Pellet Poured in a Pellet Grill from a Plastic Bag

What to do if your pellet grill runs out of pellets while smoking Brisket?

It happened. Your pellet barbecue was out of pellets when you went out to run an errand while smoking a magnificent creation. You think it is, at any rate.

Don’t be alarmed; this can occasionally happen to the rest of us. Therefore it’s preferable to take quick, straightforward action to address the problem.

Your pellet grill will likely display an error message before starting its shutdown process when the pellets run out. While you address the problem and avoid ruining your dish, it’s critical to remove the food from the pellet grill as soon as you can and place it in your oven.

Before we answer the question of what to do if you run out of pellets while smoking brisket, let’s answer this question first;

Can You Smoke Brisket While Adding Pellets?

Prevention is vital for your pellet barbecue to run out of pellets. The time to take action is now if you open the hopper and see that the pellet supply is getting low.

If the hopper and auger are full, you can add pellets while operating your pellet grill. You can add more pellets soon if you can still see a couple of them in the hopper’s bottom.

If the temperature in your grill stays constant, even if you can’t see pellets in the bottom of the hopper, there are probably still some in the augur. Even in this situation, you can still use pellets on your grill.

Sadly, there’s a potential you might add pellets a little bit too late since if the augur has a lot of space, the grill might still start its automatic shutdown cycle. Don’t worry; adding pellets is still acceptable; you will only need to perform the restart procedure stated below.

What to Do while Cooking and Your Pellet Grill Runs Out of Pellets?

Follow these instructions to restart your smoking session as soon as possible if you’ve added a lot of fresh pellets and your grill has begun to shut down.

Save the Food

If your pellet starts the shutdown process, saving your supper should be your top priority. Use your grilling tools to take the meal from the grill and put it in a pan or tin foil. Place that pan in a low-heat oven.

Add the Pellets

If you haven’t already, put pellets in the hopper to complete your cook.

Take the Grate Out

The grate, baffle, and anything else covering the firepot in your pellet grill must be taken off, as annoying as it may be. You may observe what’s happening in the firepot in this manner. Although you can perform this while the shutdown procedure is in progress, waiting until it is finished before starting this step is preferable.

The grate will be extremely hot. To remove components of your grill, only use the correct tools, such as a grate lifter and fireproof gloves.

Set the Grill to High

Turn your grill to the high setting to get pellets to feed into the fire pot as quickly as possible. The pellets won’t start falling into the firepot for a few minutes.

Return to Shutdown

Turn your pellet back to the shutdown cycle once the pellets fall into the firepot. But you can immediately turn it back to smoking without going through the shutdown routine.

Watch for Smoke to Come Off the Grill

Keep your grill on the smoke setting until it starts to emit smoke. You can reinstall the grill’s baffle and grate.

Let the Grill Warm-up

You can set the temperature back to where it was once the grill has begun to emit smoke. Before you do anything else, give the grill time to achieve this temperature.

Change Your Food

Feel free to transfer your meal from the oven back to the grill and continue smoking once the grill has reached the temperature you choose!

Is it still safe to eat the brisket?

The response will vary depending on how long the smoker was turned off. You’re OK to go if you catch the problem immediately and follow the directions above. You could have an issue if the unit were left to cool off for an extended period.

More than two hours of meat storage in the “danger zone” between 40 and 140 degrees draw dangerous bacteria that can result in food-borne diseases. For this reason, you should always put leftovers in the fridge within two hours.

Check the interior temperature of your brisket as soon as you know the smoker is out of pellets. Is it at least 140 degrees? If so, you can proceed with the suggested instructions and continue to smoke the meat.

If the unit shut off while you were asleep or the cooking chamber cooled off completely, you may not know precisely how long the meat was in the danger zone. In these cases, you should remove the brisket to be safe.

Top tips on How to Never Run Out of Pellets

Even though your present dinner may be postponed because you ran out of pellets, this doesn’t need to happen frequently. Here are a few pointers to ensure you always have pellets.

Have a Plentiful Stock of Pellets on Hand

Wood pellets should always be kept on hand. Order a bulk quantity from a website like Amazon or buy a bag anytime you see them on sale. In either case, you should only start a smoke session with one bag available.

Calculate the Number of Pellets You’ll Need

Estimating how many pellets you’ll need before you start cooking is another way to avoid running out. For every hour you intend to smoke at low heat, you should budget one pound of pellets.

If the temperature is high, increase this amount and allow two hours for every hour you intend to smoke. We advise calculating reasonably high, particularly during the colder months of the year, when more pellets are needed to maintain heat settings.

Establish a Check-Back Alarm

Long smoking sessions may require you to reload the hopper midway through. This is true even if you filled the hopper to the full. It’s better to set a timer to check and refill your hopper midway through the smoke duration. Or perhaps even after only a third of that 24-hour smoking session’s duration.


In any case, running out of pellets while smoking a brisket doesn’t have to mean the end of your delicious meal. With creativity and quick thinking, you can keep your brisket cooking and enjoy a delicious meal in no time. 

So, next time you find yourself in this predicament, remember these tips and don’t stress over it; your brisket will turn out delicious. Happy smoking!

And if you find this article helpful or have any suggestions, feel free to reach us.


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