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The "healthiest" pellets?

Snizzley

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Hello All-

I just got my first Pellet smoker (pit boss 820) and I also purchased the pit boss brand pellets to go with it. I have had trouble finding reliable info on what the pellets are actually made of. Can anyone shed some light on that for me? Also what is the best and most pure pellet brand on the market? I don't mind paying up if it is healthier for my family. Thank you in advance.
 

bill1

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This should be an interesting discussion. :-)

As Skully and Molder used to say...the truth is out there somewhere.
 

indaswamp

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Unless stated on the bag as 100% flavor wood, then most likely the pellets are a blend of flavor wood and a high BTU wood for heat like oak or alder. Pellet grills need those BTUs to heat the grill...
 

SmokingUPnorth

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I’m in the same boat as you. I recently got a Traeger and don’t want to spend the money for the Traeger pellets everything so started poking around. I found a lot of people talked about Lumberjack pellets and they seem to have good reviews on here so I’m trying to hunt some down to try.
 

indaswamp

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I’m in the same boat as you. I recently got a Traeger and don’t want to spend the money for the Traeger pellets everything so started poking around. I found a lot of people talked about Lumberjack pellets and they seem to have good reviews on here so I’m trying to hunt some down to try.
Lumberjack pellets use only the outer layer of wood including the bark. They claim that the cambrian layer of wood is where most of the flavoring compounds are located.
Cabela's pellets are made by Lumberjack.....

I have used them, I like them...
 

Snizzley

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I have also
I’m in the same boat as you. I recently got a Traeger and don’t want to spend the money for the Traeger pellets everything so started poking around. I found a lot of people talked about Lumberjack pellets and they seem to have good reviews on here so I’m trying to hunt some down to try.
It's a bit curious that the info is tough to find right?
 

SmokingUPnorth

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Lumberjack pellets use only the outer layer of wood including the bark. They claim that the cambrian layer of wood is where most of the flavoring compounds are located.
Cabela's pellets are made by Lumberjack.....

I have used them, I like them...
You like the cables pellets your saying? Might have to order some. Seems like lumberjack pellets are hard to find. Thanks
 

tallbm

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Hello All-

I just got my first Pellet smoker (pit boss 820) and I also purchased the pit boss brand pellets to go with it. I have had trouble finding reliable info on what the pellets are actually made of. Can anyone shed some light on that for me? Also what is the best and most pure pellet brand on the market? I don't mind paying up if it is healthier for my family. Thank you in advance.
Hi there and welcome!

Ok here's the skinny on pellets.

Most brands are list a "type" of wood on the bag like "Hickory". What you get is usually about 20-35% of Hickory and then the rest is a more plentiful hardwood like Oak or Alder or sometimes Maple.
The good thing is that any hardwood or fruit wood is safe and perfectly fine for smoking. The bad news about these brands is that you don't actually get what you think u are getting :(

Unsafe pellets would potentially be those for "wood stoves" where they may be all kinds of stuff. You don't really see these unless u go out of your way online to get some "stove" pellets.

Next that is not really unsafe but seems to be viewed as being shady, would be the Traeger pellets. At one point in time they used a cheap plentiful hardwood like oak or alder and then used "flavoring oils" to give you the flavors for stuff like Hickory or Apple.... What are the oils? I have no clue. I don't know if they still do it but people seem to think they do and the fact that
they ever did it makes me avoid them period.

Now the BEST brand of pellets in my opinion is Lumberjack brand. This brand gives you 100% of the wood listed on the bag. So if you buy Hickory u get 100% hickory and so one. They also CLEARLY identify on the label if you are getting a blend like "Fruit Wood Blend" or "Competiation Blend", or "Mesqutie Blend", etc.

The other exceptional brand is Cookin Pellets brand. They follow the same practice that Lumberjack does but the difference is they only have like 2-3 offerings total where LumberJack has a ton of 100% options.

Also, I believe Cabela's brand and even the A-Maze-N brand are both rebranded Lumberjack pellets so those seem to be good to go.

