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Are You A New Pellet Grill Owner? 18 Tips for Best Performance



From the posts on social media, it appears many people received pellet grills/smokers this holiday season. Or are intending to buy one for themselves to take advantage of current sales. Collectively, we here at Steven Raichlen, Inc., have experience with many brands of pellet grills, from Green Mountain Grills, to Traeger, to Memphis, to Z Grills. Here, we’re pleased to share some of our best tips so you can get maximum enjoyment out of your new acquisition.

18 Pellet Grill Tips for Beginners
1. Season your new pellet grill.
Season your new pellet grill according to the manufacturer’s directions (a process that usually takes 45 minutes to one hour). This burns off any residual oils from the manufacturing process.

2. Allow yourself some time to get acquainted with your new grill/smoker.
Allow yourself some time to get acquainted with your new grill/smoker. We know you’ll be anxious to try it out, but don’t be overly ambitious. Instead of a whole brisket, which could take 15 hours or more, or a budget-busting prime rib roast, start with chicken (parts, such as breasts or wings, or a whole bird), pork loin tenderloin, or blade (shoulder) steaks, Cornish hens, salmon steaks or fillets, or other relatively inexpensive cuts that can be completed in 2 hours or less.

3. Identify any hot spots—most grills have them.
Identify any hot spots—most grills have them. Preheat your grill to medium-high as directed by the owner’s manual, then lay slices of cheap white bread shoulder to shoulder across the grate. Watch carefully, then flip after a few minutes. Take a photo of the results. The darkest bread will indicate where the temperature might be hotter. (Print the photo out and add it to your owner’s manual for reference.)

4. Don’t let your meat come to room temperature before cooking.
Whatever meat you select, put it on the preheated grill/smoker straight from the refrigerator. Do not, as many recipes suggest, allow it to come to room temperature before cooking.

5. Invest in a good meat thermometer.
A laser-type thermometer such as this one will give you a more accurate temperature reading at grill level than a built-in dome thermometer. Determine the temperature range of your grill model from lowest to highest (180 degrees to 500+, for example).

6. Take advantage of your pellet grill’s searing capabilities.
Many pellet grills feature searing capabilities, meaning they can reach temperatures over 500 degrees. Again, check your owner’s manual for information on your specific model.

7. Use lower temperatures to generate more smoke.
You’ll generate more smoke at lower temperatures, particularly in the “low and slow” range between 225 and 275.

8. Use the reverse sear method. 
Don’t be afraid to smoke your meat at a lower temperature, then finish it at a higher temperature. This two-step approach is especially useful for smoking chicken with crisp (not rubbery) skin, or the “reverse sear method” often employed for thicker steaks or prime rib (for more information, click here).

9. Never allow the pellets in the pellet hopper to run out.
Never allow the pellets in the pellet hopper to run out. If this happens, consult your owner’s manual before relighting the grill. If you must, set a timer to remind yourself to top off the pellets.

10. Use your pellet grill just like an oven. 
Your pellet grill/smoker can be used just like an oven, capable of baking, braising, roasting, etc. But the addition of wood smoke gives food much more intriguing flavors.

11. Experiment with pellet flavors.
Experiment with pellet flavors. Some brands of pellets are fairly subtle.

12. Invest in a smoking tube to supplement the smoke generated by your grill. 
If you want to supplement the smoke being generated by your pellet grill, or even cold smoke, invest in a smoking tube or maze such as the one by A-MAZ-N.

13. Position your grill at least 6 feet away from your home. 
Position your grill at least 6 feet from any walls, trees, overhangs, etc. (This is true for ALL grills and smokers.)

14. Clean your grill frequently. 
Clean your grill frequently to avoid the build-up of ash or grease. A shop-type vacuum is a necessity, as is a putty knife or sharp-bladed spatula. Don’t forget to clean the chimney or exhaust.

15. Use heavy-duty foil for easier clean up.
Use heavy-duty foil to cover the grease tray and/or to line the grease bucket. (Empty cans, such as tomato or coffee cans, can also be used as bucket liners.)

15. Always store pellets in a dry place.
Always store pellets in a dry place. Otherwise, then will turn to sawdust, and if in the augur, to something akin to cement!

16. Remove the grease bucket after each cook.
After each cook, remove the grease bucket from the side of the grill and store it in a safe place to keep it out of the reach of dogs, raccoons, or other hungry critters.

17. Use the upper rack of your grill to cook something that’s prone to drying out. 
Your pellet grill provides both convection and radiant heat. If you are cooking something that’s prone to drying out, such as chicken breasts or thin fish fillets, position them on the upper rack to protect them from the heat radiating from the bottom. If your unit didn’t come with an upper rack, you can balance a wire rack on fire bricks or purchase after-market racks. You can also put a pan of water or other liquid on the grill grate to generate moisture.

18. Smoke vegetables and side dishes on your new grill. 
Do smoke or grill vegetables or side dishes on your new grill. (You can preorder Steven’s latest book, How to Grill Vegetables, here.)


Did you learn something new? For the seasoned pros, what are your tips for first time pellet grill owners? Share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, or Instagram!

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By: Cialina TH
Title: Are You A New Pellet Grill Owner? 18 Tips for Best Performance
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Published Date: 12/28/20

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Grilling Tips

Pellet Grill Tips and Tricks



If you're planning to use a pellet grill, you may be wondering how to prepare the meat. There are a few tips you should keep in mind, but the first step is to understand what you're smoking. The most important tip is to understand the composition of your meat. For instance, do you plan on smoky or dry meat? You also need to consider whether you'll be smoking white or dark meat?

