Traeger Tailgater Review – An Affordable and Portable Wood Pellet Grill
Looking for a good durable grill for your back garden? Whether you love barbecuing for your family or you like having friends over all the time, chances are you need a solid item to accommodate lots of stuff. Portability and good looks are just as important in the process. But with so many choices out there, it might be confusing to decide. Traeger's grills do come with a series of innovative features and will always pop up among your searches. Go on through this Traeger Tailgater review and find out what makes this unit so popular, as well as its pluses and minuses.
- 1 Traeger Tailgater 20 Wood Pellet Grill Review
- 2 The Pros and Cons
- 3 Final Verdict
Traeger Tailgater 20 Wood Pellet Grill Review
Portable and Convenient
Portability is a common requirement in grills, even large outdoor models that will be mostly kept outdoors. Apart from being able to move it out of the rain or direct sunlight for a comfortable grilling experience, you may also have to take it on a camping trip. All in all, this model measures 36 x 37 x 18 inches. It's more than enough to provide a decently sized grilling area, but also to feel compact and easy to move.
It only weighs 62 pounds and features 2 wheels on one of the sides. You can just lift one side up a little and pull or push it around. It has a convenient handle to ensure a safe movement.
Furthermore, the grill comes with foldable legs. They carry the EZ Fold technology. In other words, you can also pack it, dump it in your car and take it on your camping trip.
Large Grilling Area
When you think about the dimensions, it obviously cannot compare to those large fitted grills in terms of capacity. However, the ratio for the sizing and grilling area is outstanding. It measures 20 x 15 inches – 300 square inches.
In order to help you get an idea, the manufacturer claims you can cook 12 burgers, a couple of whole chickens, around 18 hot dogs or 3 large rib racks at the same time under the cover. It's more than enough for a large family, as well as a small party.
Obviously, the way you arrange meat on the grill plays a major role in the process. Even if you might need to do a couple of rounds, the grill will still impress with its capacity in terms of efficiency.
Wood Over Gas and Charcoal
Most users of this grill out there boasts on the unique aroma this model comes with. Simply put, it operates with wood pellets. Unlike other similar models, it has an 18 pound hopper capacity. Once it's on, the grill will work for longer times than those units with narrow and compact hoppers. Fill the hopper, set the desired temperature and the Traeger grill will take care of everything else.
Wood is superior to charcoal and gas for a few different reasons. While all these options are efficient, gas will leave an unpleasant aroma over your food. Charcoal is quite handy if you want a strong flavor, but it tends to smoke the meat too much. Wood simply tastes better due to the unique wood fired taste. It's a natural earthy aroma that no other type of fuel can achieve. It's inexpensive, cooks the food evenly and doesn't release as much smoke as charcoal.
Versatility and Cooking Options
Versatility is often overlooked when hunting some Traeger reviews for more clues. After all, a grill is supposed to grill food only. Well, this model goes a bit further than that and provides multiple cooking options based on the recipe or your preferences. You can cook food fast, slow, at low temperatures, high temperatures and so on.
In fact, the grill features 6 different cooking options for those who want to impress friends or change styles every once in a while. Although grilling is the main function, you can also smoke, bake, braise, roast and barbecue food. Each option comes with its own specifications in terms of results. The versatility of this grill allows you to try a series of different recipes and cooking styles.
While most people buy it for the actual grilling capacity, it becomes the main cooking appliance for many of them due to its versatility. If you want to see more grill options, check out our article on the best grills for under 500.
Customization and Temperature Control
The more customization options you have, the better. Grilling has never been so sophisticated though. A basic grill heats up and requires keeping an eye on the food, turning it around and even testing it every once in a while.
Traeger's model is a bit more sophisticated and allows you to choose the temperature according to the recipe. It features an integrated digital elite controller. Put the food on, cover it and set the desired temperature. Just turn the dial and give it a few minutes.
Precision is not as high as in indoor cooking appliances, yet the manufacturer claims you can maintain the optimal temperature within a 20 degree Fahrenheit range. Obviously, you'll still want to keep an eye on the food and turn it around every few minutes.
Safety and Energy Efficiency
The Tailgater model allows covering the food for extra protection, but it also features a few small things to make your life easier. For example, the automatic shutdown process is based on a convection process. Once you're done cooking, the process will keep the induction fan running for 10 minutes extra. Don't be surprised if you hear it running once you finish, as it will turn itself off soon. Its main role is to blow all the residual ash away from the fire pot for maintenance.
Whether you try to protect the environment or just keep your bills under control, the Tailgater model comes with a decreasing wattage requirement as you keep cooking. It requires 300 watts of power during the first 4 minutes. The requirements are gradually reduced until you reach 50 watts only.
When using the grill on a camping trip, the lack of electricity will be an issue in setting temperatures. However, you can still rely on the high capacity grilling area by doing everything manually.
Construction and Extra Features
There are no doubts about it – while it's portable, this grill is not too lightweight. With 62 pounds of weight, you might need someone to help you folding legs and loading it into your car. Pulling or pushing it around won't be so hard though. The extra weight can only mean one thing – quality. The grill exterior is made from 20 gauge still. It is durable and powder coated for a nicer appearance. As for the grates, they're made from porcelain enamel steel. The cover is bronze coated for a more luxurious look.
There aren't too many small features as the grill is quite straightforward – you don't need any prior experience. However, there are a few things you can buy to make it better. For example, Traeger also sells an add-on side tray. Its main role is to take sauce drippings when you put or take out food. Although some manufacturers make this feature a default, the good news is it's not too expensive.
The Pros and Cons
Traeger Tailgater 20 Wood Pellet Grill
Bottom line, this Traeger Tailgater review covers everything you need to know about the Grill. Making an informed decision is much easier when you know what to expect, as well as the positive and negative parts. While overall rated at 4.3 out of 5 stars, around 80% of all buyers find this model to be perfect.