Traeger Century 885 [Pellet Grill Review]

Featuring Wi-Fi technology and a 20lb hopper, the Traeger Century 885 aims to offer plenty despite its budget-friendly price. But how much bang does it offer for your buck?

traeger century 885 pellet grill
Image: Traeger.com

Are you tempted by the pellet grill revolution? This could be one of the most affordable ways to start to hone your grilling and smoking skills. The Century 885 is a Traeger pellet grill that is available from Costco, designed as more of an entry level product that is still pretty huge, but doesn’t cost as much as some of the competing models. 

There is also an Ironwood 885 model in the same range, which is around 50% more expensive, with a few extra features thrown in. So, is the Traeger Century 885 up to scratch? Where does it stack up in terms of grilling and smoking? 

traeger century 885 pellet grill
Image: Traeger.com

Quick Verdict

The Traeger Century 885 offers plenty of grilling space for hobbyists, and decent control over your temperatures. It does not offer the same high temperatures some of the competing models can offer, nor does it provide a huge amount of smoke, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. For an affordable pellet grill with app control and room to cater for big gatherings, this is a respectable option.

★★★★☆

Features Summary

  • D2 Direct Drive technology means a variable fan and auger to quickly bring your heat up to the desired level.
  • Versatile cooking space for smoking, roasting, braising, and even baking.
  • Natural hardwood is the only fuel required, imparting the flavor of woods like applewood into your cooking.
  • WiFIRE technology compatible with smart homes and the Traeger App. 
  • A 20 lb hopper allows you to set and forget the smoker.

Ignition

Traeger grills are known for being pretty quick to get up to speed. The WiFIRE models (including the Century 885) can get up to the temperature you desire in around 15 minutes depending on the weather and cleanliness of the grill.

Ensure that the pellets are in your hopper and that the heat baffle, tray, and grate are all properly installed before closing up your grill. Flip the power switch on, and press the Standby button on the controller of the grill. Here, you can select the temperature, hold the Ignite button and it will fire up. 

Temperature Range

The Traeger Century 885 can heat up to 500° F. The temperature range has been criticised by some and it is not necessarily the most reliable in terms of the digital temperature. If you’re using it for baking or smoking and need precision then this can be a bit disappointing. Be sure to keep checking the temperature of the meat. .

The range is enough to sear or to cook using a low and slow method. Some grills on the market, such as the Recteq 1250, can reach an incredible 700° F, but there are only a few specific cooking purposes that would ever need you to reach those temperatures.

Build Quality

We don’t have any complaints when it comes to build quality. The product is certainly made with quality materials, and while it isn’t quite up to the levels of the Pitts & Spitts grills, which have exceptional handmade quality and welded joints, the build quality is perfectly acceptable for most home grills.

Cooking Performance

The cooking performance of the grill is certainly something that has led to some mixed reviews. Some of the cooking methods might not be as reliable due to the fluctuation in temperature. Baking is listed as one of the possible methods, but it might not lead to the most precise results.

Smoking

The smoking features have some plus points including the fact that the pellets can be used to impart flavor. However, the smokiness is not as high as some of the other grills so if you are looking for something that can provide a really rich smoked flavor then this might not be the grill for you. 

Some people have had success adding a separate smoke box within the grill. This is a matter of personal preference, but if you find you aren’t getting the flavor you want then this could be a good choice.

Grilling

Grilling on the Traeger Century 885 is easy, and the fact that there is a lot of space and temperatures go up to a respectable 500° F means that you can quickly and easily grill up some burgers or steaks. It gets up to temperature quickly so it is a viable alternative to using your oven to grill items. 

Cooking Space

The cooking space of the grill is 885 square inches. That might not mean much to you, so to put it into context it is around 9-10 pork butts or whole chickens. As you can imagine, this is plenty of space for even a large gathering.

The space is also versatile with multiple grill grates. You can set it up with a few different configurations. This is definitely a large grill so consider whether you need this much space or if you would rather go for a smaller option with a few additional features.

Pros

  • Traeger app control with some great features including stopping the cook.
  • Plenty of grilling space. More than enough for a family or a get-together.
  • Very quick to get to the desired heat.

Cons

  • The temperature can fluctuate within the grill and doesn’t always stay totally stable.
  • It doesn’t impart the most smoky flavor, so you might have to add a smoke box.

Final Verdict

Big grills usually mean big price tags. That doesn’t have to be the case, and with the Traeger Century 885 you can take advantage of the Costco partnership to get a very reasonably priced grill that can handle all the meat you could desire.

It’s best for grilling, and smoking can definitely be improved by experimenting with the woods and by adding a smoke box if required. The build quality is very respectable and while it doesn’t reach the heights of some of the soldered, bullet-proof looking models from the elite brands, you’ll struggle to get better for the price. 

If you’ve got a smaller grill but want to take your grilling to the next level without breaking the bank, the Century 885 is worth considering. 


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