Pellet Consumption

Discussion in 'Pellet Smokers Group' started by seenred, May 13, 2013.

  1. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    I'm still trying to get a sense of what to expect from my new pellet pit in regards to pellet consumption.  As I'm sure all you veteran pellet burners can likely attest, it seems that effeciency of pellet use is a big factor in these cookers.  Especially when you can expect to pay a dollar or more per pound of cooking pellets.

    Anyway, its too early for me to know for sure, but I'm beginning to get a feel for pellet consumption in my Rec Tec.  I started with the 40 lb. bag that came with the unit.  I still have over 5 lbs. of that bag left, so l'll have a better number when it's completely gone, but I estimate I'm averaging around 1.5 lbs. of pellets consumption per hour in about 22 hours of use.  That includes both some low and slow cooks, as well as some high temp grilling.  Also includes different ambient conditions from cool and windy to warm and still.

    I understand there are variables affecting pellet usage (pellet quality, ambient temperatures, cooking temps, etc.), but overall, what is your pit's average pellet consumption, and have any of you found tricks/tips to improve that efficiency?


  2. iebbqman

    iebbqman Fire Starter

    My pellet cooker is consuming about 1lb per hour around 250 degrees, and closer to 1.75lbs per hour at 305 degrees.  IF I go max temp of about 450 degrees i would say closer to 2.5lbs per hour, but I rarely use it that high. Mind you I have fire bricks in the bottom to help with temp control, and I live in an area that is currently sitting at around 80 degrees during the day.  I find night time is when I consume the most wood when cooking.

    I find the fire bricks are great for long cooks, but no so much for high temp cooking.  While most pellet grills are designed to cook at high temp, they seems to be most at home during long cooks at lower temperature.  
  3. I also have been measuring pellet consumption. Each pit will perform differently. At 225 degrees on an extended cook, the Yoder YS480 averaged 1.2 lbs. of pellets per hour. When I cranked it up to 450 degrees, the unit was 2.75 pellets per hour. We completed a whole chicken weighing about 5.5 250 degrees for five hours and this averaged 1.3 lbs.of pellets per hour. Since delivery of this machine, I probably used almost 2 bags of pellets including the seasoning, bacon burning, and all of the cooks. I would like to note that all of my cook times include the start up of the grill and arriving at the cooking temperature. 

    In any event, I am having fun and we are getting very good food better than ever before. It is my opinion, that as the Yoder or any new grill continues to be used it will burn itself in and there may be slight improvements. I think that my next project is to see if I can purchase pellets, even if they are red oak or white oak hardwoods for the lowest price possible and my goal is to see if this can be done between $0.07 to $0.12 per pound. I may even become a pellet distributor in San Antonio just so I can achieve the special pricing and sell these pellets to people who want to pick them up. Maybe I should even start a grill line and pick up the Yoder and Rec Tec dealerships for this area and the State of Texas. I could keep some in stock and have some drop shipped directly from the factory. 

    Have a great day!

    Last edited: May 18, 2013
  4. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Thanks for your input, gentlemen.  Ed, thanks again for sharing your spreadsheet!  I am interested to learn If you can find pellets that cheap.  If so, please let us know.

  5. Hi guys, New to the pellet smoker forum, thanks for the invite Red! I just got my Yoder 640 this weekend and had a great smoke.  2 butts, 6 racks of baby backs and 2 dozen chicken legs.  First let me say I skimmed the instructions after the start up page but I did find my pellet used a lot more fuel than I thought it would.  In a 19 hour smoke @ 225 I burned through 45lbs of pellets, Average of 2.37# per hour.  I opened the smoker ever hour for spritzing so I am sure that accounts for some of the burn, but spritzing is just something I do. I'm sure that the damper setting probably was not optimal but it is a learning process, but so far I'm happy as a smoked clam![​IMG]
  6. seenred

    seenred Smoking Guru Group Lead OTBS Member

    Hi BDL.

    2.37 lbs./hr. sure seems like a lot! I'm sure you will get it dialed in to a better consumption rate. I've heard those Yoders do have a higher pellet consumption rate than some other units...I'll be curious to hear what you learn about your pit.

  7. This is a novel idea. I never thought of checking consumption. I have had my Rec Tec for about four months. I have used about 180 lbs. of pellets, but the cook temps I have used are so varied that I couldn't even guess about consumption. I know that ambient can make a NOTICABLE difference. My biggest concern is finding reasonably priced pellets. I guess my outlook is that I don't really care how many pellets I use, as long as there are some in the hopper when I'm ready to cook.
  8. You will Dennis, as soon as you do a 16 hour cook of a pork butt or a big brisket. I measure the performance of the pellet grill to make sure that it is performing as expected and that nothing is wrong with it; to learn and understand what this pellet grill will do at specific temperatures for different meats; and to know what I need to have pellets on hand. For example: I did a 16 hour cook at 225 degrees and used over 19 lbs. of pellets averaging 1.2 lbs. of pellets an hour. That is almost one whole 20 lb. bag of pellets. 

    I think that this is helpful infomation. If you want to just go out and spend, that's ok too. But, how do you know if your pellet grill is working correctly?

  9. acidsorm

    acidsorm Fire Starter

    Hi guys , new smoker here. I'm curious about a few things since getting on this site . What does the term " having the pellet grill dialed in " mean ?? and what does " seasoning the grill " entail ? and doing a bacon burning ? ... I have a MGM Jim bowie, been cooking with it everyday for the last two weeks . Since the day I got it . And I use the green mountain brand of pellets since I am lucky enough to get the big bags for free because of a good business relationship I have with a dealer .
  10. iebbqman

    iebbqman Fire Starter

    The dialed in is knowing that the displayed temperature is the same are real close to what shows on the display. Seasoning the grill is running just wood at high temp to coat the walls with wood smoke. This allows for better flavor during your first cook and so on. Not sure about bacon burning though.
  11. phrett

    phrett Smoke Blower

    Wind makes a huge difference in pellet consumption, often more so than ambient temp.  A thermal blanket/barrier will help in both wind and cold conditions and may be only as much as a welding blanket draped over the unit.  Some mfgs have a dedicated optional insulated blanket, as I have for my GMG DB.  It has saved countless pounds of pellets!  The height of the chimney cap in windy conditions will also make a difference.  If it's too high with a bit of wind the wind blowing across the vent stack will create a venturi effect and literally suck the heat from the unit.  Lowering the cap can slow pellet consumption in those conditions.
  12. grillin out

    grillin out Newbie

    Forgive me if I am bumping an old thread, but I just got a GMG Jim Bowie and I have run through nearly a 20 lb bag in no time flat.

    Broke it in.

    Overflowed it. (yeah that used a bunch I am sure)

    Cooked lamb chops.

    Cooked burgers.

    Today is my first rack of ribs and I have filled the hopper twice when the alarm went off. Not sure of my real consumption.

    Cooking at 225, put them on at 12:45. It's 4:45 now.
  13. stolps

    stolps Fire Starter

    I recently did a 16 hour smoke on mine at 225 degrees and want through roughly 15 pounds. I'm new to pellet smokers so I assume the brand of pellet and weather may make a difference. I was using pit boss pellets. I tried traeger pellets but they sucked. No flavor.
  14. stolps

    stolps Fire Starter

    how many pounds does your hopper hold?

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