The Traeger Pro Series 34 smoker is among Traeger’s popular originals that brought pellet grills to the map. But despite having none of the bells and whistles that the modern Traeger models have, you can’t dispute its solid build, durability, and heat controls.
I had the time to test the Pro Series 34. So, in this Traeger Pro series 34 review, I’ll tell you everything I observed about this popular under $1,000 pellet grill. I’m also going to take you through the differences between this pellet grill and other models from Traeger and other brands like Pit Boss. So, with this Traeger Pro Series 34 review, you should be able to make an informed decision.
The Traeger Pro Series 34 is a portable pellet grill and smoker with an electric auger system. It’s a versatile 6-in-1 grill that you can use to grill, smoke, roast, braise, bake, and BBQ your food to perfection.
It has two meat probes for checking the meat’s temperature. The Digital Pro Controller with Advanced Grilling Logic, porcelain plates, and the meat probes are the main features of the Pro Series 34 pellet smoker.
The series 34 pellet grill has its hopper at the left side of the grill. Simply lift the hatch, then get this pellet chamber full of pellets, whatever flavor you want to use.
On the control system, use the knob to set the grill to whatever temperature you want. You have between 180 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
There’s an auger system at the bottom of this system that will feed pellets into the middle of the grill. The pellet fuel will go into a really hot firebox. That firebox ignites the pellets and that’s what provides the heat and the smoke flavor.
There are fans in that firebox that move the heat around the grill so it’s very much like you’re cooking with a convection oven.
The Traeger is ideal for meat that needs an indirect cooking process. It’s perfect for low and slow briskets, ribs, chuck roasts, and other food that need indirect heat. This also works as a grill or for when you need to do a direct sear cooking. Searing requires at least 450 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. The Traeger, therefore, meets the minimum temperature requirement.
Getting your smoker fired up really only takes about five minutes. But once the pellets are smoking, the smoker is going to stay at the temperature you set it to.
One of the key benefits of this pellet smoker relative to a charcoal grill is you don’t have to sit there and man your grill for the entire time. You just set it and forget it.
Here are the features and benefits I liked most about this machine:
The first thing I like about the Traeger Pro Series 34 first is its sheer capacity. When you check under the hood, there is 41 by 27 inches of cooking space. Overall, that gives you just under 900 square inches of cooking space. The grill gas two racks or cooking grates.
The primary grate has 646 cooking space and the secondary cooking grate has 238 square inches.
I’ve had six racks of ribs that were oversized racks and even 20 pounds of bacon. This gives you a ton of room to work with if you’re having a big backyard bash.
Traeger also makes the Pro Series 22 version that’s a little bit smaller. However, the 34 version offers a large cooking surface.
You’ll notice the overall build quality of the series 34 pellet grill when putting this together. And it’s super easy to assemble. They were manufactured in Salt Lake City, Utah. So if you like US-made grills, this is a great grill. But I learned Traeger moved its manufacturing base to China so recently made models may not be US-made.
Despite how classic this Traeger Original is, there are still a lot of good features on it. There’s a spot for a temp probe that works with the two meat probes in the chamber. The dual meat probes are built right into the Digital Pro Controller system. So you can just press a button on the Digital Pro Controller and check the internal temp.
When this arrives, it takes about an hour to put it together. And for the most part, you can do it yourself at home.
First, you can use different types and flavors of pellets. Traeger themselves have hickory, apple, maple, and more. You can even try your own mix. You can blend two of those pellets together depending on the food that you’re smoking.
Here, you can really hone your pellet smoking skills to get that flavor profile that you’re looking for.
The startup is also really easy on this system. It only takes about two minutes to get the smoker rolling. Then you need between three to five minutes to actually get the chamber up to your cooking temperature depending on where you’ve set it.
The hopper itself has a size capacity of 18 pounds of pellets. This is enough to serve the entire cooking space with heat and smoke for hours.
By buying a bag of the Traeger Grills wood pellets, you’ll still have some 2 pounds left after filling the grill’s hopper to capacity. The fuel in the Traeger’s pellet bag product weighs 20 pounds.
You’re generally going to be burning somewhere between a pound to two pounds an hour depending on the set temperature.
