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Unread 10-17-2013, 08:48 AM   #1
mslisaj
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Default My Experience With Heating Pellets Instead of Tasty Hardwoods

This year I purchased a Brinkman Pellet Grill/Smoker at Home Depot and have grown to love this machine. I grill and or smoke everything on it and use it at least four days a week. I was buying my pellets from Home Depot and paying around $9 a bag for 20 pounds or so depending if there was a special. I even had a electrical outlet install out where my smoker is located so I didn't have to use an extension cord any more. I'm kind of committed to this cooker now. Well recently I go into my local Home Depot and find out they don't sell pellets any more. I checked their website and apparently Home Depot is getting out of this business. There is one other specialty store in town where I live that sells pellets so out of desperation I go there. I just paid $20 for a 20 pound bag of "gold" pellets containing premium woods. I was shocked and this immediately starts to price my beloved pellet grill out of action. So I did a little research on heating pellets which are a fraction of the cost at $5 for a 40 pound bag. I have read all the warnings and comments and I just wanted to add mine to the discussion.
I called the company and these pellets are 100% Doug Fir. Absolutely no additive or chemicals and while the person I talked too said he couldn't tell me to cook with them he uses these pellets in his cooker. Well I bought a bag and gave it a try. I was pleasantly surprised at how good they worked. Remember I am using my grill for everyday cooking and occasional smoking. I carefully did a couple of cuts of meat with the new pellets and didn't use any rubs or shakes. I just wanted to sample the meat to see if this wood imparted any odd taste or flavor. I couldn't really tell any difference. The Doug Fir didn't really smoke as much as the "real pellets" but it cooked just fine and had a taste of cooking on a campfire which I liked too. These pellets seemed to burn hotter then the "cooking pellets" and so far leave practically no ash. So at this point I am kind of sold.

I welcome your comments or criticism as I have truly learned how to cook on this grill from you folks on this forum. But I just wanted to share my experience and so far it's very positive.

Lisa
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Unread 10-17-2013, 09:20 AM   #2
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I guess the concern I would have is secondary suppliers. although the maker states they don't use anything toxic im sure they use products made by other suppliers who may not be as safe .something as small as the bag it comes in could be an issue. the machines to make them could be contaminated by oil or god forbid coolants that have glycol that will kill you in smaller amounts than you would think.
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Unread 10-17-2013, 09:50 AM   #3
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I'm not going to discourage you from using the douglas fir pellets, but if you have the space and the $$ you can order a TON of Lumberjack pellets depending on your location for about $20 for a 40lb bag.
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Unread 10-17-2013, 09:52 AM   #4
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My thoughts...Buy Lumber Jack pellets from Amazon...Pine is not for cooking...My .02
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Unread 10-17-2013, 09:53 AM   #5
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First, Douglas Fir is a soft wood and is loaded with pitch and resin which can give the food an unpleasant taste and gunk up the cooker. I know that pine wood is used for cold smoking cured meats but it is used in small quantities. Also, soft woods burn faster and give off less heat, so you will go through more pellets than you would with a good hard wood pellet and also have more ash.

Second, did you ask what they use as a binder in the pellets? Most heating pellets use a glue of some sort to hold the pellets together. Food grade pellets do not use any binder.

Third, did you ask what they lubricate the machinery with? Machines use to make food grade pellets are lubricated with food grade oils, not machine oil.

I'd bet that it you go through an analysis of true cost (pellets per hour at the same temp) the savings with heating pellets won't be as much as you think. Personally, I wouldn't take a chance with my family's health to save a few bucks.

Have you looked at buying pellets from a different source than locally? Big Poppa Smokers sell BBQer's Delight pellets (one of the best brands out there) and offers free shipping for orders over $40. They are $45 for 40 lbs, but the quality is top notch. In my FEC-100 I used about 8 lbs for a 16 hour cook during a competition. That's pretty economical. You can also look for other top brands like Bear Mountain, Cookinpellets.com and Lumberjack. If you can find other pelletheads in your area you can buy in bulk and save quite a bit.
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Unread 10-17-2013, 12:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron_L View Post
First, Douglas Fir is a soft wood and is loaded with pitch and resin which can give the food an unpleasant taste and gunk up the cooker. I know that pine wood is used for cold smoking cured meats but it is used in small quantities. Also, soft woods burn faster and give off less heat, so you will go through more pellets than you would with a good hard wood pellet and also have more ash.

Second, did you ask what they use as a binder in the pellets? Most heating pellets use a glue of some sort to hold the pellets together. Food grade pellets do not use any binder.

Third, did you ask what they lubricate the machinery with? Machines use to make food grade pellets are lubricated with food grade oils, not machine oil.
You beat me to the punch Ron...


mslisaj,

We can't talk you out of this if this is what you really want to do, but consider your well being and also of the others who will share this food with you.

