The Traeger Ironwood 650 pellet grill offers you just about everything a serious barbecuer could ever need. With its bigger brother the Ironwood 885 it sits exactly in the middle of Traeger's outstanding range of seven outdoor grills, ahead of the three Pro Series grills with their characteristic chimney stacks and just below the two big top-of-the-range Timberlines. The Ironwood 650 is therefore ideally placed and priced to deliver considerably more than the entry-level Pro series for not much more money and at the same time without missing out too much on the premium Timberline offerings. This price point and the superb way that it cooks are what has made the Ironwood 650 a firm favourite with customers at The Stove Yard. Incidentally, apart from the grill size which is 200mm (8") longer on the 885 (eg It fits two more rib racks) there are no significant differences between the Ironwood 650 and 885.
The main difference between the Ironwood and the Pro series is that the Ironwood features Traeger's unique Tru Convection system and 'Super Smoke Mode' combined with variable speed fans. Super smoke mode can be engaged at the push of a button to add a much greater depth of flavour to your food. Along with Traeger's unique downdraught exhaust system (there's no chimney) a continuous vortex of indirect convected heat and fresh flavoursome blue smoke is created to circulate under the barrel-shaped lid to provide the food with the maximum exposure that greatly increases its subtle wood-fired flavour.
With the Traeger Ironwood 650 Pellet Grill the heat you get will always be consistent, even on the coldest days, all thanks to the Traeger D2 drivetrain controller with its superior brushless motor. This, along with the variable speed fans, constantly optimises the pellet feed rate and combustion air flow into the fire pot to regulate and maintain the precise and consistent temperatures required for dependable cooking. All of this can be monitored and adjusted remotely from your WiFire app (but more on that later).
From the moment you open its weighty well-balanced lid you become aware that the Traeger Ironwood 650 is a very special piece of kit. There are absolutely no sharp edges anywhere on the thick powder coated steel bodywork and user-friendly design detail is in evidence everywhere. You get insulated double side walls as well as an airtight gasket seal on the door that you don't get on the Pro series. These both help the Traeger Ironwood 650 get to its operating temperature much faster and also allows it to easily maintain that temperature even in really cold weather without excessive fuel usage. When the Ironwood 650 pellet grill reaches the temperature that has been set then the one-piece auger, with its superior brushless motor, will accordingly adjust the speed of pellet feed to the fire pot in order to maintain that temperature without wasting fuel.
The pellet hopper has a 9kg (20lb) capacity and features a magnetised hatch designed for speedy emptying and quick changes of pellet flavours. It also has a sensor to alert you remotely when it's running out of pellets. This is especially useful if you're scheduling a long day of low and slow cooking bigger joints of meat such as brisket and unlike gas you won't have to turn off the grill to refuel it. The hopper even has a handy light inside it.
Since the Traeger Ironwood 650 uses consistent indirect heat like a convection oven it is almost impossible to burn your food and because it also has a drip pan that drains any food juices away you simply won't get dangerous flare-ups and grease fires that are sometimes associated with other types of barbecues. These unwanted juices can then be easily disposed of via the external stainless steel grease bucket whenever you're ready.
A good-sized digital control panel is built into the front of the hopper which is easily visible in sunlight with its large legible type and its intuitive easy-to-navigate instructions – even from the very first time you use it it's really easy. The panel also features the input jack for the Traeger Ironwood 650's meat probe which also has its own storage compartment so that it never gets lost or left behind. For greater temperature accuracy the built-in meat probe is very easy to calibrate and also has its own port in the main grill bodywork so that you don't have to keep lifting the lid to check on progress.
One of the things that The Stove Yard team love most about the Traeger Ironwood 650 Pellet Grill is its speed. Its just so quick to get up to temperature and cooks the food so fast – we reckon about 10% faster than the Pro series because of all of the additional grill technology and the extra insulation.
The Ironwood 650 Pellet Grill features Traeger's wifi (Wifire) connectivity for real time-saving hands-off cooking. This allows you to very easily connect your grill to your smartphone or tablet and control and monitor progress remotely. There's no need to keep popping back and forwards to check on how things are going because it's all on the Traeger App. The first time you connect it will take around 5 minutes but once connected it will instantaneously automatically connect every time you use your Ironwood.
