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How to Start a Camp Chef Pellet Grill: Step-by-Step

Learn how to start a Camp Chef pellet grill the RIGHT way, whether it is new, empty, or full of pellets, as each scenario requires its own procedure.

Let’s go!

starting a camp chef pellet grill

If you are new to learning how pellet grills work, you may be wondering exactly how to start your Camp Chef pellet grill.

Follow the step by step instructions below to learn exactly how to start that Camp Chef pellet grill.

The first section is for if the grill is new, or empty, and the second section is if the auger is already full of pellets.

We also show you at the end exactly how to shutdown your pellet grill the proper way.

 

How to Start Up a Camp Chef Pellet Grill for the First Time or One That is Empty

Starting up an empty Camp Chef pellet grill is slightly different than starting up one that is already full of pellets.

If your Camp Chef pellet grill is truly BRAND new, you should go through the full process of seasoning it before cooking on it for the first time.

You can find our Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Season a Traeger Pellet Grill here, which is a similar process to the Camp Chef.

Otherwise follow these steps as follows:

  1. Fill your hopper with pellets.filling the hopper of a camp chef pellet grill with pellets
  2. Plug in and turn on the power switch to “ON” on the pellet grill, keeping the lid open.  Set the dial to “Feed”.   This will  start  the auger turning and bring the pellets towards the firepot.  If the auger is completely empty, this can take about 5-7 minutes to fill the auger.
    the control panel of a camp chef pellet grill
    Set the dial to FEED if the auger is empty to fill it with pellets.

    wood pellets in a camp chef pellet grill

  3.  Once you or see pellets going into the fire pot you can switch your temperature dial to your chosen temperature for the food you are cooking.

    pellets in the fire pot of a camp chef pellet grill
    Pellets will begin falling into the fire pot while the fire rod heats up
  4. Now you are waiting for a torchy burner lighting sound. This means the fire rod has come up to temperature and has started igniting the pellets.  At this point, a more significant amount of smoke will begin coming out of the pellet grill.  This means the pellets are ignited and the pellet grill is workingNow you can close the lid.pellets igniting in the fire pot of a camp chef pellet grill
  5. It will take about 10-25 minutes to preheat the grill, depending on the temperature you have chosen..
  6. While you are waiting, make sure you’ve got the grease trap in place and the grease bucket hanging to catch any grease that comes out during the cook.  Wear a good pair of BBQ gloves when you are handling these components.positioning the grease trap on a camp chef pellet grillthe grease bucket on a camp chef pellet grill
  7. Put your grates on. Using a good bristle free grill brush, clean off the grill grates.  Then apply a little bit of cooking oil for your food.long handled bristle free grill brush

If you are wanting to grill with direct heat, like for steaks and hamburgers vs. indirect heat for smoking larger cuts of meat, then pull out the knob on the left side of the grill by the control panel to remove the heat deflector shield.  Otherwise leave it in place to keep your meat from being exposed to direct heat.

starting a camp chef pellet grill
Keep the knob “IN” for “IN”-Direct heat.

 

 

pulling the knob out on a camp chef pellet grill for direct heat
Pull the knob “OUT” for DIRECT heat.

Once the grill is at your desired temperature, put your food on, use any temperature probes if you wish, and cook your food!

 

Why use Bristle Free Grill Brushes? 

Check out our Ultimate Guide to How to Keep your Family Safe by using ONLY Bristle Free Grill Brushes, along with a selection of some of our favorites!

 

How to Start a Camp Chef Pellet Grill that has Pellets in it Already

Preparing to Start the Grill

  • Clean out your fire pot from any leftover ashes from the previous cook.  Make sure there are no obstructions in it.a clean and emptied out fire pot on a camp chef pellet grill
  • Leave the lid of the grill open.a camp chef pellet grill with the lid open
  • Add pellets to the hopper.pouring pellets into a camp chef pellet grill

Note: It is alway best to empty the hopper and the auger each time you use your Camp Chef pellet grill rather than leaving the pellets to sit in there.

Pellets will not last very long if left in the hopper where, even when covered will be exposed to humidity and temperature fluctuations.

Keep your pellets in an airtight sealable container like a 5 gallon bucket indoors where they will remain dry and fresh.

You will get better quality smoke out of them and they will last a lot longer.

Starting up the Camp Chef Pellet Grill

  • Plug in the grill
  • Press the “Power” switch and turn the dial to your selected temperature.  If the auger is already full of pellets then there is no need to run the “Feed” cycle.
  • You will hear the fan kick on and the auger start to move and begin to kick pellets into the fire pot.  Your fire rod will begin to eat up as well.the fire rod on a camp chef pellet grill
  • Leave the lid open for about 5-7 minutes until you hear the pellets in the firepot ignite.  This will sound kind of like a torch lighting or a gas burner igniting.a lit fire pot when starting a camp chef pellet grill
  • Close the lid and allow about 10-15 minutes to preheat the grill.
  • Using a good bristle free grill brush, clean off the grill grates.
  • While you are waiting, make sure you’ve got the grease trap in place and the grease bucket hanging to catch any grease that comes out during the cook.
  • Put your grates on if they aren’t already in place and when the pellet grill comes up to temperature go ahead and put on your food!

