Pellet Grill Not Enough Smoke: Why and Solutions?

Pellet Grill Not Enough Smoke

Have you recently invested in a pellet grill and you are wondering why it is not making enough smoke?

It is either you don’t know how a pellet grill works or you have not chosen the wood pellets for your use. How about we start by letting you in on a few tricks on how pellet grills work, and tips to note when you are trying to achieve the perfect smoke for your food?

Understanding How a Pellet Grill Works

A pellet grill combines the intense flavor a traditional smoke grill offers with the effectiveness of modern technology to make grilling a lot easier to deal with. It’s all about acute heat regulation and airflow. However, manufacturers are offering almost the same features with very appealing designs, so you can have options. Aside from the surface size of the grill grates, which you may consider, pellet grills are made up of these major parts:

  • Hooper

The largest part of the pellet grill is the hopper. It is the storage container that houses the wood pellets or sawdust that react with the heat to create smoke.

  • Auger

The auger mechanism works with the temperature control range to help push out only the required amount of wood pellet per temperature range. When your pellet grill comes with an excellent auger mechanism, you will probably never experience poor smoking. The auger controls the pellet flow and, indirectly, the heat and smoke. As soon as you ignite your pellet grill, you set the hot rod in motion.

  • Hot Rod and Combustion Fan

The hot rod is responsible for igniting the wood pellets, stroke useful flames and increasing the amount of smoke available for use on the grill. Most importantly, there is the intake combustion fan that bellows the flame created by the hot rod. It takes this duty so much further, circulating the generated heat in the cooking chambers and the grill’s grate. This works with temperature control to ensure only the desired level of heat is evenly circulated.

Why Pellet Grill Not Making Enough Smoke?

Why Pellet Grill Not Making Enough Smoke

1. The More the Heat, the Less the Smoke

We get too eager with the wood pellets sometimes, and we want to heat them pretty much. Our understanding of temperature, especially as far as pellet grills are concerned, is that the hotter we get the grill to be, the better the smoke that is generated. Oops!

The pellet grill is designed to provide indirect heat, not direct heat from sources like open flames. This means you have to preset your pellet grills for the right temperature range. For a better smoking experience, it is advised that the grill be set at 275°F or less; we like to call this the “blue smoke temperature range.”

This helps you in two ways. It produces just the desired level of heat in the grill, increasing the quality of smoke for your use. Also, you can always let your meat stay longer on the grill for a premium smoky flavor.

2. The Older the Pellet, the Poorer the Smoke.

Sometimes, your pellet grill is doing fantastic, and all that is responsible for the poor smoking experience is just the wood pellets. This may be due to many factors, ranging from rotting pellets to wood pellets absorbing too much moisture. It, therefore, means that for a better smoking experience, you need a very dry and relatively fresh wood pellet.

wood pellets


Wood pellets with too much moisture burn poorly or won’t even burn at all. This type of pellet is no longer useful and you may want to buy another one. Also, never store your wood pellets in the hooper but rather in a sealed, air-tight container. This helps to keep the pellet fresh and ready to burn anytime you want to use it.

3. Check for Ventilation

Your pellet needs room to breathe if you want enough smoke. Oxygen is the most important element for proper smoldering and smoking to occur. This is why it is important to put in only the required pellet at a time and to check that the combustion fan is working properly.

Sometimes, checking for clogged vents and ensuring the firepot is not dirty are also important steps in ensuring proper smoking in your pellet grill.

4. Consider Using a Smoker Tube.

If all you need your pellet grill to do is generate a lot of smoke, then you may need a smoker tube. They are largely made of stainless steel to hold wood pellets, and with their innovative design, they burn effectively to generate smoke for hours.

Smoker tubes can be placed anywhere in your pellet grill. However, the smoker tube doesn’t contribute any additional heat to your grill. This means you are still running on the initial preset heat that the pellet grill is capable of supplying.

Not All Smokes Are Useful

It is not unusual to see a very thick white smoke when you freshly ignite your pellet grill. The thick white smoke is a sign that your pellets are only just heating up, and not heated enough to achieve the kind of smoke you want to cook with.

We call this thick white smoke the ‘dirty smoke’. When you grill your fresh meat over this kind of smoke, you are not going to be adding any extra smoky flavor this way. Instead, you are going to end up with meat tasting like a junk piece of ash cake.

What you need to do instead is allow your pellet to finish the phase of smoldering and heat up nicely. After a while, the dirty thick white smoke fades off and the friendlier “blue smoke” pops up. This is the kind of smoke you need to achieve that fantastic smoke ring on your meat.

Since the blue smoke isn’t entirely visible, many mistakes this as no smoke, especially for beginners. However, this is the most important smoke your meat needs and not the thick white smoke. It is important to avoid cheap pellets that produce more of this unwanted white smoke and stick with products that only offers, after initial heating up process, the favorable blue smoke.

Food-Grade Pellet Makes a Difference


Wood pellets are essential for igniting a fire, adding flavor, and helping to maintain healthy smoked food. However, there are industrial pellets and food-grade pellets. Industrial pellets are often used in big stoves as fuel, and they may not necessarily be treated to filter out the bad chemicals your food need not be exposed to.

Always choose the food-grade pellet. They are always treated to be free from harmful chemicals, and they don’t need so much effort to smoke properly. Adding that signature smoke ring wouldn’t be that difficult using the right pellet. Also, never hesitate to switch brands if your chosen pellet brand isn’t working for you because the bulk of the work is mostly on the wood pellets rather than the pellet grill when it comes to effective smoking.

Final Recommendations

You have read our tips on ‘pellet grill not enough smoke’ up to this point! You deserve a gift. Primarily, you now understand that it is not always about the pellet grill but other factors such as cleaning the firepot frequently, ensuring ventilation, and using the right wood pellets.

It is important to always trim off the excess fat on your food to minimize damping your pellets. Excess fat also creates a mess in your firepot and may clog ventilation with dirt and fat after a while.

Now that you have all the tips within your grasp, take a note to bookmark our blog before you head off today. We wish you happy grilling!

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