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Wood pellet grills?

LinefinderLinefinder ModeratorPosts: 6,562 Senior Member
Just found out the wife and I are getting a Traeger Pro 22 wood pellet grill as an early anniversary/Christmas present  this week, along with a cover, and apple, hickory, and cherry pellets.

I've always been a die-hard charcoal fan, though (especially in cold temps/high winds)  accurate temp control  can be problematic at best and impossible just as often. FWIW, I've owned exactly one gas grill in my life. Never again.

Anyway, seems these things can do anything from low and slow smoked salmon to blazing hot grilled ribeyes. Even baking, though I'm not sure how big a fan I'd be of smoke-flavored baked goods.

Surprisingly, the economics seem very good. My BIL says I'll get 3 or more  "typical" cooking sessions from an 18 lb bag of pellets that run about $15 a bag. Heck, I go through ~$10 in charcoal everytime I light the grill.

Anybody use one? Opinions? Tips?

Thanks.

Mike


"Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
N454casull
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Replies

  • Uncle FesterUncle Fester Senior Member Posts: 1,328 Senior Member
    Love mine.  Key thing you need to do is keep the pellets in an air tight container (drain them from the unit after you are done) or they will swell with humidity.

    i use 5 gallon buckets from HD with a lid.
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 6,562 Senior Member
    Love mine.  Key thing you need to do is keep the pellets in an air tight container (drain them from the unit after you are done) or they will swell with humidity.

    i use 5 gallon buckets from HD with a lid.
    Exactly what I've read, and it looks like a trip to HD is in order.

    Thanks!

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • CHIRO1989CHIRO1989 Senior Member Posts: 12,284 Senior Member
    My wife does not cook low and slow with it, she uses it like an oven, which cooks fine, but the smoke is at the lower temps.
    I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn away from their ways and live. Eze 33:11
  • ilove22silove22s Senior Member Posts: 1,314 Senior Member
    some disclosures...

     > i dont have a traeger, just a gas grill

    but i have many serious bbq/meat friends that have them.  Some may have different BBQ/smokers/Griling units depending on what they want to do.

    but a hawaiian guy i graduated HS with years ago, started his own Hawaiin BBQ place nearby.  He had a custom traeger on steroids made to tow behind his truck for catering.  Its about as tall as a horse trailer and about 1/3 deep as a 2 horse trailer not with a large tack room

    But his is pellet powered and he had some serious electric done to it since it will hold a temperature if he wants.   He also does underground pig too, but that takes more time and prep.

    but play with it and see what you think.  They are nice and if you can use them alot or for what you want, then its worth it.  Im a firm believer in right tool for the right job.

    my good friend has one too.  But everytime he makes some ribs they take about 8 hrs for his taste and he's sort of fanatical about things.  But in this case, its a good thing. They are fall off the bone tender.  

    I love low and slow since i love fall off the bone tender.   But i know there are others that dont.  

    Bon Appétit
    The ears never lie.

    - Don Burt
  • Diver43Diver43 Senior Member Posts: 10,513 Senior Member
    I have thought about it several times.  Please let us know how it works for you.  
    Logistics cannot win a war, but its absence or inadequacy can cause defeat. FM100-5
  • RaftermanRafterman New Member Posts: 193 Member
    I don't have one but my neighbor does. Every now and then I'm the recipient of a plate of whatever he has cooked. It has made me think of buying one for myself. The big green egg also has my interest.
  • JerryBobCoJerryBobCo Senior Member Posts: 7,638 Senior Member
    You're not gonna believe this, Mike, but I had one and gave it away.  We had it when we were in Colorado, and it was great for grilling steaks on cold days because I could keep it in the garage.  That's all we ever used it for.

    Two moves later, we decided it was more trouble to move than to use.

    I think you'll like it.  I used mostly mesquite pellets.  After all, you can take the boy out of west Texas, but you can't take west Texas out of the boy. :)

    Keep it in your garage if you can.  If not, keep it covered.  If the pellets in the hopper get wet, you have a mess on your hands to make it useable.
    Jerry

    Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.
  • N454casullN454casull Member Posts: 529 Senior Member
    At the moment I have 2, both Traegers. Love them. I’ve tried a lot of different pellets and with most there’s little to no difference in taste. I’ve gone to using mostly Little Devil mix it’s like 3 different wood pellets in a “competition” blend. 

