The Bottom Line
The monster of the Traeger Pellet Grill line, the XL boasts 850 square inches of cooking space, which is big enough for a small whole hog or 16 racks of ribs. At around $2,000USD, this is Traeger's largest and most expensive pellet grill. The pellet hopper holds more than 42 pounds of pellets in front of the cooker, under what serves as a work space. This is big enough for catering or competing, but ultimately it is still a Traeger which means a little less than ideal quality.
- Very large cooking area
- Primitive 10-position dial pellet controller
- Maximum temperature of 450 degrees F
- 850 square inches of primary cooking area
- 40,000 BTU maximum output pellet burner
- 150 to 450 degrees F/65 to 230 degrees C temperature range
- 42.5-pound capacity pellet hopper mounted on the side
- Steel cooking grates
- Simple 10-position electronic temperature control unit with two meat probes
- Powder coated steel construction
- Made in China by Traeger Wood Pellet Grills
Guide Review - Traeger XL Pellet Grill
Traeger, of course, is the inventor of the pellet grill. For years they enjoyed a near monopoly on the idea while their patents held. Once those patents expired, an army of imitators and innovators hit the market. Currently, I count 16 different manufacturers in the market space producing some 60 models of pellet grills and I am probably missing a few. Traeger correctly predicted all this and choose to leverage their brand name and experience against all comers.
To do this, they shipped manufacturing to China to hold down production costs and then they marketed. It is their marketing and access to retailers that keep them strong. Traeger pellet grills can be found virtually everywhere. Traeger has been criticized for sacrificing quality and innovation for market share, but it is hard to argue with the results.
Traeger still dominated the market space and is the loudest advocate of pellet cooking.
The Traeger XL is their largest unit and over the years this model has been used for catering and competing in barbecue. While still basically a grill, this is used more as a smoker. The large cooking surface and high capacity pellet hopper makes it much better at low and slow cooking than high temperature grilling, but then again this is generally true of most pellet grills.
While a competent pellet grill (including all the limitations pellet grills are prone to) the overall construction quality of this Traeger remains relatively low. While a large grill with all the necessary equipment to make it a pellet grill (motors, fans, auger, etc) it only weighs 233 pounds, which sounds like a lot, but for a unit that is more than four feet wide and about three feet deep, it isn't much. It is relatively lightweight because the metal body of the grill is thin and the lid does not close tightly. This means that this pellet grill is not as efficient as it could be or able to hold in higher temperatures on a cold and windy day.
Traeger does not build a bad pellet grill, and the ML has a number of features to like.
At around $1,000USD, it is inexpensive for a pellet grill, but there is a lot of competition these days and many of those companies have worked to innovate both design and functionality.