Understand What You Are Cooking
You need to understand that not every cut of meat is the same, and as such, every cut of meat needs different treatment.
You need to understand its composition, such as the muscle it is, whether it has a bone, the fat content or fat cap, or the cartilage content of the cut.
You also need to think about the texture of the cut and whether it is white meat or dark meat etc.
Or maybe youre smoking cheese or veggies?
Whatever youre smoking in your pellet grill, you need to think about what you are doing before you do it.
So make sure to research and swot up on how to prepare what you are cooking! Check for the best temperature to smoke it at, what the final temperature should be, what tenderness level you are looking for, whether it should be wrapped part cook, whether you should baste it, or sauce it, or add liquid during the wrap
To get the best results, different techniques must be used for different cuts.
Remove The Ash From The Firepot
Every once in a while, you will need to remove the grease drain pan, the porcelain grill grate, and the heat baffle in order to clean all of the ash both in and around the firepot. Unlike grease, you dont need to do any wiping.
Using a standard vacuum or a shop vac, you can suck up all of the ash that can permeate the internal components of the grill. A good rule to keep in the back of your head is to vacuum your Traeger grill after every fifth use. This will make the cleaning process a little easier than if you were to let the grime build up and it will keep the grill working properly for a long time to come.
Proper maintenance is the key with any appliance. By taking a few minutes to clean and prevent the buildup of debris that can decay the grill, you can keep it looking new and operating the way that it was meant to.
After Each Use: Clean Your Grill Grates
If your food did touch the grill grates, you have a few options to clean your grill.
The first option is with a natural cleaner that doesnt have harmful chemicals in it. Let the grill cool, then remove and spray the grill grates with a natural cleaning solution. Scrub the grates with a nylon-bristle brush, a disposable cloth, or heavy-duty paper towels.
If you dont have a natural cleaning solution, you can use an onion or lemon to clean your grates. While the grill grates are still hot, rub half an onion or lemon along them. If the grates are especially dirty, dip the lemon half in salt to help it scrape food particles off, or spray the grill grates with distilled vinegar before scrubbing.
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Wait For The Grill To Achieve Desired Temperature
We know its tempting, but keep the lid closed to allow your pellet grill to heat up as quickly as possible.
While things heat up, season your food before throwing it on the grill. If the grill isnt up to temp after you finish seasoning, use the remaining time to kick back and relax with a cold beverage and good company.
Can You Use Pit Boss Pellets In A Traeger
Yes, you can use Pit Boss pellets in a Traeger. However, it is important to note that they are not compatible with all models of Traeger grills. In particular, older model Traeger may not work with Pit Boss pellets. Also, if you are using a Traeger with a digital controller, you will need to set the controller to cook at a higher temperature than normal when using Pit Boss pellets, as they have a lower caloric content than other brands of pellet.Whenever using any type of new Pellet with your Traeger Grill its always best practice to start out by smoking/ seasoning the grill first before cooking at full power on it.
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Are You Supposed To Clean Your Grill
Yes, youre supposed to clean your grill on a regular basis. Wood pellet grills are different than the gas grills you may be used to. Grill cleanliness in wood pellet grills has a huge effect on your entire experience. If you dont clean your grill, you may experience issues with ignition and maintaining temperatures, as well as unevenly cooked and bad-tasting food.
Always Season A New Smoker
The first step in setting up any new smoker is to season it. This typically involves a dry run without food where you can cook off any residual oils from the factory and coat the inside with a thin layer of cooking oil to prevent rust and make it easier to clean in the future.
You should always start by conducting a dry burn, to burn off any machine oil or other contaminants left over from the manufacturing process, before you start cooking.
Always check the instructions for your specific grill before starting as the exact steps can very.
Steps to season a pellet grill:
- Preheat your smoker to as hot as the smoker will allow.
- Conduct a dry burn for about 20 minutes to get rid of any machine oils.
- Reduce the heat to a cooking temperature of around 225 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a pretty common slow and low cooking temp and it wont rapidly burn off the cooking oil youll add next.
- Place a small amount of cooking oil with a high smoke point, such as groundnut or rapeseed oil, in a spray bottle and evenly coat the inside of the smoker.
- Run the grill for between two to four hours.
- Allow the grill to cool before using.
Once your smoker is seasoned, youre ready to start cooking.
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Add Your Wood Pellets
Pellet grills run on wood pellets held in a hopper on the side of the grill. Youll need to make sure that youve got enough pellets to last you for the entire cook, as few things are more frustrating than your grill shutting down halfway through due to insufficient fuel!
