Traeger is a brand of pellet grills, and these grills are often referred to as wood pellet smokers. Wood pellets are high in flavor and they give the meat a smoky taste that you won’t get from other types of grills. However, Grilling on a Traeger is not as simple as it seems. A lot of people think that by simply flipping the switch to “Smoke” and closing the top, they can cook anything without smoke or odors. If you want to cook burgers, pizza, or cookies, the embedded smoke flavor in your food by cooking in Traeger grill could be terrible.
So, can you grill on a Traeger without smoke? You can grill on Traeger without having a smoke flavor in your food if you set it at a very high temperature. There is no way to bypass the smoke option in Traeger grill to cook food. However, if you set the Traeger grill at a very high temperature i.e. more than 300 Fahrenheit, the wood pellets will fire, but the smoke effect in the Traeger grill would be diminished. Resultantly, there won’t be any flavor of smoke in your food.
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How Does Traeger Grill Actually Work?
Many people think if they don’t use wood pellets in the Traeger grill to cook food, they can get rid of the smoke flavor in their food. But that’s not true. It’s the same as using a propane grill with no propane. e. Since the heat in a pellet grill is created when the wood pellets are burnt, not using them would make it impossible to cook anything.
Let’s discuss the working principle of the Traeger grill as it will help you to understand why it is a mandatory step to burn wood pellets and produce smoke to cook food in the Traeger grill.
Traeger grills are some of the best outdoor cooking devices on the market. Traeger Grills were designed to be able to cook with any type of food including meat, vegetables, seafood, fruits, and desserts. With this in mind, they made sure that their products could handle all types of foods which include grilled meats as well as smoked meats without emitting excessive amounts of smoke into the air.
Traeger grill consist of the following main parts:
- Induction Fan
Hopper holds all the wood pellets and feeds them through an auger in the firepot. Auger is a screw conveyor that feeds wood pellets into the firepot from the hopper. Beneath the auger section, there is an induction fan, which supplies the air needed for the combustion. In the firepot, there are electric hot rods that set wood pellets to the fire. The temperature of the electric rod is set by the knob you can see on the display panel.
There is also a chimney on the side of the Traeger grill to vent the excess smoke. So, keep the chimney vent open as it will also help in reducing the smoky taste in your food.
Burning Stages of Wood Pellets in Traeger Grill
To control the intensity of smoke in the Traeger grill during the burning of wood pellets, you need to know to learn the adjustment of temperature settings as shown on the display panel of the Traeger grill.
When wood pellets start burning in the Traeger grill, they produce different types of smoke. Wood pellets produce a ton of smoke in the startup phase. The reason is that at the start, you set the knob to the “Smoke” option on the display panel. There isn’t any temperature setting for the “Smoke” option. The “Smoke” option develops a factory pre-set temperature of 150 to 180 Fahrenheit. At this stage, you’ll hear a jet engine sound and observe a dense and acrid white smoke produced by wood pellets.
When you start observing the dense white smoke, set the setting to “High” and close the lid for 45 minutes. This setting is recommended by Traeger Grill Company before cooking any kind of food on the Traeger grill. This ensures the full ignition of wood pellets. In this duration, the acrid white smoke is being converted to cleaner smoke. At this stage, the smoke is fully ready to embed the flavor of wood pellets in your food.
If you want to grill the food on Traeger grill with smoke flavor, you can set the temperature anywhere between 180 and 225 Fahrenheit. From the temperatures above 275 Fahrenheit, you would be able to cook food on Traeger Grill without smoke.
Cleaning out The Traeger Grill to Remove Unnecessary Smoke
Before you set the desired cooking temperature, which lies in the non-smoking range of the Traeger grill, make sure that there is proper ventilation through the exhaust system of your Traeger grill.
If the smoke is not distributed uniformly and the fan got dirty over time, the smoke will not escape and will turn your food black. This smoke is called Stale Smoke.
When the grill is subjected to prolonged cooking intervals and you don’t clean it, the grease and ash start accumulating. This will prevent wood pellets to undergo complete combustion as the grease on the dripping tray and ash in the firepot and auger will not allow proper airflow. Due to incomplete combustion, there will not be excessive heat produced when you set a higher temperature.
Furthermore, the spattered grease on the walls of the grill will also undergo combustion and make a lot of smoke inside the Traeger grill if you do not clean it properly. It is advisable to clean your Traeger grill after every 20hours of use or once a week.
Even if you don’t use the Traeger grill for a long time, there would be a buildup of some moisture if you’re living in an area with high humidity. This moisture is also needed to be cleaned to have better temperature control inside the Traeger grill, which will ensure less smoke production.
This is the grill cleaning brush you can use to clean the dirt and grease from the walls of the grill. It only takes about 10 to 20 minutes to clean the grease and remove it from the Traeger grill.
Use Better Quality Wood Pellets for Better Temperature Control and Lesser Smoke
It is essential to use better quality wood pellets in the Traeger grill to control the smoke. Since the pellets are burnt in an enclosed environment, they can affect your food with the flavor of whatever wood or chemicals they were treated with. Furthermore, using better quality pellets also produces a lesser amount of ash.
Using wood pellets with bad quality or too much moisture will result in an incomplete burn and thus, lower the performance of your Traeger and producing of dense smoke, even if you set the temperature of your Traeger grill to more than 300 Fahrenheit. I would recommend Cookin wood pellets as they are made of a high quality hardwood with no additives or filler material. These wood pellets burn efficiently with clean smoke at high temperatures.
So, when you’re cooking with the pellet grill’s top temperatures i.e more than 350 Fahrenheit, it seems to add more of a woody flavor than smoke. The higher the temperature in the Traeger grill, the lesser the smoke will be.
Since wood pellets are made from compressed sawdust, their combustion will just be like firewood at a higher temperature.
Can You Cook Pizza in a Traeger Grill without Smoky flavor?
You can cook pizza in a Traeger grill without smoking. Set the highest temperature of 350 Fahrenheit or a “High Temperature” setting on your grill. Rotate the pizza for 5 to 10 minutes until the cheese is melted.