How Are Traeger BBQ Wood Pellets Made?

Hi, I’m Chris. About Me

Traeger Pellet Grills LLC was started in 1985 by Joe Traeger and is now based in Salt Lake City, Utah, under different ownership. Wood pellet grills and BBQ wood pellets have become a niche of the wood fuel industry. However, while wood pellets over the previous decades have been a very small niche in the BBQ industry, it’s grown considerably. Where previously, Traeger pellet grills were only available in the US and Canada, they are now sold all over the world.

Traeger Pellet Grills
Traeger produces a wide range of domestic wood pellet grills/smokers: Images –

Disclaimer: Hey! By the way… any links on this page that lead to products on Amazon or other sites are affiliate links, and I earn a commission if you make a purchase.

Introduction To Traeger Pellets

Below, I’ve included our BBQ pellets database so you can see the full range of BBQ pellets that Traeger currently produces.

PelHeat BBQ Pellets Database

Updated October 2023
Pellets$ per lbTypical Bag Price ($)Bag Size (lbs)Blend or Single SpeciesFlavorBrandAvailabilityAvailabilityAvailabilityAvailability
Expert Grill Bold Blend0.331030BlendHickory, PecanExpert
Expert Grill Five Star Blend0.331030BlendOak, HickoryExpert
Expert Grill Sweet Blend0.331030BlendApple, CherryExpert
Pit Boss Classic Blend0.381540BlendPecan, Hickory, MesquitePit
Pit Boss Competition Blend0.381540BlendHickory, Maple, ApplePit
Pit Boss Fall Blend0.381540BlendApple, HickoryPit
Pit Boss Freedom Blend0.381540BlendHickory, CharcoalPit
Pit Boss Fruit Blend0.381540BlendCherry, Apple, MaplePit
Pit Boss Harvest Blend0.381540BlendApple, PecanPit
Pit Boss Peach Blend0.381540BlendOak, PeachPit
Pit Boss Pitmaster Blend0.381540BlendCherry, Oak, Hickory, MaplePit
Pit Boss Spring Blend0.381540BlendOak, Apple, CherryPit
Pit Boss Trophy Blend0.381540BlendWhite Oak, Red Oak, HickoryPit
Pit Boss Oak Pellets0.421740Single SpeciesOakPit
B&B Championship Blend0.421740BlendOak, Cherry, PecanB&
Bear Mountain Apple Pellets0.431740BlendAppleBear
Bear Mountain Hickory Pellets0.431740BlendHickoryBear
Bear Mountain Oak Pellets0.431740Single SpeciesOakBear
Bear Mountain Mesquite Pellets0.431840BlendMesquiteBear
Pit Boss Hickory Pellets0.451840BlendHickoryPit
Pit Boss Charcoal Blend Pellets0.45920BlendOak, CharcoalPit
Pit Boss Pecan Pellets0.502040BlendPecanPit
Pit Boss Maple Pellets0.502040BlendMaplePit
Pit Boss Mesquite Pellets0.501840BlendMesquitePit
Pit Boss Apple Blend0.502040BlendApplePit
Pit Boss Cherry Pellets0.502040BlendCherryPit
Bear Mountain Pecan Pellets0.502040BlendPecanBear
Pit Boss Whiskey Barrel Blend Pellets0.52040BlendWhiskey BarrelPit
B&B Oak Pellets0.501020Single SpeciesOakB&
B&B Hickory Pellets0.501020Single SpeciesHickoryB&
B&B Cherry Pellets0.501020Single SpeciesCherryB&
B&B Mesquite Pellets0.501020Single SpeciesMesquiteB&
B&B Apple Pellets0.51020Single SpeciesAppleB&
B&B Pecan Pellets0.501020Single SpeciesPecanB&
Bear Mountain Bold Pellets0.652640BlendOak, Mesquite, HickoryBear
Bear Mountain Gourmet Pellets0.652640BlendOak, Hickory, Maple, CherryBear
Bear Mountain Savory BBQ Pellets0.652640BlendOak, Hickory, MapleBear
