Monday, July 11, 2011

INFO: Traeger Operation

If you own a Traeger Smoker you need to know how it operates. The oldest controller they used just had a Low, Med, & High setting. Then they came out with a 225 controller w/digital readout, it had a Smoke setting then a 225 deg & up in 25 deg. increments to High. It also had P settings to control the smoke mode, or run idle time. Ambient temps affect the smoker so they had the P settings to offset this. There were settings P1 thru P12, on P1 the pellet feed auger ran for 15 seconds then off for 45 seconds. Then higher P settings incremented the off time + 10 seconds, the feed time always is at 15 seconds on. Then if you go to a higher setting the pellet feed auger runs continuous until that temp. is reached, then it would fall back to the smoke, idle run time until it fell 3 deg below the set temp then continuous until set temp was reached again etc. I think with the 225 controller you could only access the P settings from the back of the controller to change them. People had a lot of trouble with high temp swings & they found when it fell back to the idle run time it started with the 15 seconds on time. So they designed a new controller to start with the programmed off time, after it reached set temp. & they added a 180 deg setting & also made access to the P settings thru a small hole on the front of the controller. I use a small allen wrench to change them.

P setting examples:
P1 auger on 15 seconds auger off 45 seconds
P2 auger on 15 seconds auger off 55 seconds
P3 auger on 15 seconds auger off 65 seconds
Each increment of the P# up or down should change the temp about + - 10 deg

A lot of owners prefer to control cooking temps below 300 deg. by leaving it in smoke mode & just using the P settings. I prefer to get mine to holding temps in the smoke mode just below the set temp I want to cook at, this way I don’t get many wild temp swings. For example if I want to cook at 225 deg I get it running about 200 deg in the smoke mode then go to 225 deg. If you use the 180 deg setting you want to make sure it is running below 180 deg in the smoke mode. I only use the 180 deg setting for long smoke cooks like a pork butt or brisket where I don’t want to have to monitor the smoker much. If you try to do it on smoke mode you stand the chance of going below 160 deg & have a flame out if ambient temps change. I know for the novice this may sound complicated but after you use your Traeger awhile it is pretty simple. Some of the newer smokers control the temps better than the Traeger without ambient temps affecting them but you will not buy them for $700, more like double that or more.
Always shutdown your smoker w/the lid open. If you don’t you stand a chance of burn back thru the auger tube, from the fire seeking oxygen to burn up what pellets are left. If the last part of your cook was over 300 deg it’s a good idea to turn down to smoke mode for awhile before shutting down. I usually wait until it’s below 250 deg.

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