Traeger ran out of pellets: What To Do? (Lifesaving Lessons)

Traeger grills are known for their wood pellet fuel system, providing a unique and flavorful cooking experience. However, running out of pellets mid-cook can be a challenge. This topic covers the importance of monitoring pellet levels, the effects of running out of pellets during cooking, and tips to avoid this situation. Let’s explore what to do when your traeger ran out of pellets?

Traeger ran out of pellets: What To Do?

What To Do When Your Traeger Ran Out Of Pellets?

Running out of pellets while using your Traeger grill can be frustrating, but there are steps you can take to address the situation and continue cooking. Follow these steps to ensure a smooth and uninterrupted grilling experience.

  • Safely Turn Off Your Grill: First, switch off the grill to the “Shut Down Cycle” or “OFF” position, depending on your model. This will allow the grill to safely cool down before you proceed.
  • Check the Auger and Hopper: Inspect the auger and hopper for any remaining pellets or debris. Clear any leftover pellets and clean the hopper to ensure proper pellet flow when refilling them.
  • Refill the Pellet Hopper: Once the grill is turned off and the hopper is clean, refill it with your preferred wood pellets. Make sure to use high-quality pellets to ensure optimal performance and flavor.
  • Restart Your Grill: Turn your Traeger grill back on and set it to the desired temperature. Allow the grill to go through its startup process, which may take a few minutes. The grill will reignite and begin heating up.
  • Monitor the Temperature: Keep an eye on the grill’s temperature as it heats up. It may take some time for the temperature to stabilize, especially if the grill is off for an extended period.
  • Resume Cooking: Once the grill has reached the desired temperature, you can continue cooking your food. Monitor the pellet level and grill temperature to avoid running out of pellets again.

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What Should I Do if I Run Out of Pellets During a Cook?

If you run out of pellets during a cook on your Traeger grill, follow these steps to quickly address the situation and resume cooking:

  • Pause Cooking Safely: Remove your food from the grill and place it on a heat-resistant surface or in a preheated oven to maintain its temperature. Cover it with foil to retain heat and prevent it from drying out.
  • Turn Off Your Grill: Switch your grill to the “Shut Down Cycle” or “OFF” position, depending on your model. This allows the grill to cool down safely before you proceed.
  • Inspect and Clean the Auger and Hopper: Check the auger and hopper for any remaining pellets or debris. Clear any leftover pellets and clean the hopper to ensure proper pellet flow when refilling them.
  • Refill the Pellet Hopper: With the grill turned off and the hopper clean, refill it with your preferred wood pellets. Use high-quality pellets for optimal performance and flavor.
  • Restart Your Grill: Turn your Traeger grill back on and set it to the desired temperature. Allow the grill to go through its startup process, which may take a few minutes. The grill will reignite and begin heating up.
  • Monitor the Temperature: Keep an eye on the grill’s temperature as it heats up. It may take some time for the temperature to stabilize, especially if the grill is off for an extended period.
  • Return Food to the Grill: Once the grill has reached the desired temperature, return your food to the grill and continue cooking. Monitor the pellet level and grill temperature to avoid running out of pellets again.

How Long Do Wood Pellets Last In A Traeger?

The duration that wood pellets last in a Traeger grill depends on several factors, including the grill’s temperature setting, the type of pellets used, and the specific model of the grill. Here’s a general guideline for estimating pellet consumption:

How Long Do Wood Pellets Last In A Traeger
How Long Do Wood Pellets Last In A Traeger?

Pellet Consumption Rates

  • Low and Slow Cooking: When cooking at low temperatures (180°F – 250°F), a Traeger grill typically consumes about 0.5 to 1.5 pounds of pellets per hour. This rate is ideal for smoking and slow-cooking meats.
  • Medium Temperature Cooking: For medium heat cooking (300°F – 350°F), the pellet consumption rate is approximately 1.5 to 2.5 pounds per hour. This range is suitable for baking and roasting.
  • High Heat Grilling: At high temperatures (400°F – 450°F), the grill can consume around 2.5 to 4 pounds of pellets per hour. This is the typical range for grilling and searing.

Estimating Pellet Usage

To estimate how long wood pellets will last in your Traeger grill:

  • Determine the temperature range for your cooking method (low, medium, or high).
  • Identify the approximate pellet consumption rate per hour for that temperature range.
  • Divide the total weight of pellets in your hopper by the pellet consumption rate per hour.

For example, if you have a full 18-pound hopper and plan to cook at low temperatures (0.5 to 1.5 pounds per hour), your pellets will last approximately 12 to 36 hours.


How do I restart my Traeger after running out of pellets?

Follow these step-by-step instructions to restart your Traeger grill after running out of pellets:

How do I restart my Traeger after running out of pellets
How do I restart my Traeger after running out of pellets?

Step 1: Remove the Hopper

Before removing the hopper, ensure the grill is turned off and has cooled down. Disconnect the power source to avoid any electrical hazards. Depending on your Traeger model, you may need to unscrew or unclip the hopper from the grill. Refer to your grill’s user manual for specific instructions on removing the hopper safely.

Step 2: Get Rid of the Ashes

Open the grill’s main chamber and remove the cooking grates, drip tray, and heat baffle to access the firepot. Use a vacuum cleaner or a small brush to remove any remaining ashes and debris from the firepot. Ensure the firepot is completely clean to ensure proper ignition when restarting the grill.