Bear Mountain Sweet BBQ Pellets0.652640BlendOak, Maple, CherryBear
Camp Chef Cherry Pellets0.651320BlendCherryCamp
Camp Chef Apple Pellets0.651320BlendAppleCamp
Camp Chef Hickory Pellets0.651320BlendHickoryCamp
GMG Apple Blend
Bear Mountain Bourbon BBQ Pellets0.701420BlendWhiskey BarrelBear
GMG Fruitwood Blend0.712028BlendCherry, Beach,
GMG Gold Blend0.712028BlendOak, Hickory,
GMG Texas Blend0.712028BlendOak, Hickory,
Louisiana Grills Cherry Pellets0.722940BlendCherryLouisiana
Louisiana Grills Charcoal Blend0.732940BlendOak, CharcoalLouisiana
Louisiana Grills Mesquite Pellets0.732940BlendMesquiteLouisiana
Louisiana Grills Whiskey Barrel Pellets0.753040BlendWhiskey BarrelLouisiana
Louisiana Grills Competition Blend0.753040BlendMaple, Hickory, CherryLouisiana
Louisiana Grills Apple Blend0.753040BlendAppleLouisiana
Jim Beam Pellets0.751520BlendWhiskey BarrelJim
Camp Chef Oak Pellets0.851720Single SpeciesOakCamp
Camp Chef Mesquite Pellets0.851720BlendMesquiteCamp
Cuisinart Applewood Whiskey Pellets0.851720BlendWhiskey
Cuisinart California Cherry Rum Pellets0.851720BlendRum
Cuisinart California Red Wine Hickory Pellets0.851720BlendRed Wine
Cuisinart Maple Bourbon Pellets0.851720BlendMaple,
recteq Ultimate Blend0.883540BlendWhite Oak, Red Oak,
Broil King Hickory Pellets0.901820Single SpeciesHickoryBroil
Broil King Grillers Select0.901820BlendOak, Maple, CherryBroil
Broil King Smoke Masters Blend0.901820BlendMaple, Hickory, CherryBroil
Fire & Flavor Cherry Pellets0.901820BlendCherryFire &
Fire & Flavor Hickory Pellets0.901820BlendHickoryFire &
Fire & Flavor Signature Blend0.901820BlendCherry, Mesquite, OakFire &
Fire & Flavor Mesquite Pellets0.901820BlendMesquiteFire &
Fire & Flavor Apple Pellets0.901820BlendAppleFire &
Bear Mountain Cherry Pellets0.921820BlendCherryBear
Weber SmokeFire Mesquite
Broil King Apple Blend Pellets0.951920BlendAppleBroil
Weber SmokeFire Apple
CookinPellets Longhorn Blend0.953840BlendMesquite, Hard Maple,
CookinPellets Perfect Mix0.953840BlendHickory, Cherry, Hard Maple,
Oklahoma Joe's Hickory Pellets0.951920BlendHickoryOklahoma Joe'
Oklahoma Joe's Apple Blend Pellets0.951920BlendAppleOklahoma Joe'
Broil King Mesquite Pellets0.951920BlendMesquiteBroil
Weber SmokeFire Hickory
Camp Chef Charwood Cherry Pellets0.951920BlendCherry, CharcoalCamp
Camp Chef Charwood Hickory Pellets0.951920BlendHickory, CharcoalCamp
Weber SmokeFire Cherry
Weber SmokeFire Grillmaster Blend0.951920BlendMaple, Hickory,
Z Grills Oak Pellets0.951920Single SpeciesOakZ
Royal Oak 100% Charcoal Pellets0.951920Single SpeciesCharcoalRoyal
Z Grills Hickory Pellets0.951920BlendHickoryZ
CookinPellets Black Cherry Pellets0.973840Single
BBQGuys Oak Pellets12020Single
BBQGuys Apple
BBQGuys Signature Competition Blend12020BlendHickory, Oak, Cherry,
BBQGuys Cherry
BBQGuys Hickory
BBQGuys Mesquite
Grilla Grills Apple Pellets12020Single SpeciesAppleGrilla
Grilla Grills Pecan Pellets12020Single SpeciesPecanGrilla
Grilla Grills Hickory Pellets12020Single SpeciesHickoryGrilla
Grilla Grills Competition Blend12020BlendHickory, Oak, CherryGrilla
Grilla Grills Mesquite Pellets12020Single SpeciesMesquiteGrilla
