Traeger has now released its second generation of Timberline pellet grill models. There are two versions, the smaller simply branded as the ‘Timberline’ or its larger sibling branded as the ‘Timberline XL’. With this article, I want to run through the specifications of these new top of the line Traeger models. I discuss where there are some new invocations and some borrowed ideas from other pellet grill brands. I’ll also discuss the price of these new Timberline models and whether I think they are worth their considerable outlay.
Disclaimer: Hey! By the way… any links on this page that lead to products on Amazon or other sites are affiliate links and I earn a commission if you make a purchase.
Introduction To The Traeger Timberline Gen 2
The Traeger lineup consists of their entry Pro Series, their mid-range Ironwood models and their top of the line Timberline models. I have a previous article on the Timberline Gen 1 models and soon after writing this article I want to do a Timberline Gen 1 vs Gen 2 comparison.
For now though, we are going to do a run-through of the features of these second-generation Timberline models and look at how they compare to what the wider competition is offering. As a quick introduction to these new Traeger Timberline models, I’ve included the Traeger advert below which is just over 1 minute 30 seconds.
There are many features about these new Timberline models I do like as I’ll discuss below. However, these features have to be considered in context. Timberline models have always been the best offerings from Traeger and they always were a premium pellet grill at a premium price point.
However, where Gen 1 Timberline models retailed around the $2K mark, Traeger has stepped up their pricing for their Gen 2 Timberline models to in excess of $3K and close to $4K. That price point puts these Traeger models up against full-stainless steel pellet grills, which these Gen 2 Timberline models are not.
Improved Temperature Accuracy (Smart Combustion™)
If you are up on your pellet grill technology, you shouldn’t be too surprised to learn that these second generation Timberline models are fitted with a PID temperature controller. Traeger has been using PID temperature control technology for many years now, since the introduction of their D2 Direct Drive technology.
PID (Proportional, Integral, Derivative) technology simply means the pellet grill is constantly comparing the set temperature against the actual temperature within the grill to make small constant adjustments. However, up until this point, most pellet grills have been using a single temperature probe.
Where these Gen 2 Timberline models differ is they are fitted with multiple temperature sensors. For instance, there is now a sensor monitoring the ambient air temperature, so the grill knows whether there are summer or winter temperatures around the grill.
What that means is the grill can better adapt the combustion process to maintain even more steady and consistent temperatures inside the cooking chamber where it matters. These Gen 2 Timberline grills also know when the lid is open to step up the burner to compensate for additional heat loss.
Now, a pellet grill nerd like myself knows that the first pellet grill controller to know when the lid is open and to adjust the pellet burn was actually the Grilla Grills Alpha Connect control panel. So Traeger has obviously seen the benefit of that approach and integrated it into their new pellet grills.
Can These Timberline Gen 2 Models Now Sear?
I’ve previously written about can a Traeger replace a gas grill, and the reason that question comes up quite a lot is because the maximum temperature of the previous Traeger grills has been limited to 500 degrees.
To get a good sear on a steak/burger you really need a cooking surface temperature of around 650 degrees or above. Therefore, has Traeger upped the maximum temperature setting of their new Timberline models? Nope, they are still limited to 500 degrees.
Hence, Traeger is still resisting adding direct-flame access functionality to their pellet grills, likely due to the increased grease fire risk that direct-flame access can present (Weber Smokefire cough cough).
Therefore, is grilling/searing performance the Achilles heel of these new Gen 2 Timberline models? Well, Traeger has addressed the grilling/searing performance from another angle, with the introduction of a side-mounted induction hob.
New Induction Cooktop For Searing & More
These latest Timberline models come with an induction hob which is a first for a pellet grill/smoker. It creates a new type of combo pellet grill/smoker. Usually, combo models feature a gas burner as the secondary source of heat.
However, an induction hob can actually heat up twice as fast as a gas burner or a standard radiant heat electrical hob. So let’s quickly discuss how an induction hob works, while it does use electricity, it doesn’t actually produce heat via resistance, its uses an electromagnet.
Therefore, you can only use pans/skillets etc with a high iron content on an induction hob, pure copper or aluminum pans won’t work, they just won’t get hot. However, to not damage the glass top on the hob you would only want to use enameled cast iron cookware.
You can easily check your cookware to see if it would work on an induction hob, if a magnet sticks to the bottom of the pan, it will get hot on an induction hob.
So with this induction hob these new Timberline models can get a cast iron pan for instance up to 700 degrees for great searing after cooking within the pellet grill. But at the same time its much safer than a gas burner, and you obviously don’t have to worry about buying gas as well as pellets.
Simplfied Cleanup & Quicker Pellet Flavour Changes
An aspect of the new Timberline designs which I think is impressive and good to see is the attention that has been paid to make clean-up and making maintenance easier. First, let’s discuss this new design for grease and ash clean up.
Previously all Traeger models had a solid grease tray which fed grease into a side bucket or dedicated grease draw. Ash clean up required the user to remove all the contents of the pellet grill and get in there with a shop vac occasionally.
However, with these Timberline Gen 2 models Traeger has combined the grease and ash management into one simple quick solution (2-in-1 EZ Clean). All grease and ash are now collected into a single removable large cup under the grill and disposable foil cups are used.
If you’re like me you’re probably curious how Traeger created a design where the grease and ash are collected together. Well, the grease collector is a solid tray except for single large outlet on the left side above the collection bucket. The interesting part is going on underneath.
These new Timblerine Gen 2 models are fitted with a drop down pellet burn pot on the right hand side of the grill. In other words, the pellets now drop into the burn pot instead of an auger feeding the pellets up from underneath.
