Can you use any pellets in a Pit Boss pellet grill? This was a question I had when I first purchased my grill. I wanted to know if I could use heating pellets for my Pit Boss grill. After all, they are less expensive than BBQ wood pellets. Well, here’s what I found out regarding the types of pellets you can use for a Pit Boss pellet grill.
Can You Use Any Wood Pellets In A Pit Boss?
Yes, as long as the wood pellets are 100% all-natural, food-grade, do not contain any fillers you can use them in the Pit Boss smoker. Using cheap or the wrong fuel source puts the grill at risk of damage or severe injuries.
Pellet fuel has become a popular way to cook, heat homes, fireplace inserts, furnaces, freestanding stoves, etc. Not all these pellets are designed for use in a Pit Boss smoker (or any smoker regardless of brand).
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the different types of wood pellets, and which types are best for cooking.
Are Wood Pellets Universal?
The only wood pellets safe to use for the Pit Boss are 100% high-quality food-grade pellets designed for cooking.
The biggest confusion is all wood pellets look the same to the untrained eye.
So how do you tell the difference? Well, let’s take a closer look at the fuel heating and cooking pellets.
BBQ Wood Pellets
Here’s a video that walks you through how Pit Boss pellets are made.
They are made using hardwood and sourced from storm-damaged and end-of-cycle trees. Once the logs are hauled to the pellet mill, they are loaded into the debarker.
Where the dirt, mineral, and some of the bark is removed. Just enough bark is removed to prevent the auger from getting clogged, and produce a clean burn.
No glues, binders, or additives with the exception of vegetable oil which is sometimes used during the extrusion process.
Instead, the pellets are formed by the extreme heat and pressure from the production activate the natural ligaments that hold the pellets together.
The food-grade pellets are safe to use for grilling. Non-certified pellets can include impurities such as bark, leaves, dirt, and other materials that can affect how they burn and pose a health risk if ingested.
Heating Wood Pellets
Similar to how popular pellet grills have become popular for cooking. Wood heating pellets have become popular due to the rising cost of fossil fuels.
This video will walk you through how heating pellets are made.
Basically, heating pellets consist of a variety of woods including softwoods such as; pine, cedar, firs, spruce, or hardwoods that would leave a bitter taste on food.
Types of Wood Pellets
There are three types of wood pellets:
- Standard wood pellets: Wood pellets that contain organic ash waste upwards of .05 percent and are manufactured from industry waste.
- Premium wood pellets: Contain less tham 0.5 percent organic ash, and are made with 100% hardwoods such as maple or oak. These pellets generally don’t have any additives, fillers, or bark.
- Food grade wood pellets: Both premium and standard pellets can be labeled as food grade, as long as no binding or additive agents were used in the production process.
According to Pellet Fuels Institute (PFI) there is a new standard for wood pellet ash production and they are as follows:
- Standard: Less than 2% ash production
- Premium: No more than 1% ash production
If the wood pellets produce too much ash, over time it will affect how the smoker functions and can shorten the lifespan of your grill. This is why it’s important to clean your Pit Boss on a regular basis, especially after a long cook.
In addition, if too much ash builds up in the fire pot, it can reduce the airflow throughout the grill, and cause the fire to go out. It can also cause your food to taste like ash ruining your cook.
What Pellets Can I Use In My Pit Boss?
For the best performance and food taste, opt for premium wood pellets. They are produced from high-quality wood and contain no bark.
Some people believe that pellets should have bark because it produces a more smokey flavor. Only high-quality wood pellets will produce the type of smoke you’re looking for. I’ve written a guide on how to produce more smoke, that is worth the read if you’re having issues getting your Pit Boss to produce smoke.
If you think about it, if you’ve ever purchased some firewood for a campfire, none of the wood has bark.
Why is that?
It’s because bark burns more differently than wood. Bark burns differently than wood and can produce more smoke and more heat (depending on the species) but makes a huge mess. Which can be a huge problem for the auger.
In addition, bark carries bugs and other debris which can be harmful to your health. So while you want your meat to have bark, your wood pellets shouldn’t!
It’s fine to burn bark in a fireplace, wood stove, or outdoor campfire, as they don’t rely on sensors to work. But you never want to use bark to fuel your pellet grill, otherwise, you’re likely to face all kinds of problems.
This is why all pellet grill manufacturers clearly state to avoid using wood pellets that contain binders and fillers. Is because they pose health risks and can damage your smoker.
Choosing The Best Wood Pellets For Your Pit Boss
Pit Boss pellet grills are designed to function without a lot of effort on your part. That said, they require high-quality wood pellets for best performance.
Shop for pellets with less than one percent organic ash. Oak and Mesquite pellets burn the hottest, meaning they will have less ash content than maple-flavored pellets.
Moisture content also makes a difference in pellet grill performance. Ensure the wood pellets have low levels of moisture. All wood pellets contain a bit of moisture, usually below 10%.
Opt for premium-grade pellets as they contain less than 5%, and pay more if necessary. Your pellet grill will burn hotter and will save you money over the long term.
The best quality wood pellets for your Pit Boss grill have low levels of moisture and organic ash, which cost more than cheap pellets. You don’t have to have tools or a keen eye to know if the pellets are high quality, this site shows you exactly what to look for.
That said, you don’t have to pay a lot, especially, if you use Pit Boss pellets.
- Two 40 lb resealable bag
- Perfect blend of Maple, Hickory and Apple hardwoods
- 100% all natural. No added flavors, binders or spray scents
- Burns hotter and longer. 100% North American sourced hardwoods
- Bundled with the "Wood Pallet Smoker and Grill Cookbook" to create the best tasting barbecue just like your favorite Pit Bosses do
You can buy a 20 or 40-pound bag without spending a lot. And you know you’re using high-quality pellets that won’t damage your grill.
Does It Matter What Pellets You Use?
Some manufacturers will even go as far as saying using other pellets than their “brand” will void the warranty, Pit Boss doesn’t say that (at least I didn’t see it in my owner’s manual).
The only thing that will void the warranty is using the wrong type of fuel such as; lighter fuel, gasoline, etc.
They don’t say using cheap pellets will void the warranty, but if your pellet grill is still under warranty and the auger messes up, they will likely ask you what type of pellets you’re using. If you’re not using their brand, they could possibly not pay for the fix, so keep that in mind if your grill is new.
They want you to use their pellets and even have a full page devoted to their brand pellets. The reason they want you to use their pellets is that they are produced to work specifically for Pit Boss pellet grills.
Meaning they have passed the quality standards set by Pit Boss. Pit Boss takes food consumption standards seriously, and always puts sanitation and health at the forefront of packing and production concerns.
They can guarantee you won’t have any fuel issues, and they can’t make that guarantee with other wood pellet brands.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to use Pit Boss wood pellets. Pit Boss pellets come in many different flavors, such as; Alder, Cherry, Mesquite, Hickory, Apple, Oak, and Pecan.
That said there are brands that offer different flavors Pit Boss doesn’t have.
It’s perfectly fine to experiment with other types of wood pellet flavors (I have). Just make sure they are premium food-grade pellets.
Always read the back of the bag. Some manufacturers have been known to label the bags as premium when they aren’t.
As long they are premium 100% food-grade hardwood pellets, you can use any brand you want. You can use Traeger pellets in your Pit Boss, or any other of your favorite brands.
Premium wood pellets burn hotter, enhance your grilling experience and produce less ash, which is better for both you and your grill.