Can I use my Traeger as a charcoal grill ?

Do you own a Traeger grill but think it’s only good for smoking and baking with wood pellets? Think again. Many Traeger users have discovered that their grills can do more than just that. One of the most common questions asked about Traeger grills is, “Can I use my Traeger as a charcoal grill?” The answer is both yes and no.

While Traeger grills are designed to use wood pellets as their primary fuel source, they can also be used with charcoal. But using charcoal on a Traeger grill isn’t exactly like using it on a traditional charcoal grill. Instead of using charcoal as the primary fuel source, you’ll use it to create a smoky flavor for your food.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the ins and outs of using charcoal on a Traeger grill. We’ll discuss the benefits of using charcoal, the different types of charcoal you can use, and the best practices for getting the most out of your Traeger grill. Whether you’re an experienced griller or new to the world of Traegers, this post has something for everyone.

So don’t let your Traeger sit neglected in your backyard any longer. Fire it up, grab some charcoal, and get ready to take your grilling game to new heights.

Can I Use My Traeger As A Charcoal Grill?

The good news is that you can. By making a few modifications and using the right accessories, you can transform your Traeger into a charcoal grill and enjoy a whole new level of smoky flavor.

To get started, you’ll need to remove the pellet hopper and insert a charcoal tray instead. While Traeger offers a specific charcoal tray that fits perfectly into the grill, you can also use any metal tray that fits the dimensions of your grill. Once the tray is in place, fill it with your favorite brand of charcoal and light it up using lighter fluid or an electric starter.

But wait, there’s more. To ensure even heating throughout the cooking chamber, you’ll need to add a diffuser plate above the charcoal tray. This plate helps distribute heat evenly throughout the cooking chamber and prevents hot spots from forming. Without it, your food may cook unevenly or burn in certain spots.

It’s important to note that using charcoal in your Traeger will require some adjustments to your cooking process. Charcoal burns hotter than wood pellets, so you will need to monitor the temperature closely and adjust the air flow accordingly. You may also need to add more charcoal during longer cooks to maintain a consistent temperature.

While Traeger grills are primarily designed for wood pellet grilling, using charcoal in your Traeger can give your food a unique smoky flavor and create a charred crust on your meat that is hard to achieve with wood pellets alone. Experiment with different techniques to get the best results but always follow safety guidelines when handling hot coals and operating any type of grill or smoker.

It’s worth noting that using your Traeger as a charcoal grill may void the warranty, so proceed with caution. Additionally, since you’re using a different fuel source than what the grill is designed for, it may take some trial and error to get the temperature and cooking times right. But with a little practice and patience, you can master the art of charcoal grilling on your Traeger.

The Benefits of Using a Charcoal Grill

As the sun shines down on a perfect summer day, the tantalizing aroma of food grilling on a charcoal grill fills the air. There’s something about using a charcoal grill that just can’t be replicated by gas or electric grills. As an expert on the benefits of using a charcoal grill, let me tell you why it’s worth choosing this method for your next cookout.

First and foremost, the flavor is unparalleled. Charcoal grills use either charcoal briquettes or natural lump charcoal as their fuel source, creating a unique smoky flavor that just can’t be beaten. This means that everything you cook on a charcoal grill will have that delicious smoky taste that we all know and love.

But it’s not just about the flavor – charcoal grills are also incredibly versatile. You can use them for direct grilling, indirect grilling, smoking, and even baking. This means that you can cook everything from burgers and hot dogs to ribs and brisket, all on the same grill. The possibilities are endless.

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Charcoal grills are also portable. They’re typically smaller and lighter than gas grills, making them easier to transport to your backyard, campsite, or tailgate party. Plus, they’re more affordable than gas grills. While some high-end models can be expensive, basic charcoal grills can be purchased for as little as $20-$30.

Finally, using a charcoal grill allows you to have more control over the cooking temperature, giving you the power to create perfectly cooked meats and vegetables with that delicious smoky flavor we talked about earlier. Yes, it requires more attention and effort than gas grills since you need to manually adjust the amount of charcoal and air flow to maintain the desired temperature. But this also gives you greater control over the cooking process.

