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Cedar Plank Maple-Cayenne Salmon

Posted by Mary M. on May 13, 2014

Planking is more than just a flash-in-the-pan internet sensation. To clarify, we're talking about wood here, Traeger Nation. And not just any kind of wood, but rich, flavor-embedded cedar.

Using cedar planks when grilling creates some of juiciest meat/fish possible. The plank absorbs heat and effectively acts like a foresty baking stone, evenly cooking and holding in the moisture.

One of our most favorite things to grill on cedar planks is salmon. Who could forget a sensational meal meal like our Cedar Plank Salmon with Mango Salsa? Salmon loves a little bit of sweet and a little bit of heat. That's exactly why we decided to try a new cedar plank salmon dish, brushing them with a little bit of maple syrup, dijon mustard, orange zest and cayenne pepper before planking them up. The cedar plank seals in seals in all of those explosive flavors, while also giving the salmon an added layer woodsy delight.

CEDAR PLANK MAPLE-CAYENNE SALMON

PREP TIME: 2 hours to overnight to allow cedar plank to soak
COOK TIME: 15 to 20 minutes
RECOMMENDED PELLETS: Alder, Apple or Cherry
SERVES: 4

INGREDIENTS

4 salmon fillets, skin removed
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or more to taste
Orange slices, for garnish (optional)
1 food-grade cedar plank

PREPARATION

Start by soaking the cedar plank, completely submerged, in water for at least 2 hours, ideally overnight.

When ready to cook, start the Traeger on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Preheat to 350 degrees F, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile mix together the djion mustard, maple syrup, orange zest and cayenne pepper.

If you're working with a whole side of salmon make sure that you rinse it, skin it, remove any pin bones before cutting it into fillets.

Generously slather the top of the salmon fillets with the maple syrup/mustard mixture.

Put the cedar plank on the hot grill grate and let it sit, with the lid closed for 3 minutes.

Flip the plank over and place the salmon fillets on the hot plank with what would have been the skin side facing down.

Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, for medium rare, or until the salmon is done to your liking. Keep a spray bottle full of water on hand to spray the plank in case it blackens too much or catches on fire.

Pull the cedar plank off the Traeger and if you like, finish with more of the maple syrup/mustard mixture and top with an orange slice and a sprinkle of cayenne pepper.

PRINTABLE RECIPE:

Cedar Plank Maple Cayenne Salmon Recipe.docx (12.01 kb)

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Flat Iron Steaks 101: How to Grill Juicy Flat Iron Steaks with Red Wine Sauce

Posted by Mary M. on May 9, 2014

Flat Iron Steaks 101: How to Grill Juicy Flat Iron Steaks with Red Wine Sauce

You may have heard (or tasted) the recent buzz about flat iron steaks. There is definitely a good reason for all that hubbub!

The flat iron steak, also called a Top Blade Steak, has been popping up all over ever since it was "developed" in 2002 by a research team at the Universities of Nebraska and Florida. (Sign us up for that job!) Up until then it was just sent through a grinder and literally turned into hamburger meat.

In general, the flat iron is very similar to other flat steaks (like flank or skirt). In specifics, it's not only incredibly tender and heavenly tasting but also versatile and extremely easy on the wallet.

The first key to a successful flat iron steak is to not over-think it. As long as you don't over-think or overcook it, a good quality steak will always prevail. Our best advice is that flat iron steak should not be cooked past medium temperature or it will get a bit tough. The steak is in its prime at a rosy pink medium-rare. If, heaven forbid, you make the mistake of turning a flat iron into beef jerky, you will end up with some very unhappy campers.

Just stick with us and follow our tips and we'll keep you on the yellow brick road to Delicious Steak City.

FLAT IRON STEAKS 101

PREP TIME: 30 to 45 minutes to let steaks marinate
COOK TIME: about 1 hour
RECOMMENDED PELLETS: Hickory, Oak or Mesquite
SERVES: 6

INGREDIENTS

2 (1-pound) flat iron steaks or tri-tip steaks
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Traeger Prime Rib Rub
3 tablespoons canola oil
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 1/2 cups dry red wine

PREPARATION

1. Start the Traeger on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes).

2. Make sure the steak you pick is high quality. You want red meat that smells fresh and has good fat marbling. Season the steaks on both sides with the Worcestershire sauce and let it marinate for about 30 minutes. Don't forget to let your steaks come to room temperature before you start grilling. (about 30 to 45 minutes of counter time.)

