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pellet wood type matters...


Joined Mar 23, 2019
got my new pellet grill... it has a high temp of 500 deg.f I used some 100% cherry smoke ring pellets, but the highest temp I could get is 440 deg. I switched out the pellets with pitboss competion blend hickory, maple, cherry and now it cranks up to 500 deg easy. the smoke ring pellets have a smaller dia , but I think its the wood type. next I will try 100%hickory to see if it will over shoot 500 f. then I will know for sure its the wood type. anyone else notice this? peace, randy.

JC in GB

Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
Joined Sep 28, 2018
Just curious as to what you are cooking at 500 F?


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Joined Mar 1, 2014
Different pellet types (species and manufacturer) can have slightly different BTUs. On grills where you are pushing the top end of their rated output, it can make a difference. The higher end grills typically don't have a problem with this. I can hit 700F on my Memphis with any pellet.


Joined May 18, 2019
Inconsistency between charts may exist due to different laboratory variables

Million BTU’s per Cord Pounds Per Cord Dry
Osage Orange 32.9 4728
Shagbark Hickory 27.7 4327
Eastern Hornbeam 27.1 4016
Black Birch 26.8 3890
Black Locust 26.8 3890
Blue Beech 26.8 3890
Ironwood 26.8 3890
Bitternut Hickory 26.5 3832
Honey Locust 26.5 4100
Apple 25.8 3712
Mulberry 25.7 4012
Beech 24.0 3757
Northern Red Oak 24.0 3757
Sugar Maple 24.0 3757
White Oak 24.0 3757
White Ash 23.6 3689
Yellow Birch 21.8 3150
Red Elm 21.6 3112
Hackberry 20.8 3247
Kentucky Coffeetree 20.8 3247
Gray Birch 20.3 3179
Paper Birch 20.3 3179
White Birch 20.2 3192
Black Walnut 20.0 3120
Cherry 20.0 3120
Green Ash 19.9 2880
Black Cherry 19.5 2880
American Elm 19.5 3052
White Elm 19.5 3052
Sycamore 19.1 2992
Black Ash 18.7 2924
Red Maple (Soft Maple) 18.1 2900
Boxelder 17.9 2797
Catalpa 15.9 2482
Aspen 14.7 2295
Butternut 14.5 2100
Willow 14.3 2236
Cottonwood 13.5 2108
American Basswood 13.5 2108


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
Joined Mar 1, 2014
Species Million BTU’s per Cord Pounds Per Cord Dry
When reading that chart it's important to factor in the weight per cord. Just looking at BTU's is misleading because BTU vary mostly due to wood density. Cords are measured by volume, pellets by weight. Once wood is pulverized and pressed into pellets, most of the density differences are eliminated and the difference in BTU is due to other factors like oils and resins. That's why softwoods are low in BTU by the cord, but are have some of the highest pellet outputs.

I actually used the data in that chart to create one that calculates the BTU per lb - I think I've posted it here but I'll see if I can find it.

Here it is: https://pelletfan.com/index.php?topic=2553.msg33157#msg33157
Last edited:


Meat Mopper
Joined Mar 1, 2019
The image post you linked to no longer shows the image. At least it doesn't on my computer.

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