After months of saving up, and after selling the old family grills on Facebook, I ordered a Trager Pro 780 grill. It is a significant investment and the missus was not overly enthusiastic that I just spent some of the tax refunds on this outdoor monster.
It arrived in time for Memorial Day
Little did she know that this would elevate my grilling skills and serve delicious foods for the family during the lockdown and beyond. This is taking grilling to a new level.
The grill was delivered on a Thursday afternoon by a very friendly and excited FedEx guy. He knew exactly what was being delivered and that this was a top-class pellet grill. I actually think he would’ve stayed to help assemble it if it wasn’t because he had 4-5 more stops that day.
He kindly rolled the very large box into my garage and left with a smile, waving and shouting “good luck and enjoy!“.
Like a kid for Christmas, I woke up early Saturday morning, complete the family chores, and got ready to assemble the grill. it may sound rather silly, but this is one of those daily moments when we get to assemble something that we worship.
Grilling is almost like a religion and goes beyond the term hobby. The dad army will spend hours researching, marinading, massaging meat, exploring various meat cuts, and of course what sides we can prepare. Some enthusiast will spend more time cooking food on their grill, than using the stove in the house.
It is not just a grill! It is a means for dads to show off their cooking skills, and perhaps an opportunity to share the duties of preparing food – even if it only happens during the weekends.
Anyway, I want to share a few thoughts and tips for assembling the Traeger grill, based on my experience. Just as in Indiana Jones, when Schneider spoke to Indy about his dad.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, 1989, 00:25:12 – “He was as giddy as a schoolboy”.
So, what do you need to build the grill of grills?
Nothing really, as the box contains all the tools you need and have excellent instructions.
That said, you do need to get a six-pack of Fat Tire beer, and not sure if it is a six-pack per person or combined. And, this is where I opened my first beer.
It is highly recommended that you assemble the grill with a friend. It is on the heavier side and the extra hands will be handy to lift and move the grill when needed.
A friend will also keep your company, share your enthusiasm, and help drink a few beers along the way. It is an excellent friend bonding session for about 1-2 hours depending on how fast you are.
I would also suggest that you get some music going. That’s just for additional entertainment and potential talking points with your mate.
Thanks to the bloody COVID-19, I had no friends who could come to help. My kids weren’t interested or understanding of my new grill fetish and my wife felt it was more appropriate to entertain the kids inside.
Never mind! I’m a heart warrior and a Viking, and we can lift heavy shit!
A word of advice, make sure you have a large flat area on your garage floor and use some of the cardboard as floor cover not to scratch your new grill.
Trager themselves have thought this through and made the packaging part of the assembly process. Some pieces should be used to hold up the grill, other pieces have beer bottle/can holders – genius product development!
Even the main box cover is meant to be used, so do not cut it up or discard it. Your kids will appreciate it, as it turns inside out to become a small Traeger farmhouse.
I gently removed all the parts and pieces, and laid them on the floor in order. I unwrapped the plastic and opened my first beer while listening to Iron Maiden.
Beer 2 and 3 were consumed on page 1 of the manual
It is a 2-page instruction manual, and VERY easy to follow. If you are a solid IKEA furniture assembly dad, then this will put IKEA to shame. The instructions are spot on and explain everything in a few pictures – and when to have a beer break.
You can assemble the grill alone. Having an extra pair of hands certainly helps a lot, especially when you have to lay down the grill, “roll” on its side, and then stand it up when the legs are attached.
I decided to have a little break halfway through the assembly process, consuming a few Wasa slices with Danish cheese, and of course a Flat Tire beer to wash it down with – while listening to Zach Williams’ “I’m A Survivor“.
Overall, the assembly process to about 2 hours. I went slow and followed the instructions step-by-step.
I used the tools that came with the grill and did not have to dive into my own toolbox for any additional tools.
At the outset, I was rather nervous about building this grill on my own. There are so many things that could go wrong, especially if you accidentally drop it while you attempt to lift it alone. I would be very disappointed if that had happened.
Beer 4 and 5 were consumed on page 2 of the manual
The outcome was very rewarding. I jumped around to celebrate my accomplishment and even gave myself a high five (left/right hand) and chest bumped the garage door. I’m happy no one witnessed this little ritual, but I was proud and needed to recognize my achievement.
I had the last Fat Tire beer as I rolled my new grill into position for the first burn and the first grill! I guess it is a six-pack per person 🙂
There’s one remaining, and important step, you have to complete – the first grill, “burning in” the grill. The science behind is not fully clear, but I assume it is to burn off any residue and seal the grill.
It takes about an hour, and it primes the auger and other features of the grill. It is 101 of becoming a pitmaster 🙂
Still Not Done!
You have to build the Traeger farmhouse using the packaging. This is a father/child bonding moment and takes no more than 10 minutes. It will give your child a few hours of playtime.
Now You Are Done!
Assuming you have placed the Traeger in the desired position, and assuming you have completed the ‘”burn-in” or “the first grill”, now you need to initiate your new back garden grill monster.
It is time you kick off your novice pitmaster skills, and demonstrate (justify) your Traeger is worth every penny.
Given my BBQ skills are below novice, I started off with a safe and hard to mess-up dish; the mandatory burgers and hotdogs.
The family applauded the outcome – giving me some moral support and padded my shoulders to boost my confidence. Perhaps they felt they needed to cheer, even if it wasn’t a special meal.