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Traeger’s pellet grills are typically known for being high quality, though fairly expensive pellet grills. Most of them are kind of monstrous in size; almost too large for the average consumer, and boast similarly huge prices. The Bronson 20 is sort of the antithesis of all that, making it an excellent entry level pellet grill, backed by the overall high level of quality that Traeger maintains for its grills.
Is It a Good Pellet Grill?
The overall chassis here is good. The total stainless-steel construction is extremely durable and can hold up well to abuse, as well as ensuring it’s rustproof so you can leave it outdoors, though you’ll still need to cover it to protect the electronic components.
Speaking of which, while this is a wood fire grill, it does have electronic ignition. Specifically, it’s a pellet grill; if this is your first one, it’s worth knowing the difference between them and a standard wood or charcoal grill.
Pellet grills burn wood, the same way, but use specialized wood pellets you’ll typically need to buy from the grill’s manufacturer, in this case Traeger. They feed the pellets through the grill automatically based on your temperature settings using an auger, to keep the grill at a consistent temperature constantly.
This creates a grill that sort of acts as the best of both worlds; you get the easy-to-use nature of a gas grill (which is essentially the same as using a gas stove) or electric grill, while retaining the delicious wood smoke created by using wood as the fuel.
Pellet grills are also great for smoking for this reason, and make smoking an absolute breeze.
Of course, you pay a premium for this, as mentioned. Pellet grills are on average more expensive than a similar gas or charcoal counterpart, and the Bronson 20 is no exception. While it’s cheap for a pellet grill I don’t want to give you the wrong impression and say that it’s inexpensive. It’s still an investment, and should be well taken care of.
If you do invest in it, you likely won’t be disappointed.
Thoughts on the Grill Construction & Design
The grill has a compact design, meaning it will fit almost anywhere. For that reason alone, it shoots up my rankings for Traeger pellet grills in terms of sheer usability. Most of them are too massive to fit on the average small porch or patio, and need a much larger and more dedicated space for their use.
Despite the fairly slim design, the grill doesn’t come with the drawbacks you’d normally associate with that. It has a nice sawhorse design, with very thick legs and high-quality wheels. It’s very easy to roll around if need be, whether you’re keeping it in a shed and rolling it out into the yard for use, or loading up in the truck and taking to the park for a cookout. It’s also extremely stable on most terrain, though you’ll still want the ground to be reasonably flat, and to watch out for humps.
The interior is a bit larger than your average kettle grill, giving you about 300 square inches of cooking space. I’d say this is a safe minimum size for a grill like this. I wouldn’t go any smaller for a home grill of this price.
It won’t wow you, but 300 square inches if more than enough to get the job done cooking a huge variety of meals, and can feed a relatively large crowd with a single load. According to Traeger, this is enough for two whole chickens, three racks of ribs, and 12 burgers, and I believe it. The 12 burgers figure is an interesting one as I’d say you could probably do a bit more than that, depending on how far you space them apart, or even do the dozen burgers and line the empty space with hot dogs or sausages of some sort.
The rectangular shape puts it well above the average kettle grill in that regard, as even though it only has a bit more listed space (the average kettle grill is something like 250 to 275 square inches), the rectangular grates allow you to actually USE a whole lot more of that shape without the corners being cut off.
Going along with the solid size, the burner is similarly solid. 19, 500 BTU spread across the 30 square inches is 65 BTU per square inch. This isn’t stellar, and falls short of the usual 80 to 100 BTU per square inch metric most go by, but can be forgiven for most small grills, as it’s really the larger ones where cold spots become more common.
Is it a Good Smoker?
What matters is that the heating is even, which is thankfully the case here. The grill also gets a bit more of a pass because a pellet grill’s focus is primarily on SMOKING, rather than grilling, despite the name. It is serviceable as a grill, but really excels when used as a smoker due to its very user-friendly design.
That versatility is really what puts a pellet grill over most grills, and is why I’d recommend this one. Its price is high compared to a purely “analog” grill but very reasonable for what it gives you, which is an amazingly easy to use grilling and smoking experience.
Combined with its other naturally high-quality elements, it makes a great grill to pick up for people that don’t have a ton of space but don’t want to skimp on quality, particularly for the “apartment griller”, if your apartment happens to have a small balcony you can use. Since this grill has no open flame, it’s actually safe to use in semi-enclosed (though NOT completely enclosed; don’t us this indoors) spaces.
While not the best of Traeger’s offerings, it does go to show that even some of their smaller, easily overlooked variants can be extremely good for the right person.