A Closer Look at the Traeger Ironwood 885

The Ironwood 885 and 650 are Traeger’s premium line of pellet grills that offer both high-tech features and traditional grilling options. These versatile grills are perfect for the tech-savvy barbecue enthusiast who wants to take their grilling game to the next level. With advanced features such as Wi-Fi control, double-walled insulation, and the ability to store cook session data, the Ironwood 885 and 650 are designed to make grilling easier, more efficient, and more delicious. In this article, we will take an in-depth look at the Ironwood 885 and 650, including their specifications, features, and performance, to help you make an informed decision when purchasing a new pellet grill.

To see how the Ironwood compares to other Traeger models, check out my Traeger Buyers Guide.

Ironwood 885 Specifications

Ironwood 885Price: (see latest price)
Wi-Fi ControlWeight: 170 lbs
Downdraft ExhaustDimensions: 53 W x 47 H x 27 D
Super Smoke ModeGrill Area: 885 sq.in
Turbo TempBarrel Width: 30 inches
Meat Probe x 1Hopper Capacity: 20lbs
Keep Warm ModeMax Temp: 500° F
Tru Convection SystemMin Temp: 180° F
2x Porcelain Coated Steel Grill GratesAuto Hopper Cleanout
Searing GrateAll Terrain Wheels
Side ShelfPellet Sensor
Traeger Ironwood 885 Specifications

Key Points

  • Wi-Fi control option
  • Weight: 170 lbs, Dimensions: 53 W x 47 H x 27 D
  • Grill Area: 885 sq.in, Barrel Width: 30 inches, Hopper Capacity: 20lbs
  • Downdraft Exhaust, Super Smoke Mode, Turbo Temp, Meat Probe x 1, Keep Warm Mode
  • Tru Convection System, 2x Porcelain Coated Steel Grill Grates, Searing Grate, Side Shelf
  • Pellet Sensor, Double-Walled Insulation, All Terrain Wheels
  • Max Temp: 500° F, Min Temp: 180° F, Auto Hopper Cleanout
  • With the Traeger App, you can control temperature, monitor pellet level, access hundreds of recipes, and get notifications for low pellets or cleaning needs.
  • Ability to store cook session data in the form of graphs and charts.

For more information, check out the Ironwood 885 on the Traeger website.

Ironwood Price vs Other Models

Traeger ModelPrice
Ranger (portable)$449 (see latest)
Tailgater (portable)$529 (see latest)
Pro 22 (Gen 1) $599 (see latest)
Pro 34 (Gen 1) $699 (see latest)
Pro 575$899 (see latest)
Pro 780$999 (see latest)
Ironwood 650$1399 (see latest)
Ironwood 885$1599 (see latest)
Timberline 850 (Gen 1) $2099 (see latest)
Timberline 1300 (Gen 1) $2299 (see latest)
Timberline $3499 (see latest)
Timberline XL$3799 (see latest)
Traeger Pellet Grill Price Comparison

Double-Walled Insulation

Insulation and the thickness of the metal separates cheap, poor quality grills from well made, expensive grills. Insulation is an important feature when shopping for pellet grills. A well-insulated smoker will have fewer temperature fluctuations, will have the ability to cook in cold weather, and will be more economical in the long run. Cheap smokers with thin metal struggle to retain heat, struggle to keep the cold out, and burn through a tonne of pellets. 

The major difference between the Ironwood and the Pro Series is the double-walled insulation. The Ironwood and Pro Series may look similar on the outside, but they are very different under the hood.

The Ironwood has thick, double-walled steel in the cooking chamber and a thick metal plate on the bottom. This thick metal helps prevent heat from escaping from underneath. So when comparing the Ironwood to the Pro Series, the Ironwood will burn through less pellets, saving you money in the long run. The Timberline, Traeger’s top-of-the-line pellet grill, is fully insulated, whereas the Ironwood is only partially insulated. However, the Timberline is also very expensive. 