What Accessories and Modifications Are Needed to Convert a Traeger to a Charcoal Grill?

One popular query is how to convert a Traeger into a charcoal grill. If you’re ready to level up your game and experiment with a new flavor profile, here’s what you need to know.

To start, you’ll need to acquire a few essential accessories. A charcoal grate is mandatory for holding the coals in place and ensuring proper airflow. This allows for even and consistent burning, which results in that desirable smoky taste we all love so much.

A charcoal basket is another accessory that can come in handy when adapting your Traeger into a charcoal grill. It keeps the charcoal organized and prevents it from falling through the grates. Plus, by allowing you to move the charcoal around, it makes temperature control easier.

Investing in a chimney starter or electric charcoal starter is also recommended. These tools can quickly and efficiently ignite your charcoal without using lighter fluid, which can affect the food’s taste. They are safer and better for the environment than traditional lighter fluid.

Now let’s talk modifications. You may have to remove the pellet hopper and auger assembly from your Traeger to use it as a traditional charcoal grill without any interference from pellets. Although this may be time-consuming, it’s well worth it if you’re serious about achieving that genuine charcoal flavor.

Another modification to consider is adjusting the air vents on your Traeger to allow more oxygen flow. Charcoal requires more oxygen than pellets to keep burning, so proper ventilation is key to achieving higher temperatures and better searing capabilities.

Tips for Properly Using Your Traeger as a Charcoal Grill

With a few simple tips and tricks, you can achieve that smoky flavor you crave. Here are five sub-sections to help you properly use your Traeger as a charcoal grill:

Charcoal Quantity

Using the right amount of charcoal is essential to achieving the desired results. Too much charcoal can cause your food to burn, while too little may not provide enough heat. A general rule of thumb is to use about 20-30 briquettes for every pound of meat you plan to cook. However, this may vary depending on the size and type of your Traeger.

Charcoal Type

Not all charcoal is created equal, so it’s important to use the right type for your Traeger. Look for high-quality, all-natural lump charcoal or briquettes made from 100% hardwood. These options provide a consistent heat source and won’t give off any harmful chemicals or pollutants that can affect the flavor of your food.


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Before you start grilling, it’s important to preheat your Traeger for at least 10-15 minutes. This ensures that it reaches the proper temperature and that any residual chemicals from previous cooks are burned off. Additionally, it’s a good idea to clean your grill grates before starting to get rid of any leftover debris.

Temperature Control

Maintaining the right temperature is crucial when using your Traeger as a charcoal grill. Depending on what you’re cooking, you’ll want to use different temperatures. For example, high heat (around 450-500 degrees) is perfect for steak, while medium heat (around 350-400 degrees) is better for chicken or other poultry. Make sure to monitor your grill temperature throughout the cooking process using a thermometer or by keeping an eye on the temperature gauge on your Traeger.


When you’re finished grilling, it’s important to let the coals burn out completely before disposing of them. Never pour water on hot coals as this can cause steam and create a dangerous situation. Once cooled, dispose of the ash and any leftover charcoal properly.

Potential Risks and Considerations When Converting Your Traeger to a Charcoal Grill

While it may sound like an exciting idea to experiment with new flavor possibilities, there are some potential risks and considerations you should keep in mind before making the switch.

One of the most significant risks of using charcoal in your Traeger is the possibility of a fire hazard. Unlike wood pellets, burning charcoal produces much higher temperatures that can quickly raise the internal temperature of your grill, potentially causing a fire. To avoid this risk, it’s essential to closely monitor the temperature and ensure that it doesn’t exceed the recommended maximum temperature for your Traeger.

Another crucial consideration when converting your Traeger to a charcoal grill is that it may void the manufacturer’s warranty. Modifying your Traeger’s original design and function could lead to damage or malfunctions, which may not be covered under warranty. Therefore, before making any modifications, it’s crucial to check with the manufacturer to avoid any potential warranty issues.

