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!