What’s in Pellets

From post here by Team C at SMF

Traeger pellets – Some said they were 100% alder or oak with flavor oils, some said a mix, and on and on. I was told that if you call Traeger and ask they will tell you they don’t know or if you send a email inquiring what’s in the pellets then they reply that it is proprietary information. I live in Oregon about 15 minutes from Traeger offices so called them to get it straight from the horses mouth. Talked to a very nice rep ____. She did not know what the makeup of the pellets was and said that info only the pellet mill knows. hit.gif After some back and forth she said she would try and get me some info and took my #. I would have bet anyone 100 bucks that I never would hear back from her but today she called me and said she got a note from the mill with a breakdown of whats in the pellets.

The base wood if you are on the west coast is alder and the east coast is oak.

Mesquite or Hickory 100% base wood (alder or oak) with flavor oils no actual Mesquite or Hickory wood in the pellet.

Apple, Pecan or Cherry 70% base wood 30% Apple, Pecan or Cherry wood.
Maple 100% Maple wood. 
Alder on the west coast is 100% Alder on east coast 70% oak 30% Alder
Oak on the east coast is 100% Oak on the west coast 70% Alder 30% Oak

We have settled in on lumberjacks for most things. 100% flavor (100% pecan, for example) and documented blends of flavor woods (maple-hickory-cherry, for example). Quality and consistency is excellent.

Best Cobb Premium Horse Bedding – “Made from 100% All Natural Corn Cob Bedding, manufactured from the lightweight, most absorbent parts of the cobs. No Additives or Chemicals added to our product”

This is the same stuff Todd sent me and it is hard to start, but once going it works well and gives that sweet corncob aroma!  I sprinkle some wood pellets on top to make it get going better.  Many Tractor Supplies will deny having it unless you specify it by it’s name and/or item sku number:  5075571 – they look it up and find they do have it.

I use pellets made by Q-Pellets you can find there distributers on the web @ Q-Pellets.com give them a try you’ll love them.

Gneral info from Todd of Amazen:


I think BBQ Pellets are the closest guarded secret in the BBQ Industry

Are they Alder base or Oak Base?

Are they Hardwood or 100% Natural Wood?

Are Alder Pellets that are marked “100% Hardwood” really “Hardwood”

If Apple is added, are they still “Hardwood Pellets”

How about the words “All Natural”?????

Does this infer that some wood is not natural?

It’s a play on words……


It truly amazes me that the industry can’t be more transparent and list what’s actually in the bag

Some producers use whole trees and others use waste wood from sawmills, cabinet, trim & furniture factories and even a hammer handle factory.

Do these make bad pellets?

The simple answer is “Not Necessarily”

How pellets are produced and what type of equipment is just as important as the type of wood fiber used

A poorly compacted pellet will fall apart in the auger, and produce lower BTU’s in the firepot

A pellet high in bark will produce more ash


What is “Food Grade Pellet”?

There’s a huge debate on whether a pellet is “Food Grade”

The fact that the U.S. Government has NEVER regulated the industry and NEVER established a definition for “Food Grade Pellet”, leads me to believe there really is not a “Food Grade Pellet”.  Pellets can be processed on machinery that uses “Food Grade Oil” to lubricate the dies, but does this give them the designation of “Food Grade Pellet”?  I would think the USDA or FDA would have to inspect the equipment for food safety, but I may be wrong.

IMHO: This is a marketing term used to infer the product is safe, but by whom?

Is there oil in Pellets?

Most pellets are produced with some sort of oil to lubricate the dies during the process.  A producer could use a “Food Grade Oil” such as corn oil or vegetable oil to lubricate the dies during the pellet making process.  Is the waste oil from McDonalds “Food Grade Oil”?…..Sure Is!

Are Traeger Pellets really made with flavored oils?

Traeger holds patents for adding flavored oils to sawdust, in-order to create a flavored pellet.  I cannot tell you if flavored oils are actually used in Traeger pellets, but I could see “Onion Oil” or “Garlic Oil” being used to create some of their flavored pellets.  Oil if far more expensive than the cost of waste wood that is used in most wood pellets.


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