The pellet smoker market in the UK is growing every year, as more and more Brits become enlightened to the value of a grill device which not only provides ease of control and usability, but also those authentic wood smoked flavours which make our mouths salivate every time we smell a proper wood fired BBQ. The fact is the BBQ grill market has become reliant on a core range of different grill types; each of which boast their own advantages and their own drawbacks.
For example, we love the convenience and complete control of a gas grill, yet we are reluctant to lose the authentic flavour and aroma that comes from a charcoal drum BBQ. And though we love the taste and flavour of a charcoal or wood fired BBQ, it’s temperamental reliance on good weather leaves us only able to grill our meat for a few sunny weeks every year.
The answer to all our grilling woes lies in the pellet smoker – a concept dreamed up by Traeger more than 30 years ago, as they brought the first 100% hardwood pellet smokers to the market as the champion of the BBQ smoker UK market. The concept has since gone from strength to strength, with Traeger now being matched at the top by brands such as Louisiana Grills and Pit Boss.
In this article, we at Buff BBQ have compared 2 of the premium products offered by Pit Boss and Traeger, to discover which is promising better value, a better user experience, and which should be at the top of your wish list.
Exploring the Pit Boss Austin XL
We want to use this opportunity to showcase 2 different brands through the eyes of one of their largest offerings, designed for entertaining and large gatherings – whether it be a mass outdoor BBQ or a large Christmas roast dinner. A great starting point for the Pit Boss Austin XL is its ability to provide not just a smoked piece of meat, but one which is grilled, baked, braised, seared… well, you get the picture. Pit Boss’ entire range of pellet smokers feature 8 cooking methods in 1 grill, with the device able to be adapted in line with your desired finish; shifting the adjustable flame broiler to cover or expose the direct flame and alter the internal cooking cavity and its primary use.
No doubt one of the highlights of the Pit Boss Austin XL, this means that the grill is just as good at cooking a roast chicken as it is as flame grilling a steak – and it’s super easy to use.
The cooking area in the Pit Boss Austin XL is huge, spanning a total of 930 square inches over 2 tiers, with the entire cooking chamber able to reach an impressive 500 degrees Fahrenheit at its maximum. In meat terms, this gives the Austin the cooking capacity of up to 52 burgers at any one time – perfect for your next party.
Moving on to the user experience, and the Pit Boss Austin XL features all the ease you would expect from a modern Pit Boss pellet smoker – with the digital external panel giving you complete control over the temperature and cooking time, and the attached grease bucket provides the ideal outlet for all the excess grease that would otherwise collect inside your grill.
The pellet capacity remains the same as the smaller models at 31lb, giving you plenty of time to smoke, grill or bake your way to perfection.
In terms of drawbacks, the Pit Boss Austin XL is sturdy but fairly difficult to take with you on the go. We would encourage you to look at the portable range of Pit Boss smokers if you want something you can move around with you.
Exploring the Traeger Pro D2 780
Again, this is one of Traeger’s larger models, with 2 built-in racks which allow the user to tier their meat according to exposure to the heat source and desired cook time. Though not matching the same cooking capacity as the Pit Boss Austin XL, instead sitting slightly below it at 780 square inches in total, the Traeger Pro 780 does feature a highly innovative drivetrain which allows the pellets to heat up much quicker, providing you with the ease of use which means your meat can get on the grill faster with more consistent results.
Traeger themselves market their grills with the phrase “as easy as using an oven”, referring to the digital display which allows you to check and adapt the internal temperature and cook time without even having to open the grill up – another factor which makes the Traeger an ideal pellet smoker or grill for all-year-round use. However, Traeger have taken this one step further with their WiFi connection, which allows the grill to be linked directly with a smartphone app for complete remote control, wherever you are.
Like the Pit Boss Austin, the Traeger 780 can reach a maximum temperature of 500 degrees Fahrenheit and can just as easily be dropped right down to a low and slow heat to provide the optimum smoking conditions – literally at the click of a button. It really is that easy.
Of course, Traeger are widely known as the premium provider of pellet smokers – and as such you will find that you pay the price for such a largely renowned brand, particularly when compared with the Pit Boss range which are all affordably priced with industry-leading 5-year warranty.
The final comparison
When it comes to catering for mass groups, year-round entertaining or simply enjoying the maximum space to spread your meat out and enjoy a premium cooking experience, both the Traeger and Pit Boss models deliver high end results and smoked meat perfection.
The primary comparisons sit around the cost bracket and the general capacity and cook space of the grills, with Pit Boss coming out on top in all respects thanks to their larger cooking surface and much lower cost.