I continue to kick out the jams on my Timberline 850 and have more product info to share. I also have some cool fun facts direct from the Traeger main office culled from their experience with the product, so strap yourself in…
– Do I need to keep the lid open at startup?
Unlike the Pro 22 and 34 models, you do NOT need to keep the lid open when igniting.
– Can I line the drip tray with aluminum foil?
I know that lining the drop tray makes clean up SO much easier. However (and this is direct from the mountains in Utah, ie Traeger’s office) – they highly recommend using the Aluminum Drip Tray Liners. Yes, I understand that Traeger is going to push the liners as it’s another add-on to the ticket, but they at least take the time to explain it:
“Airflow in the back of the Timberline is critical to proper smoke and convection as all the smoke rises through the back. If this area is blocked by a piece of foil the smoke will not rise and roll properly and will impede the expulsion of the old smoke.”
Traeger’s final take: If you insist on foiling the drip tray then make sure your folded tightly on sides front and back.
Where is the hottest part of the Timberline?
Very back corners on bottom grill position
Why is the front shelf so small?
The lower rack is so heavy and deep that it can be pulled out like an oven rack
You have 2 huge side shelves which are at higher positions and more accessible than the front folding shelf on the Pro series
The shallower shelf allows the cover to slip on easier
Why is the meat probe giving me a different reading than my Thermapen?]
This is a great question!
I have always received odd readings with grill meat probes (mostly with the Memphis grill) which prodded me to drop the dough on a Thermapen (arguably my most important grilling tool other than the grill!). According to Traeger, the more durable a meat probe is, the less accurate it is. So…
delicacy (a fold-up Thermapen) = accuracy
The Traeger meat probe is designed to get you into the general range of desired temp…and at that point it would be wise to use an instant read to nail that exact temp you need.
Please join “Big Wave” Berg from Traeger and Senor Smoke from Curtos this Sunday, April 2, in the Curto’s “smoke lot” as we take the Timberline 850 out for its launch party. We’ll be beating on it from 12-4 EST. Please call in advance to RSVP. 1-800-966-2878 and get ready to pre-order this amazing grill!
1966 Central Park Ave
Yonkers NY 10710
The Traeger Timberline grill is now available for pre-order and considering the volume of calls coming in re: this mind-bending product, I thought it made sense to cobble together a review based on my experience with it.
The Timberline came across my radar screen about 9 mos ago. My Traeger rep (“Big Wave”), knew that I was preaching the gospel of the Memphis wood-fire grill (what a piece!) and would tell me, “Dude, I know you love that Memphis, but I may have something for you in a few months.”
What he was alluding to was the Timberline, and if I remember correctly, it was supposed to be released last Fall. Big Wave actually had a prototype he was cooking on and the initial reviews, apart from some balky wifi, were stellar. Fast forward to late 2016, and Big Wave informed me that the Timberline was definitely going to hit its new release date of March ’17, and he now had a demo model which had improved from the prototype. He was cooking consistently with his Timberline and raving about the results, boasting about his:
Out of this world ribs
Best ever Thanksgiving Turkey
Flawless Leg of Lamb
I kept hearing the same message – temperatures held great, plenty of room for the food with the increased headroom on the pit, nice tasteful smoke flavor which didn’t overpower food, and an appreciable uptick in construction / design integrity compared to the Pro series. It became apparent that I needed to get in front of this grill myself and take this for a spin.
To Sear or Not to Sear
I did not doubt the Timberline’s ability to deliver the goods when it came to smoking. There are competitive BBQ teams that use Traeger pits, plus we’ve seen first hand what the results are when you smoke on a Pro series model. However I did have my doubts on whether it was going to be able to sear appropriately, particularly b/c it did not have a direct flame area like the Memphis and the Yoder pellet grills. So I issued Big Wave a challenge – bring the pit up to Yonkers and let’s give it a go, focusing on the sear.
He brought the grill up on cold day in February (ah. another nice challenge. could it maintain temp in the cold?) and to say I was impressed by the fit and finish would be an understatement. The grill hood and some heft without being a kettlebell, and as I opened and closed it I did not detect any wobble (which I still see in some of the better gas grill hoods). The casters were an improvement over the ones on the Pro series and I liked the increased headroom in the pill-shaped body which is providing an additional 5″ of grill space. Then there was the lid gasket and the double-walled stainless. As I’ve waxed poetic about the Memphis grill for several years, I’m always asked how the stainless Memphis can provide the moisture retention akin to a ceramic kamado grill. Answer is simple – the gasket (similar to a kitchen oven) provides a tight seal, and the double-walled stainless makes a strong barrier so smoke and heat have to stay where they belong…around your food.
