Pros & Cons – Traeger Ironwood 885

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The 885 is a first-generation Traeger Ironwood model and the bigger brother to the Ironwood 650. The Ironwood features a notable downdraft exhaust design that can create rolling smoke within the cooking chamber. However, several years since its release, there is now tougher competition. So, let’s review the Pros & Cons of this pellet grill/smoker.

Tap/Click above to review our video on the Pros & Cons of the Traeger Ironwood 885

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The Traeger Ironwood 885 doesn’t feature a small chimney, which you will see on many other pellet grills. It has a long/straight exhaust port along the back of the pellet grill/smoker.

Probably the best feature of the Traeger Ironwood 885 is its downdraft exhaust design.
The downdraft exhaust on the Ironwood 885 I think is probably its best feature

What the downdraft exhaust can achieve, as you can see from the image above, is heat/smoke rolling within the cooking chamber instead of quickly existing via a standard chimney.

The benefit is twofold. First, the food is exposed to the smoke for longer. Second, it can achieve more consistent temperatures across the cooking grates, making for better BBQ.

With a price point of just under thirteen hundred dollars (check our database), when you look at the features of the Ironwood 885 compared to its competition, it doesn’t offer great value.

With a typical cost of close to $1,300, the Traeger Ironwood 885 is not offering great value compared to its competition.
No stainless steel and not a very large cooking area all add to the Ironwood 885 being expensive for its features

When the Traeger Ironwood 885 was launched in 2019 there was nowhere near as much competition in the market as there is today, as such the Ironwood 885 struggles to compete.

Unlike cheaper Traeger models such as the Pro 575 and the Pro 780, the Ironwood 885 gets an additional setting called Super Smoke, which serves an important function.

Not every Traeger gets their Super Smoke mode, but the Ironwood 885 does.
The Ironwood 885 gets a ‘Super Smoke’ setting, which is not found on all of Traeger’s pellet grills/smokers

What Super Smoke can do is at lower temperatures it deliberately delays feeding more pellets into the burn pot to make the pellets smolder more, generating more smoke in the cooking chamber.

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An area where pretty much every Traeger pellet grill has struggled out of the box is grilling/searing at high temps to get a good crust on burgers and steaks etc.

The grilling performance on the Traeger Ironwood 885 is not the best, especially for its relatively high price point.
The Ironwood 885 is a much better pellet smoker than it is a pellet grill

The maximum temp on the Ironwood 885 is 500 degrees, which is not too bad in and of itself, but it also features thin wire racks that do not hold onto the heat well.

While the Ironwood 885 is not a fully insulated grill, it does at least feature some twin-wall construction on the sides of the cooking chamber which will help to hold on to some heat.

The Ironwood 885 features twin-wall insulated construction on the sides of the cooking chamber.
The sides of the cooking chamber feature insulated construction

The benefit of twin-wall construction is first, it will use fewer pellets to get to and maintain a set temperature, especially in colder conditions during winter use.

The second benefit is that insulated construction helps to maintain a more consistent temperature across the cooking grates, helping the user to achieve more consistent BBQ.

You might be thinking, ‘relative to what?‘. Well, the immediate competition for the Ironwood 885 at its $1,300 typical price point (check our database). Some models offer double the capacity.

The pellet hopper capacity on the Traeger Ironwood 885 is quite a bit below that offered by its competition.
The 20lb pellet hopper capacity of the Ironwood 885 is a bit on the small side

For grilling and shorter smoking sessions, the hopper capacity of 20lbs is not a big deal. However, when temperatures get really cold, pellet consumption can increase significantly.

My Final Thoughts On The Traeger Ironwood 885

As I’ve stated above, due to the grilling weaknesses of the Ironwood 885 against its insulated construction and Super Smoke setting, its a better pellet smoker than it is a pellet grill.

However, it’s also quite expensive for its feature set, and in pretty much every measurable metric, the Ironwood 885 is outdone by its equally-priced competition.

As usual, don’t just take my word for it. Use the link below to try out our database to compare the Ironwood 885 against the competition to come up with your own conclusions.

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