How To Sift Traeger Pellets
Sifting Traeger pellets before putting them in the hopper will go a long way toward preventing auger jams as well as maximizing your wood pellet grill’s performance.
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Even the highest-quality Traeger wood pellets can still carry a fair amount of dust and minute wood particles that can gradually start to build up in the lower part of the hopper.
Over time this dust can increase the risk of auger jams and a lot of time wasted clearing them.
There is also a risk of excess dust buildup in the auger shaft and the wood hopper leading to a troublesome problem known as “Burn Back.”
This can happen after a long smoking session that superheats the metal of the auger, which then causes the dust to smolder even after the Traeger grill has been turned off.
Sifting Traeger wood pellets is relatively easy and should be done right before adding them to the hopper.
You simply place a coarse mesh basket sieve over a 5-gallon bucket and pour a small portion of the wood pellets in.
Then give the sieve a few vigorous shakes, which should take all of 15 seconds.
This will help knock the dust out of the bottom.
You can then add the sifted wood pellets directly to the Traeger’s hopper or store them in another clean 5-gallon bucket.
If you’re going to be storing the wood pellets for more than a day or two, or keeping them outside, make sure to seal the bucket with an airtight lid to prevent humidity from affecting the water-soluble, organic lignin that binds the wood fibers of the pellets together.
Do You Need to Sift Traeger Pellets?
Sifting Traeger wood pellets isn’t 100% necessary, but it comes in handy for preventing problems like auger jams and smoldering back burns.
It also helps maximize the performance of your Traeger grill by ensuring the most consistent burn possible in the internal firepot.
What Does Sifting Traeger Pellets Do?
Sifting Traeger wood pellets remove any of the dust or wood fibers leftover from the production process.
Keeping this material from getting into your hopper in the first place will inevitably reduce the number of auger jams you experience over the life of the grill, as well as reduce the risk of back burn after a long grilling session.
Sifting wood pellets can also be an indicator of quality.
The more dust and wood fiber that is released from a sifting session in a coarse mesh sieve the lower quality the wood pellets are.
This might also be a sign of fillers or low-quality chemical binders.
Can You Leave the Pellets in Traeger Overnight?
Ideally, you want to purge the pellets from your Traeger grill after every cooking session.
This prevents ambient humidity from affecting the organic, water-soluble lignin that’s used to bind the wood fibers in Traeger pellets.
In high humid conditions, even 24-hours can cause a small volume of wood fibers to release, falling down into the bottom of the hopper, which can get into the auger shaft.
Considering how little time it takes to purge your wood pellet hopper, and how much time it takes to clear and auger jam, or deal with a back burn problem, it really makes sense to not leave your wood pellets in your Traeger overnight.
If you need to leave them overnight, try to purge the wood pellets within the next 24 hours, and seal them back in a bucket under an airtight lid.
While you aren’t absolutely required to sift Traeger wood pellets every time you use them, it is certainly a good idea.
Preventing dust and minute wood particles from getting into the hopper will help auger jams and smoldering burn back problems.
It can also go a long way toward maximizing the performance of your Traeger wood pellet grill.
Sifting Traeger wood pellets is as easy as placing a coarse mesh basket sieve over a 5-gallon bucket, before pouring a small portion of the wood pellets into it.
Give the sieve a few vigorous shakes for 10 to 15 seconds to knock the dust out the bottom.
The sifted wood pellets can then be poured directly into the Traeger’s hopper, or you can store them in another clean 5-gallon bucket.
If you plan to store the wood pellets for more than a day or two, be sure to seal the bucket with an airtight lid to prevent humidity from breaking down the water-soluble, organic lignin binder that holds the wood fibers of the pellets together.
It’s also a good idea to not keep the wood pellet in the hopper for more than 24 hours.
Especially during humid weather, which can cause the lignin to break down releasing wood fibers into the hopper and auger.
These simple preventive measures make sense when you consider the large amount of time it takes to deal with wood pellet jams, and smoldering backburn, compared to the small amount of time it takes to sift and purge pellets from the hopper.
This article was written by Robert McCall, the founder of bbqdropout.com. Robert also owns and operates the BBQ dropout YouTube channel where he demonstrates his first-hand experience cooking all kinds of meats and strives to provide helpful, authoritative content for people looking how to barbecue.
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