Can you convert a Traeger Junior to a Traeger tailgater?

Welcome to another sizzling blog post all about grilling and everything Traeger.

Today, we’re tackling a burning question that many grill fanatics have wondered about – can you turn a Traeger Junior into a Traeger Tailgater? If you’re someone who loves hitting the road with your trusty grill in tow, then this is a topic that’ll really get your taste buds tingling.

Just imagine being able to transform your compact Traeger Junior into a sleek and portable Tailgater without splurging on a whole new grill. Sounds pretty enticing, right?

Well, stick around as we delve into the nitty-gritty of this conversion process. We’ve got some wickedly useful tips, tricks, options, and resources up our sleeves that’ll take your grilling game to soaring heights.

Get ready to embark on an epic grilling adventure like never before.


Size and Portability: Differences between the Traeger Junior and Tailgater

When comparing the Traeger Junior and Tailgater grills, size and portability are two factors that stand out. Let’s dive into the details and explore the differences between these two grilling powerhouses.

Starting with size, the Traeger Junior boasts a cooking area of 300 square inches. That’s perfect for a small family gathering or a cozy get-together with a handful of friends. On the other hand, the Traeger Tailgater matches the Junior’s cooking area but takes it up a notch with a folding front shelf. This nifty addition provides an extra 150 square inches of workspace, giving you more room to flex your culinary creativity.

Now let’s talk about portability. The Traeger Junior takes the crown in this category, weighing in at a mere 60 pounds. That means it’s lightweight and easy to transport, making it a breeze to take on your next camping trip or tailgate party. The Tailgater, while still portable, weighs slightly more at around 62 pounds. But don’t worry, it won’t break your back when you’re on the move.

When it comes to dimensions, the Traeger Junior measures approximately 38 inches in height, 36 inches in width, and 16 inches in depth. On the other hand, the Tailgater stands at around 36 inches in height, 37 inches in width, and 18 inches in depth. So you can see that there are some subtle differences in size between these two grills.

Both the Traeger Junior and Tailgater are built to last. They are constructed from durable materials that can withstand Mother Nature’s whims and handle scorching temperatures without breaking a sweat. Sturdy and reliable, they are designed for frequent use and will be your trusty companions for many grilling adventures to come.

However, it’s important to note that due to their smaller size and portable nature, the Traeger Junior and Tailgater may have some limitations compared to their larger counterparts. So if you’re looking for a grill with massive cooking capacity or fancy bells and whistles, you might want to consider exploring other options.

Downsizing for Portability: How to Modify the Grill for Conversion

When it comes to converting your Traeger Junior Grill into a portable powerhouse, there are several steps you can take. Let’s dive into the details and explore how to make your grill more compact and mobile without compromising on cooking capacity or quality.

Replace or modify the legs:

The Traeger Junior comes with shorter legs that are not suitable for portability. To enhance mobility, consider replacing them with longer folding legs or attaching wheels to the existing legs. These modifications will make it easier to transport your grill wherever you go, whether you’re tailgating, camping, or enjoying a picnic in the park.

Adjust the hopper size:

The Traeger Junior’s hopper may not have the same capacity as the tailgater, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice cooking time. Use a smaller hopper extension or get creative by adding additional storage compartments to increase pellet storage. This way, you can enjoy extended cooking sessions without compromising on portability.

Increase cooking surface:

While the Traeger Junior may have a smaller grilling area compared to the tailgater, there are ways to overcome this limitation. Consider using grill grates with larger dimensions or adding extra grates to expand the cooking surface. Just make sure these modifications are compatible with the heating elements and airflow system of the grill to ensure optimal performance.

Consider construction and durability:

Although the Traeger Junior is more lightweight than the tailgater, it’s essential to prioritize sturdiness and durability when modifying your grill for portability. Choose materials that can withstand transportation and outdoor use while maintaining the grill’s integrity and reliability.

By following these steps, you can transform your Traeger Junior into a portable and versatile grilling machine. Whether you’re on the move or enjoying a relaxing day outdoors, your modified grill will be ready to serve up delicious meals for your friends and family.

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Cooking Area: Adjusting Grates and Accessories for a Smaller Cooking Surface

Converting your trusty Traeger Junior into a portable Traeger Tailgater opens up new possibilities for on-the-go grilling. However, the challenge lies in adjusting the grates and accessories to fit the smaller cooking surface. Fear not, we have you covered with these simple steps to make the conversion a breeze.

Assess Your Needs:

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Before diving into adjustments, consider the types of meals you’ll be cooking on your converted grill. Think about the size and quantity of items typically grilled and determine if additional grates or accessories are necessary.

Purchase or Modify:

When it comes to adjusting grates and accessories for a smaller cooking surface, there are two options. You can either purchase a separate set designed specifically for the Traeger Junior or modify your existing ones to fit.

Positioning for Optimal Heat Distribution:

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For even heat distribution and optimal airflow, proper positioning of grates and accessories is crucial. Ensure they are placed in a way that allows heat to circulate around the food, avoiding any hot spots or cold zones.

