Why Did My Pellet Grill Catch on Fire? – How to Prevent It From Happening Again

Yes, you do need a small fire when you’re using a pellet grill – but only in the firepot! you don’t want that same fire to get out of hand. Unfortunately, that may happen!

There are many reasons why your pellet grill went up in flames: too many pellets, ash accumulation, too much grease, and more.

There are ways to prevent that from happening – and we’ll explain all that and more down below.

Why did my pellet grill catch on fire?

Too Many Pellets in the Firepot

Pellets are a must-have if you want to cook on your grill – but you may overdo it and have a fire in your hands that’s too much to handle.

As you probably already know, a pellet grill will automatically dispense pellets from the hopper to the firepot. The firepot has a small ignition knob that sets the pellets on fire and causes them to generate heat and smoke.

Also Read: How Does a Pellet Grill Work

Unfortunately, it can happen that too many pallet somehow end up in there and therefore that too big a fire is created.

This mostly happens if the pellet grill is very unclean and filled with ash or the pellets are somehow clumped together or something like that. Make sure to keep your pellets stored correctly.

Also, if your pellet grill somehow unplugs or the power goes out do not just plug it in again. It won’t know if there are already pellets in the firepot, and will simply dispense in some new ones on top. There will be way to many pellets and it’s a big reason why fires can happen.

Too Much Grease

Unfortunately, grease fires are all too common for grills. There are safety measures in place to prevent them from happening – but after enough grease build-up, they are not enough to stop a fire from starting.

How does grease build up in your grill? When you cook something, grease drips into the tray and starts accumulating there (if you don’t take care of it right away).

People who forget to clean their trays right away are one bad day away from watching their grill go up in flames.

How to Avoid Your Pellet Grill From Catching on Fire

Check the Manual

Nobody ever reads the manual – but you may find important tips and tricks there to help you avoid more fires.

Every grill is unique in its own way: some have a special way of starting up, and others have a special cleanup procedure, and so on. Not following directions could lead to malfunctions (and fires!)

You may find a big warning label on the manual explaining what went wrong – and how to prevent it from happening again.

Clean Your Drip Tray

Although each grill is unique in its own way, all of them share certain similarities – for example, the danger of grease fires.

As you now know, too much grease in your tray could lead to nasty consequences – and the best way to prevent that from happening is to remove the grease as soon as you can, especially if you love fatty foods.

And make sure the drip tray liner is ready to go and needs no replacement before you start cooking.

Use Dry Wood Only

You probably know you have to use the right amount of pellets to avoid a fire. What you may not know is how important quality wood is.

Buying cheap wood or using damp pellets could lead to a fire (and also damage your grill), so it’s always a good idea to get the good stuff when grilling.

On a related note, the pellets you buy change the flavor of your meat – so make sure you get the good wood and even better food!

How to Put a Pellet Grill Fire Out in Three Steps

If your pellet grill starts sets on fire don’t panic. Put the fire out by following this process.

  1. Unplug the grill: The very first thing you need to do is avoid any extra issues and pull the plug on your grill as fast as possible. The moment you cut the power, it’s the moment the fire loses steam. At that point, the fire won’t grow, at least.
  2. Deal with the grill: This part is a two-step effort that needs to happen right away too. First, close the grill (that way, you cut the oxygen feeding the fire). Second, move the grill someplace safe away from other objects; otherwise, you may end up with a fire that continues to spread – and that’s something you don’t want.
  3. Extinguish the fire: Don’t use water! You may damage your grill permanently if you do. And you could also help the fire get bigger if grease is involved. The best way to extinguish a fire is using a fire extinguisher – which is pretty self-explanatory. Other than that, an insulation blanket may do the trick too. If it’s a grease fire try to cut out the oxygen supply of the fire.

What to Do After a Pellet Grill Fire

Burn the grease

It may sound counterintuitive to burn the grease after it caused a fire – but that’s what you have to do. You need to get rid of it so it won’t aid in another fire.

Of course, you have to turn your grill on and watch the fire for a good twenty minutes. Don’t leave the fire unsupervised – unless you want to go through another bad time!

It’s important to stay near the grill to check whether the fire happened because of grease, pellets, or a malfunction.

So, pay attention and see if any sparks fly when you’re at this step.

Clean the grill

After you deal with the grease, you have to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Bring a brush and scrub anything stuck there, such as debris or stubborn grease.

Once you have a spotless grill, it’s time to do something else. Grab a bowl and fill it with equal parts water and white vinegar.

Drip a clean cloth there and wipe your grill. Take your time, and make sure you leave no nooks and crannies untouched. Rinse and repeat if necessary.

Then, grab your good old brush and scrub away again. The vinegar will help you loosen up anything stuck there and remove the smell of fire.

Using a Degreaser

Are you having a hard time cleaning your grill? Is white vinegar not helping you with more-than-stubborn grease? You need to bring in the big guns and get a degreaser to do the job.

More often than not, white vinegar will be enough to deal with debris – so there’s no need to buy a degreaser right away.

It’d be a waste of time to continue using vinegar if you’re having a hard time with it. Using a degreaser will help you clean your grill in ten minutes tops – leaving it spotless.

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