Actual temp less than controller indicates

Jrp

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Does anyone have a problem with the cook chamber temp being less than indicated on the controller?
I have this problem with a new Ironwood 885.
I purchased a Traeger thermometer - their Meater - to check the temps after Traeger told me the controller rules no matter the inside temp, because they do not recognize third party thermometers.
Results were - controller indicated temp vs actual per Meater thermometer - 225/180 350/300. I have called Traeger at least 8 times previously to discuss this. The first issue was replace the thermocouple - no change in temp difference. Followed by lip service and references to the Traeger website and manual. I seem to have more heat coming out the back vent than in the cook chamber, fan blowing too high?, I don't know and Traeger refuses to acknowledge I have a meaningful issue.
I truly would like to enjoy the grill but so far it has been been a pain.
I have been on the planet long enough to know better but I failed to research the Ironwood and the related warranty and return policy. Lesson learned however distasteful, so thanks Traeger for helping me waste $1,600 not including tax, wasted pellets, wasted food, and wasted time and aggravation.
 

RayClem

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The thermocouple in the Traeger is what sends information to the controller for the operation of the fan and auger. However, it is not uncommon for their to be difference in temperature between that thermocouple and a thermometer within the grill. Furthermore, there can be temperature differences from the right side of the grill to the left, the front to the back, and from bottom to top.

I have found that the temperature of my grill agrees very well with a thermometer placed a the level of the top grate when I am cooking at 225 F. However, the higher I raise the setpoint, the thermocouple temperature and the thermometer at grate level get progressively further apart. At a grill setting of 400 F, the grate temperature is closer to 350 F. Thus, while the thermocouple is what rules the controller, it is the temperature at the level of the grate on which the food is being cooked that affects the cook. The only solution is to adjust the controller setpoint to achieve the grate level temperature you want. Thus, if I want to cook a pizza at 400 F, I need to set my grill setpoint at 450 F.
 
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Jrp

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RayChem thanks, it appears you and I are on the same page as to the temperature differences.
Although my temp differences are more extreme than yours.
Allow me to give you some insight into why I am so angry regarding this matter -
1 I was sold the grill by a Traeger representative based on his representation that the grill was accurately controlled by the controller and this would allow me pursue other activities while cooking unlike my Big Green Egg. This is not the case as I not only need to monitor temperature but also need to move food during the cook because of differences in right to left top to bottom
2 Nothing in manufacturing and marketing happens by accident. Companies have extensive data resources and the engineers to design and manufacture and market products as they desire.
3 Traeger’s return policy appears to be carefully designed to be worthless once the buyer discovers the limitations of the product
4 The warranty is not transferable limiting my ability to sell the grill
5 The capabilities of the grill are limited by the temp differences ~
Super smoke is not available at controller temps above 225 therefore cooking ribs at 225 using supers smoke is not possible because I have to set at 275 to have internal temp of 225
It is not possible to sear a steak because my internal temp does not reach searing temp
The ability to duplicate recipes is not available as temps do not agree and therefore time and temperature adjustments are necessary
And as mentioned above, the ability to set and forget as described by the Traeger rep does not exist
What I do not understand is why many Traeger owners, being aware of the temperature differences, are willing to accept this as normal. They like myself, have invested a meaningful amount of money In a product that does not perform as represented. Perhaps being an owner with a similar problem, you can give, me some thoughts on how you deal with this function versus cost contradiction.
 

RayClem

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All cooking methods have their shortcomings. You have to pick the one that best suits your needs. Many people have multiple grills (gas, pellet, charcoal, offset smoker, electric smoker, and/or flattop griddle) to meet the needs of their cooks. I got my Traeger to replace my gas grill, but I kept my gas grill. Normally, I do not need it, but it is good for searing steaks after a low and slow cook or sous vide.

If you want to run Supersmoke, your grill might not get to 225F at the grate level, but you will get more smoke. I do not use Supersmoke. I just set the temperature to achieve 225 at grate level. You can purchase smoke tubes and use pellets or wood chips to get more smoke if you desire. Some people even add a cold smoke generator, but I do not need or want any more smoke.

Once your temperature is established at your desired cooking temperature, the Trager will do an excellent job of holding that temperature as long as you keep the lid closed. You do not have to keep messing with the fire.

