1st Pellet cooker buy. Timberline 850 or 1300?


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Mar 15, 2020
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I'm going to be buying a Traeger Timberline for the house and I need help deciding on whether to go with the bigger 1300 or just stay with the 850 that I've been looking at.

I'll be cooking for a family of 3. Pretty much my meat selections will be an entire KCBS competition menu and I don't usually separate my Briskets when I cook them until closer to the end of the cook. I also plan on doing other meats like fish and game animals occasionally. This will mainly be a smoker only since I have a gas grill for steaks and typical BBQ fare. I have questions and also don't really know what I need to know about the Traegers or Pellet grills in general so please don't hesitate to say something, even if it is common knowledge. This will all be knew to me.

Question about the heat and start up time. I've read some internet reviews that said these things take a very long time to heat up and a few that have said they had trouble actually getting to temp. Is this probably more of a user error issue/ irrational expectation, or is the rapid warm up just not that rapid?

Pellet usage. How much do these smokers use in an average cook? Figure a typical 225-250* cook over 5-9 hours for anything from Ribs to Brisket. Does the 1300 use substantially more to heat than the 850 since it's heating a larger area?

Are there any problem with Ashes on the food? Being that it's a convection cooker with burning pellets, I've watched a few videos about needing to clean and vacuum it out after a cook. Does the ash from the burning pellets get into the food? I'm use to there being some on my food. I usually use Charcoal and wood, but I've never used a forced air cooker before.

Any problems or expectations I need to understand about pellet cookers or the Traeger in general?

Educate me. I want to learn about this new toy I'm buying.

Thanks you all in advance for your insight and information. It's greatly appreciated.
The only difference between them is size really, so if you’re not cooking for many people at a time then I would go smaller personally.
Thanks. I wound up not buying either. I bought the model down and got the Ironwood 650 because the local dealer gave me a really great deal and threw in a few accessories that made the deal even better. Pretty much for the reason you said. I figured, I really didn't need:

1. the capacity. When I cook, I'm usually just doing one, or a small number of things. I might do 1 or 2 butts, along with stuffed breakfast sausage(Fatties), or maybe 2 or 3 untrimmed racks of ribs. the most, biggest cook I've done was 2 briskets at once for a party I was going to. There's just 3 people in the family that usually eat what I'm cooking so I'm not usually cooking for large crowds.


2. Weather. I live in Florida. Heavy insulation isn't really a concern for me. I talked with a few professional competitors that I know and they all agreed that the double wall of the Timberlines would pretty much be overkill down here and not really save a whole lot on the amount of pellets burned to maintain the heat.

It still has all the bells and whistles of the Timberline, but I saved about $600 on it all. Also, for me, the shelf was the seller. The timberline's narrow shelf just didn't seem functional for anything except a prop place for your tray, but the add on shelf for the other models actually is large enough to be usable.

Thanks for the input. I appreciate it.
Welcome to the forum @JohnMcD348 - Great choice and congrats on the Ironwood! That's the same model I've had for a year now and I've been real happy with it. I have yet to ever run out of space. It's big enough for all of the briskets I've done and pizzas.
1300. I like the extra cooking space when doing big cooks. Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.
$2000 for 1300...House just passed $2T coronavirus relief bill..Spend Spend!!!
Bought the Ironwood instead. I decided I really didn't need the extra insulation of the other units.