New Pro 34 - No smoke flavor

Castor01

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Just got a Traeger Pro 34. Two cooks, so far, both with hickory pellets. First cook was a whole chicken, rubbed with Traeger poultry rub. Nice & moist & great flavor, but not a hint of smoke flavor. Second cook was 2 Boston Butts. Smoked for 3 hours, then set for 225 degrees for 7 hours, took off grill at 195 degrees. Meat consistency was such that it would not shred with forks. Had to cut it into chunks with a knife. Tasted like it came out of an oven - zero smoke flavor. Very disappointed so far. Any suggestions? Thanks
 

bfletcher

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Until adding a pellet smoker to my arsenal a few months ago, charcoal and wood chunks has been my smoking method during my hobby over the past 4 years. When I began with the pellet smoker, not only was the taste much different, but I also lacked a rich bark that I've become accustom to from charcoal

I've made some tweaks and here are a couple that I feel have contributed to a better pellet experience (I reserve the right to change my mind on this):

1. I start at 225*f or a tad higher. When I first started using pellets I'd start a smoke at 180'ish because that's the feedback provided in the manual for more smoke. Some very brief reading of two or three folks whom I'd consider experts suggest that good bark formation requires temps north of 200f, so that's what led to my journey of 225* (and I always smoke at 225-285'ish on my charcoal units, anyway).

2. I now mostly use Lumber Jack's Char-Hickory pellets because they contain 10% charcoal (still what I'd consider a low content but some is better than none)

I still don't get the taste I've been used to from charcoal but I'm at the point of thinking that just because I'm used to it doesn't mean it's the optimal flavor. Honestly, I do get some smoke flavor from pellets and if I have leftovers in a bag in the fridge I can smell it when I open it.

In another thread you mention a friend who uses a Smoke Daddy. I've heard of their deflector that allows wood chunks to be added but I'm not aware of an add-on of theirs that requires any hard modification. I know there's another vendor who offers a downdraft add-on, though. Here's my thought: if you know of an add-on that delivers what you want then--unless you're contemplating returning the smoker--they will not know that you drilled holes if you need service components due to a failure down the road.

I tried a smoke tube twice but it did not seem to make a difference to me. In Rec Tec's owner's manual (or maybe it was on their YouTube channel) they suggest that wood chunks or chips can be added directly on the deflector shield, so perhaps that's something to consider, too.

Good luck in your endeavor.
 
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Castor01

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Until adding a pellet smoker to my arsenal a few months ago, charcoal and wood chunks has been my smoking method during my hobby over the past 4 years. When I began with the pellet smoker, not only was the taste much different, but I also lacked a rich bark that I've become accustom to from charcoal

I've made some tweaks and here are a couple that I feel have contributed to a better pellet experience (I reserve the right to change my mind on this):

1. I start at 225*f or a tad higher. When I first started using pellets I'd start a smoke at 180'ish because that's the feedback provided in the manual for more smoke. Some very brief reading of two or three folks whom I'd consider experts suggest that good bark formation requires temps north of 200f, so that's what led to my journey of 225* (and I always smoke at 225-285'ish on my charcoal units, anyway).

2. I now mostly use Lumber Jack's Char-Hickory pellets because they contain 10% charcoal (still what I'd consider a low content but some is better than none)

I still don't get the taste I've been used to from charcoal but I'm at the point of thinking that just because I'm used to it doesn't mean it's the optimal flavor. Honestly, I do get some smoke flavor from pellets and if I have leftovers in a bag in the fridge I can smell it when I open it.

In another thread you mention a friend who uses a Smoke Daddy. I've heard of their deflector that allows wood chunks to be added but I'm not aware of an add-on of theirs that requires any hard modification. I know there's another vendor who offers a downdraft add-on, though. Here's my thought: if you know of an add-on that delivers what you want then--unless you're contemplating returning the smoker--they will not know that you drilled holes if you need service components due to a failure down the road.

I tried a smoke tube twice but it did not seem to make a difference to me. In Rec Tec's owner's manual (or maybe it was on their YouTube channel) they suggest that wood chunks or chips can be added directly on the deflector shield, so perhaps that's something to consider, too.

Good luck in your endeavor.
Great reply - thanks. I agree that one person's optimum flavor may not suit another. We have some in our family that love lots of smoke (me) and some who prefer very little. The (Magnum P.I.G.) Smoke Daddy that I referred to is a vertical cylinder with a tube extending sideways out of the top of the unit. You mount it on the Traeger through a 1 1/8" hole, that yhou have to drill. You fill the Smoke Daddy with charcoal and/or wood chunks or chips then ignite the chips. An associated air pump forces air into the smoke generator, then the smoke goes through a tube into the Traeger. It's supposed to give about 3-4 hours of smoke and is not related to any particular temperature setting on the Traeger controller. At $175, its a bit pricey. With enough effort, I can probably get reasonable smoke flavor out of the Traeger, but will still have to rely on the BGE when I want a good external bark or a nicely seared steak. On the other hand, I'm equally inclined to return the Traeger to Costco and press on with my Big Green Egg, a proven and trusted unit with which I've enjoyed great success.
 

