Traeger Ironwood 650 review: is the Wi-Fi enabled BBQ and smoker worth the hype?

·4-min read
 (Traegar )
(Traegar )

What is it about summer sunshine that makes you want to devour flame-grilled… everything?

We haven’t commissioned an official study, but from our findings (asking our mates), we’re sure golden rays and higher temperatures are directly linked to our need to barbecue ourselves into oblivion every weekend from now until the end of BST.

BBQs have come on leaps and bounds as companies find ways to incorporate bigger and better features into garden variety grills.

American BBQ expert Traegar is one of the leaders in offering machines that can not only grill and smoke your prime cuts and veggies to perfection, but uses Wi-Fi to tell you when it’s perfectly cooked, unshackling you from the heat and letting you get on with the important business of kicking back with a cold one.

We tried Traegar’s Ironwood 650 (£1,499) a compact machine that promises to elevate the humble cookout to the next, delicious level.

 (Traegar)
(Traegar)

Traegar Ironwood 650 - features at a glance

  • Downdraft exhaust & Super Smoke mode

  • Pellet sensor

  • Dual position smoke/sear bottom grate

  • WiFIRE technology

  • D2 grill controller

  • Double side wall interior

  • Included meat probe

  • Porcelain-coated grill grates

  • All-terrain locking castor wheels

  • Grill tool hooks

  • 4194 sq cm grilling area (650 square inches)

  • Dimensions: H118.1 x W116.6 x D65.5cm

Building the Traeger Ironwood 650

The grill comes packed in a number of boxes, so self-assembly is required. Grab a pal and get stuck in; instructions are simple enough to follow and you’ll soon (approximately an hour) find yourself standing in front of the finished result. It’s a good idea to build it in your prime position because once fitted with the legs and wheels, it needs two people to lift. Not a problem if you’re setting it on the patio or upon decking or garden tiles, but it may be tricky to move across grass.

Programming the Traeger Ironwood 650

With so many controls and features, figuring out how best to use the Ironwood took a little time: how to set the temp, how much of the wood chips to add, how to empty it afterwards, or how and when to use the super smoke option, for example. Luckily there’s plenty of info online from other Traegar fans as well as guidance on the app. The internet also has lots of helpful clips to watch.

Cooking with the Traeger Ironwood 650

 (Jane Palmer)
(Jane Palmer)

We’ve used it three times so far this summer; twice to cook whole chickens, and once to cook a butterflied leg of lamb, with the juices from the meat dripping down from the 650 square inch cooking area onto potatoes roasting on a tray underneath. We used the meat probe to tell us when the food was done instead of the previous method of simple guesswork.

The chickens emerged juicy and tender, and the lamb was like no lamb we’ve made before. Medium rare, so tender it made us weep with joy, and packed with delicious flavour. The potatoes underneath really benefited from the lamb fat raining down on it, turning out crispy and delicious. With plenty left over, the lamb was amazing and tender the following day too.

 (Jane Palmer)
(Jane Palmer)

We’re already planning what’s next: brisket, ribs and chicken wings are all on the agenda.

Traeger Ironwood 650 - the WiFIRE test

Fire may be an invention almost as old as time itself, but in the 21st century, it turns out the element can be tamed by the all-encompassing power of Wi-Fi. Traegar’s grill uses an app to help you monitor your food, tweak the temperature and if you’re hungry for inspiration, allows you to search for more than 1600+ recipes. The app will even let you know when you’re running low on pellets, thanks to the sensor fitted inside the machine - genius!

Your home router needs to be less than two meters to the grill to connect it to your Wi-FI, something to note when deciding where to place the Ironwood 650. It’s either that or getting a Wi-Fi extender or, for extreme BBQ lovers, moving your router if possible.

Of course, this doesn’t stop you from using the grill/smoker manually, or accessing the hundreds of recipes for inspiration for your next meal.

Need to know- Traeger Ironwood 650

  • It takes a little longer than expected to heat up, so it certainly isn’t something to crack open on the spur of the moment.

  • Plan when you’re going to use it and what you are going to cook on it to allow enough cooking time: some recipes take hours!

  • The timer option is your BBQ BFF: use it and you will be rewarded.

  • The porcelain coated grill-plates mean it’s pretty easy to clean, although we haven’t yet cooked anything with sticky BBQ glaze, so that will be the ultimate test. The drip trays work well.

- Additional testing by Jane Palmer-Drislane

Traegar Ironwood 650

Now with 20 per cent off at John Lewis.

Buy now £1199.20, John Lewis

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