Folks in the Traegerhood know that using your Traeger pellet grill is a year-round pursuit. So many delicious dishes made on the Traeger taste even better when the wind is howling outside. Think wood-fired chili con carne, tender brisket, your holiday turkey, or roast chicken.
But grilling in January can be a bit different than in July. Read on for some winter grilling tips and tricks to keep you cooking in the cold.
Where your grill is positioned can help keep it (and you) warmer this winter, and a grill cover is the best protection against the elements.
Cover your grill when not cooking. A waterproof grill cover will protect the grill against snow and rain and makes it easier to remove any accumulated ice or snow. But do check on your grill after a big storm. Shovel a path to it and brush any snow or ice off the cover before it gets to heavy. That way your grill will be good to go when you have a hankering for pulled pork.
Avoid wind. If possible, position your grill in an area that’s protected from harsh winds. That said, never attempt to use your pellet grill inside a garage or have it too close to a wall or overhang, which can be a fire hazard. Also, make sure the grill won’t get hit with an avalanche of snow from a steep roof or overhead tree limb.
Let there be light. While some of our grills, such as the Timberline grills and the new Ironwood grills have interior lights that illuminate your food on short winter days, you may want to invest in a head lamp or some good patio lighting in order to see what you’re cooking for dinner.
Consider an insulation blanket. If you have Pro series grill, you may want to give an insulation blanket a try. It stays on the grill during cooking to help keep the heat in and reduce pellet consumption.
Another way to keep your grill running efficiently in the cold weather is by keeping it clean. (Look here for how to do that.) A clean grill ensures the pellets burn more efficiently. But don’t worry if even your clean grill takes a bit longer to ignite and heat up; it will get there eventually and once hot should be able to maintain the temperature on all but the most frigid of days.
That said, this is the perfect time of year to try your hand at recipes that smoke at very low temperatures, such as smoked salmon, since the grill will be able to easily maintain the low temperature, which can be a challenge on the hottest of summer days.
The Traeger App, which is free to download, displays your grill temp, pellet level, timer, and more and will alert you if your food needs attention. With it, you can keep track of your cook while staying nice and warm inside, and you can even shut down your grill from underneath a blanket on the couch.
Similarly, when it’s cold out, you do NOT want to keep opening the grill to temp your food. Fortunately, a leave-in meat thermometer, such as our Meater®, can track the internal temperature of what you’re cooking in real time, so there’s no need to go out into the cold to prod and poke your food.
Eventually, you’ll have to face the snow, sleet, and wind. Layers are the best way to stay warm at the grill, so throw a Traeger hoodie on under your jacket and keep on smokin’ cozily all winter long.
Grab your rib bib & sink your teeth into these tender, sweet, and spicy ribs. They smoke low and slow, and are definitely worth the wait.
Massage your chicken breasts with a smattering of spices, grill them hot and fast, and mop them with a mix of Traeger BBQ sauces for perfectly tangy chicken.
Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this BBQ chicken recipe. Smoke and sauce bring out the flavor of these legs, making for an easy meal for any night of the week.
Classic BBQ chicken thighs are juicy and tender, infused with wood-fired flavor. Serve at your backyard BBQ with baked beans and chilled beer.
Inspired by carnitas, in which pork is cooked low and slow then crisped over high heat, this take uses beef flavored with Traeger Coffee rub that’s smoked for hours then braised until fall apart tender. Note: You’ll need to cook the meat for about 8 hours, so plan ahead. After getting shredded, the beef gets quickly seared on the flat top until crisp on the edges for an amazing contrast of textures. Serve the beef as main dish with sides like French fries, rice, cooked greens, or coleslaw or use the tender meat, topped with cheese if you like, in sandwiches, wraps, or tacos and serve the braising liquid on the side for dunking.
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