Honestly with a pellet smoker, for heat generation I would burn Pit Boss pellets you get from walmart since they are cheap and are perfectly fine wood pellets but they do the whole hidden blend thing. Now I would use an A-Maze-N Pellet Smoker (AMPNS) tube and load it with Lumberjack pellets and burn it for my pure flavor smoke.
This way the cheap pellets burn for heat/fuel and the good Lumberjack pellets burn for flavor.
You maximize your productivity and flavor while minimizing your cost this way :)

I hope this helps for pellet info! :)
 

tallbm

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I’m in the same boat as you. I recently got a Traeger and don’t want to spend the money for the Traeger pellets everything so started poking around. I found a lot of people talked about Lumberjack pellets and they seem to have good reviews on here so I’m trying to hunt some down to try.
Rural king (eastern part of the country) seems to have Lumberjack at great prices.

Dick's Sporting goods also carries Lumberjack and will allow you to order to the store more options then they may carry in-store.
 
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indaswamp

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You like the cables pellets your saying? Might have to order some. Seems like lumberjack pellets are hard to find. Thanks
I have a Cabela's store 5 minutes from my house, they carry a full line of pellets from all the different woods. I mainly use them as dust for cold smoking.
 

Snizzley

Newbie
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Joined Aug 23, 2020
Hi there and welcome!

Ok here's the skinny on pellets.

Most brands are list a "type" of wood on the bag like "Hickory". What you get is usually about 20-35% of Hickory and then the rest is a more plentiful hardwood like Oak or Alder or sometimes Maple.
The good thing is that any hardwood or fruit wood is safe and perfectly fine for smoking. The bad news about these brands is that you don't actually get what you think u are getting :(

Unsafe pellets would potentially be those for "wood stoves" where they may be all kinds of stuff. You don't really see these unless u go out of your way online to get some "stove" pellets.

Next that is not really unsafe but seems to be viewed as being shady, would be the Traeger pellets. At one point in time they used a cheap plentiful hardwood like oak or alder and then used "flavoring oils" to give you the flavors for stuff like Hickory or Apple.... What are the oils? I have no clue. I don't know if they still do it but people seem to think they do and the fact that
they ever did it makes me avoid them period.

Now the BEST brand of pellets in my opinion is Lumberjack brand. This brand gives you 100% of the wood listed on the bag. So if you buy Hickory u get 100% hickory and so one. They also CLEARLY identify on the label if you are getting a blend like "Fruit Wood Blend" or "Competiation Blend", or "Mesqutie Blend", etc.

The other exceptional brand is Cookin Pellets brand. They follow the same practice that Lumberjack does but the difference is they only have like 2-3 offerings total where LumberJack has a ton of 100% options.

Also, I believe Cabela's brand and even the A-Maze-N brand are both rebranded Lumberjack pellets so those seem to be good to go.

Honestly with a pellet smoker, for heat generation I would burn Pit Boss pellets you get from walmart since they are cheap and are perfectly fine wood pellets but they do the whole hidden blend thing. Now I would use an A-Maze-N Pellet Smoker (AMPNS) tube and load it with Lumberjack pellets and burn it for my pure flavor smoke.
This way the cheap pellets burn for heat/fuel and the good Lumberjack pellets burn for flavor.
You maximize your productivity and flavor while minimizing your cost this way :)

I hope this helps for pellet info! :)
Great info thank you so much!
 

indaswamp

Smoking Guru
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Joined Apr 27, 2017
My only concern with Pit boss pellets is that here is humid south Louisiana, if left out and not sealed in an air tight container, the pellets will swell and fall apart.
 

Fueling Around

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Good replies from indaswamp indaswamp and tallbm tallbm .

Adds:

Safest?
If you believe the Commifornia (California) zealots NO wood or charcoal grilling or smoking is healthy.
I guess you are double cursed by using Lumberjack Char-Hickory pellets which are a blend of hickory and charcoal

A-Maze-N pellets are not re-branded Lumberjack. I don't have any experience A-Maze-N pellets, but the question has been asked and answered in prior threads.

Traeger owns the patent to flavorize or make fake pellets.

All pellets swell and fall apart if exposed to water or excess humidity. I've warned by many sources that Pit Boss brand are the worst.

No direct experience using Pit Boss pellets. Neighbor used to swear by them until he found that Lumberjack give better flavor.

Friend loves Traeger pellets in his Traeger grill. Swears they produce less ash.

