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Traeger Pellets VS Other Pellets (Which one to use?)

Traeger Pellets vs Other Pellets

Traeger is seen by most people as an industry leader in the world of wood pellet grills as well as high-quality wood pellets. Though there are a lot of contenders, like Pit Boss, and Louisiana Grills who sell their own brands of wood pellets, which can be customized with different blends of accent woods. 


Technically Traeger insists that you only use their brand of wood pellets in their grills. If you use a different brand of wood pellets, it technically voids the warranty coverage. 

Though in the real world beyond fine print warranty policies and marketing messages, you can use just about any brand of high-quality wood pellets in a Traeger grill.

When it comes to finding the best wood pellets for certain cuts of meat and cooking styles, there are some interesting brands to consider. 

Traeger’s wood pellets tend to burn the hottest and preheat the fastest. They also produce a very rich smoke.

Though some people argue that they only offer 6 accent blends, which might not be enough to satisfy some barbecue purists.

Pit Boss offers 14 different accent woods to cater to barbecue purists, but their wood pellets don’t get as hot as Traeger’s.

Some of the other wood pellet manufacturers like CookinPellets and Rec-Tec offer “All Arounder” wood pellets that are a single blend of different woods.

This flies in the face of purists. Though Rec-Tec’s wood pellets with an oak and hickory blend have much of the same heating characteristics of Traeger’s original pellets. 


Traeger Pellets vs Other Pellets

As a pioneer in the wood pellet grill niche, Traeger has spent decades developing a proprietary process that creates high-quality, consistent burning wood pellets that are responsibly sourced.

They use a special drying process to create pellets that burn slightly hotter than most and preheat the grill quickly.

Though Traeger wood pellets are only available in 6 accent wood blends. 


Pit Boss Wood Pellets

Pit Boss, and their parent company Louisiana Grills, have risen to be one of Traeger’s biggest competitors in the wood pellet grill niche and offer their own responsibly sourced pellets.

They too have their own three-phase drying process that produces a high-quality pellet that burns very well and produces rich smoke. 

Though Pit Boss wood pellets don’t burn quite as hot and fast as Traeger. However, they do offer up to 14 different accent wood blends to pair with virtually any type of meat or seafood. 


Jack Daniels BBQ Wood Pellets

Jack Daniels throws their hat into the wood pellet ring by repurposing their old whiskey aging barrels into wood pellets. This gives them a unique aroma and imparts a rich flavor to a lot of fatty cuts of meat, including Boston Butt pork shoulders and Memphis-style ribs.

These oak-based wood pellets tend to be a little more expensive, and don’t perform any better in terms of burn rate or heat control. 


CookinPellets Wood Pellets

CookinPellets attempts to make a single type of all-around versatile wood pellets that are made from a carefully prepared blend of maple, apple, hickory, and cherry.

They don’t have any artificial filers and burn cleanly. 

Though so many different types of wood fibers make it hard to bind them with water-soluble lignin.

This results in a lot of extra sawdust at the bottom of the bag. If you forget to empty your pellet hopper the grain and sawdust in the bottom can quickly bind up with prolonged exposure to high humidity.

Some purists argue against a universal blend like this for some traditional meats like brisket, which is usually smoked with only mesquite or hickory. 


Rec-Tec Wood Pellets

Rec-Tec wood pellets are made with a high percentage of oak and hickory which means that it burns hotter than your average smoking pellets.

In some temperature tests, they have performed shoulder to shoulder with Traeger. They also tend to have a very uniform size, and consistency.

This further translates into less sawdust in the bottom of each bag or hopper load. 

Here again, purists will argue that this single-note type of wood pellet goes against the traditional woods used for certain cuts of meat.

The oak content in the wood pellets can also lead to a higher volume of residual ash after each smoking session, which means you are looking at a tiny bit of extra cleanup.

Some lesser-quality wood pellet grills might also notice a few more ash particles settling on the food. 


Kingsford Wood Pellets

Kingsford is the original charcoal briquette manufacturer who spent too many years as a grill industry leader to not throw their hat into the wood pellet grill arena.

They offer a lineup of 100% Natural Hardwood Blend Pellets for grilling and they contain no artificial flavors, fillers, binders, dyes, chemical additives, or oils.

They take an interesting stance on their wood pellets in that each type is made from 100% of the named wood.

This means that the hickory pellets are 100% hickory, then their blended wood pellets like Kingsford Classic Wood Pellets are made from a blend of Hickory, Oak, and Cherrywood.

The Kingsford Signature Wood Pellets are created from a blend of Mesquite, Oak, and Cherrywood. 

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. 


What Pellets Can You Use in a Traeger?

Traeger claims that for the best performance you should only use Traeger brand wood pellets in their grill. The fine print in their warranty coverage also asserts this.

Though, in the real world, you can use just about any high-quality wood pellets in a Traeger grill with very little difference in how the wood pellet smoker performs.

Though some wood pellet brands have different flavor characteristics and accent woods added. 


Do You Have to Use Traeger Brand Pellets?

According to Traeger, you should only ever use Traeger brand wood pellets in their grills.

They even go so far as to state that if you use a different type of wood pellets that it will void the warranty on your Traeger grill.

While this is the sort of thing that is virtually impossible for them to prove, it’s still something you should be mindful of if you ever need to make a warranty claim!


Final Thoughts 

Traeger has long been a pioneer in wood pellets and wood pellet grills. 

Though new contenders, like Pit Boss, and Louisiana Grills sell their own brand of wood pellets, which have more diversity and accent woods to cater to barbecue purists.

However, this can raise some quality and performance issues.  
Traeger notes that you will get the best performance out of their grills when you use their brand of wood pellets.

They even go so far as to include fine print in the warranty that voids coverage if you use another brand of pellets

Traeger’s wood pellets have a reputation for burning hotter and preheating faster than the competition, while also producing a very rich smoke.

However, they only offer 6 accent blends, which isn’t always enough to satisfy some barbecue purists.