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Tried & Tested: The Traeger Ranger barbecue

Publisher - Great British Food Awards
published by

NatashaLS

Aug 25, 2020
7 minutes to read
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A bit of background:

Traeger’s motto is taking ‘the BBQ back to its roots’. Indeed The Salt Lake City-based company, which developed the very first wood pellet-fuelled barbecue over 30 years ago, specialises in using 100% natural hardwood fuel in its high-tech grills. This infuses food with delicious smoky flavour, combining old and new cooking techniques with delicious results.

Who is it for?

It’s worth noting that Traeger’s grills are at the higher end of the spectrum when it comes to price; the cheapest and smallest model (the Ranger) starts at £499, while some of the larger models come in at over £2,000. However, all of the barbecues are very versatile (you can use them for grilling, smoking, baking, roasting, braising and more) and absolutely top of the range when it comes to ease of use and technology. If you’re the kind of cook that likes to grill all year round, we’d say they’re a fantastic investment.

How it works:

We tested out the Ranger, which is marketed as a compact travel grill for camping or balcony grilling, but it’s also great for those with a smaller garden or patio space (providing you have a power source nearby). If you’re not familiar with pellet grills, they burn small hardwood pellets that are delivered to a fire pot via a slow turning electrically powered device (kind of like a large corkscrew).

To set it up you first need to run through the ‘seasoning’ process, a one-time initial firing up process that ensures your grill works properly going forward. This should take about an hour and detailed instructions will be included in your pack. Once this has been done you’re ready to cook!

One of the things that impressed us the most was how quickly the grill reached the set temperature - and consistently stayed at it provided there was enough fuel. The temperature can easily be increased or decreased using the handy controller and LCD screen - great for crisping up meats at the end of cooking. The meat probe is another boon; it allows you to check the temperature of your food without lifting the lid, ensuring perfectly cooked meat every time. Fats and any excess juices are also collected in a little silver bucket at the back of the grill, stopping flare ups and keeping things clean. As you might have gathered, the Ranger essentially offers you much of the convenience of a proper oven, with the extra fun and flavour of grilling outside over fire.

Best bits:

*The Digital Arc controller allows you to set the temperature within 5 degree increments

*The cooking grates are coated in porcelain for super easy cleaning

*A digital meat probe is included, allowing you to check the temperature of your food without lifting the lid, while the ‘keep warm’ function comes in really handy for entertaining.

*As well as coming with a classic barbecue grate, the grill also includes a solid griddle plate - great for cooking pizzas, flatbread or even grilled cheese sandwiches.

*As with all Traeger grills there are lots of different types of wood pellet to choose, from cherry and apple to oak and pecan, so you’ll have fun experimenting with the subtle difference in flavour each offers.

*Despite being a ‘compact’ model, the cooking surface can hold a rack of ribs, six burgers, 10 hot dogs, or even a whole chicken, so it is absolutely fine for cooking for quite a few people.

Any cons?

For a portable grill it’s quite heavy and does require electricity, so outdoor use will be limited for some. The high price point may put some cooks off but, again, if you like to grill all year round it’s a sound investment.

The Ranger is available from National Garden Centres and barbecue specialists across the country.

Riverside Garden Centre

Hayes Gardenworld

BBQ World

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