While I love my new pellet grill/smoker, the breaking-in process was described in the manual in a meager one paragraph of text. I thought it might be helpful to my fellow smoking aficionados to have the process outlined with pictures. This process applies to the Camp Chef Pro SE Pellet Grill/Smoker. Your grill and process may be different.
This process was done during a rain shower, if you are interested in how it was done safely, please check out my Pellet Smoking in the Rain Instructable.
Step 1: Load Hopper
It is assumed that your grill was assembled following the manufacturer's instructions, including removal of most of the packing oil on key components such as the drip tray.
Open the hopper cover and pour in pellets, as shown. It is important to make sure the pellets are dry. Do not use damp or wet pellets in your smoker!
Step 2: Pre-Feeding Pellets
Before you turn your grill on, ensure the ash can is in place and open the ash damper. Set the grill to feed and turn the power on. Listen until you hear pellets dropping into the can, as this means the auger tube is properly fed. Close the ash damper.
Step 3: Initial Burn
Set the grill to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and allow grill to heat for 30 minutes to 1 hour. This will burn off any remaining packing oils.
Step 4: First Use
Once 30 minutes to 1 hour have passed, set your grill to the desired temperature for your first smoke. Note the location of the thermometer port. You may want to allow 15-20 minutes for the grill to stabilize to the temperature you are shooting for. There is a green light above the dial that blinks while preheating and stays on when the desired temperature has been reached.
Step 5: Shutting Down
After you have finished cooking, be sure to set the grill to shutdown until the light above the dial, which should now be red, goes out. Do not unplug or turn off your grill during the shutdown process. This ensures that there are no pellets in the fire chamber and auger tube between smoking sessions.