First cook issues

Ozium

New member
Messages
3
Grill(s) owned
  1. Patio Legend 410
I did my first cook on my new 410 last night, a few reverse seared sirloins. I had no problem with the cook, got it up to riot mode fine, and then decided I would drop it back down after to smoke some peppers for a marinade for the next day. The temp dropped fine, but eventually smoke began to pour out of the pellet hopper. I turned it off, removed pellets from the hopper, and everything was fine. This morning I refilled the hopper tried to turn it on low for some jerky and it was not wanting to heat up. I spent half an hour and it was not getting up above 94/95. I turned it back off and will clean out the fire box, but should I clear it out somehow and start fresh?
 
Anytime you clean out the firebox, you need to “prime it” by putting about a 1/4 cup of pellets in the firebox (close to the igniter).
 
Ok. Yeah, I did find the issue when I looked at the firebox. The auger had filled it with pellets. Working now, but I did not know about the priming. I know the instructions said to do it during the initial burn in, but I thought it said to not do it after that. Lesson learned. Thank you.
 
Ok. Yeah, I did find the issue when I looked at the firebox. The auger had filled it with pellets. Working now, but I did not know about the priming. I know the instructions said to do it during the initial burn in, but I thought it said to not do it after that. Lesson learned. Thank you.
You should only have to prime it for the initial burn and whenever you clean out / vacuum the cooking chamber, and specifically, the fire pot. You should not have to prime it otherwise.

That said, I also recommend, that if/when you do high-heat cooking on your RecTeq, after you’ve completed your cooking, that you incrementally decrease the temperature setting by about 80 degree increments until you get it down to about 200-220 degrees before you power off the RecTeq. There’s no official RT document or recommendation to do this. And a number of respected members of this forum don’t agree with my process on this matter. My position on this is based on my own experience with high-heat cooks. And, you’re welcome to search this forum for the numerous posts about fires in the auger channel and smoke coming out of the hopper. In most of those cases, they were doing high-heat burns.

I also have a theory that this “phenomena” occurs mostly with the pellet cookers that do not have a smokestack vent. I had multiple fires in one Traeger model I bought at Costco. It didn’t have a smokestack. But I digress.
 
You should only have to prime it for the initial burn and whenever you clean out / vacuum the cooking chamber, and specifically, the fire pot. You should not have to prime it otherwise.

That said, I also recommend, that if/when you do high-heat cooking on your RecTeq, after you’ve completed your cooking, that you incrementally decrease the temperature setting by about 80 degree increments until you get it down to about 200-220 degrees before you power off the RecTeq. There’s no official RT document or recommendation to do this. And a number of respected members of this forum don’t agree with my process on this matter. My position on this is based on my own experience with high-heat cooks. And, you’re welcome to search this forum for the numerous posts about fires in the auger channel and smoke coming out of the hopper. In most of those cases, they were doing high-heat burns.

I also have a theory that this “phenomena” occurs mostly with the pellet cookers that do not have a smokestack vent. I had multiple fires in one Traeger model I bought at Costco. It didn’t have a smokestack. But I digress.
My point with the dissertation on my cool down/power down sequence is that it will normally leave a few pellets in the firebox for your next cook with no worries about priming it. Just turn it on and go.

One more thing…I’m of the “leaving the lid to the cooking chamber open for starting your pellet grill (any brand).” It takes 4 - 5 minutes or so for the grill to feed pellets into the fire box and ignite them. The blower fan helps to stoke the fire. But because the igniter is just a heating rod with no flame itself, it will make the fresh pellets smolder until the blower fan stokes it into an open flame. During that time, you will see a heavy smoke come from your cooking chamber. Once the pellets ignite into a flame, the heavy smoke subsides. At that time, you can close the lid, set your cooking temperature and proceed with your cooking. And I swear on a Bible that at the moment the pellets are stoked to a flame, the sound coming from the fire box changes from just the sound of the blower to what, to me, sounds like a very small jet engine. It’s not audibly loud but there’s a definite difference in the sound.