Be sure to fill the hopper with enough pellets before use. Or, at the very least, keep an eye on things so you can fill up as you go.
An average pellet grill will burn between 1-3 pounds of pellets per hour, depending on the temperature you are cooking at.
Youll also want to experiment with different kinds of pellets depending on the food youre cooking, as different woods impart different flavors. Some of the more popular types of pellets include hickory, oak, apple, cherry, and mesquite.
Also, note that you dont have to stick to your grill brands wood pellets it can be good to mix things up and experiment with different flavors.
Can You Cook On A Traeger Without Smoke
It is possible to cook on a Traeger without smoke, but it requires a bit of work and attention. The key is to use low heat settings and be patient while the food cooks through. If you try to rush things by cooking at higher temperatures, you’re likely to end up with food that is either overcooked or covered in unwanted smoke. So, if you’re looking to avoid smoking, take your time and go low and slow. You might not get the same super-fast results, but your food will be better for it.
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Top 3 Benefits Of A Traeger Grill
There are several benefits of using a Traeger pellet grill.
The use of wood pellets to produce heat/smoke has the benefit of infusing your meat or veggies with an exquisite smokey flavor. This flavor can be altered depending on the kind of pellets you use .
It also provides precise, digital temperature control as the regulator is integrated with meat thermometers. This means that you can set the desired temperature easily by choosing a setting on the dial. At the same time, Traeger pellet grill assembly instructions are easy to follow.
Traeger grills are much simpler to use when compared to old-fashioned charcoal grills. You can control the desired cooking temperature and smoke plus, the different flavored Traeger wood pellets are easy to use to lend different smokey flavors to your food.
These benefits make a Traeger pellet grill a great choice for grill novices!
Is The Magic Number
Different meats have different safe temperatures for when they are done, however smoking temperatures stay pretty consistent. While some go closer to 250°F or 275°F, the general rule is to go for 225°F. This allows for enough low and slow content to allow the fat in any cut of meat to render while not being high enough to dry it out.
If in doubt, go for 225°F.
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How Does A Traeger Smoker Work
Traeger pellet grills heat and flavor food with hardwood pellets. Unlike gas or charcoal grills, wood pellet grills dont cook food over an open flame.
Rather, pellet grills cook food via indirect heat and smoke . With indirect heat, food cooks evenly with no need to worry about shifting around your meats to avoid flare-ups and hotspots.
So how does the Traeger itself work? The process is pretty simple and amazing, all at the same time.
All-natural hardwood pellets are moved from the hopper to the fire pot by an auger, where theyre ignited to feed the flames. The hopper looks like this:
A fan circulates heat and smoke for even, consistent cooking, and a drip tray keeps flames off your food.
Its all operated by a digital temperature control that maintains precise temperature, adjusting up and down as needed for even cooking, without any additional work on your part.
One of the things I love about our Traeger is how easy it is to use. Setting the temperature on a Traeger grill is literally as easy as turning on your oven.
You make sure the smoker is plugged in, turn it on, set the temperature you want it to heat to, and hit the “IGNITE” button.
Then walk away. The newer models are all enabled with WiFIRE®, which is Traeger’s wireless control system so the app on your phone will notify you when the smoker gets to the right temperature.
Tips For Grilling On A Traeger
Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your Traeger grill:
- If you’re using a rub or marinade on your food, make sure to apply it before grilling.
- If you’re grilling chicken or fish, use foil to prevent sticking and minimize cleanup.
- When grilling vegetables, consider using skewers to keep them from falling through the grate.
- Be sure to clean the grill after each use to prevent sticking and build-up of debris.
- If you’re looking for a smoky flavor, consider using wood chips on your grill. Traeger makes a variety of flavors available.
- When grilling fruit, try brushing it with a little bit of honey or sugar before placing it on the grill. This will help to caramelize the fruit and give it a delicious flavor.
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Traeger Pellet Grill Models
There are four models of pellet grills on the market today. Each model has different sub-models that allow you to get the smoker that has the features you want and is the appropriate size for your cooking.
- Timberline Series: The Timberline is the top-of-the-line model. This line features three-tier cooking surfaces, a fully-insulated cooking area, and a built-in bamboo cutting board shelf. This range includes WiFire app technology, the D2 controller, a pellet sensor in the hopper, the exclusive Traeger downdraft exhaust, and super smoke mode to get the optimal flavor.
- Ironwood Series: The Ironwood is a two-tier smoker and pellet grill that is ideal the ideal size for most people. It has all of the same features as the Timberline grills.
