Can You Use Charcoal In A Traeger Grill? Important Facts

Using the right fuel is one of the most important aspects of cooking with an electric smoker or a gas grill, and that’s why charcoal is such a popular choice among backyard chefs. They burn cleanly, and they’re known for delivering a powerful burst of heat when lit. No wonder so many chefs use them for their grills, right? But what about other brands, like Traeger’s?

Can You Use Charcoal Pellets In A Traeger Grill?

It’s a myth that you can’t cook with charcoal pellets on a Traeger grill. In fact, technically, you can do anything on a pellet grill that you can do on a charcoal grill and vice versa. However, Traeger strongly recommends sticking their own brand of pellets for many reasons.

While charcoal pellets may produce heat, smoke, and flavor for your food, they are not designed to be used in Traeger grills. Charcoal generates too much ash and gases that can degrade the quality of cooking food in the grill. 

On the other hand, wood pellets from Traeger are a natural, clean-burning fuel made specifically for use in Traeger grills. Wood pellets are designed to deliver ideal smoke for barbequing by combining flavor and moderate heat. 

Wood pellets have the highest BTU value of all biomass fuels. They burn clean and produce little smoke. They also emit very low levels of air pollutants.

Can You Use Traeger Wood Pellets In A Charcoal Grill?

Of course it’s fine to use wood pellets in your best charcoal grill. The problem is that some charcoal pellets are not designed for human consumption. You could get sick if you eat them. And you wouldn’t want that, right?

It means you must use high-quality wood pellets. This means making sure that your wood pellets are actually made for barbecuing and not heating.

What Happens If A Traeger Runs Out Of Pellets?

If your pellet grill runs out of pellets in the middle of a cook, don’t panic. If it’s still at your set temperature, you can refill the hopper. In case if you find the hopper is full of pellets and you got a false alarm, then it might be because of Tunneling.

Tunneling is a common problem in pellet grills. Sometimes pellets don’t get fed into the grill and get piled up at the side of the grill. Tunneling is a term used for the wood pellets in the hopper that create a funnel-shaped void and stop feeding pellets into the grill. In such a case, empty the firepot or stir the pellets in the hopper with a long spoon and let the pellet settle to the bottom. And you’re ready to cook again.

Charcoal Pellets Vs. Wood Pellets

Charcoal is made from pieces of compressed wood, usually from hardwood trees, while wood pellets are made from compressed sawdust of softwood trees, typically pine wood. The difference between the two is largely driven by economics, since wood is much less expensive to make than charcoal.

Wood pellets are made primarily from waste wood too, making them an abundant, renewable resource. Charcoal is a fuel made from hardwood pieces that are relatively high and tightly compacted. Wood pellets are a fuel made from softwood pieces that are relatively loosely compacted.

The difference between the two is largely driven by economics, since wood is much less expensive to make than charcoal.

Like charcoal, wood pellets are an efficient fuel product. They burn rapidly, which makes them great for grilling or large volume cooking. Pellets are also flexible, but with a smaller cooking surface than traditional charcoal briquettes. And because they’re less likely to go out once lit, this keeps the temperature more consistent while you grill or smoke.

Wood pellets are commonly used as a substitute for charcoal briquettes in a grill or smoker, but they can also be used in a stovetop smoker or just about any type of smoker. Unlike charcoal, many commercially available smokers come with dedicated feeder systems for wood pellets instead of charcoal.

Traeger Wood Pellets vs. Charcoal Briquettes

Both products—wood pellets and charcoal briquettes—can be used to fuel your smoker for traditional cooking methods, like low and slow, or hot and fast. For hot and fast cooking, there is a learning curve when transitioning from charcoal to wood pellets.


The major difference between Traeger pellets and charcoal briquettes is the size of the pellet. For example, if you examine a Traeger Pellet Pack, you’ll notice a small hole in the top. Traeger pellets are single compressed pieces, while a traditional briquet is made up of many small pieces.

