Traeger's Lil'Tex Elite is a mid-size pellet smoker featuring digital thermostatic control. Digital, thermostatically controlled pellet smokers are a dream come true. They can be 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.
In the old days, Traeger used crumby, three position Low, Medium, High controllers. Three position controllers have no thermostat to monitor actual temperature and can only execute pellet run times for low, medium and high heat. It feeds the same amount of fuel to the firepot whether you're cooking on a scorching summer day or frozen winter night. The Lil' Tex digital controller uses a thermostat in the smoke box to insure you're cooking at the set temperature as long as the hopper has wood pellet fuel.
Traeger pioneered and popularized the pellet smoker and remains the best known brand since it is in wide distribution. In fact about 85% of pellet smokers in the USA are Traeger. The consensus is they are reasonably well built, but some buyers complain that since manufacturing moved to China quality has dropped, especially on entry level models. Of course we hear more complaints as well as praise about Traeger since 8 out 10 pellet smoker owners have one.
All Traegers are black powder coated steel with porcelain enamel steel grates.
Looked Closely At It
We have seen this product up close and we have also gathered info from the manufacturer, owners, and other reliable sources.
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.