Traeger Smoke Setting: Low and Slow Cooking for the Best Results

Traeger grills smoke setting features are something that most pitmasters are not aware of.

It is a low and slow cooking process in which smoke temp ranges between 150 F and 180 F.

I will help you understand how Traeger smoke setting temp works and how you can cook on it.

traeger smoke setting

Smoking food through Traeger smoke setting is the same as smoking it at 180 F or 225F, however, the food will not get that rich smokey flavor through the latter. The smoke mode means food is cooked slower at a low temperature. Traeger grills have a p-setting (pause button) to increase the smoking time. There is a super-smoke option as well, to enhance the smokey flavor. Let’s decode Traeger smoke!

What is Traeger smoke setting?

Traeger grills have a smoke setting which is not discussed much. It is a low-temperature cooking method in which food is cooked food through a low and slow process.

This way the food takes a lot of time to cook but the smokey flavor is richer than through any other grilling method.

How to use Traeger grill’s smoke setting?

The Traeger smoke setting is usually talked about during the startup process when the smoke setting is turned on and the lid is opened for the preheat process.

During the Traeger smoke setting, the auger turns on and brings wood pellets to firepot.

Then it shuts down and the pellets burn for 65 seconds in that pot and so on and so forth.

The Traeger grill smoke setting allows slow feeding of pellets from the auger into the firepot which allows them to burn more efficiently and create more smoke than at any other setting within Traeger grills. 

The Traeger smoke temp moves between 150 F to 180 F which means it cannot be regulated like other temperature options.

The pellets’ feeding rate is a Traeger factory setting that cannot be changed, however, it can be paused through p-setting which is discussed below.

Other factors that can affect temperature, include:

  1. Environmental temperature,
  2. The humidity,
  3. The amount of food being cooked on the grates affects convection airflow,
  4. The number of wood pellets in the auger which should always be enough for grilling without wasting time,
  5. The Traeger grill model is being used.

Can I cook food on Traeger smoke mode?

Most grill masters don’t use the Traeger grills smoke setting.

The reason is that the Traeger smoke temp is too low and slow for larger pieces of meat and for safe cooking. 

Most people shift to the desired temperature after the startup process on the smoke setting.

Traeger grills produce quite enough smoke and cook food properly at 180 F to 225 F temperatures, hence, the Traeger smoke setting is usually used for pre-heating the grill only.

Still, there are foods other than meat that can be cooked in the smoke setting.

Uses of Traeger smoke setting temp

There can be other uses for this setting as well. The smoke setting can be used for cold-smoking different foods like cheese.

It is a makeshift cold smoker as the temperature dials on Traeger grills does not offer a low-temperature option. 

Another use for the smoke setting is that one can hold cooked food within the grill after it has been cooked.

This helps along the resting process and keeps the meat warm till it is carved and served.

Traeger smoke temp vs. 180 F

These are definitely not one and the same.

At the smoke setting, the temperature may range anywhere from 150 F to 180 F.

Whereas, at 180 F, the grill maintains the cooking temperature at 180 throughout the cooking process and also makes sure that the food is brought to that temperature.

The time for the auger’s on and off cycle remains the same, however, the number of wood pellets being fed varies.

This is due to the fact that during the smoke mode, the pellets are burned at a consistent rate which causes the temperature to fluctuate always.

However, at 180 F, the Traeger grill keeps a check on the food’s temperature through an RTD (Resistance Temperature Detector).

If the food is at a lower or higher temp than 180 F, then the pellet burning speed is either increased or decreased.

RTD has shown a variance of only +15/-15 degrees in temperature when set to a particular temp on the dial.

The Traeger smoke setting temp has no concern with its surrounding temperature, whereas, at 180 F the temperature of the food being cooked is regulated by the grill.

In winter, the pellets are made to burn faster to achieve higher temp.

In summer, they burn slower to make sure food does not burn at a high temp. This cannot be achieved on the Traeger grills smoke setting.

You achieve the smokey flavor at the desired temperature more quickly. 

Although you get more smoke at the smoke setting, an even cook can only be achieved through the temperature dial set at 180 F throughout the cooking process.

Hence, 180 F and the smoke setting cannot be used interchangeably while cooking food on a Traeger grill.

Traeger smoke setting vs. 225 F

Just like 108 F vs. smoke settings, 225F in itself is a more stable temperature reading, whereas, at the smoke setting temperature of the grill fluctuates either 15 degrees lower or higher.

If you want the smoke at a more stable temperature reading then turn the knob to 225F.

However, with the smoke setting you will get an uneven temperature reading but a richer and smokey flavor in your food. The choice is yours!

De-coding Traeger p-settings

P-setting on Traeger grills is like a pause button to increase the duration of pellets burning in a fire pot.

It increases the interval between auger on and off mechanism from 45 to 95 seconds after which time the auger is turned back on and more wood pellets are fed to the firepot.

