What’s The Deal With Traeger Smoke Settings?

Traeger grills are a great way to cook food. They have internal temperature control that allows you to set the cooking level and they will maintain it throughout the cook. They use wood pellets for fuel which gives your meat a wonderful smoky flavor. Traeger grills have a setting called smoke that is used for low-temperature smoking. However, many people have asked that question. Can I cook on Smoke Setting on Traeger Grill? This blog looks at how you can cook on the smoke setting.

So, can I cook on smoke setting on Traeger grill? You can cook on smoke setting on Traeger grill. “Smoke” setting is a timed cycle that operates the auger for 15 seconds on keeps it off for another 65 seconds. The “Smoke” setting on Traeger grill is intended to get the grill started by smoldering of wood pellets in the initial firing phase. In the “Smoke” setting, the temperature is developed between 150 and 180 Fahrenheit. However, the Traeger grill produces reasonable smoke at a temperature anywhere between 180 and 225 Fahrenheit. So, it is better to avoid the smoke setting to cook the food.

Also Read: Can I Cook on Traeger without Smoke

What is Exactly The “Smoke Setting” On Traeger?

At the smoke setting, the temperature of the Traeger grill is not properly regulated like the other temperature options. The temperature at the smoke setting hovers around 160 to 180 Fahrenheit. This is because the on/off cycle of the auger oscillates between 15 and 65 seconds, which is determined by the factory pre-set.

For 15 seconds, the auger feeds wood pellets in the firepot. In the next 65 seconds, these wood pellets are given time to burn. After 65 seconds, the next batch of wood pellets is fed by the auger.

The smoke setting feeds the wood pellets in the firepot at the slowest rate, due to which the temperature is lowest at the smoke setting on Traeger. Feeding of wood pellets at a slower rate allows them to burn and smolder efficiently in the firepot.

Since the feeding rate at the Smoke setting is fixed by the factory, the temperature can fluctuate between 150 and 180 Fahrenheit, depending on the ambient temperature, humidity, and how full the cooking grates are, as it will affect the convection airflow inside the grill. So, there is no way to tell the fixed temperature of your grill on the smoke setting.

You can also check out this discussion in a subreddit to get an idea about the range of temperatures you can get on the Smoke setting.

How Smoke Setting is Different from 180F Temperature Settings on Traeger?

In both Smoke and 180F Temperature settings on the Traeger grill, the time duration during which the auger motor is on or off is the same, but the volume of wood pellets to be fed into the firepot is different.

In the smoke setting, the Traeger feeds the wood pellets at a constant rate into the firepot. Due to this reason, we are not able to achieve a fixed temperature on the “Smoke” mode.

When you set the Traeger to a specific temperature, let’s say 180F, the controller of Traeger compares this temperature with the temperature indicated by RTD (Resistance Temperature Detector). If the food temperature is lesser than the set temperature, the controller increases the speed of the auger to allow a greater amount of wood pellets to be fed into the firepot. According to Traeger, the variance of temperature regulation can be +/- 15 degrees Fahrenheit.

In short,

“Smoke” setting has no concerns about the surrounding temperature. It’s a simple auger on/off setting to set the wood pellets to burn, while the 180F temperature setting helps regulate the temperature by responding to the changes in the environment. The advantage of 180F temperature is that you can get the required smoky flavor while maintaining the temperature of your food.

In winter, your food temperature will be lower, due to which Traeger will feed more wood pellets in a given time to maintain the “set temperature”. In hot weather, Traeger will lower the feed rate of wood pellets.

Bonus Read: Traeger error codes

Adjusting the P-Setting on the Traeger

The P-setting on the Traeger grill is a kind of controller you can adjust if the temperature of your food shows a difference of more than 25 degrees from the temperature you have set through the knob on the Traeger grill. P-setting is a pause button that increases the duration in seconds between the consecutive feeding cycles.

P-setting ranges from P-0 to P-9. P-2 setting is set by default. Each setting has the same time to keep the auger motor on, while the time to keep the auger off is different. The lower the number of the P setting the hotter your grill is going to run. The higher the P setting the cooler your grill is going to run. That means the P-3 setting has more gap between the feed cycles as compared to the P-2 setting.  Traeger Company recommends keeping the P setting between P-0 and P-4.

P-SettingAuger OnAuger Off (Pause)
P-015 seconds45 seconds
P-115 seconds55 seconds
P-2 (factory default)15 seconds65 seconds
P-315 seconds75 seconds
P-415 seconds85 seconds
P-515 seconds95 seconds

To adjust the P-setting on the Traeger, you need a narrow object to press into the hole on the display panel of the Traeger grill.

You can check out this video for a detailed tutorial on adjusting P-setting on the Traeger grill to control the temperature.

What To Do If Temperature on the Smoke Setting Is Too high?

The temperature on the smoke setting on Traeger should be from 150 to 180 Fahrenheit. If it goes greater than 200F and the Traeger grill becomes too hot at the smoke setting, it means that the lid was not left open long enough when the grill was started for the wood pellets to smolder. Generally, Traeger Company recommends keeping the lid open for at least 10 minutes as this will allow startup fuel to burn off efficiently before closing the lid.

If you have a pellet grill that gets too hot on the smoke setting and can’t get the temperature below 225F, you may want to try increasing the P setting as recommended by Traeger Co. But, be careful to not increase the P-setting more than P-4 to prevent the fire from going out.

Do Traeger Pellet Grills Produce Smoke on All Temperature Settings?

Traeger pellet grills can produce smoke from temperatures ranging from 180 to 250 Fahrenheit. When you increase the temperature by more than 300 Fahrenheit, the smoke effect starts diminishing. This phenomenon is the same as the camping fire. As the campfire is really burning, you would no longer have the smoke.

The most recommended temperatures to smoke and grill the food are 225 and 250 Fahrenheit. However, if you want to set to the smoke setting from a higher temperature on the Traeger grill, don’t go directly from a higher temperature to the smoke setting as the pellets already in the firepot will be burning and cooling sown at the same time, due to which they will produce a lot of thick white smoke. So, first, you need to turn off the grill by turning the knob to the shutdown setting. After that, you can set the Traeger to the smoke setting.

Final Verdict

You can cook food on the smoke setting on the Traeger. As the smoke setting cannot regulate the temperature, you need to ensure the following considerations:

  • The temperature probe should measure the temperature correctly so that you can get an idea that at what temperature the food is being cooked on the smoke setting. If food cooks at a low temperature, it will certainly be left with germs because of not getting the desired temperature
  • Wood pellets should be a high grade (I use Cookin Pellets and Pitboss Pellets)
  • There should not be grease and ash accumulated in Traeger
  • You’re grilling in a hot temperature area

If you’re still unsure about the use of smoke setting on Traeger for cooking the food, I’d recommend either set 225 or 250 Fahrenheit temperatures to perfectly grill and smoke your food. You can also pellet tube to add a rich smoky flavor to your food.