Traeger Renegade Elite Review

traeger-renegade-elite-review

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Traeger seems to have dropped the Renegade Elite from their official website, in favor of the Junior elite and their portable tailgater pellet grill.

Having said that, the Traeger Renegade Elite is still available at various retailers and remains a popular small pellet grill in the sub 500 dollar price range.

In this review, we’ll run through all the features and quirks of this grill, and see how it compares to the other options at this price point.

Traeger Renegade Elite Overview

If you’ve never heard of pellet grills, we go into a lot more detail in other articles on this site, but essentially they work by feeding wood pellets through an auger into a firepot where they catch fire and produce heat and smoke.

They are highly convenient and versatile grills, which make amazing smokers.

Traeger Grills TFB38TCA Renegade Elite Wood Pellet Grill
  • Never use gas or charcoal again: cooking with wood just tastes better. Traeger created the original wood-pellet grill as the ultimate way to achieve wood-fired taste.
  • Versatile barbecue cooking: hot and fast, or low and slow, the Traeger renegade Elite pellet grill offers 6-in-1 versatility to grill, smoke, Bake, roast, braise, and BBQ food to juicy perfection
  • Grilled to perfection every time: integrated digital Elite controller keeps temps within +/- 20 degrees F and makes setting the grill temperature as easy as turning a dial

The Renegade Elite is slightly smaller than the similar Lil Tex Elite (380 v 418 square inches).

It is a little larger than the Tailgater portable pellet grill which offers 300 square inches of cooking space.

We’ll go into more in-depth comparisons later down in this review.

Traeger Grills TFB38TCA Renegade Elite Wood Pellet Grill

The Renegade Elite features convenient digital controls and a simple temperature display, making it easy to use.

The pellet hopper is 18″ which is decent for a grill of this size.

You also get wheels for rolling the Renegade around your backyard and storage space for your tools or plates to let meat rest.

What we like:

  • LED display makes the temperature easy to see
  • Easy-to-use controls
  • Large roller wheels for transport
  • Grates and grease drain make it easy to clean
  • 3-Year Warranty

What we don’t like:

  • Auger can sometimes clog with certain wood pellets
  • No option for direct heat grilling

Some pellet grills offer a direct grilling feature for people who like the taste of flame grilled food. The Renegade Elite comes with a heat shield and no options for adjusting it.

It can still cook your food well, and works fine as a smoker or oven, but won’t give you the best crust on a steak.

Overall, the balance of handy features and smart design make this a worthwhile grill for anyone looking for a small pellet smoker.

Get the latest price on Amazon.

Core Features

There’s a lot to like about the Traeger Renegade Elite Grill.

Elite Controller

The Traeger naming convention is a little bit confusing.

You would think that “Elite” would be better than “Pro” but it’s the Pro grills that actually have the most modern digital controller.

So how does the controller hold up on the Renegade Elite?

This digital elite controller is positioned just to the left of the main cooking area. It’s a little low for ultimate comfort, but that’s a minor flaw when you see all that it can do.

You can control your temperature in increments of +/- 20°F which is only a little less precise than the 15°F adjustments on the modern D2 controller.

An LED display rounds out the controls. This display lets you know the temperature quickly and easily without having to open the lid and try to figure out the temperature of your food another way.

You get one food probe for measuring what you are cooking, so you’ll probably need to invest in a good dual probe thermometer.

The control has an optional “smoke” setting you can engage for slow, easy cooking over a long period of time.

Grilling Space and Grates

With 360 square inches of grilling space the Traeger Renegade Elite Grill is definitely on the small side.

Traeger Grills TFB38TCA Renegade Elite Wood Pellet Grill

This is enough for several burgers along with some side dishes, a pan, or vegetables.

The grates are coated with a non-stick substance to make sure that your food doesn’t latch onto the grates while they’re sizzling with delicious juices.

This makes cleaning the grates even easier, too.

The grate is removable for optimal scrubbing leverage when you really want to get it squeaky clean.

Auto Start Ignition

Another great innovation on this grill is its auto-start ignition.

Although it’s a wood grill, you don’t need to mess with matches, fire starters, or lighter fluid. Instead, simply flip this handy switch and get the grill up and running in no time at all.

Drip Tray

Any grease is carried straight away by the handy drip tray. This is located right beneath the grate and pools into a small bucket on the right-hand side of the grill.