CampWhatnot

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Just got a Traeger Pro 34. Two cooks, so far, both with hickory pellets. First cook was a whole chicken, rubbed with Traeger poultry rub. Nice & moist & great flavor, but not a hint of smoke flavor. Second cook was 2 Boston Butts. Smoked for 3 hours, then set for 225 degrees for 7 hours, took off grill at 195 degrees. Meat consistency was such that it would not shred with forks. Had to cut it into chunks with a knife. Tasted like it came out of an oven - zero smoke flavor. Very disappointed so far. Any suggestions? Thanks
I’m not sure which pellets you are using and not sure if you are aware but different pellet manufacturers produce different smoke intensities and can burn hotter or lower than others. I’m
not a fan of Traeger pellets and try not to purchase them unless I have to. I find bbq delight and lumber jack produce a stronger smoke flavour and burn hotter than Traeger pellets. I am new to lumberjack but so far very pleased. Just my $0.02
 
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Castor01

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I’m not sure which pellets you are using and not sure if you are aware but different pellet manufacturers produce different smoke intensities and can burn hotter or lower than others. I’m
not a fan of Traeger pellets and try not to purchase them unless I have to. I find bbq delight and lumber jack produce a stronger smoke flavour and burn hotter than Traeger pellets. I am new to lumberjack but so far very pleased. Just my $0.02
Thanks. I've been using Traeger pellets. Will research the pellets you suggest and see if I can find some.
 

BA_Ga

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I recently completed the third cook on my new Pro34. I've had no problem with the amount of smoke so far. I've been using Pit Boss Competition pellets.

The first cook was jerky. I knew it was going to be on the smoker for many hours at 180, so I wasn't too concerned about getting smoke on it.

Second was a batch of chicken wings. Since they would be a shorter cook, I started at 180 for an hour or so, then went to 225 until I got an internal of 165. I ran the temperature up to 300 for 20 minutes to crisp them a bit.

For the brisket I just cooked, I got the smoker warmed up and left it at 225 throughout.

The bottom line for me was adjusting my cook to the specific item.
 

Mr.Fabulous

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I have been using my Pro 34 since July, and here is what I have learned:

-as mentioned above, 225 is an optimum smoking temp.

- Lumberjack pellets for the win. Switched over to them from Traeger a month ago, and I won’t use traeger again unless it is out of necessity. If you are looking for a stronger smoky flavor, try hickory pellets.

As far as your pork butt not pulling, try taking the next one up above 200 IT. That is the temp I usually start probing. I look for my instant read to slide in with little to no resistance. There is also the completely un-scientific ‘wiggle test.’ Before I take one off I give it a little shake. If the whole thing jiggles like jello, and the probe test is solid, it’s pull time.

- for bark, I don’t wrap. If I have to wrap I use peach paper (never foil) and I still get ok bark. Lately I only wrap if I am on a time crunch. The bark I have been getting from no wrap makes me start earlier so I don’t need to crutch.

Hope this helps.

C1988749-E866-445C-9B69-E4B65F0347EE.jpeg
 

Mr.Fabulous

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A cheaper alternative to the smoke generator would be a smoke tube. A-Maze-n is a solid one. Fill it with pellets, light it with a torch for a minute, let it burn for 10 minutes, then blow out the flame and start your smoker.
 

CampWhatnot

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A cheaper alternative to the smoke generator would be a smoke tube. A-Maze-n is a solid one. Fill it with pellets, light it with a torch for a minute, let it burn for 10 minutes, then blow out the flame and start your smoker.
I have the A-MAZE-N maze tray and it works well. I haven’t used it on the Traeger but I have on the gas grill for quick seafood.
 

bobbytuck

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First post!

I highly recommend the SmokeDaddy Heavy D -- the replacement fire pot shield that takes chunks or splits. I bought it from SmokeDaddy last week and have used it for several smokes. It fits nicely into my Timberline 850 (just bought the Timberline a couple weeks ago) -- no issues -- and is built like a tank. Thick steel, removable baffles for the wood -- a really solid thing. Very impressed with the way it's built.

The trick to using it effectively, though, is figuring out how to manage the oxygen and air flow so the chunks smolder and burn slowly. On my first smoke with it, I started the Traeger and then bumped it to 275-300 or so -- and after a couple minutes, the wood caught fire. Temps went way, way up -- and I did exactly what the SmokeDaddy folks suggsted: vented the lid so the temps went down. This worked fine -- but the wood (I had three big chunks of mesquite and a hickory split) burned way too quickly. Smoke was intense for a bit -- then nothing. Just pellet smoke.

So -- It's constructed so that there's vent on the bottom and the internal sides (next to the fire pot). The outside sides on both wood compartments are solid steel -- and the baffles protect the right and left and sides of both compartments. So the first thing I did was get an aluminum sheet pan, cut out additional baffles for the vented sides of both compartments -- and then poked several holes in the aluminum. Then I installed the aluminum baffles on the bottom and internal sides of both compartments -- inserted my wood -- and -- it worked!

Thin smoke for several hours -- no major temp swings. I'm using LumberJack 100% mesquite pellets in the hopper.

I still started the grill around 300ish -- made sure the wood started to smolder -- and then bumped it back down to 250 or so. The Timberline is pretty good at keeping a constant temperature (I'm in Chicago -- so it's pretty cold now) -- and during my last smoke -- a couple 3 pound chuck roasts I took to 150F in the smoker (to finish in the oven) -- I noticed that there was still wood in the SmokeDaddy after 3-4 hours. And it was smoldering nicely.

I don't (yet) know if this is *better* than an Amaze-n type smoker with pellets -- jury's still out -- but I do like the idea of using wood chunks or larger splits (the same chunks I use on my WSM and Cookshack SM025) as part of the cook.

YMMV, but the SmokeDaddy definitely brought the smoke back up to a level I expect when I hear "smoke" and "bbq". There's definitely more ash in the smoker after the smoke -- but I've been vac'ing the firepot and interior after each smoke -- so it's no big deal. Very little soot -- and no ash on the food.

The chuck roasts turned out great. Pulled them from the Traeger at, as I say, 150F, add beef bone broth, foiled, and then finished them off in the oven. They went to 205F or so within a couple hours -- and were nice and tender with a big smoke flavor and crazy, crazy thick smoke ring.

Poor man's brisket, I know -- but at a quarter of the price of brisket -- hard to beat!
 
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