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I’ve Bought the “blend” pellets twice and have had bad luck each time. Once I purchased from Costco and once from Amazon. Both times these pellets have turned to dust in the hopper and clogged up the grill. I’ve never had the other pellets such as mesquite or hickory break down like this. From now on I’m gonna avoid the blend variety.
We opened the bag and the pellets smelled old and stale. We either got a bag that was years old that had been sitting on the shelf forever, or this product is just plain bad. We still tried to use them in our smoker to see how they burned, thinking once they lit we'd smell that familiar wood flavor. Nope. There was absolutely NO smell at all. Completely useless. We emptied our hopper of these pellets and threw the bag away.
Used this bag to smoke a brisket on my Traegers maiden smoke. The brisket came out absolutely perfect. Granted I had never smoked anything before and the brisket didn't come off the Traeger until 3am. But that's not the pellets fault. The 3am dinner I had was delicious. I was exhausted but it was delicious. Likewise I've been eating the leftovers for the better part of the last week. However, I will note the cost. The 20lb bag of pellets from Traeger and on Amazon is $18.99. The 33lb bag from Costco is $19.99. I will note that these apparently are a good combo of pellets, rather than just buying a bag of specific flavor pellets until you get your bearings with the smoker.
Bought these for my Traeger Junior, I was buying the ones that Costco sells, but these have the same woods in them, and seem to be identical. Saves me a trip to Costco, and these are delivered right to my door for about the same price. Highly recommend.
When my store was out of stock of my usual pellets, I switched to Traeger pellets and there was a NOTICEABLE difference. I have since come to discover and have confirmed with Eunice at Traeger today that the pellets, while 100% hardwood, are FLAVORED WITH OIL and NOT 100% the wood specified on the bag. Extremely deceptive practice.
Traeger pellets burn efficiently and hot. They smell good too while cooking but seem to impart little to no actual favor to the meat. Not sure what all the great reviews and fuss is about. Just a tiny bit of research in smoking and pellet forums totally corroborates this opinion. Contrary to this outstanding rating on Amazon, Traeger pellets seem to actually have a reputation for being weak in smoke flavor. One of the best rated pellets for smoke flavor that comes up time and again in forums and reviews is Lumberjack. I decided to buy a bag of LJ and compare. WOW what a difference! I'll probably never buy a bag of Traeger again. I'll use up what I have on things that don't benefit from smoke flavor.
Wood pellets are wood pellets for the most part, I was happy purchasing a different brand for cheaper. These weren't anything special and didn't impart much flavor beyond smoke.
I'd suggest doing some research into how Traeger got bought out and now owned by private equity so they are purely profit-driven with no regard to quality. This applies to both their smokers as well as their pellets. The company is no longer owned by the original creators who had a passion for BBQ.
I can't speak to other applications, but these have worked great for what I've used them for: cold smoking cheese. The pellets are consistent, well-formed (not dusty or powdery), light and burn well, give off good smoke, and create delicious tasting cheese with a well-rounded smoke flavor. I've had problems with ash getting on my foods from some pellets, but not these. And I've had trouble with some pellets not maintaining a consistent smoke/burn all the way through down the smoker tube. Not these.
I buy large (11-12 pound) food service blocks of VERMONT cheddar (Cabot Seriously Sharp), cut them into roughly 1.5 lb blocks, and spread them out on the racks of my electric cabinet smoker (unplugged). Open up the vent all the way, pack a smoking tube with these pellets, place it in the bottom of the smoker, light for 10-20 seconds with a torch, blow out the flames, and smoke for 6-7 hours. I individually vacuum seal the smoked blocks (Ziploc bags work OK, just a little bulkier), and leave them on the counter for 2 weeks to absorb the smoke through the whole block, and for the flavors to soften and blend. If that makes you nervous, refrigeration is not the end of the world, but I've never had problems keeping the cheese on the counter, and the results are better. Refrigerate or even freeze thereafter (the freezing doesn't hurt the flavor, but does make it crumblier).
Make sure the cheese is cold before starting, and the outdoor temperature needs to be below 40F - any warmer and there is enough heat from the pellets to make the cheese melt. Exact temperatures may vary depending on your set-up.
The price on these Traeger pellets was crazy good! The issue, however, was the shipping. I got two 20 pound bags in one gigantic box. When I finally PULLED it into my living room and tried opening it, I discovered one of the bags had broken. Needless to say it was a total and complete mess. That being said, I learned my lesson and will order one at a time!