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Electric smokers have become an increasingly important part of food culture. They are easy to use and great for cooking delicious entrees with a distinct smoky flavor. Of course, one problem with an electric grill or smoker is that they are just that - an electrical appliance. And if there is one thing we all learned as little kids, it’s that you never mix electricity and water. So what exactly should you do if wet weather rolls in on a Friday night? Will rain penetration cause damage to your smoker? These are all valid questions worth considering.
Can You Use A Traeger In The Rain?
You can use a Traeger grill in the rain and in most other weather conditions. While Pit Boss discourages use in the rain because it is an electrical appliance, Traeger offers a more permissive stance on their company website. In fact, Traeger makes it clear that you can use a Traeger grill in wind, rain, or snow. It’s still wise to protect the electrical connections and to frequently check the electrical cord for damage, but generally speaking, you can use your Traeger in most weather conditions.
If you are a pitmaster adventurer and looking to use your grill and smoker in these various weather conditions, it is important to understand how the elements might impact your cooking experience. First, let’s be realistic that most pellet grill smokers will be easier to manage in light rain than heavy rain. The biggest impact of the rain is that the increased humidity may slow ignition times, and the more humidity that is in the atmosphere, the bigger the impact will be.
Traeger grills are protected from water spray less than 60 degrees from vertical. That sounds a little confusing, but essentially,Traeger grills are protected from the rain from the top, but if your grill experienced direct spray from the bottom, such as with a sprinkler, that is when problems might ensue.
One thing worth noting is that wet pellets can cause trouble. For one, wet pellets will be harder to ignite and burn, which could alter the cooking temperature away from the temperature set on the digital controller. You will also want to avoid leaving unused pellets in the pellet hopper if they are wet or exposed to too much humidity? Why? Wet pellets have a tendency to rot and fall apart. This can create a mess, and cause trouble the next time you are looking to ignite the smoker.
Ensuring you keep your wood pellets dry, even in wet climates and rainy environments, goes a long way. This will naturally be much easier in mild climates, but taking such simple steps as to put the hopper lid on and store wood pellets in dry storage makes a big difference.
Can You Use A Traeger In The Snow?
Let us just say that there is something about cooking with open fire in the snow that warms the soul. And Traeger says to go for it. There are a few impacts to be aware of, but you can use a Traeger (and most other pellet smokers) in the snow. For a Traeger, the humidity that comes with snow might cause the igniter to work a little more slowly than normal, and as you might imagine, the temperature in the smoke chamber might run a little colder than set by the controller. The last impact to be aware of is that the digital control panel may darken a little when it is cold and snowy.
And by the way, Traeger sells custom-fitted insulated blankets that are safe to use with your Traeger. The first thing you should remember when cooking in the cold and snow is to keep the lid closed on your smoker as much as possible. That’s one reason that meat probes are so important. Still, in extreme temperatures, the cold weather may chill the canopy and smoke chamber, which is why the insulation blanket is such a quality cover, and so helpful for maintaining your desired cook temperature.
Do All Traeger Grills Need Electricity?
All Traeger grills require electricity, because of the advanced technology such as the auger that feeds wood pellets into the burning chamber. Several other features require electricity as well, such as the hot rod igniter, the thermostat, and the fan. All of these electronic components naturally require electricity.
The good news is that if you want to take your Traeger camping, you can always use a power inverter to connect your smoker to your vehicle. The bad news is that if you are nervous about using your smoker in the rain because it is an electrical appliance, you might be better off using a traditional wood smoker that doesn’t have electrical components. Still, Traeger notes their smokers are fine to use in the rain, so as long as you protect the electrical connections and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Can You Use A Traeger In The Garage
You should never use your Traeger, or any other pellet smoker, in an enclosed area such as a garage. While you might not always use a pellet grill with direct heat from a flame, the pellets are still on fire and burning in the burn chamber, and grilling inside your garage is a fire hazard. Additionally, your pellet smoker will put off smoke and carbon monoxide, which are potentially lethal.
The big temptation might be to think you can cook in your garage as long as the garage door is open and there is plenty of ventilation, but don’t fall victim to the false sense of security. Cooking indoors is still a fire hazard, can still cause smoke damage, and is still dangerous.