Bear Mountain is one of the oldest pellet producers. I just found a local source, and got sacks of hickory and oak. I used the oak in a knock off version of an A-Maze-N tube. Nice flavor

I got a pellet grill (pooper) this spring.
I've only used Traeger gourmet blend pellets as fuel because I bought 60# and it is pretty efficient.
Gourmet blend is similar to Maple-Hickory-Cherry (MHC) from Lumberjack.
I think the grill itself doesn't give much smoke flavor. (I use to have a wood & charcoal fired off-set.)
I use the tube to add a nice flavor.

The only Lumberjack pellet that I will not buy again is Apple Blend. Good smoke, but I didn't get any apple flavor.
 

mike243

Master of the Pit
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Joined Feb 25, 2018
Also Traeger adds oils for flavor and not sure what kind, where is all this data folks are using stating certain folks make others products? I try to find info and run into blank walls or words of wisdom from folks that get info from where? . there cant be a lot of pellet company's out there you wouldn't think but sounds like a hot business to be in lol . heating pellets may catch on at some point and might raise some more plants. I would like to see some southern companys using local wood . I am not convinced all wood =same taste nation wide . might take a better taste tester than me to determine that though. I know a lot of the northern states probably have a larger forest of hickory than most of the southern states
 

indaswamp

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
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Joined Apr 27, 2017
LJ is a whole log user, they dont just use the outer layer or just the inner, https://bbqlumberjack.com/our-pellets/
Thanks for posting this link mike243, been a while since I had read that on their site and had it in my head they only used the outer layer not the whole log. You can definitely see that lumberjack pellets are darker than most because of the bark in the pellets.
 

Snizzley

Newbie
14
10
Joined Aug 23, 2020
Good replies from indaswamp indaswamp and tallbm tallbm .

Adds:

Safest?
If you believe the Commifornia (California) zealots NO wood or charcoal grilling or smoking is healthy.
I guess you are double cursed by using Lumberjack Char-Hickory pellets which are a blend of hickory and charcoal

A-Maze-N pellets are not re-branded Lumberjack. I don't have any experience A-Maze-N pellets, but the question has been asked and answered in prior threads.

Traeger owns the patent to flavorize or make fake pellets.

All pellets swell and fall apart if exposed to water or excess humidity. I've warned by many sources that Pit Boss brand are the worst.

No direct experience using Pit Boss pellets. Neighbor used to swear by them until he found that Lumberjack give better flavor.

Friend loves Traeger pellets in his Traeger grill. Swears they produce less ash.

Bear Mountain is one of the oldest pellet producers. I just found a local source, and got sacks of hickory and oak. I used the oak in a knock off version of an A-Maze-N tube. Nice flavor

I got a pellet grill (pooper) this spring.
I've only used Traeger gourmet blend pellets as fuel because I bought 60# and it is pretty efficient.
Gourmet blend is similar to Maple-Hickory-Cherry (MHC) from Lumberjack.
I think the grill itself doesn't give much smoke flavor. (I use to have a wood & charcoal fired off-set.)
I use the tube to add a nice flavor.

The only Lumberjack pellet that I will not buy again is Apple Blend. Good smoke, but I didn't get any apple flavor.
My goal is to find out if these brands are using additives that adversely effect health. I don't have an issue with cooking over fire or charcoal and I don't listen to CA (lol).
 

D.W.

Meat Mopper
245
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Joined Jul 13, 2018
My goal is to find out if these brands are using additives that adversely effect health. I don't have an issue with cooking over fire or charcoal and I don't listen to CA (lol).
No offense, but you sound more "Californian" than most folks from CA that post frequently on this forum..... just sayin.
 

Snizzley

Newbie
14
10
Joined Aug 23, 2020
No offense, but you sound more "Californian" than most folks from CA that post frequently on this forum..... just sayin.
OK bud. I'm not sure if you are trying to insult me or "most folks from CA that post on this forum". Either way I don't know why you would even bother with a comment like that.
 

tallbm

Master of the Pit
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★ Lifetime Premier ★
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Joined Dec 30, 2016
My goal is to find out if these brands are using additives that adversely effect health. I don't have an issue with cooking over fire or charcoal and I don't listen to CA (lol).
I believe on the Lumberjack website they say it is simply just compressed wood dust. No clues, additives, etc. Their process I believe just compresses the crap out of it to make the pellets.

I'm not sure if this is just common practice for most of them but I seem to remember LJ stating it as a transparent pro for their pellets. Again I believe i read it on their website so please double check me :)
 

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