May 02, 2023
Pellet grills and smokers have become increasingly popular among BBQ enthusiasts, and with good reason. These versatile cookers deliver a delicious, smoky flavor while offering the convenience of easy temperature control. However, not all wood pellets are created equal, and the quality of the pellets you use can significantly impact your grilling experience. In this article, we'll discuss why it's crucial to avoid pellets manufactured in mills initially designed for producing heating pellets, and why bark-free, round log mill pellets are the superior choice for your pellet grill. Let's dive in!
The majority of pellet mills in the United States were initially designed to produce heating pellets, which are made from sawmill waste such as sawdust and planar shavings. These materials aren't harmful; however, they generally lack the rich, woodsy flavor that BBQ enthusiasts crave. This is because these mills use dry waste materials instead of green wood chips from round logs, which impart a more authentic, smoky flavor when used in pellet grills.
Furthermore, many heating pellet mills have entered the BBQ pellet market to cash in on the growing industry. While these pellets may work for heating purposes, they're far from ideal for cooking. The reason? They often contain bark, which can have negative consequences for your pellet grill and the food you're cooking.
Using pellets with bark can lead to several issues, including higher ash content and increased impurities such as dirt, sand, grit, and mold. When burned in a pellet grill, these impurities are circulated through the cooking chamber by the grill's convection system, potentially contaminating your food with undesirable flavors and substances.
Scientific studies, such as those conducted by Dr. Robert W. Rice at the University of Maine (1), have shown that wood pellets with bark have higher ash content and lower heating value than bark-free pellets. This increased ash content can lead to more frequent grill maintenance, and the lower heating value may result in less efficient cooking.
To optimize your pellet grill experience, it's crucial to seek out pellets made in round log mills that use green wood chips. These mills are rare in the United States, with fewer than three currently in operation. However, the extra effort to find and purchase pellets from these mills is well worth it. Round log mills produce BBQ pellets with a more authentic, smoky flavor that enhances your food, elevating your grilling experience.
In addition to choosing pellets from round log mills, it's essential to select bark-free wood pellets. As we've discussed, bark can lead to increased ash content and impurities in your grill, negatively affecting your food's flavor and quality. Bark-free pellets, on the other hand, provide a cleaner, more efficient burn, ensuring a better grilling experience overall.
In summary, it's crucial for pellet grill users to avoid BBQ pellets manufactured in mills initially designed for heating pellets. Instead, seek out round log mills and choose bark-free wood pellets for the best grilling experience. By doing so, you'll enjoy a more authentic, smoky flavor in your food, and minimize the potential for impurities that could compromise your meal. Happy grilling!
(1) Rice, R. W. (2007). Bark content and heating value of wood pellets. Forest Products Journal, 57(1/2), 74-79.
February 09, 2024
February 04, 2024
January 24, 2024