Are Kingsford Pellets Compatible with Traeger?
Kingsford is the original charcoal briquette manufacturer that has spent decades dominating the grill fuels industry.
So, it was only a matter of time before they got in on the wood pellet grill action to offer a lineup of pellets capable of competing with industry giant Traeger.
There are some profound and subtle differences between the two types of wood pellets, as well as some mechanical technicalities that might influence whether Traeger or Kingsford pellets are right for you.
Kingsford wood pellets are made from 100% Natural Hardwood Blend Pellets for grilling and they contain no artificial flavors, fillers, binders, dyes, chemical additives, or oils.
Kingsford further boasts that all of their “Named” wood pellets are made from 100% of the named wood.
This essentially means that Kingsford’s hickory pellets are made from 100% hickory, and their mesquite pellets are supposedly made from 100% mesquite.
While this might appeal very much to barbecue purists who believe that specific woods are supposed to be paired with specific cuts of meat, like mesquite and Texas-style brisket, it can also affect performance.
Not to mention the overall integrity of the wood pellets themselves.
Certain woods like mesquite burns hotter than other woods like hickory, which can affect the feed rate of a wood pellet grill’s auger.
Also, different types of wood have less lignin than others, which can make the wood pellets they are derived from more prone to breakage.
The excess dust and wood fiber this creates can increase the risk of auger jams or potential burn back problems.
Kingsford also offers blended wood pellets like Kingsford Classic Wood Pellets are made from a blend of Hickory, Oak, and Cherrywood.
They also sell Kingsford Signature Wood Pellets which are created from a blend of Mesquite, Oak, and Cherrywood.
These blends tend to have more balanced levels of lignin and burn with greater consistency.
Though they might draw the ire of some barbecue purists.
By using named woods and limited blends Kingsford does a great job of appealing to barbecue purists. Though it also means that you get different burning characteristics.
Some burn just as hot and preheat like Traeger’s premium wood pellets, while others like the ones that contain cherrywood tend to smolder more without as much high heat production.
Traeger’s wood pellets are created in a time-tested proprietary process that creates high-quality, consistent burning wood pellets from responsible and/or sustainable sources.
Traeger’s special drying creates pellets that burn consistently hot and efficient while also preheating the grill quickly.
They are considered by most wood pellet grill aficionados to be the gold standard in wood pellets.
However, Traeger’s wood pellets are only available in 6 accent wood blends.
Though even these blends only have trace amounts of the accent woods.
Traeger doesn’t always publish what that percentage is.
Though a lot of barbecue purists who insist that certain types of wood should be paired with certain cuts of meat will argue strenuously that the percentage of accent wood in these Traeger specialty blends is not high enough.
Should You Use Kingsford Pellets in Traegers?
You can use Kingsford wood pellets in a Traeger for times when you really want a pure type of wood like mesquite, cherry, or hickory to pair with a specific type of meat.
Just make sure to thoroughly sift the pellets in advance to remove any stray dust or wood fibers.
Then make sure to dump the hopper afterward.
This will prevent any lignin breakdown in the pellets from causing potential auger jam or burn back.
Will Kingsford Pellets Work in a Traeger?
Kingsford wood pellets will work just fine in a Traeger grill.
Though some types of pure named wood can create excess wood fibers, that can cause auger jams and burn back problems.
So, if you are going to use Kingsford wood pellets in a Traeger, make sure to sift them first and purge the pellet hopper afterward, just to be safe.
Do Pellets Matter in Traeger?
Traeger has spent decades developing a proprietary process that creates high-quality, consistent burning wood pellets that are responsibly sourced.
They employ a special drying process to create pellets that burn slightly hotter with superior preheating characteristics the grill quickly.
Though Traeger wood pellets are only available in 6 accent wood blends with accent woods.
The percentage of accent wood in these pellets is modest at best.
This is often not strong enough for barbecue purists who believe a specific type of meat, such as beef brisket, should only be smoked with a singular type of wood, like mesquite.
This drives a lot of barbecue purists to seek out 100% named wood pellets like Kingsford, who purports to use only 100% named wood in their pellets.
This means that their mesquite wood pellets are supposedly made from 100% mesquite, and their cherrywood pellets are made from 100% cherrywood.
For some, these differences are a matter of personal taste and tradition.
For others, these are ardent rules that need to be followed regardless of the mechanical specifications of the grill.
Kingsford wood pellets are easily compatible with a Traeger grill on paper and in the real world.
Though Traeger disagrees, and their warranty prohibits using alternative fuels such as other brands of wood pellets.
Though if you don’t care about warranty coverage on auger components and heat deflectors, then Kingsford wood pellets have a lot to offer.
Especially if you are a barbecue purist who believes you should only smoke certain meats in 100% traditional woods.
Kingsford claims that all their wood pellets that have “Named Woods” are made 100% from those named woods. Meaning a Kingsford mesquite wood pellet is 100% mesquite and a hickory wood pellet is 100% hickory.
However, Traeger’s pellets still do offer great smoke, superior heating, and superior durability.
This means they are less likely to have stray wood fibers and dust in the bottom of the bag.
They are also less likely to leave excess particulate matter in the bottom of the hopper, which further reduces the risk of auger jams and burns back problems during a long smoking session.
If you really want the 100% named wood experience offered up by high-quality Kingsford wood pellets, just make sure to sift the wood pellets through a coarse sieve before adding them to your Traeger’s hopper.
Then purge the hopper after every grilling session to keep humidity from breaking down the lignin in the Kingsford pellets before they can deposit in the lower hopper or auger shaft.