Traeger Tailgater Review: What Makes a Good Pellet Grill?

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Last Updated on September 15, 2021
Jim Bob

Jim Bob

A long-time contributor to Seriously Smoked. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him.

There are few pastimes more pleasurable than grilling at home with friends and family, enjoying each other’s company in the warmer weather. One hobby that might be even better is packing your grill in your camper van or RV and having a cookout in the great outdoors.

The Traeger Tailgater is a portable grill and smoker that you can take on your travels, cooking great-tasting meals infused with delicious wood-smoked flavors. Traeger has embraced modern technology, integrating convenient features that make pellet grilling one of the most relaxing outdoor cooking methods.  

The Traeger Tailgater is the perfect blend of natural outdoor grilling and technological advancement.

Traeger Tailgater Review

Traeger Tailgater Detailed Review & Breakdown 

newly purchased Traeger Tailgater Grill

Traeger is the original trailblazer in the wood pellet grilling industry. Over 30 years ago, its founder, Joe Trager, discovered his gas grill on fire. To avoid the flare-ups you can get with gas and charcoal grills; he decided to make a wood pellet grill that premiered in 1988.

Since then, Traeger has found a place in the hearts of many outdoor cooking enthusiasts, bringing simplicity, superior taste, and the ultimate in cooking convenience to the grilling community. While there are various Traeger grill styles, the Tailgater is the brand’s most portable option, and it encapsulates the trademark Traeger quality.

Traeger’s attention to detail and the ability to introduce innovative design and modern technology while staying true to outdoor grilling’s natural taste set it apart from its competitors.

Multiple Cooking Styles

Traeger grills are ideal for preparing a range of vegetables, meats, and even desserts. Grill, braise, bake, smoke, roast, and sear on your grill, without using your kitchen oven. Your Traeger grill can do it all. Slow-cook your meat throughout the day, then increase the temperature to sear in those delicious, smoky flavors, keeping your meat moist and tender. 

For the best results, use Trager all-natural hardwood pellets, specially designed for Trager grills, and made in American mills. Choose from various flavors to infuse your meat with different tastes, ideal for experimenting with exciting flavors.

Temperature Control

To keep meat and vegetables succulent, and prevent toughening or drying out, temperature control is crucial. Unlike charcoal or gas grills, you can adjust your Traeger grill temperature in 5-degree increments

This type of precision control is usually only possible on an electric grill. You can now combine a wood pellet grill’s flavors with the control of a convention kitchen oven. The intuitive digital arc control system is straightforward, and the bright LED screen displays accurate temperature readings.

Cooking Surface Area

Although the Traeger Tailgater is a portable grill, there is still plenty of cooking surface area. The 300 sq. in. grill space is enough for 12 burgers or 2 whole chickens. This capacity should be plenty for most cookouts, and because you can cook quickly at higher temperatures, you could easily cook 24 burgers in a short space of time. 

The porcelain-coated grates are excellent for heat retention. The even heat distribution and lack of flare-ups also ensure meat and vegetables are cooked thoroughly, without cold or hot spots. 

Ease of Use

The electric auto-start up means you get quick ignition every time. The automatic auger feeds the correct amount of pellets into the firepot to maintain the preset temperature, and the non-stick porcelain-coated grates mean your meat does not get stuck on the grill. 

There is a handy grease basket to catch any extra juices, and you can easily brush or vacuum out the firepot when necessary. When transporting your Traeger Tailgater grill, the EZ-fold legs fit neatly against the cooking chamber. The compact design fits comfortably into the back of a camper van or truck without taking up valuable space for your other accessories.

The durable steel frame is ideal for camping or tailgating at sports events because it can withstand the accidental bumps and scrapes that can occur during transporting and packing.

Checks Multiple Boxes

Few grills can meet such a wide range of requirements. While the Traeger Tailgater is ideal for traveling, it is also an attractive feature for the backyard. The main benefit of a wood pellet grill is the fantastic flavor it infuses in every morsel, but Traeger has married these tastes with the convenience provided by modern technology.

Beginners can learn to cook on the Traeger Tailgater, and experienced chefs can revel in the ability to control the temperature to cook meat to precise specifications. For a grill that excels in a range of crucial outdoor cooking categories, the Traeger Tailgater is outstanding in its field.

Specifications

Dimensions: 36” x 37” x 18”.
Weight: 70.4 lbs.
Available colors: Blue, bronze, silver.
3-year warranty.
Max temperature: 450°F.
Pellet hopper capacity: 8 lbs.
Power sources: Electric power and wood burning for cooking.
Total cooking surface area: 300 sq. in.
19,5oo BTU burners.
Durable powder-coated cold-rolled steel construction.

Pros

6-in-1 versatility provides a range of cooking styles on one grill.
Take your grill with you camping or tailgating using the EZ-fold legs.
Precision temperature control with 5-degree heat setting increments.
Intuitive digital arc controller with bright LED.
No flare-ups when cooking with all-natural hardwood pellets.
Integrated heat probe provides accurate temperature readings.
Indirect and direct cooking styles.
Electronic autostart for easy ignition every time.
Non-stick porcelain-coated cooking grates improve heat retention.
EZ-drain system for hassle-free cleaning.

Cons

Temperature settings can sometimes vary unpredictably during cooking.
Does not offer temperature control through smart devices.
Pellet grills are more expensive when compared to charcoal grills.
Jim Bob

Jim Bob

Final Thoughts

Pellet grilling is an increasingly popular mode of outdoor cooking. The Traeger Tailgater can cook various styles on the one grill and infuse meat and vegetables with incredible flavors. The use of intelligent monitoring and control systems allows you to relax while the Tailgater cooks your meal, and you can even use the heat settings to choose precisely when your meal is ready.

Whether you prefer spending time with family and friends while the grill slow-cooks meat over an entire day, or to roast dinner for a fast but sumptuous meal quickly, a pellet grill can do it all.

The Traeger Tailgater is portable, and you can take it with you when camping, tailgating, or even going to a friend’s house. The easy clean-up system ensures you can empty the fire pot and wipe down the non-stick grates with minimal fuss.

If you want a portable grill that cooks delicious, smokey, tasty meals, buy the Traeger Tailgater.