So once you have the pellet hopper filled with fuel, you’ve got loads of fuel to run for at least 10 hours. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing. The cost of running this grill is not that expensive relative to a gas grill.
The Traeger wood pellets cost a dollar per pound. So that means you’re spending as low as $10 for every 10 hours of smoking at around 250 degrees.
The grill also consumes electricity. Without it, the auger that turns the pellets into the grill, the fan that radiates the heat, and the controls will not work.
Traeger pellet grills use around 250 watts of power during ignition to burn the pellets. After this, it only consumes 25 to 45 watts. But Traeger Grills are perhaps the best energy-efficient pellet grills as most grills consume 300 to 500 watts during startup and 50 watts continuously.
The easy temperature settings and range of this grill make it really versatile. You can do as low as 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
This is perfect if you’re doing ultra-low and slow smoking as I do with my bacon.
Or do you want to crank the grill up to high temperatures? Then you can go up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the ambient external temperature conditions.
And that’s great if you know you’re doing a reverse sear steak and you need to bring that temperature up quickly. This makes the Traeger Pro Series 34 a versatile grill.
What I’m going to tell you below are not actually deal-breaking downsides. They’re just a couple of things you should know about the grill before bringing it home.
Like most wood pellets smokers, Traeger Pro Series 34 works with electricity. So you always have to be relatively close to a plug or have a long extension cord. You need it as that’s what’s firing the auger system.
Secondly, as thick as the heavy-gauge steel is, it still doesn’t do quite well under winter conditions. The grill is not double-walled. So you’ll need an insulated blanket such as this one from Camp Chef.
This will help retain the heat of the main cabin. But without that, when you lift the smoker’s lid in winter, you will really lose a ton of heat very quickly.
The Traeger Pro Series 34 grill will cost you about $700. The Traeger Grills Pro Series 22 costs about $100 less but with toned down size and features. Outside of the Traeger lineup, one of the most similar in construction is the Pit Boss PB440D2. The Traeger costs about $400 more than the Pit Boss or Z Grills but most Z Grills and Pit Bosses are smaller in size than the Traeger model.
Overall, the Traeger Grills Pro Series 34 is sold for a reasonable price. Compare it with the smaller Weber SmokeFire EX4, you’ll find this Traeger grill is about $400 cheaper. The grill has a considerably large cooking surface and it cooks evenly. But of course, it’s not a Weber quality.
Another reservation people have with pellet grills like the Traeger Pro Series 34 is the whole cleaning process. For example, if you don’t clean the ash container as you should, you may have a problem with the auger system back-feeding the pellets.
However, there are really only three things that you need to be cleaning.
Firstly, make sure that your pellet hopper doesn’t get full of dust. You want nice full clean pellets in there all the time. After a long time of not using the machine, you need to take a step back and clean it out.
There’s a little practical trapdoor on the bottom if you need to empty unused pellets. This also helps with changing your pellets.
I like the hopper cleanout feature of this grill. The hopper cleanout feature means don’t have to stop the cooking to change your pellets.
The second thing that needs regular cleaning is the drip tray and the drip bucket. The drippings always end up on a tray. But for less cleaning, you may cover it in tin foil.
And then there’s a drip bucket at the end. Although you can use tin foil, Traeger has liners both for the drip tray and the bucket. These make it really effortless and you don’t have to do it after every cook.
As the augers feed pellets into the fire pot, you’re creating a bunch of ash that will need to be vacuumed out.
But it takes just two minutes to clean. You just need to remove your racks, remove the drip tray, get down in there with a shop vac, and boom!
They’re way lower maintenance than some people make them out to be. So I wouldn’t view that as a real material drawback to a pallet grill like this.
If you want to get into pellet grilling, the Traeger Pro Series 34 is one of the best pellet grills out there. It’s ideal for those who don’t need wireless connectivity or other digital features on a grill but just want to grill or smoke meat.
The smoker is sold at just the right price and the running cost isn’t all that high. Again, you’re burning between a pound to two pounds of pellets an hour. A 20-pound bag of pellets of about $20 is enough for 20 hours of smoking.
I love the simplicity of just being able to set it and forget it. You can keep a constant temperature throughout the whole part of your cook. These make it in my mind an absolute no-brainer for beginners and anyone who likes a smoker with no frills.