How Are Wood Pellets Made
To figure out if wood pellets are safe, first, we have to figure out how theyre made and what goes into them.
Wood pellets are used for a whole range of things, but since were talking about wood pellet grills today, well focus on that!
Most bbq wood pellets used on the grill are made from sawdust compacted into the small wood pellets you know today.
Let’s take a look at the process:
The wood pellets are processed this way to make sure they are packed as densely as possible, providing maximum heat when the pellets come to your grill or smoker. Its a great way to get most of the moisture out of the wood, so your wood pellet grill can burn without dampened wood.
Are Wood Pellets Toxic
All your wood pellet safety questions answered. Pellet chemical content and health information to help you keep safe while pellet cooking.
A common concern with all types of barbecue is if the fuel were using is toxic. With charcoal grilling its been the debate over the presence of carcinogens in the smoke with propane its been the danger of inhalation and with wood pellets its around if the fuel is dangerous.
Are BBQ wood pellets toxic? And if so, to what degree? Does the risk outweigh the reward? Lets take a deep look in this article.
First a disclaimer. I am in no way a health expert, nor am I a scientist. I simply want to display all the facts that I am aware of, and outline them in a clear way so that you can make a sensible decision for yourself. I will link to everything that I have read around the subject, and be as transparent as possible.
Which Is Healthier Grilling Or Smoking
Grilling meats is an American tradition, but its not the healthiest thing to do. A growing body of research suggests that cooking meats over a flame is linked to cancer. Japan, Russia, and Eastern Europe, where smoking is a popular way to preserve meat and fish, became laboratories for gastric cancer research.
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Outdoor Cooking At Its Best
Outdoor cooking is an entire culture in and of itself. And we love it. People spend hours deciding between Pit Boss vs Traeger, and considering the other alternatives. Loyalties run deep, too, so people spend hours researching where Traeger grills are made, where Pit Boss grills are made, and fretting over whether it is acceptable to use Pit Boss pellets in a Traeger or vice versa.
Pellet smokers are an excellent asset to have, especially if you love good barbecue or big gatherings, and modern smokers feature technology and advancements that represent outdoor cooking at its best. It is very convenient to prepare your meats, and then let them cook low and slow over a period of time, without needing to constantly monitor your cooker.
Still, many of you love your gadgets and cooking options, so you may not stop at your new pellet grills, and you may find yourself researching the best smokeless fire pits for grilling, or comparing Roccbox vs Ooni outdoor pizza ovens. Here are our favorite products for outdoor cooking:
The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors. Any content provided by our bloggers or authors are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.
Can You Use Bbq Pellets In A Charcoal Grill
Yes, you can. Two things to consider first make sure that the wood pellets are of good quality and that they are designed for grilling. Look for pellets made of 100% wood, with low ash content and high quality standards.
Using wood pellets with your charcoal grill is relatively easy:
- Prepare and start your charcoal grill as usual.
- Once the charcoal is hot and has a layer of white ash, place a handful of wood pellets under the rock grate.
- Once the wood pellets ignite, you can begin to grill.
- If you want to enjoy the full smoky flavor of wood pellets, keep the lid closed tight.
Another option is using a pellet tube smoker, such as the A-Maze-N Tubes. It contains the wood pellets that you can then mix in with your charcoal. This model is a great idea if youre planning to cook more than one kind of meat at the same time, for instance, hamburger and pork chops. It provides the right amount of smoke to add the flavor that you want to your food.
Plus, this pellet tube smoker is an inexpensive way to give that natural hardwood flavor to your meat or fish using your charcoal grill.
If youre looking for a fast grilling solution, you can make a pouch out of aluminum foil with pellets inside. Poke a few holes in the foil for airflow and set on the coals.
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Are Wood Pellets Healthy
Once you have learned the difference between the two varieties of wood pellets available on the market, you will understand immediately to avoid simple wood pellets if you want to cook with a pellet grill, and instead opt for food-grade every time.
But are food-grade pellets all that healthy to cook with?
When it comes to the dangers of grilling in general, high fumes themselves, no matter if they are from pellets or gas, are bound to be a bit risky anyway.
Cooking at high heat will generate a large amount of smoke and this may be problematic for your health if you are exposed to it.
Food-grade pellets that are made from cheaper brands can sometimes still feature extra fillers or binding agents.
Therefore, when you are shopping for your preferred pellets, it is useful to do your research and make sure that the brand you are purchasing from definitely doesnt include any binding agents in their pellets, and that way you wont need to worry.
