Can You Leave A Pellet Grill Unattended? (Overnight Cooking)

You’re planning on cooking a brisket on a pellet grill, but it can take up to 16 hours. The first thing that pops into your mind is “can you leave a pellet grill unattended?

Can You Leave A Pellet Grill Unattended?

It should be fine if it is for a few hours, has enough pellets, has been cleaned properly, is set on low and slow, and is about 4 feet away from the house.

can you leave a pellet grill unattended

You never want to leave a grill alone that is set on high. For fast cooks, you want to stay close to the grill with a thermometer to monitor your cook.

Don’t worry, we’ll go more into detail about how to do those long cooks without having to watch the grill every hour. If this is your first time owning a pellet grill, read our in-depth guide on how to use a Pit Boss grill.

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Is It Safe To Leave A Pellet Grill Unattended?

how to keep a smoker going overnight
While you can smoke meat overnight, you still need to monitor it.

It’s NEVER safe to leave any grill unattended for long periods of time. However, I know that it’s impossible to sit there and babysit a grill when you’re doing a long cook.

If you have a pellet grill, there’s going to come a time when you have to leave your grill unattended for a short while. Whether it’s to run an errand, go exercise, go to work, or just wake up early and get the cook started before the day.

7 Tips For Smoking Meat Overnight

Either way, these tips will help you stay safe when you’re preparing to cook a Boston butt, brisket, or any other meat that takes a long time to cook.

#1 Make Sure The Pellet Grill Is Clean

The number one reason that fires occur is when the grill hasn’t been cleaned in a while. Regardless of what type of grill, whether it’s gas, charcoal or pellet, grease fires are possible when you don’t clean the grill properly.

If you’re planning on doing a long cook, make sure you clean the grill properly, especially, any of the drip pan areas where grease tends to build up. Grease tends to build up quickly, especially, if you’ve done several greasy cooks back to back.

Most manufacturers recommend cleaning a grill after every 5-6 cooks to prevent grease fires.

Whenever we do a long cook, we always vacuum out the ashes from the previous cooks and clean out the drip buckets.

#2 Fill The Hopper With Pellets

fill the hopper with pellets
Make sure the grill has enough pellets so it doesn’t run out overnight.

The number of pellets your grill will burn will depend on the temperature settings and the weather conditions.

Cooking on the smoke setting you can expect most pellet grills to burn about 1/2 pounds of pellets per hour. That being said, every grill is different, and the weather will play a huge role as well so you need to take that into consideration for how long the pellets will last.

You may have noticed when pellets burn, they funnel down to the auger, which can leave some getting stuck to the side of the hopper. If you plan on being gone for a long while, make sure you fill it up with pellets really well.

You don’t want your grill to run out of pellets as that will cause the fire to go out.

#3 Make Sure The Pellets Are Good

Always check the quality of your pellets, especially, if your grill has been stored outside. You can test the quality of the pellets, but most importantly they should be dry.

If they have moisture in them it’s possible for your auger to jam while you’re away. A jammed auger can be a scary situation, especially, if you’ve never had it happen before.

#5 Pull The Grill Away From The House

Just to be safe, it’s best to place the grill in a place that wouldn’t burn down the house, deck, or anything else if disaster does strike when you’re not near.

I’d recommend moving it 4-6 feet away from the house. Never use your grill indoors or in a basement.

#6 Set The Temperature To Low And Slow

can you smoke meat overnight
Set the temperature to smoke and use a wireless thermometer to monitor it.

You never want to leave your grill on high overnight without someone watching it. However, many people have let their pellet grills cook on the smoke setting overnight without any issues.

That being said, you should set an alarm to monitor the grill during the cooking process. You never just want to leave the grill alone throughout the entire night or day without checking it.

I’d recommend investing in a good meat thermometer with WI-FI capabilities that will make it so much easier to check the temperature via your phone.

The solution is to invest in a grilling thermometer with a smartphone app (Amazon). This will help you know when the food is cooked to the proper temperature without you having to open and close the lid all the time.

Anytime you do an overnight cook, you probably won’t get much sleep. But it will be worth it when you pull the meat off the grill and notice how great it tastes.

#7 Monitor The Weather

Before planning on leaving your grill to do an overnight cook, it’s best to pay attention to the weather.

You never want to leave your grill outside when it’s raining. If it does start raining, you will need to make sure the hopper does not get wet and ruin the pellets.

As mentioned above, the weather can have an adverse effect on the number of pellets your grill uses as well as the cooking process.

Bottom Line

Overall, pellet grills are very safe and many people have done long cooks overnight or in the early mornings. That being said, I personally wouldn’t recommend just leaving the grill alone without checking it all.

Hopefully, these tips will show you how easy it is to do a long cook on a pellet grill, while staying safe.

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