Traeger Ironwood 650 vs. 885 – Comparison Review
The interest in all types of grills during the last years increased significantly. After a couple of isolation years, people value family gatherings and for that excellent grill is nice to have. There are many types of grills: electrical, gas, charcoal, combined, and wood pellets. But the sales of wood pellet grills have grown significantly based on online research; they even recently gained the title of the Hottest BBQ Product.
The market offers you many types of grills with different sizes and prices. This article will compare two grills – Traeger Ironwood 650 vs. 885. You can read the detailed description and the parameters to consider when looking for the best pellet grill. Moreover, you can check valuable tips for the operation, cooking, and maintenance of Ironwood grills. All this information is essential to making a carefully weighed decision.
Traeger Ironwood 650 vs. 885 – Comparison Table
Differences between Traeger Ironwood 650 and 885
The primary and only difference between these two models is the cooking grate’s size and each grill’s size. As for other Traeger grills, the model name represents the size of the cooking area – Traeger 650 has a 650 sq area, and Traeger 885 has 885 sq in. Therefore, it is evident that Traeger 885, with a bigger cooking area, has a bigger grill size. As a result, Traeger 885 can prepare 35% more food than Traeger 650.
Detailed Face-to-Face comparison of Traeger Ironwood 650 vs. 885
The history of Traeger pellet grills started in 1986 when Joe Traeger patented his first grill. Since then, the company has extended its market, and now you can buy wood-flavor grills worldwide. The company keeps the first place in the selling of wood-fired grills. The essential feature that made these grills so famous was the incredible result with simple control, allowing set all parameters and forget. The temperature control is similar to a standard oven but with the possibility to control it from the mobile app.
Wood-pellet grills can successfully replace gas or charcoal grills and provide an opportunity to grill, smoke, bake, roast, BBQ, and braise – all in one grill. Traeger has several series of grills: Timberline, Ironwood, Pro Series, and Town&Travel. Brand new Traeger Ironwood 650 and 885 are two grills with all features of excellent grills. Let’s compare them in detail to find out the differences.
Ironwood 650 and 885 are fueled by wood pellets from the hopper located on the left. The external hopper with a protective grate has a capacity of 20 lbs, allowing to cook for hours without adding fuel. The hardwood pellets are available in many flavors that you may choose for any dish you cook. The barrel-shaped grill creates a vortex of convection; hot air circulates around cooking grates, making wood-fired smoke and heat from all sides. To start grilling, you need to press the “standby” button on the D2 controller panel and set the required temperature between 165 and 500o F.
When the temperature is set, the auger automatically transports to the fire pot the required amount of pellets from the hopper to reach and maintain the temperature. When the pellets reach the fire pot, the hot rod ignites them, and the fan forces the fire to reach the desired temperature more quickly. The grills are equipped with a brushless motor to power the variable-speed fan and the auger.
Ironwood 650 and 885 support WiFIRE technology allowing the smartphone to monitor and control the grills. For more precise temperature monitoring, you may use a temperature probe. On the control panel, there is a jack for one temperature probe; for the probe’s wire, there is one hole on the side. Such construction of the probe does not prevent the closing of the lid. You may even leave the grill working for the night, the temperature will be maintained perfectly. You can set any cooking cycle using hundreds of recipes on your phone and control it from anywhere. All recipes are fully compatible with these grills.
Both models have a versatile design that makes possible to grill, smoke, bake, roast, BBQ, and braise. For that two cooking grates on different levels are located inside the barrel. You can put a water pan on the lower level to provide moisture during the cook.
For times when you do not need, the top rack can be removed. There are two positions for the large cooking grate, the low and the middle, for more delicate items.
Below in the barrel, the grease dip tray is located, which also works as heat diffusion from the fire pot. The grease tray is installed with the angle on the left to drain all residues into a grease bucket hanging outside on the left for easy cleaning. Under the grease tray, the heat baffle is located for heat diffusion as well.
The fire pot is located at the bottom of the barrel. This is the place where wood pellets are ignited and burned. Ironwood 885 has a 30-inch barrel. This is enough for ten whole chickens or nine pork butts. Ironwood 650 has a 22-inch barrel. And you can prepare ten whole chickens but only six pork butts in it.
