Traeger Grills are designed to circulate smoke effectively without causing ash residue on your food, so finding ash on your food, though uncommon, is not impossible. Let's walk through some common causes that would result in ash on your food.
What Causes Ash to Get on Food?
Most Common: New Grill
The most common situation when ash gets on food is when a grill is new. This is completely normal.
As the grill seasons over the first few cooks, this will go away. This is one of the most important reasons why you need to season your grill properly prior to use.
If a customer's grill has been well-loved, the following causes may contribute to ash getting on their food.
First and foremost, is your grill clean?
At the very least, you should be cleaning out your grill every 20 hours of cook time. For additional information on proper maintenance and cleaning, see Grill Maintenance.
Chimney Cap Height
If your grill has a chimney cap, make sure it has space for smoke to leave the barrel. You should be able to fit your thumb in between the cap and the chimney.
Parts Installed Incorrectly
Make sure the firepot, drip tray, and heat baffle are all undamaged and installed correctly.
NOTE: Warped drip trays and heat baffles are normal and will not affect ash on food.
Induction Fan not Working
Can you hear the fan running? Depending on the temperature, the fan may run consistently or turn on and off in regular intervals.
If you can't hear the fan, see if it has any buildup preventing it from spinning.
- Remove your hopper access panel.
- Locate the induction fan (not the one attached to the auger motor).
- Turn on the grill and ignite it.
- If the fan is not spinning, try moving it manually to see if it starts spinning.
- If not, turn off the grill and clean off any grime that could prevent it from spinning.
- Turn on and ignite the grill.
- If the fan still does not spin, replace the fan.
For a Traeger to have the proper air circulation, there needs to be at least an inch of clearance between the grill walls and food, pans or liners/foil inside the grill. If the pan is too big, there is too much food, or if drip tray lining is not flush, it will change the air circulation, which can cause ash to get on the food and temperature issues.
Do You See Black Smoke?
If a customer is calling in about black smoke, the process for this is the same. Many customers may call in saying they are getting black smoke, but what they are really concerned about is their food getting ash on it. This may cause the food to look black. Follow the steps above and this should fix the issue.