Help! Ironwood 885 - Is it always going to be this hard to simply “grill”?

CJ Grillgal

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We just got the Ironwood 885 a few weeks ago. Haven’t been able to grill a single thing yet. Bought it based on friends and family who LOVE their Traegers. Now I’m finding out they all have older models. Have not even been able to get through the ‘seasoning your grill‘ steps. Got this grill when I did so that I would have the operation of it down and be able to grill good stuff for family visiting on the 10th of July. We are new to pellet grilling, but my brother raved about how easy it is, no hovering over a hot grill keeping the flare-ups at bay. We bought the floor model because there were no more in stock. So followed the steps to a “T” to perform the seasoning your grill, and something different happens each time that makes me have to shut it down and start over. I have little free time, that’s one of the reasons I got the grill, so going through the steps only to have to start over an hour later doesn’t work for me. So each evening on the weekend would try to get it seasoned and would have to start again the next day. OK, the issues: First time trying to season it, Primed the auger but did’t hear pellets hit the fire pot. Thought it was just quiet. So went ahead with the next step Set it to 350 degrees and tried to ignite it. Nothing. It just says ’igniting...” and the fan blows on and off and nothing happens. No smoke no heat, nothing. So I did more research, checked the owners manual and the next time I tried it, started from scratch again. Same thing happened. To me, the manual is a little vague in some areas. How many pellets should be in the firepot? 10? 100? Fill it up? It only says it doesn’t take many pellets to season the grill. I’m new to pellet grilling so how many is “many”? The next time I tried it, I had watched a YouTube video on starting up a brand new ironwood 885. I saw there weren’t that many pellets in after the auger pushed them in during the prime the auger step. So I took mine apart and was shocked to see that the firepot was absolutely overflowing-full! Now, this newbie realizes that if you run the “prime auger” step several times, this would naturally happen. So, I scooped out all of the pellets, put ‘er back together and started again. Prime the auger, heard pellets hit ‘ting ting ting’, that’s good. Then set to 350 and “ignite.” The temp display reached 116 and never went higher. Then a little smoke started coming out of the outtake where the grease pail is. Huh? Then a TON of white smoke came out of the lid, the back, basically smoke was pouring out of the grill! I remembered reading about this thick white smoke thing being bad, flipped to it in the manual and knew had to do a shut-down, cool-down, take it apart, etc., —- again. I now dread trying figure out what in the world is going on. The manual seems to indicate all of these results could indicate many things that could be wrong. But the grill is brand new. I’m disappointed and disheartened and yes, mad that something this expensive could be so hard to operate and not operate as it should. Ready to take it back and just get a gas grill that didn’t give the best results, but easy to troubleshoot and control. Any ideas from anyone on something I’m doing wrong or is it just this particular grill? Thanks!
 

dunawayfamily

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We just got the Ironwood 885 a few weeks ago. Haven’t been able to grill a single thing yet. Bought it based on friends and family who LOVE their Traegers. Now I’m finding out they all have older models. Have not even been able to get through the ‘seasoning your grill‘ steps. Got this grill when I did so that I would have the operation of it down and be able to grill good stuff for family visiting on the 10th of July. We are new to pellet grilling, but my brother raved about how easy it is, no hovering over a hot grill keeping the flare-ups at bay. We bought the floor model because there were no more in stock. So followed the steps to a “T” to perform the seasoning your grill, and something different happens each time that makes me have to shut it down and start over. I have little free time, that’s one of the reasons I got the grill, so going through the steps only to have to start over an hour later doesn’t work for me. So each evening on the weekend would try to get it seasoned and would have to start again the next day. OK, the issues: First time trying to season it, Primed the auger but did’t hear pellets hit the fire pot. Thought it was just quiet. So went ahead with the next step Set it to 350 degrees and tried to ignite it. Nothing. It just says ’igniting...” and the fan blows on and off and nothing happens. No smoke no heat, nothing. So I did more research, checked the owners manual and the next time I tried it, started from scratch again. Same thing happened. To me, the manual is a little vague in some areas. How many pellets should be in the firepot? 10? 100? Fill it up? It only says it doesn’t take many pellets to season the grill. I’m new to pellet grilling so how many is “many”? The next time I tried it, I had watched a YouTube video on starting up a brand new ironwood 885. I saw there weren’t that many pellets in after the auger pushed them in during the prime the auger step. So I took mine apart and was shocked to see that the firepot was absolutely overflowing-full! Now, this newbie realizes that if you run the “prime auger” step several times, this would naturally happen. So, I scooped out all of the pellets, put ‘er back together and started again. Prime the auger, heard pellets hit ‘ting ting ting’, that’s good. Then set to 350 and “ignite.” The temp display reached 116 and never went higher. Then a little smoke started coming out of the outtake where the grease pail is. Huh? Then a TON of white smoke came out of the lid, the back, basically smoke was pouring out of the grill! I remembered reading about this thick white smoke thing being bad, flipped to it in the manual and knew had to do a shut-down, cool-down, take it apart, etc., —- again. I now dread trying figure out what in the world is going on. The manual seems to indicate all of these results could indicate many things that could be wrong. But the grill is brand new. I’m disappointed and disheartened and yes, mad that something this expensive could be so hard to operate and not operate as it should. Ready to take it back and just get a gas grill that didn’t give the best results, but easy to troubleshoot and control. Any ideas from anyone on something I’m doing wrong or is it just this particular grill? Thanks!
The White Smoke you are seeing is to be expected at the initial seasoning/burn-in phase ... you are burning off a bunch of oil that was applied to the internals of the grill at the factory ... to minimize that, you can wipe down the insides of the barrel with paper towels ... another recent post on here pointed to so much excess oil being in the barrel from the factory that they had a temperature racing issue ... after they wiped it down and re-ran the seasoning/burn-in, that issue was resolved ...
 
