Why is smoke coming out of my traeger hopper? The right answer

Last Updated on: 2nd December 2022, 07:03 am

Traeger Smokers is one of the competent brands in the bbq industry.

Their products are usually designed to be user-friendly while providing the flavour of traditional charcoal smokers at the same time.

But sometimes they may start to malfunction over time.

These malfunctions are often related to user error, but in some cases, the smoker itself can start malfunctioning.

One of these errors is the smoke coming out of the traeger hopper.

Generally, smoke can start coming out of the traeger hopper due to either pellets burning in the auger of the traeger or due to stoppage of the fan.

This usually occurs when you try to run your grill at higher temperatures for a longer time.

Smoke is an essential factor for enhancing the flavour of meat, but it needs to be produced in a controlled manner.

If the smoke starts pouring out of the hopper of the Traeger, then there is certainly a malfunction and you need to fix it.

I personally have faced this issue, especially when grilling something for a long time .

After hours of research and experimenting, I finally figured out that the issue is often related to inexperience.

Let’s discuss it in detail.

Why is smoke coming out of my traeger hopper?

Smoke is the most important thing that differentiates the flavour produced by smoking from other cooking methods.

It contains several gases that stick to the surface of the meat and enhance its flavour and odor.

In traeger griels, the smoke is produced by the burning of the pellets in the burn pot .

The pellets are actually stored unburnt in a box-shaped component of the traeger known as the hopper.

The pellets are then moved from here to the fire pot through a spinning rod known as an auger.

Sometimes an issue can occur in any component of this smoke generating setup, which can result in the production of smoke in the hopper.

In this guide, we will discuss all of them in detail and help you fix them without much effort.

Let’s get started

Pellets burning in an auger tube

The auger tube is a cylindrical container which encloses the auger.

It is basically a middle component between the hopper and the burn pot.

Normally, pellets pass unburnt through the auger tube and are burned in the fire pot.

But sometimes the pellets can start burning in the auger tube, which results in the smoke coming out of the hopper of the traeger.

It is the most common cause of the smoking hopper and auger tube in traeger.

Usually, grilling at a higher temperature for a longer period of time causes the pellets to start burning in the auger.

Grilling is normally done at higher temperatures for a short time, but if the grilling process is prolonged, then the smoker will start to malfunction.

Another reason for the smoke coming out of the hopper is the slow movement of the auger.

It usually occurs if you don’t prime your smoker properly.

The auger should be spinning at least as fast as it should push the pellets into the fire pot before they get too hot.

Grease fire

Grease fires are also a common reason for the smoke in the hopper.

Grease build up is normal in grills if you are grilling oily items or applying sauces to the meat.

But if you don’t clean the grease regularly, then it can lead to grease fires and smoke.

The smoke produced by the grease fire is of poor quality.

It can affect the appearance and flavour of the meat. A grease fire usually occurs if the oil or grease starts dripping directly into the fire.

It results from applying too much oil to the meat.

A grease fire usually occurs in the cooking chamber because it is the most common area for the development of grease.

But if the lid of the smoker is closed and there is no apparent easy way for smoke to get out of the smoker, then it can start coming out of the hopper.

The burning of remaining fuel after grilling

A lot of pitmasters think that the grill will turn off because they have pressed the off button.

But in reality, the grill will keep running after 10-15 minutes of turning it off as long as it is plugged into the electric outlet.

It is a completely normal thing. It usually occurs if there are unburnt pellets left in the burn pot.

The fan keeps running and burns the fuel quickly to avoid the rust buildup over time.

So the pellets might burn quicker and produce more smoke, which can start coming out of the hopper.

malfunctioned Hopper fan

The hopper fan is an essential component of the Traeger grills that helps in pushing the air away from the hopper.

It is really useful because it helps prevent smoke from entering the hopper, which can result in a fire inside the hopper.

But sometimes the hopper fan can stop working due to some malfunctioning, causing the smoke to start to enter the hopper.

In some cases, the hopper fan can even push the smoke in the opposite direction and push it into the hopper.

If you suspect that there might be a problem, you should consider turning off your grill for a while so that it will cool down.

After that, start it again and try to check if the fan is working. If the fan is working, then it will produce a humming sound in the firebox.

If you don’t hear any sound coming out of the firebox, then consider removing the hopper or grates to access the hopper fan.

If it’s not working, then consider spinning it by hand.

In addition, you should also consider checking the direction in which it’s pushing the smoke.

If it’s not working correctly, then you should consider replacing it.

Ash builds up in the burn pot

Another reason for the smoke coming out of the hopper is the ash buildup in the firepot.

Ash is usually produced in the firepot due to the burning of pellets.

It should be cleaned regularly to avoid its accumulation.

Ash build up can affect both the airflow inside the smoker and also the smoker’s build.

Ash buildup can hinder the fan from pushing the smoke away from the hopper.

Due to which, the smoke can sneak into the hopper and start coming out of it.

Grilling at a higher temperature for a longer time

Traeger is an electric device that should only be used for smoking.

But if you are grilling in a traditional Traeger, then make sure to avoid keeping it at higher temperatures for a long time. because there i a concern that electric grilling is not healthy

If the tray is kept at higher temperatures for a long time, then it can start malfunctioning.

If the temperature of the train is kept higher for a longer time or if the temperature overshoots the set temperature, then its control panel can start malfunctioning.

Due to which, the pellets might burn quicker and produce more smoke.

You should consider maintaining the temperature constant throughout the process.

Tips for fixing smoke from coming out of the hopper

  • The first and foremost tip is to clean your traeger regularly.
    It can help you to avoid several issues, ranging from ash buildup to rust development. It doesn’t require much effort, but it will be worth the effort in the long run.
  • Moreover, you need to check your hopper fan from time to time for any malfunction.
    If possible, you should consider checking the hopper fan before every cooking session.If it’s not working, then you need to replace it before using the smoker again.
  • Another tip is to never leave your smoker unattended.it usually happens if you are smoking meat overnight.
    Although traeger smokers are user-friendly and you can use them by the “set it and forget it” method, you still need to be involved in the process.
    By doing so, you can control any malfunctioning before it does more damage to the flavour of meat.
  • Additionally, you need to develop the habit of leaving the tester plugged in for at least 15 minutes before turning it off.
    It will help you to get rid of any unburnt fuel, which might result in the development of rust in the fire pot.
  • If you are getting a little bit of smoke from the hopper, then you need to turn off the grill and clean the hopper.
    Then take out the pellets present in the auger and check for charring.
    If the pellets are blackened or charred, you need to contact customer support for help.


Smoke in the hopper can be a result of various issues.

But the most common of them are the malfunctioning hopper fan and pellets burning in the auger tube.

It is not a serious issue and you can fix it yourself unless the circuit board is faulty.

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