If you've never used a pellet grill before, you should learn the basics and avoid sloppy cooking. Proper care is the key to making your grill last for many years. When it's time to replace the pellets, make sure you clean the grill thoroughly. Do not put the pellets on cement or 2X4s; they'll turn to cement. When they're smoky, they'll stick to the sides of the pellet rack and stick to the bottom.

You should also learn how to cook different types of food. While most pellet grills come with a digital display, you should read the owner's manual before using them. The temperature range for each type of food varies, so make sure you know your food well before you begin cooking. You should know that filet mignon beef requires 360 degrees Fahrenheit for three to 10 minutes, while pork belly needs 225-300°F for four hours. Before starting your cooking, it's important to research the ingredients. By doing so, you'll know how to use the right pellets for your specific recipe. Aside from ensuring that the temperature is appropriate, you'll also know how much wood pellets you need to use.

In addition to these tips, you should also know how to season your pellet grill. By properly seasoning your grill, you'll prevent food from sticking and ensuring that it cooks evenly. You should also make sure that the pellets are clean as possible. By doing this, you'll be able to prevent any flare-ups and uneven cooking. If you are a beginner, this may be the ideal option for you.

One of the most important pellet grill tips is to use a specialized water pan. It can be placed over the racks in the smoker. You can place the pans in the freezer to store the water and avoid the meat from drying out. Then, cover the entire grill with foil to prevent the heat from escaping. A good pellet smoker has a water vapor chamber, which is ideal for slow-cooking brisket.

When using a pellet grill, make sure you purchase hardwood pellets. Unlike home-heating pellets, hardwood pellets should be purchased specifically for use on a pellet grill. While not all types of foods are suited to smoke, most of them will do well with smoke added to them. Besides, if you want to smoke brisket for an extended period of time, you should buy a hardwood-pellet smoker with a water pan.

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Grilling Tips

How Do I Get More Smoke From My Traeger?



If you're wondering how to get more smoke from your Traeger, there are several options available to you. One of the easiest ways to increase the amount of smoke coming out of your smoker is to lower the temperature. If you cook at too high a temperature, you'll be cooking at too low a temperature. As a result, your meat will cook unevenly and you won't get the deep flavor and aroma of smoked meat you've been looking for.

The first option is to use low smoking temperatures during the first hour of cooking. This will ensure that your meat gets most of the nitrogen it needs, which is essential for a great smoke ring. You can also reduce the amount of fat on your meat and the temperature of the smoker itself. By doing so, you'll have more control over the amount of smoke your meat produces, which is important for achieving the perfect smoke ring.

You can also cook longer at a lower temperature to enhance the smoke in your food. In doing so, you will give your meat more time to absorb the flavors of the smoke. You should also cover the drip tray with aluminum foil to make cleaning easier. Another option is to add wood chips to the smoker. Finally, try adding more hardwood pellets. But remember that the longer you cook, the more smoke you'll get.

When preparing your next smoked meat, try using a Pellet Grill. This method will give you more smoke than you'd get from a charcoal grill. While wood pellets add a great flavor to your food, you can use other types of pellets, such as hickory and oak, for an even more authentic smoke flavor. If you want to smoke a whole pig, you can use alder, hickory, or even a wood blend.

Depending on the size of your food, you may have to smoke it for a longer period of time. A few minutes might do for salmon, while a large brisket might take several hours. The more smoke you get, the better, and the more flavorful your food will be. But, you should keep in mind that pellets can be expensive, so you should check if they will work for your specific needs.

If you have a Traeger smoker, you can choose to add a wood pellet to the fire. You can also use a shop-vac to clean the firepot, auger entry, and fans of the smoker. After cleaning the unit, turn it on and check the amount of smoke from the grill. It will emit a small amount of smoke by itself, but you can also add more if you want to.

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Grilling Tips

Are Propane Grills Safe?



The National Fire Protection Association has tips on grill safety. Make sure that the food you cook does not touch the heat source, or you risk cross contamination. You can prevent this by using disposable gloves to handle raw meat. You should wash your hands thoroughly before handling other ingredients or food. Before you start cooking, be sure to remove the gloves and wash your hands with soap and water. When you have finished grilling, clean the grates. After cleaning the grates, you should discard them.

Proper placement is critical. Make sure that the grill is not too close to structures. Ensure that you have a clear area around it. When using a gas grill, the hose should not be left out. The debris from the grill can fall onto the hose, causing a leak. You should also keep children away from the grill. Keeping kids out of reach is essential. Ideally, you should place the grill far enough from people and structures to keep children away.

Propane tanks should be stored in a dry, shady area. Do not store the cylinder in an enclosed garage or indoor. Ensure that there are no cracks or splits. You should also check the hose for cracks, and check for any evidence of critters or insects. If you find any of these signs, you should replace it. However, if you want to use gas grills outdoors, you should check with a local retailer or propane provider for the best advice.

Propane tanks should be kept upright while being transported. Never store propane tanks on their sides, as the valves may be open when you open them. If you find that your propane tank has a leak, the gas could spill onto the grill. This can be dangerous to you and your family. If you have a gas grill, always use one tank and never store an empty one. This is due to the fact that the fire risk is higher in a tank that is not connected to the main source of propane.

Propane tanks should not be used in confined spaces. The gas tanks are designed to be placed outside where children cannot easily reach them. They can be a flammable fire hazard. Having a propane tank indoors is not a good idea. It can be dangerous to your family. If it gets wet, it will explode into flames. So, it is important to have a safe space for your grill.

You can also avoid fire by grilling in a designated area. A barbecue grill should be placed on a level surface, which will prevent a grease fire. When cooking, it is important to keep the flames away from the fire by putting on a breathable cover. This will protect you and your guests from burns. If you use a charcoal grill, be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions to avoid a grease spill.

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