How To Use a Traeger Smoker (7 Simple Steps)

Timothy Woods
Published by Timothy Woods
Last Updated On: June 19, 2024

When I talk about food, I always emphasize the taste above everything else. No matter how nice it looks, the delicious smell will definitely be a reason to leave everything and go straight to the table.

If you like to use smokers as I do, you will get addicted to the natural, smoky, woody flavor of the food.

Many people think that using a pellet smoker is complicated and confusing, but I swear that it isn't.

Check in the article below on how to use a Traeger smoker, and you will see that it is much easier than you think.

Quick Summary

  • Using a Traeger smoker involves seven simple steps: assembling the smoker, seasoning it, starting it, ensuring enough pellets, preheating, cooking, and shutting down and cleaning the smoker.
  • Traeger smokers come with LCD control panels and Wi-Fi control, offering a new dimension to smoking and grilling.
  • A 2020 research report from the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) found that approximately 9,500 people are burned by grill fires or hot grills every year.
  • Proper shutdown and cleaning are essential for safety and maintaining the grill. Unused pellets should be stored in a dry place, and all components should be cleaned with care.

7 Steps to Follow When Using a Traeger Smoker

Traeger smoker grill with grilled food

Cooking with a Traeger smoker is simple and easy. Recent models have LCD style control panels and Wi-Fi control, so you can set it, leave it and forget it.

All these features and possibilities with Traeger grills gave a new dimension to smoking and grilling. If you are a proud owner of one or you are about to be, we’ll explain how to use it.


1. Assemble the Smoker

First, you'll have to assemble it. When you are using a Traeger smoker for the first time, be sure to follow the Traeger's Owner's Manual.

Every model is different, but they all have basically similar necessary parts, which you have to put together: the pellet hopper, the controller, the auger, the fire pot, and the fan.

Also, because these are smart pellet grills, make sure to follow the instructions on the official website when it comes to downloading the application, connecting it with Wi-Fi, and installing pellet sensors.

2. Season the Smoker

A person seasoning a Traeger smoker grill

After assembling your Traeger pellet grill, it's time to season it. You'll have to do it before you put and cook food in it for the first time.

Allow your smoker to run for 45-50 minutes on high with the door closed. Seasoning a smoker is a straightforward one-time process that will help you eat healthy food and extend your grill's life at the same time.

3. Start the Smoker

Place your Traeger grill near the power plug. Even if it uses a wood pellet as fuel, it also requires electrical power.

According to a 2020 research report from the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), approximately 9,500 people are burned by grill fires or hot grills every year [1].

4. Make Sure You Have Enough Pellets

Pellets on a hand

One more thing you'll have to do is to buy a pellet. It is not necessary to buy a Traeger brand pellet, but it is recommended. It is 100% natural and has several different flavors - apple, pecan, maple, and cherry, so each will give your food a different taste.

Be sure you have enough wood pellets for the whole process - at least 10–15 pounds. Because once you lose the fire, you'll have to wait for the Traeger grill to cool down and restart it completely.

You will need 1–3 pounds of pellet for each hour, which depends on the desired temperature you are using. Lower temperature means longer smoking time and more wood pellets.

Every time you use the Traeger grill, open the hopper, which is a large metal box next to the pellet smokers' main body, and see if there is any pellet left or stuck to the side. If yes, move it, because it can cause you big problems later.

Check that the drill is spinning – it has to move pellets from the hopper to the firepot. Now fill the hopper with the pellet.

Then check the RTD temperature probe, a metal prong. If there is any dirt or grace on the probe, clean it with a rag because it can cause temperature problems.

If you wish to learn some pro-tips feel free to check our guide on how to use wood pellets in an electric smoker.

"Cooking and eating food outdoors makes it taste infinitely better than the same meal prepared and consumed indoors."

- Fennel Hudson, Writer

5. Preheat the Smoker

Once you are ready to cook, you will need to preheat your Traeger grill. Do this every time you are using it. Preheating lasts around 10-15 minutes.

To preheat the smoker, open up the lid, remove the baffle, grill plates, and drip trail, plug the smoker in and turn it to the "Smoke" setting. Leave it for 5 minutes to establish the fire.

A Traeger Grill smoking food

Ensure that everything is working correctly:

  • The drill is spinning.
  • The hotrod and fan are started.
  • The air is blowing out of the burner and heating up.

Caution: Don't touch any component of your Traeger pellet grills because it is already hot and you can get burned.

6. Start Cooking

Now, you’re all set to cook, so put that meat in the Traeger grill! It is recommended to use aluminum foil to cover your drip tray for easy clean-up after cooking.

Fill the pellets in the box and when you hear the roaring sound, close the lid and increase the desired temperature.

The desired temperature you use will depend on the food you are preparing with your Traeger pellet grills. Check the temperature level before putting the food to ensure the chamber is hot enough and ready for smoking.

7. Shut Down and Clean the Smoker

Cleaning a Traeger smoker

After enjoying your cooking experience with the Traeger smoker, it is important to shut it down properly, clean it, and store any leftover pellets.

Shutting the smoker down is as easy as starting it. There are only a few things to remember. For a good start, move all the food out from the smoker.

Place the setting to the "Shut Down Cycle", close the smoker's lid,  and let it shut down automatically. Automatic shutdown usually takes 10 minutes.

Shut down the power switch right after, and unplug the smoker from the wall.

Don't skip any of the steps; otherwise, you can damage the grill, or worse, it could lead to an accident.

According to research by the National Fire Protection Association, from 2014–2018, barbecues were involved in an average of 10,600 home fires per year, so this step is very important [2].

When your smoker completely cools down, wipe down the grill grates. If needed, use some warm soapy water and an abrasive sponge to clean the grill plate, grill grates, and drip tray.

Also, don't leave unused pellets in your Traeger pellet grills. Put it back in the bag, and store it in a dry, cool place so you can use it again.

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About the author

Timothy Woods
CEO / Co-Founder
Timothy Woods holds a Kinesiology and Exercise Science degree from Jacksonville University and is CCC & GMU Certified. He's also the main man behind Carnivore Style. This food aficionado combines science and experience to spread the word about the carnivore lifestyle.
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