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How Long Do Pellets Last in a Pellet Grill? (Explained)

Pellet grills are famous for enhancing the flavor of meat, and they give a strong, delicious taste. Today, many people choose pellet grills over more traditional grills.  When considering buying a pellet grill but do not know whether it’s cost-effective or not, to know that, first, You need to answer the question: How Long Do Pellets Last in a Pellet Grill?

What are Pellet Grills, exactly?

How Long Do Pellets Last in a Pellet Grill

Like outdoor convection ovens, Pellet grills cook food at a predetermined temperature by heating it with burning wood pellets and a fan system, much like a traditional grill. Pellet grills may be used to smoke, barbecue, bake and even braise a range of meals. Pellet grills may be used to cook almost any food cooked in a traditional oven. The boiler’s primary fuel source is wood pellets kept in a ” pellet hopper container.” There is enough heat generated by an auger to heat the whole grilling chamber with those pellets. With the help of a fan system, heat and smoke are evenly distributed throughout the grill, resulting in a naturally rich and woody flavor. There are a few similarities with traditional grills regarding pellet grills. But the clearest difference is the mix of rich flavor, versatility, and efficiency that sets them apart.

How are Pellets made?

The wood pellet business is helping to decrease waste while at the same time creating a profitable, low-carbon biofuel by using wood that was before burned or left behind. Manufacturers begin by drying incoming wood fiber. Then grind it into dust and compress it to form small cylindrical pellets with a diameter of 6 or 8 mm and a length of up to 40 mm, depending on the species. To hold the compressed wood together, lignin, a naturally occurring polymer found in wood, is activated by heat and functions as a kind of glue. The result is a high-energy, dry, highly compressed product that can be carried over great distances without degrading.

So, how long do pellets last in a pellet grill?

There are lots of factors depending on how long your pellet will last. Current weather and the temperature you are cooking are most primary factors. For example, if you cook at 225°F, expect to burn about 0.5 – 1 pound per hour. Meanwhile, if your grill is cooking at higher temperatures, 3 pounds can be burnt in an hour. Grills with larger cooking surfaces tend to need more pellets. At the same time, those with smaller grilling surfaces need less. 

Though most wood pellets have a burn rate listed on the bag, these rates are usually helpful. But sometimes their lots of other factors that affect the pellet burn rate. Considering the following factors could help determine how long wood pellets last.

Heat Shield

If your pellet grill has a thermal cover, use it. It will keep heat better than a model that isn’t insulated. Which means you’ll burn through fuel at a slower rate. This also applies to certain grills that might constantly be burning up their supply much faster than others.

Weather Conditions

In colder climates, your pellet grill will need to burn more pellets and for a longer time to generate enough heat. The colder it gets outside, the more fuel it will need. In contrast, when grilling during warmer days, there is not much effect from climate change. Maintaining an even temperature won’t be too difficult for your pellet grill. This will save you some time and gas money.

Brand

On the market, you’ll find different pellets for smoking. Some brands will last longer than others for most smokers. And it’ll take a considerable amount of trial and error before you can be sure about which ones last longer and which don’t. I strongly advise opting for reputable brands to avoid disappointment.

Lower quality brands will often contain synthetic oils. That gives food extra artificial flavoring, which can shorten the lifespan. Similarly, cheaper pellets are not as dense or designed to be soft and light for faster combustion than better brands. Remember: The denser pellets have a longer life span.

Some of the cheaper pellets made from wood also have oils to account for their lack of wood and enhance flavor. These oils make them burn faster so that your pellet grill can keep your food’s temperature consistent.

Type of Pellets

The type of wood pellets you pick will affect your food’s taste, flavor, and quality. You have the option to buy cherry or oak, among other types but be careful with how fast they burn. Price is also one factor in deciding what kind of pellets to buy. Cheaper ones tend not to last long because they’re primarily of flavored oils burned more quickly by pellet grills for more excellent temperature maintenance.

In our experience, shorter pellets tend to burn faster than longer ones, but this is not always true. Sometimes what matters more is density, so inspect them before buying. Along with size, you’ll have to check the density too. They determine how long they’ll typically last (soft or fluffy never lasts as long as thicker/denser).

Cooking Method 

Pellets will burn faster when exposed to high-heat cooking applications like grilling, searing, and smoking. If slow cooking is your preference, you should plan two pounds of pellets for every hour of high-heat grilling or one pound per hour. 

