How Traeger Pellet Grills Work

Technical Information


Pellet Feeder

The Traeger Wood Pellet Barbecue Grill is simple and safe to operate. Traeger grills require standard household electric current (110 VAC), which powers the igniter rod, auger motor and draft induction fan. Once you turn the grill on, the igniter rod is activated, the auger begins to feed pellets into the firepot, and the draft induction fan feeds air into the firepot. The igniter rod is a small heating element that gets red hot and then shuts off after two minutes – just long enough to ignite the pellets in the firepot.

Digital Thermometer


The start-up process and operating temperature of the grill are controlled by Traeger’s patented electronic control board. The microprocessor circuitry regulates the heat and smoke in the Traeger by stopping and starting the auger motor. The standard three-position smoker control has three settings. The approximate cooking temperatures and auger times are:

High 425 – 450 F Always On 2 lbs/hr
Medium 300 – 325 F On 2 Minutes, Off 2 Minutes 1 lb/hr
Smoke 180 – 220 F On 1 Minute, Off 3 Minutes 1/2 lb/hr

*Please note that these temperatures are subject to outside weather conditions, and that pellet consumption varies somewhat by grill size.

The Traeger Digital Thermostat Control allows you to lock in a specific temperature by stopping and starting the auger in 15-second intervals, feeding pellets as needed to maintain the desired temperature. The operating temperature inside the Traeger Barbecue is monitored by an RTD (resistance temperature detector) probe and displayed on a bright red LED display.


The draft induction fan and auger in the Traeger Barbecue operate continuously, as long as the Traeger grill is turned on. Air is fed to the firepot via several small holes in the cylindrical wall. Directly above the firepot is a heat shield that acts as the primary point of heat diffusion, forcing heat from the centrally located firepot to spread to the sides. A few inches higher is the steel drip tray. Besides catching the drippings from the cook surface (we recommend lining it with foil for easy cleanup), this piece also serves as a secondary point of heat diffusion, channeling the heat into the front and rear of of the cooking chamber. This effective system of heat distribution makes for a grill that cooks evenly enough to grill or smoke the most delicate fish or even bake a large pizza – right on the grill.

As the hot, smoky air circulates around the cooking chamber, it surrounds your food with heat, cooking it evenly on all sides, both top and bottom. This means that Traeger Grills do not need a rotisserie. In most cases, you don’t even need to turn food unless you are cooking at a high temperature or want grill marks on both sides of the meat. This even heating means that you achieve perfectly cooked food every time, with no flare-ups, no burnt food and no hassles.


During the start-up stage of operation (first four minutes), the igniter rod in on and the unit will draw 300 watts, and then drop down to 50 watts per hour for the remaining operating time. This is equivalent to a standard household light bulb! Easy Setup Most Traeger Barbecue Grills ship fully assembled. Those that are not require only about 20 minutes’ assembly time. Once your Traeger Barbecue is unpacked and set up, you will need to run it on high for an hour to finalize the curing of the paint and burn off excess paint vapors. Then, you’re ready to cook!


The major components of a Traeger Barbecue are:

Auger – A corkscrew-like rod that feeds pellets through a tube from the pellet hopper to the firepot. Auger Drive Motor – The motor that turns the auger. Cooking Grate – The non-stick, easy-to-maintain surface upon which your food rests while cooking. The porcelain-coated steel we use is the same material used by many other high-end grill manufacturers.

Draft Induction Fan – Blows fresh air into the firepot through perforations in the cylindrical firepot wall.

Electricity – Standard household current (110 VAC) is needed to power the igniter rod, auger motor and induction fan. The Traeger Grill operates on 300 watts during the first four minutes (when the igniter rod is active), then drops down to just 50 watts per hour, less than a standard light bulb.

Firepot – Located in the heart of the grill, below the cooking area. This is where the combustion takes place, as the fire is fueled with hardwood cooking pellets and fresh air.

Grease Bucket – The galvanized bucket into which excess grease drains from out of the grill and away from the fire and your food.

Grease Drain – The spout from which the grease drains into the grease bucket.

Grease Drain Pan/Drip Tray – The angled piece of steel that extends from one side of the grill to the other, and extends almost all the way from front to rear. Its two purposes are to drain grease out of the grill, and also to serve as the secondary point of heat diffusion, forcing hot air through the very front and rear of the cooking area. We recommend that you line this pan with heavy-duty foil for quick and easy cleanup when needed.

Heat Shield/Fire Baffle – The heavy-gauge piece of angled steel that fits directly over the firepot to act as the primary heat diffusion point.

Hopper-Auger Assembly – This refers to the entire modular assembly that attaches and extends into the main body of the grill during the easy assembly process on the BBQ070, BBQ075 and BBQ100.

Igniter Rod/Hot Rod – A small heating element at the bottom of the firepot that gets red-hot for a few minutes upon startup–just long enough to start the pellets on fire.

Pellets – Made from 100% pure hardwood sawdust, Traeger wood pellets are the source of both fuel and flavor in your Traeger Barbecue. Traeger cooking pellets are manufactured using heat and pressure (10,000 psi) and provide more than 8,500 BTUs of heat per pound. Traeger hardwood cooking pellets contain no added substances-just pure hardwood goodness. Pellet Hopper – holds pellets above an opening to the auger. The hopper is situated to the side or front of the cooking area, depending on the model.

RTD Sensor (Resistance Temperature Detector) – A precision temperature sensor that measures the temperature inside the cooking chamber of a Traeger Barbecue. As the temperature inside the cooking chamber changes, so does the resistance created by the RTD. The circuitry within the Traeger Digital Thermostat Control monitors these changes and causes the auger motor to turn or not turn depending upon the the difference between the selected temperature and the desired temperature.

Smoke Stack/Vent – The point from which hot, smoky air exits the cooking chamber, this is designed to look like a smokestack, a subtle slot on the back of the unit or even the snout of a pig or a steer, depending on the model of grill.

Temperature Control Board – The microprocessor circuitry and control settings that regulate the auger motor to stop and start the auger. The standard control has three settings: Smoke, Medium and High. The Digital Thermostat Control allows you to dial in a specific temperature and monitor the grill’s internal temperature via the LED readout.


Traeger Barbecues and the technology behind them are protected by the following patents:

Patent #370,823
Patent #4,619,209
Patent #4,823,684
Patent #5,251,607