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Flame out


Joined Oct 18, 2016
Hello everyone, just found this forum and have found it very useful! So I have a quick question and it's one I am sure you have all heard before...typical rookie mistake. Anyhow I recently bought a Traeger Lil Tex elite 22 and decided to do a 10 pound pork shoulder for pulled pork. Since it was my first time, I followed the directions closely and opened it up every hour to spray apple juice on it but I had to leave for a couple hours for an unexpected emergency. I figured it was a slow cook so no big deal. Anyhow, when I got back I noticed that it flamed out for some reason and like an idiot I just fired it back up. I completely forgot that it kept feeding the tray after the flame went out so needless to say, after I started it up again and walked away it ignited a huge flame. I looked out my window and saw all the the smoke pouring out of it and immediately turned it off, so it wasn't going like that very long but the temp read over 400. So I pulled everything out to assess the damage praying that I didn't kill it on my first smoke! The paint on the inside was peeling and chipping off but nothing was warped. I did notice that the tan wires that go from the unit into the grill were blackened a little but non of the rubber was burned through or anything like that. Anyhow I have used it a few times since then and have not noticed anything wrong, I do sseem to get a lot of ash when I use it but from what I have read that is normal (?) I ust wanted to ask in here if this has happened to anyone else to see if I should be looking for any issues that may pop up and also wanted to ask if it is ok to continue using without the interior paint? And if not, can anyone recommend a good paint to use for the interior.

  Sorry for the rookie questions guys....it took ALOT to get me to finally purchase one of these, I have been using the same type of Weber charcoal grill for 30 years and I swore I would never change. But living here in the PNW, people swear by their pellet smokers and my friends finally talked me into buying one. So far, aside from that one issue I love it! Planning on putting a big Prime Rib Roast on this weekend, can't wait to see how she comes out! Thank you for your time and I look forward to reading your posts in the future!


SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
Staff member
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Joined Jun 22, 2009
First off, welcome to the forum!

Glad to have you with us.

I'm not familiar with your smoker, so I can't help you with your questions.

I"m going to move this to the pellet smoker section. Your questions should be answered there.

At your leisure, would you swing by "Roll Call" and introduce yourself.

Then we can all give you a proper welcome.



Smoking Fanatic
Joined Jan 17, 2011
No need to paint the interior.  Get a good seasoning on it (through normal use) and it will be fine and will not rust.  I might suggest getting a Tappecue thermometer.  You can monitor your meat and chamber temp from anywhere you are via your phone (it runs off wifi and is not a Bluetooth thermo like the Maverick or iGrill).  If you don't want to get a Tappecue, I would suggest getting a Maverick so you can monitor it from inside your house.  It's too bad you can't rely on it to stay lit during a normal cook.  I'm able to leave mine (a Rec Tec) for hours without having flameouts or other issues (but I still keep an eye on temps with my Tappecue just to be sure).  I might suggest joining the Pelletheads forums and talking to guys in the Traeger portion.  They may be able to give you better ideas on how to deal with the flame outs.  They may recommend you get an aftermarket PID controller for your unit (like a Pellet Pro from Smoke Daddy).  Good luck!

smokin kat

Fire Starter
Joined Oct 5, 2016
Not a Traeger  owner, so not sure what caused your initial flame out, but all pellet grills can get into the same situation under the right (or wrong, as it were) circumstances.  Having your firepot overflow with pellets will smother the fire and make that huge amount of white smoke as it struggles to ignite.  Then when they light (which sometimes makes a big BANG noise), the grill shoots up to a high temperature since there's too much fuel.  Glad to hear it didn't roast anything essential!  I agree about not bothering to repaint the interior.    

You might try switching brands of pellets if you feel like you're getting excessive ash build up-- different types leave different amounts of ash.   


Smoking Fanatic
OTBS Member
Joined Jan 17, 2012
Pellet grills are all susceptible to flame outs. One reason not to leave a cooker unattended. Anyway, the standard Traeger controller relies on timed cycling of the auger which is controlled by the P setting, I think the base setting from the factory is 3 which is 15 seconds on, 45 seconds off. Increasing or decreasing the P setting changes the off time by 15 seconds. This is what happens at the 'smoke' setting, it's only time off and time on. When in any of the temp control settings the controller only controls turns the auger on to add pellets to get to temp, once set temp is reached the controller goes into an idle mode which is just the timed settings like smoke until the temp drops to a preset below set temp.
So, if you are having repeated flame outs or flame outs in smoke mode, it could be possible your P setting is too high and the auger off time is too long to sustain the fire. Your chimney cap could be closed too far, you want about 2 fingers between the top of the chimney and bottom edge of the cap. Wind could have also been a factor, wet pellets?
The problem with the standard Traeger controller is that there is no flame out protection, the temp drops and the controller will just keep feeding pellets. You saw first hand the problem with this. With a PID controller, commercial or home made, when the temp drops below a preset level the igniter is turned on to prevent flame outs. Not to mention the tighter temp control. Once you try PID you'll never go back to the standard controller.
On the other things, don't repaint the inside, seasoning will take care of that. Different brands and types of pellets will vary the amount of ash you get. The Traeger brand pellets produce some of the most for me, but all pellets produce ash.
If you have used it since then with no problems you are probably fine. I believe the gray wire you are referring to is the igniter, so if it still lights you are good. The other wire is for the temp transducer so if it still shows temp you are good. Both of them are easily replaced, in fact, you will replace an igniter at some point.
I hope that helps.
Happy smoking.


Joined Oct 18, 2016
Thanks for the great info everyone, I really appreciate it! I suspect wind had something to do with it, I do remember there being aa pretty steady breeze that night. Luckily I caught it quickly and the I was able to finish the shoulder with no further issues. I have used it several times since and not had any issues with it aside from the ash, which I now know is not a problem. I will be sure to go to the introduction and Traeger sections in here as well, this forum is full of great info!!

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