New PG500 & Ash

New to pellet smoking. Received my PG500 yesterday and was super excited to get smokin'... Had an issue where the fire pot when out and temp dropped to 112 degrees. Smoker lit again and temp raised to 330 degrees before coming back down to my set point of 225 degrees. Noticed a big temp swing and loosing temp, so I adjusted the LHt and HHt a few times until I had constant temps. LHt 25 and HHt 50 (problem solved I think). Went out this morning to get my brisket and wrap it up after being on the smoker for 8 hrs. This PG500 smoker has ash all over the place. As you might be able to see in the picture, its all over the grates and all over my brisket. Will this ash build up get any better? Any way to stop it? I can't have this all over my smoked food.

PG500 - First cook... Outdoor temp is 26 degrees with light wind... LHt 25 & HHt 50... Set point for cook is 225 degrees... Pellets by Cookin' Pellets Perfect Mix (Hickory, Cherry, Hard Maple & Apple).

Attachments

Photos (1)
Original Post

I’ve heard on the PG500 on start up blows a lot of ash. It might have happened because it went off and on. I hope someone that has owned one for a while has a good answer or confirmation.  All pellet grills will blow burnt ash at start up until the pot gets burning good.  

Percy posted:

I’ve heard on the PG500 on start up blows a lot of ash. It might have happened because it went off and on. I hope someone that has owned one for a while has a good answer or confirmation.  All pellet grills will blow burnt ash at start up until the pot gets burning good.  

Thanks Percy. I thought the same about it going off and then on, but after I wrapped my brisket in clean foil. I returned to the smoker 6 hours later to remove the brisket and the clean foil had ash covering the top. The PG500 did not have a hiccup this time. I’m going to clean out the ash and coat the inside lightly with oil and do another burn to see what happens. 

After 18 hrs total run time, I had a tremendous amount of ash in the burner side and the ash tray (not the pellet pot). Maybe I need to dump the ash tray every so often? Maybe the CookinPellets.com pellets aren’t low ash? Maybe the foil I had lined on the ash tray caused an airflow problem?

Instead of coating the inside with oil, I'd clean out,  refoil, and cook a couple of pork butts to help season it (bacon on zone 4 @ 300 for 30-40 minutes is good too).  New smoker temps will fluctuate partly due to the shiny interior.  Once it blackens it should settle down.  If you didn't sift your pellets through a colander clean out the hopper, vacuum, and sift the pellets.  The sawdust blows everywhere and can ultimately bind the auger.  (I vacuum firepot before every cook.)  

I have had my PG500 for 3-1/2 years now and live in the Pacific Northwest where temps are somewhat mild.  I would continue to play with your LHT & HHT times a bit to try to minimize the "no blazing fire" time in fire pot when the pellet dump caused by HHT time almost smothers the fire.  Ideally when smoking you want to always keep the fire going between a nice low fire and a small blazing fire but that is hard to do. When the grille calls for more pellets during the HHT cycle the fire gets a bit overwhelmed (almost smothered) by that larger pellet dump and produces more ash and smoke during that period, and when it finally re-ignites it blows out that ash from it's smoldering time.  Typically I run mine at LHT = 35 and HHT = 75, but will occasionally do minor temporary adjust due to hotter summer or colder winter temps. Those times work for my grille, but may not work for yours. I usually do not do long slow smokes on  my grille - I do a short smoke (30 mins to 3 hours) followed by a short time on the grille side to finish.  That is the true beauty of this cooker as it allows for both smoking and then grilling using the same unit.  But I do not think it works really well for long smokes as it does produce some ash and it also burns a lot of pellets (compared to say a FEC100).  When I have done ribs for 5-6 hours, there is a little ash all over the cooking grates and I assume a little on the food.  Flipping the food over will allow some of the ash to drop/drip off.    A pellet grille will produce ash as it is cooking, and the longer the cook the more ash it produces. No way around it.  The air flow fan is running at a pretty good speed and will blow this ash around.  I have found no way to eliminate it.  Yes a seasoned cooker will have "rougher" wall surfaces which will slightly help collect some of the ash but not all.  I would not oil the walls.  By adjusting the LHT & HHT times to minimize the temp fluctuations and produce a more even flame time, ash production will be minimized. Keeping the fire pot cleaned out will help minimize the ash blow-around during start-up and will minimize the amount of ash in the pot during cooking, but a pellet grille will just produce some ash during cooking.  Long post I know, but I hope it helped a bit.  

