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Auger Jam

FrankSmoke

New member
What causes the pellets in the Auger to solidify and jam the Auger? Very problematic as I have to use a torch to burn the solid mass to be able to remove it. Excuse me for not introducing my self, I am smoker from Idaho Falls, Idaho. I have be smoking for about 10 years. Have had lots of fun and successes and "failures". I am now trying to help a friend with his smokers Auger problem.
 
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TentHunter

Moderator
Welcome to the forum.

The most likely cause is the pellets in the auger tube picked up moisture somehow. This causes them to swell, then when they dry back out some they the form what we affectionately call pellet-crete.
 

FrankSmoke

New member
Thanks TentHunter. That sounds like the situation encountered. The situation happened in Texas with dry, hot weather with some intermittent rain. Never has happened here in Idaho. The results were surely pellet-crete.
 

onionhead

New member
FrankSmoke, In about 3 years of pellet smoking, I have not had this happen to me. Sounds very scary! What kind of machine, did it have a cover, driven rain, etc.? I have a MAK II which I keep loaded and ready to go. Brother TentHunter, do I keep it empty? I make enough mistakes, don't want any more. Thanks.
 

SmokinKat

New member
TentHunter is right on the pellet-crete, when the pellets break down (they are just compressed sawdust), they swell, and when that mess dries, it's just amazingly tough stuff.

Onionhead, at MAK we recommend that if you're not going to use your grill for a few weeks or more (especially in winter weather) you should empty the pellets out. Since the MAK II has the pellet dump door, it's a pretty easy process. You'll want to dump the hopper AND burn off the pellets in the auger tube-- so after you empty the hopper, just turn the grill on HIGH and let it run itself out of pellets. Takes a few minutes, but if you know you're going to have the grill sitting for like a month, it's better to be safe than sorry. (And remember that when you go to use the grill again, it'll take a bit longer to start up, since the pellets have to move all the way through the auger.)

If you're using your grill frequently, you really shouldn't have to worry about getting a jam like FrankSmoke is talking about, which is probably why you haven't had to deal with that before.

As a side note, a less extreme result of moisture in pellets that people experience is the pellets just not burning as hot as ones that are good and dry. That's why it's important to store your pellets in a closed container someplace dry.
 

FrankSmoke

New member
The Smoker is a Rec Tec. Location Midland, Texas. Hot Dry with some thunderstorms. It has a cover. I have not had the problem with my Traeger here in Idaho.
 
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