3. Sprinkle the steaks with the Traeger Prime Rib Rub on both sides. Smoke on the Traeger for 45 minutes.

4. These steaks would be perfectly delicious all by themselves but we love the finish of rich Red Wine Sauce. While the steaks are smoking get started on that sauce. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt.

Add the garlic and oregano and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

Whisk in the wine. Simmer until the sauce reduces by half, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

Remove the skillet from the heat. Strain the sauce into a small bowl, pressing on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible.

Discard the solids in the strainer. Cut the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter into small 1/2-inch chunks and whisk in the sauce a little at a time. Season the sauce, to taste, with salt and pepper.

5. Oil your steaks to make sure you get a good sear. Flat irons, like most steaks, should be cooked quickly and on high heat. The longer the steaks sit cooking on the grill, the more moisture that is lost.

6. After your steaks have smoked, remove them to a plate and turn the heat up to High. Let the grill preheat for about 20 minutes to make sure that it is really hot. Not only does that high heat make those beautiful grill marks, but the dark caramelization is what seals in the juices and tastes pretty darn good too.

There are two paths you could take to get a good sear. You can either cook the steaks in a 10-inch cast iron pan - make sure you preheat the pan on the grill - or just cook them directly on the grill grate. We did both just for the fun of it.

Use tongs to move the steaks around on the grill and try to move them as little as possible - flipping them only once if possible.

Because of the smoke time and the thickness of the flat iron steaks, you only need to cook them about 2 minutes per side so don't walk away from that grill or else you will end up with over-done steak. REMEMBER - it's a whole lot easier to throw a steak that's under-done back on the grill and cook it for longer than it is to try to un-do an overcooked steak. Hail to the pink!

If using an instant-read thermometer follow the temperature guide below:

Rare = 125 degrees F
Medium rare = 130 to 135 degrees F
Medium = 135 to 140 degrees F
Medium well = 140 to 150 degrees
Well = 155+ degrees F

For a "handy" trick on how to know steak doneness without a thermometer, check out this post.

7. Let them rest! Transfer the steaks to a cutting board and tent them with foil. Allow them to rest for about 10 minutes before slicing.

8. Slice the flat irons thinly across the grain. Why does this matter? Simply because in slicing against the grain (or against the direction of the muscle fibers) you are shortening the muscle fibers making each piece more tender and overall more enjoyable to eat.

Most flat iron steaks have a line of gristle running right down the middle. Some people like to slice the flat iron into two separate steaks to avoid it, but it’s up to you.

Flat Iron Steaks 101: How to Grill Juicy Flat Iron Steaks with Red Wine Sauce

9. Lastly, drizzle the sauce over the steak and enjoy while warm.

Flat Iron Steaks 101: How to Grill Juicy Flat Iron Steaks with Red Wine Sauce

PRINTABLE RECIPE:

Flat Iron Steaks 101 Recipe.docx (14.19 kb)

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Smoked Pork Chops with Ale-Balsamic Glaze

Posted by Mary M. on May 8, 2014

Smoked Pork Chops with Ale-Balsamic Glaze

Okay, so we may have cheated just a smidge on the title. To keep these pork chops completely kid-friendly we actually used ginger ale. (Hey, kids dig pork! You've got to start them young with the good stuff.) But don't distress if you're itching to use ale. This recipe is easily adaptable to suit your ale fancy - just increase the brown sugar to 1/2 cup.

Just like pork chops love apple sauce, apparently they also love balsamic vinegar and a little ginger ale. Pork just tastes good with a smear of sweet stickiness. Balsamic vinegar has its own inherent sweetness, especially after being reduced - and the brown sugar and ginger ale certainly don't hurt. When combined with the herby Pork and Poultry Shake and some ever-lovin' smoke time, it's chop heaven!

SMOKED PORK CHOPS WITH ALE-BALSAMIC GLAZE

PREP TIME: 5 minutes
COOK TIME: 30 minutes to smoke plus 20 to 30 minutes to cook
RECOMMENDED PELLETS: Cherry, Apple or Hickory
SERVES: 4

INGREDIENTS

4 Bone-in pork rib chops (8 oz. each)
Traeger Pork and Poultry Shake
2/3 cup ginger ale OR Pale Ale
¼ cup brown sugar OR 1/2 cup if you use Pale Ale
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 sprigs rosemary, leaves only finely chopped
Olive oil

PREPARATION

Start the Traeger on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Season the pork chops with the Pork and Poultry Shake on all sides, gently pressing the seasoning into the meat.

