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Get Smokin’: The Rise Of Traeger Grills & It’s Just Getting Started

Every summer, our culinary ambitions are renewed as we gather around the grill and invite loved ones over for some finger-licking delicious food. We recently fired up our Traeger grill for the first time and it felt like we were initiated into an exclusive club that always ends with a delectable outcome. It’s a brand that feels like a ritual steeped in tradition and full of heritage.

Grilled Jalapeno Stuffed Bison Burger
This Grilled Jalapeno Stuffed Bison Burger is reason enough to love your Traeger. Photo Credit: Traeger

Gathering around the grill awakens the sense. Listening to the sizzle of meat, catching the fragrant smoke curls as they fill the air, watching the meat juices drip and using your hands to feel the rub lead up to the grand finale of tasting your culinary endeavors. Grilling is the essence of summer and joining the Traeger family only makes it sweeter.

We’re already planning the next grill session while we eagerly gather around what’s currently smoking in the Traeger. It’s easy to see why Traeger jumped in popularity recently, but they’ve actually been around since the late 1980’s.

Enamored with our new grill and full of ambition, I got the chance to interview Danielle Bennett, Pitmaster and CEO of DivaQ BBQ. I’ve gathered insider tips and found answers to the burning questions of Traeger fans who are all connected through their passion of grilling.

Danielle Bennett for Traeger Grills
Danielle Bennett is a Traeger Ambassador and CEO of DivaQ BBQ. Photo Credit: Traeger

10 Questions Every Traeger Fan Wants To Know More About

1. With the recent rise in smokers being trendy, many people don’t realize how long Traeger has been around. It’s surprising to read 1987 on the products. Can you tell me about the Traeger heritage and what makes the brand unique from the competition?

Traeger is the innovator of all things wood pellet grilling. The Traeger family originally came up with the method on how the auger turns into the hotspot and from their technology has advanced ahead of all of the competitors to provide the most unique elevated cooking experience.

With a touchscreen display, premium construction, Traeger innovative Wi-Fire controller, downward draft system and so much more provide an exemplary cooking experience to each of our customers and Food passionate people. 

Traeger Ironwood XL
The beautiful Traeger Ironwood XL at a recent Atlanta Traeger event. Photo Credit: Traeger

2. What do you recommend as the best starter recipe when a home cook is breaking in their grill for the first time? We can’t wait to break ours in!

There are two things. I think everyone needs to start with number one: You have got to do the chicken challenge – everyone loves a good roasted bbq Chicken. It could be a new Sunday, staple for the future.  

Then…. I think you really need to do a slow smoked pork butt. It’s easily one of the most rewarding things to see a beautiful piece of meat, slowly smoking, breaking the meat down, building bark, and becoming a deliciously smoky fall apart tender pile of pulled pork filled with great flavor and moisture provided by the Traeger grill.  

Follow the step-by-step instructions available at traeger.com 

Roasted Chicken on Traeger
A gorgeous roasted chicken from the Traeger. Photo Credit: Traeger

3. Women seem to be taking a huge interest in grilling and there are even Traeger Facebook groups geared towards women. How does Traeger promote gender inclusivity? I’d love to feature information about any female Traeger chefs!

Well, to answer my name is Danielle Bennett also known as Diva Q and I have the privilege of being a worldwide global ambassador, culinary instructor and one of the resident pitmasters for Traeger grills. As a BBQ world Champion and expert I help provide instructions and share my love of all things bbq and grilling with the company and of course help promote our love of woodfired goodness.

I am the original – the OG the first ambassador for Traeger Grills I have been with the company and working on Traeger grills for 18 years. As a female representative for all things BBQ and Grilling it should show that right from the beginning Traeger grills was a leader in providing a face for gender inclusivity for their grills.

It has never mattered if you are a male or female – we just want you to eat and experience making delicious food and bringing people together to your table of woodfired goodness.

4. For home cooks looking to branch out, what type of international cuisine flavors work well on the Traeger grill?

One of the wonderful things about Woodfire grilling is that it opens up the world to all international flavors. From beautiful Korean inspired glazed ribs to Greek chicken to a smoked Bolognese on the grill. 

All International flavors can utilize woodfired goodness. The world is a wide open place full of amazing flavors and we bring them all to the Traegerhood. 

International tacos on the grill
Add some international flair to your next grilling session. Photo Credit: Traeger

5. For home cooks that are unfamiliar with pellets, how do they infuse flavor, and do you have any tips for using different pellet types to enhance flavor?

The best way to think of wood pellets is to think of them as just really small evenly cooking logs of wood. 

There is a variety of flavors from Mesquite to apple cherry some blended flavors. One of the things is is that everyone has their own personal preference – so if someone likes a stronger wood flavor then  I would recommend out mesquite pellets – then if something wants a sweeter less smoky flavor than I would recommend something like apple or cherry.  

Also, the level of wood flavor that can be infused into your foods can be adjusted by training the grill up, which will give you less smoky flavor or turning the grill down Lo & Slow to more optimize smoking conditions or using our super smoke function on certain grills.

6. How did Traeger come up with the sawdust pellet technology?

I’m sorry that’s proprietary information.  If we told you, we’d have to grill you. (Y’all – I tried)

7.  I learned about baking with a Traeger and that’s so intriguing. What recommendations do you have for bakers that want to experiment on their Traeger?

As someone who has won many perfect scores in dessert baking on a Traeger, I can tell you that baking on a Traeger is another level of excellence and utilization of an outdoor cooking appliance. 

I bake breads I bake cookies make muffins, and of course, traditional apple pie and cobblers as well. The design of the grill really allows for even cooking and baking. I think the key component with that is that you’ll just to adjust the time upward by about 10 to 15%.  That’s for the larger size of the grill.  

8. Why is correct pellet storage so important?

Moisture is the enemy of all pellets. A dry pellet will burn more effectively and not clog your auger.  Safe dry storage of the pellets using one of our pellet bins is recommended. 

BBQ Sandwich
The pellets help infuse wood fired flavor into the meat. Photo Credit: Traeger

9. Traeger owners love the app and how they don’t have to stand around their grill all day long to babysit it. When did the app technology come about and what is your favorite feature?

The app came out about 4 to 5 years ago and it was a game changer for many barbecue lovers and grill fans. 

My favorite feature is the ability to turn the grill down or put it on keep warm. If I’m out and about doing shopping or running errands or even folding laundry (ok probably Netflix) , one of the key things is is that I may not want to have my food done right at that moment. Utilizing the Wi-Fi technology and the ability to change it makes it much more convenient to my life. 

Macaroni and Cheese on the Traeger.
Green Chili Mac & Cheese is next level! Photo Credit: Traeger

10. Where can we learn about upcoming Traeger events nationwide?

For all things in the Traegerhood, I would’ve strongly suggest everyone signed up for our Instagram/Facebook channels: @TraegerGrills. And additionally, it is always a good idea to sign up for our emails and join the app (it’s free) where you’ll always get the latest information upcoming events and what’s happening next. 

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