Should I Unplug My Traeger? (No, but make sure you . . . )

Wood pellet grills are one of the hottest trends in grilling right now. And Traeger is the top brand of pellet grill. If you just got one or are about to, when you’re done cooking, you’ve probably wondered should I unplug my Traeger?

Here’s what I learned from using my Ironwood 650:

No; you do not need to unplug your Traeger after every use. Traeger grills are designed to be plugged in to get power to run. Once you are done cooking and have completed the shut-down cycle, you should turn the power switch to off. But while there’s nothing wrong with also unplugging it, that is not necessary.

But there’s a lot more to know about Traeger grills than just that!

How long do you leave a Traeger on the shutdown cycle? Is it safe to leave a Traeger unattended?

Just keep reading to find out!

In the market for a new Traeger pellet grill?

I love my Ironwood 650. It has a ton of space for grilling on the 2 racks and it’s incredibly easy to operate. I have mine on my back deck while my older grill (a combo charcoal/propane one) sits on our stone patio in the other direction.

The cool thing about Trager grills is you don’t have to waste time hunting for the best price. They require all dealers to sell at the exact same price. So whether you check Amazon, Home Depot, or Traeger’s website, you’ll always find the exact same price.

So don’t waste time surfing around! 

CLICK HERE to see all the pellet grill options on the Traeger site.

Do Traeger grills need to be plugged in?

Yes. Traeger grills are electric grills with several electrical components.

The amount of actual electricity used is minimal. It is mainly used to feed pellets through an auger and operate the thermostat.

But all newer Traeger grills also have WiFi connectivity too. While the WiFi isn’t necessary to its operations, it is one of the things that makes Traeger so fun to use.

If you’re picking up your daughter from school, and she announces that she wants your famous barbecue chicken for dinner – no problem! Simply use the mobile app to preheat your Traeger and start cooking when you get home (if you left the power switch on and left it plugged in).

Obviously DON’T do that if you have a cover over yours.

If you haven’t yet purchased your Traeger and are looking into other models of grills and smokers, you’re in luck!

I wrote this recent article detailing all the different types of grills and smokers. If you’re still on the fence about what kind to get, if a Big Green Egg is better than a pellet grill, or the best grill for a small budget, you won’t want to miss that article.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

I actually have a couple or grills at my house including the recent purchase of an Ironwood 650 (click to see the current price on the Traeger website).

How long do you leave a Traeger on a shutdown cycle?

About 25 minutes is the short answer – but basically until it’s done.

When you’ve finished grilling a delicious dinner or smoking an epic feast, you might be tempted to just turn the grill off. That would be a huge mistake!

Traegers have to go through what’s called a shutdown cycle. This allows the remaining pellets in the firepot to get burned up. Then the fan cools everything down.

Once you’ve removed the food from the grill, turn the dial to “Shut Down Cycle” if you have an older model.

On newer models, you’ll simply press and hold the silver power button on the front panel (not the on-off switch on the back). That initiates the “Shut Down Cycle”. 

Close the grill lid and let the shutdown cycle go through until complete. On my Ironwood, this is about 25 minutes. But on older models, I believe it can be closer to 10 minutes.

The fan will automatically shut off. Once the fan has turned off, flip the power switch to Off. That’s it!

There’s a lot more to know about how to use your Traeger grill than shutting it down properly.

Traeger’s also need to be preheated. But it’s as easy as turning on an oven.

Gas grills can sometimes be a pain to start. Especially if it hasn’t been used in a while or if the starter stops working. If the starter stops working, it can be lit with a long lighter, but I imagine it’s not very safe to do so.

Charcoal grills are relatively easy to light, but using too much lighter fluid can be dangerous. And it’s really dirty, making it difficult to clean up.

Traeger grills, on the other hand, are simple and consistent to light. Just turn the dial to “smoke” or use the app to start it from your smart device.

First time Traeger user? Head over to this recent article for my ultimate guide to using a Traeger wood pellet grill.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

How do you turn off a Traeger smoker?

Traegers are just as easy to turn off as they are to turn on.

Once you’ve removed the food from the grill, you’ll go through the complete shutdown cycle that I described above. It’s a little different for older Traegers compared to newer ones.

Traeger themselves say this on their Facebook page: “When the fan has automatically shut off you are done. You can flip the power switch to Off, unplug the grill, close any power outlets, and store extension cords.”

But really, once you’ve initiated the shutdown cycle, you don’t have to do anything else.

I do flip the power switch on mine when done, but I don’t unplug mine. Traeger also recommends removing any remaining wood pellets from the hopper too.

But if you’ll be grilling again in a day or 2, I wouldn’t do that unless you’re switching to a different flavor of wood pellet.