Advantages of Ironwood 650 and 885
Ironwood 650 and 885 have significant advantages comparing other wood pellet grills:
Downdraft exhaust precisely controls smoke output with a simultaneous increase of smoke penetration inside the food to receive the best flavor. True convection system directs heat and smoke through specially designed channels (ports at the back of the grill located on the level of cooking grates) in the grill to ensure 20% faster cooking than indirect cooking alone without flare-ups. Such a design creates a vortex around the grill.
In this mode the precise controlled fans deliver 100% smoke at temperatures from 165oC to 225oC at any time of the cook.
The updated controller features a keep-warm mode. The grill maintains the grill temperature at 165o F to keep the food warm. However, the keep warm function is not designed to prepare food.
The ironwood is made from stainless steel with aluminum powder on top to increase durability. Double-side walls and the belly ensure better temperature control and heat retention than single-aide insulation grills. The lid of the barrel has a gasket for additional insulation.
You can keep all the required accessories nearby.
Traeger also produces more than ten wood pellets with different flavors designed to prepare specific types of meat. For example, pecan wood pellets are suitable for beef, poultry, pork, veggies, and backing. In contrast, apple wood pellets are suitable only for poultry, pork, backing, and veggies.
Considering that that grill is quite heavy, to simplify its moving, there are four wheels on the legs: two small and two bigger ones.
The control functions are executed with the panel on the hopper. It has a status display to show the temperature, status of the cooking program, and remaining time. There are several buttons on the panel: super smoke and keep warm modes, standby, timer, menu, and ignite. For setting the temperature, a selection dial knob is used. You can set up the meat probe from the menu button and sync your grill with Wi-Fi (WiFire Technology). As with other Traeger, both grills have Wi-Fi to provide the ability to install the temperature up to 5o C accurately from your app.
This helps to accelerate the heating rapidly or turn the auger slowly. The D2 controller produces faster start-up with turbo technology, so you can start cooking faster to receive wood-fired food. More fire and flavor are produced when you push ignite.
To understand if you really need to purchase these grills, it is vital to understand how easy the cooking process is and how easy the grill is to maintain.
Cooking with Ironwood grills
Before first using the grill to ensure proper operation, you should prime the auger preparing it for filling with wood pellets. The seasoning of the grill consists of several steps:
- Connect the grill to the power. The detachable power cord should be inserted into the grounded outlet. Remember to switch the Main Power switch into the ON position.
- Fill the hopper with wood pellets. For seasoning, only several pellets are required. Using only branded Traeger pellets is recommended, as they are designed for work with these grills.
- In the menu on the control pad, select “prime auger.” Within two minutes, the pellets will be filled into the auger tube and reach the fire pot. When the first pellets achieve the fire pot, you should select “Back” in the menu to turn off the auger.
- On the screen will appear “press dial to set temp.” Set the temperature at 350o F. Press “ignite,” close the lid and run the grill for twenty minutes.
- Change the temperature to 500o F and run the grill for thirty minutes more.
- Turn off the grill. You are ready for the best cooking experience.
To start cooking, you just need to press the “Standby button” and select the temperature. Then close the lid and push the ignition. After finishing the preheating process, you can load food on the cooking grids. If required, you can change the temperature during cooking. The timer on the control pad does not influence grill operation; it only needs to remind you about a necessary temperature change or any other activities.
The grill has two pre-set cooking cycles built-in: chicken challenge and beginner’s brisket. You can also create your cook cycle.
So, the cooking process does not include time-consuming steps, you need to spend several hours on grill seasoning.
Cleaning the Ironwood grills
All cleaning procedures should be executed while the grill is off. Accumulated grease is easier to clean when the grill is still warm (not hot!). The grill maintenance consists of several must-to-do steps:
- Cleaning inner surfaces, including grease drain tube, grease drain, and grease drip tray. You can install aluminum liners to speed cleaning into grease buckets and drip tray.
- Cleaning outside surfaces – using only soapy water and a disposable cloth is recommended.
- Cleaning outside storage.
- Cleaning cooking grates (better while they warn) should be performed after each food preparation.