Maintenance is also an important factor to consider when using charcoal in your Traeger. Charcoal produces ash that can build up inside the grill and potentially clog the auger system. If not regularly cleaned out, this can lead to poor performance and even damage the grill over time.

Lastly, using charcoal in your Traeger may alter the flavor profile of your food. Charcoal imparts a unique flavor compared to wood pellets, which may not be desirable for some dishes. However, experimenting with different types of charcoal and cooking techniques can help achieve the desired flavor profile.

How To Clean and Maintain Your Converted Traeger Grill

Maintaining and cleaning your converted Traeger grill is crucial for ensuring that it functions properly and lasts for a long time. Here are five sub-sections to help you navigate the steps needed to clean and maintain your converted Traeger grill.

Clean The Grates

The first step in maintaining your Traeger grill is to clean the grates after every use. Food residue and grease can accumulate on the grates, affecting the taste of your food. Using a grill brush or scraper, scrub the grates thoroughly, and for tougher grime, use warm water and dish soap. Rinse off the grates with water and dry them before placing them back into the grill.

Remove The Ash

After every use, make sure to remove any ash or debris from the fire pot using a shop vac or ash vacuum. This step is essential because it prevents potential fire hazards and keeps your grill functioning properly. Ash can also accumulate in the heat deflector and drip tray, so make sure to check and remove any build-up.

Check The Heat Deflector And Drip Tray

Checking the heat deflector and drip tray regularly will help prevent any clogs or blockages that can affect the airflow of your grill. Make sure to clean them out using warm water and dish soap, and replace them if they become worn out.

Maintain Your Grill Parts

Keeping your grill parts in good condition is essential for ensuring that your Traeger grill is functioning at its best. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for replacing any worn-out parts such as the grill grates, heat deflectors, drip trays, or auger motor. Regular maintenance will help keep your grill in top condition.

Store Your Grill Properly

When not in use, it’s important to store your converted Traeger grill properly. Cover it with a weather-resistant cover or store it in a dry and secure location to protect it from the elements. Proper storage will help extend the lifespan of your grill.

Alternatives to Converting Your Traeger to a Charcoal Grill

While converting your Traeger to a charcoal grill may seem like the most straightforward solution, there are other options available that can give you the same delicious results without the added expense or hassle.

One alternative is to use a cast-iron griddle or skillet on your Traeger. This method allows you to reach high temperatures and create a sear on your meats and vegetables, just like you would on a charcoal grill. The cast-iron also adds that delectable smoky flavor we all know and love from cooking on a Traeger.

Another option is to use a smoke box or wood chip tray in conjunction with your Traeger. By adding wood chips to your Traeger, you can infuse your food with that classic smoky flavor that charcoal grills are known for. Experimenting with different types of wood chips can further enhance the flavor of your food.

If you’re still craving the taste of charcoal-grilled food, consider investing in a portable charcoal grill for those times when you want that authentic flavor. This way, you can have the best of both worlds without compromising the functionality of your Traeger.


In summary, Traeger grills are multi-functional and can be used as a charcoal grill to add a distinct smoky flavor and charred crust to your food. However, it’s important to note that using charcoal on a Traeger grill differs from using it on a traditional charcoal grill. Charcoal should be used to enhance the flavor of your food rather than as the primary fuel source.

To convert your Traeger into a charcoal grill, simply remove the pellet hopper and replace it with a charcoal tray. Additionally, adding a diffuser plate above the charcoal tray ensures even heating throughout the cooking chamber. Keep in mind that cooking with charcoal requires adjustments to your cooking process since it burns hotter than wood pellets.

Although using your Traeger as a charcoal grill may void its warranty, experimenting with different techniques can help achieve the desired flavor profile. Always monitor the temperature closely and adjust air flow accordingly while following safety guidelines when handling hot coals or operating any type of grill or smoker.

If converting your Traeger seems daunting, there are other options available that can still produce similar results without compromising its functionality. Using a cast-iron griddle or skillet on your Traeger or adding wood chips can also enhance the flavor of your food.

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