This bucket can hang right on the lip of the drain edge. This lets you save the grease for other cooking tasks or for easy disposal.

Either way, between both the tray and the non-stick grates, you won’t be spending an eternity cleaning this grill.

Storage Space

The grill also comes with a handy caddy rack. This lets you store your cooking implements, like your brushes, spatulas, and other such tools all in one convenient location. No more searching around looking for where you last left the fork.

A wire front prep rack is included right about the caddy rack, as well. This lets you rest your food or prepare other dishes while you work on the primary grilling space.

Warranty

This grill, like all Traeger products, comes with a 3-Year Limited Warranty. It protects your purchase against any manufacturer defects so long as they were sustained under normal use. While this doesn’t defend against catastrophic damage, it’s a nice bit of added value given the high asking price.

Downsides

The biggest thing going against this grill is that the auger feeding system has a tendency to clog with certain wood pellets.

Wood pellets are by definition small, so it appears that some types are simply more likely to clog up over time.

This problem can be solved with the innovative use of a broom handle, or any other pokey object (not your hand).

Alternative Pellet Grills to Consider

If you’re not convinced by the Traeger Renegade Elite, we’ll touch on a few of the alternative small pellet grills we already mentioned.

You might also want to check out our full post on Traeger grill reviews which includes some of the best alternative brands to consider.

Traeger Tailgater VS Renegade Elite

Traeger Tailgater in action

The Tailgater Grill also sports a digital control like the Renegade Elite.

However, it has a smaller, 10-pound pellet hopper so you’ll have to refill it more frequently than might be convenient.

It also has many of the same features and functions we like about the Renegade Elite.

This includes an electronic auto-start and a good amount of cooking space: 292 square inches, in fact.

This grill also features folding legs, so getting this grill into storage is a little easier than with the Renegade.

Even with foldable legs, the Tailgater is designed to be more portable than the Renegade Elite; as the name suggests, it’s a good pick for tailgate BBQs at the beach or while camping.

  • Folding legs
  • Digital start and controls
  • Grease drain
  • Less cooking space and pellet space than Renegade Elite

All of the above features come at a lower asking price. This might be a great pick if you’d like the same wood-smoked flavor but maintain a tighter budget.

Get the latest price on BBQGuys.com

Traeger Lil Tex Elite VS Renegade Elite

Traeger TFB42LZBC Grills Lil Tex Elite 22 Wood Pellet Grill and Smoker - Grill, Smoke, Bake, Roast, Braise, and BBQ (Bronze)
  • Never use gas or charcoal again: cooking with wood just tastes better. Traeger created the original wood-pellet Grill as the ultimate way to achieve wood-fired taste
  • Versatile barbecue cooking: hot and fast, or low and slow, the Traeger Lil' Tex Elite 22 pellet Grill offers 6-in-1 versatility to Grill, smoke, bake, roast, braise, and BBQ food to juicy perfection
  • Grilled to perfection every time: integrated digital Elite controller keeps temps within +/- 20 degrees F and makes setting the Grill temperature As easy as turning a dial

The Lil’ Tex Elite grill comes in a stylish bronze color.

Like the Renegade Elite, it makes smoking your meat and checking the temperature easy thanks to its digital controls and LED display.

The main difference between this grill and the Renegade is the larger grilling space available. You can place food on up to 418 square inches instead of 380.

The grates are larger, of course, but they maintain the same non-stick functionality as before.

The wood pellet capacity is the same, as are the other features: a caddy rack and a grease drain come with the purchase.

This grill does allow you to purchase some extra goodies, like a folding shelf that adds more prep room right at the front. You can also get an insulation cover for long-term storage and protection.

  • Has more grilling space than Renegade for a higher price
  • Digital controls and startup
  • Grease drain
  • Caddy rack and side wire

All in all, this is essentially the same grill as the Renegade Elite, but with more room for more cooking fun unless you purchase other accessories.

It does cost a bit more with those accessories, however, so those on a budget might pass on this model for the earlier options.

Get the latest price on Amazon.

Wrapping it up

Overall, the Traeger Renegade Elite Grill is still a decent buy for a small size, budget pellet smoker.

You will give up a few features of the latest options including WiFi integration and the latest controller tech.

However, if you want to get into pellet smoking without spending a lot of money, you should definitely check out the Renegade Elite and consider picking one up.

Last update on 2019-08-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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