Why Is My Traeger Smoking So Much?

Traeger grills are a brand of pellet grill and smoker. So, you should logically expect your Traeger to smoke when you use it. In fact, it’s not a good sign if your Traeger isn’t smoking at all.

But, if the smoke is so thick that it becomes difficult to breathe or see what you’re doing, your Traeger is smoking too much and something’s up. Same thing if you’ve got smoke escaping from the pellet hopper.

There are a number of reasons why your Traeger grill might be smoking so much. In this post, I’ll share some of the most common reasons why Traeger grills smoke excessively.

Why Is My Traeger Smoking So Much?

Here are the most common reasons for excessive Traeger smoking. Thankfully, most of these issues are easily remedied, and you Traeger should be smoking normally again in no time.

Common Reason #1: Wet Pellets

The most common cause of excessive smoke with a Traeger grill is wet wood pellets. Once wood pellets get wet, they can crumble (and cause an “augur jam”), fail to ignite, or fail to burn properly and cause smoke if they do eventually catch fire.

Store your wood pellets in an air-tight container, in a moisture-free environment to keep them dry so retain their original qualities.

Common Reason #2: Airflow Issues

Airflow is a fundamental aspect of a Traeger grill. Traeger grills are designed to suck in air through an intake fan. This air is then blown into the firepot, where it helps the pellets burn. As the pellets burn, the heat and smoke they produce circulate through the cooking chamber, before escaping from the grill through the chimney.

The airflow needs to be “just right”, meaning too much and too little are detrimental to the proper functioning of your grill.

If too much air is sucked in, the pellets will burn very hot. This will limit the amount of smoke produced (not good if you’re looking to smoke something) and may also cause your food to burn. On the other hand, if airflow into the grill is hindered, there won’t be enough air to allow the pellets to combust properly.

Not only will this cause the pellets to smoke excessively, but you’ll also find it hard to reach the desired cooking temperatures. Finally, incomplete combustion also produces carbon monoxide – which is potentially fatal to humans. Hence, why Traeger grills must only be used outdoors, in very well-ventilated spaces.

Airflow issues are mainly caused by the following:

Blocked Vents

If the grill vents are blocked (mainly the intake fan vent and the chimney), then airflow will be hindered.

Make sure that the grill isn’t positioned up against something that is preventing it from sucking in the air it needs.

Finally, make sure to check the chimney for obstructions. Birds, or indeed rodents, have been known to build nests inside the chimney during the winter months when the grills are stored away.

Defective Intake Fan

Generally, this is due to a burnt-out fan motor. However, there are times when the main controller develops a fault and fails to control the fan motor correctly.

In both instances, you will need to source and replace the defective components.

Ash Build Up

On rare occasions, the firebox becomes completely smothered in ash. This also prevents air from circulating properly, and the pellets from burning as they should.

Common Reason #3: Grease Fire

The third common reason for excessive smoke is grease.

As you grill and smoke meat with your Traeger, they will release copious amounts of grease. Some of the grease will coat the inside of the cooking chamber walls, and most of it will drip onto the drip tray and eventually make its way into the grease bucket.

This grease is highly flammable. And, if you fail to regularly empty the grease bucket, and clean the drip tray and the rest of your grill, the grease can go on fire. When this happens, large amounts of smoke are produced.

Not only is a grease fire a nuisance, but it’s also very dangerous. Flames can burst out of your grill when you open the lid causing a surge of oxygen that feeds the flames. Always make sure to take precautions when opening the lid if you suspect that your Traeger caught on fire because of grease.

Why Is There Smoke Coming out Of My Traeger Hopper?

Smoke billowing from your Traeger hopper is not normal and may be caused by backburn. Backburn is when the wood pellets contained in the augur tube go on fire and begin to burn backward towards(and sometimes actually into) the pellet hopper, which is in essence the fuel storage area of the grill.

If your Traeger begins to backburn, you should unplug the grill from the power socket, and close the lids to both the grill and the hopper. This will starve the fire of oxygen and hopefully cause the fire to die out.

Hopefully, there is no fire to put out and you can just remove the charred wood pellets from the augur and the hopper. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Make My Traeger Smoke Less?

To make your Traeger smoke less, first check that your pellets are dry, that your grill doesn’t have an airflow problem, and that you’re not facing a grease fire. If you’ve eliminated any of these causes of excessive smoke, it’s likely that your Trager is just smoking as it should.

However, it’s worth noting that the hotter your Traeger grill burns, the less smoke it will produce. And vice versa. So, consider cooking at higher temperatures for more heat and less smoke.

Is My Traeger Supposed to Smoke?

Traeger grills are a brand of wood pellet grill, also known as wood pellet smokers. As such, they are supposed to smoke.

Is My Traeger Supposed to Smoke All The Time?

Traeger grills burn wood pellets to cook and smoke food. Therefore, they will produce smoke throughout the cook, i.e. all the time. However, under normal working conditions, the amount of smoke they produce will vary with many factors such as the type of pellet burned, the temperature of the grill, or indeed atmospheric and meteorological conditions.

If you’re wondering if you can cook on a Traeger without any smoke at all, then check out Can You Grill On A Traeger Without Smoke? [1-Minute Read].

If your Traeger isn’t producing as much smoke as you’d like it to, then make sure to check out How Do I Get More Smoke From My Traeger? [7 Causes & Fixes + 2 Hacks].


I’m Glen, an ordinary guy with an extraordinary passion for grilling. I was recently gifted a Traeger wood pellet grill for my birthday. I knew little about setting up, operating, cooking with, or maintaining a Traeger grill. I started this website to document my findings as I learn to "master the flames".

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