This startup sequence I do precludes me from having the “lid pop” phenomenon…because with the lid open, there’s more oxygen getting to the fire pot to assist with turning smoldering pellets into open flame burning pellets. In this situation, I believe pellet grills with smokestacks are more likely to experience lid pop. It’s my understanding there is more venting on the other models that may make them less likely to experience lid pop.

For the record, I both startup and shutdown my RT-700 at the 200 degree F temperature setting.
 
@Ozium …my apologies for the long dissertations. They’re things I think are important for new users to know.

But should have started with…”Welcome” to this forum. There are lots of very experienced BBQers here to help you along. We may not all agree on methods but we all love to see pics of your cooks and mentally savor the flavors.
 
Excellent information. I'm by no means an expert, but with automobile engines, Diesel engines, and aircraft jet engines, I always throttled back to idle before shut down. Though the reasons for this may be different, it makes sense to me to "power down" from high heat before shut down.
 
I'm one of the few members of this forum that seems to do significantly more high heat cooks than low and slow. In my experience, the only time I've had smoke escaping the hopper were after doing a high heat cook and then slowly lowering temps as recommended by @TheRicker. I can't say that it will be the cause for you, but it seemed to be for me. I believe this is due to how RecTeq handles when we massively drop the temperature on the controller. For my 590, it stops the auger, and runs the blower motor to try and lower temps quicker. What I think this results in is the pellets closest to the end of the auger tube to smolder, and potentially ignite, which would explain the smoke coming from the hopper. I was lucky in the few times that I did this I didn't experience a backburn, but smoke coming from the hopper is always a bad sign.

Since then, I've done the same thing for every high heat cook and I haven't had smoke coming from the hopper again. I open the grill lid, start it, set temp, wait for the initial smoke to clear, and close the lid. Then just wait to hit desired temp and cook. Once I'm done cooking, I simply open the lid back up, and begin the shutdown. I never adjust the temp before shutdown. Once it hits the auger stage of shutdown, I close the lid. I've been doing it like this for years, and after hundreds of cooks, I've had zero issues doing it this way (knock on wood). Everyone has different ways of doing it that works best for them!
 
I'm one of the few members of this forum that seems to do significantly more high heat cooks than low and slow. In my experience, the only time I've had smoke escaping the hopper were after doing a high heat cook and then slowly lowering temps as recommended by @TheRicker. I can't say that it will be the cause for you, but it seemed to be for me. I believe this is due to how RecTeq handles when we massively drop the temperature on the controller. For my 590, it stops the auger, and runs the blower motor to try and lower temps quicker. What I think this results in is the pellets closest to the end of the auger tube to smolder, and potentially ignite, which would explain the smoke coming from the hopper. I was lucky in the few times that I did this I didn't experience a backburn, but smoke coming from the hopper is always a bad sign.
I step mine down first when I pull the protein, then again when it is close or stable and then finally I shut it down. I can’t suffocate it like my stick burner or other grills but it works. Also my process produces a perfect start up for the next time. YMMV

Agree anything burning where it should not be is not a good thing.
 
Yes. As someone else mentioned, always step down temperature slowly. I’ve also not had good experiences with cooking over 400. Seems to end up in a flame out 50% of the time. FYI, I have a bullseye.
 
Yes. As someone else mentioned, always step down temperature slowly. I’ve also not had good experiences with cooking over 400. Seems to end up in a flame out 50% of the time. FYI, I have a bullseye.
I never step down, and almost exclusively cook at 400+, with most of my cooks coming from 500 and full cooks. I do not step temps down, and have had zero problems with this method. Everything cools fine, no pellets smoldering in the auger, and my next cook always startups perfectly. I have had issues stepping temps down, however, with smoke coming from the hopper and smoldering pellets still in the auger (I vacuum the firepot every 3-4 cooks). Everyones experience is different, but I would say NEVER step down temperature slowly. YMMV Also, never, ever had a flameout on a high temp cook.
 

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