This post is in partnership with Home Depot. All opinions are my own.
It’s no surprise Johnny and I love to cook. Ever since moving into our home, we’ve really enjoyed staying in and cooking our own meals even more. We really want our home to be a place where our families can come together and have a great meal. Growing up, I always had home-cooked meals, so carrying on this tradition is important to us.
Being from Texas, barbecue and steak are pretty fundamental. While I typically lean toward a plant-based diet most of the time, every once in awhile, I’ll enjoy a good steak. Home Depot carries all of the top grill brands, including Traegar. Johnny has always wanted a grill and the Traegar Pro 34 Pellet Grill checks all of the boxes for what he wants. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that it’s actually quite beautiful. Johnny’s the pro who uses the Traegar, so I’m going to let him take it away with the review.
I’ve been hearing about wood pellet grills for the past 2-3 years. We didn’t really have space…or the ventilation to have a grill anywhere we’ve lived so far hopping from apartment to apartment. I couldn’t even consider getting one. I’ve been stuck cooking steaks in our cast iron skillets and preparing the ladder to turn off the smoke alarm. We literally leave things out to fan out the smoke. I’ve fought off some kitchen flames too. The steaks were totally worth it.
Now, every Saturday while watching college football I can truly feel “Welcomed to the Traegerhood.”
If you’re a guy, you’ve likely heard about Traeger Grills…usually from your BBQ or grilling meathead friends like me who can’t stop talking about it like it’s a Ferrari they drove off the lot.
Home Depot delivers all grills purchased online for free. If you’re buying in-store, any grill more than $399 also gets free delivery and assembly. After it was delivered, the first impression is our neighbors certainly noticed. Once I filled in the wood pellets for the initial testing, you could see the smoky aroma attract people near and far. It wasn’t too long before neighbors walked by and nearly invited themselves over!
What Makes Wood Pellet Grills Different
I love how you can set it and forget it with Traegar‘s temperature gauge and temperature probes. I’ve seen enough friends spend early mornings and late hours tending to smoking a brisket that I’ve said “no, thanks!” and just bought my own.
The secret to cooking succulent meats is consistent heat, patience, and use of a temperature probe. There’s plenty of folks who do it “by feel,” but I’ve always found the help of a probe to target specific internal temperatures like 120 degrees internal temp for steaks or 165+ degrees for pork ribs make cooking these somethings finicky cuts more of a science.
They have an app that’s great for quick recipes and cooking tips. I won’t lie… we’ve spent a lot of nights watching Traegar recipes online. If you get some of the more upscale models, Traeger has the WiFire feature where you can even connect your phone to your Traeger to control your cook and really set it and forget it. You set a target internal temperature, stick a probe into what you’re cooking, and the Traeger stops the cook at the right time. Almost makes it too easy, hah! You’ll have everyone’s mouth watering who’s within smelling distance.
Now, with the precision of sous vide, the high heat of a grill, and the aromas from smoking, you can make all your favorite foods outdoors. I can see why people just call it a “Traeger,” vs. a Treager (grill, smoker, oven) You can cook grill, smoke, braise, roast, BBQ, and bake in this all-in-one outdoor beast of a machine. The aromas and flavors you’ll achieve are just incredible. If you’re a novice, don’t worry, there’s no burning, no flair ups… it’s just easy!
Our first cook was 9 turkey legs I brined overnight. With an 11 am kickoff for Texas Football, I woke up at 8 am and turned up the Traeger to 250 degrees. After laying the legs on a sheet track (I didn’t want to actually clean the grill after the first use), we left to run an errand. I don’t necessarily suggest having a live fire at home and then leaving, but I felt pretty confident. 3 hrs later, you couldn’t miss the smell the signature pellets and turkey legs. I felt like I was at the Texas State Fair. The turkey legs were fall-off-the-bone tender and utter perfection. Plus, it was so easy to make! I’m not sure I’ve eaten 4 turkey legs in a day before, but I did with ours. Let’s just not make it a habit.
The one consideration that kept me from buying an outdoor grill previously has been the clean up associated with it. But with the Traeger, they’ve got a pretty nifty setup making it easy for a lazy guy like me to clean. Just remove the rack and the bottom tray. Clean up and wipe down. Insert back in. Just like a toaster oven.
Next up, we did a reverse-seared ribeye steak, which is pictured here. I knew this thing could smoke like a king, but now I could test it as a true grill. Will it give me those signature sear marks?
It absolutely did. Our steaks were delicious and I’m eagerly awaiting some momentous occasion so I can do this again. The Traegar comes with temperature probes, so you can actually see what temperature the item you’re cooking is and monitor it that way. It’s better than constantly opening and closing the hood, which decreases the temperature.
Another thing I really enjoy about the Traegar is how Hoang-Kim can help me, too. Whether she does the prep work and I handle turning it on and getting it to temperature. If we need to flip something, she can handle it. She’s a great cook, so I’m not surprised, but I can understand how a grill can be intimidating. Something more delicate we’ll be trying soon is baking a pumpkin pie in it. We probably could’ve baked our cast iron corn bread at the same as our steaks!
Hoang-Kim back here 🙂 We revamped our backyard patio in September and it’s so fun enjoying meals outside. I’ll be honest: we are constantly moving the furniture and decor around. We know this patio is a bit on the smaller side, but until we have big landscaping plans and the money to pour more concrete and add raised flower beds, we aren’t doing anything so we have to make due with what we have.
This space is perfect for our immediate families so we can keep things intimate and safe during this time. We added a table runner, placemats and these lightweight dinner plates and bowls. I like to gravitate toward a neutral tablescape so the food can shine. After all, the Traegar made this beautiful steak, so we want it to be the star of the show.