Timberline 850 - when to use lowest rack vs 2nd lowest rack and so on?

AlbertaKaper

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Hi,

I just started to use my new Traeger Timberline 850. I am looking for some guidance on when I should place food on which racks.

I am unclear when I should use the lowest rack (closest to the burner) vs the rack just above that (2nd lowest rack)

As an example, I have grilled hamburgers, I believe I was supposed to use the lowest rack at a high temperature (I used lowest rack @ 500F for burgers - 8 mins each side). These turned out great!

I have also smoked/ cooked the following the last few days
  • beef short ribs (I used the 2nd lowest rack, I was concerned the lowest rack would be to hot)
  • Pork belly burnt ends - I smoked / cooked for 2 hrs on 2nd lowest grill then wrapped in foil for next 2 hrs on 2nd lowest rack
  • Smoked Ham (2nd lowest rack for approx 1.5 Hrs) and scalloped potatoes wrapped in foil (2nd lowest rack for approx 2 Hrs)
I plan to do the following shortly and don’t want to cook to fast or to slow by using wrong racks. (Cook low and slow)
  • A 4 bone prime rib
  • 2 pork butts
  • A brisket
I have been using the Traeger app a bit for ideas but I often find the temps or timing is inaccurate for me, when I first did the burgers at 500F the app says to cook 5 mins for side well done, I did this and my burgers were still mooing/ raw.

Please advise when I should use the lowest racks, or 2nd lowest, or even the third or fourth racks appropriately.

Thank you,

Les
 

Steeleshark2

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Generally, I have used the lowest racks for all protein starting with the bottom first. I use middle and upper for vegetables and breads.
 
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AlbertaKaper

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Generally, I have used the lowest racks for all protein starting with the bottom first. I use middle and upper for vegetables and breads.

When you say the lowest do you mean as far down as the bottom rack can go? I am concerned that food will cook to quickly over that lowest rack placement but maybe that’s why some of my times are off for proteins to reach temperatures internally.
 

Steeleshark2

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No, I have the bottom rack on the upper position. The lower position from what I understand helps with searing. Sometimes if not needed I pull out the middle rack for easier access just like the attached picture. Cook times vary on a lot of conditions. Be sure to calibrate and verify your temperature devices are accurate.

I may also use the bottom rack lower setting not only for searing, but if I want to do quicker hamburgers or crisp some wings. Otherwise it is in the upper position for me. My preference!
 

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AlbertaKaper

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No, I have the bottom rack on the upper position. The lower position from what I understand helps with searing. Sometimes if not needed I pull out the middle rack for easier access just like the attached picture. Cook times vary on a lot of conditions. Be sure to calibrate and verify your temperature devices are accurate.

I may also use the bottom rack lower setting not only for searing, but if I want to do quicker hamburgers or crisp some wings. Otherwise it is in the upper position for me. My preference!
Thank you. This response was exactly the guidance I was hoping for.

seeing your picture makes me ask the following:
I also have an electric Webber smoker (bar fridge style), the Webber has a water pan to catch the used bisquettes where as the Traeger does not have a water pan.

question should I use a water pan as you have done to add in humidity/ moisture?

i plan to do a prime rib on New Year’s Day, I really don’t want to ruin that expensive meat.

thanks,
Les
 

Steeleshark2

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I like to use a water pan in order to maintain moisture in the pit. I believe it does help. I also find it to be even more important during cold days as the humidity in the air is even lower.

as for prime rib, be sure to search “prime rib on pellet grill’ on YouTube and watch what others do. It can give you more tools for your toolbox. I always reference YouTube before doing a particular cook to find the best method that works for me.
 

DVSCYCLES

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Thank you. This response was exactly the guidance I was hoping for.

seeing your picture makes me ask the following:
I also have an electric Webber smoker (bar fridge style), the Webber has a water pan to catch the used bisquettes where as the Traeger does not have a water pan.

question should I use a water pan as you have done to add in humidity/ moisture?

i plan to do a prime rib on New Year’s Day, I really don’t want to ruin that expensive meat.

thanks,
Les
I plan on using this method nest time, https://heygrillhey.com/garlic-butter-smoked-prime-rib/
 

RemE

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I always use the 2nd lower position. I use the middle rack for long cooks otherwise remove it. I haven't learned how to multi task varied foods like Timmy here who uses all the racks in his epic cooks.
 

RoadRunner18

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I only use the middle rack on my Timberline 1300 when:

1. The bottom rack is full and i need more smoking/grilling space

2. When I place a water pan that also serves as a drip pan under whatever protein i am making.
 

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