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How to Season a Traeger Pellet Grill: Step by Step

Learn step by step exactly how to season a Traeger pellet grill before cooking with it for the first time.

closing the lid to season a traeger pellet grill

So you just bought a beautiful new Traeger pellet grill

Well, like all smokers, whether its a propane or electric, charcoal, vertical cabinet or a barrel style Oklahoma Joe…they all have one thing in common when they are new.

They need to be seasoned.

Curing a new Trager is necessary for a variety of reasons. It will burn and clean off all of the dirt, oils, and bacteria left over after the manufacturing process and will leave your pellet grill ready to use.

Though the word ‘seasoning’ may spring to mind a funny image of seasoning your smoker with cooking spices, the reality is much different.

Seasoning a pellet grill can sometimes be referred to as pre-seasoning or curing, and it differs from seasoning a cast-iron skillet or conventional gas grill.

Whether you’re entertaining guests or kicking back with your family, it’s a vital first step that you need to carry out before cooking your food.

In this article, we’re going to be taking a look at the definition of seasoning, and why it’s so important to do to your brand new Traeger before you start cooking.

We’ll then provide you with a handy step-by-step guide on how to season your Traeger Pellet Grill correctly.

Ready? Let’s begin!

 

Want to get started fast?

Here’s a great overview video on how to season a new Traeger pellet grill in a just a few short steps:

Why Do You Need to Season a New Traeger Pellet Grill?

Seasoning your new Traeger pellet grill before its first use is important to laying the foundation for both delicious and hygienic BBQ.

By doing so, you’ll be removing unwanted odors from the production stage, protecting the smoker from rust and the weather, and also curing the paint, which will help it look new for years to come.

Two Main Reasons Why a Smoker Should be Seasoned:

  1. To get rid of debris and odors
  2. To protect it from rust and the weather

 

Getting Rid of Debris and Odors from the Manufacturing Process

When a sparkling new Traeger pellet grill gets put inside its box ready for purchase, it brings with it a whole host of leftover dirt, odors, and oils from the warehouse it was made in, and the production process it has gone through.

Remember when we had you burn a load of charcoal in that brand new galvanized trash can before we made Trash Can Turkey?

It’s the same principle here.

BTW, if you don’t know what Trash Can Turkey is, please stop what you are doing and check it out HERE RIGHT NOW. 

We’ll be here when you get back.

 

Uncured paint, dirt, and oils present from the manufacturing process can remain on the finished product, particularly with offset smokers and pellet grills.

Some of those chemicals can be toxic and harmful to your health, not to mention infusing your food with a less than appealing aroma.

By seasoning before use, you’ll quickly remove all of those nasty production remnants and leave your Traeger pellet grill clean and free from any unwanted oil, solvent and paint residue.

 

Extending the Life of a Traeger Pellet Grill

rust accumulating from not seasoning a pit boss pellet grill
Not what you want to see any time soon on a new Pit Boss.

Regardless of the high quality coating they put on your smoker, if it’s made of metal,its ALWAYS at risk of rusting…eventually.

If you don’t take the time to season the new pellet grill, the presence of moisture during each smoking session will quickly age your smoker from the INSIDE, just like leaving it out in the rain uncovered would risk rusting it from the OUTSIDE.

Seasoning will not only take away leftover residue from the manufacturing stage, but it will also prevent rust, all the while curing the paint in a protective coating that will ensure your smoker is better able to handle exposure to the weather.

Essentially, the protective coating will ensure that all moisture will drip off the pellet grill, rather than get absorbed or stick to it.

 

How to Season a New Traeger Pellet Grill

Here’s what you will need:

  • An electrical outlet
  • A large bag of wood pellets
  • Optional: Cooking oil with a high smoke point like Avocado or Grapeseed Oil
  • Optional:  A few pieces of raw fatty meat like bacon or pork belly.

One word of advice from someone who’s gotten a large, heavy, fully assembled grill stuck inside their house: Take it outside, unassembled, before you begin.

Yes, I did that.

