How to Store Wood Pellets for Your Pellet Grill

how to store wood pellets

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You only have to run out of pellets mid-cook one time to learn how important it is to keep a few bags of pellets on stand-by.

You might not know that how you store your wood pellets can impact how well your pellet grill performs.

If you don’t store your pellets properly, they can become moldy or wet and potentially jam up your pellet grill and cause expensive problems.

In this article, we will look at the best way to store wood pellets so that they stay fresh and ready to use when you need them.

What can happen if you don’t store your wood pellets properly?

Wood pellets are made of sawdust and a binding agent. If they are not stored in a dry place, the sawdust can start to rot, and the binding agent can become wet. This will cause the pellets to not burn correctly, which could lead to poor performance or even damage to your grill if the auger jams up.

wood pellets in a palm of a hand

Wet or rotten wood pellets will also ruin your food by imparting a distinctly unpleasant taste, so it‘s important to take care of and store them properly.

So, how should you store your pellets?

Ideally, you should store your pellets in a dry place where the temperature is relatively consistent. A shed or garage would be ideal for this purpose. You should also keep them away from moisture sources, such as water or snow.

wood pellets falling into a plastic bucket

If you are storing them in a container, make sure that the container has a good seal so that no moisture can get in. You may also want to put desiccant packs inside the container to help absorb any excess moisture.

Finally, always check the condition of your pellets before using them in your grill. If they look wet or rotten, do not use them and discard them safely. 

What containers should you use to store wood pellets?

The best containers for wood pellets are moisture-proof, airtight containers. This will keep them from absorbing any excess moisture and help to preserve their flavor. You can use plastic or metal containers, as long as they are properly sealed.

If you’re confused about what containers are suitable, the BOOM method should make it clearer. BOOM stands for:

  • Buckets or Bins – Airtight plastic containers such as buckets or bins are an excellent way to neatly store your pellets and keep them in a useable condition for as long as possible. Remove them from the bag, unless the manufacturer suggests otherwise, dump them in and seal up the bin. If you use multiple types of pellets, remember to label your containers.
  • Off the Ground Pellets stored at ground level run a greater risk of being exposed to moisture. Elevating them off the ground will help keep them as dry as possible, especially if you’re storing them in their original bag.
  • Open when Needed – Always try to keep your pellets are tightly sealed up as possible. The more time the bag is open, the more moisture will get into your pellets. Even while you’re cooking with them, make sure to open the bag, take what you need, and then seal it back up again.
  • Moisture Avoidance – Moisture is your number one enemy when it comes to storing wood pellets. If you want your stored pellets to last as long as possible, you’ll need to keep them as safe as possible from rain, ground moisture, and humidity. Using the steps above should help with that, but you can also take other steps such as placing dehumidifiers or moisture absorber packets, in the areas where you plan to store your pellets.

Some companies like Traeger and Oklahoma Joe sell branded storage buckets to keep your pellets safe.

I prefer the Oklahoma Joe design as it comes with a wire-mesh filter so you can pour pellets directly into your hopper without dumping in dush which can effect your burn.

Do wood pellets go bad?

Yes, as already mentioned – wood pellets do go bad, but they will usually give you a warning before becoming unusable. If the pellets start to smell bad, become damp to the touch, or look rotten, do not use them and discard them immediately.

Always check the condition of your pellets before using them in your grill. Wet pellets or mushy are an ideal growing medium for certain molds and fungi which can either release harmful spores, produce an unpleasant smoke when burned, or even impregnate your food with certain toxins. 

How long do wood pellets last?

Wood pellets can last for up to a year if stored properly. Pellets that are more than six months old may start to lose their ability to add that smokey flavor to your food as they essentially go stale, especially if stored improperly. 

The shelf life of wood pellets varies depending on how they are stored and what wood they were made from. Most wood pellet manufacturers will put a theoretical shelf life of their pellets on the back of the bag, and that shield life will vary between manufacturers.

sealed plastic bags with wood pellets on the ground

However, what can be said with the level of certainly is that storing your pellets in a sealed, low moisture environment is the best way to keep them in top condition for as long as possible.

Can you leave pellets in the hopper?

Ideally, you shouldn’t leave your pellets in the hopper for more than a week in hot dry weather, as they will start to lose potency over time.

I live in a very cool dry climate and I’ve left wood pellets in the hopper for a few months between uses without any issues.

If the weather is humid, you shouldn’t leave them in there at all.

pellet hopper filled with wood pellets

If moisture gets into your pellets when they are still in the hopper they can form a solid mass at the bottom of the hopper and potentially clog up the auger that feeds the pellets to the burn pot.

This will prevent your grill from igniting and could cause damage to your grill’s mechanics.

Getting the best from your wood pellets

Storing your pellets in a cool, dry place is the best way to keep them fresh and ready for use. By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your pellet grill will provide years of delicious cooking!

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  1. Lance Hall says:

    Any thoughts about pellets being contaminated over time from chemicals used to make plastic? I can see the potential for the plastics to release VOCs during hot periods, being absorbed by pellets, then being released onto/into your food during the heat process. Of course the best remedy is to grill a lot and not keep pellets to long!

    1. That’s a little outside my area of expertise so I can’t really comment I’m afraid. One idea is you could leave the pellets in a bag, and place that inside the plastic tub that way you get the weatherproofing benefits but the pellets never actually come into contact with the plastic.

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