Place the pork chops on the grill grate and let smoke for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the glaze. Reduce the ginger ale, brown sugar, balsamic vinegar and chopped rosemary leaves on the stovetop over medium-low heat until it thickens to the point that it can coat the back of a spoon but still be pourable. (about 15 to 20 minutes) Keep the glaze warm while the pork chops finish smoking.

Remove the pork chops and turn the Traeger up to High heat and preheat, lid closed for 10 to 15 minutes.

Lightly drizzle the chops with olive oil and put them back on the grill grate.

Cook the chops for 20 to 30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer. Baste the pork chops with the glaze after they've been cooking for 10 minutes.

Remove from the Traeger, let rest for 10 minutes before cutting and then enjoy!

Smoked Pork Chops with Ale-Balsamic Glaze

Smoked Pork Chops with Ale-Balsamic Glaze

PRINTABLE RECIPE:

Smoked Pork Chops with Balsamic Ale Glaze Recipe.docx (12.32 kb)

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Smoked Honey Bourbon-Glazed Meatloaf with a Bacon Weave

Posted by Mary M. on May 6, 2014

Smoked Honey Bourbon-Glazed Meatloaf with a Bacon Weave

What is there not to love about thick cuts of hickory smoked bacon carefully woven around a juicy, sweet 'n salty, bacon-loaded meatloaf?

*crickets chirping*

Exactly. We've waited far too long to smoke this baby up. Oh, and did we mention that we also brushed the whole thing with our Honey Bourbon sauce which turns the exterior bacon shell into a crispy bacon candy coating?

Yes. We went there. And it is amazing!

In addition to its aesthetic and sweet/smoky/crunchy appeal, the bacon also acts like a protective barrier, holding in all of the meatloaf juices, keeping it 'moist-ilicious', just like the meatloaf of your dreams.

The best part of this meatloaf? One of our favorite comfort foods: Meatloaf Sandwiches! (Don't try and pretend like you don't crave them too.)

SMOKED HONEY BOURBON-GLAZED MEATLOAF with a BACON WEAVE

PREP TIME: 15 minutes
COOK TIME: 1 hour 45 minutes
RECOMMENDED PELLETS: Hickory or Oak
SERVES: 6 to 8

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 lbs ground beef (80/20)
1 carrot, peeled and diced or grated
1 stalk celery, finely diced
4 oz. mushrooms, finely diced
1/2 red onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, grated or diced
Olive oil
3 to 4 fresh sprigs of thyme, leaves only
1 egg, beaten
6-8 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1 cup bread crumbs
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup condensed tomato soup
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 lb thick-cut bacon
Traeger Honey Bourbon Sauce or favorite barbecue sauce

PREPARATION

Start the Traeger on Smoke with the lid open for 4 to 5 minutes or until the fire is established.

Mix together the carrots, celery, mushrooms, and onions in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and microwave for about 2 minutes just to soften the vegetables a little.

Let the vegetables cool and then mix them in a large bowl with the ground beef, garlic, thyme, egg, crumbled cooked bacon, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, bread crumbs and tomato soup.

Form the mixture into a loaf and place on a wire rack over a foil-lined baking sheet.

Smoked Honey Bourbon-Glazed Meatloaf with a Bacon Weave

Make your bacon weave using the thick-cut bacon, weaving it on a large piece of parchment paper.

Gently flip and lay the weave on top of the meatloaf so that the parchment is on top and peel off the parchment paper.

Put the meatloaf on the Traeger and smoke for 45 minutes.

Then take the meatloaf off and turn the heat up to 300 degrees F and allow to preheat, lid closed for 10 to 15 minutes.

Place the meatloaf back on the Traeger and cook for about an hour or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.

During the last 15 minutes (once the meatloaf reaches about 140 degrees/145 degrees F) brush the meatloaf with the barbecue sauce to let it caramelize and for the exterior turn into bacon candy gold!

Smoked Honey Bourbon-Glazed Meatloaf with a Bacon Weave

After you take it off the Traeger allow the meatloaf to sit for 15 minutes before you slice into it.

Smoked Honey Bourbon-Glazed Meatloaf with a Bacon Weave

Don't forget the squeeze some meatloaf between two slices of bread and enjoy the heavenly meatloaf sandwich!

Smoked Honey Bourbon-Glazed Meatloaf with a Bacon Weave

PRINTABLE RECIPE:

Smoked BBQ Glazed Bacon Weave Meatloaf Recipe.docx (12.16 kb)

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Hickory-Smoked Sea Salt

Posted by Mary M. on May 4, 2014

Hickory-Smoked Sea Salt

Similar to how some of the best things in life come in small packages, sometimes it doesn't have to be complicated to be delicious. Turn your regular sea salt into a flavor bomb in two simple steps and completely change the dynamics of every rub or seasoning you make!

