Traeger Ironwood 650 takes roasting to another level with its Wi-Fi control feature. Instead of spending a hot Sunday afternoon hovering over the grill, checking the temperature constantly, adding fuel every 30 minutes; you can relax in air-conditioned comfort and control the Ironwood 650 grill from your phone.
What’s more? With the grill, you never have to worry about uneven cooking temperatures or flare-ups. Being fueled by hardwood pellets, the grill is easy to use and ideal for smoking, roasting, and barbecuing. Our Traeger Ironwood 650 review covers all important features about this grill – from its design and performance to its surface cooking area and hopper capacity.
The grill is manufactured by Traeger, a brand that’s synonymous with wood pellet grills. In fact, Traeger patented the first-ever pellet-fueled grill in 1986, which makes their Ironwood 650 model a reliable grill. Its design makes it suitable for professional pitmaster and barbecue novices. It’s also ideal for individuals shopping with a limited budget, in need of plenty of space for storing tools, or people planning on moving their grill every now and then.
In summary, Traeger Ironwood 650 is a pellet-fueled grill equipped with variable speed fans and Wi-Fi control, making it easy to smoke, roast, and barbecue like a pro. Its set-it-and-forget-it functionality makes it ideal for frequent use. The app’s functionality coupled with built-in recipes and tutorials makes it suitable for beginner grillers. On their end, experienced pitmasters will appreciate its pure smoke flavor and precise temperature control. Let’s explore further on Traeger Ironwood 650 has to offer.
Generally, pellet grills use compressed wood pellets instead of propane gas or charcoal. With Ironwood 650, the 1” pellets are fed into a firepot via an auger drive mechanism and ignited by a hot rod. The software controls the convection fan and auger to maintain a steady temperature throughout the cooking chamber. This method eliminates grease fires and flare-ups that are common in charcoal and gas grills.
Let’s dive deeper into its design.
Traeger Ironwood 650 grill has a barrel design that features a square hopper to the right. At the bottom of the square hopper, is a motor-powered auger that feeds the compressed wood pellet into the fire chamber. The auger in conjunction with a convection fan circulates smoke while regulating the cooking temperature.
Also built into the square hopper is the control unit, which comprises a dial, an input for food probe, a few buttons, and a bright LCD screen. Ironwood’s interface has a relatively bigger display and intuitive navigation, which makes it easy to use.
The grill model also features a curved door with a band of insulation on and along the bottom edge. However, Ironwood 650 could use more insulation, especially along its side and top edges. Because in the current state, ash layers are bound to settle on your tray on the left side, as well as on the sides by the door.
Traeger app is available for both iOS and Android operating systems. On the home screen, the app displays the current grill temperature, a timer (if set), and the meat probe. It also displays links to recipes or tutorial videos.
The main control page features three large circles: Timer, Probe temperature, and Grill temperature. Each temperature circle shows the current and target temperatures, which can be adjusted by tapping on either circle to access the adjustment menu.
Despite its ease of use and refined nature, the app could use some improvements. For one, an option to share recipes with other grill owners would be fun.
As mentioned, Traeger Ironwood 650 grill is fueled by compressed wood pellets. Once the pellets are loaded into the hopper, they’re moved into the firepot using an auger mechanism drive and ignited with a hot rod to release heat and smoke.
The grill’s drip pan prevents a direct between the food and the flames, while the fan disperses smoke and heat to create indirect (cooking) heat as seen in convection ovens.
When the grill attains the set temperature, the electric auger slows the process of feeding pellets into the firepot, to maintain the heat. Note, you can adjust smoke or heat levels with Traeger’s WiFIRE app or the control panel.
At low temperatures, the pellets smolder and smoke to infuse pure smoky flavors into the meat. At high temperatures, the pellets burn to produce more heat and less smoke. Traeger’s Ironwood 650 can reach high temperatures of up to 500°F. And since the drip pan plate prevents direct contact between your meat and flames, the meat crisps up as though it was roasted in a high-temperature oven. Moreover, the built fan transforms the grill into a convection oven for another meal.
The “650” moniker on the grill refers to its grill space, i.e. 650 square inches. That’s plenty of grilling room to smoke six chickens or three rib racks at a time. According to Traeger, the Ironwood 650 can handle 5 ribs, 6 pork butts, and 8 chickens if you maximize the space.
The lower rack measures 418 square inches and the top rack around 232 square inches. The two racks make it suitable for cooking multiple recipes concurrently. What’s more? The smaller rack can be adjusted (moved upward) to fit larger foodstuff or cookware at the bottom rack. For example, when using large or tall cookware, you can remove the top rack completely, to perfectly fit the cookware without restrictions.
