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Start Smoker, Shut Down, Start Again?


Joined Jan 20, 2021
Hello all,

Very new smoker here. There's something I've been curious about.

I have a ZGrill pellet smoker. The instructions that came with it for startup ("subsequent" start ups, not first time startup), basically say (paraphrasing) to 1) remove components, clean out debris, start the smoker, wait for pellets to fall and flames/smoke to appear, 2) turn on shut down cycle and let it cool down, then 3) put components back in place, turn on, turn to Smoke setting, wait for smoke to appear, set the temperature.

So turn on, turn off, turn on again? Why? I've watched some YouTube videos and while they're not complete it seems people skip this shutdown step. It's been my assumption that it's the manufacturer's CYA to make sure you don't burn yourself by putting the components back in while the smoker is hot.

Am I correct or is this sequence needed for some reason?



Master of the Pit
Joined Sep 7, 2015
Your instructions are correct. The auger has to fill for the first time and the instructions to shut it down and cool is to prevent the user from getting burned while reinstalling the important parts. Welcome to SMF form Minnesota.

Jersey Jimbo

Meat Mopper
Joined Oct 26, 2020
That procedure is confusing to me. After initial start up is done and after you do a shutdown then when you start to cook don't you just have to clean out burner pot, and do a startup, with everything in place. Cause if that is not right I have been doing something wrong from the start.


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Joined Jan 14, 2014
I have a pitboss pellet, I usually just vacuum out ashes, put it back together and start it.


Meat Mopper
Joined Apr 30, 2020
Both kruizer kruizer and smokerjim smokerjim are correct." Initial" startup is that procedure to make sure your pellets are in the pot and so you don't burn yourself putting everything back in. You don't have to do that every time you start a cook. Once the auger has a supply of pellets your good to go ... as long as you keep your hopper full. Vacuuming out the pot and surrounding areas before your next cook is good practice just to prevent the pot and surrounding areas from getting full of ash.


Epic Pitmaster
Staff member
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Group Lead
Joined Dec 25, 2010
Heat shield and drip pan.
Vac out pellet dust after the cool down, replace shield and pan. No need to empty the auger. I have a PB Vert and live in SW FL with lots of humidity, 0 auger problems

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