When you purchase a Traeger Grill and read that you need to season it before you use it, that doesn’t mean you need to break out your spice rack.
Traeger doesn’t mean that kind of seasoning. In grill terminology, when you season a grill, you prepare it for its first use by burning it hot enough to kill all bacteria.
It’s imperative that you season the pellet grill properly before you cook on it because the bacteria on it from the manufacturing process, packaging, store display, and unboxing can harm you. That bacteria can contaminate your food when you cook on the grill.
Other items on your Traeger pellet grill that shouldn’t get cooked with your food include lubricant and oil residues from the manufacturing process.
They help tune the grill materials while the grill awaits purchase, but you need to remove this residue from the grill process, too. Some of these oils fall into the non-toxic chemicals category, but you still should not cook with them.
Seasoning the Traeger grill also helps it function better when you cook. Doing so provides you an opportunity to practice using your grill, too.
The day before you use your Traeger for the first time, you should season it. You can do it earlier than that, for example one week before cooking on it, too. You just need to do it in advance of cooking on it.
How often do you need to season a grill?
You’ll only need to season your Traeger grill once. Some information sources refer to this as a one-time initial firing process, while others call it burning in the grill.
After the initial seasoning, you’ll clean your grill in a normal manner. You’ll need the typical tools, such as a wire brush and degreasing dish washing detergent.
WiFIRE or Traditional Grill? The Processes Differ
Traeger produces two lines of its wood pellet grills. The first grill line, the traditional, functions manually. The second line Traeger developed recently, and it uses WiFi to connect the grill to your mobile device.
This WiFIRE technology, as the grill maker refers to it, lets you control the grill from inside your home via an app on your smartphone. This means you can adjust the temperature from indoors and not miss a moment of football game.
You’ll need to know whether you own a WiFi-capable or traditional grill because your seasoning process differs.
Each takes a different amount of time and uses a slightly different process. A traditional grill takes about one hour to season, while a WiFIRE grill requires one and a half hours to season.
How to Season Your Traeger WiFIRE Grill
Unless you’ve had your Traeger grill sitting, unopened in a box in your garage or attic, for a few years, you probably own a WiFIRE grill.
That’s been the company’s main product for the last few years. Although you own a Wi-Fi-enabled grill, you can only use the app for a few of the steps in the process.
The one thing that remains the same about these two processes is that you need to place a bucket or drip tray underneath the grill before you begin.
This catches the liquids and oils that may burn off during this process and protects the patio or porch surface on which you’ve placed your grill. Follow these steps, in order, to season your grill.
Step 1: Prime the grill’s auger tube with fresh, new pellets.
Step 2: Plug in the grill.
Step 3: Flip the power switch to “on.” Typically, Traeger places this switch on the rear of the unit.
Step 4: Fill the hopper with new, fresh hardwood pellets.
Step 5: Press the power button on the grill’s controller to turn on its screen.
Step 6: Using the grill’s dial, turn the selector to “Select Auger > Prime Auger” and press the controller knob to set it.
Step 7: Watch for pellets falling into the firepot. When this occurs select “Done.”
Step 8: Using the grill’s dial, turn the selector clockwise to 350°F (177°C). Press the dial. This displays the temperature confirmation on the controller screen.
Step 9: Press the “Ignite button,” then close the grill’s lid. Wait for the temperature to reach 350°F (177°C). Run the grill for 20 minutes at this temperature. You can use your app for this step.
Step 10: Adjust the temperature to 450°F (232°C). Press the dial to confirm the temperature as you did in Step 8.
Step 11: When the temperature reaches 450°F (232°C), run the grill at this temperature for an additional 30 minutes. You can use your app for this step.
Step 12: Shut down the grill. You can use your app for this step. If you do this manually, the process depends on the grill model. On a Pro Series grill, press the on/off/temperature knob for three seconds. For an Ironwood, Timberline or Silverton model, press the power button for three seconds.
Steps for Seasoning Your Non-Connected Grill
With a traditional Traeger grill you can cook on it the same day that you season it. You won’t need to wait unless you want to season it ahead of time.
Step 1: Plug in the grill.
Step 2: Flip the power switch to “on.” On traditional models, Traeger typically places this on the front of the unit on the controller panel.
Step 3: Fill the hopper with new, fresh hardwood pellets.
Step 4: Prime the grill’s auger tube with fresh, new pellets.
Step 5: Open the grill lid and remove the grate, drip tray, and heat baffle.
Step 6: Set the grill to the highest temperature it offers. Let it run for two to five minutes at this setting to activate pellets falling into the firepot.
Step 7: Activate the grill’s “Shut Down Cycle.” The shutdown cycle takes about 25 minutes. You then flip the power switch to “Off” to complete the shutdown.
Step 8: Replace the heat baffle, drip tray, and grill to their appropriate placement in the grill.
Step 9: Flip the power switch to “on” and close the lid.
Step 10: Set the grill controller to the “Smoke” setting. Let it run at this setting for at least 15 minutes. The fire needs to establish in the grill, which means the smoke emitting from it will change from white in color and thick to light blue and thin.
Step 11: Set the grill to the highest temperature it offers for 30 minutes.
Step 10: You can shut down the grill by repeating Step 7 or you can begin grilling.
Caveats to Seasoning a Grill
Some models of Traeger grills do not feature a smoke setting. Without the smoker, you must solely rely on the temperature settings to season the grill. When relying solely on temperatures, you might want add five minutes to each priming step.
You can do this without mucking up the process. For example, the Traeger Pro 780 lacks a smoker, so you only rely on burning things off at high temperatures and you must rely on the thermostat because you won’t have the visual cues proved by smoke.
Flames and smoke change color at specific temperatures, so although an old-school method of gauging how hot the grill has become, you don’t have to worry about a faulty thermostat. Fire doesn’t lie.
Electrical Outlet Required
Traeger grills all require an electrical outlet. These grills all use digital displays, and you must plug in the device to access the full function of the grill.
Before seasoning your grill or attempting to cook on it, determine where in your yard you will place your grill. You will need an electrical outlet to plug in the grill.
Priming the Auger Is a One-time Thing
The first time you use a Traeger grill, you need to prime the auger. You don’t have to do this every time you want to cook on the grill. The auger priming only takes place the one time, during the seasoning process.
Related to both seasoning the auger and cooking with the device, never completely fill your grill’s pellet hopper.
You need to leave a little space in the pellet hopper. Most Traeger grills only need a maximum of four pounds of wood pellets during the seasoning process.
Storing Your Grill and Pellets
You won’t cook on your grill every minutes, so you need to protect it from harm. If you won’t cook on your traditional Traeger right after you season it, you need to store it properly. This applies to your pellets, too.
Using the cover that it came with or that you purchased separately to fit the grill, cover the grill. Tie it at the bottom, so that strong wings can’t blow it off. If it’s on a nice location, set it on a BBQ grill mat to preserve the area.
Place your wood pellets in a tightly sealed plastic container and store them indoors. Just like any other wood, they can get wet and this ruins them. You probably want them ready when you want to cook, so keep them indoors and covered.