• Success!

    In installment two of the Traeger cooker series, we install a digi-controller and use GrillGrates for the first time.

    Installation of the controller panel was easy and straightforward although the installation illustrations could be about 500% bigger. If you buy locally and your dealer will install the digital controller for a minimal fee, go for it. Contrary to my reputation, I’m actually fairly handy with mechanics and electrics; I just _couldn’t see_ the hole in the upper left corner.

    So…testing. The stock controller has three speeds: smoke, medium and high. This thing has selectable settings every 25F. Smoke turned out to be 215F, then it can be turned _down_ to 180F and then upwards.

    One thing I’ve learned is to light up and let it get settled in at the Smoke setting, then set it where I want it. I tested 250F and 350F and accuracy and consistency was within reason.

    Mr. FedEx smile upon me and delivered GrillGrates. GrillGrates are a modular anodized-aluminum set of grate that will fit most any grill and promise great grill marks, less flareups etc.

    Wow, GrillGrates deliver! First of all, the digi-controller allows around 25F to 50F higher temperature but that isn’t enough to make any difference, but since aluminum is such a great heat conductor the GrillGrates produced a sear close to an ordinary grill; this test has shown that there’s no point to carrying along an ordinary grill.

     

     

  • New Member of the Family

    Nope, no new cats. We have enough thank you very much.

    Concluding that we weren’t going to be able to carry the BGE, the Weber Bullet or the Weber Performer, we found ourselves in need of a small smoker. We have a little grill which is fine as a grill, but use as a smoker last year resulted in the lid propped on top of a turkey breast and temperature control was what aeolus gave us.

    So…I was dimly aware of a new small Traeger pellet pooper. After a little sleuthing and measuring we are the proud owners of a Traeger PTG or Portable Traeger Grill.

    It’s a spiffy little gizmo with a 12×15 grate and lest ye bbq snobs go off on me, it’s a WOOD-BURNING COOKER.

    Stock configuration is a bit useless. The “Smoke” setting is too hot for cold smoking and too cold for hot smoking. “Medium” is around 325F, too hot. “Hi” is 450F, too hot for smoking and too cold for grilling.

    Fortunately there’s a digi thermo-control available and it’s expected tomorrow. Supposedly it works like a thermostat.

    First cook, thighs. Mighty close to perfect, but that bite-through skin is still elusive.

    Second cook, pork butt.

    I usually cook butts at around 350F if I don’t want to stay up all night, so that’s what I did. The pooper delivered a consistent 300F so the four-pound boneless butt was off in five hours. It was a little barky;  I should’ve foiled it. So the little Traeger is a dry cooker.

    Third cook, atomic buffalo turds. Cooked on medium, perfect. Fourth cook the same evening, grilled tri-tip.

    Well..the thermometer said 450F and that’s probably accurate but that’s too low for grilling that gives any sort of browning.

    Expecting that, GrillGrates are on order that supposedly boost the working temperture. We’ll see.

    The short conclusion, however, is that the gizmo works extremely well straight out of the box. I think I can get this baby singing in short order.

     

  • Mokey’s Holler

    OK we’ve been loud tonight. Loud as in “if you don’t like it see us tommorrow.”  No one here would utter a peep.

    But a tune by John Mayall came on the stereo and I swear he was singing about Mokey’s Holler, and Mokey backs me up.

    Just another data point.