My beloved smoker has fallen on hard times. I bought a traeger pellet fed smoker in the summer of 2009, and have done mountains of delicious meat in it ever since. All those years outside in florida have taken their toll.
The paint has faded and is rusting through in places, the outside is quite dirty, and a back leg has completely rusted through. I had to prop it up to keep the thing from rocking.
The inside doesn’t look much better. Surface rust is kind of unavoidable, but neglect had built up on the walls and in the bottom tub. I should really clean this thing out more.
My bad behavior aside, this thing is built like a tank. Even with all the years of outdoor use, I was able to pull all the screws out. There is a lot of surface rust, but nothing too deep except for the one back leg. I started to take everything apart and became even more enamored with my smoker’s build and design.
With all the parts pulled out and the mess cleaned up it was time to get everything back into shape.
I used a wire brush on my angle grinder to strip all the bad paint and rust. I started everything with flat black rustoleum grill paint. It covered everything but looked kind of bad. I was in the hardware store and noticed they have a semigloss. It matches the original paint job. I redid most of the parts with a primer, and gave everything another coat with the semi-gloss.
Once all the paint was down I started rebuilding. Some of the hardware got replaced, but most of it was actually in really good shape. The back leg was shortened and fitted with an aluminum extension. No more rusting off foot! I replaced the hot rod starter because it is hard to get to and didn’t cost much to replace.
Other upgrades happened along the way. They have a nice shelf that bolts in with the legs. It folds away when not in use, and sits nicely in line with the entrance so you can transfer to and from the smoker.
I pulled out the old controller that only had 3 heat settings. The new one reads the internal temperature and feeds in pellets accordingly. It has an autostart-up feature and a shutdown cycle that helps prevent soot. I also replaced the drip bucket because it was pretty nasty.
All in all it looks pretty good. Because I couldn’t get all the old paint off there is some odd texture, but it looks way better than when I started. Now that I have the primer and grill paint around I will make it a point to check every year or so for bad spots that need a touchup.
Lastly, the accessory I should have bought when I first got the grill. A cover! I don’t know how much longer the paint would have lasted with one, but it is worth a shot.
This smoker rocks. With a little more preventative maintenance than I had been doing I can hopefully look forward to another 6+ years of service. Delicious smoked meat posts to follow!