With Traeger, it takes just 10-25 minutes to cool down. That’s really convenient! Compared to charcoal or a traditional wood grill, this is really nice.

With charcoal, you have to wait forever for the coals to cool so you can clean the grill. And you can only use that charcoal once, so you have a nice mess to clean up after every single use.

Wood doesn’t have to be completely replaced every time you cook if there are still some good pieces left, but you still need to wait for it to cool before you can do anything with it if you want to.

But there are a LOT of differences between wood, charcoal, lump hardwood, and pellets.

Luckily, I break down every major kind, including the renowned Binchōtan charcoal that gets up to 2,200 degrees, in this recent article.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Is it safe to leave a Traeger unattended?

It’s never safe to leave a grill completely unattended. But a Traeger is very safe if cleaned and maintained. So you certainly don’t have to stand next to it the whole time but I wouldn’t leave the house for hours either.

First and foremost, remember that there is always a risk when cooking with fire of any kind.

Fire can happen due to grease backup or a back burn up the auger. To prevent a grease fire, make sure that you clean your Traeger thoroughly after each use. 

I cover the inside drip pan with aluminum foil. But I change that every 2-3 cooks depending on how messy it gets. Too much built-on grease is a fire waiting to happen.

During smoking, the heat doesn’t get hot enough to start a grease fire, but it’s still important to keep the grease to a minimum.

Sometimes wood pellets will get jammed in the hopper and will need to be stirred to fall into the auger.

And make sure your pellets are dry. If they have moisture in them, the auger may jam. And if the auger jams, and it’s full of pellets, you risk a back burn up the auger.

And if you are leaving your Traeger unattended, it’s also important to make sure it’s not near anything flammable. Traeger recommends keeping their grills at least 18″ away from any walls.

Finally, be sure to take advantage of WiFire. WiFire lets you control your grill, monitor internal meat temperature, and even change the grill temperature if it’s too hot.

If you are cooking veggies on your Traeger, grill temperatures that are too high could produce overcooked veggies. Nobody likes that!

To learn about how to not burn grilled veggies, check out this recent article. I get into proper grill temperatures and cooking times for all the main veggies that people love to grill. You even get a handy cheat-sheet; no email address required.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Can you use an extension cord with a Traeger?

Yes.

The power cord on a Traeger is approximately six and a half feet long. Everybody who grills enjoys taking advantage of beautiful weather. But sometimes, six and a half feet isn’t long enough to keep the smoke out of your house.

To prevent smoke from rolling into your house, especially on those long smokes, it’s fine to use an extension cord.

For safety, however, make sure that you use only an outdoor type extension cord with the 3 prong grounding plug. Traeger also recommends your outlet be a GFCI. That’s the kind of outlet with a mini breaker which trips off in the event of an electrical issue. Most (but not all) outdoor outlets will have one.

Check the label on your machine and match the amp draw from the Traeger along with the length of the extension cord. (source)

You should also read the manual that came with your Traeger.

Your manual will tell you the best extension cord to use with your model. While the manual for the Timberline model doesn’t say anything about using an extension cord for North American consumers, it specifically says EU members should not use an adapter or extension cord.

Don’t have your manual handy? No worries! You can find a link to all of Traeger’s manuals HERE.

Did I answer everything you wanted to know about whether you should unplug your Traeger?

In this article, I talked about whether you should unplug your Traeger after each cooking session.

Traegers are electrical wood pellet grills with electrical components. So when in use, they obviously need to be plugged in and powered on. 

But when you’re done, after you’ve completed the shutdown cycle, it’s perfectly fine just to flip the power switch off and walk away, leaving it plugged in.

There’s nothing wrong with unplugging it, but it’s not necessary.

In the market for a new Traeger pellet grill?

I love my Ironwood 650. It has a ton of space for grilling on the 2 racks and it’s incredibly easy to operate. I have mine on my back deck while my older grill (a combo charcoal/propane one) sits on our stone patio in the other direction.

The cool thing about Trager grills is you don’t have to waste time hunting for the best price. They require all dealers to sell at the exact same price. So whether you check Amazon, Home Depot, or Traeger’s website, you’ll always find the exact same price.

So don’t waste time surfing around! 

CLICK HERE to see all the pellet grill options on the Traeger site.

The link is what’s called an affiliate link. In short, they pay me a small commission if you buy something from them after clicking the link. It does NOT increase the price you pay and it’s a nice way of saying thank you to me if my article helped you!

Jeff Campbell

Jeff was a leader for Whole Foods Market for over 2 decades and is now a recovering foodie. When he's not spending time in the kitchen, he can usually be found with his wife & 3 daughters, he can usually be found practicing martial arts, making music, or blogging on his other sites. Click to learn more about me

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