Just how long do pellets last in a pellet smoker? We get this question a lot from most BBQ passionates who are new to pellet grilling. In case that’s you, then you’ve come to the right place.
Quite frankly, the duration will depend on a number of factors such as the cooking temperature, weather, type of pellets, and the pellet smoker you’re going to use.
Pellet grills are becoming increasingly popular to cook with compared to their traditional counterparts. They don’t generate too much acrid smoke, are faster, more versatile, easier to use, and allow for even temperature distribution. But a true BBQ aficionado knows that there’s more to consider when using this grill than convenience. You have to consider overall usage and whether or not using a pellet grill is indeed a cost-effective option compare for instance to electric grills.
That’s why it pays to ask the right questions such as the one we’re discussing today. So read on as we unpack all you need to know to make informed decisions!
Table of Contents
- 1 How Fast Do Pellets Burn in Pellet Grills?
- 2 How Long Do Wood Pellets Last in a Pellet Grill?
- 3 How Long Does a 40lb Bag Of Wood Pellets Last?
- 4 How Long Do Wood Pellets Last in a Smoker?
- 5 Good to Know
- 6 Conclusion
How Fast Do Pellets Burn in Pellet Grills?
It was mentioned earlier that how fast pellet grills burn is based on a combination of factors such as the following.
The cooking temperature to a large extent determines how fast pellets are burnt. Generally speaking, the higher the smoker temperature, the faster the pellets are burnt. And the opposite is true. In case you want more concrete time frames, have a look at the following estimations:
- If your grilling temperature is set on high, then you can expect the grill to burn at least two pounds of pellets per hour.
- When set to medium, you can expect the grill to burn one pound of pellets per hour.
- If you set the grill too low, then it’ll burn half a pound per hour.
Along with the grill temperature, the outdoor temperature plays a huge role in the grilling process. Pellet grills burn fuel faster on a cold day than a warm sunny day. This is because the overall temperature is much lower during cold days. As such your pellet grill ends up consuming more fuel in order to generate more heat.
It follows that pellets will burn faster when you’re grilling at night than during the day. This is because of the drop in temperatures when the sun goes down.
Remember this the next time you want to host friends over for a BBQ so you can stock up on ample bags, particularly if you need to keep the smoker up overnight.
Type of Grill Used
You also need to take the type of pellet grill you’re using into consideration. Do you grill on Traeger or Pit Boss grills? What I can tell you is that regardless of which of the overall best pellet smoker you pick, insulation is important.
Insulated grills naturally retain heat for longer. As a result, they don’t burn through pellets as fast. The same can’t be said about non-insulated grills. Our advice? If you want your pellets to last longer then consider purchasing thermal insulation covers for your grill.
Type of Pellets
The type of wood pellet you pick will have a dramatic effect on the taste, flavor, and quality of your food. You have the option to pick between cherry, oak, mesquite, oak, and pecan to mention a few examples. But more importantly, the type of pellets you use will also determine how fast they’ll burn. Look out for these factors when deciding on the type of pellets to buy:
- Price: It really shouldn’t come as a surprise that cheaper pellets tend to burn a lot faster. This is because most cheaper pellets comprise of flavored oils. Granted, these flavored oils will do a great job of enhancing your meat flavor. But with regards to fuel conservation, not so much. This is because pellet grills tend to burn through these flavored oils much faster in order to maintain the grill’s temperature.
- Brand: You’ll find different brands of pellets on the market. Some pellet brands will last longer than others. For most smokers, it’ll take a considerable amount of trial and error before you can be absolutely sure about which brands last longer and which don’t. I strongly advise you to opt for reputable brands to avoid disappointment.
- Size: In our experience, shorter pellets tend to burn faster than longer ones. It’s advisable to inspect the size of the pellets before you purchase them.
- Density: Along with size, you’ll have to inspect the density of the pellets too. This is because the density to a large extent determines how long the pellets will last. Case in point; soft and fluffy pellets rarely last long compared to thicker and more dense pellets.
How Long Do Wood Pellets Last in a Pellet Grill?
While smokers have the option to use gas or charcoal, wood pellets are a common favorite which is why I’ll pay more attention to this type. The popularity is a result of the distinct and delicious flavors a wood pellet adds to the food during the smoking process. But do they last?
The consumption depends on several factors including the brand and quality. But what you need to know is that pellets can only burn if they are intact as a result of high moisture content. The moment the moisture content decreases, they get dry and loose rendering them pretty much useless.
With this in mind, it follows that the following factors will affect how long they last:
If the environmental humidity is low then you can expect your pellets to last. In actual fact, if the humidity is lower than 10%, they can last up to six months. The moment it exceeds 10%, their longevity is compromised. Pellets can only last between one and three months under these conditions.
How you store your pellets will also determine how long they’ll last. Simply because they require high moisture to function doesn’t mean they have to be wet. Avoid storing them in wet conditions where they can get in contact with water and become damp. Damp pellets won’t burn. Be sure to store them in conditions like the following.
- Dry and well-ventilated spaces.
- Far from flammable products.
- Get a fastened tarp to cover and protect them from punctures or birds.
How Long Does a 40lb Bag Of Wood Pellets Last?
Do you want the specifics regarding how long a bag of pellets will last? On average, one bag of 40lb premium quality pellets can provide you with at least 24 hours of solid continuous heat.
How Long Do Wood Pellets Last in a Smoker?
Again, this will depend on multiple factors such as temperature settings and the weather. But on average – under normal circumstances – a smoker will use about half a pound of wood fuel per hour.
Good to Know
We’ll round off this article by addressing a few common questions associated with pellet grilling. Hopefully, you’ll find the answers enlightening and useful for your upcoming grilling sessions.
Can You Use Heating Pellets in a Pellet Grill?
Do you know how manufacturers of certain products will say anything to sell their products? Manufacturers of heating pellets tend to advise customers that these work just as well as conventional pellets, if not better.
I’ll have you know that this isn’t necessarily true. Heating pellets will only ruin the flavor of your food. Rather stick to using food-grade pellets in your grill for best results.
How Long Does a Bag of Traeger Pellets Last?
Earlier on I mentioned how certain pellet brands excel over others. Casual online research on pellets will reveal that certain pellets like those manufactured by Traeger are some of the popular choices among many BBQ enthusiasts based on the following factors:
- They are made of all-natural pellets.
- They prevent flare-ups allowing you to cook your food to perfection.
- The final flavor of your food is out of this world.
But do they last? Based on our experience, we’ve found that Traeger pellets are not the ones that last the longest. This is mostly because Traeger pellets contain flavored oils and are generally loose, fluffy & shorter. Basically, all the factors that make pellets burn fast. If you know this any way you are ready to handle the BBQ for the duration you need and can well enjoy the great benefits of using them.
How Long Do Pellets Last in a Pit Boss Grill?
While some smokers also love grilling on a Traeger, the Pit Boss grill is also one of the popular choices. The Pit Boss grill is also one of the preferred grills when it comes to the equipment used. This because you can cook different foods on the unit like chicken, steak, and pork. Plus, this grill has a large cooking area, sizeable hopper and is made of better quality
But how long do pellets last in a Pit Boss Grill? Well, this will depend on the temperature, weather, and type of pellets you use. But generally, a 40lb bag of pellets can last you over 24 hours.
You have all the information regarding pellets consumption, now you have a decision to make. Do you go ahead and buy a pellet grill? I don’t see why not. Pellets will last you considerable time. Just keep in mind the factors mentioned here. With that said, happy smoking!