If you do a lot of searing, you might want to pick up a set of GrillGrates to fit your IW885. They help concentrate the heat to produce a better sear. After reading glowing recommendations from other forum members, I got one. Of course, if you kept your Big Green Egg, it will be great for searing. It is not so good for lengthy, unattended cooks. Nothing is perfect.
 
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Jrp

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RayClem , your responses are excellent, well written, punctually correct. A pleasure to read.
However, I need to restate the source of my anger so that you and others understand.

From the Traeger website -

CAN A PELLET GRILL REPLACE A GAS GRILL?​

Yes, anything you can cook on a gas grill, you can cook on a Traeger wood pellet grill. Plus, Traeger grills let you grill, smoke, bake, roast, braise, & BBQ on one grill so you actually have even greater versatility, and they infuse your food with delicious wood-fired flavor.

I have had many cooking products in my life, not a newbie. The Traeger was represented as the only piece of equipment I need, FALSE

AS EASY AS TURNING ON YOUR OVEN​


Setting the temperature on your Traeger grill is as easy as turning on your oven. Our digital controllers ensure that you get precise, consistent temperatures throughout your cook. And if that wasn’t enough, the Pro, Ironwood and Timberline series all come equipped with WiFIRE® enabled controllers – giving you the ability to control your grill from anywhere using the Traeger App or your smart home device

This is not true as many have expressed that internal temperatures do not agree to the controller and can, as you said, even differ within the cooking chamber based on location. FALSE

These same representations were made to me in person by a Traeger representative at the Cleveland Ohio home show. His verbal representations, after using the grill, were not true. Purchasing additional products to achieve what I was is out of the question.

I feel I was lied to.
 

RayClem

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I can understand your frustrations, but there is nothing I can do about them. This is not an official Traeger support website, but only a collection of Traeger owners who share what they have learned from personal experience with their grills.

The Traeger representative who described the features of the grill to you was a salesman. He might have even earned a commission on the sale. Just like a used car salesman, he emphasized the strengths and downplayed the weaknesses of his product in order to close the sale.

A Traeger grill CAN be used to cook most anything, but that does not mean that it is the BEST way to cook a specific dish. Traeger claims their grills can grill, smoke, bake, roast, braise, and bbq. From my experience, each of these things is true. They never claim that their grills can do a high-temperature sear. However, with the addition of a cast iron pan, griddle, or Grill Grates, searing is possible.

The Pit Boss grill is designed with a moveable deflector plate over the fire pot. When placed into the sear position, the grill will get hot enough to sear meat. You can do something similar with the Traeger by removing the deflector plate and drip tray. That is not something I would consider doing as you can get flare ups similar to those on a gas grill.

If you do not want to use the Traeger for searing, there are other options. Some smoke meat on their Traeger and then sear it on a gas grill, under the broiler of their oven, on a charcoal grill, or on an induction burner. One method that is becoming more popular is using a "flamethrower" such as the GRILLBLAZER SU-V Gun. It is expensive, but it generates 240,000 BTU which will sear a steak quickly. The blue flame should reach a temperature close to 3600 F. If you use MAPP gas rather than propane, the temperature will be even hotter. If you cook a lot of steaks, the expense might be justified. There are less expensive flamethrowers, but they may not have the safety features built into the SU-V Gun.
 
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Jrp

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RayClem,
You sound like a Traeger representative so, please no reply necessary.
Have a good day.
 

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Jrp

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Slim picker, you are a Traeger staff member?
 

RayClem

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RayClem,
You sound like a Traeger representative so, please no reply necessary.
Have a good day.
I assure you that I am not. I am a chemical engineer who worked 41 years in the paper industry and retired 9 years ago. As far as I know, there are no Traeger representatives on this forum.
 

mikefinleyco

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RayClem,
You sound like a Traeger representative so, please no reply necessary.
Have a good day.
Dang, that is not very nice to ignore the very informative info Ray took the time to reply to you with. A lot of people go through a cycle of learning with their Traegers, learning what is and isn't easily accomplished. Ray's info is a good step to do this and turn the corner from, I was screwed, to hmmmmm.... let's see what I can actually do with this cooker.

