Traeger is one of the pioneering manufacturers of pellet smokers in the world. They have been manufacturing some of the best grills in the world ever since they started out in the 1990s to date. The fact that about 85% (8 out of 10) of these units in the US are Traeger confirms this.
As much as this is good for them, it also means that you will find a lot more good and bad reviews online about their products than any other brand in the country. But the truth of the matter still remains that the brand is synonymous with quality, durability, and dependability at pocket-friendly prices.
Let us take a look at Traeger Grills Junior Elite Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker and see if it is worth its praise.
The new model of the Junior Pallet Smoker is just an improvement of the old one. If you recall, the old one had a three controls knob and what Traeger did was to replace it with a digital temperature control module and some other cool features.
The main difference between the old model’s three controls knob and the digital one is the tree controls knob can only accomplish three run times. These are low, medium, and high. Also, it does not have a thermostat to regulate the temperature. The main drawback to this controller is it uses the same amount of heat to cook the dish regardless of the conditions you are cooking in. As a result, you have little or no control over the amount of heat you are cooking with.
With the digital temperature control on the Elite, temperature inside of the cooking chamber is maintained, ensuring a steady and accurate temperature throughout the cooking process. This is the reason why the new model is also known as the lazy man’s smoker. With it, you can load the grill at night, set the temperature, and wake up in the morning to a dish that has been slow cooking without burning up.
Apart from the convenient digital temperature control, the Traeger Junior Elite offers a ton of useful features in a compact size, which makes it perfect for traveling, small spaces, or for smaller families. The grill measures 20-inch by 15-inch and can comfortably hold up to 3 rib racks, 18 hot dogs, 4 chickens, or 12 burgers.
Though it is priced a little more than its predecessor, the Elite is perfect for both professional and home chefs, therefore, giving you value for your money.
Below is a breakdown of some of the Traeger Junior Elite’s key features:
- Has a digital thermostat
- Easy drain clean-up system
- Made of steel for durability
- Has an inbuilt convection blower to ensure that what you are cooking is cooked evenly
- The grill grate is porcelain coated
- Plugs into a standard 110v outlet
- Multipurpose, that is, it can be used for grilling, smoking, roasting, and baking
- Easy to move because it has 2 durable wheels
- Comes with an auger for easy feeding of pellets into the firebox
- Compact, only measuring 15-inch by 20-inch with a cooking space of 292 square inches
In order for us to give an unbiased review, we did a lot of research. We looked online for some previous user reviews and even went a step further to try-out the unit ourselves. Below are some of the pros of the Junior Elite that we found out:
Digital temperature control
As mentioned earlier, this unit comes equipped with a digital temperature control. That is why the Elite is commonly known by those who use it as the lazy man’s smoker. All you need to do when preparing pellets is put them in the firebox, turn the unit on, set the ideal temperature, and let the smoker do the rest. Once the temperature is set, the pellets are fed into the firebox by the auger. The blower then distributes the heat and smoke, making sure that the pellets are evenly and well smoked and cooked.
We have already mentioned the blower, but there is no harm mentioning it again. It makes dishes cooked by an amateur home chef taste and look like those prepared by a professional, simply because it is evenly cooked and smoked. The Elite’s convection blower circulates the heat around the cooking chamber. For this reason, you can place your dish anywhere on the grate and leave it to cook knowing that the smoke is constant and the temperature consistent.
Has no knobs
This is a plus for those who prefer pressing a button rather than fiddling with knobs. Buttons make the Elite’s smoker one of the easiest to get started. Also, you will not need to keep on poking and prodding the food checking whether it is cooking right.
Easy to clean
The pellet smoker is easy to clean courtesy of is drain clean-up system.
Standard 110v power outlet
With this you do not need to run around looking for a light, lighter fluid, or gas. All you need to do is plug it in, press a button, and the electric ignition kicks in.
Easy to assemble
Most people complain about how most smokers are not easy to assemble. Though it does not affect the quality of the food you are cooking or the smoky taste, it does affect the ease of use of the unit and is seen as a con. The Elite, however, is very easy to assemble. All it takes is for you to put together the three legs and attaching the feeder on the main unit. It will not take up much of your time, at most one hour, but it can be done in a few minutes too.
The decision to purchase a smoker is not a cheap one. This is because they cost quite a lot. You, therefore, want to know that the unit you are about to purchase will be around for a while. That is why durability is important. Though the Elite is manufactured in China, which some people may start to worry, its quality is something different, the best in its class. This unit is 68 pounds of power proudly packed into a heavy-duty smoker that is compact sized and can withstand a lot. On top of that, you will receive a 3-year warranty when you buy this product, so no need to worry.
As is with all things made by man, there is some aspect of bad in it. From the research we have done, not everyone is 100% happy with the Junior Elite, but a huge majority are. Below is one of the cons that most of the users complain about.
This unit is no longer manufactured in the US, but made in China. Because China is notorious for manufacturing cheaply made products, most people fear that they may compromise the quality of the Junior Elite Smoker.