Review : Traeger Pro D2 780

So, a mixed bag really.

I’ve had a Traeger Bronson 20 for a few years now and have always loved it. I decided it was time to bite the bullet (heh BBQ joke) and upgrade to something with a bit more capacity.

After a bit of research the Pro D2 780 looked like the ideal contender – https://www.traegergrills.com/uk/en/pellet-grills/pro/780

I bought the 780 back in October 2020 through the wonderfully helpful and amazingly quick to deliver https://www.gardenbox.co.uk/ – Awesome service and a company that come highly recommended. It was a cracking deal as well – £899 and it came with 5 different flavours of Traeger wood Pellets, a Traeger pizza kit and a genuine Traeger cover.

The assembly process was as easy as it always is, with all tools, nuts, bolts, washers supplied. It wasn’t an easy one person job, as it’s bulky and heavy, but with two people – as the instructions state – it was completed in about an hour !

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Assembly – Oct 2020

Assembly done it was time to get the technology checked in. After following instructions letter for letter, connecting it to WiFi proved a little fraught. To cut a long story short – after about 5 days of bruising the forehead on the shed, and getting absolutely nowhere, installation of a wireless repeater solved the issue. It appears the antenna on the wireless module used in the D2 controller is about as effective as a chocolate teapot. My wireless router was in direct line of sight, about 4M from the grill, this isn’t enough to allow them to connect (I tried two different access points as well – both configured for 2.4GHz) . It could be seen, but just kept on dropping as soon as it connected. I bought a cheap “TP-Link RE200 AC750 Dual-Band Wi-Fi Range Extender”, this was setup, connected, and placed about 2M away from the 780 and voila – rock solid.

First cook, ironically was pizza – perfection. The high temp ** it can achieve produced perfect results – and being the first time I’d make Pizza from scratch the results impressed me and mum and even the step dad (who doesn’t eat cheese – weird fella).

(** see below – next paragraph)

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Pizza – Nov 2020

Next cook was the BBQers favourite – a nice low and slow brisket.

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Start Brisket – Nov 2020

The cook was awesome, and the brisket turned out perfectly wobbly. It took about 11hrs. What did surprise me was the way the unit chomped through pellets, after the rather frugal Bronson I’d been used to. Nearly two whole topped off hoppers of cherry in 11 hours. I put this down to to the larger volume as it wasn’t particularly cold at the start of November. A quick test again in April with the outside ambient at a balmy 12°C. ** Set the temp to 260° for pizza, with the 780 in the shack and little wind, after an hour and a half the most it could manage was 243°C.

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Schmokin

Review to be continued when we purchase a wee Thermal Insulation blanket to keep her warm, and see if it tames her appetite.

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The Shack

Well. March 2021. I was sent a promotional email by Traeger advertising said Thermal Blankets for all there models in mid January. Perfect I thought, so I clicked on the Link which took me to the Traeger USA website – which don’t ship to the UK – doh ! So I changed to the UK EU Website – Nothing listed for Insulating Blankets. Next step was to email Traeger UK wondering why on the one hand they’re pushing me to buy one via a direct marketing email, but on the other hand not allowing me to buy one by not stocking them in Europe. The answer to which was a rather disappointing “Thank you for your email however unfortunately we do not plan to be stocking this product in the UK or Europe this Year.”

A bit of a Traeger : “BUY THIS”. Me : “OK”. Traeger : “YOU CAN’T BUY THIS – HA!” situation.

At the same time I pinged them a message on social media (Twitter) @thatbrownzfella where the conversation went like this :

Dave Brown@thatbrownzfella

Hi Traeger, I’ve emailed you countless times, and messaged on Facebook a few times. You sent an email at the weekend about insulated blankets. Are you bringing the 780 one to Europe, or can you make it available to buy from the US site for us on the other side of the pond ??

Traeger Grills@TraegerGrills

Hey Dave, we don’t currently offer our insulation blankets in the UK, but our team is working hard to make them available to you as soon as possible. Keep and eye out and Traeger on!

Dave Brown@thatbrownzfella

Any idea of timescales for the above promise ? Are we talking weeks, months, years ? Or should I just bite the bullet and import one at scary costs ? I’m holding off finishing my review as I really want to see how it performs with one fitted.

Traeger Grills@TraegerGrills
Replying to @thatbrownzfella
Hey Dave, unfortunately, we do not have a solid timeline on this.


So, that feels like corporate speak for “never” to me !!

Tatties on the Traeger

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Brisket overnight

So – How can I summarise this wee review. Well honestly I guess !

As a grill.
Pros :
Love it – easy to use.
Perfect cooks every time.
User friendly awesome tech when up and running.
Easy to clean and maintain.
Fantastic build quality.
Wonderful assembly instructions, supporting tools, and nuts and bolts package.
Great accessories.
Great dealer support.

Cons :
– Widespread user reports of difficulty setting up and connecting WiFIRE® Controller and Android / IOS app. Could do with a retrofit upgrade of an external aerial to combat the connection issues.
– I experienced utter denial from US Customer Support when I contacted them to let them know that their latest Android Update was bricking app installations. I was told that it was “just a coincidence” that a bunch of 8 people, that evening, in a space of three hours, had all experienced exactly the same loss of connectivity issue since the Update Patch was released to Google Play store that evening. All running different hardware. But that was nothing to do with the release. (Turned out it was a global issue – Not a word of thanks for recognising, reporting it, or finding a workaround so quickly to get users up and running again via the Forums).
– It eats pellets like they’re going out of fashion. I’m an experienced Treager owner and keep my pellets indoors in a warm environment (cupboard in the flat !). This is comparing similar cooks against my old Bronson, and my neighbours 575.
– Registering your grill with Traeger – tried but failed many times on US website not recognised and EU website just a joke – it’s proper borked !

As a brand.
– I love cooking with my Traeger, and have been brand loyal and happy to promote them for years, including lot’s of recommendations that have led to confirmed sales. The proliferation of them as a grill in European KCBS Contests shows how popular they have become in the last few years. I’m sticking with it as I love it as a smoker, I love the practicality, and I still have a lot of time for the grill and the people that sell and support them over here. I guess I’m just pi$$ed off at the direct marketing campaign telling you to buy something you can’t actually buy in this territory, especially as I think it will help resolve one of it’s weak points – fuel consumption – something summer only grillers might never notice, but for us seasoned all year round snowy garden botherers; it’s something we can pick up on.

Happy Grilling Everyone.

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