BBQ enthusiasts know this: If you have a beast of a grill like the Traeger, you’ve got it all.
But here’s the second part of that quote you might not have known. It’s not just about the grill; it’s also about how to wield it—and if you know how you can bet the savory of your cook will be ten times tastier.
And what could be more impressive than getting these secrets from the masters?
In this article, we’ll be dishing out ten tips from the playbook of top celebrity chefs like Timothy Hollingsworth, Bobby Flay, and Alex Guarnaschelli. So, if you’re set for these, let’s get right into it!
1. Don’t discriminate between the meat and the grill
The first tip is from the restauranteur, celebrity chef, and iconic Chopped judge Scoot Conant. In an interview with Insider, he said that his secret to getting a tasty, juicy, fully-flavored grill is to give your grill a little bit of the seasoning you would have added only to your meat. He said he’d cover his meat with herbs and garlic heads to make his grill even more flavored. But Scott says to add some seasoning to your Traeger grill just before you cook that meat for that extra savoring and the slight char of the herbs and spices.
2. Use Frozen Brown Butter as Extra Flavor
Still, on flavoring, Ivan Beacco, a certified Master Chef in the art of Italian Cuisine, suggests an even better way to make your meat taste like heaven.
Instead of the usual salt and pepper for your seasonings, Ivan suggests you rub your meat with frozen brown butter to get your meat fuller, juicier, and packed with flavor just before that feast.
Since brown butter doesn’t burn on the grill, the nutty and appetizing color will be transferred into the meat during the heated cook. And you’ll even get yourself a crisp crust for extra texture and tasting.
To top it off, Ivan gave Thrillist directions on this. He said you’d prepare a brown butter batch a day before your intended Traeger BBQ. Then, put it in the freezer to ice (and do this in a cube tray for the butter to form into little cubes).
When it’s time to grill, rub these cubes all over your meat and get that thin layer to cover the surface lightly. You can also do this for your fish or vegetables (no discrimination).
3. There’s magical power in Aleppo Pepper.
This is a big deal for two top chefs to agree on this. Timothy Hollingsworth (celebrity chef and founder of Traeger) and Michael Symon (top chef, host, judge, and TV personality) said they’d go along with Aleppo pepper for flavor depth and brightness to their dish.
While Micheal still loves the old & classic salt and pepper mix for seasoning, he notes that the secret to smoky-spiced and savory dishes is Aleppo pepper.
4. Upgrade your bread by grilling it.
Celebrity chef Micheal has another trick up his sleeves about bread! Instead of toasting your bread the old-fashioned way, he recommends grilling bread—and doing it indoors.
Micheal says when you want to grill your bread for that perfect balance between cooked, crisp, and soft, you need to slice the sourdough using your index finger as a thickness guide. Add olive oil to both sides of the bread and then grill on your Traeger pan to get those attractive-looking grill marks. When pressing it down, Micheal suggests you use your finger, preferably for an even spread.
5. Let it sit!
Celebrity chef and consultant Nate Hereford throws in advice you’d think was expected but isn’t. He said in an interview that most people get so excited about their cooking that they’d open the lid and turn the food a hundred times before it cooks. Nate says, “Don’t move your food around too much in the grill.” Instead, you should leave the food to sit on the grate until it cooks through. Plus, letting it sit rewards you with those excellent grill marks.
6. Hot & Fast OR Low & Slow
Tim Hollingsworth of Traeger says it’s better to cook low and slow. Now, don’t get things wrong. The Traeger can cook at lightning speed. But if you want to achieve the most flavored meat and your dish retains all its juiciness even when reaching a crisp bark, then the recommendation is this: cook in low heat and let that feast grill slowly into mouth-watery perfection.
7. Turkey tip from the Master
There’s a secret to getting the most tender turkey, and Tim Hollingsworth has spilled the beans: Mayo. You’d never expect Tim to talk about Mayo as a coating, but here it is. According to him, the high-fat layer stays put much longer than butter or oil would, therefore giving his turkey a tender and moist cook after its time in the cooker.
8. Reduce sticking when grilling fish
Especially if you’ve got some salmon, trout, or sardines, you could be facing real experiences with stickiness. All-time celebrity and master chef Bobby Flay has a tip from his private cookbook: oil & season your grill. If you’re following his directions, then you would know to always start with a clean grill. He’d also brush the fish with a thin layer of oil and let the oiled grill preheat before adding the fish. The fish should peel easily from the grill's surface if it is well-cooked. The seasoning is up to you (but we’ve got some great tips up top).
9. Slicing your steak.
Who says the creation of juicy steak ends after seasoning and cooking? British celebrity chef, restaurateur, television presenter, and writer Gordon Ramsay says that ‘perfection’ continues even after it rests. It’s no secret that after you’ve removed your steak from the grill, it’ll need to rest. The essence of that step is to allow all the juices to sink back in—for the meat to soak back in all the flavor and hold in that savory taste.
But after it’s rested for about 10 minutes, if you have a pound of meat, it's time to slice the steak. Gordon suggests keeping the distance between one slice and the other between half a centimeter. According to this celebrity chef, this secret move is vital to holding the juicy texture of your dish.
10. Grilling method for carrots and other root vegetables.
Alex Guarnaschelli, celebrity American chef and executive chef at New York City's Butter restaurant, provides a veggie tip as the last tip of the day. Now, everyone knows that veggies are picky—not all can be placed directly onto the grill. But Alex has found us a way this can be possible. Before placing your carrots and other root veggies in your Traeger, braise them to get them soft and supple inside.
And here’s her braising technique: Put your carrots and root veggies into seasoned water, broth, or stock. Add some fat and aromatic herbs, and then cook on low heat, making sure the water doesn’t boil or steam. When it's tender, transfer the veggies to your Traeger and grill away.
If you liked these tips and have some more secrets you think you can share, don’t hesitate. Do so in the comments, and we wish you luck in your next Traeger adventure.