Junior Elite is overheating, stopping, etc.


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Apr 12, 2020
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Jersey Shore
Junior Elite 20-Inch Wood Pellet Grill
I am at the end of my rope and joined the forum to get some insight from you folks. I thought I would throw all the issues out here, then address them by each if necessary. Before this, I lead a happy existence with my electric Brinkman. I babysat this cheap red bullet and fed it stainless boxes of chips every 45 minutes, and she rewarded me with delicious moist brisket, ribs, and butts. Sadly she was cut down in her prime by a rogue Labrador pup that gnawed the cord off the heating element. For three years, I have been in an abusive relationship with the 20” Junior Elite. With my Stockholm syndrome firmly ensconced, I start this thing up weekly knowing she won’t let me down this time, and every time I am disappointed.

These are the issues:
Runaway heat: There is no standard set of circumstances that support why on too many occasions when the temperature is set at 250F, the grill will jump to 475F and, if not caught in time, will incinerate what was meant to be smoked.

Shuts down: With longer cooks 4+ hours (sometimes less), the crucible will fill with pellets and shutdown. I vacuum it out, restart and resume the cook.

The Traeger probe is clean
I have played with the p-settings
Crucible and smoker vacuumed clean before every cook
Pellet brand doesn’t have any effect
Ambient temp doesn’t change these issues

Is this a one-off for just me? Has the technology changed to alleviate these issues, and should I upgrade? Am I expecting too much? I don’t mind some extra labor, should I look for another smoker or BGE?

Thanks for your help!

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