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July 21, 2017

How Are Wood Pellets Made?

How Are Wood Pellets Made?

For those who love to grill, they’re always looking for the best flavors for their meat, vegetables, and other dishes. There are several fuel sources to choose from when grilling, and wood pellets are a popular choice for many. At The Outdoor Appliance Store, we’ve met many customers who love their pellet grills and are always looking for how they can improve the flavor and texture of their food. They know how to use their grill, but they want to make sure they’re using the proper pellets each time. That can often lead to the question, “How are wood pellets made?”, and in this blog, we’ll hopefully answer that question.

Raw Materials

Wood pellets obviously require raw materials such as scrap lumber and sawdust, and the mills that create the pellets receive truckloads of these materials every single day. If the materials are larger, such as scrap lumber or trees, the mill will put them through a chipper or hammer press that breaks the wood into smaller, more consistent pieces. If the materials are wet, they will need to be dried before they can be pressed into pellets. The mills will dry the materials in a large drum that’s fueled by natural gas, a sawdust burner, or another heat source.

Creating the Pellets

Once the materials are dry, they are put into pellet dies that maintain an intense amount of pressure. The materials bind together during this process, and the mill can create different sizes and densities of pellets for different purposes. Once they’ve been pressed, the pellets are cooled down (which allows them to harden) and stored to await bagging. The pellets are then placed in various sizes of bags, loaded onto pallets, and sent out for distribution. 

Finding Your Flavor

The flavor that a pellet provides comes from the type of wood that was used to make them. Hardwoods such as cherry or hickory will transfer their flavors to your food, and there are different flavors that are better for different meats. Hickory is a good choice for beef and pork, while applewood can be better for chicken and baked items such as bread. Since your pellet grill can be used as a smoker or convection oven as well, it’s important to know what flavor will be best for what you’re making.

Can You Use Any Pellet?

When choosing pellets for your grill, you’ll want to make sure they’re the flavor you want, but more importantly, that they are in fact “grilling pellets.” There are pellets that are used in pellet stoves that people have in their homes, and other pellets that are manufactured for industrial purposes. Our selection of Memphis Grills usually work best with Nature’s Way BBQ Pellets, and we can recommend the best choice based on your grilling needs.

If you’re shopping for a new grill, or you haven’t been having the success you want with your current pellets, contact us today and we’ll help you find a new backyard cooking solution and the fuel you need to keep the fire going all summer long!

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