The Bottom Line
This unit is sold as a grill but works equally well as a smoker. With an optional digital feeder control, you can get a low and slow temperature that is perfect for smoking for many hours. This is a pellet grill so it uses small wood pellets, similar to animal feed, that burner cleanly and efficiently. These wood pellets create all the heat and all the smoke so it is as close to smoking with hardwood as you can get without splitting logs.
The Traeger unit uses a controlled feeding mechanism so you won't have to keep too close an eye on this smoker.
- Clean, efficient fuel consumption
- Excellent grease management
- Easy clean up
- Requires specialized fuel
- Thermostatic controller not standard
- Recently suffered a decline in quality
- 418 square inches of total cooking area
- Solid state cooking system with auger feed pellet burner and autostart ignition
- 20,000 BTU burner output
- Operates on a standard 100-volt outlet
- Standard three position setting for the heat indicator
- Made in China
Guide Review - Traeger Pellet Lil' Tex
Wood pellets are a by-product of the wood industry that can be used to heat for cooking. Traeger has taken high quality, hardwood pellets and used them to make great barbecue. It works something like this:
Wood pellets, held in a small hopper are moved into the cooking chamber by a mechanical auger. In the center of the cooking chamber is a small firepot with a small electric heating element.
The heating element ignites the pellets to create the cooking heat and the smoke. During the ignition period (4 minutes) the unit uses 300 watts. After that, the unit uses 50 watts. This means that the electric usage is low and won't drive up your power bills.
Years of design improvements and practical testing have improved the Traeger grills and smokers to the point of being some of the best outdoor cooking equipment on the market.
Unfortunately, Traeger shipped its manufacturing out of their Oregon factory to a foreign factory and quality has suffered for it. While still a pretty good product, the Traeger grills of today are not what they used to be.
The Lil' Tex smoker is Traeger's smallest unit, but at 418 square inches of cooking space, you will have plenty of room for any family cookout. The thermostatic control unit is a necessary accessory, but will increase the price.
The wood pellets that this unit runs on are specialized fuel and you will need a good source of these to run your smoker. You can purchase them online. There are several companies that supply these pellets, including Traeger.