Grilla Grills Cherry Pellets12020Single SpeciesCherryGrilla
Traeger Apple
Traeger Pecan
Traeger Mesquite
Traeger Cherry
Traeger Bold Blend12020BlendHickory, Cherry,
Traeger Brisket Blend12020BlendOak, Pecan, Black
Traeger Meat Chruch Blend12020BlendOak,
Traeger Signature Blend12020BlendHickory, Maple,
Traeger Turkey Blend12020BlendMaple, Hickory,
Traeger Hickory
Kingsford Hickory Pellets12020Single
Kingsford Basil Sage
Kingsford Cumin Chili
Kingsford Garlic Onion Paprika
Kingsford Grillmasters Choice12020BlendHickory, Cherry,
Kingsford Memphis Blend12020BlendHickory, Garlic, Paprika,
Kingsford Southwest Blend12020BlendMesquite, Cherry,
Oklahoma Joe's Competition Blend12020BlendCherry, Hickory, MapleOklahoma Joe'
Z Grills Apple Pellets12020BlendAppleZ
Kingsford Cherry
Crown Royal Whiskey Pellets12020BlendMaple, WhiskeyCrown
Kingsford Maple
CookinPellets Hickory Pellets1.034140Single
CookinPellets Applemash
Memphis Oak Pellets1.052120Single SpeciesOakMemphis
Memphis Grills Pecan Pellets1.052120BlendPecanMemphis
Memphis Grills Cherry Pellets1.052120BlendCherryMemphis
Memphis Grills Apple Pellets1.052120BlendAppleMemphis
Memphis Grills Mesquite Pellets1.052120BlendMesquiteMemphis
Z Grills Cherry Pellets1.052120BlendCherryZ
Knotty Wood 100% Pure Almond1.102220Single SpeciesAlmondKnotty
Knotty Wood 100% Pure Plum1.102220Single SpeciesPlumKnotty
recteq Apple
recteq Mesquite
recteq Cherry
Lumber Jack Apple Blend Pellets1.154640BlendAppleLumber
Lumber Jack Mesquite Pellets1.182420BlendMesquiteLumber
Kingsford Bourbon BBQ Pellets1.182017BlendWhiskey
Bear Mountain Maple Pellets1.202420BlendMapleBear
Lumber Jack Oak Pellets1.252520Single SpeciesOakLumber
BBQr's Delight Hickory Pellets1.252520BlendHickoryBBQr's
BBQr's Delight Mesquite Pellets1.252520BlendMesquiteBBQr's
Lumber Jack Pecan Pellets1.252520BlendPecanLumber
BBQr's Delight Apple Pellets1.252520BlendAppleBBQr's
BBQr's Delight Cherry Pellets1.252520BlendCherryBBQr's
BBQr's Delight Pecan Pellets1.252520BlendPecanBBQr's
BBQr's Delight Oak Pellets1.282620
Single SpeciesOakBBQr's
BBQr's Delight Contest Mix1.302620BlendPecan, CherryBBQr's
BBQr's Delight Master Your Beef1.302620BlendHickory, Black Pecan, WalnutBBQr's
BBQr's Delight Sugar Maple Pellets1.352720BlendMapleBBQr's
Myron Mixon Cherry Pellets1.352720BlendCherryMyron
Traeger Whistle Pig Whiskey Barrel Pellets1.392518BlendWhiskey
Myron Mixon Hickory Pellets1.402920BlendHickoryMyron
Z Grills Competition Blend1.503020BlendMaple, Hickory, CherryZ
Z Grills Fruitwood Blend1.503020BlendApple, CherryZ
ASMOKE Apple Pellets1.53020Single
Lumber Jack Cherry Pellets1.553120Single SpeciesCherryLumber
Knotty Wood Cabernet Wine Pellets1.653320BlendRed Wine BarrelKnotty
Giantex Applewood Pellets1.753520Single
Mr. Bar-B-Q Mesquite Pellets1.753520BlendMesquiteMr.
Wine Country Wine Infused Oak Pellets1.753520BlendRed Wine BarrelWine Country
Mr. Bar-B-Q Hickory Pellets1.953920BlendHickoryMr.
Mr. Bar-B-Q Select Blend24020BlendHickory, Oak, AppleMr.
BBQr's Delight Red Wine Barrel Pellets24020BlendRed Wine BarrelBBQr's
Jack Daniel's Pellets24020BlendWhiskey BarrelJack Daniel'

