Are you the proud new owner of a Traeger pellet grill? Welcome to the club. While you are probably super excited to get your Traeger up and grilling, there are a few things you should know about using your Traeger before you begin.
We’ve addressed some of the knowledge we have amassed about Traeger’s over the years into this article, so read on to discover 10 tips for using a Traeger.
1. Season Your Traeger Grill
One of the things that sets Traeger care apart (or any pellet grill, for that matter) is the need to season your pellet grill before you begin using it.
Seasoning is a term used to describe the process of turning your grill on and letting it run empty for 1-3 hours before shutting it off. This initial cook helps to burn off any chemicals left over in the grill during the manufacturing process and helps you to get an idea of how to run your new grill.
While seasoning a grill isn’t required, many professional grillers have found it to be a necessity when it comes to producing delicious and flavorful meat. Plus, others have reported that not seasoning your grill can leave the first dish you cook with an odd metallic taste.
While many people like to overcomplicate seasoning, we see it as an essential “dry run” of your new grill. So, before you plan your first dinner in your Traeger, take the time to season it!
>>> Related: 9 Things To Know Before Buying A Traeger
2. Buy Traeger Accessories In Advance
Getting a new grill is exciting, we know, but there are some essential accessories you need to have before you start grilling.
So, before you get too excited and start unpacking your grill, take the time to order everything you think you will need, from a grill brush to a cover and definitely some pellets! You may also want to consider buying some grill tools (if you don’t already own some) and maybe some attachments (like smoker hooks or a spit!), as you never know what new smoker recipe might catch your eye!
This way, once your grill is all set up, you will have everything you need to get started.
3. Brush Your Grill Grates After Every Use
Your Traeger is one expensive piece of equipment, and the last thing you want to do is neglect it to the point where it begins to show wear and tear. The best way to do this is by resolving to clean your grill after every use.
Now, when we say clean after every use, we don’t mean deep cleaning or scrubbing the entire interior of the grill. After all, this would ruin the point of seasoning your grill before use.
Rather, after each use, take the time to use a brush on the grill grates (we recommend the bristle-free Grill Rescue brush) and remove any large bits of debris. The rest of your cleaning can be saved for the end of each season—but during this time, you should break down your grill and scrub both the grates and the interior.
Need more information on how to clean your Traeger? Check out our article How to Clean Your Traeger Grill.
4. Step Outside of Your Recipe Comfort Zone
When you first get your Traeger, you will likely want to gravitate to one of your old grill recipes. While this is fine to start with, don’t forget the entire reason you bought a Traeger in the first place—to try some cool recipes.
Whether you look on the Traeger App or perhaps try our recipe for Smoked Brisket, make sure you keep stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying new things—you never know when you will discover your new favorite recipe!
Don’t know where to start? Try out Poor Man’s Burnt Ends.
5. Always Cover Your Grill When Not In Use
Just as you should commit to cleaning your grill regularly, you should also commit to always covering your grill when not in use. This will help to keep your grill in pristine condition and prolong its life.
Additionally, if you live somewhere with cold and snowy winters, it is recommended to have a place indoors to store your grill for the winter. This will ensure it doesn’t get damaged by snow or rain during the cold season and will be ready to go when the sun comes back around in the spring.
6. Don’t Leave Pellets in the Hopper
Pellet grills are amazing, but they do have one major downfall, and that is the fact that you can’t leave pellets in the pellet hopper all the time.
In a dry area, you might be okay to leave the pellets overnight, but in general, we recommend clearing your pellet hopper after every use.
This is because the wood pellets are highly affected by moisture and can turn to mush in moist conditions. This mush can gum up or jam your augur, rendering your expensive grill useless until you embark on a lengthy cleaning process.
Therefore, to avoid this, just plan to remove the pellets from your pellet hopper after each use.
7. Buy Grease Bucket Liners
If this is your first time owning a grill with a grease bucket, we recommend that you buy liners. This will make the disposal of grease much less of a hassle.
With grease bucket liners, you simply wait for it to fill and then throw the liner in the trash. Without one, you will need to find a container (such as an old butter container) to fill with the grease for disposal. Plus, you will then need to rinse the grease bucket with a degreaser to get it clean.
Side Note: Not all Trager’s have grease buckets. If yours has a grease tray, grab the equivalent tray liner.
8. Clean the Firepot Every 3-5 Cooks
The fire pot is the area where the flame is in your Traeger. While you don’t need to inspect it every time you grill, it is a good idea to establish a routine for emptying built-up ash.
We recommend checking your fire pot every 3-5 cooks, or once per month, whichever is sooner, and using a shop vac to vacuum out extra ash. This will keep it from building up and keep your Traeger in tip-top shape.
9. Careful, Your Grill Will Be Hot!
Traegers are unique in that they can get just as hot as a charcoal grill while also maintaining those low temperatures for smoking. You’ll be surprised at just how hot your Traeger can get!
Many people who are used to less expensive or fancy grills find themselves needing additional heat tools that they didn’t need with their previous grill. The heat tools we are referring to are fireproof gloves and tongs that can lift the grates.
These two tools will help you to make some of your best recipes yet! Just remember to always let your grill cool before you attempt to clean it.
10. Something Wrong? Ask for Help!
Traegers are amazing grills, but just like any other appliance, they can break down from time to time.
Many grill aficionados experience a breakdown and think that they can rectify the system themselves, but little do they know that Traeger’s can be very technologically advanced when compared to other grills!
Not only that, but Traeger offers some of the longest warranties in the business, often guaranteeing parts of your grill for 3-10 years (depending on the part!) For this reason, if something goes wrong with your grill, we recommend contacting Traeger customer service right away.
Traeger customer service can investigate and let you know whether the part that is damaged is still under warranty (because if it is, you don’t want to mess around and void the warranty!) And if it’s not, at least you’ll know before you lift the hood.
Overall, Traegers are an amazing grill, and we are glad you took the leap and purchased one. We hope that these 10 tips for using Traeger will help you to get started and keep you happy with your Traeger for years to come.
>>> Related: Pellet Grills vs Gas Grills