Wi-Fi Control Option

As with all the new Traeger models, the Ironwood has the option the Wi-Fi controlled option. But if you’re not a fan of technology, you can bypass the Wi-Fi and use the regular digital controller. 

If you love the marriage between technology and barbecue, all you have to do pair your Traeger with your smart phone. It’s that simple.The Traeger App is downloadable from the Play or IOS store, then you can control the temperature of your grill at your fingertips. The App allows you to alternate between Super Smoke Mode, increase or decrease the temperature or monitor the level of your pellets.  

Ironwood Temperature Range

The Ironwood can smoke meat in the low 180° F range, or up to 500° F. The low-temperature range isn’t low enough for cold smoking,  means you can cold smoke at the lower end, but 500°F is certainly hot enough for high-heat cooking. 

Cooking Capacity- How Much Meat Can You Cook?

The Ironwood has 885 square inches of cooking area which is large enough to cook 10 whole chickens, or 7 racks of ribs.

Traeger ModelRib RacksWhole ChickensPork Butts
Pro Series66
Ironwood 8857109
Timberline 850896
Ironwood 885 Cooking Capacity

The Trager App

It’s only through the App where you can control your pellet grill via Wi-Fi. Not only does the App have all the important controls to adjust temperature, it will also have other features such as recipes and instructions. 

The App will notify you when your pellets are running low, or if your pellet grill needs to be cleaned. The early versions of the Traeger App were very glitchy and received a lot of negative feedback. But Traeger has since improved the App with some significant updates. 

Pre-Installed Recipes

The Traeger App also has hundreds of recipes called GRILLGUIDE. You can download the recipes directly onto your grill—which is impressive. Traeger asked well-known pitmasters to contribute to the recipes—which is an enormous improvement from the first version. At first, it seemed like Traeger used the recipes as a marketing tool, but GRILLGUIDE has improved significantly. Personally, I don’t use the recipes, but if you’re just starting out, the recipes will give you some guidance. 

Session Data Recordings

Another cool tech feature of the Ironwood is the ability to store cook session data in the form of graphs and charts. You can see times, internal meat temperatures, and ambient temperatures.This feature is great for people who like to keep track of their previous cooks. Session data is a good reference for future cooks. When planning a long cook, it’s nice to be able to go over previous cooks to help with your planning and learn from mistakes. For example, you can ee how long your brisket was stuck in the stall, or how many hours it took to cook a 10lbs pork butt. 

One Meat Probe

I know most pellet grills come with a thermometer to measure the temperature of the meat, but I never use them. Unless the grill company has partnered with a leading thermometer company, then I couldn’t trust the readings. Any barbecue guru will tell you to never trust an in-built factory thermometer that came with your smoker or grill because they are notoriously inaccurate. 

With that being said, the Ironwood only comes with a single meat probe—which is annoying to many users—especially since you can cook so much meat on the Ironwood. One thermometer makes little sense on a grill with such a large cooking capacity. Traeger could have at least supplied more than one thermometer probe. However, most pitmasters use their own thermometers, and I always recommend avoiding factory thermometers. 

Check out my Thermometer Guide

Downdraft Exhaust System

Newer Traeger models like the Ironwood have a Downdraft Exhaust system. This new exhaust system is supposedly better, producing better tasting meat. I’ve never done a comparison taste test, so I can’t say for sure if the meat tastes better cooked on the Downdraft Exhaust. Although the technology sounds fantastic in the marketing, I just wonder how much difference it actually makes. 

The Downdraft Exhaust system eliminates the need for a smokestack. A traditional pellet smoker has a chimney-like smokestack to eliminate old smoke. The Ironwood’s downward draught system has holes at the back of the cooking chamber to push the stale smoke underneath. 

How Downdraft Works

As the smoke circulates in the cooking chamber, it forces the old smoke down at the back through the rear vents, keeping the fresh smoke to circulate your meat, giving you a better smoke flavor. 

No Smokestack

Some people may prefer not having a smoke stack simply because it’s easier to put the cover on without a chimney.  

