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Traeger Tips: Wood Pellet Guide

Posted by Susie B. on February 12, 2013

You picked a Traeger Pellet Grill because they are simply the best at infusing your food with inredible flavor. Over time, you begin to really taste the subtle flavors that come by using different pellets. If you have ever cooked a Traeger Recipe, you have probably noticed that we will recommend specific types of pellets for different kinds of food. Anything that comes off of your Traeger will be delicious, but becoming the real master of the smoke will push your food from good to outstanding.

We have already put together a simple to use Wood Pellet Guide to help you select specific pellets for whatever you are Traeger'ing. For those of you looking to master that behind-the-scenes smoke flavor that really puts your recipes over the top, let's talk about why we pick certain pellets for certain foods.

Alder: These pellets are the most versatile because of their mild flavor and aroma. Alder wood gives off a great amount of smoke without overwhelming even the most delicate flavors like chicken, fish, or baked goods. Try the Bacon Wrapped Scallops next time you are looking to add that perfect wood fired taste with your Alder pellets.

Apple: Most often used with poultry and pork, apple wood pellets offer a lightly fruity smoke that helps enhance mild flavored meats. Apple pellets take this Smoke Roasted Apple Pie to a whole new level of awesome. Think about it, apple wood smoked apple pie? Unbelievable.

Cherry: One of the more flavorful pellets, cherry wood lends itself to application where you want to add a hearty smoke flavor. Check out these Marinated Beef Ribs. Between the marinade and the cherry smoke, these flavorful ribs don't require any sauce to be exceptionally flavorful.

Hickory: Probably the most widely used pellets in barbecue, hickory pellets release a strong flavor and complement most meats. Some people find hickory can be a little strong and like to mix it with a more mild pellet like oak or apple. Using hickory pellets with this Anytime Pork Roast will definitely impress.

Maple: Mild, with a hint of sweetness, maple pellets are great on pork and especially turkey. Using maple pellets to smoke your holiday Herb Roasted Turkey and your family will request that you cook every year.

Mesquite: A favorite of Texas BBQ, Mesquite pellets infuse your meat with hearty smoke flavor. That super smoky flavor is great for recipes that are begging for a little something extra like these Southwestern Stuffed Peppers.

Oak: Oak is a great middle ground as far as smoke intensity goes. A little stronger than cherry or apple, and a little lighter than hickory, Oak is great to use with fish and veggies or both at the same time like these Mahi-Mahi Shish Kabobs.

Pecan: Deliciously nutty and even a little spicy, Pecan pellets are great with beef, pork, or poultry. They add a great depth to baked goods as well. Be sure to try this recipe for Mom's Best Pumpkin Bread and enjoy the added nutty flavor from the Pecan smoke.


3/24/2013 5:42:21 AM #

So I filled the hopper with hickory. And now I want try the mesquite. What do i do about the almost full hopper of hickory?  Get a little shovel?  How do people change over mid stream or is that something you just don't do?

ragsgolf United States

3/25/2013 9:12:35 AM #

I bought a small shop vac that I use for this. Also used it to clean the ash  bowl.

Smoke02 United States

6/29/2013 12:58:21 PM #

I use a small flexible measuring cup to dip out the pellets.  There will be a few that you can't really get out of the auger but not many.  I also use 5 gallon buckets with lids to store my pellets so they stay dry.  I have found that I seem to get the most smoke flavor from Hickory but also like the Mesquite so now I am almost exclusively using a 50/50 mix of Hickory and Mesquite.  The little magnetic tags work very well to keep track of what pellets are in the hopper, especially if you use several different flavors of pellets.

terryk United States

1/19/2014 10:57:32 AM #

I have had my grill about one month.  I have added the front tray which is great and i bet i have cooked on it 20 out of the 30 days and that is because i travel each week.  I heard all the negative about it and i know a month doesn't mean a whole lot, but for this month it is the greatest thing i have ever cooked on.  I have both a smoker and gas grill and they both are jealous that they haven't been used in sometime.  In fact the gas grill thought it was going to get its turn today since i was doing pull pork on the Traeger and since it was going to be 10 hours it knew it was going to have to be used to do the chicken for the football game.  Sorry i got up at 5 am and the pull pork was done at 230pm and i put the chicken on and it was done at 320pm so the gas grill missed out again.  calling my 4 boys and seeing if they want a charcoal grill and/or a gas grill.


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