Pellet grills are a great way to achieve that delicious smoky flavor, but what do you do when the automatic ignition system fails? Fear not, because in this article, we’re going to walk you through how to manually light a pellet grill, so you can keep those burgers and ribs sizzling even without the fancy technology. Let’s get fired up!
You can light a pellet grill manually, but it is only recommended to do so in a few situations: If you are using a portable pellet grill that requires manual lighting, or in the case that your hot rod has failed.
Either way, lighting a pellet grill manually isn’t recommended for normal or long-term use, and you should have your grill hot rod replaced as soon as possible. Read on to learn how to manually light your pellet grill.
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When Should You Manually Light a Pellet Grill?
There are only two times you should be considering manually lighting a pellet grill. This is because doing so is not recommended in the owner’s manual and is generally considered to be more dangerous than lighting your pellet grill with the button as intended.
1. The Hot Rod Has Failed
The part in a pellet grill that lights it is the hot rod. If you’ve marinated your meat, only to head to your pellet grill to find it turning on, but not producing smoke, it’s likely the hot rod has failed.
The hot rod is an important part of your grill, and you need to have it replaced ASAP (you may even need to buy a whole new grill), but in the meantime, since you already marinated the meat, you can light your pellet grill manually.
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2. You’re Using a Portable Pellet Grill
While most portable pellet grills use the same hot rod system as the pellet grill you keep at home, some do require manual lighting. If this is you, well, we recommend you get a new portable pellet grill, but in the meantime, you can light it the old-fashioned way.
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Materials Needed to Manually Start a Pellet Grill
Unfortunately, just a lighter isn’t going to cut it for this one. Below are all the items you will need to have on hand to manually start your pellet grill.
- Fireproof gloves
- Butane torch
- Pellets for your grill
- Vacuum (to clean out the fire pot)
Do note that you should never use an accelerant like lighter fluid or firelighter cubes in your pellet grill. They could damage the grill, and you are more likely to injure yourself while trying to use them.
You only need your pellets and a butane torch to light the pellets, we promise you don’t need any form of accelerant.
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How to Manually Light a Pellet Grill
If you’ve decided to absolutely have to light your pellet grill manually, check out the steps below.
Step 1: Remove the Firepot Cover
Start by dismantling your grill and removing the firepot cover so you can see the firepot. In some pellet grills, you may need to remove additional components, like heat deflectors.
Step 2: Clean the Firepot
Use a vacuum to remove any ash in the firepot.
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Step 3: Add Pellets
Place some pellets in the firepot, don’t fill it all the way full as this will lead to issues like a flameout. Just add enough pellets to reach the bottom of the augur.
Step 4: Light the Pellets
The pellets will take a minute to catch, so it’s best to use a butane torch to do the job. Keep the flame on the pellets for 10-20 seconds until they light.
Step 5: Wait
You need to let the pellet burn for a moment before you do anything else.
Step 6: Reassemble the Grill
Place all the internal parts back in the grill. You’ll need to use heat-proof gloves to prevent burning yourself.
Step 7: Turn on the Pellet Grill
Turn on the pellet grill to the lowest temperature or smoke setting if your grill has it. If you turn the pellet grill up to high, the fan will extinguish the flame you worked so hard to establish.
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Step 8: Use the Pellet Grill
After you have waited for a bit longer, and smoke is coming from the grill, you can turn up the grill to the temperature you intend to cook with.
And just like that, you should be able to make your dinner even though your pellet grill hot rod is burned out. Just remember that this shouldn’t be an everyday thing, and you should have your pellet grill looked at by a professional (or order a new hot rod) before you attempt to use it again.