A large majority of you, our Traeger Nation members, are experienced grillers and smokers extraordinaire. But with summer finally creeping up, it doesn't hurt to have a few reminders of how to pull off the best bites from your Traeger. Here are a few tips to keep you looking like a pro.
1. Make it hot. After the fire has been established, preheat your Traeger for a good 10-15 minutes to make sure it's nice and hot. Starting with a hot grill will help keep the meats moist and help prevent food from sticking.
2. Marinate or rub your meat to ensure a flavorful feast. And as if you needed more convincing, the American Institute for Cancer Research have said that marinating or rubbing your meat can inhibit the formation of potentially carcinogenic HCA's (heterocyclic amines). These form when grilling meats like poultry, red meat and fish. Rubbing your meat or throwing it in a marinade can reduce the HCA formation by as much as 70%. Who knew? There's your science lesson for the day.
3. Safety first. When you're grilling outside, don't forget about food safety inside. Avoid cross-contamination by using separate cutting boards, utensils, knives and platters for raw and cooked food. Also, never use your marinade liquid to baste your meat as it cooks. You need to either make extra marinade and only use it to baste or you need to bring the marinade up to a boil to kill bacteria before using it to baste.
4. Use the right equipment. By using a Traeger, 95% of the work is done for you. That's just how we roll. But don't forget to use the right accessories. Check out our post on the best Traeger tools and outdoor accessories. For instance, using a grilling basket for your vegetables and small proteins like shrimp can save you some serious headaches and grill casualties.
5. Make sure it's done. Fully cooking your protein is so important to protect you from those bad bacteria that can come with under-cooked meat. Check that temperature using an instant-read thermometer like our Remote Probe Thermometer to make sure it's safe to eat and won't send you on a trip to the bathroom or even worse, the hospital.
6. Keep your pellets handy. Make sure you always have enough pellets on hand and keep your hopper full. There's nothing worse than running out of pellets in the middle of smoking some ribs or another delicious feast.
7. Keep it closed. Avoid repeatedly opening the Traeger. Each time you open it you lose heat, using more pellets and potentially changing the cooking time. That's where a meat thermometer like our Meat Temperature Probe really comes in handy. You can stick the probe into the meat and then close the lid and set the temperature register on the hopper.
8. Give it a rest. Allow your meat to rest after its finished cooking for a good 10-30 minutes (depending on the size) so the juices can evenly redistribute and not run all over the cutting board as soon as you make the first slice.
9. Clean the grill while it's hot. We mentioned this in our cleaning post but it's worth the repeat. After you're done grilling and while your Traeger is still hot, scrub the grill grate with a wet brass-bristled brush. This will keep it clean and ready to grill the next time.
10. Like anything worth having (or eating), it's worth doing right. Give your meat the time it needs. Let it smoke and roast until it is blackened to perfection. Don't rush it.
Let us know some of your best grilling tips!