Big Wave and set the grate at its lowest level (for searing) and after about 10-15 mins, the Timberline was hovering around 400, give or take a few degrees. The steaks were rubbed up with Jacobsens salt, olive oil and pepper and on to the Timberline they went. I kept them on for a total of about 8 mins as they were not monster size in thickness, probably about 1″ (too thin, but what can I say, I didn’t buy them). We did 4 mins per side with a 45 deg turn every two mins for our cross hatch marks. Steak registered 130 on the probe so we had nailed our medium rare. Taste was very nice, with a nice hint of the Mesquite (our pellet choice). Did not have very large or deep sear marks, but the steak was caramelized with a slight bark on it…and juicy as can be.
Does the WiFire Work?
This is the area that is going to need some work, at least from what I saw that day.
While we were able to get the Wifi synced to Big Wave’s app pretty easily, the connection to monitor the cook was very spotty. There are external circumstances that could be involved – maybe the wifi signal was not robust outside – but if my experience with the Memphis wifi app (which over 1 year after release is still giving some of my customers headaches) is to be lesson, then the WiFire app is going to need some kinks worked out. While it would be a nice convenience to monitor the cook remotely, it’s not a deal breaker for me and most of my customers who are looking for grills are not putting wifi monitoring at the top of their wish list bc they know there is a good chance it’s going to be spotty.
I’d let the kinks (which will undoubtedly arise, it’s technology folks!) and then just roll with it until it is a stable platform.
Wood vs Gas…Let the Revolution Begin
We’ll be doing more testing on Saturday at our launch event but between Big Wave’s plethora of cooks dating back to last summer and our cook in February, I can tell this grill is going to be a home run. Considering that you now have the ability to properly sear (which you will def get if you use a cast iron skillet in the Timberline, another test that will need to be done) I will really try to steer grill shoppers to this category now and away from many of the gas grills that inhabit its price point. The argument that a gas grill works bc of the convenience is well taken, but what can be easier than a pellet grill? It maintains nearly exact temps and can now be monitored remotely via the WiFire app. And oh, it actually imparts flavor to your food and takes you back to the start of our species when cooking with fire was the norm.
So come visit us this Saturday to see it in person, or call us with a pre-order…the demand is overwhelming and they simply don’t have enough grills made to meet that demand right now!
Visit Curto’s on Sunday April 2 from 12-4 as Senor Smoke and Traeger’s “Big Wave” Berg will be hosting a Timberline launch event from the Curto’s lot. We will have a Timberline 850 live and smoking for your viewing and testing pleasure. Please call us at 1-800-966-2878 or email email@example.com to RSVP. Bring your questions and PLEASE get ready to place pre-orders as the Timberline is in limited quantity and distribution. Once we sell out of our allotment, that’s all folks!
Traeger Timberline Release April 1
After a long, LONG wait of one year+, the Traeger Timberline is (almost) here.
Within the next week Traeger will release their best grill ever, a Wifi-enabled, robustly-constructed beast that will smoke, grill and legitimately sear.
Curto’s will be one of the few retailers authorized to carry the Timberline series for Traeger. I am anticipating our first batch will be rolling in around March 30-April 1.
Never one to succumb to the hype, I did cook on one about one month ago. This was not a prototype model. No, no, no..it was actually a production model, one of the first to roll off the line after extensive multi-year testing. My early verdict was the grill is absolutely legit. While we did not do a long smoke due to time constraints, we did sear a steak. This was actually a more important test for me b/c the Traeger Pro series that costs $799 and $999 can smoke. So I never doubted that the Timberline could handle that. My question was whether it would be able to grill and sear at higher temperatures, and with better results than the Pro series which maxes out at around 400 degrees. We tested a ribeye (about 1.5″ thick) and some broccoli di rabe sausage and it handled both with smoke, grace and aplomb. Construction definitely shamed the Pro series. The wifi was…mixed. My rep had some difficulty running it off of his phone but eventually got it to work. Wifi capability really isn’t a pressing issue for me. I’ve seen the Memphis grill’s wifi ability hiccup for the better part of a year but that doesn’t detract from the complete studliness of the grill.
So, if you want to see the Timberline and want to take advantage of early season deals, please call or visit Curto’s this week!