Traeger Not Smoking? Top Solutions to Try!

August 22, 2022

Is your Traeger not smoking? Then you can try setting a lower temperature, using higher quality wood pellets, and cleaning out the firepot, just to name a few!

As an amateur pitmaster, I have tried my hand at most of the Traeger models out there and have had a Pro Series for a few years now.

Although this is a personal favorite, I have had trouble with my Traeger not smoking on occasion. Cleaning out my firepot eventually worked for me but I had to try out a bunch of different tricks before I found out the cause.

So, there’s no need to worry, as I have plenty of solutions to help you get more smoke out of your Traeger. Let’s begin!

Traeger not smoking

Understanding Smoke Levels in Traeger Grills

There is one thing that I want to clarify before I go any further. Just because your Traeger pellet grill isn’t producing as much smoke as you think it should, doesn’t mean that something is wrong.

Most modern pellet grills don’t produce that thick and heavy smoke that you may be picturing with an old fashioned, traditional grill.

Instead, you will find a thin, blue smoke instead of white smoke. In fact, it will be barely visible smoke. This doesn’t mean anything is wrong – this is how your Traeger grill is supposed to function – producing high quality smoke.

However, if your pellet grill appears to be producing little to no smoke at all, then something is amiss.

Summer Grilling

Why is Your Traeger Not Smoking?

Here are some of the reasons that your pellet grill isn’t producing enough smoke for you to cook with, along with how to get your Traeger to create more smoke:

Smoking Temperature is Too High

You may have heard of smoking as a form of low and slow cooking. What this means is that you cook the food at lower temperatures for a longer period of time.

Traditionally, this means smoking food at around a temperature range of 180 to 200 degrees F. This is the range associated with the smoke setting on the Traeger pellet grill. It is with these lower temperatures that you get more smoke.

The problem is that many people don’t like the smoke setting on the pellet smoker. As it is quite low, it takes a longer time to cook. However, if you want your grill to produce smoke for a better flavor, you will have to opt for these temps.

The desired temperature for smoking is 225 degrees F and the highest that you should go is 250 F. Not only will you get more than enough smoke, but your food will have the loveliest smoke rings as well.

Using the Wrong Wood Pellets

As you are aware, the level of smoke and the smoke flavor is tied into the wood pellets that you use. Thus, if there is something wrong with the pellets, then the pellet smoker will not generate smoke as needed.

The first thing that you need to check is that you aren’t using wet pellets. If not stored properly, your pellets can get damp, making them useless. You should also know that wood pellets do have an expiration date. So, keep them for too long and they won’t really work.

The issue could also be cheap pellets. I know, wood pellets can be expensive but it is important to invest in high quality pellets if you want a great smoke ring and a smokey flavor.

Start by testing out different wood pellets – you don’t have to choose the most expensive option but do try a brand with good reviews.

Now, some people swear that you should only use Traeger wood pellets for the smoker but I’m not entirely sure about this. I would suggest trying a good quality brand and then making the switch to Traeger if you can’t find wood pellets that work for you.

Brown Wood Logs on the Ground

A Dirty Firepot

If your firepot is full of ash and grime, then it will not ignite. If it doesn’t ignite, then naturally, the amount of smoke produced will be negligible.

This issue has an easy fix. Simply power down your grill and ensure that it is completely cool. Unplug the grill.

Next, remove the cooking grates, the drip tray, and the heat shield. This will give you access to the firepot. Inspect it for built up debris. Then, use a shop vac to clear it out completely. If you notice any build up on the sides, use a brush to clear it away. Then, use the vacuum to clean this area up once more.

Replace the components and fire up your grill to see if the changes have helped.

A Jammed Auger

If there are too many pellets crammed in and around the auger, then it isn’t going to work. As such, no smoke will be produced.

This isn’t always such an easy fix. You can use a piece of wood and hammer to knock the auger further down so that the pellets can fall away. It is a good idea to contact customer support first though to ensure that you don’t do any damage to your Traeger along the way.

A Lack of Ventilation

As you are aware, oxygen is key to burning and ignition. If the airflow is compromised in any way, then your pellet grill won’t create enough smoke.

The first thing that you should check is that the vents are open and that they aren’t being obstructed in any way. If there is any kind of build up, it is a good idea to clean this away.

The other element to inspect is the fans. If they are broken or not as working as efficiently as they should, then there isn’t going to be a lot of smoke. For this, you should get in touch with Traeger customer service before proceeding.

Other Options to Produce More Smoke

Here are some other ideas that you can consider:

Get a Pellet Smoker Tube

A pellet smoke tube is kind of like a box where you place the pellets and set them alight. As the pellets are in a more confined space, they produce additional smoke. Not only do you get more smoke, though, but the rate at which the smoke is produced is greater, too.

If you are going to get a smoke tube, I would suggest investing in a good quality one. After all, you do want more smoke from the first use on, right?

You should make sure that whatever you get is compatible with your Traeger model.

Use the Super Smoke Setting

Do you have a Traeger grill that belongs to the Timberline or Ironwood series? If so, then your grill has a Super Smoke setting. Activate this after you have preheated the grill and it will produce more smoke.

However, you shouldn’t automatically assume that you are going to be able to see columns of smoke just because you use this setting. As before, the visible smoke that is produced will be minimal.

Check the display panel on the grill or the app on your phone. If it indicates that the setting is on, then it is working. It is only if you don’t see the icon that something may be wrong with it.

Grilled Patties On Grill

Contacting Traeger with Issues

If the above solutions didn’t work for you or you aren’t sure of what the issue is, it is a good idea to contact Traeger customer support for help. This is especially important before you make any big repairs or changes.

Remember, anything that you do to the grill may void its warranty. Thus, if something goes wrong while you are tackling the repairs, you may be on the hook for all future problems and costs.

When contacting them, make your concerns or problems very clear. It is best to accompany your email with photos as well. The website has a troubleshooting section that you may be able to use to your advantage too.

Wrapping It Up

Just because your Traeger isn’t producing as much smoke as you like isn’t cause for concern. Just check out some of the suggestions that I have for you. You may be able to pinpoint the problem here and fix it in no time at all!

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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