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 !

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).

Pizza – Nov 2020

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

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.

Schmokin

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

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

Continued below…..

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 and 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 Andoid / IOS app.
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.
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 broke !

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.
In the past I have had nothing but joy with Traeger USA and Treager EU DK, with warranty support and spares being brilliant. In fact I would say they have delighted and gone above and beyond. This is what I now refer to as the my “Bronson Period” – they were happy times.

The issues listed above in the “Cons” section coincide with what I like to call my depression inducing darker “D2 780 Period”.
It’s like customer support just did a u-turn on support.
Not sure if they’ve had a top down memo on trying to save money, but something has changed – and not for the good. I know the local UK guys and they are a great bunch, so I can only imagine this un-helpfulness is out of their hands and is being forced upon them from across the pond.

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 Brand. I guess I’m just pi$$ed at the direct marketing campaign telling you to buy some thing you can’t buy in this territory, especially as I think it will help resolve one of it’s weak points. Something summer only grillers might not ever notice, but for us year round garden botherers can pick up on.

As a distributor myself for a few high profile US brands that go into various locations on the UK high street and Amazon and various other large electronics retailers, I understand when we can’t offer certain products for technical reasons in that locale – due to voltages or radio banding and certification. I for the life of me cannot understand why Traeger cannot offer a product they promote and have interest in from a handful of owners. We have special order products that customers know are on long lead times due to container space. I would have thought that a similar policy would be a better business model. But hey ! Perhaps the business model is very different.

Happy Grilling Everyone.

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