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ckreef

Not All Pellets Are Created Equal

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I did a little research on pellets. For BBQ there are two main types of pellets. 

Heat pellets. These are usually a blend of oak and a flavor wood with a relatively high percentage of oak. They do this because oak burns hot, long and leaves little ash behind (compared to other types of wood). This type of pellet is mainly used in pellet grills. 

The other type of pellet is smoking pellets. These can be singled wood or a wood blend. These are used in things like the Hot/Cold Smoker, pellet trays etc... They generally give a better smoke profile for that type of wood. 

Both types of pellets can be used interchangeably but might give less than optimum results used for the wrong application. 

The source of the wood also varies. The cheaper pellets are usually made with scrap lumber and sawdust leftover from other industries such as oak furniture companies. The problem is oak furniture companies usually use kiln dried wood. The kiln drying process causes a lot of the smoke profile to be lost. 

Some pellet manufactures use various fillers. This stretches their wood farther so they can sell a low cost pellet but who wants fillers when your smoking an expensive piece of meat?

The better pellet manufacturers use virgin wood. They chip it green, dry it out then turn it into shavings. Sometimes they leave the bark on and sometimes they strip it off depending on the pellet they are making. Pellets made from virgin wood give a stronger smoke profile for the type of wood. 

There is more to making pellets than all that but I figured armed with that information I could source out a decent pellet manufacturer. I decided on Lumber Jack Pellets. They use all virgin wood and strip the bark at times depending on the blend. 

http://bbqlumberjack.com/our-pellets/

They don't sell to the general public so I order some from here. 

https://bbqpelletsonline.com/index.php/products/buy-individual-bags/Lumber-Jack-Pellets-10-20-and-40-w-free-shipping-c14087011

 

I bought 3 x 10 lb bags. 

Hickory Blend. 60% red oak, 40% hickory. Should have a fairly robust smoke profile that I'll use for beef. 

Fruitwood Blend. 80% cherry, 20% apple. Should be a sweeter, lighter smoke profile for pork. 

Rosemary, Thyme, Basil. An oak base with rosemary, thyme and basil. It sounds interesting and will try it with chicken and fish

There you have it, hopefully I didn't bore you too much. Will report back again once I get a chance to use these pellets. 

ljpA.thumb.jpg.898e17c79d764e047bbebf77c74aa941.jpg

 

 

Edited by ckreef
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Thanks for the research. I am interested in how these work for you.

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thanks for the tips! I used up most of my Amazin' pellets on my cold smoked salmon, so I was in the market for another box. 

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Interesting, I've had a pellet grill for several years and was pretty careful about the pellets I would use. I have never seen the herb infused blends but it has been a while since I purchased any. Since I got the kk, I have barely fired it up.

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8 minutes ago, Steve M said:

Interesting, I've had a pellet grill for several years and was pretty careful about the pellets I would use. I have never seen the herb infused blends but it has been a while since I purchased any. Since I got the kk, I have barely fired it up.

This research was to find the best pellets for the KK Hot/Cold Smoker. Just wanted the best I could reasonably find. I've never owned a pellet grill and at this point I doubt I ever will. Just trying to maximize my KK's ability. 

 

 

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10 hours ago, jonj said:

Thanks for the research. I am interested in how these work for you.

I'll report back within a week or two. 

 

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1 hour ago, tony b said:

thanks for the tips! I used up most of my Amazin' pellets on my cold smoked salmon, so I was in the market for another box. 

Lumber Jack Pellets has about 15 different versions. Definitely a few more I want to try over time. 

 

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I did similar research earlier this year to figure out why the pellets I used (from amazn tube smokers) left so much gunk in the cold smoker. Those mystery pellets are junk. I ended up with cookinpellets.com. Much better.

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Interesting. I used Traeger hickory and they burnt well but I’m unsure if I like the flavor profile. It was hard to tell if I just used too much smoke the first time because I’m not used to pellets.
I’ve got two racks of ribs I’m about to do right now so I put my apple chips in the microwave as I think Dennis mentioned that works well for him.
Now I got 19#s of hickory pellets left. Oy!


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132d40dcd478b78de24a36013803b181.jpgfbf4c31e945134aedad6151297586032.jpg

 

This is the applewood chucks that I dried out in the microwave. I do have a good ocean breeze today so that helps keep them lit. Have pump set at 1/2 power as it was pumping huge amounts at full steam. Funny thing though....anyone notice sometimes there’s a big plume of smoke going into the tube and other times very little? It’s the same cook and the tube is clear.

 

 

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6 hours ago, sfdrew28 said:

132d40dcd478b78de24a36013803b181.jpgfbf4c31e945134aedad6151297586032.jpg

 

This is the applewood chucks that I dried out in the microwave. I do have a good ocean breeze today so that helps keep them lit. Have pump set at 1/2 power as it was pumping huge amounts at full steam. Funny thing though....anyone notice sometimes there’s a big plume of smoke going into the tube and other times very little? It’s the same cook and the tube is clear.

 

 

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Not sure about that first picture. If your Hot/Cold smoker is running properly there should be no smoke coming out the side holes. 