 

Follow these Steps to Season the Traeger:

Check that all Components Work Properly

  1. Assemble your Traeger pellet grill. Do not place the drip pan, grates, or any other accessories inside the grill just yet.
  2. Plug in and start up the Traeger, keeping the lid(s) open.turning on a traeger pellet grill
  3. Turn the switch on the control panel to the SMOKE setting.
  4. Look inside the empty hopper and check that the auger is rotating.an empty hopper showing the auger on a traeger pellet grill
  5. Then feel to make sure air is blowing out from the firebox.checking the fan is working on a new traeger pellet grill before seasoning
  6. Turn the dial to the SHUTDOWN CYCLE.the controller on a tragere showing the smoke and 180 degree settings

 

Fill the Hopper and Prime the Auger with Pellets

  1. Fill the hopper with pellets.pouring pellets into the hopper of a traeger pellet grill before seasoning
  2. Turn the Dial to HIGH or the highest temperature setting.
  3. Watch and wait until the auger fills with pellets and they begin to fall into the firepot.pellets falling into the firepot of a traeger pellet grill
  4. Turn the dial back to the SHUTDOWN CYCLE to restart the hot rod.
  5. Turn the dial to the SMOKE setting and wait for flames to start in the firepot.
  6. Turn back to the SHUTDOWN CYCLE.

Heat and Season the Traeger Pellet Grill

  1. Now insert the other components of the Trager such as the drip pan and grill grates.
  2. After the grill has finished the shutdown cycle, turn the dial to SMOKE.
  3. Wait for gray/white smoke to begin to be produced from the main barrel.smoke coming out when seasoning a traeger pellet grill
  4. Turn the dial to HIGH, or the highest temperature setting and shut the lid.
  5. Wait 45 minutes, then turn back to SHUTDOWN Cycle, then power off after the shutdown is finished.

There you have it, you have successfully checked that the auger and conduction fan work, filled the hopper and primed auger with pellets, and burned off the manufacturing chemical residue!

You can start using your pellet grill at this time if you desire, OR you can proceed to the next steps if you want to add a thin layer of oil to the INTERIOR of your Traeger pellet grill to help protect it more.

 

Optional Next Steps

Applying a Thin Layer of Cooking Oil

  1. Let the Traeger pellet grill completely cool from the above steps before doing this step.
  2. You’ll need cooking oil for this step! For the quickest results, we recommend using a flourless high smoke point cooking oil like Grapeseed or Avocado oil.
  3. Rub a VERY thin, even coat along the INSIDE of the of the Traeger’s lid interior, and racks.  There is no need to rub cooking oil on the OUTSIDE of a Traeger pellet grill. The cooking oil acts as a protective coating and will keep it safe from moisture produced while cooking food. Stay away from any internal components like the auger, and especially the fire pot.  There is no need to oil the hopper either. Just large interior panel areas of the main cooking chamber. And a little oil goes a LONG way, you don’t want it pooling or dripping anywhere.
  4. Turn on your pellet grill and repeat the Heat and Season section above above.  No need to prime the grill this time if the auger is still full of pellets.  Otherwise if it is not you will need to complete the second section Fill the Hopper and Prime the Auger as well.
  5. Make sure you have enough pellets in the hopper for another 20-30 minute seasoning session. One pound of pellets lasts about 20 minutes at these high cooking temperatures.
  6. Make sure to turn back to the SHUTDOWN CYCLE before you turn off the pellet grill when it is done. This helps burn off the smoldering pellets left in the firepot and cools down the grill much faster.

 

Cooking a Load of Fatty Meat

Some home BBQ pros will smoke some fatty pieces of leftover bacon (an oxymoron…I know) towards the end of the seasoning process as well to add some more fatty residue and aroma to the inner walls of the new Traeger pellet grill.

This step can be substituted for wiping the interior lid and walls with cooking oil if you desire.

 

Re-Seasoning your Traeger Pellet Grill

Throughout the life of your Traeger pellet grill, it’s highly likely that you’re going to need to re-season it more than once.

While some purists claim to NEVER clean the inside walls of their smokers, the reality is sometimes you may find you have to.

Depending on your local weather, mold may form if you don’t use it for a long period, or you might spill some nasty greasy liquid down into in the bowels of the smoker.

If this occurs, and you feel you need to clean the smoker, use a good degreasing agent to help clean the racks and the inner walls and make sure to rinse really well afterwards.

Then you will want to follow the same steps above to heat the inside of your smoker up to a high enough heat for 20-30 minutes to kill any lingering mold and chemicals.

This isn’t a bad practice to put in place at the beginning of the season when you maybe haven’t used your Traeger for a few months either.

 

Final Thoughts on Seasoning a New Traeger Pellet Grill

So, there you have it, your step-by-step guide on how to season your new Traeger pellet grill.