When using traditional briquettes it’s easy to light one section and leave another area unlit-and that can make for inconsistent cooking temperatures., especially when you’re firing up the grill quickly.

With Traeger pellets, it’s harder to leave wood unlit, so the temperature inside your grill is more consistent. That means you’ll have a flavor-rich meal every time you use Traeger pellets.


A common misconception with Traeger pellets is they burn hot. But in fact they burn at lower temperatures than charcoal briquettes. The secret to low and slow cooking is in the reduced oxygen environment. And with Traeger pellets we get that same environment, because of the compressed nature of the pellet itself.

We’ve achieved this by using thicker walls for the packaging and not allowing air pockets inside the bag, which means no oxygen permeates throughout the entire bag of pellets. With other brands of pellets you have to dump out the unused portion into a fireproof container.

Ash Cleanup

With Traeger pellets, there’s never any ash cleanup because once the pellets burn completely there’s no ashes. When using traditional charcoal briquettes you have to make sure you’re constantly removing ash from your grill so it doesn’t build up and restrict airflow.

Advantages Of A Wood Pellet Grill?

Wood pellet grills give off less smoke, which makes them ideal for people bothered by the smell of smoke when grilling, having a smoke-free backyard, or enjoying delicious foods. Wood pellet grills are top-rated, and you can find them in many of your local stores. They use less wood and deliver more flavor. The intense heat of a wood pellet grill makes every piece of food better, helping the meat keep its natural juices.

Are Wood Pellet Grills Healthier Than Charcoal Grills?

It’s healthier to cook with a pellet grill than charcoal, which produces carbon monoxide–threatening air pollutants such as exhaust particles and hazardous chemicals present in vehicle emissions. Wood pellets are made with compressed sawdust and have fewer impurities than consumer-grade charcoal briquettes. 

Charcoal Grill Vs. Traeger Grill

Although both charcoal and Traeger grills are used for cooking. They are designed differently to set each type of grill apart. Traeger grills have a more intricate design and some technical features to make your cooking experience as comfortable as possible. However, Charcoal grills also have certain advantages over Traeger grills when it comes to outdoor use. 

Charcoal Grill 

Charcoal is the only fuel that produces black ash, burns hot, burns fast, and has a high heat output. The thing about charcoal fuel is that it can be stored easily in a firebox for continuous use. Charcoal works great with grilled food because it creates an authentic smoke flavor without adding any extra fat or calories to the meal. 

Charcoal grills work well for beginners. They’re easy to start with; they are also more fuel-efficient and easier to clean than pellet grills, though they require frequent grill-cleaning to keep them running as efficiently. Charcoal grills are typically less expensive than Traeger grills.

Traeger Grill

Traeger pellet grills are also easy to use. It’s a clean, effective way to cook food quickly and efficiently. It is a very basic set up and you can start cooking by filling the hopper with pellets and adjusting the temperature. Traeger is an excellent option for people who love to smoke large amounts of meat throughout the summer. Pellet grills are pretty limited in their temperature range. They are suitable for low heat searing and some braising. They excel at producing more consistent temperatures, but if you’re looking for high heat above the 450°F range, pellet grills are not the best choice.

What Makes Traeger Grills Better?

The Traeger Grills are a wood pellet grills. They offer precise temperature control, which is essential when grilling various meats. Also the pallets which are used as a fuel in Traeger grills are safe and are made with natural woods. Traeger Grill provides digital temperature control, making it easier for you to ensure the temperature is within a specific range of specifications.

Can You Use A Traeger Grill Without Pellets?

No, you can not use a Traeger grill without pellets. The Traeger grill is designed to run on wood pellets to operate safely. To keep the food safe and healthy, the usage of an all-natural wood pallet is a must to manage the Traeger grill operation properly and safely.


A better understanding of what different fuel types can create types of heat and smoke is an important step. It ensures your food safety and quality while grilling. Using charcoal in a pellet Traeger grill is technically possible but not recommended.

Traeger grills are designed to use only wooden pallets as they release a good amount of heat without creating too much smoke, making food tastier and healthier.