 

When the smoke amount varies that is when alot of pellet/chips are burning compared to when a little bit of chips/pellets are burning. 

If there is low smoke output then just a little is burning. Eventually more drop down and catch fire then the smoke output increases. Let it ride and don't worry about it unless it totally goes out. 

Hopefully that made sense. 

 

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Makes sense. The smoke blows out of the holes because I get a strong steady breeze from the ocean. I live a 1/2 mile from the ocean on the hillside of a canyon. Nothing blocking the breeze at all from the ocean to home. I’ve put up a blocker in front of smoker before but I don’t always do that.


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Used the Lumber Jack Fruitwood Blend (80% cherry, 20% apple) Pellets for the first time last night. They definitely gave a much stronger smoke profile compared to the B&B cherry pellets. I did have to run them at a MD air flow. Not sure if that was because of a different manufacturer or more likely because the Fruitwood Blend has no oak in it. 

The biggest observation from my morning cleanup was way, way, way less "gunk" to clean up. It sort of blew me away with the less "gunk". At this point the B&B pellets will go out with the trash. 

Tomorrow I have a Boston Butt planned for tomorrow with the Fruitwood Blend. Also if all goes as planned going to do some beef plate ribs next weekend using the Hickory Blend. 

 

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1 hour ago, ckreef said:

 

The biggest observation from my morning cleanup was way, way, way less "gunk" to clean up. It sort of blew me away with the less "gunk". At this point the B&B pellets will go out with the trash. 

 

 

My response as well once I experienced real, 100% it is what it says it is pellets with no binders or other mystery woods. The mystery pellets made a quick exit to the trash. With the RIGHT pellets, they really are the best way to go in the cold smoker.

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2 hours ago, ckreef said:

Also if all goes as planned going to do some beef plate ribs next weekend using the Hickory Blend. 

 

Oh man, I've always wanted to try cooking beef ribs from the plate, Texas style, but have never been able to find anywhere around here...always cook short ribs or back ribs. I'm betting big bucks you got those from M&T... So jealous. I'll be looking forward to pictures of those! 

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44 minutes ago, amusedtodeath said:

Oh man, I've always wanted to try cooking beef ribs from the plate, Texas style, but have never been able to find anywhere around here...always cook short ribs or back ribs. I'm betting big bucks you got those from M&T... So jealous. I'll be looking forward to pictures of those! 

Haven't gotten them yet but going to M&T next Friday morning. Fingers crossed they have them but they almost always do. 

August challenge on Kamado Guru is Homemade BBQ Dinner. Everything must be as homemade as possible. Me and Mrs skreef is doing a combined entry. A Homemade BBQ Sampler. The menu as planned (subject to last minute changes):

Pulled pork sandwich on homemade bun (cooked in the WFO) topped with smoked Blueberry BBQ Sauce and homemade summer slaw. 

Beef plate ribs with a drizzle of homemade vinegar BBQ sauce. 

Brunswick Stew using some of the pulled pork. 

Baked beans using 2 different homemade BBQ sauces as part of the ingredients. 

Mrs skreef's dill style potato salad. 

Fresh creamed corn. 

And finally for desert a Ranier Cherry and Blueberry pie. 

Working on various parts of this endeavor this weekend. I'm hoping to wrap up this challenge cook by end of next weekend. 

 

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51 minutes ago, ckreef said:

Haven't gotten them yet but going to M&T next Friday morning. Fingers crossed they have them but they almost always do. 

August challenge on Kamado Guru is Homemade BBQ Dinner. Everything must be as homemade as possible. Me and Mrs skreef is doing a combined entry. A Homemade BBQ Sampler. The menu as planned (subject to last minute changes):

Pulled pork sandwich on homemade bun (cooked in the WFO) topped with smoked Blueberry BBQ Sauce and homemade summer slaw. 

Beef plate ribs with a drizzle of homemade vinegar BBQ sauce. 

Brunswick Stew using some of the pulled pork. 

Baked beans using 2 different homemade BBQ sauces as part of the ingredients. 

Mrs skreef's dill style potato salad. 

Fresh creamed corn. 

And finally for desert a Ranier Cherry and Blueberry pie. 

Working on various parts of this endeavor this weekend. I'm hoping to wrap up this challenge cook by end of next weekend. 

 

I just had ranier cherries for the first time recently and since have consumed my weight in them. Not sure how I missed them all those years.

The rest of the menu looks pretty dang good too. I look forward to seeing it.

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3 hours ago, amusedtodeath said:

Oh man, I've always wanted to try cooking beef ribs from the plate, Texas style, but have never been able to find anywhere around here...always cook short ribs or back ribs. I'm betting big bucks you got those from M&T... So jealous. I'll be looking forward to pictures of those! 

I could never find them here either. Even went to my local butcher to ask if they could special order that cut. They said no! I’ve obviously stopped using that butcher. I drove around the corner from him to a local ethnic/Asian supermarket and not only found them, but at a great price too. A few years after that I heard on another BBQ forum that that particular butcher had gotten religion and was selling them. 

Moral of the story: if you have a local Asian/international market, try there. That’s also where I was sourcing packer briskets until Costco finally got religion. 

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