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- Lulu Chang
- The Traeger Pro 575 Smart Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker may just be the reason that I turn grilling into a career.
- Thanks to WiFi connectivity that allows me to grill from practically anywhere and a free app with a wide range of creative recipe ideas, my culinary world has suddenly expanded significantly.
- A little under $800, this is one of the most capable grills I’ve seen in this price range and it’s certainly worth every penny to me.
Our caveman ancestors would be proud of the Traeger Pro 575 Smart Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker. Actually, “jealous” would be the more apt emotion triggered by the existence of the grill. Not only is this one of the smartest grills on the market, but it’s also one of the fastest cooking and most versatile machines I’ve ever put to use.
Had our predecessors had the luxury of cloud-connected grilling, there would have been ample time for both hunting and gathering. The WiFi connectivity of these smart grills (cleverly called WiFIRE) offers the gift of time, but perhaps more importantly, peace of mind.
I’ve been grilling up a storm in my backyard with the Traeger Pro 575, and here are my experiences with it.
Working off of wood pellets for a truly wood-fired taste, this grill offers six-in-one versatility. It can handle your run-of-the-mill grilling, but you can also bake, roast, braise, smoke, and barbecue. And because of the variety of wood pellets available (like alder, apple, oak, and pecan wood), you can achieve a wide range of tastes. It’s hard to believe that the same grill that sends off a mesquite-grilled sausage is also capable of firing up a baked salmon flavored with maple wood. But that, my friends, is the magic of this grill.
While you may think that cooking with wood pellets (and as a result, indirect heat) won’t get you equally delicious results as food cooked over an open flame, the Traeger is here to prove you wrong. I had far greater control over the exact temperature of the grill, and the entire process was far less messy (and therefore easier to clean up), yielded more consistent results, and the cook time was actually much faster. In short, I’ve never enjoyed grilling more than I have with the Traeger Pro 575.
Traeger says that you’ll need two people in order to actually get your new grill up and running, and it’s not wrong.
While putting together the grill is relatively straightforward, the difficulty comes in actually lifting the heavy pieces of the machine, which you’ll have to do a number of times in the process. And at 128 pounds total, you don’t want to break your back before you get to chow down on the meat or veggies you’re about to grill.
That said, outside of dealing with the weight of the grill, putting the pieces together is considerably easier than, say, putting together Ikea furniture. While you’ll still be working with pictograms that aren’t the most intuitive to follow, Traeger makes things easier by labeling boxes with things like “Start Here” and clearly marking the various nuts and bolts for easy assembly. All in all, it took my boyfriend and me about 45 minutes to fully assemble the grill – not bad for an afternoon’s work.
Once that’s done, plug it into a power source and you’re almost there.
Priming the grill
Before you actually get to the meat of using the grill (so to speak), you’ll first need to run an initial seasoning cycle.
You do this by adding wood pellets to the hopper, turning on the grill, and selecting the Prime Auger option from the menu screen. By running your grill through a full cooking cycle without actually cooking anything, you’ll burn off any residual chemicals that may have resulted from the manufacturing process, which generally results in safer (and tastier) food the first time through.
- Lulu Chang
Using the grill
And now, the important stuff.
While I’ve never been a particularly vocal proponent of WiFi-enabled cookware, I’ll hand it to Traeger – the WiFIRE aspect makes it one of the most user-friendly grills I’ve ever used.
Thanks to the connection to my phone, I can now grill, quite literally, from anywhere I’d like. That way, rather than being chained to my station during a cookout, I’m actually able to participate in the fun and hang out with friends and family while the food cooks itself.
The app (available on iOS and Android) also makes it possible to set timers, monitor food temperatures, and of course, leverage the expertise of the GrillGuide, which offers hundreds of downloadable recipes that can be sent straight to the Pro 575. My favorite so far? The smoked apple pie. Yes, smoked apple pie.
While WiFIRE was once only available in Traeger’s most expensive model, it’s now standard in all of the company’s new grills, making the entire lineup far more attractive for grilling newbies.
The Pro 575 is the perfect size for an at-home griller. With 572 square inches of grilling area, you have more than enough room for eight (very large) burgers – at least, the way we did it. In fact, the brand says it can cook 36 burgers, six racks of ribs, or six whole chickens at once.
If you don’t need both racks to cook protein, you can use the second one for grilling corn and other vegetables, or as a holding place for proteins that perhaps need a bit less heat. Aside from the impressive grilling capacity, there are also a number of bells and whistles that help the Pro 575 stand out from the rest of the crowd.
First, there’s the so-called D2 Direct Drive. Thanks to the variable speed fan and auger of this grill, heat distribution and control is much improved when compared to other wood pellet grills, and to the standard gas or charcoal variants you may be accustomed to. Thanks to the related Turbotemp technology, the Pro 575 got hot enough to start grilling in just a couple minutes, which meant that I could begin cooking on my timetable, rather than that of my grill’s.
Also included with your grill is a meat probe, which gives you an exacting internal temperature reading of your various cuts of protein. This can be particularly useful when cooking larger cuts of meat or fish – rather than having to defile that filet by cutting it in half, you can just insert the temperature probe and see if it’s reached optimal temperature.
Here are the major specs, with a full comparison against other Traeger grills here:
- Main Grill Grate Dims (In): 22 W X 19 D
- 2nd Tier Grill Grate Dims (In): 22 W X 7 D
- Total Cooking Space (Sq. In.): 572
- Hopper Capacity: 18
- Assembled Dims: 41 W X 27 D X 53 H
- Barrel Width: 22
- Color: Black/Bronze
- Max Temperature: 450º F
Cons to consider
Despite the many praises that I have sung and will continue to sing about the Pro 575, it’s not without its issues.
The most apparent is the need for an electrical outlet to power up the grill. If you don’t have one in your yard or you’re truly looking to grill in the great outdoors, this isn’t necessarily the grill for you. After all, what with its cloud connectivity and smart features, it’s not exactly the most down-to-earth piece of machinery you could use to cook your dinner.
I will also say that the wood pellets, unfortunately, are not quite as easy to come by as charcoal or propane. If you’re aware that you’re running low on the pellets, you’ll want to stock up sooner rather than later on Amazon – it’s been my best bet in terms of acquiring wood pellets rather than heading over to the local general store.
The bottom line
All things told, the Traeger Pro 575 has made for a series of standout grilling performances.
Not only am I now able to actually enjoy grilling as a result of being freed from my constant monitoring duties, but I’ve also been able to experiment with a much wider range of cooking techniques and dishes from braised pork to baked pies to a smoked sausage.
And if that’s not a reason to look forward to summer, I’m not sure what is.