Wood pellet grilling could potentially have a lower risk of cancer when compared to other forms of grilling as some people say that it leads to the creation of fewer carcinogens – Homaro Cantu
As much as it pains, and shames, us to admit it, Homaro Cantu’s incredibly astute and thoughtful observation about pellet grilling wasn’t one of the reasons why we’re fans of grilling with wood.
Obviously, it is now, but before we heard Cantu say what he had to about our favorite pastime, it hadn’t even occurred to us that it might be healthier to grill with pellets instead of charcoal.
But now that we know it is, it seems that we made the right lifestyle choice, albeit for all the wrong reasons.
The reason why we initially fell in love with grilling with pellets was simply that we adored how easy it was, and we were smitten by the subtle intensity of the flavors that pellet grilling creates.
Those flavors, those deeply ingrained and aromatic flavors, made believers out of us in less time than it took to refill the hopper on the grill that we were using at the time.
What can we say, we’re suckers for good food, and as we soon discovered that the best, and only in our opinion, way to grill, was with wood pellets we never looked back
It became, and still is, our obsession, and any opportunity that we could find to grill with our newest, and favorite fuel, we took.
And the more we grilled, the better at it we became, and the better at it we became, the more we realized that it wasn’t as easy to do as we initially assumed it would be.
Grilling with pellets is a demanding mistress that requires discipline and a deep and abiding understanding of the material that you’re using to power your grill.
Most of all though, we learned that if you want to get the best results, you need to use a good grill.
Our quest to find the best grill that we could eventually led us to Traeger’s door, which in turn opened our minds to the almost infinite possibilities of grilling with wood pellets, as we humbled ourselves before the masters of the pellet grill.
At that moment we realized that what we’d been searching for so long, had been right under our noses all the time, and the grill we’d been so desperately trying to find, at long last presented itself to us.
When we started grilling with the Pro 22, it quite literally changed our lives.
Welcome to the Traegerhood
Before we start eulogizing and waxing lyrical (don’t worry we know it isn’t perfect and we’ll talk about some of its “faults” as well) about the Pro 22, we feel that we should talk about Traeger a little bit.
The thing is, if it wasn’t for Traeger, there wouldn’t be any wood pellet grills and we’d all still be crouched around charcoal grills and smokers instead.
The founder of Traeger grills and the man who gave the company its name, Joe Traeger invented and patented the world’s first wood pellet grill more than thirty years ago.
And for the first decade and a half of the company’s life, Traeger had the monopoly on wood pellet grills.
They literally paved the way and laid the road for everyone else to follow their lead, and in two thousand and five when Joe’s patent expired (no, we thought that patents lasted forever as well, and we have no idea why Joe Traeger’s patent expired, drifted into the public domain and became a fair use technology), that’s exactly what happened.
Every other grill manufacturer started trying to do things the Traeger way, and the grilling world was saturated with a thousand different wood pellet grills that were all based on and used the same initial design that Traeger had used to transform backyard barbecues.
But they had all had one thing in common, they weren’t Traeger grills. And now that you know something about the history behind its development and creation, it’s time for us to take a deep dive into, and a closer look at, our favorite wood pellet grill of choice, the Traeger Pro 22.
Let’s cut to the chase and make one thing clear straight from the start, the Pro 22 isn’t simply a grill, It combines a little smoker technology and know-how in its design, which adds to its versatility and means that if you want to, you can use the Pro 22 as a smoker rather than a grill and if you’re so inclined, you can also take advantage of the fact this grills design means that you can also use it to bake, braise and roast whatever you want to as well. There’s far more to Traeger than just grills.
Grilling With The Pro 22
While it’s far from being the biggest gun in the Traeger grilling arsenal, the Pro 22 has a deceptively large cooking space, and when you lift the lid on the main chamber, you’ll be greeted by five hundred and seventy-two square inches of cooking space that’s spread out over the primary and secondary shelves.
For those of you who don’t speak grill, or aren’t familiar or conversant with the language of grillers, it means that you’ll have enough to grill and smoke somewhere in the region of two dozen burgers or sausages (and around eighteen brats), close to forty wings or four full chickens and ten steaks or three or four good-sized briskets.
Of course, it goes without saying that you won’t be able to grill all of that meat at once, and while we’ve never tried to grill on that sort of industrial-scale with our Pro 22, as there’s always plenty of spare capacity when we do grill with it, we’re pretty sure that we could squeeze all of those delicious meats if we tried.
And yes, the Pro 22 is just as good at grilling and smoking all manner of vegetarian delights as it is at smoking a carnivore’s favorite meat.
Firing Up The Grill
Grilling with the Pro 22 couldn’t be easier.
Simply load the eighteen-pound capacity hopper with your pellets of choice (we have a thing for Traeger’s Signature Blend blend pellets, which imbue whatever it is that you’re grilling with a rich, deep, and dense smoky flavor), pack your food onto the primary and secondary shelves, set the temperature and hit the auto ignition, and the Pro 22 will do the rest.
The auger feeder system that the Pro 22 uses ensures that it only uses as much of the pellet load as it actually needs to maintain the temperature and amount of smoke necessary to cook and flavor your chosen food.
Less waste and less haste mean that everything is always grilled and smoked to perfection inside the Pro 22.
And while we’re talking about temperature, the Pro 22 is adept at maintaining it thanks to its Digital Pro Control system and you’ll always know exactly what’s going on inside the man chamber and how hot things are getting as its dual meat probes will drip feed you a constant stream of information about the heat inside your meat, and whatever else you’ve decided to throw on the shelves.
The Hopper, That Glorious Hopper
Eighteen pounds might not sound like a lot, but trust us, it’s more than enough for at least two separate grilling sessions, especially when you take into account how efficient the Pro 22 and its auger are at using the heat and smoke that the pellets are responsible for creating.
When you’re finished and the pellets are all used up, the hopper is easy to empty, which means that cleaning up the ash residue take minutes instead of hours, and the porcelain coated shelves (or racks if you prefer to use the correct terminology) are easy to wipe down as is the inside of the main chamber.
In fact, it’s easier and quicker to clean the Pro 22, than it is to grill with it, and as grilling with it is simplicity itself, that should tell you everything you need to know about how easy it is to clean when you’ve finished grilling
It Isn’t All Good News
While we’re huge fans of the Pro 22, we’re not immune to the fact that it does have a few issues.
Most notably, it’s one of the last Traeger wood pellet grills that don’t use their surprisingly versatile and effective WiFire Technology that allows you to cook, grill, smoke, and do whatever else you want to with your grill from your smartphone or tablet.
And the other glaringly obvious problem is that the Pro 22 is heavy. And when we say it’s heavy, we mean that it weighs as much as a teenager does and it’s just as difficult to get moving when you really need it to.
It’s so heavy that our Pro 22 is still in exactly the same place as it was when we first set it up. Are we ever going to move it? Probably not. It just weighs too much.
Don’t let those minor quibbles put you off using, or grilling with the Pro 22, as we’ve learned more about how to grill with pellets in the twelve months that we’ve had ours than we ever thought possible.
And, as we said earlier, this grill changed our lives for the better and we couldn’t imagine grilling or smoking without it.