As mentioned, Traeger Ironwood 650 is fueled by compressed wood pellets. These pellets are cylindrical and sized approximately 1 inch in diameter. The pellets either contain flavorful food-grade oils or are made with 100% hardwood.
Traeger produces and recommends pellets for their grills. Their brand pellets are available in a variety of wood choices, such as apple, alder, cherry, hickory, mesquite, maple, pecan, and more. And they go for $18.99 for a 20-pound bag.
According to Traeger, their 20-pound bag of pellets can last 6 hours at high temperatures (500°f) and 20 hours for low temperatures (225°F). However, the duration may vary with the cooking conditions, surrounding weather conditions, and more. In fact, most users report that the pellets do not last as long as expected. Most users claim that it takes around 5 hours to go through the 20-pounds pellet bag at 500°F and 14 hours to smoke your food at 250°F.
When grilling, it’s best to preheat the grill to the desired temperature. It takes approximately 12 minutes for the Ironwood 650 to attain 225°F. around 20 minutes to attain 350°F, and around 30 minutes to reach 500°F. That means, when smoking, grilling, or braising your meat, you’ll have to wait around 20 minutes for the grill to attain the perfect temperature for the same.
While Ironwood 650 is fueled by pellets, it’s still powered by electricity. The grill uses an electric hot rod to ignite the wood pellets and a D2 Drive fan that runs from 0-100rpms. It also uses electricity for its Wi-Fi feature.
The Ironwood 650 hopper can accommodate up to 20 pounds of the compressed wood pellets. Luckily, Traeger’s pellets are very efficient. The brand estimate that one pound of its pellets can burn for 1 hour, in low temperatures.
In addition to efficient fuel, the Ironwood grills use an auger drive mechanism to slowly feed the wood pellets into the firepot. The slow process protects the heat while ensuring that embers are not toppled by cold pellets, which further enhances the fuel cooking efficiency.
As such, you can comfortably cook for hours without refilling the hopper, which not only saves time but also boosts your safety when grilling.
Ironwood 650 has a well-thought-out packaging and assembly process. Its parts are easy to identify, and the manual provides clear and in-depth assembling instructions. And while it might take two or more people to assemble, most users have it out of the box and ready to use in around 20 minutes.
To save time on your subsequent uses, you can leave the grill fully assembled outdoors. Just acquire Traeger’s well-made grill cover to protect your grill from the outdoor elements.
Once you have assembled the grill, you only need to fill the hopper, and find a flat ground near a grounded outlet, and plug it in. To use the Wi-Fi option (WIFIRE feature), download the Traeger’s app, connect to Wi-Fi, and name your grill.
The app boasts grill controls, cooking tips, recipes, and more. It also features a complete brisket recipe showcasing the entire cooking process – from beginning to end – including hand-holding instructions to guide you through an otherwise intimidating cooking process.
When it comes to the trial, prime and run the Ironwood 650 at least once to get it ready. Then, select the brisket recipe and follow the intuitive preheating instructions. When the grill has achieved the target temperature, insert the meat probe into the brisket, lay it on the smoker, and you’re done.
Pro-tip: you should set up the grill near a grounded socket that’s within the range of your Wi-Fi reach.
With Traeger grills, you can always get more for your buck, and Ironwood 650 is no different.
As mentioned, the grill boasts a smartphone app from which you can keep tabs on the grilling process and progress. The app boasts multiple recipes and grilling tips. Since a part is built into the smoker, the app can control the grill precisely. Think of precisely lowering or raising the temperature, managing the amount of smoke to be generated, monitoring the meat temperature, and feeding in pellet; with the push of a button.
Pro-tip: while you can adjust the grill settings to meet your desired parameters, it’s best to stick to the default settings your first time grilling.
Added to the Traeger app is a smoke select feature that helps you increase the smoke circulation around the meat to get a pure smokier flavor. The smoke feature helps control the speed of the fan, which, in turn, controls the amount of smoke that can hover around your meat.
Better still, the grill has a Wi-Fi feature (WIFIRE) that once connected to your Wi-Fi source, it’ll automatically connect for all subsequent uses.
Added to that is the LCD display that enables you to see the current and target temperature of the cooking chamber. Then there’s the TurboTemp technology that eases and fastens the ignition process.
The Traeger’s D2 Drive technology allows for different fan speeds, which boost the temperature control process.
Furthermore, the grill boasts a side shelf for storage or prep assistance. The shelf is equipped with built-in hooks for holding utensils. Unfortunately, the storage shelf is relatively smaller, especially seeing that the sawhorse chassis lacks a lower shelf. Luckily, the hopper has a lid that’s configured to provide extra supplies-holding space.