Update: You may want to check out my Traeger pellets review article, where I reference a blind taste test, a Traeger patent, and a lawsuit against Traeger on how their pellets are made.

Below, I’ve included a video I found on the Traeger wood pellet manufacturing process. While generally similar to how all wood pellets are produced, there are a few notable differences.

While it’s generally acknowledged that cooking with charcoal produces improved flavored food over gas, the cooking process is harder to control.

BBQ wood pellet grills use a hopper and feed auger in a similar fashion to pellet stoves and boilers. Therefore, the temperature of the cooking process can be precisely controlled.

Traeger also produces the Traeger fire pit and a wide range of Traeger grill accessories.

How Are Traeger Wood Pellets Made?

While I have my main post on how wood pellets are made, I thought I would share with you Traeger’s own video on their process. It’s slightly different from the ‘normal’ wood pellet production process.

However, most of the equipment is the same. Check out the video below to watch how Traeger wood pellets are made. Please note, it takes 40 seconds to get through the promotional content before they start to show the actual pellet manufacturing process.

At 40 seconds into the video, you start to see the process of how Traeger Wood Pellets are made: Video –

Raw Materials and Preparation

Making Traeger Wood Pellets
Traeger has to deal with a range of woody biomass materials to produce their BBQ wood pellets: Image –

One area where Traeger has a different (and generally) more difficult pellet manufacturing process is dealing with a wide range of raw materials. They produce BBQ wood pellets from Hickory, Mesquite, Apple, Cherry, Oak, Alder, Pecan, Maple and various other blends.

That’s a lot of raw material management to take care of. Its also interesting to note that Traeger appears to be making wood pellets from whole logs, not just sawdust waste.

This is a 20lb bag of Traegers Signature blend of various hardwood pellets. Essentially a good allrounder for cooking pretty much any meat: Image –

Normally with a typical fuel pellet plant, you prepare a standard raw material, typically either softwood or hardwood. You then set up the plant to deal with that particular raw material.

That can involve setting up the hammer mill with a certain-sized screen. It can also involve setting the dryer to a certain rotation speed. Finally, it can involve using a specific die at the right compression ratio in the pellet mill.

With a compression ratio that’s too low, a wood pellet will not form. If the compression ratio is too high, it will lead to a blocked pellet mill die. With Traeger, they have multiple different wood species to deal with in separate batches.

Hence, producing wood pellets to a consistent quality while not blocking the die will be more complicated than a typical plant producing pellets for stoves and boilers.

Now, when you watch the video above, if you pay close attention, you will notice the narrator makes an important point. He states that the other wood species are mixed with alder or oak. Therefore, with an applewood pellet blend, its not 100% applewood.

It’s not clear what percentage of the mixture used to make Traeger BBQ wood pellets is actually applewood. I don’t believe they are mixing the raw materials together before the wood pellets are produced.

As referenced above, this would make the process more complicated and harder to control pellet quality. More than likely, they are mixing the separate batches of wood pellets together before packaging.

While all varieties of Traeger Wood Pellets only include 100% hardwood pellets, in a bag of Apple flavour its not actually 100% applewood: Image –

Size Reduction via The Hammer Mill

Hammer mill feed hopper

A front loader places the woody biomass into the hammer mill feed trough: Image –

The first part of the Traeger wood pellet plant appears to be their hammer mill trough feed hopper. A screw and belt conveyor will then take this material at a controlled rate into the hammer mill.

The hammer mill is likely fitted with a 5mm screen, as Traeger produces 6mm BBQ wood pellets. The material produced from the hammer mill is now a small consistent particle size suitable for the pellet mill. However, the raw material first needs to be dried down to the perfect moisture content.

Drying The Wood Sawdust Before The Pellet Mill

If you have read my main page on how to make wood pellets, you will know that getting the moisture content right is very important. As this is a large-scale pellet plant, Trager is using a large rotary dryer.

The video itself does not actually demonstrate the order of their process correctly, showing images of the pellet mill before images of this rotary dryer.

Large rotary dryer
Traeger is using large rotary dryers to reduce the materials’ moisture content ready for the pellet mill: Image –

You have to set up the rotation speed of the dryer to suit the raw material moisture content of the wood you’re processing. In general, the optimum moisture content for the pellet mill is 12%.

As stated at the start of this post, Traeger has significant challenges due to the wide range of woody biomass materials they have to process.

Depending on how long the material has been sat in the yard, that will impact the starting moisture content.

Testing the moisture of the raw material and changing the dryer rotation speed could be very labour intensive. Furthermore, if you get it wrong, it could disrupt the whole process, even leading to a pellet mill die blockage.

While it’s not shown in the video, I would imagine they have inline infra-red moisture meters. These constantly monitor the raw material as it enters the rotary dryer.