    If you ever need it to be super ripping hot take all the grates out and pre-load the fire pot, just put a handful of pellets in. Then start as usual it will get the temp well into the 500 range. I use it to sear steaks. 

    Now days though we will use it to smoke what ever meat we are cooking then pull the meat off and finish it in the Sous Vide. Best ribs ever, 4hrs of smoke, 20hrs of Sous Vide. 
  • ilove22silove22s Senior Member Posts: 1,314 Senior Member
    edited July 14 #10
    Now days though we will use it to smoke what ever meat we are cooking then pull the meat off and finish it in the Sous Vide.
    some friends do that too, but most dont have a Sous Vide - yet.

    what i like about BBQ outside cooking is that when it gets hot outside, by using the grill/BBQ it keeps the temp down on the inside.

    years ago, there were some Hawaiians renting the house behind us and they would grill rain/sun/snow on the back porch.  No cover either.   And it sure did smell good.

    close to my FFL, there is a Jamaican place.  When he's open and if there grill/smoker is a smoking it smells so good to pass up.  unfortunately the land owner wants to put up an apartment complex so he will end up leaving eventually.  With the current COVID and such, no one is wanting to buy the property and develop.
    The ears never lie.

    - Don Burt
  • JerryBobCoJerryBobCo Senior Member Posts: 7,638 Senior Member
    Years ago, when I could find brisket for 89 to 99 cents a lb., and had a straight pipe charcoal smoker, I used to cook some killer bbq.  Ask six-gun how it tasted.

    I rubbed down the brisket with a mixture of equal parts salt, pepper and paprika, and threw it on the smoker in the evening.  I would let it cook all night, and add charcoal the next morning and let it cook until about 5 that afternoon.  In all, it would cook about 20 hours.

    Carving it was messy, as the briskets always had a lot of fat, but the eating part was great.

    Now, brisket is so darn expensive it just doesn't make sense to do that.
    Jerry

    Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.
  • minnesotashooterminnesotashooter Senior Member Posts: 750 Senior Member
    I dont have a Traeger but I do have a Louisiana Grill that is a wood pellet grill/smoker combo.  We use it all the time, even using it place of our oven inside the house during the summer.  It really is just an oven that uses pellets to heat it.  I smoke all sorts of meats, sear steaks, cook pizzas and even do cookies on there.  They are very adaptable 
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 6,562 Senior Member
    Weather permitting, tomorrow I'll do the recommended break in. The next evening we're planning calzones ,(done them on the plain charcoal grill before with good success), then Saturday......leg of lamb.

    Traeger has an interesting beef jerky recipe I'm dying to try.

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • N454casullN454casull Member Posts: 529 Senior Member
    Weather permitting, tomorrow I'll do the recommended break in. The next evening we're planning calzones ,(done them on the plain charcoal grill before with good success), then Saturday......leg of lamb.

    Traeger has an interesting beef jerky recipe I'm dying to try.

    Mike
    Jerky is the reason I have 2. I’ve made so much goose jerky in the past 2 years I should have started a business. I smoke for 4 hours as low of temp as I can get it to run. Then dehydrator till it’s done.  
  • Gene LGene L Senior Member Posts: 11,542 Senior Member
    edited July 14 #15
    I love the idea, but living alone, I don't use my gas grill all that much. I did use it last night since my grandkids are visiting; hamburgers that turned out wonderfully, but not smoked at all.  It doesn't get hot enough to suit me, even with the hood closed.