While Traeger Ironwood 650 lacks Bluetooth capability, you can enjoy the associated benefits with its WIFIRE feature.
With it, you don’t have to stay next to the scorching heat of the sun and the grill to ensure your meat is roasting perfectly. No. You just need the mobile app and Wi-Fi connection. And then you can cook when relaxing in a well-conditioned area far from the grill.
Traeger Ironwood 650 grill has several safety measures. First, the Wi-Fi technology lets you step away from the grill when the cooking is in progress. At the same time, the WIFIRE feature helps adjust the temperature from a distance, and can indirectly help prevent grill-related fire.
The grill has a stable design that makes it difficult to trip it over, while the use of pellets instead of say, propane gas is safe in itself. Besides stability, the grill is designed to keep the heat locked inside the cooking chamber. The lid forms a tight seal while the double-side-wall insulation pads boost heat protection. As such, your kids and pets can play around the grill without getting burnt.
Added to the design are high-quality materials that are well-polished to eliminate sharp edges/corners.
However, you must follow the manufacturer’s instructions (regarding everything) to ensure efficiency and safety.
Traeger Ironwood 650 grill has received praises from users for its portability. For one, the grill is set on sawhorse chassis featuring 2 large wheels on the right side and 2 locking caster wheels on the left side. These features make it easy to maneuver while ensuring stability.
Besides the wheels, the grill is relatively compact and lightweight – it weighs 149 pounds and measures 46 (W) x 27 (D) x 48 (H) inches. While there are more compact and lighter options, the drill is decent for home use.
As such, you can easily move the grill from the outdoors, in cases of adverse weather conditions – when the grill cover is inadequate to protect your investment.
Note, the mobility of the grill, especially when in use can be limited by its relatively short plug. (That cord at the back of the Ironwood 650 grill that you must plug into a grounded socket.) The grill should be placed near a power source.
They say the durability of a grill is determined by its maintenance, and they’re right. As such, you’ll want to thoroughly clean your Ironwood 650 at least once a year, or at most once every 3 months depending on use.
The thorough cleaning should include changing out the drip pan plate liner, scrapping off built-up grease, and ash vacuuming to remove excess ash from the cooking chamber. Note, Traeger recommends cleaning out ashes from the firepot after every 20 hours of use. The company recommends the use of an ash vacuum for this process. To access the firepot for vacuuming purposes, just remove the bottom grate and the drip pan.
Ironwood 650 is equipped with a grease management system that boasts a removable drip pan beneath the side shelf. The drip pail is carefully configured to allow easy removal.
Better still, the grill’s stainless steel grates are porcelain-enameled, making them easy to clean. The individual racks are easy to remove and clean as well. And the amazing hopper cleaning option makes it easy to clean the said chamber.
Besides cleaning, you should keep the grill covered to protect it from outdoor elements. (Moisture, in particular, can be damaging to its electrical components.) Also, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to keep the grill in good condition for as long as possible.
Traeger Ironwood 650 grill is made of high-quality steel, which is reported to hold up well against high temperatures. The stainless steel components boast a black painted finish to protect them from corrosion. Unfortunately, the black paint tends to peel off when exposed to high temperatures. The peeling off does not affect the quality of your meat, but it does ruin the grill’s aesthetics.
Overall, the grill can last for years under good maintenance.
Added to its durability, Ironwood 650 is backed by a 3-year warranty for non-commercial use in the US. The warranty is null and void if the grill is not operated as per operation instructions. That includes using the grill for food-service applications or using wood pellets not compatible with Ironwood 650. Also, the warranty is not transferable- it only applies to the original buyer.
As mentioned, Traeger’s Ironwood 650 grill uses Traeger’s compressed wood pellets that cost $18.99 per 20-pound bag. This is pricey compared to $13 per 15-pound bag of Royal Oak charcoal or $6 per bag of Kingsford Hickory chips.
(The cost of the pellets forms a huge chunk of the variable costs associated with this grill.)
The pellets are more convenient and efficient, but their rate of consumption really depends on what you’re cooking. For instance, smoking meat at a lower temperature consumes fewer pellets than roasting meat at high temperatures. (See the fuel section above.) That means the amount of money spent on pellets depends on the type and the frequency of cooking with the grill.
Flipping to fixed costs, the Ironwood 650 grill costs a whopping $1,199.99. It is, however, one of the medium-range products manufactured by Traeger – i.e., there are cheaper and pricier grill models.
As we concluded our Traeger Ironwood 650 review, it’s clear that this grill is well throughout. So, whether you’re shopping with a limited budget, need reasonable space for storing tools, or planning to move the grill once in a while, Ironwood 650 is the way to go.