Hi JWWALKE,

I am in the southwest and ran my smoker at 25LHT and 100HHT and only had to change that when I wanted hotter grill cooks.  But that's my grill and may not be yours. It was perfect for 225 to 275.  As for your ash. Definitely clean out your firepot before every smoke. I keep a small shop vac handy for that. Also, the more seasoned your smoker is the better. Mine is completely black on the inside now. I get hardly any ash on my food in the indirect side. I also suggest trying some different pellet brands. I personally like BBQ delight brand. I use 100% woods. Like cherry and hickory.  I don't use my PG-500 hardly anymore since I got my FEC-120, but have kept pretty good notes. If you need any advice or have questions.

Hi Padrefan98,  I am just about the opposite of you.  Since I got my PG500 I hardly use my FEC100 any more, except for long smokes or larger quantity smokes.  Using the PG500 for steaks, burgers, chicken, meatloaf, peppers, small rib quantities, and etc, etc, just makes more sense as easier to clean plus the grilling side feature helps for finishing.  Yes pellet type used probably makes a difference as far as ash is concerned - I know it makes a difference as far as BTU output goes.  I now mostly use Cookshacks pellets, and order a bunch to save on shipping.

Olysmokes/Padrefan98

I put a SS FEC 100 grate in a vise and bent it on both sides to make an 18 inch grate. It sits on top of the existing FEPG zone 4 grate. Now heat circulates around the meat and I doubled my cooking area. MAJOR UPGRADE!

I should sell my idea to COOKSHACK!!! ;-)

Looks like the consensus is to raise the HHt to 75-100... I though this would feed more pellets (longer auger run time) to get the smoker up to temp which in turn could cause it to overshoot the desired set point. I will have to play with it. Maybe the PG500 isn't good for long cooks although the brisket I smoked turned out delicious with a 1/4" to 3/8" smoke ring (8 hrs uncovered and 8 hrs under tent) I was impressed getting a smoke ring as the Traeger I had approx 5-6 years ago was crap and wouldn't give a smoke ring or even hardly smoke the meats.

 

Attachments

Photos (1)

I run mine on 15, 75. I heard that the newer PG500  adjust their selves for higher heat cooking? Something about two separate settings?

Anyway, you need to cook a few hamburgers with some fatty mix. it will cause the side direct side to build up some grease to catch/stop the ash flying. This is what I did, it makes some awesome burgers.

Good looking brisket!

cal 2 posted:

I run mine on 15, 75. I heard that the newer PG500  adjust their selves for higher heat cooking? Something about two separate settings?

Anyway, you need to cook a few hamburgers with some fatty mix. it will cause the side direct side to build up some grease to catch/stop the ash flying. This is what I did, it makes some awesome burgers.

Good looking brisket!

Thanks CAL2 and yes I've noticed that the higher I raise the set point the LHt and HHt setting do indeed change. I have a few pounds of ground beef thawing now and plan on a direct cook tomorrow evening along with some bacon on the indirect side. Can't wait to see how it performs.

The older models,like mine, you had to change the settings manually if you wanted a low heat or high heat cooking.

Shelf above the indirect side is about 25* higher on right and about 50* higher on left compared to set temp just FYI.

I like to smoke the briskets at a little higher temp than you, say 250-60ish. Some of the guys on the comp trail that uses it for briskets will actually smoke at a higher temp.

It was my rib smoker, 275* was what I smoked them at.

joem posted:

Olysmokes/Padrefan98

I put a SS FEC 100 grate in a vise and bent it on both sides to make an 18 inch grate. It sits on top of the existing FEPG zone 4 grate. Now heat circulates around the meat and I doubled my cooking area. MAJOR UPGRADE!

I should sell my idea to COOKSHACK!!! ;-)

Joem,  Nice idea!!  Since FEC grate is 17x23, that left you with only about 2-1/2" high space under it if bent to 18" long grate.  With the FEC grate and the PG grate  bars running in the same direction, how do you keep the top FEC grate from falling thru the lower PG grate spaces?  A picture of your set-up/upgrade would be nice.  Thanks!! 

You are correct on the height.  I had a mess of chicken to cook and needed space.  Also, since there is no heat under zone 4,  you have to flip food to evenly cook both sides.  The rack sits on top of the other grate and is supported on the left by the ledge and on the right by the lower grate.  I even cooked a 15# Turkey on it without issue.  I'll post a picture as soon as I figure out how to do that on this new platform. 

Add Reply

Likes (0)
×
×
×
×