October 25, 2022 12:51 pm


Wood pellets are used in stoves, boilers, and smokers. Do wood pellets go bad? is a concern that may cross your mind if you have no idea what a pellet is or how it is manufactured. And, “how long will they keep?”

This piece is an attempt to address that question, which is more nuanced than it may initially appear. The simplest answer is “yes,” wood pellets can spoil. In this piece, though, we’d want to discuss the different ways in which a wood pellet can “go bad.” To keep your pellets in pristine shape, you should also know how to store them properly. Right! C’mon, let’s get down to business.

do wood pellets go bad
do wood pellets go bad

How Do Wood Pellets Go Bad And Why?

Bad wood pellets are usually the result of two things: excess moisture and careless treatment. we’ll go into detail about each of them in the next paragraphs.

Absorption Of Wetness

To create a wood pellet, you will need to add some moisture. In contrast, after a wood pellet has been created, moisture becomes a major adversary. Wood pellets are always looking for new sources of moisture to absorb because of their extremely compressed form and low moisture content (below 10%). Because of this, pellets are a great option for horse bedding.

Wood pellets will acquire moisture and swell if not stored properly. Pellets that have been expanded cannot be utilized in pellet stoves, boilers, or grills/smokers since they are no longer pellets and have become sawdust.

Liquid water poses less of a threat to a wood pellet than other forms of moisture. Humidity, or the presence of water vapor in the air, is a typical culprit in the spoilage of pellets.

Hard Treatment

Wood pellets tend to last a long time. Too much severe treatment, however, and they’ll crumble to dust and fines. Some pellet stoves, boilers, and grills can become clogged with this dust.

When Do Wood Pellets Go Bad, And How Can You Prevent That?

Managing moisture is the first step in extending the life of pellets. Commonly, pellets are packaged in plastic bags to prevent them from getting wet during transport. But what if you don’t finish the bag in one sitting? Never use an opened bag of pellets in a stove, grill, or smoker, as recommended by some manufacturers.

Wood Pellet Bags: Reseal Or untie

Brands like Traeger offer BBQ wood pellets in resealable packages. Bags that aren’t resealable can be sealed with a cable tie or wire tie. You should also tape over any holes in the bags if they have been damaged.

Store Wood Pellets In A Dry Place

Even if the bags are resealed properly, moisture might get into the wood pellets if they are kept in an area with high relative humidity. Therefore, it is best to avoid storing your wood pellet bags in a wet environment such as a garage or shed.

Carefully Handle Your Wood Pellet Bags

High-quality wood pellets won’t crumble to pieces anymore. To be sure, you don’t want to be overly rough. If you crush them too much, more dust and particles will end up in the bags. If you aren’t careful, you could end up ripping the bag, which would lead to leaks and other problems.

Not All Wood Pellets Are Created Well

We have been talking about how to preserve pellets so far. However, not all these pellets are created equal. Many different types of wood pellets can be used as a source of heating fuel. These pellets will be graded based on their ash concentration, moisture level, and density.

The Ways To Determine If The Wood Pellets Are Bad Quality?

You can determine whether your pellets are good or bad with a few simple tests:

The Pellets Should Be Soaked In Water

The simplest test involves dissolving some pellets in water. The pellets have been manufactured to a high density if they sink to the bottom. As a result, they are typically considered to be high-quality pellets in terms of compression.

However, you need to act quickly because they will begin to absorb the moisture almost immediately. Do not forget to remove the glass from the wood pellets and the water. Their size will increase as they drink up the fluids.

It took a lot of effort to remove the inflated pellets from the bottom of the glass. Since you couldn’t remove the substance by hand, you should resort to using a knife to scrape it away.

Snap Test

The “Snap Test” is the second procedure. You need to exert horizontal force on a wood pellet, so you pick it up. If you break a quality wood pellet in half, you should hear a “crack” as the two pieces separate. If a wood pellet is defective, it will break up into pieces and create dust.

The Glow Test

A visual inspection of the pellets is the quickest and easiest test. This test is not the most definitive one. For this reason, we still use the Snap Test whenever possible to determine the quality of wood pellets.

A quality wood pellet will have a smooth exterior with few if any, cracks. A glossy pellet indicates that it is of high quality. Dull pellets with cracks on the surface are less durable than shiny ones and likely come from a subpar batch.

So Do Wood Pellets Go Bad?

Water-damaged wood pellets are useless. These pellets can be kept indefinitely and used whenever needed. Wet wood pellets must be removed before turning on the pellet grill to avoid explosions.

Because of their softness, expanding pellets can easily clog an auger.

While Using A Pellet Grill, Can You Add More Pellets To The Fire?

The hopper of a pellet grill is designed to accept wood pellets at any moment. Adding more wood pellets to the hopper of a pellet grill in the middle of cooking is safe and will ensure the grill stays operational over a lengthy smoke.

Before you go and add more pellets, check to see whether the hopper is empty or if there is any “tunneling” going on.

Tunneling refers to when pellets adhere to the sides of the hopper yet the middle is empty. Even if there may be some pellets in the hopper, they may be trapped on the side and the auger will not be able to feed them.

Before adding more pellets to the hopper, they must be gently shaken into the auger.

Final Thought

All pellet grills use pellets as their primary fuel source.

Wood pellets are what generates the heat, smoke, and flavor for the meal, so it’s important to experiment with different combinations until you discover one that suits your preferences. There is a wide variety of flavored and flavored-blend pellets available for use with Traeger and other brands of pellet grills.

Wood pellets are only worthless if submerged in water or exposed to extreme moisture.

These pellets can be stored in a dry bag or pellet grill hopper until used.

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