How To Start a Traeger Grill | Step-by-Step Guide

Traeger grills are the ones that are most demanded pellet grills. Those, who are new to the world of grilling and BBQ, can be quite suspicious of how to use a grill. The doubts are not completely vague, as operating a grill can be a bit of an issue if one is new to it. It is always better to learn the way around the grill beforehand. One should pay attention to various things, like the connections, pellets, temperature probe, etc. Here is a complete guide on how to start a Traeger.

How To Start a New Grill?

Once, the steps to get a new grill started are known, it becomes easier to operate it. And with a few tries and practices, the steps become second nature. The steps are as follows:

Assembling the Grill

Most of the new grills need to be assembled. The manufacturers will provide a detailed manual that one can follow or even look for assembling videos online. The parts that one needs to attach are mostly the grill body, grease drain pipe, flue pipe, grease bucket, lower cabinet, grill grates, the heat baffle, and chimney cap.

Connecting To an Electric Outlet

The newer models of grills require electrical power for the working of the internal thermostat, fan, igniter rod, and wood pellet auger. Connect to an outlet that can take its load and make sure to keep it unplugged at all times when not in use.

Add Wooden Pellets To the Grill Hopper

Purchase the right type of wood pellet that works with the grill equipment as well as based on what flavor is preferred. The wood pellets come in pecan, oak, cherry, apple, maple, hickory, alder, and mesquite flavor.

The hopper is the large metal box attached to the grill. Open the lid and put the pellets in, filling it to the brim. This amount of pellet will last for a week.

Cleaning the RTD Temperature Probe

The RTD temperature probe is a long metal placed on the grill’s body, more precisely, on the left side. Before starting the grill, clean the probe to get rid of any grease or dirt on it. This is done so that the dirty RTD Temperature Probe does not lead to unwanted fluctuation of the heat.

Preheating the Grill

When it is time to cook, do not just rush to place the meat on the grill. First, preheat the grill. Keep the lid open during this time. On the grill's control panel, there is a temperature knob. Rotate it till the "Smoke" setting. And in case, the grill does not have the "Smoke" setting, simply set the temperature somewhere between 160°F to 200°F.

Let It Rest for 5 Minutes

Usually, a grill requires 4-5 minutes to preheat, but extend it to 7-8 minutes for new grills. This longer time will give the grill enough time to shift the wood pellets into the firing box. Also, preheating for a longer time will let the user detect technical issues if there are any.

Closing the Lid at the Right Time

Do not get alarmed when the grill starts to roar. It is a good sign same when the car engine roars. When the grill roars, close the lid so that the smoke and heat get trapped in. if the grill is not roaring, check the grill hotrod, fan, or auger. The reason can be some debris or dirt clogging them. Could you clean it up and restart the preheating? If it still fails to work again, call for customer service from the manufacturer.

Adjusting the Desired Temperature Level

Once the grill is properly preheated, now it's time to adjust the temperature rod depending on the cooking requirements. Also, before putting the food on the grill, check if the general chamber is hot enough to cook by referring to the grill’s heat gauge.

Take the Food off the Grill 

After cooking is done, do not forget to clean the remaining food particles and condiments. If it is left there, the grease buildup will rot the metal. To clean the grates, wait for them to cool down. Once all the cleaning is finished, put the lid down.

How To Start A Grill With Pellets?

The steps on how to start a Traeger grill  with pellets are divided into two sections. Preparation before starting it and then how to start the grill.

Preparation To Start the Grill

  • Start with cleaning the fire pot and getting rid of any ashes from previous cooks. Ensure that nothing is obstructing the firepot.
  • Keep the grill’s lid open.
  • And add the pellets to the grill hopper.

The advisable thing to do is not leaving the pellets inside the grill hopper because no matter how dry the climate is, it will get destroyed due to humidity and fluctuations in temperature. So instead, store them inside the house in an airtight container. The more dry and fresh the pellets are, the better they will smoke.

Starting the Grill

  • Start with plugging in the grill.
  • Once it is connected, flip the switch one and turn the temperature knob to “Smoke”.
  • The fan starts working and, the auger begins to move the pellet into the firepot. Even the fire rod will start to heat up.
  • During this preheating time, leave the lid open for the next 5-7 minutes until the smoke generates. As the pellets first start igniting, a strong white smoke starts coming out of the grill.
  • Once the smoke comes out, shut the lid of the grill and set the temperature based on the desired heat required for cooking.
  • For the next 10-15 minutes, let the grill heat up at that temperature before adding the food.
  • While waiting, check if the grease bucket and the drip pan are properly placed in the grill. Add the aluminum foil lining to the bucket to reduce the hassle of cleaning it.
  • If the grates are still not in place, add them as the grills heat up.
  • Run a grill cleaning brush over the grates to makes sure that there are no leftover food particles from the previous cooks.
  • Check the heat gauge to see if the grill has reached the desired temperature. If yes, then start putting the food on the grates.

Turning Off a Pellet Grill

After the cooking is finished, shutting the grill properly is important, or it can become hazardous. Unplugging the grill is not enough, follows these few extra steps.

