I have been a happy Traeger Grill owner for over a year now and I have a few suggestions to prospective owners and new Traeger Grill Owners. A lot of people that are new to Pellet Grills, or Traeger life, have issues with the grill and, from what I have been seeing, a lot of issues are due to inexperience or negligence. Things like LEr codes, cleaning, pellet storage, and the like all cause them to have issues with their grill. While there are times where mechanical failure, or faulty workmanship can happen, there are areas that can help grill owners start on the right foot. I had a bit of knowledge on some of this ahead of time, and I have started doing some of these things after spending some time with the grill.
The first piece of advice I would give is to properly store your pellets.
Pellet storage is above and beyond going to improve the experience with your pellet grill. The big issues start to arise when your pellets are not dry. I live in a relatively humid climate and had an issue with a bag of pellets going bad after I stored them wrong one time, and since then I have been vigilant in storing them.
Personally, I use 5 gallon pails from the hardware store. I use the white food safe ones strictly for aesthetic reasons, but a normal blue or orange one from the big stores would be fine. In addition to these, storing them open would be counter-productive, so a sealing lid is the next item. I use a screw on lid that can be found in the paint section of the hardware store. These lids have a gasket to keep the moisture out and the screw on feature also make opening and closing the lids super simple instead of having to pry open the other kind.
If the pellets get wet from ambient moisture or, worst case, actual water contact, they should not be used. They will not burn, they can also cause damage to the auger by making it not rotate, and potentially can lead to burning out the motor.
The next tip I would use is to help with temperature readings. I have had a lot of success in balling up foil and wrapping it around the temperature probe to aid in oil and soot build up. Wrapping foil around the temperature probe will help with the grease and soot build up on the temperature probe that the controller uses to regulate temperature in the grill.
I noticed after a while that the grill temperatures seemed to be fluctuating quite a bit more than usual when monitoring some cooks on the Fireboard FBX11 meat thermometer. When doing a grill cleaning prior to a cook, I noticed that the thermocouple was very dirty. After cleaning the probe I also had some foil out to cover the drip tray, I decided to grab some and crumple it, and then wrap that around the probe. This allows the probe to stay cleaner and more accurately monitor the cooking temperatures.
This next one should be a pretty obvious one, but cover your grill when not in use. The grill is an appliance, and in addition to that, has electronics inside. Too often I see people complain about their grills suddenly stopping working, or the controller failing, and too often there is evidence of water damage. I actually keep mine under a rooftop when in use, but in addition to that, I use the Traeger cover to keep the grill sheltered further from the elements when in storage.
Along the lines of obvious things, I have written about this before, but keep the grill clean. I have seen a lot of questions about how often people should do this, and I try to clean mine every time I do a long cook, or after a weekend of cooking on the grill. Being that I try to meal prep, the grill usually will get a lot of use every week. I believe that it is important to keep the grill clean, get the ash out of the fire box and barrel, and get the excess grease off the grease tray. Cleaning the grill will also help protect you from flare ups, fire, and overfilling the fire pot.
Finally, try new things that you haven’t cooked before. Since I have bought my grill I have seen a lot of people I know get them, and have had people ask me about how I make things, and not too long ago I was in their shoes. Most of my cooking was relatively simple items on the stove, on the gas grill, or in the oven. Since I have gotten the grill there is a lot of new food coming to the table. The easiest way to learn is to try new things.
While this is not the end all and be all list of things that can help with the grill, these are some easy things that make the grill last, and also will help with avoiding the main complaints that I see with the Traeger products. There is a good chance that the Traeger Grill will be a lot of peoples entry into the space, and I think it is important to help people succeed versus pushing them away.
If you have suggestions for things that you would add to this list, reach out and let me know!
8 Replies to “Traeger Tips and Tricks”
You have given me hope 🙂 I bought a few months ago but just received about 6 weeks ago. Coming from Charcoal is a big adjustment and their customer service has got to be the worst in the industry. I agree that cleaning and vacuuming out all ash is very important after every few runs. I also run my pellets through a strainer to get the powder and dirt out. My biggest issue is when I try to lower the temp, such as running on high then turning down to 350 or so, the fire always goes out??? CUSTOMER SERVICE IS NO HELP.
Hello James, I personally have not experienced that issue unfortunately. Usually when I am using the grill I am only keeping it in the 180 range and going up toward the end of a cook. Never starting out high, and coming down. My biggest suggestion would be to ensure you are using dry pellets, and storing them well. Their customer service has definitely been a struggle for me too the few times I have used it, I have multiple posts on here about it. I am sorry that you are having so much trouble! Keep pushing, you will get there!
I want to install a dome thermostat on my elite 34. where should I install it? brisket height on the door or at top of door. I need some advice
Graet tips.The grill is an appliance, and in addition to that, has electronics inside.Thanks for share.David Brown famous for delicious smoker recipes, expert cooking methods, cooking tips, and tricks as well as for his cooking recipes.
We just bought our first Traeger grill. Which rack do I smoke on? The bottom rack or the middle rack?
Any of the grill grates! Load it up and enjoy!
I have seen a few recipes that call for 180* temp for long periods of time and I cannot maintain 180*. Even on “Smoke” it shows 240*, and I ha e to open the lid to cool it down.