Believe it or not, even the most experienced pellet grill owners struggle to get their grills to smoke from time to time. This is a relatively common issue, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of!
If you’re finding that your Traeger grill just isn’t producing any smoke – or not enough smoke – you first need to understand why. Once you’ve identified the cause(s) of the problem, it’s easier to solve!
In the following post, I’ve identified 7 common causes of low smoke output and recommended 7 fixes. I’ve also included 2 hacks (one obvious, one slightly less) to increase the volumes of smoke your Traeger grill produces.
Table of Contents
- Why Is My Traeger Not Smoking? [Problems & Fixes]
- How Do I Get More Smoke From My Traeger?
- How Much Smoke Should Come out Of a Traeger?
- My Final Thoughts
Why Is My Traeger Not Smoking? [Problems & Fixes]
So, first things first, you need to understand what’s causing the issue. There are several reasons why your Trager grill may not be smoking, either at all or not enough.
Check for these common issues as a starting point. Then once you’ve identified the issue, check my corresponding fix recommendation.
Common Issue #1: Your Grill Is Filthy
One of the most common reasons why a Traeger is not smoking correctly is due to built-up dirt and debris (mainly ash) inside the grill. In short: your grill is filthy! And that, my friend, is not cool!
If you don’t thoroughly clean your Traeger grill on a regular basis, then grease, leftover food, and ash may build up inside and interfere with the grill’s ability to function correctly – and produce smoke.
Clean the damn thing! If you need help with that, I’ve got you covered. Check out How To Clean A Traeger Grill.
Common Issue #2: Your Grill Is Too Hot
If a dirty grill isn’t the problem, your Traeger may not be smoking because you’re cooking at very high temperatures. As a rule of thumb, the higher the grill’s temperature, the less smoke there will be.
Go “low and slow”! If you want your Traeger to produce thicker plumes of smoke and give your food a strong smoke flavor, try cooking at lower temperatures.
Common Issue #3: It’s Simply The Pellets
Certain wood pellets produce more smoke than others. It might be down to how they’re produced or what ingredients they contain. I can’t really say for sure, but it’s something I’ve observed from trying out dozens of different pellet brands.
Try out a couple of different brands and varieties of wood pellets until you’ve found the one that produces the most considerable amount of smoke.
Check out Best Wood Pellets For Smoking
Common Issue #4: Your Pellets Are Wet
It’s also worth noting that wet wood pellets will struggle to ignite. If the pellets don’t burn, then they won’t produce smoke. As the saying goes: there’s no smoke without fire!
If your pellets are et, you’ll need to A) remove them from your grill and ditch them and B) learn how to store them properly. For advice on how to keep your pellets clean and dry, check out How To Store Traeger Pellets.
Common Issue #5: The Vents Are Clogged
Another potential culprit: clogged vents.
Traeger grills function by circulating large volumes of air through the grill. A fan draws air in and pushes it through the firebox, where it helps with combustion and the production of heat and smoke. From there, it rises through the grilling chamber, where it cooks and smokes your food before escaping through the chimney.
If the airflow is impeded, your grill will produce little to no smoke.
First, make sure that your grill isn’t pressed up against something that could hinder airflow to the fan vent. Easy fix.
If not, check your grill’s fan intake vent and the chimney for blockages. I recommend using an air compressor to blow out any potential trapped debris.
As incredible as it may seem, I’ve also heard of small birds or mice building their nests in the chimney flues of grills that were stored for the winter. So, it’s worth checking that your grill isn’t housing any uninvited guests!
Common Issue #6: The Auger Is Jammed
Sometimes, the augur in your Traeger pellet can become clogged or jammed.
A jammed augur won’t spin. This will prevent the transfer of pellets from the hopper to the firepot. Without a constant feed of pellets to the firepot, the fire will go out, and the grill will stop producing heat and smoke.
Wet pellets are THE NUMBER 1 cause of a jammed augur. However, a burnt-out augur motor could also be the culprit.
If you suspect that your auger tube is clogged and the augur is jammed, you will need to remove the hopper and control panel to access the auger. Then you’ll need to remove the jammed pellets.
If despite clearing the augur tube your augur still won’t spin, then the motor is most likely the issue. Unfortunately, it will need to be replaced.
Keep in mind that these jobs can be quite difficult to do if you’re not technically savvy (and may even void your warranty) so reach out to Traeger before taking things apart. The help of a technician may be required.
Common Issue #7: The Hot Rod Is Gone Bad
I’ve written a post specifically about this issue, and in particular, How To Tell If Traeger Hot Rod Is Bad.
How Do I Get More Smoke From My Traeger?
If you’ve ruled out any of the problems listed above and your grill is functioning properly, but you’d like it to produce EVEN MORE smoke, you should consider the following hacks.
Hack #1: Traeger Super Smoke
Some Traeger pellet grill models are equipped with a “Super Smoke” feature.
This hack does exactly what it says on the tin. It achieves this by blowing massive amounts of air through the firebox whilst burning the pellets at a low temperature. This results in massive amounts of smoke and an unimaginably intense smoke flavor.
Hack #2: Use a Smoker Tube
If that still isn’t enough, consider investing in an accessory known as a smoker tube.
A smoker tube (aka smoke tube) is a long, tubular-shaped “cage,” for lack of a better word. You fill it with pellets and place it inside the grilling chamber alongside your food.
As its name suggests, the smoker tube produces large volumes of visible smoke and is particularly useful for cold-smoking meats and sausages.
How Much Smoke Should Come out Of a Traeger?
At the beginning of a cook, the smoke puffing out of the grill should be quite thick and white in color.
Then, as the grill gets hotter and closer to 165º F (known as “the smoke temperatures”), the smoke will begin to thin out.
If you’re aware of other potential reasons why a Traeger pellet smoker might be running low on smoke, please get in touch. I’d be happy to add it to this post. The higher the temperature, the lower the smoke output.
My Final Thoughts
There are plenty of reasons why your Traeger grill might not be smoking correctly. It could be due to something as simple as your grill being dirty, cooking at high temperatures, wet pellets, clogged vents, or a jammed augur.
On the other hand, if your grill is working as it should and you simply want even more smoke, then you should try your grill’s super smoke function (if it has the feature) or consider buying a smoker tube.