Three things to buy that will change your Traeger life dramatically

  1. Buy some smoke tubes off of Amazon for $15 each and use them when you smoke
  2. Buy a thermapen and use it to make your cook determinations
  3. Buy a cast iron skillet for sears
Remember this is all just basically fire in a metal box, it's not a CNC lathe with a computer controlling it.
 

RichE

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I recently picked up a traeger sold on the same marketing of outstanding customer service and easy as turning on the oven and have exactly the same issues https://www.traegerforum.com/threads/timberline-xl-inaccurate-temperature.3823

I’m holding the bag on a $4k timberline xl though. I spent so long dealing with traeger support that ace would no longer help me with return or exchange either.

I’ve bought a bunch of analog oven thermometers and put them around the grill, and I just try and pick a temperature that averages out what I want based on those. I’ve accepted that cooking multiple things is basically out of the question though Unless I babysit to rotate the food. What an absolute scam.

The one thing it is supposed to do well is keep the heat maintained at a steady temp and it doesn’t even do that properly because your hopper doesn’t drain evenly resulting in half the pellets sloped up the sides and not being fed so I have to hang around to even them out periodically.
 

JPSBBQ

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Read an article the other day that often times people that don’t have much gumption regularly feel mislead and/or let down. It’s really due to their own inadequacy that they prefer to transfer to other persons or objects to avoid dealing with personal shortcomings.

Not sure if this is the correct place, but thought I’d share it. I’ll look for the link and post it if I can find it. Happy Traegering! 😁😜😁
 

Letitia

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I had similar concerns when I first bought my Traeger. Like others, I've learned what I can and can't do with it. It's never going to be a high temperature grill but Grill Grates help with searing. I have it as my only grill because I like the amount of smoke it produces and searing on the Grill Grates works for me. I ignore the Traeger temperature readings and use my own oven thermometer.
 

Lesley

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RayChem thanks, it appears you and I are on the same page as to the temperature differences.
Although my temp differences are more extreme than yours.
Allow me to give you some insight into why I am so angry regarding this matter -
1 I was sold the grill by a Traeger representative based on his representation that the grill was accurately controlled by the controller and this would allow me pursue other activities while cooking unlike my Big Green Egg. This is not the case as I not only need to monitor temperature but also need to move food during the cook because of differences in right to left top to bottom
2 Nothing in manufacturing and marketing happens by accident. Companies have extensive data resources and the engineers to design and manufacture and market products as they desire.
3 Traeger’s return policy appears to be carefully designed to be worthless once the buyer discovers the limitations of the product
4 The warranty is not transferable limiting my ability to sell the grill
5 The capabilities of the grill are limited by the temp differences ~
Super smoke is not available at controller temps above 225 therefore cooking ribs at 225 using supers smoke is not possible because I have to set at 275 to have internal temp of 225
It is not possible to sear a steak because my internal temp does not reach searing temp
The ability to duplicate recipes is not available as temps do not agree and therefore time and temperature adjustments are necessary
And as mentioned above, the ability to set and forget as described by the Traeger rep does not exist
What I do not understand is why many Traeger owners, being aware of the temperature differences, are willing to accept this as normal. They like myself, have invested a meaningful amount of money In a product that does not perform as represented. Perhaps being an owner with a similar problem, you can give, me some thoughts on how you deal with this function versus cost contradiction.
I have had an Ironwood 885 for 2 months now to replace a trusty old gas grill. Unlike you I had not done enough homework so did not really get the fact that I was buying a smoker not a grill. Like you I couldn’t understand why steaks didn’t seat at high temperatures and why my chicken thighs looked so anaemic. And then the fan noise…..it is like living next to Heathrow and because the grill is close to where we sit to eat I have to put up with 15 mins of high pitched whine while it closes down.
Anyway, re the temp. I did some research. I found some folks who recommended Grillgrates that you lay on top of the grills own grill racks. The difference is extraordinary. The temperature at the grate itself is between 100 and 150 degrees hotter than before and I have the most beautifully seared steaks. Well worth a try.
As you say , a major outlay that you can’t sell second hand . So I am trying to make the best of it.
Hope Grillgrates help.
 

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