Storage Hooks

A unique feature I like is the ability to hang grill grates from the back of the pellet grill. The Ironwood 885 has storage hooks on the back of the unit so you to hang grill grates. I really like this feature and I’m glad Traeger thought of it. 

I’m always making my cooking grates around, so it’s nice to be able to hang them rather than leaning grates against a wall. The Ironwood also has more storage hooks on the side shelf so you can hang your cooking utensils. 

Pellet Dump Feature

At the back of the Ironwood there’s a pellet dump trap door which allows you to swap out your pellets. This is a great feature that I haven’t seen on many pellet grills. 

I’ve been needing this feature for a while because I’m always wanting to swap out my wood flavors. Without a pellet dump, I’m careful not to fill the hopper with wood. I try to just put in what I need. Or, I’ll use mixed competition blends rather than specific flavors. This isn’t a problem with the Ironwood. I can fill the hopper with use whatever flavor I want and swap it out easily. 

Pellet Sensor

The pellet hopper on the Ironwood has a sensor on the top to keep track of the wood pellets. When the pellets are low, you will receive an alert via your smartphone on the Traeger App. 

The sensor looks like a little light and sits on the top of the pellet hopper. Once you connect your Traeger Ironwood to the App, you will get notifications on your hopper levels. 

20 lbs Pellet Hopper

The Ironwood holds 20 lb of wood pellets, which is a standard size for a bag. The Traeger Pro Series has a smaller 18 lb hopper—which just makes absolutely no sense. Stores sell pellets in 20lbs bags, so it makes sense to have a 20 lbs hopper. 

Searing Capabilities – Different Grate Levels

The Ironwood has different levels where you can put the grates. There’s a slot down the bottom which allows you to drop a bottom plate closer to the fire so you can sear steak. 

The Controller

The Ironwood has a different controller from the Pro Series models. It’s simple with a menu button and an ignite button. The control has a timer, Super Smoke Mode, and Keep Warm Mode. A Prime Auger button allows you to feed pellets through the auger prior to cooking. 

Super Smoke Mode

Because the Ironwood has the D2 Drivetrain motor, it allows the fan to run it variable speeds. The auger and the fan will cycle on and off, which creates more smoke. 

The Super Smoke mode runs between 165° F and 225⁰F. This is a great feature, especially early in the cook when you’re wanting the meat to absorb as much smoke as possible. I like to cook in Super Smoke mode for an hour or two before increasing the temperature. 

Keep-Warm Setting

If you’re not ready to serve the food, the Keep Warm setting will reduce the heat to 165⁰F. A really cool feature is the ability to activate the Keep Warm mode from your phone. So let’s say you’re out and about, and your pork butt has reached the done temp. All you need to do is take out your phone, open the Traeger App and flick “Keep Warm”. 


Turbo Temp is a useful function—especially on startup. Normally, when you’re cooking in cold weather, it takes a while to warm up. The Turbo Temp mode brings your smoker up to temperature much sooner. 

I like to use Turbo Temp immediately after I’ve opened the lid to check on the meat. As many of you would know, you loose a lot of heat, and let cold air in whenever you open the hood for more than a few seconds. Sometimes it can take 10 or 20 minutes to recover and stabilize. If you need to spritz your meat or flip it over, all you need to do is hit Turbo Temp afterwards and it will help the grill recover. 

The Turbo Temp feature is made possible because of the D2 Drivetrain, the powerful motor used in the Traeger Ironwood. The brushless motor is more powerful than other motors, which is why Turbo Temp is possible. 

