If you’re serious about outdoor grilling, then a Traeger grill is a good option to invest in as it offers the versatility of being both a grill and a smoker so you can achieve mouthwatering smokey grub every time you cook on it.
However, what deters some people from buying a Traeger grill is that they look like they are a lot more complex to use in comparison to other grills. Not every Traeger grill works in the same way, but most of the principles of the branded pellet grills are the same so the same instructions can be applied to all over their units.
So if you’re on the ropes about buying a Traeger grill or you’re just curious about how they function then this article will be a thorough guide to how a Traeger grill works.
How does it work?
Despite Traeger grills being fuelled by wood pellets, they still require electricity to be able to use the control panel to alter the temperatures and the fans on the unit. So if you’re going to use your Traeger grill outdoors you’ll need to be near an outlet or have an extension outlet running through your yard to plug it in.
You’ll need to pour your wood pellets into the attached hopper of the grill (how much you need will depend on how long you’re cooking and how hot the temperature is going to be) and then turn your grill on the control panel and select the setting you want.
The grill works by the wood pellets flowing through the hopper into an auger which is powered by an electric motor inside the grill. When the grill is first switched on, the auger motor will put a high quantity of pellets into the burning pot to get the fire going quickly and up to the required temperature. These pellets are lit by the hot rod inside the burn pot.
There is also a draft induction fan built into a Traeger grill that is activated to help circulate air through the auger and to the burn pot to help increase the flames and also to circulate the smoke around the grill area for the food.
Once the grill has reached its required temperature, the control panel signals to the auger to slow down or stop the flow of pellets to the burn pot, or if you turn the temperature up, signals it to add more pellets to the burn pot.
Trager grills take around 15 minutes to heat up for cooking temperature and around 10-15 minutes for smoking purposes.
All you then need to do is put your grub on the grill and allow some time for everything to cook properly. You should try to keep the lid on your grill closed as much as possible throughout cooking as if you leave it open the heat will escape and your food will cook a lot slower.
We briefly touched upon the pellet quantities you’ll need for different cooking times. On average you’ll need around 1-2lbs of wood pellets per hour of cooking at a lower temperature for slow cooking foods like meats.
However, if you aim to cook your food quickly at a higher temperature then it’ll require a larger quantity of wood pellets in the hopper as the fire will burn through them more quickly.
Some Traeger grills are a lot more advanced than some of their older models, with some of the newer ones like the Pro Series or the Timberline series having WiFi or ‘WiFIRE’ connectivity as they like to call it.
You may be wondering what use is this feature on a grill? Well, it’s very handy if you have a large yard and you’re entertaining guests as you can connect your smartphone to your grill or your Apple watch allowing you to change the temperature, monitor your food’s progress whilst it is cooking, and turn on the smoking function without having to touch the grill itself.
The Traeger app also offers hundreds of recipes that you can follow straight from your smartphone so you can expand your cooking skills to impress dinner guests.
What does a Traeger grill need?
To get your Traeger grill up and running you’ll need a bag of wood pellets, a nearby outlet, and lots of yummy grub to stick on the girl when it’s all fired up.
Traeger recommends using premium hardwood pellets for their grills for a longer-lasting burn and better taste. They do have their own branded pellets that are available in a variety of flavors such as apple, hickory, maple, and even pecan to help give your food a distinct taste and take it up a notch.
Trager’s warranty does say that it will be void if you use any other kind of pellets apart from their branded ones, but there’s no way of reinforcing that rule because they cannot prove that you’ve used different branded pellets in the grill.
How to maintain a Traeger grill?
Traeger grills offer efficient cooking to help create delicious food but they will require some level of maintenance to keep it in good working order. Every Time you’ve finished grilling your food, you’ll need to clean the grease drain pan using a metal spatula (it’s easier to do when the grease is still warm) and also regularly empty the grease bucket.
Now and again, take the time to remove excess ash from the firepot in the grill by removing the components and vacuuming up the debris (make sure to do it when the grill is cold). You may also want to spray and wipe down the chimney with a natural degreaser to keep everything clean.