We gave the sea salt a one-two punch by mixing in liquid smoke (which is simply distilled smoke, and intensely flavored) and the smoke from your Traeger. You can even use this homemade hickory-smoked sea salt as gifts for your fellow barbecue enthusiasts.

Imagine using it on your pulled pork, smoked steak, your next chicken challenge conquest or even bacon-wrapped asparagus. The possibilities are eternally tempting.

Smoke some salts to keep your stash fully-stocked and ready by following our From Pulled Pork to Peach Pie recipe.

HICKORY-SMOKED SEA SALT

DIFFICULTY: 1/5
PELLETS: Hickory
PREP TIME: Less than 5 min.
COOK TIME: 2 to 3 Hours
SERVES: Makes 1 cup

INGREDIENTS

1 cup medium-grind sea salt or kosher salt
1 tbsp. liquid smoke

PREPARATION

When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes).

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. In a small mixing bowl, combine the salt and liquid smoke and stir thoroughly to mix.

Spread the salt in a single layer on the baking sheet.

Hickory-Smoked Sea Salt

Smoke for 2 to 3 hours, or until the salt is dry, stirring occasionally.

Hickory-Smoked Sea Salt

Store for up to a year in a tightly sealed jar.

Hickory-Smoked Sea Salt

PRINTABLE RECIPE:

Hickory Smoked Sea Salt Recipe.docx (11.38 kb)

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Traeger Accessories: The Traeger Smoke Shelf

Posted by Mary M. on May 4, 2014

Traeger Accessories: The Traeger Smoke Shelf

The one thing that any Traeger owner could use more of is additional room on your Traeger to smoke more incredible meats. When duty calls, we listen. That's precisely why we have made the Smoke Shelf, just to keep your carnivore needs well-supplied, Traeger Nation.

The nickel-plated steel Smoke Shelf gives you two more levels or 360 square inches of additional surface area on your Traeger to smoke more of whatever your heart desires - from jerky to ribs to salmon or even just to keep your food warm on the Traeger.

It easily slides easily in and out of your Texas, Lil' Tex, Lil' Tex Elite or the Deluxe and is ready for smokin' action!

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Traeger's Hot Jalapeno Jerky

Posted by Mary M. on May 3, 2014

Traeger's Hot Jalapeno Jerky

There's nothing in life that a spicy piece of beef jerky can't cure, or at least a bag of it. Maybe it's the addictive saltiness or the satisfying chew of it that keeps you working out those jaw muscles and going back for more.

Whatever it is, once you sink your teeth in you start to hear Bob Marley playing and you feel like everything is gonna be alright. So put down the chicken soup and turn on your Traeger to cure what ails you.

HOT JALAPENO JERKY

PREP TIME: 10 minutes plus marinate overnight
COOK TIME: 4 to 5 hours
RECOMMENDED PELLETS: Apple, Mesquite or Hickory
SERVES: however many people you want to share it with

INGREDIENTS

1 – 2 jalapeños, stemmed and seeded (or leave the seeds in for a hotter jerky)
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup Mexican beer
1 tablespoon Morton Tender Quick® curing salt (optional)
2 pounds trimmed beef top or bottom round, sirloin tip, flank steak, or wild game

PREPARATION

In a blender or small food processor, combine the jalapeño(s), lime juice, soy sauce, curing salt (if desired) and brown sugar and process until the jalapeño is finely chopped.

Pour into a mixing bowl, and stir in the beer. With a sharp knife, slice the beef into 1/4-inch thick slices against the grain. (This is easier if the meat is partially frozen.) Trim any fat or connective tissue. Put the beef slices in a large resealable plastic bag. Pour the marinade mixture over the beef, and massage the bag so that all the slices get coated with the marinade.

Seal the bag and refrigerate for several hours, or overnight.

When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Remove the beef from the marinade and discard the marinade.

Dry the beef slices between paper towels. Arrange the meat in a single layer directly on the grill grate.

Traeger's Hot Jalapeno Jerky

Smoke for 4 to 5 hours, or until the jerky is dry but still chewy and somewhat pliant when you bend a piece.

Traeger's Hot Jalapeno Jerky

Transfer to a resealable plastic bag while the jerky’s still warm. Let the jerky rest for an hour at room temperature. Squeeze any air from the bag, and refrigerate the jerky. It will keep for several weeks in the fridge.