Cooking in the cold and rain can make it difficult to manage the temperature. Fortunately, as mentioned above, Traeger sells purpose-fit insulated blankets that are safe to use with your smoker, and which help the smoker to retain heat and regulate temperature. Keeping the lid closed as much as possible also goes a long way.
Traeger Rain Cover & Accessories
When your Traeger isn’t in use, one of Traeger’s full-length grill covers will help protect your smoker from the elements. This won’t provide much help when you are actually trying to use your smoker. It’s not like you can grill and use the full-length cover at the same time, but protecting your smoker from the rain and elements when it is not in use may be a way to extend the useful life of your pellet smoker grill.
Other useful accessories to help you fight the changing seasons include Traeger’s StayDry Pellet Bin, which can be used to keep leftover pellets dry between use, and the aforementioned insulated blankets, which will help you regulate the temperature of your smoker. Regardless of what other accessories you choose, the grill cover is a good place to start, and an insulated blanket might be up next for consideration.
Things to Consider
If after all this talk of electric smokers, you still have doubts and want to stick with a more traditional charcoal kettle grill, then we recommend you compare Char-Broil vs Weber before making a decision. On the other hand, if you are ready to dive deep into the world of pellet grills and smokers, many people eventually arrive at comparing Pit Boss vs Traeger.
You could spend days weighing where Traeger grills are made, compared to where Pit Boss grills are made (spoiler: they are both made in China), but to us, the decision is fairly straightforward. While Pit Boss pellet grills might be a little more affordable, we tend to prefer Traeger grills, due to their strong reputation, durable construction, and advanced technology.
If you are looking for a reason to sway toward Pit Boss, the best reason is probably that Pit Boss is family-owned, and in an ironic twist of fate, Joe Traeger actually works for Pit Boss now. Once you’ve decided whether pellet grills are safe, a more fun debate than arguing over who makes the best pellet grill might actually be arguing over the best wood pellet combination.
Of course, if you enjoy the loyalist debates, yes you can use Pit Boss pellets in a Traeger. 😎
Pellet Smokers In The Rain
In some ways, a pellet smoker is easier to use in the rain than a traditional grill and smoker, because a traditional grill and smoker requires near-constant monitoring. With a traditional grill and smoker, you control the temperature by manually adding wood as you see fit. This is challenging for a variety of reasons. Not only might you have to manage wet wood, but every time you open the lid there is a chance of rain sweeping inside your smoker. Plus, that means you have to deal with being wet and soggy. No fun at all.
So with a wood pellet smoker, you might not have to pay quite as close of attention to the weather forecast, but it still makes sense to be smart about how you use your Traeger, Pit Boss pellet grill, or any other smoker.
Weather Impacts On Pellets In Hopper
The biggest weather impact on pellets in the hopper or elsewhere will always be moisture accumulation. At best, moisture can impact igniter speed and burn rate, at worst, it can cause the pellets to rot and fall apart, at which point you would need to throw them away. Keep your pellets dry, under some form of shelter such as Traeger’s pellet bin with lid, and if you expect there to be prolonged breaks between use of your Traeger, remove the pellets after your grill has cooled, to avoid moisture accumulation and rot.
Proper Wood Pellet Grill Maintenance
Not all pellet grills are created equal, so while a Traeger is built to withstand most conditions, that doesn’t mean that every pellet smoker is built the same way. Still, regardless of which brand you choose to go with, it is important to take care of your unit. Keeping your grill covered and dry when not in use is a good place to start.
Another step toward extending the longevity of your smoker and each component device is to ensure you keep the unit clean. Traeger sells an all-natural grill cleaner that avoids many of the harmful chemicals that are present in other grill cleaners. And if you think about it, do you really want to taint delicious food with harmful chemicals? Probably not.
Keeping your Traeger grill dry when possible, and grease-free after use will help you avoid rust and other deterioration that is common in outdoor grills. Aside from these essentials, it is also important to inspect the power cord and electrical connections to ensure that they are secure, and not in need of repair.
Favorite Traeger Grill Models
While the precise temperature might require a little more attention to manage, you can still use yourTraeger in the wind, rain, and snow. In many ways, this is one of the beauties of using wood pellets as a fuel source, because the pellet grills are high-tech and require less hand-holding. If you enjoy spending time in an outdoor environment and are ready to tackle essential pitmaster skills, these are our favorite Traeger models:
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