 

How to Turn Off a Camp Chef Pellet Grill

After you have finished cooking your food, don’t just turn off and unplug the Camp Chef pellet grill .

Turn the dial on your Camp Chef pellet grills to the “Shutdown” setting.  This setting will stop the auger from turning, and quickly turn up the temperature of your fire rod and the speed of your fan.

The reason for this is to rapidly burn off any pellets remaining in the firepot so that they don’t just sit and smolder for hours like hot coals.

You can’t smother and re-light pellets that have already ignited once like you can with charcoal.

So any pellets that have already made it into the fire pot need to be burned up.  The “Shutdown” feature makes quick work of this and leaves you with a nice clean firepot for your next cook.

Do not power down or unplug the pellet grill or this process cannot happen. The fan will turn off automatically when it is done, and then you can turn off and unplug the grill.

Once the remaining pellets have burned off, the fan has stopped, and the grill is cool again, empty the remaining pellets left in the auger and the hopper and put them in a nice dry resealable 5 gallon bucket you keep inside.

Yes, we know how tempting it is to just throw the cover back on and leave the unused pellets in the Camp Chef.

However, you will quickly find out how poorly those pellets absorb moisture and can expand, rot, and even mold if left in there too long.

And pellets can get expensive pretty fast when you are throwing large batches away that have been ruined when left in the hopper.a bucket full of pellets from a pellet grill

So take the extra few minutes to transfer them out of the grill once the grill has cooled down.  You’ll thank yourself later!

Lasly, empty your grease bucket if any grease accumulated in it during the cook, and also empty your ashcan on the bottom of the smoker.

Make sure the ashes are completely cool, otherwise you can do this part at the beginning of your next cook.

You have to burn A LOT of pellets to fill up the ash can so need to empty it every time.

To unlock the ash can, pull on the release lever locate on the right side of the Camp Chef pellet grill near the grease bucket

pulling the release lever on a camp chef pellet grill
Use the lever on the right side of the pellet grill to unlock the ash can. Make sure to wear BBQ gloves if the grill has been running!

 

Unscrewing the ash can on a camp chef pellet grill
Twist the ash can to loosen and remove.

 

an ash can full of ashes on a camp chef pellet grill
Make sure that the ashes are cool before you empty it.

 

Now What Food Can I Cook on my Camp Chef Pellet Grill?

Looking for some smoky inspiration for your Camp Chef?

So glad you asked.

Check out some of our great recipes of smoked and grilled food to try out after starting up your Camp Chef pellet grill!

Trash Can Turkey – OK, technically not made on a pellet grill but one of the most fun ways there is to cook a Turkey…at over 700 degrees in only 2 hours!  You’ve got to check it out!

starting a camp chef pellet grill

How to Start a Camp Chef Pellet Grill

Learn Step by step how to start a camp chef pellet grill the right way. From loading the hopper to putting on your food, we've got you covered with these step by step instructions
Prep Time 25 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Australian, barbecue, BBQ, Smoked

Equipment

  • Camp Chef Pellet Grill
  • Grill Brush

Ingredients
  

  • 1 Bag Wood Pellets

Instructions
 

  • Fill your hopper with pellets.
    filling camp chef hopper with pellets
  • Plug in and turn the power switch to "ON", keeping the lid open. Set the dial to "Feed". This will start the auger turning and bring the pellets towards the firepot.  If the auger is completely empty, this can take about 5-7 minutes to fill the auger.
    starting camp chef pellet grill
  • Once you or see pellets going into the fire pot you can switch your temperature dial to your chosen temperature for the food you are cooking.
    pellets going into fire pot of camp chef pellet grill
  • Once you hear a torchy burning sound and the pellet grill starts producing a lot of smoke, you can close the lid.
    camp chef pellet grill making a lot of smoke
  • Wait about 10-25 minutes for the grill to come up to temperature.
    camp chef pellet grill
  • While you are waiting, make sure you’ve got the grease trap in place and the grease bucket hanging to catch any grease that comes out during the cook
    grease bucket on camp chef pellet grill
  • Put your grates on. Using a good bristle free grill brush, clean off the grill grates.  Then apply a little bit of cooking oil for your food.
  • If you want to use DIRECT HEAT, pull the knob on the left side by the control panel OUT to remove the heat deflector shield.
    pulling knob on camp chef pellet grill for direct heat
  • Once the grill is at your desired temperature, put your food on!

Video

Notes

Video courtesy of Hidden Heights Farm
Keyword Camp Chef, camp chef pellet grill, How to, how to start a pellet grill, pellet grills, start up procedure, starting a pellet grill

 

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