Portable Grill Temperature Issues

What's in This Article?

Portable grills are a favorite in the Traegerhood. Let's make the most of your portable grill experience by helping you understand how temperatures and cooking may differ from your larger grills.


Traeger's portable grill lineup includes the following models:

Best Practices for Success on a Portable Grill

Use good pellets

Pellet quality is consistently the number one reason for temperature issues. 

In addition to making sure your pellets have a nice shine to them and can snap easily, make sure that you are keeping as much sawdust out of your grill's hopper as possible. Sawdust won't ignite, so if your auger is pushing sawdust from the hopper into the firepot, you'll struggle getting a flame rolling.

Keep it clean

Because of the grill's small size, proper maintenance is extra important. The grill's flame is much closer to the drip tray, which means it is much easier to have an accidental grease fire.

Check out our maintenance tips here.

Food Placement

Place food away from the grill's RTD (the temperature gauge).

Due to the small size of the grill, placing food too close to the RTD may cause the RTD to pick up on the temperature of the food, and you may think your grill has a lower temperature than it does. Additionally, this can result in an unnecessary amount of pellets being fed to the firepot.

Shut down Your Grill Correctly

Failure to follow proper shutdown procedures can cause increased temperature issues with your next cook.


Fluctuating Temp

Portable grills tend to take longer to settle on a set temperatures than larger grills. When they do, it is normal for the temp to fluctuate ±25°F above and below your set temp.


Difficulty Getting up to Temp

The main cause for a portable grill to have difficulty getting up to temp is a dirty grill and bad pellets. 


Running too Hot

Due to the smaller size of the grill, portable grills heat up quickly and typically run hotter than what you may set the grill temperature to due to the smaller size of the grill. This is important to note as it may affect your cook.

Scout, Ranger & Trailhead Startup Tips to Avoid Overheating

  1. On startup, set the grill either to SMOKE or to the lowest available temperature, depending on the type of controller you have. 
  2. Leave the lid open until the temperature on the controller peaks.
    • Peak means it slows down and stalls on a temperature and stays there; however, this temperature will vary based on the outside temperature.
  3. When the grill hits the peak stall point, shut the lid and leave on for another 10 minutes. 
    • The temperature should go up to 200°F (remember, overshooting is normal) and then settles back down to roughly 160°F to 180°F. This may repeat, but should settle after one or two times.
  4. Take next steps based on the grill's behavior.
    • If the temperature stays calm after 10 minutes: Increase the controller to the desired temperature and allow it to preheat completely. 
    • If the grill overshoots above 200°F:
      1. Open the lid again to let out some heat until the temperature drops to 150°F.
      2. Shut the lid.
      3. Observe if the temperature regulates.
    • If the temperature doesn't regulate: see AC Grill Running too Hot to troubleshoot further.

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