Has this happened to anyone?

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Original poster
May 28, 2015

I shut down Country Smokers Tailgater, that I’ve been using happily for about 2 years, like I always have done. The next time I went to use it, it was burned and melted to a crisp. Totally ruined. The fire had traveled up the auger tube into the hopper.
I bought a Pit Boss Pro Series to replace it. I did the initial burn off using the same pellets I used in the old one when it burned up. When I shut it down, I noticed flames coming out of the auger tube and put it out. I did a second burn off, after shut down, same thing. Flames in auger tube.
I have used that brand of pellets before with no problems. Maybe it was a bad batch. I bought some Pit Boss pellets and have had no more problems.
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That Sucks! What brand of Pellets keeps burning up?...JJ
Ive had an auger burn back once but was able to pull the auger and its been fine since. Sounds like a really bad batch of pellets. Maybe not packed hard enough and burned easier and faster? Not sure but I agree with Chef JJ... THAT SUCKS!
That Sucks! What brand of Pellets keeps burning up?...JJ
Traeger, but I don’t want to bad mouth them, I’ve used them a lot before with no problems.
I keep a close eye on my Pit Boss at shut down now. I know it’s like everything else. 💩 happens!
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I believe I had an auger burn back when I was shutting my Camp Chef down a month or two ago. There was a bunch of smoke coming out of the hopper, which never happened while it was shutting down before, so I kicked it in feed mode like you do when it runs out of pellets to get whatever was burning in the auger tube into the burn pot. The smoke quickly cleared once I did that. I did burn through the rest of the pellets that were in the hopper and it didn't happen again, but I keep my eye on it when I shut it down now.

I was using Lumberjack pellets. I don't remember if I had char hickory, cherry, or mesquite loaded in it at the time it happened, but it was one of them.
OMG, not to me thank god. I have read up on burn backs tho. pretty scary stuff. Glad you didnt have a house fire or worse.
OMG, not to me thank god. I have read up on burn backs tho. pretty scary stuff. Glad you didnt have a house fire or worse.
Amen to that! I think the best way to deal with it, so long as you know it's happening, is to clear out the auger tube by running feed mode. I didn't read it anywhere, it just seemed to be the logical thing to do at the time. I was right there and knew the shutdown didn't look normal. I never have smoke billowing out of the hopper when I shut the grill down, so I suspected that the pellets in the auger tube had lit.

Now if the fire has made it's way all the way into the hopper, a hose, or 5 gallon bucket of water would be the way to go.
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I thought part of the Fans job is to provide air to the burning pellets and keep a positive pressure in the Feed Tube to stop Burn Back from happening...JJ
I believe that is correct.
I now remember a few details from the time I believe I had the burn back start. I was smoking a couple frozen hamburger patties, and I had cranked up the grill to high to do a sear after they had smoked at 225 for an hour or so. Once I got done with the sear, I put the grill in shutdown mode, and 5 or 10 minutes after that is when I saw all the smoke coming out of the hopper. shutdown runs for 20 minutes, so 5 or 10 minutes in should have had whatever was in the burn pot pretty well burnt.
Never had that happen to me with many brands of pellets including Traeger.
I did my very first burn out with Traeger pellets
I rarely go higher than 300° as I mostly smoke in the pooper.

If conditions are wrong, I can see burning pellets moving up the auger tube and even into the hopper.
The fan provides air (oxygen) to feed a fire
As stated above. . .The only way to stop burn back is to clear the auger tube of pellets and pellet dust. When my Camp Chef shuts down, I empty the hopper, and then use my Stihl leaf blower to blow out all the ash, residual pellets, and clear the auger tube after every use. My compressor does a better job of clearing the auger chamber so if it is charged at the time I will use it as well.

With that little time taken I have never had any problems with my Camp Chef.

I hope this helps,

With the price and technology of today’s units, you shouldn’t need to take extra precautions or use gadgets to prevent a fire. That is just plain scary. I would let the manufacturer know because there was obviously some kind of defect in the pellets or the grill itself. Guessing they would try and blame the user for not cleaning the smoker properly after use, but it’s worth a try to get their opinion on how to prevent future incidents
Thanks to everyone for the feedback and suggestions. I vacuum the ashes and clean any grease after every use, but after it cools. My covered smoking/grilling shelter is close to the garage where I have an air compressor, so it won’t be hard to run an air line outside next to the electric outlet. I haven’t been emptying the hopper, but Pit Boss makes it easy to do, so I’m going to start doing that.
I think dust may be the cause of a lot of burn back problems, dust lites easier than pellets , no easy way to clean ck tube, I am guilty of shutting off and most of the time go back and unplug unit, I have found it a day or 3 later still plugged in
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