The essence of barbecue is wood, and the essence of a Traeger grill is its wood pellets.
The pellets provide the heat and the wood-fired flavor for whatever you are cooking on your Traeger grill.
When smoking on an offset smoker, you know exactly what kind of wood you are putting on the fire. With charcoal, you can identify whether the charcoal you are using is 100% natural wood or if there are additives to bind it together or to help it light faster.
When it comes to wood pellets, you may have more questions.
Do Traeger pellets use oil? What are the pellets made of?
How does Traeger achieve the flavor from the pellets? Are there any added chemicals in their pellets? And why are they shiny?
Do Traeger pellets use oil?
The only oil in Traeger pellets comes from food-grade soybean oil that the pellet mills use to lubricate their machines during the production process.
Otherwise, Traeger wood pellets are 100% hardwood.
What are Traeger pellets made of?
All Traeger pellets are made from 100% hardwood. They start with alder in their west coast pellet mills and oak in the east coast mills, then they add different types of woods for their blends, whether that is apple, cherry, hickory, mesquite, or other types of wood.
The wood Traeger uses for their pellets has the bark removed as well. Bark can cause fluctuations in temperature, and you want a stable temperature when smoking food.
Traeger pellets will also contain small amounts of food-grade soybean oil, which they say is used to lubricate the machinery that the wood goes through during the production process.
How does Traeger flavor their pellets?
Traeger uses different types of hardwood for their flavors as well as adding different herbs or ingredients to infuse the lubricating soybean oil.
They do not use any artificial flavors to add flavor to their pellets. Either the flavor is directly from the wood they use in the pellets or the ingredients like herbs or citrus they add to the soybean oil during the production process.
What are the ingredients in Traeger pellets?
Traeger pellets start with either oak or alder wood which are then combined with other hardwoods to create the desired blends, and then a small amount of food-grade soybean oil that is used to lubricate the pellet-making equipment is picked up throughout the manufacturing process.
If you are looking for 100% hardwood pellets, you do not need to worry about any additional fillers or ingredients in Traeger pellets.
Are there chemicals in Traeger pellets?
Traeger pellets are made out of hardwood with no chemical binders or artificial ingredients.
You do not need to be concerned with any artificial ingredients or chemicals being burned in your Traeger grill if you are using Traeger-branded pellets.
Traeger is committed to no unnatural additives or binders in their pellets and does not use wood from sources that may contain chemicals, like old cabinetry or flooring.
Why are Traeger pellets shiny?
When Traeger pellets go through their heating and compression during the production process, the lignin in the cell walls of the wood melts and serves as a binder for the wood pellets and causes the shiny exterior.
Lignin is a polymer in wood cell walls, and it melts down due to the heat and the pressure from the pellet-making machines.
When the pellets cool down, the lignin hardens, which serves as an all-natural glue to hold the wood pellets together and gives the pellets their sheen.
Traeger wood pellets have taken the guesswork out of what you are using to cook on your grill. If you have ever used charcoal on another grill, you know the struggle if you are looking for 100% natural charcoal.
You might find that companies use added binders to keep the charcoal together or added accelerants to help the charcoal start faster.
If you are at all concerned about artificial ingredients or chemicals when cooking food, then you want to know what goes into your Traeger pellet hopper.
They do not use artificial flavors, only relying on the types of wood in their blends and they add real ingredients to the food-grade soybean oil that they lubricate the equipment with.
Traeger pellets are made out of 100% hardwood and the only other ingredients that appear are trace amounts of that soybean oil.
If you have ever wondered why Traeger pellets are shiny, the naturally-occurring lignin that melts down and binds the wood together during the cooling process also gives the pellets their distinctive sheen.