A drop down pellet burn pot has safety benefits as it makes burn back up the auger and into the hopper practically impossible. As part of this new burn pot design a more powerful combustion fan is being used which is blowing the ash out of the burn pot over to the left hand side where its collected in a funnel.
As they say ‘a picture is worth a thousand words‘ therefore, I’ve found an image of this new burnpot/ash collection design from an Ace Hardware video linked under the image below.
Proper Integration Of The Traeger StayDry Pellet Bins
Another feature of these new Timberline Gen 2 models which I was very happy to see is proper integration with their StayDry pellet bins. As pellets can go bad if exposed to moisture or high humidity, proper pellet storage is very important, but its usually been treated as an after thought by pellet grill manufacturers.
Persoanlly, this has always driven me nuts, as pellet density is so crucial to the efficient operation of a pellet grill/smoker, manufacturers should have been providing proper pellet storage solutions for many years.
Traeger has been selling their plastic StayDry pellet bins, but empting pellets from their existing Pro Series or Ironwood/Gen 1 Timberline models into those bins was not easy. Sure, most of the pellets would end up in the bin, but owners would often end up with pellets on the floor.
The Gen 2 Timberline models have been designed so the StayDry pellet bins can be slid on rails under the hopper and the pellet dump chute directs the pellets into the pellet bin without the user having to hold the bin at the same time.
Now, this design idea has actually been ‘borrowed’ from the Oklahoma Joe’s Rider pellet grills. But as I stated in my article on those pellet grills, it was only a matter a time before other brands implemented this pellet storage design, and everyone from manufactures to users is all the better for it.
Designed For Easy Outdoor Kitchen Integration
As the Timberline is Traeger’s top of the line range with a price to match, its pretty obvious that anyone looking to spend over $3K on a grill is also the sort of person that is at least considering a dedicated outdoor kitchen setup.
The Gen 1 Timberline models due to their support leg design were not really suited to be easily integrated into an outdoor kitchen setup. However, the cabinet design of these Gen 2 Timberline models means that’s now changed.
What you should notice from the video above is that Traeger has designed the side shelf with the induction cooktop on Gen 2 Timberline models to be removable. The induction hob can then be integrated into the counter next to the grill.
This provides for a nice streamlined designed for the Traeger Timberline Gen 2 to be integrated into an outdoor kitchen cabinet setup, maybe even with some modular stainless steel cabinets.
The Timberline Gen 2 vs The Competition
These second generation Timberline models feature similar construction to the first generation. With a powered coated steel outer finish and twin-wall insulated stainless steel internal construction.
Hence, while stainless steel is used internally, its not used for the external materials on these Traeger products. While at the $2K price point of the first generation Timberline models that could potentially be justified, I think its a harder sell with these second generation Timberline models when they cost in excess of $3K.
Granted, there are areas where the Timberline XL is superior to those pellet grills. For example, the Cookshack lacks a PID temperature controller or WiFi integration. The Coyote model also lacks WiFi/App support, which in my linked article above I find bizarre for a modern premium pellet grill.
Traeger with their WiFire integration and App are currently market leaders in that regard I believe, and these new Timberlime models feature an even stronger WiFi antenna for better reception and more reliable connectivity.
My Thoughts On The Traeger Timberline Gen 2…
So what are my final thoughts on these Traeger Timberline Gen 2 models. Well, I’m writing this article just a few weeks after the reveal and I don’t have any customer review videos I can reference, I’m purely going off the specs and price points of these new Timberline models.
I think the new drop down burn pot and grease/ash collection designs are an improvement and one of the best solutions found on any pellet grill currently on the market. I’m also a fan of the induction hob, I think its a great way to address the high heat searing limitations that Traeger’s have traditionally struggled with while avoid the potential safety implications of direct-flame access on the grill.
I’m also happy to see the proper integration of the plastic StayDry pellet bins to keep pellets in good condition and for easy flavour swaps. It also appears Traeger has stepped up their WiFire game further, and there is also now integration with wireless Meater thermometers.
However, charging close to $4K for a pellet grill with a powered coated steel outer body I think is a tough sell. Granted there are those Traeger faithful that will only buy a Traeger and not consider products from other brands, but rationally they should.
That’s it, I’m now going to work on my Timberline Gen 1 vs Gen 2 article. If you want to explore your wider options not just from Traeger check out my Wood Pellet Grill Guide which is a collection of my articles. Enjoy 🙂
Back in 2007 when I first become aware of pellet grills and smokers the only brand I was really aware of was Traeger. Traeger is really where this whole concept of cooking with pellets started in the 1980s. It was a ‘slow burner’ (pardon the pun) but since the 2010s is really when pellet grills and smokers started to get mainstream awareness, discussed alongside gas and charcoal grills. There are now over 30 pellet grill/smoker brands that I’m aware of, and the link above goes to my A to Z list of brands article.
Now, you may already be aware of a few of the other brands such as Pit Boss, Camp Chef, Z Grills and I’m sure you are aware of Weber, though you may not have known they have entered the pellet grill game. However, they are now many, many more brands to look into. Some may be what are commonly referred to as ‘Traeger clones’, but many others are offering their own unique designs and features.
A pellet grill/smoker is only as good as the BBQ pellets you put into it. The type/quality of the BBQ wood pellets you use will impact temperature performance and smoke flavour. There are many pellet flavours including Apple, Hickory, Mapel, Oak and Walnut to name but a few. However, some brands are hardwood blended pellets whereas others are 100% single wood species.
In this article, I provide details on over 20 brands of BBQ wood pellets, their range of flavours, whether they are 100% single wood species or hardwood blended pellets, their typical price and where they are available. I also provide tips on how to get the best deal when buying BBQ wood pellets and how to test pellet quality. Finally, I discuss the new kid on the block, charcoal pellets and their special attributes compared to all other hardwood BBQ pellets.