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

Chances are you are browsing through this article because smoke is coming out of your Traeger grill and you want to know its reasons and remedies before it turns into a fire.

Smoke is a part and parcel of grilling. However, if experience Traeger pellet box Smoking or excessive smoke is coming out of the cooking chamber itself, then it’s time to troubleshoot.

If you see flames, that’s a sign of fire in the auger tube, and it’s best to close the lids, cut off oxygen to the flames and get the temperature down.

Read on to troubleshoot the Traeger fire in hopper and how to fix it.

traeger pellet box smoking
Smoke coming out of pellet hopper Traeger

Smoke coming out of a Traeger pellet box is a common thing while smoking meat but excessive smoke during the shutdown, after shutdown or any sign of fire is a huge cause for alarm. There are many remedies for making sure the smoke becomes lessened, like cleaning the drip tray and making sure pellets are dry and the airflows are working correctly. It’s also important to avoid any Traeger backburn in auger tube through safety measures like closing the lid, lowering the temperature in Smoke mode, and turning off the grill.

The Traeger grill pellet box is smoking too much

Although smoke is a part and parcel of any wood pellet grill, however, if you see excessive Traeger smoke coming out of pellet box, then it may be a cause for concern.

It is important to understand the causes of why smoke is coming out of pellet hopper Traeger and the remedies to those problems as well.

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Why is my Traeger pellet box smoking?

The first thing you need to determine is if there is an active Traeger fire in hopper with excessive smoke, especially after its shutdown.

If you see flames in the pellet box, remove the power plug if it’s safe to do so, or call fire services for assistance.

Below I have listed common reasons and fixes for Traeger pellet box smoking.

1. Traeger pellet box smoking DURING cooking:

If the pellet hopper is smoking while you have been cooking, then it may come down to airflow issues.

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1. Airflow issues:

There is a fan beside the Traeger pellet hopper that blow the smoke and hot air into the cooking chamber where your meat is being smoked.

A fault in the fan can cause the smoke to come out only from the pellet box. The solution to this is to check the fan.

               Fan Test:

               -Make sure your Traeger grill is on a straight surface for optimum performance.

               -Make sure it is turned off for the fan test.

               -Make sure there are no pellets or wood chips within the hopper or the auger tube.

               -Turn on the Traeger grill and follow the instructions in its manual for a correct startup.

               -Can you hear the whirring sound of the fan at the startup?

               -If yes, next, try to feel air coming out into the cooking chamber.

                              No, the fan is not working!

                              –Call Traeger customer service before further use at https://support.traeger.com.

                              Yes, the fan is working!

                              –Check if there is too much grease in the drip tray.

                              -Make sure there are no burned chips or pellets in the hopper and refill it till half mark with new pellets.

                              -Make sure the fan is clean from any dust and grime build-up.

                              -Restart your hopper.

2. Excessive Grease

Another reason for smoke coming out of Traeger pellet box can be excessive grease build-up on the grill tray after prolonged use without maintenance.

It can over time lead to excessive smoke from the Traeger pellet hopper. Remember to keep the grill tray clean after every use.

4. Moisture in the pellets

The pellets or wood chips in the pellet hopper should always be dry. If pellets have been in the hopper for a while, then due to moisture they can become a bit too wet for fire ignition.

This can also lead to too much Traeger smoke from pellet box.

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5. Level Surface:

If Traeger pellet grill is not placed on a straight, level surface, then it can also lead to smoke as well. Make sure to check in on that as well.

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Traeger pellet box smoking DURING shutdown

Traeger Backburn:

Another reason for Traeger smoke from pellet hopper, can be due to Traeger pellets burning in the auger. The auger is a tube that transports pellets from the hopper toward the fire chamber from where smoke rises into the cooking chamber.

If the pellets become too hot even before entering the fire chamber, and they start burning within the auger tube itself, then this can cause smoke to rise out from the chamber excessively. This process is known as the Traeger backburn.

Traeger pellets burning in auger can lead to over-smoking of the meat in the cooking chamber which, in turn, makes the meat overcooked and too chewy.

This can also lead to a big Traeger fire in auger tube, so it’s imperative to stop the smoke immediately.


Once the smoke starts rising due to Traeger pellets burning in auger, fire will follow pretty soon.

-Set the grill to Smoke.

-Wait for the temperature in the cooking chamber to fall below 200 F.

-then initiate the shutdown process.

-Make sure the lid of the pellet hopper is closed so that the oxygen within the chambers does not catch fire.

-Cooking chamber temperature below 200 F is a sure shot way of stopping Traeger fire in auger tube.

List of solutions for Traeger smoke coming out of pellet box:

1. Close the lid

If you see Traeger smoke coming out of the pellet box, make sure that you shut down the lid of the hopper and grill for little to no oxygen to enter the Traeger grill. This will reduce and eventually stop the smoke.

2. Unplug the Traeger grill:

If you turn off the grill during excessive smoking, it will also lower the cooking chamber temperature, and eventually, the smoke will die down.

3. Keep the pellet box clean

Keeping the pellet hopper makes sure there is no ash or mold build-up within the hopper and the auger tube. This helps in avoiding airflow issues and causing Traeger smoke from pellet box. Clean it with a wet cloth and soapy water once in a while.

4. Re-install a new fan:

If you have carried out the fan test and cleaned out mold and grime from your Traeger grill fan, but the smoke still keeps coming from your Traeger grill. The simpler solution to this would be to re-install a new fan.

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What do I do if Traeger Pellet Grill Catch on Fire?

Do not panic and close the hopper and cooking chamber lid to cut off the fire’s oxygen supply.
Unplug the grill and let cooking temperatures come down gradually. Wait for the fire to die down.
You may want to put water into the Traeger grill to cool it down, but this would only increase the Traeger smoke coming out of the pellet box.
Traeger grill is an electrical equipment, and it’s never safe to put water into such a machine.

What to do for Backburn through auger tube with a chimney?

Sometimes, especially in pellet grills with a chimney, dust and ash build-up can accumulate within the auger tube as well as the chimney vents.
This dust can ignite Traeger fire in auger tube as well on high temps.
One Traeger user suggests using a compressor for blowing out all such dust build-up from the chimney and the tube.
If smoke keeps coming after shutdown, the best way is to empty pellets from the hopper and burn through the pellets within the auger tube to end the smoking cycle.
Close the lid, unplug it, and wait for any fire to die down.
The Traeger support team suggests putting the grill in the Smoke mode for at least 20 minutes before shutting it down to lower temperatures and avoid Traeger backburn through auger tube.

Why is my Traeger pellet box smoking during the shutdown?

First off, close the lid to eliminate oxygen and more smoke.
If the fan stops working, then it can cause Traeger backburn and smoke coming out of Traeger pellet box.
Having a Traeger grill with a chimney is also a great way to stop backburn, especially if the fan stops working.
Traeger support forums have tons of information for this same purpose that you can peruse for avoiding such pellet grill accidents. Go to https://support.traeger.com for support or customer service.

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