You just used your pellet grill and there are still pellets in the hopper. Do you need to empty the pellets every time?
If you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers!
In this TheGrillingDad.com article, we’ll discuss:
- If you should empty the pellets after each use
- Tips for storing pellets
- And much more!
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What You Need to Know About Emptying the Pellets from a Pellet Grill
A pellet grill is a large purchase, and the last thing you want to do is make a mistake that could ruin your pellet grill. This may leave you wondering if you need to empty the pellets out of your pellet grill after each use.
The answer is that it depends on your location and where your pellet grill is stored. This is because it is essential that your pellets stay dry and away from large amounts of humidity.
Therefore while some people might be able to leave their pellets in a pellet grill, there are many people who cannot. Additionally, many brands of pellet grills recommend different methods for handling the pellets when you are finished with your smoking session.
Read on to learn all about whether or not you should empty the pellets from your pellet grill after each use.
Should You Empty Pellets from the Pellet Grill After Each Use?
According to several different pellet grill brands, pellets can be left in your grill for short periods of time only. This means that if you are planning to grill again in a day or two, you can likely skip emptying the pellets.
That being said, whether or not you should leave pellets in your pellet grill will depend on several factors. We recommend reviewing each one for your specific situation. You should also reference the owner’s manual of your specific pellet grill for advice.
1. Consider the Time of the Year
The time of year plays a huge part in whether or not you can leave pellets in your pellet grill. In the summer, when it is warm and dry, you are likely to smoke something again in a day or two. Therefore it is likely okay to leave your pellets in your pellet grill in this instance.
But if it is winter and snow is forecasted, then you should probably remove the pellets from the grill and place them inside a garage or shed. You are also less likely to use your pellet grill again so quickly.
2. Consider the Climate
Some places, like Florida, are humid year-round, whether it is summer or winter. Humidity can damage wood pellets because it can cause them to soften and deteriorate.
In humid locations, it is important to always remove the pellets from your pellet grill after each use. This is because they can expand and damage the augur. It is never recommended to leave pellets in your pellet grill in a humid climate.
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3. Consider When You Will Use it Again
As previously mentioned, you don’t want to leave pellets in your pellet grill when you don’t plan to use it in the near future. This is because pellets will degrade over time, and it is likely to rain at some point and damage the pellets.
If you don’t think you will use your pellet grill in the next week, then it is much better to empty the pellet grill than take the chance of leaving the pellets in and forgetting they are there.
4. Consider Where Your Pellet Grill is Located
The final thing you need to consider is where your pellet grill is located. If it is located near your home, on a covered porch, or under an awning, there is much less of a chance that water will damage your pellets while they are in the hopper. In these cases, it is okay to leave your pellets for a week or two.
But if your pellet grill is located on the lawn where rain and snow can reach it, it is advised to empty the pellet hopper after each time you use the grill.
Can You Leave Pellets in a Pellet Grill? (By Brand)
Something you should also consider as you wonder whether or not you should leave pellets in your pellet grill is the brand of your pellet grill. Different brands carry different recommendations.
As one of the most famous pellet grill brands of all time, Traeger recommends only leaving your pellets in your pellet grill for up to one week. And if you live in a humid location, it is always recommended to empty the hopper.
After Traeger, Pit Boss is the second most popular brand of pellet grills, but unlike Traeger, they recommend always removing your pellets from your pellet grill, no matter where you live. This prevents any damage happening to the pellets and is honestly a good habit to get into.
ZGrills is another company that has an impressive line of pellet grills. And like Pit Boss, they recommend emptying your hopper after each use. This will prevent the pellets from rotting while they are in the hopper.
Known for both their charcoal and pellet grills, Weber also recommends cleaning the hopper after each use. But, large fans of the brand state that they leave pellets in the grill for up to a week with no problems (in low humidity areas).
If your pellet grill is a brand that isn’t covered on this list, then take a moment and seek out the owner’s manual to see what your brand has to say about leaving pellets in the hopper after your smoke session is finished.
Tips for Wood Pellet Storage
Now that you’ve emptied your wood pellets, what do you do with them? Check out the following tips to learn how you should plan to store your wood pellets.
1. Keep Wood Pellets in a Dry Container
The whole reason you are removing wood pellets from your pellet grill is the fear that they will get wet and rot. Therefore, you want to keep them somewhere dry.
You can purchase a bucket or bag for your wood pellets which is waterproof to help with storage. You can also purchase any type of air-tight container for storing your wood pellets.
2. Store Wood Pellets Inside
Although you may have purchased a nice bin which is waterproof, this doesn’t guarantee that humidity won’t accidentally get into the container. Thus it is safer to store your wood pellets inside, such as in a garage or shed.
If you are big on smoking, we recommend making a shelf where you can store multiple bins with all your favorite wood pellet types.
3. Store Wood Pellets Off the Ground
This may seem a bit odd, but remember that the ground holds a lot of moisture. Even if you have your pellets in a garage or shed, it is likely to be a bit damp on the floor. This means that it is better for you to put your wood pellets at least a few inches off the ground just to ensure they stay dry.
4. Date Your Pellets
Besides just getting a nice container for your wood pellets, you should also take the time to date them. Then, once the bins are dated, don’t mix old and new pellets. This is because pellets can go bad after an extended period of time and so you want to make sure you always use the oldest ones first.
5. Handle Your Bins With Care
Once your pellets are in a bin, you might be tempted to toss it around. Don’t do this, as pellets are delicate, and too much tossing around will cause them to break and turn into sawdust in their bin. We recommend moving your bin of pellets as little as possible, which is also why you should consider labeling, as this will lower the number of times you need to move the bin around unnecessarily.
How to Tell Wood Pellets Have Gone Bad
Despite your best intentions, you just opened your hopper to find you left pellets in there for a long period of time. Are they still good? Maybe.
First, start by reaching your hand in the hopper. Are the pellets crumbly or turning to dust easily? Then they are bad, and they won’t burn very well. You are better off grabbing some new ones.
Next, inspect the wood pellets for cracks. Also, take a big whiff. If the pellets smell rotten or are covered in cracks, they are likely bad.
If you still aren’t sure, then grab a bowl of water. If the pellets float in the water, they are bad. If they sink, they are still good. Of course, if you are still in doubt about the quality of your pellets after this, it is probably better to empty the hopper and fill it with fresh pellets.