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Smoke Coming out of Hopper

Smoke coming out of the hopper is not normal behavior; however, it is not usually dangerous. That said, if you feel any sense of alarm that your pellets in the hopper are at risk of catching fire, please go directly to the Billowing Smoke sectopm and follow the steps listed there.

If you do not feel alarmed, let's proceed in taking a look at your symptoms to see if we can keep the smoke in your food and out of your hopper.

Smoke Coming from Hopper during a Cook

This may seem alarming, but seeing smoke coming from the hopper during a cook is indicative of an airflow issue--not the pellets in the hopper ready to ignite. Typically the fan is not blowing to create the correct pressure to vacuum out the exhaust, allowing smoke to escape out of the hopper. Let's go through a checklist to try and get the air flowing correctly.

  • Ensure your grill is on a level surface.
  • Listen to the fan (while cooking).
    • If you can't hear the fan spinning, turn off the grill, let it cool and try to manually spin the fan with your hand to loosen up any grime or buildup that could prevent it from functioning efficiently.
  • Check to see if the fan is installed upside down--particularly if you have had to replace the fan yourself. An upside-down fan will push air to the hopper rather than to the firepot, where the air should be going.
    • You can also check this by removing the grates, drip tray, and heat baffle, turning on the grill and placing your hand near the firepot to feel if the air is coming out.
  • Clean out your grill. A buildup of ash can cause airflow issues, which can cause smoke to move back through the auger into the hopper.
  • If you continue to get smoke coming out of your hopper during a cook, please contact Customer Service.

Smoke Coming from Hopper during Shutdown Mode

Typically, you will see this on an AC (non-WiFIRE-enabled) grill. If you notice smoke coming from your hopper during Shutdown Mode, this is caused by what we call backburn. Backburn means that the pellets within the auger are heating to a smoke point.

To resolve backburn, turn your grill to SMOKE. This will begin feeding the pellets within the auger into the firepot. Allow your grill to run until the grill's temperature decreases to below 225F. Proceeding to Shutdown from this point should prevent any additional smoke.

For preventative measures, try the following:

  • If you were cooking at a higher temperature, try putting the grill into smoke mode for a few minutes before shutdown. This will allow the grill to cool off a bit before putting the grill into shutdown mode.
  • Make sure the lid is closed during shutdown mode.
  • Ensure your grill is on a level surface.
  • Clean out the grill. A buildup of ash can cause airflow issues which can cause smoke to move back through the auger.

Billowing Smoke

If there is an excessive amount of smoke coming out of the hopper, this is due to active backburn (pellets burning in the auger causing excessive smoke). Customers actively experience this should be advised to do the following:

  • Unplug the grill.
  • Keep both the grill and hopper lid closed to starve the fire of oxygen.
  • If there is NOT an active fire, perform a shutdown procedure and keep all components closed. After the grill cools down, remove any burned pellets from the hopper.