The default p-setting on all Traeger grills is P-2 which is an interval of 65 seconds.

This means that auger turns on and after pellets are fed to the fire pot it turns back off.

Now, auger will turn on again after 65 seconds according to the default p-settings. You can increase or decrease this interval by setting the p-setting to a lower or higher value.

You can reach a maximum setting of P-5 on Traeger grill smoke settings which amounts to 95 seconds.

P-setting and Auger on/off Table:

Here is a p-setting table to show its interval timings at various p-values.

You will see that the auger on timing remains the same, however, each p-value increases by 10 seconds when the auger is off.

P-setting ValueAuger Time (On)Auger Time (Off)
P-015 SecondsPause 45 Seconds
P-115 SecondsPause 55 Seconds
P-2 (default setting)15 SecondsPause 65 Seconds
P-315 SecondsPause 75 Seconds
P-415 SecondsPause 85 Seconds
P-515 SecondsPause 95 Seconds

A higher p-setting means that your grill will be cooler, whereas, a lower value means your grill be running hotter.

Traeger company itself recommends a value anywhere between P-0 to P-4 while using the Traeger grill smoke settings.

Traeger grills do not recommend using the p-setting value of 5 as the fire can go out during the 95 seconds cycle of the auger staying off.

When to use P-settings?

These settings should be used when Traeger smoke setting temp is running higher or lower than intended.

This will help in adjusting the temperature at which food is being cooked and help in managing larger fluctuations that arise during smoking food.

Especially, when the outside temperature is colder or warmer than the grill’s temperature, p-settings can adjust any fluctuations that may occur within the grill.

P-setting is usually higher in summers i.e. around P-2 to P-4, whereas, it is a lower setting during winter season i.e. around P-0 to P-2.

If the temperature is becoming lower due to it being colder outside, you can increase the p-value to make sure the auger stays off and pellets burn more to produce more smoke and heat.

How to toggle the P-settings?

On the front face of Traeger grill’s smoke controller, there is a button inside a small hole that needs to be pressed to toggle the p-settings.

This button can be pressed with the help of a narrow and pointy tool like a paper clip or a meat probe etc.

The digital display beside that button will tell you which p-value you are setting at the moment. 

Usually, Traeger grills come with a sticker on top of that hole which you need to remove in order to access that button. Please do so!

Facing some auger problems? Here are 5 Reasons why your Traeger Auger is not Turning?

What is Traeger grill Super Smoke mode? 

At the Super Smoke mode, Traeger smoke temperature fluctuates anywhere between 165 F and 225 F.

This is a new technology that blasts 100% hardwood smoke through a precise fan control onto your food to make it even smokey.

The temperature fluctuations are even larger at the Super Smoke mode, so it’s important to invest in a hood thermometer which can monitor the temperature at all times.

The display feature will show when super smoke mode is on.

It is a general misconception about this mode that more visible smoke will be produced which is completely untrue.

In fact, at super smoke mode, the grill is creating more blue smoke at a lighter temperature which renders even more smoke to your food.

Not all Traeger grills come with the super-smoke feature.

It is only a part of Traeger’s Timberline and Ironwood series as well as the Silverton 810 pellet grills.

What should I do if Traeger’s smoke temperature is too high?

The Traeger smoke setting temp lies between 150 F to 180 F. If it exceeds 200 F, then the smoke temperature is too high and needs to be regulated.

This usually occurs when the lid is closed immediately upon firing up and the wood pellets are not allowed to smolder.

Traeger recommends keeping the lid open for 10 minutes for efficient wood pellet burning.

Now if the grill gets too hot on its smoke settings then the resolution to this problem is increasing the p-settings value.

Again, make sure to not increase the p-value more than 4 so the fire doesn’t completely extinguish.


Can I switch from a high temperature to Traeger smoke mode?

Yes, you can always switch from a higher temperature setting to Traeger smoke setting temp.

There is too much smoke. What should I do?

Too much smoke is usually produced at a high temperature rather than the smoke setting temp.

Grill users increase the temperature thinking that it will create smoke faster and bring more smokey flavor.

However, that is not the case. In case of too much smoke, go back to the smoke settings on your Traeger grill and let the food smoke on a low and slow cooking method for better flavor profiles.
You can also find out more at Why is my Traeger pellet box smoking?

Many Traeger grills also come with Wi-Fi or a Wi-Fire option. These can come in quite handy while working with grills. Here are a few options for you to browse and select from.

Related Articles:

Why Is Smoke Coming Out Of Pellet Hopper? (4 Reasons)

Why is My Traeger Pellet Box Smoking (6 Reasons & Quick Fixes)

Which Traeger Grills have WiFi/WiFIRE

5 Reasons Why Is My Traeger Auger Not Turning? (SOLUTIONS)

What To Do When Pellet Grill Runs Out Of Pellets Mid Cook?

Can You Leave Pellets In The Hopper Between Cooks?

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