Get More Control When Smoking with a Traeger or Pitt Boss Pellet Grill
For those of you that were early to the pellet grilling scene, or like me, someone who bought a low-budget “no frills” Traeger or Pitt-Boss pellet grill (yes, they use the same controller), updating to a controller with the P-Setting is a must have. This is especially true if you want to use your grill to smoke during the winter, or in the direct sun of the summer. Traeger now offers the P-Setting on two controllers. The Digital Thermostat Kit features a user adjustable P-Setting and the Pro Series Thermostat features “Grilling Logic,” this automatically adjust the P-Setting to within 15°F of the set point and allows for the use of 2, built-in grilling thermometers.
The smoke setting on the controller is what is used to start the grill, it is also the only setting you will use when smoking. The smoke mode on the controller runs the pellet auger for 15 seconds, then pauses for a pre-determined amount of time (which is 15 seconds on and 65 seconds off). Under most circumstances, this should start the grill and deliver a temperature of about 150°F to 180°F, should you choose to stay in the smoke setting. The problem with smoking is this; your outside temperature and moisture content of your specific pellets are going to affect the grill’s smoking performance. In extreme cold, or with pellets that have a higher moisture content, your grill temperature may struggle to get above 100°F. At the the other end of the spectrum, smoking in the direct summer sun or using pellets with very low moisture content, your grill temperature could get well over 200°F. The “P” setting on the newer controller allows us to adjust the “off” cycles in 10-second increments and fine tune our smoking temperatures.
The Digital Thermostat’s “P” setting is set at the factory by default to 2 (15 seconds ON/ 65 seconds OFF). To the right side of the display, there is a hole that is used to adjust this setting, this can easily be done by pressing a button located inside. DO NOT USE ANYTHING METAL TO PUSH THE BUTTON! Break the point off of a toothpick; this is a great tool to poke in there. Anything metal may slip off the button and short out the controller. Just remember that P-2 is the factory setting and is the setting to use when starting the grill. Additionally, it’s recommended to run the grill on a high setting for at least 15 minutes after each meat smoking session to burn off any creosote.
Traeger recommends to always run the grill between P-2 and P-4 to help stay away from smoking temperatures that are consistently below 150°-160°F. Temperatures below 150°F can build excessive creosote, clog the burn pot, and cause the fire to go out. However, if this happens and the grill will not restart; feel free to experiment with what works best for you according to your circumstances.
The Pro Series Thermostat works like the Digital Thermostat but is what we call “smart”. Where the Digital Thermostat only displays the temp from the RTD probe and allows the user to game the system and adjust the P-Setting manually, the Pro Series Thermostat actually reads the RTD probe and can make adjustments to the P-setting on its own. The Pro Series Thermostat also has two built-in ports for temperature probes so you always know exactly when your meat is ready, without having to open the lid.
Stock up on Some Extra Parts!
Last year my igniter quit. It worked the last time I used it but between weekends it decided to give out and I didn’t have a spare on me. I was able to manually light the stove with a torch but it involved disassembling the interior to get at the burn pot and then reassembling the parts while the fire was going, I wouldn’t recommend this. Igniters are quick and easy to replace so don’t delay the start of your next cookout because your grill doesn’t want to spark up! Look at our manufacturer list and find all the replacement parts you need to keep your grill going like a champ all season.