In this blog post I am going to walk you through best practices on how to clean a Traeger Grill. Let's talk about the daily habits for keeping your Traeger in tip-top shape. After that, we can go over the regular cleaning process.
A clean grill will perform better. That is my goal for you. I want you to be an expert in Traeger Grills maintenance so you can continue turning out top notch food that your family will love.
What to clean after each use...
Now, some areas of our grill need to be cleaned after each use. I scrape off the grill grates every time to ensure food residue and grease doesn't build up. Over time, build up will harden like charcoal and be very difficult the get off. We also don't want last nights food to carry over to tonight's dinner.
It's also a good idea to wipe down the edges a regular basis because grease builds up pretty quickly. If you're on top of that, the task will always be easy and you won't have such a dirty grill.
After each time I cook, I crumple up a large piece of aluminum foil so it's in a loose ball. I use that to scrap off the Traeger grill grates. That way I am all set for the next cook. I don't care for grill brushes whether it's a wire grill brush or nylon brush. The grease builds up on grill brushes, even if you clean that after cleaning the grill. I also don't like running the risk of a bristle coming off the brush and landing in food the next time I cook.
Another option is to cut an onion in half and use that to scrub the dirty grate. This definitely works best if the grates are still hot, so try it right after pulling your food off the hot grill.
How often should I deep clean my Traeger Grill?
According to Traeger Grills, the short answer to that question is every 20 hours of cook time. However, I think that depends on what you have been cooking on the pellet grill. The fire pot and inside of the grill with build up ash and 20 hours is a good mark for when to vacuum those out.
I am more concerned about the drip pan and grease build up. If you cook fattier cuts of meat with more run-off, like a brisket or hamburgers, your drip pan will build up grease quicker than if you mostly cook leaner cuts like chicken breasts or pork tenderloin.
Bottom line, pay attention to the oil build up on your grill. Build up can cause a grease fire if you're not careful.
Must have cleaning supplies
Let's get your workspace prepped with the right supplies:
- Paper towel- the more durable the better
- shop vacuum or vacuum that can handle ashes - (not the household Dyson)
- Traeger All Natural Cleaner- or other all natural cleaners such as vinegar, vinegar with baking soda, or warm soapy water with dish soap. DO NOT use anything with harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners.
- putty knife or good quality scraper - this is for cleaning multiple areas so I really recommend getting a putty knife and dedicating it to your Traeger maintenance program
- aluminum foil
- plastic garbage bag
- disposable gloves- protect your hands, this is messy work
Step by step how to clean a Traeger Grill
A Traeger Pellet Grill has several internal components and we want to touch on each of them. I like to clean from the inside out so that I don't recreate a mess on the shelves and outside of the grill as move through the process.
Cleaning the grill grates, drip tray, and heat baffle:
- The first step is to remove the grill grates, drip tray, and heat baffle- you can clean these pieces at any time during the cleaning process. They won't go back into the Traeger until they are clean anyway. Spray the grill grates with the all natural cleaner and allow that soak in. Wipe down the grates with paper towels or a damp cloth. Make sure to use a cloth you can throw away though. You don't want the dirty cloth to transfer that grease to your washing machine.
- If you use drip tray liners or aluminum foil to protect your tray, cleaning that will be minimal. If not, use a metal scraper or putty knife to remove the stuck-on food and discard.
- Wipe down the heat baffle and set aside.
Cleaning the fire pot and inside of the grill
- The absolute best way to remove the ashes is with a shop vac. It's also incredibly satisfying to see all of the ashes disappear.
- After removing the ashes, spray the inside of the grill with the all natural cleaner or use a paper towel with soapy water to wash the inside. The dust from the ashes cleans up pretty easy though. It's the greasy parts that are difficult.
Grease trap and bucket
- The grease trap is the worst part. Use a putty knife to scrape out the grease accumulation and any food particles. Spray the trap with the all natural cleaner and use heavy duty paper towels to wipe it out.
- Remove the grease bucket- hopefully you have that lined with aluminum foil or grease bucket liners. Once you remove and discard that, replace with a new liner and return to the grill under the grease trap.
Cleaning the pellet hopper
- Empty the pellet hopper to a dry bucket and set aside the wood pellets.
- Use your shop vac to to vacuum out any dust from wood pellets.
- You can also just do this step when the pellets are running low or are changing the type of wood- for example removing the Traeger Blend and switching to Cherry or Hickory.
Cleaning the outside of the grill
- Spray down the outside of the Traeger with the Traeger Grill Cleaner or other above mentioned cleaning product.
- Wipe down with a soft cloth or paper towels.
Putting the Grill Back Together
When you have finished cleaning all of the mentioned areas, you can put everything back together.
- Return the heat baffle, drip pan, and grill grates. If you use a drip pan liner or aluminum foil to protect the pan, lay that down before placing the grill grates back in.
- Make sure the hopper is full of pellets.
- Return the grill cover until you are ready for the next cook.
How to Reset the 'Home Screen' on your Traeger Grill
When you turn on your Traeger Grill, do you get a friendly note reading "clean fire pots run better" or "hey, where's the shop vac?"
Depending on the model you have, you may need to reset the notifications:
- Press the dial to wake up the Traeger.
- Push the MENU button and turn the dial until you see the SETTINGS option.
- Press the dial to select that and push it again to CLEAR notifications.
Now you are ready to start the cleaning cycle over and you are officially done maintaining your grill for the time being.
Good Job! You did it!