- Pro Series: The Pro series hits the sweet spot between a high-tech smoker and a classic cooking tool. These grills feature precision temperature control, WiFire app control, and a built-in probe to check the internal temperature of your meat. This series uses an exhaust stack rather than the downdraft exhaust.
- Town & Travel Series: These are the smallest grills Traeger makes. The series includes a model designed for tailgating and another that rests on a tabletop. While still requiring electricity, these smokers make off-grid smoking possible.
How Hot A Traeger Grill Gets On High
Traeger pellet grills will get as hot as 450°F on the high-temperature setting.
However, a Traeger can briefly reach higher temperatures if the air temperature is warm, the grill is placed in the sun, or if the pellets are rapidly being fed into the firepot.
Keep in mind that grease and oils can ignite around 450°F so make sure to clean the drip tray and grill before setting the temperature on a Traeger to high.
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What Should I Do If My Traeger Runs Out Of Pellets While Using It
If a Traegers hopper runs out of pellets if the fire is still going, quickly add more pellets. Unfortunately, if the Traeger runs completely out of pellets during cooking the fire will go out. Then there is no other option other than to let the grill cool completely, fill up the pellet hopper, and restart.
Traeger grills use 1-3 pounds of pellets per hour. The hoppers hold between 18 pounds and 22 lbs depending on which model you get.
How fast you go through them, of course, depends on how high your heat is. Pellets are sold in 20-pound bags. Each bag provides between 6 and 20 hours of cook time. The lower the heat, the longer the cooking time youll need, and the more pellets youll use.
Some of the best foods such as brisket are smoked over long periods of time. St. Louis ribs may cook for up to 8 hours. A beef brisket will cook for 12-15 hours. So for a brisket , you can expect to use about 10-15 pounds of pellets over the course of cooking.
So you want to make sure you have enough wood pellets on hand before you start cooking.
Running out of pellets means that the grill has to cool completely and will have to be restarted according to the Traegers Initial Firing Instructions. According to Traegers Owners Manual, this means removing baffle, drip tray, and grill plates. Youll want those to be cool before you remove them.
One way to prevent running out of pellets while cooking is to purchase a hopper extender.
Just make sure its designed to fit your model.
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Pimp Your Traeger With These Accessories
Dont get me wrong, the Traeger is a great smoker/grill straight out of the box. But there are ways you can get even more out of your Traeger.
We have a guide to the best Traeger accessories you can check out.
Shelves: Besides a cover, adding a shelf is the first accessory I would recommend. The extra space comes in super handy when you need to prep meat, sauces, or sides. You can find a shelf for each model on the Traeger website.
Pellet Tubes: Some Traeger owners like the freedom to experiment a little more with smoke flavors, especially when cooking at higher temperatures where pellet grills struggle to get much smoke flavor.
If this appeals to you, consider getting yourself a pellet tube. Just pack it full of pellets, light it at one end with a blowtorch or lighter and sit it on the grate inside your Traeger. It is that easy. It will burn for about 4 hours.
Digital Thermometer: Depending on which model Traeger you own you may only have one meat thermometer so hooking up a wireless digital thermometer affords you the luxury of easily monitoring multiple items.
Arc Controller Not Displaying Meat Probe Temperature
If the ARC controller is not showing the meat probe temperature, try setting a probe alarm:
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Make Your First Smoke On A Traeger A Success
Pellets must be kept dry at all times. You can’t use pellets that get wet, even after they dry. Keep your pellet hopper dry at all times or you’ll run the risk of creating a big mess. Fill your hopper with pellets.
How Much Pellets to Use at Once
Higher temperatures burn pellets faster and you can anticipate between one and three pounds of pellets per hour. A 20-lb bag of pellets will last anywhere from six to 20 hours. Smoking smaller items like pork chops or chicken quarters will take between two and five hours.
Larger pieces of meat like pork butt roast or brisket can take nine hours or more. Always have extra pellets on hand. There is nothing worse than your hopper running out of fuel using your Traeger an hour before you’re done.
The First Time Smoking with a Traeger Pellet Grill
The Traeger Grill will need to be plugged in. You can use the thermometer control on the pellet hopper to set the desired temperature. Let the grill preheat completely. If this is the first time you are lighting a brand-new Traeger, you’ll want to burn-in the grill grates.
How to Burn-in Your Grill
Burning-in is a simple process that cleans the porcelain grates of manufacturing oils and other contaminants. All you will do is bring the smoker up to 350 degrees and hold for one hour, then increase to 450 degrees for 30 minutes to ensure a clean, seasoned grill grate.