By: Max Good
The XL is Traeger’s largest residential pellet smokers. With 836 square inches of primary cooking surface it can cook 24 chickens or 16 slabs of ribs. This big boy has a large pellet hopper in front, two chimneys and two drip buckets. Although it has a digital controller, it uses an old style dial control like those made by Ortech. Not bad, but once you get into this price range some competitors feature more advanced touchpad controls that work better and include additional features beyond ignition and set points.
Even the older digital dial controllers provide the set it and forget it ease of use that is the main attraction of pellet smoking. They are often more accurate than your kitchen range and allow you to load up your smoker at 11 pm, set it to 225 F, then go to bed and sleep soundly, knowing you’ll wake up to a BBQ feast of delicious meat that’s been slow cooking for hours at a steady and accurate temperature.
Traeger pioneered and popularized the pellet smoker and remains the best known brand since it is in wide distribution. The consensus is that the more expensive Traegers, like the XL, are reasonably well built, but some buyers complain that since manufacturing moved to China quality has dropped, especially on entry level models.
All Traegers are black powder coated steel with porcelain enamel steel grates.
Traeger pioneered and popularized the pellet smoker and remains the best known brand since it is in wide distribution. And they aim to keep it that way even though competition is growing. New owners took over in 2014 and they appear to be on the move, investing heavily in product development and marketing. Traeger has an interesting variety of pellet smokers from a small portable, to large commercial models, to one that looks like a pink pig.
They offer a full line of branded extras from Traeger Pellets and rubs to Traeger insulation blankets and cold smoker add-ons.
Published On: 1/18/2013 Last Modified: 2/15/2021
These are products we have tested, won our top awards, and are highly recommend. Click here to read how we test, about our medals, and what they mean.
A big part of this site is our unbiased equipment and product reviews. We love playing with toys and we have no problem calling them the way we see them. Some companies pay a finder’s fee if a reader clicks a link on AmazingRibs.com and buys a product. It has zero impact on our reviews, zero impact on the price you pay, and the sites never tell us what you bought, but it has a major impact on our ability to keep this site alive! So before you buy, please click our links. Here’s a link that takes you to a page on Amazon that has some of our favorite tools and toys: https://tinyurl.com/amazingribs
The amazing Karubecue is the most innovative smoker in the world. The quality of meat from this machine is astonishing. At its crux is a patented firebox that burns logs above the cooking chamber and sucks heat and extremely clean blue smoke into the thermostat controlled oven. It is our favorite smoker, period.
Click here for our review of this superb smoker
The PBC has a rabid cult following for good reason. It is absolutely positively without a doubt the best bargain on a smoker in the world. Period. This baby will cook circles around the cheap offset sideways barrel smokers because temperature control is so much easier.
Winner of the National BBQ Association’s product of the year award. This 8.5″ x 11″ magnet contains more that 80 benchmark temperatures for meats (both USDA recommended temps as well as the temps chefs recommend), fats and oils, sugars, sous vide, eggs, collagens, wood combustion, breads, and more. Although it is not certified as all-weather, we have tested it outdoors in Chicago weather and it has not delaminated in three years, but there is minor fading.
Fireboard Labs Product Photo Shoot. Kansas City Commercial Portrait and Wedding Photographers ©Kevin Ashley Photography
With the ability to monitor up to six temperatures simultaneously with either Bluetooth or Wifi on your mobile phone, tablet, or computer, Fireboard is the best digital thermometer we’ve tested.
Click here to read our detailed review
The Good-One Open Range is dramatically different from a traditional offset smoker. By placing the heat source behind and under the smokebox instead of off to the side, Open Range produces even temperature from left to right, something almost impossible to achieve with a standard barrel shaped offset.
The flat top does the burgers and the fryer does the fries. Use the griddle for bacon, eggs, grilled cheese, and so much more. And why deep fry indoors when you can avoid the smell and mess by doing it outside!
Char-Broil’s Grill2Go x200 is a super-portable, fun little sizzler made of heavy, rust-proof cast aluminum. The lid snaps shut. Grab the handle and you’re off to the party! Char-Broil’s TRU-Infrared design produces searing heat while reducing fuel consumption. A 16 ounce LP gas canister is enough to keep you flipping burgers for hours.