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Traeger wont go above 400? (Explained)

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Traeger won’t go above 400

Traeger grills are designed to reach and maintain very high temperatures. However, many factors can prevent the grill from reaching and working at its optimum temperature. Here we will discuss several of the issues faced by grill owners in reaching hot temperatures..

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Why is my Traeger not getting up to temp?

Several issues can keep your Traeger from reaching a hot temperature.

Climate can affect a grill. While Traeger grills are designed to work on even the coldest days, the grill still has to work harder to heat on a colder day than on a warmer one.

Wind, rain and snow can also prevent the grill from heating efficiently. If you are grilling on a very cold or windy day, consider a grill blanket to keep the temperature from fluctuating too much.

Airflow is also important for the grill. While one might want to push the grill up against a wall to keep it out of the wind, this will also cause the grill to have poor air circulation.

One needs to give the grill enough space to ensure the induction fan can draw air in properly. Similarly, the exhaust must be free from obstruction as well, for the air to flow properly.

The grill must be in good working order.

The grill must be cleaned, with all soot and grease cleaned from the smoke stack, and all ash cleaned from the fire box.

Several parts must also function correctly for the grill to work properly. The thermocoupler and hot rod must both be functioning correctly, and may need to be replaced.

The induction fan should be able to run, as it is designed to run constantly in the grill.

Different sorts of fuel pellets burn differently in the grill. Hardwood pellets may burn hotter, and you may wish to experiment with them.

Opening the lid often causes the temperature to drop.

The grill is designed to be used with a closed lid. Every time the lid is opened, heat is lost.

While some opening of the lid is needed to check temperatures, you must not give in to the temptation to constantly check up on how the meat is cooking.

The lid must also fit against the grill. A gap of no more than one-quarter inch is allowable.

Why does my Traeger only get to 350?

If the grill is at an extremely low temperature, there may be fuel pellet issues.

Fuel pellets that are old or wet will not burn well, and the grill temperature won’t rise to the desired level.

Lower quality pellets from an off-brand manufacturer may burn incompletely, leaving a lot of ash.

A quality pellet will burn more fully, leaving less ash, and will also burn hotter. 

The grill augur could also be tunneling into the supply of fuel pellets.

The augur takes pellets from the middle of the fuel pile. If the pellets do not settle correctly, a hole in the pile may develop, which will lead to the augur simply delivering air, rather than fuel, to the fire box. In this case, the temperature will fall.

The augur may also be turning at the wrong speed. To test this, mark the augur with a pencil, and time the augur as it makes one complete rotation.

The augur should turn fully within 36 seconds. If it doesn’t, it needs to be replaced.

The RTD probe, located on the left side of the grill, may need cleaning, or it may be malfunctioning.

It can be cleaned simply by wiping it free of any soot buildup, or cleaning it with a bit of vinegar. If it is dirty, it will not show the correct temperature. The probe should be straight, and should not touch the sides of the grill.

The hot rod of the grill heats the pellets and causes them to burn. A bad hot rod will keep the grill from heating properly.

Replacement hot rods can be purchased directly from Traeger or from on-line vendors. It is a simple part to replace, and you can easily do it yourself, or you can take the grill in for service.

Finally, you must make sure the grill sensors are measuring temperature accurately. Thermometers and temperature probes must be calibrated accurately to ensure they give an accurate reading.

How do you get Traegers above 400 degrees?

If you have made sure that all of the issues above have been dealt with, there are a few other questions you can investigate in order to maximize your grill temperature.

Be sure the lid is kept closed, and that it fits tightly against the grill body. A gap of about a quarter-inch is fine, but a larger gap lets in too much air.

While the lid might be opened occasionally to check the temperature, every opening of the lid bleeds off heat.

Similarly, the smokestack and the smokestack cap must have only a small gap between them.

A gap of no more than an inch is right. More causes heat loss.

The grill does not heat evenly across its entire surface. It is the hottest closest to the fuel box and the smoke stack. It is coolest at the points farthest away from those components.

Most of the time, the exact temperature at any given moment of the grill will not matter.

The grill works by cooking at an average temperature over a period of time and some fluctuation is acceptable, so long as the meat being cooked reaches the desired internal temperature in a reasonable amount of time. 

If, for some reason, the meat needs to be held at a higher temperature, for searing, for example, consider using the hotter parts of the grill for the purpose, and placing the meat there.

Finally, fire bricks can be used to line the bottom of the grill, to retain heat.

Final thoughts

Variation in grilling temperature is quite normal and is influenced by many different factors. The weather, the care and upkeep of the grill, and the type of pellets all play a role in determining the temperature. Keeping close watch over the details of your grill will lead you to grilling success.

This article was written by Robert McCall, the founder of 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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