     A friend has a Green Egg and I cooked a leg of lamb on it for us, purely by instinct since I don't know how long to cook a leg and it turned out great, but it would take me a couple of weeks to eat that much lamb.  So for now, I'll put both types in interesting but not practical for me category.
    Concealed carry is for protection, open carry is for attention.
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 6,562 Senior Member
    I've never used a Big Green Egg and I don't know anyone that has one. Seems the actual cooking area isn't much larger than a standard Weber Kettle Cooker.That's a drawback if you want to do more than 1 rack of ribs. On this Traeger it looks like I could fit 3 standard racks or 5 St. Louis cuts (which I'm beginning to prefer).

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 6,562 Senior Member
    Weather permitting, tomorrow I'll do the recommended break in. The next evening we're planning calzones ,(done them on the plain charcoal grill before with good success), then Saturday......leg of lamb.

    Traeger has an interesting beef jerky recipe I'm dying to try.

    Mike
    Jerky is the reason I have 2. I’ve made so much goose jerky in the past 2 years I should have started a business. I smoke for 4 hours as low of temp as I can get it to run. Then dehydrator till it’s done.  
    Thanks for the tip. How long, usually, in the dehydrator?

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • N454casullN454casull Member Posts: 529 Senior Member
    Very much dependent on how thick the jerky is. Usually 4 to 6 hours. I just check it every now and then and when you can bend it and it doesn’t break but you can see the white fibers I pull it off.
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 6,562 Senior Member
    edited July 15 #19
    Okay! Sounds like a nice "forget about it for a while" Saturday thing to do.

    I'm thinking instead of slicing it myself, I'll get the butcher to do it. I'm good with a knife, but he's better/faster with a meat slicer. 

    Traeger recommends 1/4" thick slices. Seems a little thick to me. Your' thoughts?

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 10,928 Senior Member
    I've never used a Big Green Egg and I don't know anyone that has one. Seems the actual cooking area isn't much larger than a standard Weber Kettle Cooker.That's a drawback if you want to do more than 1 rack of ribs. On this Traeger it looks like I could fit 3 standard racks or 5 St. Louis cuts (which I'm beginning to prefer).

    Mike
    I have a “Komado Joe” (we call it the bigger Red Egg), and it is flat out awesome.  The cook area is expandable by adding levels.  It is a different to use than the standard offset or column smokers I’m used to, but it makes some awesome BBQ.

    as to the original question- I don’t have a Traeger,  But I know some people that do.  They all love them. Had some real good product off of Traegers. 
    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
  • Uncle FesterUncle Fester Senior Member Posts: 1,328 Senior Member
    Okay! Sounds like a nice "forget about it for a while" Saturday thing to do.

    I'm thinking instead of slicing it myself, I'll get the butcher to do it. I'm good with a knife, but he's better/faster with a meat slicer. 

    Traeger recommends 1/4" thick slices. Seems a little thick to me. Your' thoughts?

    Mike
    It will burn more pellets than you think and it is a good idea to check the hopper every so often.  

    Although mine came with a meat thermometer built in, I like my wireless unit with two separate probes. 
  • N454casullN454casull Member Posts: 529 Senior Member
    Okay! Sounds like a nice "forget about it for a while" Saturday thing to do.

    I'm thinking instead of slicing it myself, I'll get the butcher to do it. I'm good with a knife, but he's better/faster with a meat slicer. 

    Traeger recommends 1/4" thick slices. Seems a little thick to me. Your' thoughts?

    Mike
    1/4in is what I shoot for. It’s always surprising to me how much it shrinks. 

    Honestly I just hack it up and we end up with 2 bags basically. One bag has the thicker cut jerky in it which has some moisture left in it and is softer. The other bag is the thin stuff that’s hard and dry. My family likes the softer stuff but my buddies family likes the dryer harder to chew stuff. Any more I can look at a piece and tell you pretty much what bag it’s going to end up in. 

    If you do decide to slice it yourself freeze it first not rock solid but very firm makes getting consistent cuts so much easier. 
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 6,562 Senior Member
    Did the "break-in" today. Good thing, too.....there's so much oil(?) on the internal parts that if you don't burn it off before your first cooking, you'll probably die.

    Storms moved in. First cooking tomorrow......

    I'll update.

