· Master Your Grill
Traeger Trouble! Pellet Problems!
Firstly, if you aren't well-versed in the new-craze around pellet grills here is a quick lesson:
Pellet grills are the best of both charcoal smokers and gas barbecues. A pellet grills cooking chambers are powered by electricity and heated to create smoke, therefore making indirect cooking easier and quicker than most other smokers.
They're main slogan? Set It and Forget It.
Much like a kitchen oven, pellet grills heat up quickly and do not require the same length of time that a smoker would, however, they will still give you that smokey flavour. Their combined elements give you the best of both worlds.
Pellet grills are fueled by BBQ wood pellets - not "heating pellets". BBQ pellets specific to pellet grills are composed of dried hardwood ground into saw dust and compacted together. True pellets, that give off the best flavour and smoke the easiest, would be made of 100% hardwood and held together by heat and pressure, without the help of binders.
With recent breaking news claiming that Traeger Grills misrepresented the type of wood used in their pellet varieties, and instead hid the fact that their pellets contained "wood flavoured oil". We have decided to take a deeper dive into the variety of pellets available to our favourite barbecue enthusiasts.
It is important to note that Traeger's warranty for their pellet grills strictly require the use of their branded wood pellets. The alleged deceit on Traeger's part, according to Class Actions website, has understandably angered valued customers who have paid that extra cost that is included with any premium grill.
"The 25-page lawsuit [brought about by plaintiff Michael Yates] alleges Traeger’s wood pellets are made of less-expensive wood and contain flavored oils “to masquerade as more expensive, sought-after grilling woods.""
Customers and customer reviews have claimed that they noticed an extra level of oil inside their grill after using Traeger pellets and that the tantalizing aroma was almost too strong and potent, leaving them questioning the wood's authenticity.
"I do like the grill, but I do notice an oily film inside the grill. I will still hang on to my old faithful Weber for my turkey since the Traeger that I purchased is not big enough." - Taken From Customer Review at Top Class Action
"Extracted oils makes sense. It is an interesting business model to make cheap wood smell more expensive and then tell customers that they cannot burn any other brand of pellet in their Traeger grill, without voiding the warranty. All the while they pocket the extra cash." - Taken From Customer Review at Top Class Action
Noone wants a layer of oil taking away from their natural, smokey and woody flavours, so what should Traeger-owners and supporters do now? Don't just roll over like a log, shop for different, comparable or better pellets and grills.
When shopping for pellets for your pellet grill you should compare elements such as:
- Calorific value
- Moisture content
- Ash content
- Bulk density
- Fines amount
- Compressive strength - pellets for barbecues use no binders, with the exception of some vegetable oil in select brands and quantities.
- Fixed carbon & volatile organic compounds
Your pellets should let off enough heat and smoke to seep and engulf your meat and leave an obvious aroma. So should you go with added fillers, like what plaintiff Michael Yates claims Traeger has done, or should you go 100% wood?
When making this decision the things to keep in mind is that fillers in pellets do not add much flavour, on the contrary the flavour takes a dive, however cost will also be lower. 100% hardwood guarantees more smoke flavour.
Lastly, are you going down the hardwood or softwood route?
On our accessories page you can find an abundance of wood pellets, each with their own specialties. An important note when buying pellets is to ensure the flavour of your pellets will compliment the flavour of your meal and if you're not getting the right aroma, or amount of smoke, then pair your cook with wood chips or chunks.
Typically, poultry will go well with a sweeter pellet flavour such as apple, cherry or pecan and beef pairs with flavours like hickory, oak or mesquite. True North Maple is an ideal choice of accompanying wood chips for most meats to add to your cook. The maple will give a sweet, but not overwhelming smoke.
Not sure how to kickstart your flavour palette? Check back on our blog for a guide to complimentary flavours for meats and meals.
Broil King *made smaller in size and fit perfectly into the Broil King Regal 500 and Regal 400 pellet grills.*
Master's Blend 20lbs bag, Griller's Select Blend 20lbs bag, 100% Hickory 20lbs bag
Apple, Hickory, Cherry, Jack Daniels, Mesquite, Oak, Peach, Pecan, Sugar Maple
Tennessee Whiskey, Competition Blend