Ironwood 885 vs Other Models

Pro 780
Price2k$2900 (latest)1k
Grill Space 1343 Sq.In885 Sq.In780 Sq.In
Size58 W x 51 H
x 28 D
53 W x 47 H
x 27 D
49 W x 55 H
x 27 D
Weight255 lbs170 lbs145 lbs
500 F°500 F°500 F°
Pellet hopper
Grill Grate322
Wi-Fi ControllerYesYes Yes
Extra InsulationDouble-Wall, Hood and Back InteriorDouble Side-Wall InteriorNo
Downdraft ExhaustYesYesNo
Bottom Sear GrateYesYesNo
Side ShelfYes YesNo
Front ShelfYesNoNo
Grill GratesStainless SteelPorcelain Coated SteelPorcelain Coated Steel
Meat Probe Storage BoxYesYesNo
Magnetic Bamboo Cutting BoardYesNoNo
Keep Warm ModeYesYesYes
Super Smoke ModeYesYesNo
Turbo TempYesYesYes
TRU Convection SystemYesYesNo
Concealed Grease PanYesNoNo
Pellet SensorYesYes
Hopper CleanoutYesYesYes
DC Brushless MotorYesYesYes
Variable Fan SpeedYesYesYes
Power Cord HookYesYesNo
Locking CastersYesYesYes

Where To Buy The Ironwood 885

For the latest prices, check out the Ironwood on the Traeger website here.

Ironwood vs Timberline

The major difference between the Ironwood and the Timberline series is the level of insulation and cooking capacity. There is also a few other extras on the Timberline, Traeger’s high-end model.  The Ironwood is Traeger’s mid-range pellet grill, so it lacks some of the premium features seen in the Timberline. 

Which Traeger Should I Buy? : A Complete Buyers Guide To All Traeger Models

Traeger Timberline is fully insulated, and the difference is noticeable when you line up the two grills side-by-side. The Timberline is a tank. The metal is so thick and the superior construction is noticeable. The superior insulation allows the Timberline to retain heat for much longer. The Ironwood only has double-walled insulation—which is better than no insulation.  But is inferior when compared to the Timberline.

There’s a big difference in cooking capacity, especially when looking at the Timberline 1300, where you can cook an enormous amount of meat. However, you can still cook a lot of meat on the Ironwood. The question you need to ask yourself is the price difference is worth it. 

The Traeger Timberline can cook 15 racks of ribs, which is eight more than the Ironwood — which can only cook 7 racks. The Ironwood can cook 10 whole chickens and 9 pork butts. Compare this to the Timberline 1300, which can cook 12 whole chickens or 12 pork butts. 

There’s a $400 price difference between the Traeger Timberline 1300 and the Ironwood 885. Traeger Timberline also has some extra features, such as a bamboo cutting board attached to the pellet hopper, and more storage around the grill. The Timberline also has a front table and two side tables, whereas the Ironwood only has one side table, but you can purchase the front table for an extra $70. The Timberline has a 24 lb pellet hopper, which is 4 lbs more than the Ironwood. A full 20 pound bag of pellets should last about 20 hours—which is more than enough for a brisket. 

Ironwood vs Pro Series

In terms of price, The Ironwood is about $600 more expensive than the Pro Series grill. In terms of food, the Pro Series 780 can cook about six whole chickens or six pork butts. Compare this to the Ironwood, the 885 can cook 10 whole chickens or 9 pork butts. 

The major difference between the Pro Series and the Ironwood is the Downdraft Exhaust System. The Pro Series has a standard smoke stack but the Ironwood has the Downdraft system that pushes the smoke out the lower vents. 

The Ironwood also has a double-walled steel side wall insulation to keep the smoker insulated and retain heat. The Pro Series only has a single layer of metal insulation. 

Super Smoke Mode is another feature of the Ironwood that isn’t present in the Pro Series. 

The Ironwood has a larger 20 lbs pellet hopper, compared to an 18 in the Pro Series. A pellet sensor is also available in the Ironwood, which isn’t available in the Pro Series. 

You can also do some searing on the Ironwood—something you can’t do on a Pro Series Traeger. The Ironwood allows you to lower the bottom rack directly over the fire. If you crank the temperature up to 500° F with the rack lowered, you can sear steaks at 500°F. 

How Do Pellet Grills Work?


Pellet grills contain several components that are worth understanding:

  • Hopper
  • Auger
  • Hot Rod
  • Fire Pot
  • Fan
  • Heat deflector
  • Drip Pan

The firepot is where the wood pellets burn. On top of the fire pot is a heat deflector that can be taken on and off easily. 

