We’ve all made this mistake – you wake up early or stay up late and place a nice cut of meat onto the Traeger. You turn on your pellet grill and sleep thinking you’ll wake up to a beautifully smoked piece of meat.
Unfortunately, you wake up to find your pellet grill is cold or you see the dreaded LEr (Low Error Reading) error code on your Traeger’s digital display.
So how do you restart your Traeger so we can get back to smoking?
To correctly restart a Traeger pellet grill, turn off the grill and make sure the grill is cool. Next vacuum out the firepot before filling the hopper with pellets. Turn the pellet grill back on and wait until the auger fills with pellets and a few pellets fall into the firepot. Put the grill back together and use the normal starting sequence to fire up the Traeger.
If you catch this error fast enough then you can salvage your smoking session.
Below is a thorough step-by-step photo guide that will show you how to correctly restart a Traeger pellet grill after it runs out of pellets or displays the LER (Low Error Reading) code on the digital display.
This step-by-step pellet grill restarting process will work for any brand of pellet grill whether you own a Pit Boss, Camp Chef, Z Grills, or even a Rec Tec. Personally, I own a Traeger so you will see photos of my Traeger pellet grill in each of the steps below.
Restarting A Traeger Pellet Grill After Running Out Of Pellets
Follow these simple steps to properly restart the pellet grill.
If you simply fill the hopper back up with pellets and fire the pellet grill up without properly cleaning it then you may run into more issues. So don’t skip any steps!
Side note: I use a shop (wey/dry) vacuum since you may vacuum up ash, partially burned pellets, and other smoking debris. Check out this list for the best shop vacuums to use on pellet grills.
1) Turn Off Pellet Grill And Wait Until Cool
2) Remove The Grill Grate And Food
3) Remove The Drip Tray
4) Slide The Heat Baffle Over To Uncover Firepot
5) Vacuum The Firepot And Inside Of Grill
6) Fill The Hopper With Pellets
7) Turn Pellet Grill On And Set To High
8) Turn Off Grill After 5 Pellets Fall Into Firepot
9) Put The Pellet Grill Back Together
10) Use Regular Ignition Sequence To Fire Up Grill
The Traeger will smoke as the pellets are ignited and then you will be able to set the cooking temperature of the pellet grill.
If the pellet grill’s temperature starts rising +50°F than what you set it then give the Traeger 1 to 2 minutes to see if the temp stabilizes and comes down. If there are too many pellets in the firepot then the temperature will shoot up until the excess pellets burn off.
Once the temperature stabilizes you can then place your food back on the smoker and continue smoking.
I highly recommend waiting 10 to 15 minutes so the inside of the grill can heat up and come to temperature before placing the meat back on the grill.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What should I do if the pellet grill ran out of pellets while cooking?
A: First turn off the pellet grill and remove the food from the grill. Wait until the grill is cool before vacuuming out the firepot and filling the hopper with pellets. Turn the pellet grill back on and wait until the auger fills with pellets and a few pellets fall into the firepot. Put the grill back together and use the regular ignition sequence to fire up the pellet grill.
Q: What does the traeger LEr error code mean?
A: LEr stands for Low Error Reading and means the temperature in the grill dropped below 125 degrees for more than 10 minutes and caused the grill to shut off.
The most common way to fix the LEr error code is to vacuum out the firepot if it is full of ash or pellets. Remember to fill the hopper with pellets and allow the auger to feed pellets into the firepot before firing up the traeger again.
Q: Can you add pellets to traeger while cooking?
A: Pellets can be added to the hopper at any time. Whether the pellet grill is on or off, pellets can be added. Make sure to gently shuffle the pellets to get rid of any air pockets in the hopper so the pellets feed smoothly into the auger.
Q: Can you use a traeger under a patio or deck?
A: Traeger pellet grills and smokers can be used under covered porches, patios, or decks. However, there needs to be sufficient air flow to blow the smoke out of the covered enclosure. Read this guide before firing up a pellet grill under a covered structure.
Q: Can you use a pellet grill in rain?
A: Most pellet grills, including Traegers, can be used in the rain. However, the pellets, electrical connection, and any electrical controllers should be covered as much as possible. Read this guide before using a pellet grill in the rain to make sure it is properly protected from water and to see better ways of smoking in the rain.
Q: What should I do if my smoker ran out of pellets while cooking brisket?
A: First turn off the pellet grill and remove the brisket from the grill. Wait until the grill is cool before vacuuming out the firepot and filling up the hopper with pellets. Turn the pellet grill back on and wait until the auger fills with pellets and a few pellets fall into the firepot. Put the grill back together and use the regular ignition sequence to fire up the pellet grill.
Q: What happens when a pellet grill runs out of pellets?
A: Pellet grills that run out of pellets will stop producing smoke which stops the cooking process. Pellets need to be loaded back into the hopper and fed through the auger so that the pellet grill can resume cooking. Make sure to follow the proper restarting procedure in order to fire up the pellet grill.