Sunday, April 10, 2016

Caution: Keep your Fire Pot Clean

Apr 10 2016

Savannahsmoker was just saying he had to clean his fire pot out after 12 hours of cooking on his Blazin Grill Works. I had that in mind since I had done about 5 or 6 cooks on my Traeger and not cleaned it out. I usually do it every 2 or 3 cooks. It was a cold damp 40 deg. today and I thought I am just going to smoke some bologna for an hour, it should be fine.

I had the Traeger at 200 deg. and got the bologna on. I had my Maverick remote inside and was doing other things then noted I was down to 165 deg. It was about 40 minutes in. I went outside to check and it kept going lower so knew I had a flame out. I opened the lid and shut it down; with my Savannah Stoker v3 controller I have to go through a shut down before I can get the hot rod to do a light.

At that low of a temp. it cools down fast with the lid open. If you have caught it in time you can do a relight with success. Well I must have not caught it soon enough and it had dumped too many pellets in the fire pot. I did get a relight but soon the temp was rising fast and got to 300 deg. I thought I better shut it down. By the time I removed the bologna and shut down I was getting smoke from the pellet hopper.

I only had about 2 or 3 lbs. of pellets in the hopper so I emptied them out into a bucket and got it clear of pellets down to the auger. I left the lid open to the pellet bin and the smoker and let it go through shutdown. It shutdown ok and cooled off without getting fire up too much in the auger tube. I will clean it out as soon as I can and run it to clear all the pellets out of the auger tube before adding more pellets and using.

Highonsmoke just said maybe it was the pellets and said he was using Lumberjack pellets. I don’t think it is the pellets but the fire pot and auger feed tube arrangement. If you have a lot of ashes in the bottom then the pellets can build up and cover up the feed tube and that tends to smother the fire. The fire is looking for oxygen and if it can get it through the auger tube it will and burn into the tube. I think about any pellet smoker with a fire pot and an auger feed that feeds directly into the pot you could have this problem.  Not sure but I think the bottom of my auger tube is less than an inch above the bottom of the fire pot.

Prevention is to keep your fire pot cleaned out and you shouldn’t have a problem. Some pellets probably do put out more ashes but the Lumberjack pellets compare well with what Traeger pellets put out. A lot of their pellets are longer and not as uniform as the Traeger pellets and could contribute to a temporary jam at the auger entry and help cause a flame out. But I have had flame outs with the Traeger pellets too. The flame out did not cause the burnback; hat did was a dirty fire pot and too many pellets dumped in before relighting.

Savannahsmoker  and Highonsmoke are members of LTBBQ Forum.

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