“Shutdown Cycle”

Setting the dial on this feature immediately shuts the auger down and increases the speed of the fan and the temperature of the fire rod. This is done to help burn the rest of the pellets in the firepot. Because the pellets in the firepot that have already been lit once will not re-light. It is best to burn them off. And this feature makes this process quicker.

When the shutdown feature is running, do not power off or unplug the grill. It takes around 5-10 minutes to complete the process. Once done, the fan will stop, and the grill will start to cool down.

Storing the Leftover Pellet

If there is still any pellet left in the auger and hopper, take them out and store them back in its airtight container. If left unattended, then they will catch moisture and expand and begin to rot. Since pellets are expensive, one should quickly store them instead of throwing them away the next time grill is turned on.

Quick Cleaning

Quickly clean the leftover food and empty the grease bucket if any grease has collected in it. Once satisfied with the cleaning, put the lid of the grill back on. And work is done!

Seasoning a New Grill

Seasoning a new grill means burning off any residue manufacturing oils. The residuals and oils are non-toxic but, it is important to clear them off, and best ay it by “burning”. Also, remember that it is normal to get whiffs of odd smell during this process as the oils and lubricants burn off.

Here the steps for the seasoning process are provided for both non-WiFIRE-enabled (AC) grill and WiFIRE-enabled (D2) grill.

In terms of timing, the non-WiFIRE-enabled (AC) grill takes around 1 hour from start to shut down, and the WiFIRE-enabled (D2) grill takes 1 hour 30 minutes for the same.

Steps for Non-WiFIRE-Enabled (AC) Grill

  • Start by checking that all the internal components of the grill, such as baffle, grill grates, and drip tray, are inside the grill.
  • Next, plug in the grill and switch it on using the front controller.
  • Pour pellets into the grill hopper.
  • Next is priming the auger.
  • Open the lid and take all the internal components (aforementioned) out of the grill.
  • Set the grill to the highest temperature using the controller. The highest is when pellets fall into the firepot in 2-5 minutes.
  • Now, turn off the grill.
  • Put all the internal components back to their places.
  • Turn the grill on, shut the lid, and set the grill to "Smoker”.
  • It will take around 15 minutes for the fire in the grill to establish. Once it does, the smoke will be of light blue color and thin (not white and thick).
  • Again using the controller, set the temperature to the highest.
  • And let it retain that temperature for the next 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, the seasoning process is finished. One can go ahead and start cooking on the grill. But if not cooking then, use the "Shutdown Cycle” to shut the grill down.
  • This cycle will extend to another 25 minutes. Once finished, turn off the grill.

Steps for WiFIRE-enabled (D2) grill

Unlike the non-WiFIRE-enabled (AC) grill, in the WiFIRE-enabled (D2) grill, the entire seasoning process can be done using one’s smartphone. Download the Traeger app, connect the grill and easily carry on the seasoning process.

  • Same as above, start with checking that all the internal components are in place.
  • Plug the grill into an electrical outlet and switch the grill on.
  • Pour pellets into the grill hopper.
  • On the grill’s control, find the “Select Auger” option and set it to “Prime Auger”.
  • Once pellets start falling into the firepot, select “Done” to turn the auger off.
  • Next, get the temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit by turning the knob clockwise and press it to set it.
  • Shut the lid of the grill and press the Ignite button.
  • Keep an eye on the heat gauge to check when the grill reaches 350 degrees Fahrenheit. And soon as it does, set the timer for 20 minutes.
  • Once 20 minutes are up, set the temperature to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • When it reaches that temperature, set the timer for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, one can start cooking on the grill.
  • If not cooking then, select the "Shutdown cycle".
    • In the app, to start this feature, hit the shutdown option and slide down on the flames.
    • For Timberline or Ironwood series, press down on the Standby button for 3 seconds.
    • For the Pro series, press down on the selection dial for 3 seconds.
  • It will take 30 minutes to finish the shutdown cycle. Once done, unplug the grill to store it away. The seasoning process is complete.

How To Use a Smoker?

Follow the below-given steps to smoke the grill every time successfully: 

  • First, properly plug the grill and turn it on. Then select the "Smoke" setting. If there is no smoke setting, then set the temperature to 190 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Pellets are what create the smoke. So, makes sure that the auger is properly working because it pushes the pellets into the firepot.
  • Air should be blowing out of the firepot, so check that and also see that the firepot is heated enough.
  • Use your hand to feel the air blowing out of the firepot, and it will glow red when it has properly heated up.
  • Put the greased pan, grill trays and baffle into the smoker and also pout pellets into the pellet hopper.
  • Once all set, put the lid of the grill and set the smoker temperature to high.
  • Let it smoke for some time with the lid closed and at a high temperature. If using the smoker for the first time, let it sit smoking for 45 minutes to season it properly.
  • If the smoker is not smoking, it means either the pellets are not hard enough or the temperature may be too high.
  • Now, add the meat to the grill and lower the temperature according to the required heat level. For better temperature control, check the instructions about the meat temperature probe.

Learning how to start a Traeger is not rocket science, but can take some time for the newbie. One should pay attention to the tips and advice and carefully fire up the grill. Also, it is crucial to learn how to use the smoker for smoking the meat. Once the grill is started, it is easy to use the same and cook some meat on it without any hassle.

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