Well, it had been a few months since I added to the smoker count, so it was inevitable that I would get the urge to expand. Thanks to some Christmas cash (thanks Memaw and Pepaw) I have entered the world of pellet cookers. Or, as Jon Sibol said “Welcome to the dark side!” Appreciate the welcome Jon, but I didn’t become a Philadelphia Eagles fan; I just bought a new Traeger. OK, I keed I keed. But yes I’ve got a new Traeger Lil’ Tex Elite.
I’ve only used the Lil’ Tex a few times, but so far, “missa likein it maxibig”. (Note: now you too can speak like Jar Jar Binks. Check this site to translate your American English into Jar Jar speak). It’s incredibly easy to use, and it emits very little smoke. That’s a real plus if you live in a townhouse like us, especially when some people don’t enjoy the smell of smoking meat. Hard to believe, but there are some out there that don’t like the aroma of ‘cue. I think the person in question is probably a puppy hater too, but I have no interest in confirming my suspicion since I’d have engage in a conversation with her.
OK back to the Traeger. It’s easy to use and it burns clean, but how does it cook? Well, so far I’ve done chicken wings, chicken thighs and a rack of pork spare ribs. The wings were, quite frankly, some of the best I have ever tasted. Moist with a light smoke flavor not greasy at all like wings can be. As for the ribs, they were also very moist. Unfortunately, however, I overcooked them and they were falling apart when I picked them up with tongs. The taste was good; I just need to keep a closer eye on the dome temperature and compare to the digital temp at the grate. I suspect the grate temp is a little higher than indicated. The thighs were a disappointment. They were dry, and the skin was actually tough. That’s the first thighs I’ve cooked in more than six months that came out dry with tough skin. But, same as the ribs, I was probably cooking at a higher temp than I thought.
I am looking forward to using the Lil’ Tex over the next few months to try out some new recipes as well as tweak the tried and true ones. The Traeger cookbook is full of Traeger owner-submitted recipes, so I’ll have plenty to work with. And if you want your own Traeger, go see Larry Gray at Village Hardware in Alexandria. You can get Larry’s contact info here.
Can’t go wrong with organic chicken wings and Pork Barrel All American Spice Rub
Wings on the Lil’ Tex
Full load of wings, thighs and spare ribs
The finished wings