Remember, you’re free to our tweak the steps as you like to create your very own, unique seasoning process!

If you get stuck or forget a step, watch the video above, or just refer back to our guide for inspiration and your new smoker will be prepped, primed, and ready to use in no time!

 

Now What Food Can I Cook on my Traeger Pellet Grill?

Looking for some smoky inspiration for your new Traeger?

So glad you asked.

Check out some of our great recipes of smoked and grilled food to try out once you have assembled and seasoned your new Traeger pellet grill!

Beef

 

Pork, Turkey, and Chicken

 

Seafood

 

Lamb

 

Odds and Ends

Trash Can Turkey – OK, technically not made on a pellet grill or smoker but one of the most fun ways there is to cook a Turkey…at over 700 degrees in only 2 hours! 

closing the lid to season a traeger pellet grill

How to Season a Traeger Pellet Grill

Learn step by step exactly how to season a new Traeger pellet grill before cooking with it for the first time.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr

Equipment

  • Traeger Pellet Grill

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Large Bag Wood Pellets
  • Cooking Oil, High Smoke Point optional
  • Uncooked Bacon optional

Instructions
 

Check that all Components Work Properly

  • Assemble your Traeger pellet grill. Do not place the drip pan, grates, or any other accessories inside the grill just yet.
    can you use a traeger in the rain
  • Plug in and start up the Traeger, keeping the lid(s) open.
    turning on a traeger pellet grill
  • Turn the switch on the control panel to the SMOKE setting.
  • Look inside the empty hopper and check that the auger is rotating.
    an empty hopper showing the auger on a traeger pellet grill
  • Then feel to make sure air is blowing out from the firebox.
    checking the fan is working on a new traeger pellet grill before seasoning
  • Turn the dial to the SHUTDOWN CYCLE.
    the controller on a tragere showing the smoke and 180 degree settings

Fill the Hopper and Prime the Auger with Pellets

  • Fill the hopper with pellets.
    pouring pellets into the hopper of a traeger pellet grill before seasoning
  • Turn the Dial to HIGH or the highest temperature setting.
  • Watch and wait until the auger fills with pellets and they begin to fall into the firepot.
    pellets falling into the firepot of a traeger pellet grill
  • Turn the dial back to the SHUTDOWN CYCLE to restart the hot rod.
  • Turn the dial to the SMOKE setting and wait for flames to start in the firepot.
    fire pot igniting on a traeger pellet grill
  • Turn back to the SHUTDOWN CYCLE.

Heat and Season the Traeger Pellet Grill

  • Now insert the other components of the Trager such as the drip pan and grill grates.
  • After the grill has finished the shutdown cycle, turn the dial to SMOKE.
  • Wait for gray/white smoke to begin to be produced from the main barrel.
    smoke coming out when seasoning a traeger pellet grill
  • Turn the dial to HIGH, or the highest temperature setting and shut the lid.
    closing the lid to season a traeger pellet grill
  • Wait 45 minutes, then turn back to SHUTDOWN Cycle, then power off after the shutdown is finished.

Applying a Thin Layer of Cooking Oil (Optional)

  • Let the Traeger pellet grill completely cool from the above steps before doing this step.
  • Rub a VERY thin, even coat along the INSIDE of the of the Traeger’s lid interior, and racks.  There is no need to rub cooking oil on the OUTSIDE of a Traeger pellet grill. The cooking oil acts as a protective coating and will keep it safe from moisture produced while cooking food. Stay away from any internal components like the auger, and especially the fire pot.  There is no need to oil the hopper either. Just large interior panel areas of the main cooking chamber.
  • Turn on your pellet grill and repeat the Heat and Season section above above.  No need to prime the grill this time if the auger is still full of pellets.  Otherwise if it is not you will need to complete the second section Fill the Hopper and Prime the Auger as well.
  • Make sure you have enough pellets in the hopper for another 20-30 minute seasoning session. One pound of pellets lasts about 20 minutes at these high cooking temperatures.
  • Make sure to turn back to the SHUTDOWN CYCLE before you turn off the pellet grill when it is done. This helps burn off the smoldering pellets left in the firepot and cools down the grill much faster.
  • Optionally repeat the Seasoning Section with a batch of uncooked bacon or other fatty meat for extra aromatic flavoring of the grill walls.

Video

Keyword how to start a pellet grill, new grills, pellet grill, Seasoning, traeger

 

 

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