The computer can then adjust the speed of the dryer to suit the wide range of different raw materials this pellet plant has to process.

While these inline infra-red moisture meters can be very expensive, on a pellet plant such as this, they can be invaluable. Plus, you also have to remember these are BBQ wood pellets.

On a value-per-weight basis, BBQ wood pellets produce the most profit by far of any other wood pellet sold as fuel or animal bedding.

The Large Ring Die Pellet Mill

Where the Traeger wood pellet process differs from standard fuel pellet production is in the use of food-grade soybean oil.

Vegetable oil is often fed into pellet mills via drip-feed tanks or peristaltic pumps to reduce the pressure within the die and avoid die blockages.

However, too much oil will reduce the compression of the wood pellet to a point where it doesn’t form at a sufficient density. Wood pellet density is crucial for efficient combustion.

Large ring die pellet mill
Traeger uses a large ring die pellet mill and food-grade soybean oil to aid the process: Image –

Traeger wood pellets are made with food-grade soybean oil as these are BBQ pellets. The smoke from Traeger wood pellets penetrates the food to produce the delicate and delicious wood smoke flavours.

Therefore using a food-grade oil in this instance is good practice. For standard wood pellet production, it’s common to use other pellet binders to aid the process.

The Differences Between Ring Die and Flat Die Pellet Mills?

Traeger has chosen to use a ring die pellet mill over a flat die pellet machine. The advantages of a ring die are increased roller and die life, more consistent pellet quality and a lower power input per ton of pellets produced.

The material is fed gradually into the centre of the ring die pellet mill. The type of ring die pellet mill Traeger is using is a vertically mounted die. However, there are horizontally mounted ring die variants.

Ring Die Pellet Mill
A typical design of ring die pellet mill

Typically, two rollers are located on the inside of the die. The pellets are produced on the outer edge of the die.

The rollers are not actually set against the surface of the die. There should be no metal-to-metal contact.

The rollers are set with a small gap, typically 1mm, to create a carpet of material against the die. This gap improves pellet quality and also increases roller and die service life.

Now, there are large flat die pellet mills used to produce wood pellets in commercial pellet plants. However, its far less common, as they are not as efficient as ring die pellet mills.

On the small-scale end of the market, particularly low-budget machines, they are commonly flat die pellet mills. The most frequently seen small flat die pellet mills are made, as you have probably guessed, in China.

Can you produce wood pellets/BBQ wood pellets with a small flat die pellet mill? Technically yes, I’ve done it myself, as you can read on my about page.

However, you need to be aware that its not easy, and it can get very frustrating. If you are able to get the process/raw material controlled accurately enough, it can be done though.

Cooling The Traeger BBQ Wood Pellets and Packaging

Traeger Wood Pellet Packaging
After the Traeger Wood Pellets have been cooled, they are ready for packaging into 20lb bags: Image –

After the wood pellets leave the pellet mill, they first need to be cooled before packaging. The wood pellets leave the pellet mill very hot.

As the wood pellets still contain between 7-10% moisture, if they are placed in a plastic bag hot, they will sweat and break apart.

The reason plastic bags are used is it’s very important to protect wood pellets from moisture. Therefore it’s very important to let the wood pellets cool before they are packaged in bags.

Large counterflow coolers will be used where a fan pulls air through the pellets and vents the moist air to the outside.

In the screenshot from the video above, you can see the operator filling standard 20lb bags. This is a typical bag size also used for fuel pellets.

However, you can also source Traeger BBQ wood pellets and other brands in small pouch bags. These can be purchased as part of a set to try and range of BBQ wood pellets in a smoke tube.

This is a range of various BBQ wood pellet flavours produced by BBQrs Delight, another popular brand: Image –

Conclusions On How Traeger Wood Pellets Are Made

Generally, the process is very similar to how I describe the pellet production process in my other posts.

The main difference with Traeger wood pellets is the wide range of different species they have to deal with.

Furthermore, they are producing a food-grade product. As Traeger has to source a wide range of wood species, the logistics of getting those different raw materials to their pellet plant in sufficient volumes must be a challenge.

However, it’s important to remember BBQ wood pellets are very profitable. I have a post on the best smoking pellets if you would like to review all the competing brands.

Therefore, while it will take more time and effort, and their raw material will cost more, the results are worth it.

I must admit as well after I used BBQ wood pellets for the first time, the food produced on my gas BBQ just seemed a bit boring! Please review my Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide to learn more.

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