Traeger Timberline 1300 Product Review
Is this Traeger Timberline 1300 Pellet Grill good enough to convince even the most notorious charcoal loving, stick burning BBQ enthusiast? After all, barbecue folks are notoriously stubborn when it comes to loving their cordless, charcoal or wood fired BBQ’s. You have to come up with something incredibly solid to convince them to switch from tilting bags of charcoal and flicking matches to emptying bags of pellets and plugging in an electricity cord before your meat hits the smoke. Did Traeger pull it off? We got our hands on their elite model, the most advanced and impressively sized Timberline 1300 and put it to the test. We cooked on it for several months during catering prep, photoshoots or a quick and simple lunch for the crew and are now ready to share our verdict with you. The short and sweet answer? Yes, they did. Continue reading and find out how our BBQ loving hearts were stolen by this tech driven smoking machine.
TRAEGER TIMBERLINE 1300
A DIFFERENT KIND OF BBQ
Before we dive into the nitty gritty details and functions let’s first start with the basics. A Traeger timberline 1300 pellet grill is a type of BBQ that runs on wood pellets. Small grains made of 100% wood from various trees allowing you to choose the smoke flavor you are after. You load the pellets in a hopper on the side, plug in the smoker, set the temperature and let technology do its magic. Lighting, heating and maintaining a steady temperature are all controlled by the grill making it a truly ‘set it and forget it’ type of smoker. Traeger grills don’t come cheap but promise you absolute ease of use and smoke perfection each and any time. For us, ease of use translates into having a broad range of functions and well thought of solutions so that both using and cleaning your smoker is truly an effortless cooking experience. So, let’s explore the unique features this premium grill offers and find out if they met our high expectations. After all, we are Dutchies so if you ask over 2,5 grand for a BBQ it better be grand.
FUNCTIONS AND FEATURES:
Being the granddaddy of all Traeger grills the Traeger Timberline 1300 is big and loaded with tons of features. And yes, having a lot of features is awesome and gives you many things to play around with. But having many features is only a plus when they work as intended. Here is an overview of the most important and unique features this pellet grill has on offer and what we experienced whilst using them.
At the heart of the Traeger Timberline 1300 is the D2 controller. This interface lets you control all of the electronic features the grill has to offer. With a two-tone screen, a turning knob and a few press buttons you run through the menu. A few of the things you can do are naming your grill, setting cooking temps, connecting your smoker to wifi, set a timer or select a preset cook program. The way you scroll and navigate through the menu’s all feels really natural eliminating the need to plough through the manual in detail before using it. One thing we really enjoy is that Traeger adds a bit of humor in their messages that you’ll see popping up on your screen. Messages such as the friendly reminder that ash built up in the burner don’t clean themselves makes us smirk at least. One program you will find yourself using quite often is the ‘super smoke’ program. When cook temperature is between 165°–225°F (74°–107°C) Super Smoke increases the amount of smoke released for additional smoky flavor. We personally wished this option would also be available at higher temps but hey, we really love the smoke flavor! The ease of use of the D2 controller is a strong plus of this Traeger pellet grill. Because all electronic features and program options are easy to reach and control you actually will use them.
WiFire & the Traeger app:
A unique feature of the Timberline Traeger 1300 is that it comes with a built in Wifi function (called WiFire) allowing you to connect the pellet grill to the free Traeger app for easy control and monitoring. As easy as navigating through the menu was, we hit a bit of a snag setting up our wifi initially. It would simply not connect or stay connected to our internet router. After a manual reset of the Traeger (which the Traeger trouble guide made easy) we were good to go and never lost the strong signal. When you use the app you can browse over 1.600 recipes, change temperature settings, check the level of pellets still in the hopper and read the actual cooking and probe temperature without having to get up from your chair.
“Lazy? Yes. Did we love this? Hell yes!”
Lazy? Yes. Did we love this? Hell yes! As we used this pellet grill for our work having the app give us a notification of our meat reaching the desired temperature or a nudge that we had to refill the hopper with more pellets is a blessing. Not having to run back and forth to check on these things allowed us to focus on other prep work whilst cooking on the Traeger. A really cool extra when using the app is the personalized statistics it tracks. You can browse how fanatically you used your Traeger and they will even send you an occasional email full of stats telling you about how often you have done it and how hot you like it.
