Traeger Junior Elite Pellet Grill Review

9.0
9.0 score
[Editors rating (9.3) + Users rating (8.0)] / 2 = Janes Kitchen Miracles score (9.0)/10


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Editor rating: 9.3 / 10
User's rating: based on 1 user ratings
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Pros

Temperature stays constant

Great for slow cooking

Convection blower installed

Easy to assemble

Cons

Amateur cooks may have a few difficulties learning how to cook with it at first

Traeger Junior Elite Pellet Grill Review

The Traeger company is known as one of the pioneers in the pellet smoking and grilling industry. The company has grown into one of the most popular and trustworthy brands on the market ever since opening their doors in the 1990s, and when people hear the word Traeger, they think of quality, durability and dependability. Their grills were originally only offered in limited quantities to select regional areas, but as word spread about their products, the company ramped up production to meet consumer demands.

The Junior Elite is Traeger's upgraded version of their compact Junior Pellet Smoker; the company added a few new features like a digital temperature control module to maintain the temperature inside of the unit's cooking chamber. The unit is geared towards professional and amateur home chefs alike, and its size makes it perfect for people who don't want to deal with an immobile and bulky grill.

Digitally controlled pellets keep the unit's temperature at a consistent level; users never have to worry about temperature fluctuations due to cold weather, wind, rain or snow. Pellet grills allow users to set the temperature of their grill, and they can leave knowing that it will never fluctuate. The digitally controlled thermometer automatically releases pellets when the temperature needs to be adjusted. You can literally set the grill up at night and find it at the same temperature when you wake up in the morning; this allows you to slow cook or smoke savory pieces of meat without any hassle.

Features

Digital thermostat controls
Ample 15” x 20” cooking area; 292 square inches of cooking space
Convection blower to make sure all food is cooked evenly
Easy drain cleanup system
Auger to feed pellets into the firebox
Steel construction for durability
Porcelain coated grill grate
Versatility; the unit can be used for smoking, grilling, baking, and roasting

What We Like

The digital thermostat on the Traeger Junior Elite allows users to grill and smoke their meat without attending to it regularly; when you know that the unit's temperature is precise, you don't have to check on it every couple of minutes to make sure that it isn't burning or under-cooking your meat. When you set the temperature, the unit controls the pellets and airflow automatically to make sure that the temperature stays constant.

There's nothing worse than a grill that has hot and cold spots; when this happens, you never know if your meat is grilling properly. The manufacturers of the Traeger Junior Elite solved this problem by installing a convection blower inside of the unit's cooking chamber.



When the blower turns on, it circulates hot air throughout the cooking chamber, so you always know that your food is being cooked at a consistent temperature; it doesn't matter where you place your food on the grate. You can choose to use direct or indirect heat when cooking your food, and the convection blower always maintains a steady temperature.

The Traeger Junior Elite can be started with the push of a button; there is no lighter fluid, fire or gas involved. The electric ignition gets the grill going quickly; all you have to do it set the temperature and make sure that the grill has enough pellets in its hopper.

When you add your food, most of the grease and drippings are caught in the unit's grease drain system, so you don't have to spend much time cleaning it after you use it.

The Traeger is very easy to put together. When you first receive the grill, you get the main unit, some bolts, the unit's legs and the burner/feeder. You use three bolts in each leg, and you use four bolts to attach the burner/feeder. The instructions are very easy to follow, and you can easily get the unit assembled in under an hour; most people manage to do it in just a couple of minutes.

The Traeger Junior is small, but it's a powerhouse when it comes to smoking, grilling and cooking. The unit weighs 68 pounds, and its heavy-duty construction can easily withstand quite a bit of abuse; you never have to worry about the unit breaking due to inclement weather or shoddy construction. It's a solid unit that will last you for years.

Most people are skeptical when they first hear about pellet cooking; when they finally try the Traeger, they are pleasantly surprised when it works better than gas or charcoal. With the digital thermostat, you can set the temperature and forget it, and you don't even have to turn your food over when it is cooking because of the convection blower.

When your food comes out of the Traeger, it has an authentic wood smoked flavor that you just can't get with a gas or charcoal grill. If you want to smoke your meat, simply adjust the settings and let the unit do its thing. You can buy pellets from Traeger's website, and they ship directly to your door; there are no shipping costs.

Who is This Smoker For?

The Traeger Grill wood pellet grill is one of the few unique smokers in the market today. If you are one of those who love highly sophisticated appliances capable of performing multiple functions, then this is the right unit for you. This Junior Elite unit uses the traditional firewood method to perform various cooking functions such as grilling, smoking, baking, roasting, and braising. There is certainly a lot to enjoy from this unit. Let us take a look at the kind of people it is best suited for.

The first set of people the Traeger Grills is best suited for are people who do not only want a smoker, but an appliance that can perform several other cooking functions as well. Having to purchase an appliance each for the various types of food you love cooking will not only overcrowd your kitchen, but will also be a waste of money. With this grill, you can save money and at the same time get to prepare the foods you love perfectly well.

The second set of people that this grill is perfect for are those who love sophisticated equipment. The Traeger Grills is not sophisticated in the sense that it packs numerous electronic controls. Of course it doesn’t use electricity. However, it is sophisticated in the sense that the various cooking functions it provides you with require practical knowledge. If you are the type with so much time and the eagerness to experiment, you can try to learn the various cooking methods yourself. If not, simply learn from an expert.

If you own a barbeque shop or restaurant, then this unit is definitely the best for you. Apart from the fact that it can perform several cooking functions, it has a 300 square inch grilling area which is large enough to comfortably accommodate 18 hotdogs, 2 whole chickens, and 12 burgers. With a space as large as this, you can successfully operate a barbeque shop with a few orders coming in at once.

As for home use, if you ask me, I will say yes; but as long as you have a large family, or a host of friends who love hanging around. Remember that the grill should not be used indoors so if you really feel this is the unit for you, create a comfortable space just outside of your kitchen where you can install it.

Considering the high quality of this unit and the fact that it boasts of many features, it is just natural to expect that it will be expensive. At a little above $400, it may appear too expensive for some, but what matters most is the fact that it gives value for money. You will definitely fall in love with it in the long run. If however, you are on a tight budget or think the unit is too large for you, you can check out other smaller and less costly options on our blog.