The Fan. Pellet grills have a fan that circulates the heat throughout the cooking chamber. 

Exhaust. Pellet grills have a smoke stack which is like a chimney to eliminate old smoke. The Ironwood doesn’t have a smokestack, but instead has a Downdraft exhaust system.  

Hopper. All pellet grills have a hopper that holds the wood pellets. 

Auger. Pellet grills have an auger (a spiral- shaped metal object) to feed wood pellets from the pellet hopper through to the fire pot. 

Hot Rod. The hot rod is attached to the end of the auger and ignites the wood pellets. 

Drip Pan

There’s a drip pan at the bottom of the unit. This plate fits over top of the hot pot, and will protect the fire from any grease drippings plus also provide an extra layer of insulation. It’s easily removable and has slots on the sides. It pays to put aluminium foil over the drip tray just to make cleanup easy. 

Priming the Auger

There is a mode on the controller where you can prime the auger prior to cooking. This will feed pellets through the spiral auger, so that once you hit ignite, the pellets will be ready to go. It takes about 2 minutes to prime the auger. During the priming stage, only the auger will be working. Other parts of the unit will not be an operation, such as the fan. 

Why Insulation Is Important

The thicker the steel, the more economical your pellet grill will be. This is especially important if you live in a cold climate where smoking meat can be difficult. In colder weather, the metal of your pellet grill will be cold and take a while to heat. So because it would take longer to heat, you’re going to burn through more wood pellets. As you know, with pellet grills, they maintain a target temperature you set. So if you want to smoke at 225° F, the pellet grill will keep feeding pellets that will maintain that 225° F temperature. If your pellet grill has thin steel, then more heat will escape, and more cold will come in. So the temperature will be more difficult to maintain that 225° F. 

The thickest steel on the Ironwood will hold in that heat and prevent cold air from coming in. This makes the Ironwood more economical, and will burn through fewer pellets than the Pro Series or other cheap smokers. 

The Timberline has thicker steel and is a significant upgrade from the Ironwood. The Ironwood has double-wall insulation, but the Timberline is fully insulated. When you compare the two models side-by- side, the Timberline is built like a tank.

How To Burn-In or Season Your Traeger

Before using your new Ironwood, it’s highly recommended that you do a burn-in. This involves running your pellet grill with no food. It will get rid of any nasty smells and lingering chemicals. 

For 30 minutes, run the grill at 250⁰F to 300°F. Ignite that around 250⁰F to 300⁰F for half an hour, then crank the temperature to 450⁰F or and run it at for another half an hour. Some people spray olive oil inside their cooking chamber and on the outside, which will help season the smoker. 

How Pellet Grills Work

Pellet grills are a unique type of grill that use wood pellets as fuel to generate heat and smoke. Unlike traditional grills that use charcoal or gas as a heat source, pellet grills use compressed wood pellets made from sawdust, wood shavings, or other wood by-products.

The process begins by pouring the wood pellets into a hopper, which is located on the side or back of the grill. An auger, which is a long screw-like device, feeds the pellets from the hopper into the grill’s burn pot. The burn pot is where the pellets are ignited and burned to create heat.

The grill is then set to the desired temperature, and a small computerized controller maintains the temperature by adjusting the amount of pellets fed into the burn pot. As the pellets burn, they produce heat and smoke, which infuses the food with a unique, wood-fired flavor.

One of the advantages of a pellet grill is that it’s very easy to use. Simply fill the hopper with pellets, set the temperature, and let the grill do the rest. Pellet grills are also very versatile and can be used for both smoking and grilling. They can reach low temperatures for cold smoking, or high temperatures for grilling and searing.

Another great feature of pellet grills is the ability to add different types of wood pellets to the hopper to create different flavor profiles. For example, you can use mesquite pellets for a smoky, southwestern flavor, or apple pellets for a sweeter, milder flavor.


Author and founder at Meat Smoking HQ

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