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 6,562 Senior Member
    I decided to start off with cheap cuts so if I ruined something during the learning curve it wouldn't be too expensive/disappointing. Started with garlic/scallion chicken drumsticks over applewood pellets. While not my favorite flavor (wife loves it though), the texture and moisture content was "perfect". Flavor aside, (strictly a personal preference) this was the best chicken I've ever done by a wide margin.

    Last night was plain old fashioned burgers, something I rarely do on the grill because....well....I suck at doing burgers on the grill. Simplest thing out there, but for one reason or another, I always screw them up. These, (73/27 fat content) over hickory...close enough to the best burger I've had in my life that I don't know if it placed 1st or 2nd. Surprised me.

    Today I get to try "low and slow" for the first time. St. Louis cut dry rub pork ribs. 7 hours start to finish. I'm starting to learn that the greatest benefit to a pellet grill isn't ease of use, but much, much better temp control compared to charcoal or gas. With gas I could never get "low" enough for long cook times, and the fickle weather conditions in Colorado (can change 180 degrees with zero warning) makes true temp control with charcoal darned near impossible.

    I always poo-pooed pellet grills, considering them not a real mans backyard cooking tool. That was up until 3 days ago, though.

    Mike


    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • Diver43Diver43 Senior Member Posts: 10,513 Senior Member
    WEll, now you have me thinking about getting one again.
    With the heat we have down here, controlled low and slow is desired.  Even with a cigar and cold beer, it doesn't take long to be uncomfortable sitting outside keeping an eye on the grill.
    Logistics cannot win a war, but its absence or inadequacy can cause defeat. FM100-5
  • N454casullN454casull Member Posts: 529 Senior Member

    Get one of these for drumsticks and wings. They work awesome. I feel like it gives you a more even cook/smoke. 
  • JerryBobCoJerryBobCo Senior Member Posts: 7,638 Senior Member
    I used to cook brisket with a charcoal smoker.  The biggest problem I found was the wind.  Unless I took great pains to shield the smoker from the wind, I never could estimate how long it would take for the charcoal to burn out.  On a windy day, it didn't take long, even with adjustment panels on the fire box.

    Looking forward to your next "range" report, Mike.
    Jerry

    Gun control laws make about as much sense as taking ex-lax to cure a cough.
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 6,562 Senior Member
    I used to cook brisket with a charcoal smoker.  The biggest problem I found was the wind.  Unless I took great pains to shield the smoker from the wind, I never could estimate how long it would take for the charcoal to burn out.  On a windy day, it didn't take long, even with adjustment panels on the fire box.

    Looking forward to your next "range" report, Mike.
    Agree. I was pretty consistent with charcoal back in Louisiana. But we had days on end of the same weather with hardly a puff of breeze. Here though, where the high plains collide with the Rockies....wind can go from dead calm to 60+ in a couple of minutes. While that's an extreme, on any day around here the wind is always a crap-shoot. And wind, even more than ambient temp, is the nemesis of a charcoal grill.

    Mike
    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
  • knitepoetknitepoet Senior Member Posts: 20,726 Senior Member
    edited July 18 #29

    Get one of these for drumsticks and wings. They work awesome. I feel like it gives you a more even cook/smoke. 
    where???
    Never mind, I have 3 of a similar rack on the way from Amazon. Since my smoker has a "hot spot" on the right rear of the racks, I bought ones that had a tray under it
    Seven Habits of Highly Effective Pirates, Rule #37: There is no “overkill”. There is only “open fire” and “I need to reload”.


  • N454casullN454casull Member Posts: 529 Senior Member
    I got mine at the local Sportsman Warehouse. 

    Usually I put a baking sheet under mine just for ease of moving them around. 
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 6,562 Senior Member
    So far, so good. There are 3 steps to this recipe. #1) 225F for 3 hours. #2) Wrap in foil and 2 more hours at 225F. #3) Remove from foil and 1 more hour at 225F. So far...good success.

    So far, the hardest thing I've done is trying to figure out how to nap in the new hammock my wife got me for Father's Day without face-planting into the deck. So far....the jury's still out.

    Mike


    "Walking away seems to be a lost art form."
    N454casull
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