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Hotter end of pellet smoker?


Smoking Fanatic
Joined Feb 12, 2017

I have a Traeger Pro 1300. Would the pellet hopper end or the smoke stack end generally run hotter?

I plan on testing this with some biscuits or something of the like, but I’m curious for what the general rule of thumb is.



Smoking Fanatic
Joined Feb 25, 2016
Not sure there is a general rule. My Pit Boss is warmer near the hopper according the thermometers I have in there.


Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
Joined Jan 18, 2020
Treager has the fire pot in the center of the grill and the heat/grease shield runs high at the hopper and low at the exhaust side or on an angle from left to right. Heat rises, so generally the grill is warmer on the hopper end. My Green Mountain was that way. The grill was hotter on the left half than the right, but there was a hot spot on the right side rear as well. Every grill is a bit different.


Smoking Fanatic
Joined Feb 14, 2018
My Pit Boss 440F is hotter on the left. The burner is off-set to the left and the plate is higher on the left. Stupid design if you ask me ;) You'll just have to experiment with yours a bit and find is quirks. That said, there's no reason if you're cooking low and slow you can't toss a rack of ribs on, you just may have to turn them during the cook to keep it even - like every other hour.


Smoking Fanatic
Joined Apr 25, 2015
Your explanations are spot on. The heated air from the crucible wants to flow in the upward direction of the grease tray/pan just as water or grease (heavier than air) wants to flow downhill. You can somewhat undo the effect by then turning that hot air around in the top of the cook chamber (making it flow back to the hopper end) by putting the exhaust on that side, but not all do. If you're finding the side-to-side temp variation excessive, you can try reducing the angle of that drip tray. Cooker companies really stress out about grease fires so their designs tend to err on the side of conservatism in "grease management". Yes, you'll flow grease/oil out of the cooker faster with a steeper angle (just as water moves faster over a waterfall than in a trench) but IMO you don't need as great an angle as most use. Note also side-to-side temp variation can be height-dependent so what is optimal for a tall pork butt may not be for short burgers or biscuits. And even for the same geometry of meat, what's best for 210F in that cooker may not be for 350F so it can take a while to figure out all the tricks (variables).

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