Traeger's Hot Jalapeno Jerky

PRINTABLE RECIPE:

Jalapeno Jerky Recipe.docx (12.09 kb)

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Traeger Essentials: Junior Grill

Posted by Mary M. on May 2, 2014

Traeger Essentials: Junior Grill

Quality is not determined by size. Nothing demonstrates this better than our Junior Grill. It is small but mighty. The Junior is our solution of how to get your smoking fix on a smaller budget, in a smaller space or just want to add a second Traeger to your arsenal.

The Junior is nice because it can be used for tailgating, camping, or boating. Traeger makes it easy to traevel with the Folding leg kit, or Tailging Kit designed just for the Junior Grill. With it's cooking space, and easy mobility, it's our most versital grill.

Here are the specs:

  • Grilling Area Dimensions: Height - 38 inches, Width - 36 inches, Depth - 16 inches
  • 292 square inches of cooking surface
  • Our easy electronic autostart ignition and E-Z drain grease systems
  • 19500 BTU's
  • 3-speed Control (Digital Thermostat Control Available)
  • Weight: 68 lbs.

Just like the rest of our grill models, the Junior creates excellent tasting food every single time.

 

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Kentucky Pork Tenderloin

Posted by Mary M. on May 1, 2014

Kentucky Pork Tenderloin

There is certainly a lot to love about pork tenderloin. And there are also a few things to not like about it, like how in the wrong hands it can be turned into a cruel piece of unforgiving eraser. But in the right hands, the hands of a Traeger owner, it can be perfectly supple and succulent.

Thankfully, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service lowered the recommended internal cooking temperature of pork to 145 degrees a few years ago. (Thank goodness for that!) When that happened, pigs around the world breathed a sigh of relief that they weren't dying in vain. Just don't make the mistake of overcooking the pork or their cloven hooves may come rapping at your door.

Because the pork tenderloin is so lean, it really benefits from a good marinade to help seal in all of those juices and pack it with a punch of flavor. We used a very versatile marinade that really turns the tenderloin into a knock-out dish. While we call for pork tenderloin here, this marinade would also work marvelously with almost any cut of pork or even chicken.

Find this recipe in our Traeger on a Budget cookbook.

KENTUCKY PORK TENDERLOIN

PELLETS: Hickory or Apple
PREP TIME: 10 min. active time plus 8 hours for marinating the pork
COOK TIME: 24 to 32 min.
SERVES: 4 to 6

THINGS YOU’LL NEED

• 2 pork tenderloins, each about 1 to 1-1/4 pound
• 1/3 cup Kentucky bourbon or apple juice
• 1/4 cup soy sauce, preferably low-sodium
• 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
• 2 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard
• 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
• 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
• 2 cloves garlic, minced

PREPARATION

Trim any silverskin from the tenderloins with a sharp knife. Place in a large resealable plastic bag.

MAKE THE MARINADE: In a small mixing bowl or even directly in the resealable bag, combine the bourbon, soy sauce, brown sugar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper and whisk or mash to mix. Stir in the onion and garlic.

Pour over the tenderloins and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 400 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes.

Remove the pork from the marinade and scrape off any solid ingredients (onions or bits of garlic). Discard the marinade.

Arrange the tenderloins on the grill grate and grill for 6 to 8 minutes per side, rolling with tongs, or until the internal temperature is 145 degrees F when read on an instant-read meat thermometer. (The pork will still be slightly pink in the center. If you prefer your pork well-done, cook it to 160 degrees F.)

Transfer the tenderloins to a cutting board. Let rest for several minutes before carving on a diagonal into 1/2-inch slices.

Kentucky Pork Tenderloin

Kentucky Pork Tenderloin

PRINTABLE RECIPE:

KY Pork Tenderloin Recipe.docx (12.21 kb)

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Traeger Junior Elite Grill

Posted by Mary M. on May 1, 2014

Traeger Junior Elite Grill

There's a whole lot to love about our classic, most affordable pellet grill, our Junior grill. So of course we had to polish her up a bit, turning her into our sleek and even more impressive href="http://www.traegergrills.com/shop/detail/BBQ155" target="_parent">Junior Elite. She's a beaut that any brisket would be lucky to have.

The Junior Elite still has enough space to roast 3 juicy chickens (292 square inches) but with the added bonus of our multi-position digital thermometer and a dashing and durable powder-coat finish.

It's time to upgrade your Junior and enjoy some of the finer things in life.

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