Traeger wood pellets are essentially wood, but not the way most people think.
Folks usually associated wood with tree branches and flooring, solid planks or branches.
Instead, Traeger pellets are a compressed form of wood fiber, broken down and reshaped into pellets.
They pack a solid fuel punch, but over time even the best pellets start to come apart.
When that happens, Traeger fuel pellets and similar deconstruct to wood dust, the smallest form of the organic material still in wood form.
This is what people oftentimes find in their pellet bags that have sat in storage for too long.
Traeger Pellets Turn to Sawdust
Again, Traeger pellets are not a form of solid wood sanded and reduced down to a pellet form.
That would likely stay together much longer being a natural form. Instead, pellets are a form of compressed wood material. Used within reason from the time bought, pellets will keep their form pretty well.
There might be some minor dust in the bottom of the bag as pellets rub against each other, but for the most part they won’t fall apart.
However, left for a year or two, eventually gravity and form start to wear, and Traeger pellets will disassemble. The older the stock, the more they will fall apart.
How do I Know if my Traeger Pellets are Bad?
Generally, any form of wood will burn if the heat is high enough and the wood is free of moisture.
However, in a Traeger grill, the pellets need to keep their form to move through the system correctly.
If they begin to crumble and turn to powder, they won’t flow properly and instead will make a big mess gumming up the works.
Instead, a Traeger should only be loaded with clean pellets and no sawdust at all.
This doesn’t have to be exactly perfect, but a Traeger owner shouldn’t be dumping the last of the bag in crumble form into the hopper hoping to get a few more burns out of the leftovers.
Why is There Dust in my Pellet Grill?
If Traeger pellets have been sitting in an unused grill for a long time, either in the hopper or the auger, then they will start to break apart.
When this happens, the smaller bits turn to dust and, with gravity, fall to the bottom of the container or the assembly.
That in turn creates sawdust in the Traeger.
Most of this will eventually burn off in the firepot if it makes it down there, but maintenance does involve cleaning dust and material out of the containers on a periodic basis.
What Happens to the Pellets in a Traeger?
Normally, if a Traeger grill is well used, the pellets should be consumed.
They enter through the hopper and fall into the firepot through the auger. If there is a regular use of the grill and lots of cooking, all of the pellets should be consumed as burning fuel over time.
However, To the extent a grill sits unused for a time, some of the pellets will break down, and that produces sawdust in different areas of the Traeger.
Is it Normal for Traeger Pellets to Turn into Sawdust?
Yes, eventually even Traeger pellets will begin to fall apart with time and break down.
This is a normal progression of deterioration when pellets get old.
Traeger pellets are specifically made to work best in a Traeger grill but, like anything organic, they have a limited lifespan of effectiveness. When reached, even the best wood products that are processed fall apart.
Why do Traeger Pellets Turn into Sawdust?
Organic materials eventually break down.
No matter how well prepared they are, unless held together with chemicals or glues reapplied over time, all types of wood begin to break down with age.
Natural wood that is solid holds up much longer, but pellets are simply compressed wood material. So, they fall apart faster.
To get rid of sawdust over time in a pellet bag or container, it’s a good idea to transfer out the pellets and empty the bag or bucket of the sawdust at the bottom.
This helps avoid the dust getting into your Traeger when the pellets are poured in, especially when getting to the bottom of your container. Again, the goal is to flow regular pellets through your Traeger, not a glut of sawdust.