Grill Grates:

If purchasing new grates, ensure they are compatible with the Traeger Junior and provide sufficient cooking space. For those modifying existing grates, carefully measure and cut them to fit the smaller cooking surface while maintaining functionality.

Drip Pans:

To catch grease and prevent flare-ups, drip pans are essential. Consider purchasing or modifying a smaller drip pan that fits your converted grill. Position it correctly under the grates to capture any drippings.

Heat Deflectors:

Even heat distribution across the cooking surface is aided by heat deflectors. If your converted grill lacks built-in deflectors, consider purchasing or modifying smaller ones. Strategically place them to ensure proper heat distribution.

Smoke Shelves:

For extra cooking space or to keep food warm, smoke shelves are invaluable. If you require additional room, purchase or modify smaller smoke shelves that fit your converted grill. Position them above the grates for maximum efficiency.

Safety First:

Always prioritize safety when making adjustments to your grill. Ensure all modifications are secure and won’t interfere with the grill’s performance or pose any hazards.

Temperature Control System: Upgrading Controller for Tailgater Compatibility

Upgrading the temperature control system of a Traeger Junior grill for tailgater compatibility requires careful consideration and research. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Aftermarket Digital Controller: Look for an aftermarket digital controller that is compatible with both the Traeger Junior and the Traeger Tailgater. These controllers offer precise temperature control and advanced features like WiFi connectivity. Popular options include the BBQ Guru Pit Viper and the Flame Boss 500.
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  • Upgrade to a Higher-End Model: Consider upgrading to a higher-end Traeger grill model, such as the Pro Series or the Ironwood Series. These models come with advanced temperature control systems similar to the Tailgater, including WiFi connectivity and precise temperature control.
  • Research and Compare: Before making any modifications or upgrades, research different options available in the market. Read customer reviews and consult with experts or professionals who have experience with Traeger grills and temperature control systems. This will help you make an informed decision and choose the upgrade that best suits your needs.

Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when making any modifications or upgrades to ensure proper functioning and safety.

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Potential Modifications: Voids Warranty, Professional Assistance Recommended

When it comes to modifying your Traeger Junior grill to a Traeger Tailgater, seeking professional assistance is highly recommended. Here are a few key reasons why:

  • Warranty Voiding: The warranty provided by the manufacturer typically covers any defects in materials or workmanship. However, any modifications done to the grill may be considered tampering and can result in the warranty becoming null and void. This means that if something goes wrong with your grill after the modifications, you will be responsible for any repairs or replacements.
  • Electrical Components: Modifying your grill involves working with electrical components, which can be complex and dangerous for someone without experience in grills and their mechanisms. A professional technician will have the necessary knowledge and expertise to handle these modifications safely and effectively. They will ensure that the electrical connections are done correctly, minimizing the risk of electrical issues or accidents.
  • Potential Damage: Attempting to convert your Traeger Junior grill to a Traeger Tailgater without professional assistance can also lead to potential damage. This can result in additional expenses for repairs or render the grill unusable. By having a professional guide you through the process, you can avoid these costly mistakes and ensure that your grill remains in optimal condition.
  • Financial Viability: It’s important to consider whether converting your grill is financially viable. The cost of purchasing new components, hiring professional assistance, and potentially voiding the warranty should all be taken into account. It may be more cost-effective to sell or trade-in your current grill and purchase the desired Traeger Tailgater model instead.

Considerations Before Conversion: Factors to Take Into Account

Before attempting to convert a Traeger Junior to a Traeger tailgater, there are several important factors that need to be taken into account. Conversions between different models of Traeger grills can be a complex process, and it is crucial to carefully consider these factors before proceeding.

  • Compatibility: The first and foremost factor to consider is the compatibility between the Traeger Junior and the Traeger tailgater. While both models are made by the same manufacturer, it does not necessarily mean that they are designed to be easily interchangeable. Different models may have varying dimensions, components, and features that can affect the conversion process. It is essential to thoroughly research and compare the specifications of both models to determine if a conversion is even possible.
  • Skill Level: Converting a grill from one model to another requires a certain level of technical skill and expertise. It involves disassembling and reassembling various components, such as the hopper, auger system, control panel, and wiring. If you are not confident in your ability to handle these tasks, it may be best to seek professional assistance or reconsider the conversion altogether.
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  • Warranty and Support: Another crucial factor to consider before converting your Traeger Junior is the impact it may have on your warranty and support from the manufacturer. Altering the original design or making modifications to the grill may void any existing warranty or technical support provided by Traeger. It is essential to review the terms and conditions of your warranty agreement and contact the manufacturer directly for clarification on how conversion attempts may affect it.
  • Cost: Converting a Traeger Junior to a Traeger tailgater can involve additional expenses beyond just purchasing the new model. Depending on the differences between the two models, you may need to purchase specific conversion kits or individual parts separately. These costs can quickly add up, so it is important to factor them into your decision-making process and budget accordingly.
  • Safety Considerations: Any modifications or conversions made to a grill can potentially affect its safety and performance. It is vital to ensure that the converted grill continues to meet all necessary safety standards, such as proper ventilation, electrical connections, and fuel management. Failure to consider these safety considerations can not only result in subpar cooking results but also pose a risk to yourself and others.
  • DIY Conversion Tips: Step-by-Step Guide to Convert a Traeger Junior to a Tailgater

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Converting a Traeger Junior to a Tailgater requires a few modifications and adjustments to the grill’s structure and components. This DIY conversion can be done by following a step-by-step guide.

