Wood pellets are to wood fire grills what charcoal and gas are to more traditional (and let’s face it, less tasty) backyard grilling machines. But where did these fuel sources originate? And what exactly makes up a “pellet” anyway? Get all the facts on your Memphis Grills’ favorite fuel below.
History of a Pellet
The first wood pellet stoves were invented in Europe and North America as a direct result of the 1970s oil crisis. People began burning pellets in stoves as an efficient, cost-effective way to heat their homes, but it wasn’t until the introduction of Traeger’s pellet grill nearly 20 years ago that wood pellets were seen as a potential fuel source for cooking on the grill. This paved the way for other grill companies (including yours truly) to create grills that give food an added dimension that gas and charcoal grills can’t touch. We whole-heartedly believe that Memphis Grills are the best grills on the entire planet, but we also fully support our pellet grill friends and competitors in their quest to promote all-things pellet.
The Pellet Process
Because our wood pellets are considered “food-grade” we take the utmost care in the process to turn natural wood into dense flavor-packed heat machines. The wood meeting our (and our partners’) highest standards would have otherwise been shipped off to landfills or burned, so using it as a grill fuel source is actually very environmentally friendly. The wood is then turned into sawdust and pressurized. The pressure used to make the pellets is so immense, heat is generated, binding the wood together in a tighter, more concentrated form and killing any contaminants present in the original wood.
It’s What’s on the Inside That Matters
Pellets today have changed a lot from what they were like when first produced, not in appearance, but in makeup. Unlike wood pellets used for heating stoves, cooking pellets use a blend of high-quality hardwoods that are safe for cooking. Though not all pellet brands do this, Memphis Grills’ BBQ Pellets make sure the wood being used to make the pellets is coming from a trustworthy source. You would never want to cook your food using wood pellets that have been treated with binders or oils, or loaded with fake flavor. By knowing the apple wood pellets you’re using were made from apple tree branches harvested from an orchard in Michigan (or similar) you know you’re getting what you paid for: quality.
Not only is the wood important when it comes to wood pellet quality, but the process in which they were made. Some pellet manufacturers utilize all aspects of the tree including the bark. While this may sound green, pellets packed with tree bark can be loaded with impurities, which will transfer to your food. And just as food is pasteurized to avoid contamination, the heating and compression process Memphis Grills’ wood pellets go though ensures bugs and diseases are wiped out before being shipped or transported all over the world. This ensures that wherever you are, the perfect flavor-filled wood pellet is never too far away.