There’s nothing more frustrating than waking up to a smoker that has run out of fuel overnight. If you’ve ever experienced this frustration, you know how disheartening it can be to discover your smoker has stopped working, leaving your meat partially cooked and potentially unsafe to eat.
In this grillcuisines.com guide, we’ll cover:
- What to do when your smoker runs out of fuel overnight
- Causes why a smoker ran out of fuel overnight
- How to prevent it from happening in the future and much more!
Common Causes of a Smoker Running Out of Fuel Overnight
There are several reasons why your smoker might run out of fuel overnight, and understanding these reasons can help you prevent this issue from happening again in the future.
1- Not Enough Fuel:
One of the most common reasons for a smoker to run out of fuel overnight is simply not having enough fuel. It’s essential to ensure that you have enough fuel to last the duration of your cookout.
Poor airflow can also lead to your smoker running out of fuel overnight. Without enough oxygen, the fire will die down, and the smoker will eventually shut down.
Strong winds can cause your smoker to lose heat, which can cause the pellets to burn more quickly than usual. This can lead to the smoker running out of fuel overnight.
4- Pellet Tunneling
Pellet bridging or tunneling is a common problem with pellet smokers. It occurs when the pellets in the hopper get jammed, preventing them from falling into the auger.
When this happens, the smoker won’t be able to draw in any pellets, causing the temperature to drop. This can ultimately lead to the smoker shutting down altogether. Pellet bridging can happen due to a variety of factors, such as the humidity of the pellets, and the hopper design.
What to Do When Your Smoker Runs Out of Fuel Overnight
1- Check the Meat
The first and foremost step is to check if your meat is still safe to eat. If your smoker ran out of fuel for only a few hours, it’s likely that your meat is still safe to eat.
If your smoker ran out of fuel for only a few hours, it’s likely that your meat is still safe to eat.
If your smoker was out of fuel for more than six hours, it’s best to throw away the meat and start fresh.
The risk of bacterial growth increases when meat is left at temperatures between 40°F and 140°F (the “danger zone”) for an extended period of time.
First, check the internal temperature of your meat to ensure it has reached a safe temperature of 145°F for beef and pork, or 165°F for poultry. If your meat hasn’t reached this temperature, you may need to finish cooking.
2- Refill the Fuel
Next, you need to refill your smoker’s fuel source. If you’re using a pellet smoker, refill the hopper with fresh pellets. For a charcoal smoker, add more charcoal and light it up. If you’re using a gas smoker, replace the propane tank.
3- Restart Your Smoker
Once you’ve refilled the fuel source, it’s time to restart your smoker. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to start your specific smoker.
4- Adjust the Temperature:
After your smoker is up and running, adjust the temperature to the desired level. If you’re using a pellet smoker, it may take a few minutes for the temperature to stabilize.
5- Monitor Your Meat
Keep a close eye on your meat throughout the cooking process to make sure it’s cooking properly. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the meat to ensure it’s fully cooked and safe to eat.
I am a writer, editor, and publisher of Grillcuisines.com – an online blog dedicated to sharing grilling tips, accessories, and recipes to encourage more people to get outside and grill.
I’m off to find out the different types of grill foods, their seasons, and how to conduct outdoor cooking properly. I’ll also show you some of my grill-worthy cooking tools & accessories!