Every year there’s one new grill that sets the BBQ world abuzz. Far and away, the most anticipated release of 2017 is the Traeger Timberline, a premium pellet grill that boasts WiFi capability, a sleek design, and loads of cool bells and whistles.
Traeger’s most advanced and ambitious grill to date, the Timberline immediately takes its place as the brand’s premier model while also undoubtedly becoming one of the most desirable pellet grills on the market.
A New Traeger to Compete in a Growing Market
As the pellet grill originators, Traeger has long been the best-known and best-selling brand on the market, a position they’ve cemented thanks to a hugely successful media campaign that has included a thirty-minute infomercial and a partnership with the Dan Patrick Radio Show. Such high-profile spots have helped introduce the Traeger brand to a wider audience and exponentially increase sales of all pellet grills.
The success of pellet grills has spurred rapid growth. Whereas a few years ago there were just a handful brands, there are now dozens of pellet grills with different features and available at different price points—from lower-priced entry-level models to premium pellet grills that offer exceptional construction, precision performance, and top-of-the-line features. Through new technology, engineering, and design, the growing premium market is pushing pellet grills forward in the spirit of the original Traeger. With the Timberline, Traeger has established a presence in the premium market and represents the pellet grill originators reclaiming the mantle of innovators.
The Traeger Timberline 850 and 1300
As innovators of the first pellet grill, Traeger has been endlessly emulated and imitated over the past thirty years. However, in recent years, new technology has led to the development of more sophisticated pellet grills with better temperature control and more capability. The Timberline sees Traeger adopting that technology, as well as a new design, and high-end features, all of which add up to a Traeger unlike any that’s come before. In fact, with its unique vertical cooking chamber and cloud-based WiFi controller, the Timberline is like very few pellet grills that have come before it.
Like many Traeger models, the Timberline comes in two sizes, the Timberline 850 and the Timberline 1300, which are identical other than cooking area. At the risk of stating the obvious, the Traeger Timberline 850 offers 850 square inches of total space while the Timberline 1300 offers 1300 total square inches. Both models feature Traeger’s brand new WiFire controller and are flush with features customers will love and competitors will rush to adopt.
The New Traeger WiFire Controller
When it comes to pellet grills, the controller is king and the Timberline features Traeger’s best yet, the all-new WiFire Controller. As its name suggests, the WiFire is WiFi capable, giving you the ability to connect to the Timberline remotely via your phone or tablet. Gone from the Timberline is the multi-position knob that has been Traeger’s standard. The sleekly designed WiFire features a digital dial for scrolling through menus and one-touch buttons for selecting specific options, as well as a large backlit LCD screen. It is, by far, Traeger’s most advanced controller to date and is chock-full of appealing features, such as:
- WiFi capability - In recent years, only a very few pellet grill makers have developed WiFi capability. With the Traeger WiFire controllers, you can connect to the Timberline through your home network, giving you the ability to control your cook through your tablet or phone. The Traeger App gives you access to a ton of features, including preset Traeger recipes, and allows you to set alarms and alerts or setup a custom cook.
- Super Smoke Setting - Among traditional BBQ lovers, one of the biggest complaints about pellet grills is that they don’t produce as much smoke flavor as an offset. However, the Timberline features a Super Smoke setting that allows you to add more smoke to your food for a heavier dose of wood fire flavor. It can be utilized when smoking at 225°F and below, perfect for those low-and-slow cooks like brisket and ribs.
- Better Temperature Control - The WiFire gives you more control and a wider temperature range than any other Traeger, allowing you to program the Timberline in 5°F increments from 165-500°F and can maintain +/-5°F (in ideal conditions) thanks to a combination of the updated controller and good heat retention.
- Integrated meat probe - The Timberline has a programmable meat probe, which not only allows you to monitor food temperatures via WiFi, but can be set to automatically lower the heat when your food is done cooking.
Insulated Double-Walled Stainless Steel Interior
There are a couple of ways to maintain tight temperature control on a pellet grill. The first is by utilizing a sophisticated digital controller that is smart and responsive. The second is through efficient heat retention. Apart from the WiFire, Traeger has outfitted the Timberline with a double-walled stainless steel interior for upgraded insulation, as well as a lid gasket to lock in heat.
Improved heat retention allows the Timberline to hold onto its heat and better maintain a consistent temperature, particularly in cooler weather. It also allows the Timberline to be more fuel-efficient, using fewer wood pellets over the course of a cook.