- Cleaning the firepot from the ash after 20 hours of use.
The grease management system accumulates most of the grease, so its parts should be cleaned after 5-10 cooking cycles. The grill should be maintained clean to avoid flare-ups; nevertheless, the lid should be closed during cooking.
Important tips for Ironwood grills users
If you are thinking of Ironwood grills 650 and 885, please check these operating tips if they fit your style of cooking:
- Traeger grills should never be moved while they are hot.
- Wood pellets should never be added to the fire pot by hand.
- The grills are designed for cooking with a closed lid; the open lid increases cooking time.
- You can increase or decrease the temperature during cooking.
- Always check the inner temperature of the food using a temperature probe to ensure safe food preparation.
- Traeger designed pink butcher paper that can be purchased separately to keep moisture in food.
Suppose you are still trying to decide what type of grill to choose; this section will be crucial for you, as there are listed the advantages of wood pellet grills that will make you a fan of these types of grills. Traeger grills are leaders in wood-pellet grills, so you definitely need to buy Ironwood 650 or 885 if you agree with the pros.
- Versatile grills (6-in-1 – grill, smoke, bake, roast, BBQ, braise)
- Simple in use (fill the pellets, set the temperature, place the food and forget)
- Environmental friendly pellets as made from renewable resources
- Fewer emissions and harmful smoke from wood pellets burning as from charcoal
- Many flavors of wood pellets prepare unique smoke and aromas to the food
- Extensive range of temperature 165-500 F (some pellet grills are limited to 450 F) for food preparation
- Automatic and precise temperature control
- Suitable for the preparation of meat, chicken, vegetables, cakes, and other types and sizes of food
- To control the inner temperature probe is provided (optional for some grills)
- Only outdoor grills
- Quite heavy, not portable
- Can’t use in wet weather as using electricity
- Higher initial price than other types of grills
- Should be cleaned regularly (as with all other grills)
- For some cooking methods, 500 F of indirect fire is not enough
- Storage space is required for bags with pellets
To proceed further with looking for the best wood pellet grills for your home, please below the tips to choose the right type of Ironwood model.
How to choose the best wood pellet grill?
If all advantages of pellet grills convince you to buy them, you need to understand how to choose the best suitable for your needs:
- How much space do you have to install the wood pellet grill? There are two types of grills – freestanding and built-in BBQ islands. Freestanding models (Ironwood 650 and 885) have additional shelves for storage and food preparation; some have extra appliances such as gas side burners.
- Do you have a connection to electricity? Wood pellet grills need electricity to ignite the pellets.
- What type of temperature control do you need? PID controllers can be with touch screens, WI-FI, and smartphone control. PID controllers can control the constant temperature within 5 degrees of the set value, while non-PID controllers within 30-40 of the intended temperature. Also, there are 3-position (low, medium, high) and multi-position controllers on simple models.
- Do you need a luxury model or an entry-level one? Market proposes wood pellet grills on every budget.
- How big is your family? A cooking area of 450-500 sq inches is sufficient for an average family with two kids. If you want to have big parties, have a look at grills with a larger cooking area.
- What style of cooking do you prefer? The pellet grill temperature range is 180-425o F (for Ironwood 160-500o F); it is not enough for searing which requires 500-550o F.
Going step-by-step, you can easily choose between Ironwood 650 vs. 885.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I run out of pellets with Traeger 650 or 885?
Can a turkey be prepared on the Ironwood grill?
What is the required power for Ironwood grills?
What is the main difference between the Ironwood and Pro series?
For all grill lovers, Traeger Ironwood will give a pleasant experience and the best results in cooking. Ironwood 650 vs. 885 are perfect models of wood pellet grills with many intelligent remote control features and enhanced capabilities of fast temperature achievement and super-smoke production. In general, these two products are identical; the only difference is the grill size and cooking area. Correspondingly, their price will be slightly different.
So, to choose the best grill, you need to estimate the amount of food you are going to prepare and check the model based on that. Before buying the grill, please keep in mind all the helpful tips for placing and operating. Of course, a bigger grill will also require more space on the patio. But no matter your choice, you will receive the best steaks and ribs!