The Traeger App will let you see and adjust the grill and probe temperatures and monitor the percentage of pellets left, alerting you when the hopper needs refilling. You can also set a reminder on the timer which is handy if you need to add additional types of food (for example vegetables) and you can activate the Super Smoke Mode to infuse additional smoky flavours into the food. The App also allows you to set the handy 75ºC Keep Warm Mode to either delay cooking because you need some extra time to finish prepping the rest of the meal or to keep fully cooked food warm until guests have arrived. Whilst you can switch off the Ironwood 650 with the App, as a safety feature, you won't be able to fire up the grill without doing it from the digital control panel.
The best bit about Wifire and the Traeger App is the access it gives you to over 1,500 tried and tested recipes with step-by-step instructions which have been created especially to work on Traeger grills and smokers. But it gets even better. Once you've selected a recipe you can, if you want, press the 'Make now' button and let the App take control of the grill and the entire cooking cycle. It will then set the appropriate temperature for the grill and the meat probe as well as the precise cook time.
Choose to grill, smoke, bake, braise or barbecue, the results are all going to be wonderful. Starters, mains and desserts are all covered in the App along with how-to videos and pro cooking tips. The App will also send you notifications when particular features of your Ironwood 650 need cleaning or routine maintenance. Remember, you can also manually enter the required temperature and timing for any of the App recipes yourself through the Ironwood 650's user-friendly control panel.
Stepping up from the Traeger Pro series gives you much more grilling space as well as all of the other additional benefits the Ironwood 650's advanced grill technology has that were discussed above. The Ironwood 650 has a two-tier adjustable stainless steel grill system. Both the main bottom grill and top grill are 550mm (22") wide with the bottom grate being an impressive 475mm (19") deep. At 262mm (10.5") deep the top grate is 87mm (3.5") deeper than the largest Pro 575's top grill. That's approximately 13% more grilling space than the Pro 575 which will allow for at least another row of burgers. In our opinion that's probably more than enough space that most people will need to cater for even large gatherings of friends and family.
Both of the Ironwood 650's grill grates have adjustable heights with the main lower grill grate in its lower position being ideal for searing steaks etc. The top grill is removable to accommodate large joints and turkeys as well as cooking pots. A stainless steel side shelf, with three tool storage hooks, provides good firm prepping space.
You'll always make more use of any appliance if it's easy to use as well as easy to manoeuvre into position and that's another attraction of the Ironwood 650. Despite its 66kg unpacked weight (a testament to it's superior build quality) it's still highly manoeuvrable and also very stable. The sturdy sawhorse chassis with its splayed legs, which feature two large all-terrain wheels and two castor wheels, spread the weight evenly and the easy to apply locks on the casters ensure that the Ironwood 650 is going to make a safe and rock solid work station. Reassuringly, unlike a lot of outdoor grills the Ironwood 650 would actually be difficult to push over without trying very hard.
If you wish to leave your grill in place outdoors then Traeger have also produced an optional highly recommended, extremely well-made and snug-fitting grill cover which will protect your Ironwood 650 from the very worst of the weather.
Traeger Ironwood 650 Pellet Grill Key Facts
|Construction:||Steel bodywork and steel barrel lid|
|Stainless steel fittings|
|Double side wall insulation for better heat retention Two adjustable stainless steel grill grates|
|Stainless steel side shelf with 3 utensil hooks|
|Robust sawhorse style splayed legs for extra stability|
|All terrain lockable wheels for easy moving and safety|
|Fuel:||Hardwood pellets (6 Flavours)|
|Finish:||Black powder coated|
|Assembled Weight:||Approx 66kg (10.3 stone)|
|Hopper Capacity:||9kg (20 lbs)|
|Drip Tray:||Yes. Drains to external grease bucket|
|Options:||Full all-weather thick canvas cover|
|Capacity (approx):||8 chickens / 5 full rib racks / 6 pork shoulders / 2 briskets Grilling Area|
|Main lower grate (mm):||550 x 475 (22" x 19" approx)|
|Upper second tier grill (mm):||550 x 262 (22" x 10.5" approx)|
|Controls:||D2 direct drive brushless motor controller|
|Turbotemp for quicker cooking|
|Tru Convection System for even cooking|
|Downdraft exhaust system and Super Smoke mode|
|Pellet level sensor, ideal for long low and slow cooking|
|Wifire connected technology for remote control and recipes|
|Integrated meat temperature probe with easy access port|
|Approx Overall Dimensions (mm):||H1181 W1166 D654 (47" x 46" x 26")|