Step 3: Place New Pellets

Reattach the hopper to the grill, making sure it is securely fastened. Fill the hopper with fresh, high-quality wood pellets. Ensure there are no foreign objects or debris mixed in with the pellets.

Step 4: Restart the Grill

Connect the power source and turn the grill on by switching it to the “ON” or “Smoke” position, depending on your model. The grill will go through its startup process, which includes igniting the pellets in the firepot. This may take a few minutes.

Step 5: Preheat the Grill

Once the grill’s startup process is complete, set the temperature to your desired cooking level. Close the lid and let the grill preheat for 10-15 minutes or until it reaches the set temperature. During this time, the grill will stabilize its temperature, and the pellets will begin to burn consistently.

Step 6: Start Cooking

Place your food on the cooking grates after the grill has preheated and reached the desired temperature. Close the lid and monitor the grill’s temperature and pellet levels throughout cooking. Adjust the temperature as needed and refill the hopper with pellets to ensure a successful cook.


How do I estimate pellet usage for a cooking session?

To estimate pellet usage for a cooking session on a Traeger grill, consider the following factors:

How do I estimate pellet usage for a cooking session
How do I estimate pellet usage for a cooking session?
  • Cooking Temperature: Determine the temperature range for your cooking method (low, medium, or high). Pellet consumption varies based on temperature settings:
  • Low and Slow (180°F – 250°F): 0.5 to 1.5 pounds per hour
  • Medium (300°F – 350°F): 1.5 to 2.5 pounds per hour
  • High Heat (400°F – 450°F): 2.5 to 4 pounds per hour
  • Cooking Duration: Estimate the time required to cook your food at the chosen temperature.
  • Pellet Consumption Rate: Multiply the pellet consumption rate per hour (based on the temperature range) by the estimated cooking duration.

For example, if you’re cooking at medium heat (1.5 to 2.5 pounds per hour) for 4 hours, you’ll need approximately 6 to 10 pounds of pellets.


How an Error Code Can Indicate a Low Level of Pellets?

An error code on your Traeger grill can indicate a low level of pellets or a problem with pellet feeding. Common error codes related to pellet levels include:

  • LEr (Low Temperature Error): This error occurs when the grill’s temperature drops below the set temperature for an extended period, usually due to a lack of pellets in the firepot. A low pellet level can cause the fire to go out, leading to a drop in temperature.
  • HEr (High Temperature Error): Although this error typically indicates that the grill’s temperature has exceeded the set limit, it can also result from running out of pellets. When the fire goes out due to a lack of pellets, the grill’s temperature probe may not read accurately, triggering a high temperature error.
  • Er1 or Er2 (RTD Errors): These errors relate to the grill’s temperature probe (RTD) and can occur if the probe is damaged or not functioning correctly. A low pellet level can cause temperature fluctuations, leading to erroneous temperature readings and triggering these error codes.

Tips to Avoid Traeger ran out of pellets

  1. Check pellet levels frequently: Make a habit of checking your pellet levels before and during your cooking sessions to ensure you have enough pellets to last the entire cook time.
  2. Keep a spare bag of pellets: Always have an extra bag on hand, so you can easily refill the hopper when needed.
  3. Use a pellet alarm: Invest in a pellet alarm that will notify you when your pellet levels are running low, allowing you to refill the hopper before it runs out completely.
  4. Choose the right type of pellets: Using high-quality hardwood pellets can help your Traeger grill run more efficiently, requiring fewer pellets to maintain the desired temperature.
  5. Monitor cooking temperature: Keep an eye on the cooking temperature and adjust it as needed to prevent the grill from using pellets too quickly.
  6. Clean your grill regularly: A clean grill will run more efficiently, requiring fewer pellets to maintain the desired temperature. Make sure to clean the firepot, ash, and grease regularly.
  7. Use a pellet storage container: Store your pellets in a sealed container to keep them dry and prevent them from breaking down, which can cause your grill to use more pellets than necessary.
  8. Avoid opening the grill lid frequently: Opening the grill lid frequently can cause heat loss, requiring the grill to use more pellets to maintain the desired temperature. Try to limit the number of times you open the lid during cooking.
  9. Plan your cook times: If you know how long a specific recipe takes, you can plan accordingly and ensure you have enough pellets to last the entire cook time.
  10. Upgrading to a larger hopper: If you consistently run out of pellets during your cooking sessions, consider upgrading to a larger hopper that can hold more pellets at once.

Can I use alternative fuel sources if I run out of pellets?

You can use alternative fuel sources, such as wood chips, corn, or biomass if you run out of pellets. However, ensure your heating system is compatible with the alternative fuel and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for proper usage.

Can I use alternative fuel sources if I run out of pellets

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Conclusion:

 In conclusion, running out of Traeger pellets can be inconvenient, but it also presents an opportunity to explore alternative fuel sources. By considering options like wood chips, corn, or biomass, you can ensure a continuous fuel supply for your heating system. Always check compatibility and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for proper usage to maintain efficiency and safety. Embracing these alternatives provides a reliable backup plan and contributes to a more sustainable and eco-friendly approach to heating.

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