From Start to Finish: How to Start a Traeger Grill

May 3, 2022

I have spent a lot of time around Traeger grills so I know a thing or two about how to start a Traeger grill. And, now, I am going to pass down this wisdom to you.

Here is your ultimate guide to getting your pellet grill up and running:

An Important Note

It is vital that you follow the proper startup procedure each and every time. This is because many of the smoke, grill, and cook functions are related to this process.

As such, if you don't follow the proper procedure, then the Traeger pellet grill may not perform as you need it to. Now, the issues aren't immediately noticeable so you may not even realize it. However, even hours into a cook, the grill may begin to act up, derailing your meal.

Traeger Grill

In case you have trouble remembering the steps, type out and print the steps on a piece of paper. Laminate this and always keep these instructions near the grill. This way, you will be able to follow each step just as you need to.

Reading Your Instruction Manual

As you are aware, there are several Traeger wood pellet grill models. Now, I will provide you with the basic guidelines to starting your grill, but you may require more specific instructions depending on your particular model.

This is why the first thing that you should do is go through your Traeger pellet grill instruction manual. This will outline the main features of your grill and show you how to operate them.

If your Traeger pellet grill is second hand or you have lost your manual, you should be able to find a digitized version on the Traeger grills website.

Or, you can take a note of the internal grill components, display unit, and do your own research online. Either way, it is important to figure out just what your Traeger grill can do.

First Step: Filling the Hopper

Prior to doing anything else, you must first make sure that there are enough wood pellets in the pellet hopper.

This means calculating how much to fill in. On average, the smoker burns about 1 to 3lbs of pellets per hour. This means that a 20lb bag of pellets can give you 6 hours on high heat and 20 hours on low heat.

If you have some idea of how long your cook is going to last, fill the pellets according to that amount, plus a little more. The last thing that you want is to have to restart your cook if you run out of wood pellets.

One Time Firing Process

If you never have used your Traeger pellet grill before, then you will have to season your grill first. This process will take around an hour and a half for a WiFire grill while a non-connection grill will take about an hour.

grilled sausages and burgers

The good news is that you only have to do this process once and then you can start your grill as normal after this.

How to Season WiFire Grill?

Step 1: Prime the auger tube with wood pellets.

Step 2: Plug in the grill and turn on the power switch.

Step 3: Add new hardwood pellets to the hopper.

Step 4: Press the power button on your controller screen. This will power up the controller.

Step 5: Turn the dial to select Auger > Prime Auger. Press the controller button to select.

Step 6: Listen for the pellets falling into the firepot. Once this happens, you can select Done.

Step 7: Turn the temperature dial to 350 degrees F and press the dial.

Step 8: Press the ignite button and close the lid. When the temperature reaches 350 F, run for 20 minutes.

Step 9: Adjust the dial to 450 F and press the knob.

Step 10: Once the temp reaches 450 F, let run for 30 minutes.

Step 11: Shut down the grill. For the Pro series, press the knob for 3 seconds. For the Timberline, Silverline, and Ironwood models, press the controller power switch for 3 seconds.

How to Season Non-Connected Grill?

Step 1: Plug in the grill and turn the power switch on.

Step 2: Add hardwood pellets to the hopper.

Step 3: Prime the auger with pellets.

Step 4: Remove the grill grates, drip tray, and heat baffle. Set the grill to High and wait for up to five minutes until the pellets fall into the firepot.

Step 5: Set the grill to Shutdown cycle and turn off the grill using the power switch.

Step 6: Return the internal grill components back to their original places.

Step 7: Power up the grill again, close the lid, and set the controller to the Smoke setting.

Step 8: Wait for up to 15 minutes for the fire to get going in the grill. At this point, the thick, white smoke will change to a thinner consistency and be blue in color.

Step 9: Set the grill to the highest temperature possible and leave for about 30 minutes.

You can then start to cook or begin the Shutdown cycle to turn off the grill.

Closed vs. Open Lid Startup Process

The other thing that you should be aware of is that the older models for the Traeger pellet grill used to work on an open lid startup procedure. The newer ones, though, must have the lid closed.

Not sure which category your grill falls into? Here is a list of the Traeger pellet grills that use the newer procedure:

  • Century - TFB57CLB, TFB57CLBC, TFB88PLD
  • Eastwood - TFB65DVC, TFB42DVB, TFB42DVBO
  • Elite - TFB42LZB, TFB42LZBC, TFB42LZBO, TFS60LZC, TFS60LZAC, TFS60LZCC, TFB65LZB, TFB65LZCC, TFB65LCBC
  • Heartland - TFB52QCC, TFB52QPC, TFB52QGC, TFB52QZC
  • Ironwood - TFB65BLE, TFB65BLEC, TFB65BLF, TFB89BLE, TFB89BLEC, TFB89SLC
  • Junior - TFB29PLD
  • Pro - TFB57GLE, TFB57GLEC, TFB57GZE, TFB57GZEC, TFB78GLE, TFB78GZE, TFB78GLEC, TFB78GZEC, TFB52PUD, TFB57PZB, TFB57PUB, TFB57PUBC, TFB88PUB, TFB88PZB, TFB88PUBC, TFS81PUB,TFS81PUC, TFS81PZB,TFS81PZC TFS81PZD, TFS81PZDC
meat on a grill
  • Ranger - TFT18KLD
  • Renegade - TFB38TCA, TFB38TOD
  • Silverton - TFS62GVF, TFS81BLF, TFS62PLD, TFS62PLD TFS62PLDC
  • Tailgater - TFB30KLF
  • Timberline - TFB01WLE, TFB01WLEC, TFB85LLD, TFB85WLE, TFB85WLEC, TFB01LLD, TFB85WLB, TFB01WLB

Starting Your Traeger Pellet Grill with the Lid Open

Here are the guidelines to follow:

Step 1

Check that all the internal grill components such as the heat baffle, grill grates, and drip tray are inside and placed properly. Check that the grease bucket is set up and lined.

Step 2

Plug in the grill. Set your Traeger grill to the Smoke setting with the lid open. Once this step is completed, you will begin to hear the fan running.

Step 3

Wait for the fire to ignite, this may take around 5 minutes. You will know that the fire is going when you hear the roar of the flame in addition to the sound of the fan.

In case you are going to be grilling or smoking at a higher temperature than this, close the lid. Next, increase to desired temperature and preheat for approximately 10, 15 minutes. You can then begin cooking.

If you will be staying at the same temperature setting then wait for another 5 to 10 minutes after you hear the fire going. Then, close the lid and preheat for up to 15 minutes - you are now ready to cook.

Starting Your Traeger Grill with the Lid Closed

Step 1

When you are ready to cook, make sure that the internal components are present - this includes the grill grates, drip tray, and heat baffle. Check that the grease bucket is set up and lined.

Step 2

Plug in and turn on the grill.

Step 3

Set your Traeger grill to your desired temperature and preheat with the lid closed for around 15 minutes.

Wrapping It Up

Traeger pellet grills are pretty amazing. However, if you do want them to function properly then it is important to start your grill the right way. Once you have gotten the hang of this, you will be able to produce deliciously smoked and grilled foods each and every time!

By Kristy J. Norton
I'm Kristy – a chef and connoisseur of all things BBQ! You can find me either in my kitchen (or someone else's) or at a big outdoor barbecue surrounded by friends and family. In both my professional and personal life I’ve picked up more than a few tips and tricks for turning out delicious food. I consider it a privilege to share it with others!
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