Storage (How long do wood pellets last in a pellet grill?)

You should store your pellets in a dry, well-ventilated placeWhen they are kept in these conditions, they will burn more efficiently. And you can store them for up to six months before they lose their quality.

If the environmental humidity is low, you can expect your pellets to last. If the humidity falls below 10%, they can last up to six months. The moment it exceeds 10%, their longevity is compromised, and they will only last between one and three months under these conditions.

How do you select the Best Smoking Wood Pellets?

Now that you’ve selected your pellet grill, it’s time to decide on the best wood pellet for your meals. Let’s look at what distinguishes a high-quality pellet from a cheap one. Pellets may make or break the result of your dish, so consider this.

Which is more durable, hardwood or softwood? This is the real question.

There are benefits and drawbacks to both hardwood and softwood pellets that should be considered while making this choice. Hardwood pellets are ecologically benign also to be stable, and able to burn at a constant temperature. Consequently, they burn for a more extended amount of time and produce a thicker, more concentrated smoke.

On the other hand, softwood pellets contain a larger proportion of lignin and so burn hotter. Because of their higher BTU output, they burn out more rapidly than their hardwood counterparts.

Hardwood is the wood of choice if you want to smoke your food gently and at a moderate temperature. Softwood pellets are the ideal option for a large group of individuals who need to be fed for a short period.

Ingredients

Check the contents in the pellets before you buy them to be sure they’re safe for your health. Alder, oak, and chemical fillers are often utilized in the making of pellets in order to cut prices. Because of this, the flavor of their food is compromised. As a result, they burn at a lower temperature and produce more ash than most other fuels.

Smoke your BBQ as well as possible by using wood pellets with a natural flavor and aroma.

Flavor

When you smoke meat, various types of woods impart distinct flavors. Here are some of the best pellet barbecue woods to try.

It’s common to practice using hickory as a grilling wood since it adds a distinct, traditional BBQ flavor to the meat. The gentle smoke generated by this grill makes it possible to perfectly cook various meats, including pork, beef brisket, and even poultry.

When used to cook pork, poultry, fish, or vegetables, applewood, which grows in the northeast and midwest, produces a deliciously fragrant smoke.

Using cherrywood provides a strong yet flavorful smoke similar to applewood. Duck, salmon, and even chicken may be smoked using these wood pellets, which need low and slow cooking.

Filtration of Ashes

The ash content refers to the ratio of the amount of ash produced by a wood pellet to the total amount of wood burnt. As ash content increases, the quality of a wood pellet decreases. The effectiveness of burning fuel in a stove or burner is also decreased when ash is present.

Volume and Composition of Water

The time to light the grill depends on whether you use this feature. With a lower moisture level, wood pellets burn and heat up more rapidly than pellets with higher water content. Those pellets with less than 6.5 percent moisture are regarded as the highest grade.

What Are the Advantages of Wood Pellets?

You’ll be able to speed up the cooking process if you use pellets and charcoal instead of briquettes. And you’ll also enjoy some other benefits like better flavor, which are discussed below.

  • Pellets are mostly used to improve the flavor of the meat during grilling. As a result of using pellets, meat may be given a wide range of flavors and fragrances. Different types of meat go well with a variety of different palates.
  • In terms of energy generation, they outperform other fuels like charcoal, natural gas, and fossil oil. They can turn up to 90% of their internal energy into thermal energy, which makes sense.
  • In terms of cleanliness, pellets are superior to other fuels since they do not include any scrap or bark wood. Also, since they produce so little ash, cleaning the grill and your hands is a breeze.
  • To maintain a consistent temperature when grilling, it is best to use pellets rather than other forms of fuel, such as wood or coal.
  • Pellets are eco-friendly. Because they are made from wood-processing sector wastes. That has been repurposed for use in the pellet manufacturing process. As an option, chemical-free pellets are also available.
  • Pellets create less carbon dioxide than coal. This means they won’t suffocate the atmosphere by creating a regional greenhouse effect.
  • Combining charcoal and pellets is a great way to get the health benefits of charcoal. While also indulging in its mouth-watering flavor.

Pellet Burn Rate: How Fast Do Pellets Burn?

  • Slow = 1 pounds Per hr
  • Fast = 3 pounds Per hr

The below chart details the impact of different pellet brands and cooking temperatures on grill duration.

Images source:-smokingmeatforums.com and amazon