3 Cooking Levels Provide More Cooking Area and Versatility
Somewhat unique, the Timberline boasts 3 separate cooking levels, each featuring a durable stainless steel grate. The beauty of pellet grills is that, because they rely on indirect convection-style heat, the temperature is the same throughout the grill—food on an upper rack cooks just as fast as food on the main grate. Maximizing grill space, Traeger increased the Timberline’s vertical cooking space to incorporate a third rack, providing more room for cooking without adding to its overall footprint. The added cooking space also increases versatility. Because each stainless steel grate is removable, you can take out the second to accommodate a large roast or turkey while still using the top rack for vegetables and sides.
With all that cooking space, you can cook a lot of food, but you won't have to refuel very often—a large 24 pound hopper provides hours of uninterrupted cooking.
A Sleek New Design That Breaks with Traeger Tradition
Going back to their earliest models, Traeger Grills have all had a similar appearance. The drum barrel body, the offset hopper and smokestack—easy to spot and easily identifiable, you knew a Traeger when you saw one. Although last year’s Pro Series featured a new design, it was more of an update than a complete overhaul. The Timberline, however, bears little resemblance to its predecessors.
- A sleek new design - If not for the Traeger logo on the lid, it’s unlikely you’d peg the Timberline for a Traeger. In addition to a sleek, modern aesthetic, the Timberline features a taller body rather than the drum barrel shape traditionally associated with Traeger. It also borrows the sawhorse chassis Traeger introduced on last year’s Pro Series grills. With backyard entertaining at an all-time high, the updated look should appeal to customers who want their grill to look as good as it cooks.
- Bye bye smokestack - The smokestack has been a hallmark of Traeger Grills since their inception. While it provides the look and feel of a traditional smoker, a smokestack isn’t a necessity—there are other ways to create efficient airflow and exhaust, and plenty of pellet grills do it without a smokestack. For the Timberline, Traeger got rid of the smokestack in favor of a rear exhaust and what they call the Downdraft Exhaust System. A case of addition by subtraction, it gives the grill an updated look and modern feel.
- Stainless steel front and side shelves - The Timberline doesn’t just offer more cooking area, it includes valuable work space in the form of stainless steel front and side shelves. Durable, attractive, and practical, the shelves are a welcome addition. Whether you want to prep or serve food or simply need a place for sauces, rubs, and BBQ tools, you’ll have plenty of room.
- Sawhorse chassis - A carryover from the 2016 Pro Series redesign, the sawhorse chassis looks cool, but it also provides extra stability and support, as well as better mobility—2 casters and 2 all-terrain wheels make it easy to move the Timberline around the yard.
- Slide-out grease “bucket” - A small but meaningful addition, the slide-out grease tray classes up the Timberline. Whereas every other Traeger has used a grease bucket hanging off the side of the grill to catch drippings, the Timberline features a discreet slide-out tray that keeps the drippings out of sight. It’s one more indication that Traeger put a lot of consideration with the intent of making the Timberline the centerpiece of outdoor entertaining.
A Higher Class of Pellet Grill
For those who are new to pellet grills, or are only familiar with Traeger and the handful of brands available at big box stores, the Timberline’s higher price could create a disconnect for shoppers unfamiliar with the growing pellet grill market and where the Timberline fits into it.
As pellet grills have evolved, the market has given birth to a class of high-performance premium pellet grills that feature precision temperature control, better heat retention, and innovative features—all of which rely on advanced technology and superior engineering, which add to the price. The Timberline is Traeger's entry into the premium market. While it’s unlikely to appeal to shoppers looking for an inexpensive entry-level pellet grill, the Timberline is an attractive option for those already looking at next-tier models like the Fast Eddy’s PG500 and Memphis Advantage WiFi, both of which fall in the same price range.
Traeger Steps Into the Future
Perhaps the biggest takeaway from the Traeger Timberline is what it means for the future. The pellet grill market is heating up and showing no signs of cooling off. The Timberline reflects the growth of the market. As awareness has grown so has the demand for different classes of pellet grills. No longer niche specialty cookers, pellet grills are available in every imaginable configuration—from budget grills to high-end models geared for the outdoor kitchen. As the biggest name in pellet grills, Traeger’s release of the Timberline isn’t just an investment in the growing premium pellet grill market, it likely serves as a sneak peek of what’s to come for all grills.
Head for the Timberline