Traeger TFT17LLA PTG+ 15″ Portable Electric Grill Review
Portable grills are popular with tailgaters, beachgoers, and camping enthusiasts. They are especially prized for RV tourists who want to be able to enjoy some grilled and smoked food, without always having to live with the standard fare offered when you are “On The Road.”
Most portable grills use liquid propane or charcoal. A few even use standard 110V electricity. Yet they are usually too small to do any real smoking. Wood pellet grills continue to grow in popularity for their ability to cover a wide range of temperatures, as well as giving outdoor chef’s the ability to cook meat with the classic “Slow and Low” method.
Traeger was a pioneer in the wood pellet grill industry. They virtually invented the marketplace, and have since infused it with a variety of units that vary in size. Their PTG 15-inch represents the smallest wood pellet grill in their line.
It has most of the typical wood pellet grill features. A modest wood pellet hopper, an internal auger system, and a fire pot. When lit the wood pellets produce a hot smoke to cook the food and infuse it with a smoky flavor.
The Traeger PTG 15-inch Wood Pellet Grill represents the smallest wood pellet grill and smoker in their line. It still requires a 110V electric source to operate the auger and other internal components.
The thermostat is rated to be accurate within 20 degrees + or -. You will find it is more accurate on warm days and when kept out of any direct wind.
The lid height measures in at just over 4.5 inches. This is big enough for a thick Steak, stuffed pork chops or a full bone-in chicken breast. However, it won’t accommodate something taller, like say beer can chicken.
Construction & Ease of Assembly
The quality of components and materials used in the Traeger PTG 15-inch Wood Pellet Grill have the company’s trademark quality and durability. The foible with it though might be its size. In certain applications, this wood pellet grill might just be too small.
Also, there is an accessory stand and cover that are sold optionally. For the price, it would be nice to see them included in the initial purchase.
Assembly is relatively simple. With the basic tools you have in a standard tool kit, and a little bit of mechanical skill it shouldn’t take you an hour to put the Traeger PTG 15-inch Wood Pellet Grill together.
Once you have it fully assembled Traeger recommends a Burn-In session to get it ready. Full instructions are included in the owner’s manual to help you do this correctly the first time.
The Traeger PTG 15-inch Wood Pellet Grill has some strengths and weaknesses when it comes to the things it can do. While wood pellet grills are typically prized for their versatility this one might be a little too small for certain things.
The 4.5-inch lid depth limits the height of the things you can grill and smoke. A small pork roast, beer can chicken, or other tall meats are simply not going to fit. At the same time, there isn’t enough overall surface area to say smoke a rack of ribs. Yet you could get some rib tips or riblets and lay them out just right to feed two, possibly three people.
Like most other wood pellet grills the Traeger PTG 15-inch Wood Pellet Grill uses indirect heat. On a technical level, it is capable of grilling a steak. It just won’t have the classic crust and sear marks that you might expect from a direct heat grill.
Consistency can also be an issue with this grill. Since it is so small, it’s hard for it to build up enough thermal mass to combat cold or very windy conditions.
The Traeger PTG 15-inch Wood Pellet Grill offers 173 square inches of cooking grate space. This is enough for perhaps four small hamburger patties, or enough bratwursts for five people. With proper placement, it could handle enough riblets for up to four diners. If you cook in batches, it could even handle four tinfoil-wrapped baked potatoes.
Ease to Clean
Like most products, in their line, the Traeger PTG 15-inch Wood Pellet Grill is relatively easy to clean. The drippings can occasionally get gummed up in the corner. Especially if you are making something that has a lot of excess marinade or runoff. Using a dry rub whenever possible will help minimize cooking chamber cleanup.
Due to its relatively compact size, the inside of the grill lid can start to build up a thin soot layer over time. If it isn’t cleaned away routinely, particles of this soot could fall on the food. Especially if you have a bad habit of slamming the lid.
You also need to remember to dump out the wood pellet hopper after every use. The wood pellets themselves are made from hardwood fibers. They are bound together in the pellet shape with all-natural lignin. This substance is what holds plant cells together in trees. Which means it is also water soluble. High humidity conditions could cause the lignin to weaken causing the individual pellets to merge into a hard-to-use brick!
Just like all their grills intended for residential use, the Traeger PTG 15-inch Wood Pellet Grill comes with a three-year full coverage warranty. This is a fair head and shoulders above the narrow slice of competitors in this niche.
The Traeger PTG 15-inch Wood Pellet Grill is made from quality materials and engineered to the best of their ability. Still, it might be a little too small to be as versatile as you would like. If you don’t care to smoke tall things, or you are just looking for a portable grill for the RV, it might still be right for you.
- Wood pellet grill efficiency
- Compact portable size
- Quality material and components
- Superior warranty
- A little small
- Not tall enough for large foods
- Inconsistent heating