Open lid grilling -

How to Start a Traeger Grill (10 Simple Steps to Get Started)

Have you ever struggled to get your Traeger grill started, or wondered if there’s a better way to do it?

In this guide, we’ll explore the open-lid method of starting your Traeger grill, and how it can improve your grilling experience. Let’s dive in and learn how to master this technique!

What is an open-lid Traeger grill start up?

An open-lid Traeger grill startup refers to the process of starting a Traeger grill with its lid open.

Traeger grills are a type of wood pellet grill that uses hardwood pellets as fuel to produce heat and smoke for cooking.

By keeping the lid open during startup, it allows for proper ventilation and prevents the buildup of potentially harmful gases.

This startup method ensures a safe and efficient ignition of the pellets, allowing the grill to reach the desired temperature for cooking delicious meals.

How to start a Traeger open-lid

Step 1: Prepare the grill

Make sure your Traeger grill is placed on a stable, non-flammable surface in a well-ventilated area, away from any combustible materials.

Ensure the grill’s power cord is securely connected to a power outlet and the temperature control dial is set to the “Smoke” position.

Step 2: Fill the hopper

Locate the hopper on the side of the grill, which holds the wood pellets.

Choose high-quality food-grade hardwood pellets that suit your desired flavor profile. Pour the pellets into the hopper, ensuring it doesn’t overflow.

Step 3: Prime the auger

The auger is responsible for transferring the pellets from the hopper to the firepot.

To prime the auger, turn the main switch on the back of the grill to the “On” position. This activates the auger and fills it with pellets.

Step 4: Ignite the pellets

Open the grill lid fully and locate the firepot, which is at the bottom of the grill’s cooking chamber.

Lightly press the “Ignite” button on the control panel, which initiates the startup cycle. The igniter rod will begin to glow red, igniting the pellets in the firepot.

Step 5: Wait for ignition

Keep the lid open and let the grill run for 4-5 minutes to allow the fire to establish.

During this time, you may notice the smoke funneling out of the grill, indicating the ignition process is underway.

Step 6: Close the lid

Once the pellets have ignited and a steady flame is established, carefully close the lid of the grill.

Closing the lid helps maintain a consistent temperature and prevents excessive heat loss.

Step 7: Set the desired temperature

Adjust the temperature control dial to your desired cooking temperature.

The Traeger grill features a digital temperature controller that allows you to select specific heat levels for precise cooking.

Step 8: Preheat the grill

Allow the grill to preheat for 10-15 minutes with the lid closed.

This ensures the cooking chamber reaches the desired temperature before placing any food on the grill grates.

Step 9: Start cooking open-lid

Once the grill has preheated, you’re ready to start cooking.

Place your food on the grill grates, open the lid, and monitor the cooking process as per your recipe or preference.

Step 10: Monitor and adjust

Throughout the cooking process, periodically check the temperature on the grill’s control panel to ensure it remains stable.

Adjust the temperature dial as needed to maintain the desired heat level.

What are the benefits of starting a Traeger grill open-lid?

  • Proper ventilation: Opening the lid during startup allows for better air circulation and ventilation. It helps prevent the accumulation of potentially harmful gases, ensuring a safer grilling experience.
  • Easier ignition: With the lid open, there is increased oxygen flow, which aids in the ignition process. The fire can establish more quickly and efficiently, leading to faster heat generation.
  • Reduced smoke buildup: By starting the grill with the lid open, excess smoke can escape freely. This reduces the chances of a smoke buildup inside the cooking chamber, preventing any potential smoky flavor overload in your food.
  • Enhanced visibility: Keeping the lid open during startup allows you to closely monitor the ignition process. You can visually confirm that the pellets have ignited and a flame is established before closing the lid and proceeding with cooking.
  • Avoiding heat buildup: During startup, the grill may generate a significant amount of heat. By starting with the lid open, you can prevent excessive heat buildup in the cooking chamber, which could affect temperature control and potentially damage the grill.

What temperature should I set my open-lid Traeger grill to?

When cooking with the lid open on a Traeger grill, you should set the temperature to “Smoke”.

This setting refers to a range of temperatures between 150 and 180 degrees F. The “Smoke” setting produces the largest amount of smoke, which is how food is traditionally smoked.

You can also set the temperature to between 160 and 225º F to produce a large amount of smoke.

The actual temperature reached while grilling varies by ambient temperature and the quality, dryness, and hardwood blend of the pellets.

Most often, a Traeger grill on HIGH runs from a range of 350F to 450F.

How long does it take to preheat an open-lid Traeger grill?

It takes about 10–15 minutes to preheat a Traeger grill.

However, if it’s cold outside, it can take up to 20 minutes for the grill to reach its full temperature.

What are some tips to remember when starting up an open-lid Traeger grill?

  • Ensure proper ventilation: Make sure the grill is placed in a well-ventilated area and that the lid is open during the startup process. This allows for adequate airflow and helps prevent the buildup of gases.
  • Use high-quality pellets: Choose food-grade hardwood pellets that are specifically designed for grilling. Using low-quality pellets can affect the flavor and overall performance of your Traeger grill.
  • Maintain cleanliness: Regularly clean the grill’s components, such as the firepot and drip tray, to ensure efficient operation. This helps prevent any blockages or obstructions that could impact ignition and heat distribution.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions: Familiarize yourself with the Traeger grill’s user manual and follow the recommended startup procedure provided by the manufacturer. Each model may have specific instructions that ensure optimal performance and safety.
  • Monitor temperature: Keep an eye on the temperature displayed on the control panel and make adjustments as needed to maintain your desired cooking temperature. Traeger grills feature precise temperature control, allowing you to cook with accuracy.
  • Avoid excessive opening and closing of the lid: While it’s important to initially start the grill with the lid open, try to minimize unnecessary lid openings during the cooking process. Consistent heat retention helps maintain cooking temperatures and ensures even cooking.
  • Allow for preheating time: Give the grill sufficient time to preheat with the lid closed before placing food on the grates. This ensures that the cooking chamber reaches the desired temperature and helps create optimal cooking conditions.

What are the pros and cons of an open-lid Traeger grill start up?


  • Improved ventilation: Starting with the lid open allows for better air circulation and ventilation, which can lead to a cleaner burn and reduced smoke buildup.
  • Easier ignition: The increased oxygen flow with the lid open can aid in the ignition process, allowing the pellets to ignite more quickly and efficiently.
  • Enhanced visibility: With the lid open, you have a clear view of the ignition process. This allows you to visually confirm that the pellets have ignited and a flame is established before closing the lid.
  • Faster heat generation: Opening the lid during startup can help generate heat more rapidly by allowing more oxygen into the firepot.


  • Heat loss: Opening the lid during startup can cause some heat loss, as heat escapes from the cooking chamber. This may slightly increase the time it takes for the grill to reach the desired cooking temperature.
  • Potential safety hazards: Leaving the lid open during startup can increase the risk of exposure to the flame and hot surfaces. Caution must be exercised to ensure safe handling and prevent accidents.
  • Limited smoke flavor infusion: While an open-lid startup helps reduce smoke buildup, it may limit the amount of smoky flavor infused into the food compared to a closed-lid startup.
  • Potential temperature fluctuations: Opening the lid during startup can cause minor temperature fluctuations until the grill stabilizes. It may require some adjustments to maintain a consistent cooking temperature.

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