking for American-made pellet grills, you might be out of luck. Grilla Grills are made overseas as well.
We understand searching out for American quality standards. Mak Grills are one of the few brands that make their grills in the USA. And in case you are wondering, Mak Grills are manufactured in Dallas (Dallas, Oregon, that is). The reality is that to stay competitive and survive, many companies have to manufacture their products overseas, just to stay alive, and we shouldn’t hold that against them.
While we’d love to say that Traeger still sells an American-made pellet grill, we are grateful that their current manufacturing approach helps this American company to be successful. And quite honestly, we are also grateful for the more reasonable purchase price than an American-made product might allow for.
Wood Pellet Products
Traeger offers a strong line-up of their self-branded wood pellets. They also sell kits to go with their wood pellets, from time to time, such as the Limited Edition Turkey Blend Wood Pellets + Brine Kit. For most of your smoking needs, you can rely on their everyday pellet flavors including the signature blend, hickory, applewood, cherry wood, pecan wood, and mesquite.
As you get more advanced with your skillset, you may also decide to fill the hopper up with your own signature combination of wood flavor pellets that produce high-quality smoke flavoring. Some people wonder if you can put pit boss pellets in a Traeger smoker, or use any non-Traeger pellets for that matter. It’s worth noting that Traeger’s warranty may state you have to use Traeger pellets, but there is some disagreement online regarding whether that is even legal. Still, it is worth noting and mentioning you should read the warranty for yourself.
If your question is whether non-Traeger pellets will work in a Traeger grill, then the answer is ‘yes.’ We recommend using higher quality pellets for both safety and flavoring. There is a wide range of pellet options, but decide which brand you want to use, utilize your hopper capacity to its fullest, and start smoking.
Recommendations: Wood-Fired Cooking At Its Finest?
So, which pellet grill should you buy? We recommend that you start by comparing Traeger vs Pit Boss, because they sell quality equipment, and have a wide variety of options to choose from.
Pellet grills are fantastic because they allow for the flavor provided by wood-fired cooking, but without the temperature volatility that often comes with a traditional grill. Pellet grills make it easy to access wood-fired flavor while cooking at steady temperatures, and that is really the key. It can be challenging to maintain a target temperature, but both Traeger and Pit Boss have the technology, much of which interfaces with an app, that makes this process easier.
And if you choose a combo smoker and grill, like those sold by Pit Boss, you use one side for direct flame grilling burgers, while the other side slowly cooks up the perfect brisket through indirect heat.
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