Can You Leave Pellets In The Hopper Between Cooks?

The smoking process is crucial to the flavor of the food. The best way to achieve this is by using only the best quality, freshest, and purest wood pellets. The smoke that is released from pellets provides a unique flavor profile that will make your food taste amazing.

One of the question grill enthusiasts has is: Can you leave pellets in the hopper or dump between cooks?

The question of leaving pellets in grill relates to concerns about moisture and humidity. This means that leaving pellets in the hopper could increase their risk of spoiling.

This guide will explain how different components affect the smoking experience, so you can create your own informed opinion on leaving pellets in grill.

can you leave pellets in the hopper
wood Peller

Leaving Pellets In Grill/Smoker Hopper

Wood pellets are made of real wood but undergo processing, so they do not behave in the same way when wet. For example, if an unprocessed piece of wood gets wet, it will swell and not lose its form. Wood pellets are only fit for use if they don’t get wet. Once they are wet or dampened, they will turn back into sawdust and be unusable.

Therefore moisture is the number one enemy to any wood pellets because it can not only ruin the pellets but also damage your pellet grill/smoker. Also, leaving pellets in the hopper that are unused can decay and become a breeding ground for pests.

If water gets into the hopper, pellets will be there to absorb the moisture. This could lead to some serious problems. As pellets absorb moisture, they become damp and start to expand, and can block or jam the auger. Usually, there won’t be a problem with it. You’ll just have to spend a bit of time cleaning it before you can use the pellet grill/smoker again.

Can You Leave Pellets In The Hopper or Dump Between Cooks?

Most people are unsure about this question and there are two schools of thought: leaving pellets in the hopper or dumping them out between cooks.

Leaving your pellets in the hopper between cooks is usually not a problem as long as it’s not for extended periods of time. Traeger Grills estimates that you can leave pellets in a pellet smoker for up to one week when the smoker should stay in a dry, safe, and secure place. Even though you can leave the wood pellets in the hopper between cooks to save time, Dumping them out after each cook is a more popular strategy. This will elevate both the quality of the pellets themselves and that of your pellet grill.

I’ve included excerpts from official advice from pellet grill and smoker manufacturers Traeger and Pitboss.

According to

Before you grill, always remember to remove the pellets from the hopper. If you’ll be away for an extended period of time, you’ll want to replace them so they’re fresh when you get back.

According to Pitboss pelelt grill

‘Leaving unused pellets in the hopper can lead them to rot. They are exposed to the elements of your outdoor environment. Always empty your hopper after each cook and store any leftover pellets in a secure, sealed container. This way, your pellets are less likely to go stale or create jams with the auger.’

The above quote shows a little bit of a difference in the two pieces of advice. Pit Boss recommends emptying the hopper after each cook.

Do You Keep Your Pellets In The Hopper Between Uses?

Whether to keep the pellets in the hopper between uses or the length of time wood pellets can be stored in the hopper depends on a few important factors.

1. The time between cooks

If you’re confident that you’ll be using your grill next week, you can store the pellets inside the hopper. Just make sure to cover the grill. When you shop for a cover for your grill, make sure it’s the right size and made from strong, waterproof material. It can be made of heavy canvas that snugly fits your grill.

Store your pellet grill undercover and outside of the weather. If you can’t store it under a veranda or in a garage, then make sure it is at least under some sort of cover.

Wood pellets lose their quality after about two months of being stored. You won’t be able to use them as the right kind of fuel and will have to buy a new batch, wasting your time and money.

2. The quality of your pellets

Always use 100% pure wood pellet. The best smoking pellets often contain natural hardwood, which strengthens dries them, and helps them resist moisture.

Best wood smoking pellets will ensure your next cooking session is a success. The decision to go with the best wood smoking pellets is sure to change the way you cook forever. These pellets offer a higher heat than most and will provide you with more smoke, taste, and flavor.

3. How well you’ve stored your pellet grill

Covering your pellet grill and storing it in a shaded area will significantly prolong the amount of time you can keep your pellets in the grill.

Storing your pellet grill in a dry spot of your garage or shed, and using quality wood pellets, you can leave the pellet in the hopper for much longer.

4. General Climate

Humid climates are more vulnerable to moisture so it’s always recommended to remove the pellet after each cook.

If you’re not going to be using your smoker anytime soon, you should empty the hopper before storing it. Most pellet smokers have a small door on the bottom of their hopper, which you can easily open to get rid of the pellets.

Get a large food-grade plastic bucket and place it under the latch before opening it. When the pellet hopper is empty, seal the bucket tightly to avoid getting any moisture inside.

Do You Need To Empty The Auger?

While clearing the hopper does get most of the pellets out, you also need to check the auger. Actually, it’s not a big deal if you are using the grill regularly and you never empty the pellet hopper or clear the Auger.

However, if you know you won’t be smoking for the next few months then it will be worth emptying the auger since it is such a quick & easy process. Once the hopper is empty, run the grill on low heat until you can see pellets stop coming into the firepot. Switch it off ASAP and you’ll be done.

Conclusions: Can You Leave Pellets In The Hopper

The conclusion on leaving pellets in grill is that it would be better to not leave them in. Leaving pellets in the hopper can lead to a number of problems. The pellets can become damp and ruin your pellet grill. Another problem is that the pellets can create an attractant for pests which will then damage other goods as well.

How long can you leave pellets in the hopper depends on a number of factors, including your climate and what season it is.

I hope this post has helped you. Yes, I have been able to offer some help in other questions that are similar to those you’ve been asking.

I’ve also been working on answering other common questions like: Can You Leave A Pellet Grill Unattended, Can you have a pellet grill for an apartment? , and Do Pellet Grills Work in Cold Weather?

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