Cost of pellets per pound?

Discussion in 'Pellet Smokers' started by veryolddog, Apr 25, 2013.

  1. I have been reviewing a variety of threads with respect to the different types of pellet smokers on the market, many of which are discussed by the kind gentlemen on this forum who have personal experience with these products. I just introduced the concept to my wife and began to "grease" the skids, if you will, towards the eventual purchase of one of these smokers. However, a good deal of inside sales will have to take place before this will happen However, I have a couple of questions that you may find to be elementary, but have the information at your finger tips for a quick answer.

    1. When you are smoking ribs, pork butt or brisket which tends to be a long smoke, how many pellets do you use by pound for that smoke? One manufacturer that I have looked at said that in using their product, that two pounds of pellets per smoke would be normal.

    2. If you are regularly smoking and this is your prime source of fuel, do you purchase your pellets in bulk? And, if you do, what is the cost per pound of the pellets?

    3. Bottom line, what does it cost you to do a smoke?

    Thanks very much and have a great day!
  2. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

  3. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Good Question

    I usually use 1-2 lbs. per hour, but this can vary due outside temps.  I add a welding blanket when the weather is cold, to help hold in the heat.

    The quality and type of pellets can vary, and this will also change your pellet consumption.  It can also cause a variation of temps inside your pellet grill.  Some manufacturers produce a smaller 1/2"-3/4" pellets.  Others will have pellets that range from 3/8"-1 1/2" in the same bag.  Consistent size pellets help with consistent heat in your smoker.

    Some pellet manufacturers use scrap wood to produce pellets, and others use the whole tree.  Pellets produced with the whole tree tend to produce a little more smoke, and with it, a little more ash.

    Shipping pellets can be expensive, whether it's a 20# bag or a 1 ton pallet.  I suggest you find a local dealer who stocks a good variety of pellets, or if you want larger quantities, buy a ton.  Some guys will split a ton of pellets with a few other guys.  Pellets have a long shelf life, if they're kept in a cool dry place.

    Before you go out and commit to a ton of pellets, try some bags from a few manufacturers.  You may find some pellets perform better in your pellet grill, than others.

  4. Thanks, Todd, for your reply. Let me see if I understand you correctly. If you burn on the high side 2 lbs. of pellets per hour and you are doing an 11 hour burn to do for example a brisket, at the cost of $0.85 per pound for a bulk 20 lb. bag of pellets, you will use 22 lbs. of pellets for a cost of $18.70. This is approximately the refill cost of an exchange bottle of propane. If you are like me, because I am retired, I use the smoker two or three times per week. Smoke times vary from 4 to 8 hours depending upon what is on the menu. Let's say that I average 20 hours per week at 2lbs per hour. That will be $17.00 per week or $68.00 per month. Some may wonder that the cost per kilowatt per hour is a lot less expensive. And, obviously, harvesting your own wood is a lot cheaper. Lump Charcoal per bag is, $3.95 per bag around here. 

    I do admit that I have a small gas grill, Char-Griller, that I use for steaks and quick prepared meats but it is only used for 30 minute stretches. And, I do use the side burner a lot, especially when I am frying foods instead of splattering the stove inside. 

    There is no question that cooking wood is probably the most superior way to go. However, I am retired. I am on a fixed income unlike the vast majority of folks here, and no one is rolling up to my door with a wheel barrel filled with money. This would be an easier decision if I were making $150,000 per year. 

    I do believe that, for me, this decision will require more thought. And, at this time in life, I usually do not deprive myself of anything because the sun is setting. And, this is a great hobby.

    Thanks for your input.

    With kind regards,

  5. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I never though of it that way......

    Kinda like figuring out the cost per mile to drive my pickup truck.  A bike is cheaper, but not my thing!

    Pellets in bulk should cost about $.50/lb.

    I would venture to say my pellet smoker uses closer to 1# per hour to maintain 225°

    Possibly 2# per hour in the winter

    Vary rarely do I cook for 11 hours.

    Recently, I've been cooking my briskets "Hot & Fast", and cutting the time down to about 4 hours.  I'm not 100% sold on this method yet.

    Pork butts smoke for about 6-8 hours, and then I foil and finish in the oven

  6. wish I could find lump that cheap...My yoder will use a 20 lb   bag on  a 10 hr cook set at 250.. I bought a 3 20 lb bags yesterday of bbq delight for 13.95 a bag. so about 2lbs per hours...I will use that much money in charcoal in my offset for the same price is about the same, give or take a bit.
  7. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I think it was Martin who put a u-tube link on how to make lump with barrels. I put in a order at work for 2 30 gal barrels.
  8. I made some lump but need to get the process down...It turned out great...and has more flavor than what I buy.
  9. iebbqman

    iebbqman Fire Starter

    I find that on my traegar, at 225 degrees I am burning about a pound per hour.  I do live in Southern California, but I have done some simple modifications to my traegar to help with heat control.  this best thing I did was buy some fire bricks from Home Depot and place them in the bottom of my smoker.  They heat up and help with recovery of temperature for when the wife want to see what she is eating all the time.  Also using a water heater blanket or welding blanket to place on top of the smoker when you are in cold weather helps to hold heat.  All of these will lead to less wood, and actually more smoke being produced.  I buy 40lb bags of pellets and I go through over a bag a week. but hey I think I turned off my smoker a couple of weeks ago to clean it out.  
  10. illini smoker

    illini smoker Newbie

    What I do is smoke the meat for 3 1/2 to 4 hours and when it ready to be wrapped  I wrap it  then  take and put it in the oven after you wrap it don't really matter what kind of heat you use so far it has worked out pretty good and saves a lot of pellets
  11. shtrdave

    shtrdave Smoking Fanatic

    I have one of the Rec Tec cookers and I honestly don't know how many pounds it burns, I use the same pellets that I use in my pellet stove. I have spoke to the company about how they are made and where they source the wood, lube the dies and if there are fillers. Their bags says ultra premium or something like that. I just got 4 ton for next winter as that is what I used this one, and they were $956.00 delivered, we offloaded with a forklift and set them in the garage. I get good flavor and smoke from this brand comparable to the pellets that came with the cooker.

    I cook on mine every weekend at least one day and sometimes through the week I have not gone a whole bag in the last month, they are 40 pound bags, I usually don't cook much over 275° usually do ribs and brisket at that temp. I will go a bit higher for a short period of time if doing turkey or chicken.

    Look around for a dealer in the area and they can no doubt recommend a customer to talk to that has purchased one of them. also look around for anyone selling heating pellets stoves and the brand of pellets they sell, get some info ad talk to the manufacturers.

    If you are looking for a good cooker that should be easier on pellets look at the Cookshack PG1000, the Mak 2 Star, or some of the Memphis models as they are insulated I believe, the only down side is that they are more costly to purchase.
  12. smoking602

    smoking602 Newbie

    I just picked up a Traeger Texas yesterday that I am super stoked to try out tomorrow morning, also trying to find a deal on some pellets, best price i have right now is 800 bucks shipped for a ton lol
  13. Would you mind sharing who are getting these from. 


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