First, let’s address the size and weight difference between the Traeger Junior and Tailgater models. The Traeger Junior is smaller and lighter, making it easier to transport. To make your Traeger Junior more portable, you can add wheels to the bottom of the grill. This will allow you to easily roll it to your desired location. Alternatively, you can construct a custom cart with handles that will make transportation a breeze.

Next, let’s tackle the hopper capacity. The Traeger Tailgater has a larger hopper capacity compared to the Junior, allowing for longer cooking times without the need for refilling. To increase the hopper capacity of your Traeger Junior, you can explore options such as building an extension or attaching an additional hopper to the existing one. This will ensure that you have enough pellets to fuel your grill throughout your tailgating event.

Temperature control is another important aspect to consider when converting your Traeger Junior to a Tailgater. While both models offer temperature control, they may have slight differences in their mechanisms. It is advisable to consult the manufacturer’s instructions or seek advice from experts on how to modify the temperature control system of your Traeger Junior to match that of a Tailgater. This will ensure that you have precise control over the temperature of your grill while cooking on-the-go.

Lastly, let’s address the folding legs feature of the Traeger Tailgater. This feature allows for easy setup and storage, making it ideal for tailgating events. To replicate this functionality on your Traeger Junior, you can retrofit folding legs onto the grill or construct a collapsible stand that can be easily disassembled and stored when not in use. This will make your Traeger Junior more convenient to transport and store, just like a Tailgater.

Common Pitfalls of Converting a Traeger Junior to a Tailgater

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Converting a Traeger Junior to a Tailgater may seem like a great idea, but it’s important to be aware of the potential challenges and pitfalls that may arise during this process. Here are some common pitfalls to consider:

  • Size Difference: The Traeger Junior and Tailgater have different sizes, which means certain components may not fit properly or may require modifications. This includes the grill body, legs, and other accessories. Ensuring a proper fit is essential for a successful conversion.
  • Hopper Capacity: The Traeger Junior has a smaller hopper capacity compared to the Tailgater, so converting it may result in more frequent pellet refills during cooking. This can be inconvenient, especially when grilling for a large group or for an extended period. Consider if the increased maintenance is worth the convenience of a portable grill.
  • Temperature Control: The temperature control system may differ between the two models. It’s important to ensure that the conversion does not affect the accuracy and reliability of temperature control. Any modifications should be done carefully to maintain proper temperature regulation for consistent cooking results.
  • Auger System: The auger system, responsible for feeding pellets into the firepot, may need adjustment or replacement to match the requirements of the Tailgater. This ensures proper pellet delivery and combustion for consistent heat distribution throughout the grill.
  • Warranty and Support: Converting your Traeger Junior to a Tailgater may void the warranty. It’s essential to check with the manufacturer or retailer about any warranty implications before proceeding with modifications. Losing warranty coverage can be a significant drawback.
  • Safety Compliance: Any modifications made should comply with safety standards and regulations. It’s crucial to ensure that the integrity of the grill is not compromised and that all safety features remain intact. Putting safety at risk is never worth the convenience of a converted grill.
  • Clear Understanding of Modifications: Before starting the conversion process, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the specific parts and components that need to be modified or replaced. This will help avoid unnecessary expenses and time-consuming trial and error. Plan and research thoroughly before making any modifications.

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In conclusion, the conversion of a Traeger Junior to a Traeger Tailgater is indeed possible, but it requires some modifications and adjustments. Before embarking on this transformation journey, there are several factors that you need to take into consideration.

First and foremost, it’s crucial to understand the disparities in size and portability between the two grills. While the Traeger Junior is compact and lightweight, the Tailgater offers more workspace and convenient folding legs for easy transportation. To make your Traeger Junior more mobile, you can enhance its portability by adding wheels or constructing a custom cart.

Another important aspect to consider is the hopper capacity. If you desire longer cooking times without frequent refilling, exploring options such as building an extension or attaching an additional hopper can increase pellet storage.

Temperature control is yet another factor that cannot be overlooked. It is essential to consult the manufacturer’s instructions or seek expert advice on how to modify the temperature control system of your Traeger Junior to match that of a Tailgater.

Lastly, it is crucial to be aware of common pitfalls associated with this conversion process. These include size differences, hopper capacity limitations, temperature control discrepancies, warranty implications, safety compliance concerns, and having a clear understanding of all necessary modifications.

It’s important to note that converting your Traeger Junior may void its warranty and require technical skills. For safety reasons and to ensure proper functioning of your modified grill, seeking professional assistance is highly recommended.

Ultimately, converting a Traeger Junior into a Traeger Tailgater can provide you with an exceptional grilling experience that is portable and versatile. With meticulous planning, thorough research, and expert guidance, you can transform your trusty grill into an impressive on-the-go grilling machine that will leave your friends and family in awe at tailgate parties or any outdoor gathering.

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