Are Pellet Grills Safe For Apartments
Pellet grills can not be used inside. Not only do pellet grills introduce a fire hazard, but they also generate smoke, carbon dioxide, and other chemicals, which could be deadly if you dont have proper ventilation.
With this in mind, pellet grills and pellet stoves should be allowed on balconies where gas or charcoal grills are allowed, but every lease agreement is a little bit different. In fact, there may be some leases that allow for propane grills or charcoal grills but expressly prohibit pellet grills and smokers. The best course of action is to first read your lease and then speak with your apartment manager to get express permission.
And look, if we are being honest, if I owned an apartment building, I wouldnt allow any grills on the balcony. Not only is it a fire hazard, but as wonderful as wood smoke is, some neighbors may not appreciate it. Of course, we love smoking meat and eating good barbecue, so we are rooting for you but definitely check with your lease manager after reading through the fine print.
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Theres A Big Difference Between Heating Pellets And Smoking Pellets
Wood pellets made from hardwoods with chemicals or insecticides are intended to be used only as heating pellets.
Heating pellets are wood pellets made for a pellet stove to heat a home.
Wood pellets made from food-safe hardwoods are manufactured as smoking wood pellets.
These smoking wood pellets are specifically made fuel for pellet grills. Some food-safe hardwoods include apple wood, hickory, or mesquite, to name a few.
This is where the fun begins! There are many flavors, blends and combinations of smoking wood pellets to choose from.
Depending on the type of meat you will be smoking can help you decide which flavor or combination of flavors to use.
Are Pellet Grills Environmentally Friendly
If you are looking for a justification to invest in a new pellet grill or smoker, wood pellet grills may be more environmentally friendly than the alternatives. Why? Well, pellet grills use renewable wood pellets as the ignitable fuel source, and electric pellet grills use minimal amounts of electricity to operate. One other big consideration is that pellet grills dont require fluids, lighters, or gas to get the fire starter.
As noted above, this is one of the major factors that contribute toward pellet smokers being safer than charcoal or gas grills, and here we note it is the same reason that pellet grills are more environmentally friendly than standard grills.
The other thing to keep in mind is that wood pellets are made from compressed sawdust and wood chips. These are by-products of other milling processes and would have gone to waste without their inclusion in products such as wood pellets. The good news here is that its not like the industry is cutting down forests just to create wood pellets.
Quality wood pellets also avoid chemicals, glues, and additives that may be toxic to burn off. So all in all, wood pellet grills may indeed be more environmentally friendly than charcoal or gas grills.
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Best Wood Pellets For Smoking In 202: Best Flavors Ranked
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You have purchased your wood pellet smoker, but now what? With endless options of flavored wood pellets to choose from its hard to know where to begin.
Experimenting with different flavors of pellets is half the fun of investing in a pellet grill.
Dont worry about sticking with the pellets made by your grill manufacturer either. Well explain why below.
Whether you are new to smoking or have become a pit expert, there is a wood pellet for everyone, and we have listed the best pellets below.
Do Traeger Pellets Have Chemicals
Avoiding chemicals is why people turn to wood pellets! Its an excellent choice for people who want to enjoy the benefits of outdoor cooking and also want to get that natural smoky flavor to the food.
Does Traeger takes a long time to have chemicals in its pellets? In our opinion, no. They are one of the largest producers of BBQ grills and smokers, so they keep chemicals out of their pellets. However, other manufacturers use chemicals in the pellets for various reasons. So, be wise while choosing a wood pellet for your Traeger grills.
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Traeger Grills Signature Blend
You would definitely expect to see Traeger showing up here since they invented the pellet grill.
You can choose from a wide range of different wood flavors. For our money, we are going with the signature blend.
At 20 pounds, this bag of smoking wood pellets features a blend of three savory flavors: cherry, maple and hickory.
This bag of blended pellets does not contain any fillers or binders. The flavors you see are the flavors you will taste!
These three blended flavors make your smoking options endless. Without being limited to one flavor for type of smoking, you can smoke a variety of meats and vegetables with this blend.
What We Like:
- Versatile blend This blend of flavors goes well with any meat and vegetable combination. This allows you to smoke multiple meats or vegetables at the same time without changing wood pellet flavoring.
- Affordable With an affordable price, burning through the bag does not have to hurt your pocket book. You can purchase multiple bags at a time!
- No Additional Fillers or Binders- Just like the label says. This blend of wood pellets is 100% maple, cherry and hickory with no hidden fillers. This means you taste the flavors in the smoke!
What We Dont Like:
- Limited Personal Blending Options If blending your own flavors of wood pellets are your thing, you have limited options with this premade signature blend.
