A long-time contributor to SeriouslySmoked. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling, passed on from his father and grandfather to him.
A long-time contributor to SeriouslySmoked. Jim has had a lifelong relationship with the art of grilling,
passed on from his father and grandfather to him.
Traeger grills are innovative and premium-grade smokers, with integrated mechanisms that allow you to sit back while the auger pushes wood pellets into a burn chamber at a consistent and even rate.
However, many people find it challenging to produce as much smoke as they’d like when setting up one of these grills. They find it challenging to infuse their patties, pork ribs, and chicken wings with that distinctive smoky, bittersweet flavor or give their steak a rich, flavorful crust.
Luckily, there are several simple methods you can adopt to get more smoke from your Traeger, enhancing the flavor of your grilled food and impressing friends and family at your backyard cookout.
1. What are Pellet Grills and Why Should You Get One?
The Traeger company owned a patent on pellet grills for 20 years after Joe Traeger invented this specific type of grill in 1985 until the patent’s expiration date in 2006. Since then, many other major barbecue brands have tried their hand at creating a pellet model, but this distinctive grill remains synonymous with the Traeger name.
Pellet grills use a convection technique to heat your meat and vegetables at a controlled, even rate. You pour wood pellets into the top of the storage container, or hopper, on the side of the unit, then you use the grill’s digital display to set your time and temperature preferences for whatever it is you’re cooking.
A long screw-like auger then twists at the set rate to feed these pellets into the grill’s main unit, where they come into contact with a heating element at the base of the chamber. An integrated fan circulates air across the flames and moves this indirect heat up through the grill, cooking your food.
Pellet grills are so useful because they require minimal hands-on work. You just fill up the hopper, set the time and heat preferences, then check on the food for the internal temperature.
2. Why Aren’t You Getting Enough Smoke with your Pellet Grill?
Although pellet grills have many significant advantages over other grill models, you might find that they don’t produce as much smoke as you’d like. That’s because these units produce indirect rather than direct heat.
You might think that setting your temperature preference higher than normal will produce more smoke, but that won’t work with a pellet grill. These models are designed so that the more indirect heat you apply to your spare ribs or chicken wings, the less smoke the grill produces.
3. How Can You Get More Smoke From Your Traeger Grill?
Now that you know why you might not be seeing the results you want from your grill, you may be wondering, “how do I get more smoke from my Traeger?” Here are several useful tips for helping you to get more from your high-quality pellet grill.
Grill at a lower temperature for longer
The simplest way to get more smoke from your Traeger is to adjust your grilling method and cook your food at lower temperatures for a longer period than you usually would.
Aim to grill at a temperature below 250°F: use the digital display to set your heat preference, and the auger should automatically do the rest for you. Pellet grills are far more likely to produce rich and flavorful smoke when you cook slow and low rather than quick and high.
If you’re concerned about your meat losing juices and drying out during this slow cooking process, fill a water tray and put it next to the hot rod in the grill’s storage container. The heating element causes the water to evaporate, and the vapor condenses on the meat’s surface, infusing the food with moisture.
Invest in a smoke generator tube for your grill
If you find that the low and slow system isn’t working, you might still be asking, “how do I get more smoke from my Traeger?” If that’s the case, you can buy a smoke generator tube for your pellet grill. The purpose of this tube is to produce smoke. It doesn’t emit heat, so you won’t have to worry about reducing your grilling temperature to cook your food at a slow pace. This tube infuses your food with smoke while you turn up your heat preferences and cook at any temperature you want.
All you have to do is fill this tube with wood pellets, then ignite the open end with a match or lighter. This metallic cylinder is perforated with diffusion holes that ensure the smoke flows out of the tube and all around the grill’s main chamber.
Try different types of pellets
If you’re using pellets made from less dense wood like apple or aspen, these won’t produce as much smoke as heavier, denser options like hickory or oak pellets.
Many brands make wood pellets specifically designed to emit thick smoke, so look for these options when you’re next choosing fuel for your Traeger grill.
Use the initial smoke from the grill
When you first turn on and fire up a Traeger grill, it will emit a lot of thick, powerful smoke for several minutes. You can put some pre-cooked chicken or beef on your grill rack and close the chamber’s lid for 5-10 minutes. This initial flurry of white smoke will infuse the food with a sweet and slightly bitter flavor.
Clean out your grill
If your grill’s ventilation unit is clogged up or dirty, this can prevent smoke from circulating the main chamber and coming into contact with your food. You might also find that the grill’s integrated fan system has become congested with dirt, congealed fat, and dried food. When this happens, the fan won’t be able to blow smoke upward and across the meat and veg on the grill rack.
You should aim to clean out your Traeger’s smokestack or chimney every 3-4 weeks to ensure effective air circulation. You must also clean the burn chamber or burn pot under the grill rack: do this every time you grill food. Try to unclog the unit’s fan every month.
4. Strengthen Your Food’s Flavor by Learning How to Get More Smoke From Your Traeger
Traeger pellet grills cook food evenly and quickly. They’re simple to clean and require minimal manual operation, so you can sit back and enjoy your time with family and friends while the grill’s built-in mechanism controls and sustains the cooking temperature for you. However, it can be challenging to produce smoke with your Traeger grill. There are easy solutions to this problem, from investing in a smoker tube to cleaning your grill more regularly and cooking your food at a lower temperature.
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