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9 Tips For Lighting Traeger Grills

How to light a Traeger grill

If you are used to using a charcoal grill or smoker, you are familiar with the process of lighting charcoal to start your cooking fire. Starting a Traeger grill may be completely different, but you need to learn how to properly start it to produce great barbecue and food for you and your family.

You need to go through the initial startup process after you finish assembling the grill before you can cook.

If you have had your Traeger grill for a while and it stops igniting pellets, check the hot rod that causes the ignition of the pellets. Even if there are problems getting the pellets to ignite, you are not out of options for cooking on your Traeger. 


Why you should light a Traeger grill

While lighting a Traeger grill is more reminiscent of lighting a gas grill, you still need a fire to produce smoke and heat to cook your food. 


What lighting a Traeger grill does

Lighting a Traeger starts the process of igniting the wood pellets in your grill’s hopper. You should not see open flames during normal running, but there is a flame as the pellets burn to produce smoke and heat to cook your food.


How do I start my Traeger for the first time?

After you have assembled your Traeger grill, you do need to go through an extended process to season your grill properly before cooking. 

You need to burn off any oils or grease from the inside of your grill left over from the manufacturing process, so do not put any food on your grill as soon as you finish assembling it. Make sure you have added pellets to your hopper before you start this process and have your grill plugged in. Removing 

1. Turn on your grill.

2. Select ‘Auger” on the menu and then select “Prime Auger.”

3. After pellets begin to fall into the firepot, you can stop the priming process.

4. Select 350 degrees on the temperature dial and set the grill.

5. Close the lid and once the grill has ignited, let it reach the 350-degree mark and run it for 20 minutes.

6. Up the temperate to 450 degrees.

7. Once the grill hits 450 degrees, let it run for 30 more minutes.

8. Shut the grill down following the specific procedures for your grill.

9. Once the grill has cooled completely, it is ready to make some amazing food!


Why is my Traeger not igniting?

There are several possible causes, but if your Traeger grill turns on, the auger works, and the fan kicks on when you start the grill, it is likely the hot rod that ignites the pellets in the firepot. 

The best way to check to see if the hot rod is by removing all the internal components of the grill so you can see the firepot.

If the firepot is clean and clear of pellets, turn the grill on and set your temperature just like you would to start smoking. After a couple of minutes, hold your hand over the firepot, be careful not to touch the firepot or the hot rod, and see if you feel any heat coming off the firepot.

If you do not feel any heat after the five-minute mark of turning your grill on, the hot rod likely failed. You will need to contact Traeger Customer Service about getting a replacement. 

If your hot rod has failed, all hope is not lost for smoking while waiting for a replacement hot rod.


Can you manually light a pellet grill?

If the hot rod is not igniting pellets in the firepot, you can start a pellet grill manually using pellets and alcohol gel. You put half a cup of pellets into the firepot and add approximately two tablespoons of alcohol gel on top of the pellets.

Light the gel using a long match, such as one used for lighting a fireplace, and wait about five minutes for everything to catch properly, then turn the grill on and reinstall the parts you pulled to get to the firepot. 


How long does it take to start a Traeger grill?

If you have all the internal components in your Traeger, it takes around 15 minutes to preheat your grill. The startup process on newer Traeger grills is easy. You set the temperature you want to cook at, and the grill starts to preheat. 


Starting the Traeger with the lid closed or open?

Before 2016, all Traeger pellet grills needed to be started with their lids open, but in 2016, Traeger started producing grills that started with their lids closed. 

Startup on an older model has more steps before being able to set the temperature you want to be cooking at and starting the preheating process. Models that start with closed lids allow you to simply set the desired temperature and start preheating. 


Final Thoughts

You cannot produce great barbecue without flame, and your Traeger grill is no different. Stick to the procedures for your grill and you will be rewarded. There is even a procedure for manually starting your grill in the event your hot rod fails!