- Quick Burning Some users describe this blend of wood pellets as burning faster than other flavors or blends.
- Jack Daniels
So Are Wood Pellets Toxic
Cooking food with a wood pellet grill does have its health risks, but arguably not more than the typical burn fluid. In fact, pellets, especially grade A ones, are much more healthy than charcoals or lighter fluids. It all lies in the production of the pellets. So if you care about your safety, go according to quality, not price.
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Lumber Jack Bbq Pellets Pellet Grill Smoke Pellet
100% All-Natural Wood BBQ Pellets, No Fillers or Additives
The best BBQ pellets in the industry!
For use with all pellet grills and smokers!
We leave the bark on, just like the old timers used to. Our pellets provide an unmatched true full flavour wood smoke.
Only all-natural wood is used in our pellets. No fillers, no additives, no artificial flavours and no oil sprays just all-natural wood!
More Stable Heat
The smaller diameter of our pellets result in less auger jamming and a more even burn, resulting in a very stable heat source.
Our smaller diameter pellets ignite quicker, and bring your grill to temperature faster than most other wood BBQ pellets.
Wood Pellets Vs Charcoal Grills
As we noted above, charcoal is currently the most popular grilling material for backyard pitmasters that enjoy flavor but that lead seems to be dwindling. Wood pellet grilling has jumped threefold in just a couple of years, with almost one in 10 grillers now using this impressive fuel source in their grilling. When looking at wood pellets vs. charcoal, wood pellets offer a lot of advantages.
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Bbq Pellets Vs Wood Chips
BBQ pellets and wood chips can all be manufactured from any type of hardwood. The main difference between the three is the amount of processing required.
BBQ pellets are composed of compressed hardwood sawdust. It is dried first so that it has a consistent moisture level and then pressed into its pellet shape. Pellets dont burn as fast as wood chips and give you a deeper smoke flavor. They also burn at much higher temperatures than wood chips and can be used to cook more kinds of meat.
Wood chips do not require as much processing. They are composed of small pieces of irregularly shaped wood about an inch or two in diameter and have a higher moisture content than BBQ pellets. Not all moisture is removed, otherwise the woodchips would be too dry and not produce any smoke or flavor. They burn very quickly and only offer a moderate amount of smoke, but not the clean smoke you are looking for in your smoker.
Can Wood Pellets Cause Cancer
The smoke of wood pellets can cause lung cancer. The intake of regular smoke affects the lungs and cause many lung diseases. The best way to keep you safe is to use a propane fan to avoid the intake of smoke. Well-known brands like Camp Chef and Traeger consist of built-in smoke remover fans. When it comes to charcoal pellets, their intake is more harmful than regular wood pellets.
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Are Pellet Grills Safer
Are Pellet Grills Safe? Grilling and smoking meat and vegetables is a favorite American pastime, and the good news is that using a pellet grill is very safe. While charcoal or gas grills can be prone to flare-ups and the flames may be challenging to control, it is much easier to cook using a pellet grill.
Rec Tec Grills Pellet Grill Reviews
For a great unboxing and pellet smoking test, I point you to my buddy Jays review of the Rec Tec Grill Pellet Smoker over at BBQSauceReviews.com. The following videos will give you an overall breakdown of what the Rec Tec Pellet Smoker is all about both from a construction and components standpoint.
Rec Tec Grill Pellet Smoker Overview
This next video is great because it really talks about how solid the construction of the Rec Tec Grill Pellet Smoker is. Youll note several times that the reviewer says how surprised he was at how heavy the lid of the cooker is. Folks, nothing and I mean NOTHING cooks as well and as evenly as Heat Soaked Metal! Thats why cast iron is so prized for cooking ability! Also pay attention to the heat probe readings you see in this video. The one thing everyone who has used this pellet smoker says is that the Rec Tec Grill keeps actual temps where set temps read better than nearly any other pellet cooker out there.
Independent Unboxing and Review of the Rec Tec Grill Smoker
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Other Wood Pellet Grill Dangers
Besides the slight risks of toxic concerns through the pellet production, there are a couple of things that concern smokers too:
- Fire Hazard
Anything can be a hazard when you literally put it in the fire. That being said, since these pellets are made to catch fire and keep a high heat, concerns about creating fire when you dont want them to are expected. To avoid unwanted fires, store the pellets in a safe place with little moisture. Also, clean the ash well to avoid relight.
- Air Pollution
When cooking or with pellets, theres a risk of producing carbon monoxide into the ozone layer. Thankfully, manufacturers with the environment in mind have taken this on board, creating a pellet that is nicer to the world.