Traeger Pellet Grill | Barbecue Tricks

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Traeger Pellet Grill

rec tec vs traegerPellet Grills are like magic. The are a barbecue trick in and of themselves because they cook with real wood instead of other fuels sources like charcoal and propane.   It’s the most convenient way to get real wood taste and great smoke flavor.    We have tested the new Traeger Texas pellet grill and it is a winner.

Pellet Grills Benefits and Tricks:
Pellet cookers like the Traeger (and Rec Tec) allow the pitmaster (or is it pellet master?) to hold a low and slow consistent temperature over a very long cook.
See the latest Traeger Deals  on Amazon.

Another plus on the Traeger is the super easy set up and high quality.   The Traeger Texas was shipped to my home in a few boxes that were not too heavy (I could move them myself) and putting the fire and auger mechanism and legs together were pretty straight forward.  Took me approximately 30 minutes without the usual frustration of a lot of little bolts and parts.  Surprisingly easy for the technology you are setting up.

The pellet grill is versatile too.  It can fire hot and bake or “roast” over 400 degrees.
The electric fan or blower and an internal thermostat does the rest to control the burn and hold a steady temperature.    This thing can really do some baking / roasting if you are really into cooking with some higher heat.

So if you want smoked cookies.  This will do it!   But more common is that it’s great for competition guys as well as the backyarder.  And because it really heats with wood – the primary fuel source – it passes the muster indifferent BBQ competitions like the popular KCBS Kansas city BBQ Society.

Dan Caskie – Traeger Pellet Grill owner with Ledyard BBQ offers a few tricks and some insight:

Dan: “I’m firing it up right now you see the smoke coming up – so this definitely IS a smoker. I’ve got it on the smoke setting and once my smoke starts to come out I can close it up and reliably now that I have it set to my desired temperature, I give it about fifteen minutes, go rub my butts and it’s ready to smoke BBQ. I can leave the meat on there and never have to change anything. I usually wrap my butts… it’s kind of a “crutch” but with THIS there’s no need. Also thanks to the grease draining system… no need. I can leave it on here the whole cook until it’s ready to be perfect pulled pork.”

BBQTRICKS: What pellets do you use?
Dan:”So Traeger has a large line of them. I have a local supplier that I’m able to get them from pretty easily and Traeger also sends me some coupons from time to time so that’s nice. If I was going to do my butts I take a mixture of Hickory and Apple or even Maple. I like Maple a lot. They make a great Mesquite if you do any beef. I like to stay traditional with the Mesquite on beef.”
BT: So you’ll mix them like a recipe?
Dan:” That’s correct. I also like to layer them. I know the auger pulls them through. I like to start with some Hickory maybe finish with a fruit (wood) run. They also have a Pecan that is wonderful. It’s kind of a universal wood as well. You asked me earlier about getting a good smoke ring. One tip you might us is you might get a little more dark with Pecan. If you want that color… throw the Pecan in there. The Traeger is also great for high heat cooking. I can finish a butt and then throw some chicken on there. I have a multi rack on here so I can throw a bunch of racks of ribs or chicken on. I can crank that heat if I want to sear something quick. We like Bacon Pops. Cook ’em at 325 degrees F. Again, dial the temperature. It’s easy enough I can call my wife and tell her to throw something on the grill and she likes it because she’s involved. So we love Traeger grills. It’s doing great for us.”
BT: What’s your favorite meat to do on there?
Dan:” Chicken. By far this is a competition chicken cooker. Backyard chicken is wonderful. Anything that you want easy control of. Charcoal is great but it takes me a while to get everything set up and I always have to empty the bag. This… I just make sure my hopper is full. Put in my favorite flavor and I can get what I want out of it pretty easy.

Follow Dan with the hastag #TIMETOBBQ

The Traeger Pellet grill is in our opinion the king of pellet cookers. If you want to find out more about the Rec Tec I Ballistic BBQ and Amazing Ribs blogs have done more detailed things with the Rec Tec.

In summary pellet cookers are a fantastic convenience for the low and slow bbq master.  The pellets are a new cost to factor in to you cooking budget but it compares favorably to propane plus wood chips or charcoal plus wood chunks.  It will likely encourage your experimenting with new wood flavors.

Final tip: Remember to purchase an appropriate cover for the grill as water is an enemy of wood pellets.
Traeger Cover for Lil Tex or Lil Tex Elite Grill, Black


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About Bill West

Bill West a BBQ enthusiast, Author, and Country Music aficionado in Charleston, SC. Get his BBQ Blueprint Book on Amazon: Follow him:

2 Responses to “Traeger Pellet Grill”

  1. Myron says:

    Hi Bill,

    I’ve been considering a Traeger vs. a RecTec and trying to make an informed decision. I value your insight and wondered if you had seen any issue with temperature control on your Traeger. I’ve heard stories about it not being consistent but know the company has been going through a number of changes with a CEO – one of them to address some drop in quality. I’d appreciate you sharing what you’ve experienced thus far with keeping a consistent temp.



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