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Grilling in Hot Weather

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Summertime is prime grilling season, but there are a few things to keep in mind when cooking on your Traeger pellet grill during the hottest days of the year.

Your grill is a large, dark hunk of metal, so leaving it in the sun will have the same effect as when you get in your car on a summer day after it’s been sitting in an uncovered parking lot. When it’s particularly hot or sunny, the grill’s internal temperature can rise to close to cooking temperatures without it even being on, especially when placed in the sun. Add a fire to the mix and you’ll find it difficult for your grill to maintain a temperature below what the sun was already doing by itself.

For this reason, and despite there being nothing wrong with the grill, maintaining very low cooking temperatures (we’re talking 225°F and below) in very hot weather can be a challenge, and the temperature may hover above the temperature you set.

Here are some tips for dealing with this issue:

  • Don’t panic. If the temperature being maintained is a little above what you set the grill to, your food will just cook a little quicker—and will still have delicious wood-fired flavor.

  • Move your grill out of direct sunlight. This is especially important on hot sunny days and should be done even when the grill is not on.

  • Start early in the day for long, low-and-slow cooks, such as brisket and pork butt. You may even want to consider cooking it overnight.

  • Consider recipes with a higher cooking temperature or even consider adjusting some of your favorite low-temp recipes. During hotter months you’ll have the steadiest temperatures when the grill is set to 250°F and above. Most meats cooked at 225°F can handle going even as high as 275°F. They will cook a little faster and may not be quite as smoky flavored since you can’t use Super Smoke above 225°F but will still have ample wood-fired flavor.

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