The well thought of pellet hopper, auger and burner:
With pellets being the fuel of the grill, having the feeding and burning of these pellets run flawlessly is an absolute must. Luckily the Traeger Timberline 1300 has never disappointed us in the many runs we had with it. The big hopper stores up to 24 lbs of pellets and a spiral shaped auger transports the pellets towards the burner where they are ignited. The heat from the burning pellets is spread throughout the cooking chamber by a convection fan that is quite powerful ensuring an even cook no matter where you put your ingredients in the cooker. Many pellet grills disappoint because the auger spiral gets stuck every so often when pellets are jammed in the opening. This resulting in the fire not being fed new pellets stopping the cooking process completely. Within our few months of using the Traeger Timberline 1300 we never had an auger jam. When this actually does happen you can first electronically reverse the direction the auger turns, fixing the problem 99% of the time. If it is still stuck, you will have to perform a bit of mechanical surgery, but you will manage just fine with the manual in hand.
A smart feature is the built in clean out door in the hopper. Allowing you to easily empty out any unused pellets in case you want to switch to a different kind of wood pellets to better suit whatever you will be cooking next. One minor thing we did run into a few times is that after an overnight cook the hopper we had just filled ran out of pellets to early. 24 lbs seems like a lot of fuel for a cooker that actually runs quite efficient due to its proper isolation but for longer cooks in colder temperatures you better not be loving long nights of uninterrupted sleep.
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THE EASE OF CLEANING
As much as we love to BBQ, we hate to clean. Luckily the Traeger community is like minded when it comes to cleaning chores. Most of the well thought of design features focus on making it extremely simple to clean the pellet grill in between cooks. There are optional drip pan liners you can put underneath the grills making cleaning as easy as changing a thin metal sheet. The amount of ash created by burning the pellets is surprisingly little. Eliminating the need of emptying the burner constantly. The timberline 1300 has a well-engineered Trager Grease Management System. A properly working construction of grease gutters and a chute transporting rendered fat and creosote out of the grill and into the grease pan underneath. The only downside we noticed is that when you want to really get all ashes out of the burner a small vacuum cleaner is required as you can’t just brush it out with a small broom and dustpan.
OUR COOKING EXPERIENCE:
Once you really start using the Traeger Timberline 1300 you will notice that it really is a great piece of machinery. Despite the heavy weight and the pretty big size, it moves around easily on the sturdy wheels and frame. It lights with ease and burns at a consistent temperature for a long time. After opening the lid, the grill returns to its set cooking temperature in a heartbeat. During all our cooks we never experienced the temperature overshooting or the fire spreading through the cooking chamber. This truly helps in getting the perfect color on your smoked meats without turning your bark into a burnt crust. The convection fan does its work accordingly spreading the heat throughout the cooking chambre. On the top rack you will have the highest temperatures though. We actually prefer a hot zone to cook certain products that can use a bit more heat. One thing we did notice in our usage where expectations where not fully met. Traeger promised that the Timberline 1300 can be used both for smoking low & slow and for searing and grilling hot & fast. Yes, it smokes really well but the searing quality is something we are less a fan of. Despite it being able to reach 500°F (270°C) it just does not really work well as a grill as the heat is just not direct enough to get proper grillmarks for the best grill experience on your plate.
Pellet grills are a great solution for those who just want to eat great tasting BBQ food without having the hustle that cooking with wood or charcoal brings along. What Traeger has done with its Timberline 1300 model is raising the bar of these pellet fed smokers. They have eliminated the biggest flaw some competition pellet smokers have where pellets get stuck in the auger causing your fire to die down mid cook. On top of having it burn as you want it, they have jazzed it up with great features. The well working control unit, the fun and easy to use app and how they made cleaning and maintaining the pellet grill a breeze are all above par. If you are looking for damn good BBQ that comes to you easily, we say, look no further. It’s a big investment but one you won’t regret.