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CJ Grillgal

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Aha, good info. It did have a sheen to it on the internal parts. Should I open the lid during this (manual talked about dangers of letting the lid ‘burp’) or let her burn off?
 

dunawayfamily

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Aha, good info. It did have a sheen to it on the internal parts. Should I open the lid during this (manual talked about dangers of letting the lid ‘burp’) or let her burn off?
If the temps are holding, you can let it burn off ... if they start racing well beyond the set temp, you may want to power off, wipe down, assess the firepot/pellet situation, and start over ...

EDIT: adding thread from yesterday - https://www.traegerforum.com/thread...eger-pro-780-temp-went-way-past-setting.1473/
 
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CJ Grillgal

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Thanks! Oddly, the temp window never went above 116 degrees although it had to be super hot to cause the smoke to pour out like that.
 

EddieH

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CJ Grillgal, I have the Traeger Ironwood 885. It is running perfectly. If you are still having problems give me a call (617)835-0789. My first name is Eddie
 

jp9724

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With the start up, it normally takes time to start gaining temp and when it does, the smoke content will turn to virtually nothing when up and running. At start up it will billow out smoke as you would expect for a fire starting so don't be alarmed when you start it up and see it smoking out of everywhere even if temps aren't moving yet. The will!

Also, when you're cleaning the ashes out for a routine cleaning, toss a small hand full of pellets back in near the hot rod for a quicker start up. If you're not sure how many to put in, roughly the same amount the controller puts in after a successful cool down which you will see when you go to vacuum it out.

welcome to the Traegernation Family! The Ironwood is a beast once figured out!
 
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CJ Grillgal

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Thanks JP for the info and encouragement. Makes sense there’d be a lot of smoke and not much heat at first (like laying green boughs on a fire, lotta smoke then heats up when the branches are burning).
 

traeger860

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There's a little plastic pin that covers the temp probe (RTD/thermocouple) on the inside of the grill. I've read about people leaving them on by mistake after buying a new grill. Any chance that cover is still on? I just cranked on my Ironwood 650 for the first time to season it. It took about 10 minutes to get to 350.
 
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CJ Grillgal

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OK, trying to season the Traeger again. Last tried two weeks ago. Opened it up and lots of creosote on bottom of heat baffle. Wiped it off and so much there it crumbled off. Vacuumed firepot. Unsure how it should or shouldn’t look (wish the manual had color pictures for each step). Primed the Auger. Instructions are confusing. It says it will take a few mins to fill with pellets, but then says your grill display will tell you the specific time (2mins30secs is what mine said). Then says ‘once pellets begin to fall into the firepot, select Done to turn off the auger...you only need a few pellets to season your grill’. So Should I go the full 2min 30secs or turn it off when I hear some pellets fall in? I opted for turning off the auger after 30secs. Fired it up and let’s see what happens. So far the temp is rising, it’s up to 310...dare I say looking good so far?
 
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CJ Grillgal

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Morph, good point, but I did remove the temp probe cover. Thanks though.
 

traeger860

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Here’s what the firepot looked like after the big white smoke-fest two weeks ago when I tried to season the grill. Don’t know if this is normal or not, but I vacuumed it out.
Either way too many pellets got in there at once or it didn’t go through the complete shutdown cycle and finish burning. How did the rest of the seasoning cycle go?
 
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CJ Grillgal

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Success! Thanks to you guys’ advice, finally successfully grilled! Here’s my notes below during the seasoning and grilling:

24 July trying to season the Traeger Ironwood 885 again.

Primed auger 30sec then turned to 350 and ignited. It’s staying about 359-365 instead of a steady 350. Fan blew steadily. Toward end of the 20mins, it started staying about 347-349 Degrees.

Turned it up to 500 degrees at 6:14. Got “pellet level low” alert at 6:15. Ok that may explain drop in temp. Looked in hopper and took stick to move more pellets toward the center so they would go in. Alert went away. At 455 at 6:19. That’s pretty fast. 501 at about 6:21. Pellet level low alert again at 6:31. Used the stick trick and it went away . Think I’ll simply add more to the hopper! (Ya think?) Temp at 496 at 6:33, now up to 507 at 6:36. Fan still blowing steadily. But temp down to 485 at 6:38. Hmmm. Ok back up to 491 a few secs later. Fluctuations are normal, the handbook says. Not windy at all here, on shady side of house, ambient is about 89.

Should be done seasoning at 6:50. At 6:53 lowered temp to 350. Put on 1” pork chops, 4 burgers, and a kielbasa sausage. They turned out great, but next time will pull thin chops off early.

Altogether, calling it a success. It will take more planning to grill now, have to plan for time to grill, cool it down and pull it back into the garage, so the pellets don’t absorb moisture from all the Virginia humidity. Small price to pay for great grillage.
 

REDOC

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Good luck my friend. Have not even cooked a friking hotdog on mine yet.
 
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