I'm not sure of a Lumber Location near to you, but also Treager will ship 20lb bags for free at $18.00 a bag.
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Unread 10-17-2013, 01:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mslisaj View Post
This year I purchased a Brinkman Pellet Grill/Smoker at Home Depot and have grown to love this machine. I grill and or smoke everything on it and use it at least four days a week. I was buying my pellets from Home Depot and paying around $9 a bag for 20 pounds or so depending if there was a special. I even had a electrical outlet install out where my smoker is located so I didn't have to use an extension cord any more. I'm kind of committed to this cooker now. Well recently I go into my local Home Depot and find out they don't sell pellets any more. I checked their website and apparently Home Depot is getting out of this business. There is one other specialty store in town where I live that sells pellets so out of desperation I go there. I just paid $20 for a 20 pound bag of "gold" pellets containing premium woods. I was shocked and this immediately starts to price my beloved pellet grill out of action. So I did a little research on heating pellets which are a fraction of the cost at $5 for a 40 pound bag. I have read all the warnings and comments and I just wanted to add mine to the discussion.
I called the company and these pellets are 100% Doug Fir. Absolutely no additive or chemicals and while the person I talked too said he couldn't tell me to cook with them he uses these pellets in his cooker. Well I bought a bag and gave it a try. I was pleasantly surprised at how good they worked. Remember I am using my grill for everyday cooking and occasional smoking. I carefully did a couple of cuts of meat with the new pellets and didn't use any rubs or shakes. I just wanted to sample the meat to see if this wood imparted any odd taste or flavor. I couldn't really tell any difference. The Doug Fir didn't really smoke as much as the "real pellets" but it cooked just fine and had a taste of cooking on a campfire which I liked too. These pellets seemed to burn hotter then the "cooking pellets" and so far leave practically no ash. So at this point I am kind of sold.

I welcome your comments or criticism as I have truly learned how to cook on this grill from you folks on this forum. But I just wanted to share my experience and so far it's very positive.

Lisa
It's not worth the risk for me to do it for myself. Ron touched on the major points already, and there are reasonable food grade options. I just don't want the bag that was pressed when a supplier slipped in some sawdust from pressure treated lumber, or a new guy that used some new lube that contains chemicals that weren't disclosed.
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Unread 10-17-2013, 02:23 PM   #8
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All great points gentlemen and they are well taken. The shipping is the kicker with any of this as we're talking about a heavy product. I do have a local supplier of "food grade" pellets that is at the $1 a pound price point. I just bought a bag from him and this prompted me to look elsewhere.

On the temperature that this soft wood burns at, well it's actually hotter on the thermometer then the fancy pellets and there is next to no ash. So I may be ahead of the game there. I am using the fancy add on digital temperature controller and it's cooking and adjusting the auger by Temp needs and my hopper doesn't seem to be going down so fast.

Again, I'm not trying to rebut you men for arguments sake as you concern and advice is well taken. But maybe my lack of reaction to any contaminants (if there are any) is due to the fact I have spent the last 30 years in the automobile repair business and who knows how many gasses, chemicals and what have you I have ingested over that time so I may have a natural or postponed immunity. But my senses are more aware now with your responses and I certainly appreciate that.

Lisa
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Unread 10-17-2013, 02:46 PM   #9
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Cash&Carry in Klamath Falls has Bear Mountain Pellets for $9.90/20lB bag
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Unread 10-17-2013, 02:53 PM   #10
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Interesting to note, I am going thru the same dilemma down here.
We are restricted in pellets at an affordable price.
I used some Traeger pellets at $33 for 9 kilo, then some Heater pellets labelled safe for BBQ at $15 for 15 kilo, I could not tell the difference in taste, they do have a small amount of Pine I am told, by the by, I add a handful of coarse hardwood sawdust to the mix, that smokes nicely
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Unread 10-17-2013, 02:55 PM   #11
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Nice work, ak56!
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Unread 10-17-2013, 03:00 PM   #12
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Agree 100% with RonL....I would personally stick with food grade....
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Unread 10-17-2013, 04:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ak56 View Post
Cash&Carry in Klamath Falls has Bear Mountain Pellets for $9.90/20lB bag
Well Mr. ak56, my hat is off to you. As soon as I got your note I drove to the Cash & Carry here in KF which is about 10 minutes from me and low and behold in a corner of their huge warehouse type store they had a whole selection of Bear Mountain Pellets in more assortments of "flavors" then I knew existed. The price turned out to be $.49 a pound as you stated. I bought two bags and I'm back in business. So now the heating pellets can go back in the heater. I'm a little embarrassed that this store, which is right in "my back yard" so to speak has had these for a long time and I never knew. So thanks again to this forum and their members for the usual help.

My original intention was not to necessarily promote "heating" pellets but they seemed to be okay. But I'm fine with $.49 a pound and then some if they go up. The $1 a pound was the deal breaker for me.

So there we go, problem solved, I'm back cooking with what I should be cooking with.

Thanks again to all that took their time to respond. So appreciated.

Lisa
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