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8 Things To Know About A Traeger’s Ambient Temperature 

Traeger ambient temperature

The temperature within the grill is a vital question when grilling or smoking meat.

Grilling and smoking are not timed processes. Instead, the meat inside the grill or smoker must reach a certain temperature which must be held for a certain time.

The precise air temperature or ambient temperature, and food temperature thus become important facts to know at all points of the cooking process.

This article will discuss some of the basic distinctions between ambient and internal food temperatures, and how these temperatures are measured.


What is ambient grill temperature ?

Ambient temperature is the air temperature inside the grill around the food being cooked.

The ambient temperature can vary within the grill, depending upon location. The part of the grill closest to the vent or smokestack, and closest to the fire box will be the hottest part of the grill, the part furthest away will be the coolest.

For some timed cooking projects, like baking, the ambient temperature is not as significant.

The cook merely places the food in the oven at a set temperature for a certain period of time.

Ambient temperature can help guide the cook when smoking or grilling meat, because no specific time or temperature is required.


How to properly measure ambient temperature

The ambient temperature can be measured with the internal sensor that comes with the grill.

Ambient thermometers can also be purchased and placed inside the grill. Because the grill can have different temperatures in different parts, the air temperature inside the grill can vary as well.

The best place to measure the ambient temperature is to find a spot next to the meat being cooked, and place a thermometer there.


Difference between ambient smoker temperature and internal meat temperature

The ambient smoker temperature is the air temperature of the grill. The internal meat temperature is the temperature reached by any particular piece of meat on the grill.

Internal meat temperature is crucial, because the meat is only considered properly and fully cooked when it reaches a certain temperature.

Careful attention to the internal meat temperature prevents undercooking the meat, or overcooking it, and also stops food borne diseases. 

The internal meat temperature is measured by using a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat being cooked.

Because the grill heats differently in different parts, you may wish to take separate measurements of each piece of meat.

The meat thermometer probe should be inserted into the meat without actually bringing the body of the thermometer into contact with the food. Only the probe goes in. This can affect the accuracy of the reading.


Does outside temperature affect a Traeger grill?

The outside air temperature and other weather conditions can affect the heating of a Traeger grill.

It takes the grill longer to heat up when exposed to cold weather than it does when exposed to hot weather.

Similarly, the grill has to use more fuel to reach and maintain the desired temperature.

Wind, rain, and snow can also reduce the temperature. A grill in direct sun on a hot summer day will run hotter.

To minimize the effect of outside weather, pick a sheltered location to set up the grill, and put the chimney stack or vent out of direct wind if at all possible.

If the weather is very cold or windy, an insulated grill blanket might help keep the grill temperature higher.


Is the Traeger temperature accurate?

The Traeger thermometer is accurate for the place it measures. Because of the internal variation of the grill, sensor readings can differ elsewhere in the grill.

The difference can be significant, upwards of 20 degrees F between the Traeger thermometer and an ambient temperature sensor placed in the hottest part of the grill.

Since the temperature around the meat being cooked is important, you may want to plan your cooking around the temperature measurements taken closer to the meat.

This may mean adjusting the thermostat setting on the Traeger up or down slightly to raise or lower the heat overall.


How to change temperature on a Traeger

The first key way to keep the temperature on your grill even is to keep it clean. Ash and grease build up on the grill over time, and block surfaces from heating properly.

All air vents must be clean for air to flow properly, and the fire box needs to be free of ash for it to burn pellets properly.

The grill must also be started properly, and given time to reach the desired temperature.

Close attention to the P control will allow you to keep a more accurate handle on the thermometer.

The P-Control, or pause control, is found on the controller, using the “call service” button. Adjusting it to a lower number will lower the temperature, and to a higher number will raise the temperature.


Final thoughts

Close attention to temperature is important when grilling or smoking meat.

Temperatures must be kept high enough to kill food-borne bacteria, and to properly cook the meat, but not so high as to dry out or ruin the meat.

Internal temperature variations within the grill can be significant, and can be measured with a thermometer near the food being cooked.

Weather conditions are also important, and can affect both the temperature the food reaches, and fuel consumption. Careful attention to detail will help you have a perfect outcome every time.