Traeger Pellets vs Bear Mountain
Traeger has spent decades developing a proprietary drying and pressure-forming process to create premium wood pellets for use in their grills.
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In recent years, competing companies like Bear Mountain have climbed up to offer some stiff competition as an alternative type of wood pellet that can also be burned in a Traeger grill.
Bear mountain’s pellets use a base of either alder or oak, that is blended with certain accent woods.
They source their materials from 100% sustainable pressed sawdust that’s locally sourced by their pellet mills across the United States.
They purport to hand-select only the highest quality hardwoods for their lineup of BBQ grilling and smoking woods.
Though it’s worth noting that the only 100% named woods in their wood pellet lineup are in their exclusive oak and alder wood pellets.
All other blends contain a modest percentage of the accent wood on the bag’s label.
Bear mountain also notes that its pellets are tested by an outside third-party lab for quality control.
Traeger wood pellet grills are technically designed to burn Traeger’s high-quality wood pellets.
Though you can certainly use another company’s pellets in a Traeger grill.
Just bear in mind that if your Traeger is damaged by using another company’s pellets, Traeger’s warranty has language voiding their warranty obligation on the repair.
This means a nasty auger jam or a burn back incident caused by using Bear Mountain wood pellets might not be covered, as Traeger would consider it a “Non-Compatible Fuel Source.”
Though this is very hard to prove in the real world.
You just need to be mindful of this if you need to contact Traeger’s customer service.
Can You Use Bear Mountain Pellets in a Traeger?
Bear Mountain wood pellets will work in a Traeger grill.
They offer a similar smoke and flavor to Traeger’s branded wood pellets and can sometimes be found at a lower per-unit price.
Though the oak and alder base wood that they use can sometimes leave excess dust in the bag or the grill’s hopper.
So, it’s a good idea to sift any Bear Mountain wood pellets before adding them to a Traeger’s hopper.
Can You Use Any Pellets in a Traeger?
Traeger notes that you should only use their brand of premium wood pellets, though most 100% hardwood pellet brands will work just fine in a Traeger grill.
However, if your grill is damaged by a severe auger jam or burn back incident when using another brand of wood pellets, Traeger’s warranty policy has language alleviating them from having to honor the repair as the damage was done by you using a “Non-Compatible Fuel Source.”
The biggest area of concern when using another brand of wood pellets is that they could have added fillers and chemical binding agents which can affect performance.
These materials tend to leave a lot of ash behind in the firepot, which can become a serious issue throughout a long smoking session.
So, you should only use wood pellets that are certified to be made from 100% hardwood fibers with organic, all-natural binders.
Some alternative wood pellet brands don’t have the same integrity as Traeger pellets.
This can leave a lot of excess dust and wood fibers in the bottom of the hopper.
When these fibers make it into the auger shaft, they can cause a nasty auger jam, or a burn back incident.
To be on the safe side, it’s a good idea to always sift wood pellets before adding them to your Traeger’s hopper.
Also, note that you should never use pellets that are meant for a wood pellet stove or furnace.
They use much lower-quality wood fibers and chemical binders that are not safe for cooking.
The temperatures that these furnace wood pellets burn can also damage sensitive internal parts in your Traeger grill.
Are Bear Mountain Pellets Better Than Traeger?
Bear Mountain wood pellets are very high-quality, though they don’t have the pellet integrity of Traeger’s brand of wood pellets, and they don’t burn quite as hot.
Though these are minor differences in performance that only a wood pellet aficionado would complain about.
When it comes to smoke density and flavor, Bear Mountains blends, with accent woods like mesquite, hickory, apple, and cherry have arguably more robust smoke compared to similar accent blends by Traeger.
However, Traeger’s standard wood pellets tend to have greater smoke density than Bear Mountain’s 100% oak and 100% alder pellets.
This might make Bear Mountain a good alternative wood pellet for traditional barbecue cuts of meat.
Bear Mountain wood pellets do tend to leave behind more ash in the firepot than Traeger.
While they do have good integrity, Bear Mountain also tends to break down more than Traeger pellets.
So, be sure to sift your pellets, before pouring them in the hopper, and thoroughly vacuum out your firepot after a longer smoking session.
Bear Mountain wood pellets are easily compatible with a Traeger wood pellet grill.
While don’t burn quite as hot and make a little more ash than Traeger’s propriety wood pellets, Bear Mountain pellets still offer a lot to like.
This starts with their lower average price per pound, as well as the robust smoke they produce with their accent blends.
From a performance standpoint, you can technically use any brand of wood pellets in a Traeger, so long as they are 100% hardwood and made for culinary use in a wood pellet grill.
However, any damage caused by using another brand’s pellets might not be covered under Traeger’s warranty language.
Sifting your wood pellets before adding them to the hopper and vacuuming out the firepot after every use is something you should do regardless of the brand you are burning in your Traeger grill.
This will also go a long way toward preventing auger jams and burn back problems.
When it comes to smoke density and flavor, Bear Mountain’s 100% oak and 100% Alder blends might not be as potent as Traeger’s premium wood pellets.
However, Bear Mountain’s wood pellets with named accent woods like apple, cherry, mesquite, and hickory tend to have more of the named wood’s presence in the blend than Traeger’s blended pellets.
This might make Bear Mountain a preferred option for barbecue purists who stick to smoking specific cuts like beef brisket in a specific type of wood like mesquite.
This article was written by Robert McCall, the founder of bbqdropout.com. Robert also owns and operates the BBQ dropout YouTube channel where he demonstrates his first-hand experience cooking all kinds of meats and strives to provide helpful, authoritative content for people looking how to barbecue.
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