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Weber Smokefire Pellets

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    Weber Smokefire Pellets

    I decided to pick some up at my Lowes since this now is the 4th brand I can actually go pick up locally. I've tried a lot of pellets and while I have been able to measure/quantify the benefits of the more expensive pellet brands, I usually can't justify the price vs what I can by locally even if they are less consistant or produce more ash.

    My current go to is the comp blend that Sams club sells, it burns pretty good, smokes well from 160 to around 375 and gets to max temp on my MAK in about 20-30 minute (500+ degrees) as long as it's above 40 outside.

    My not so in depth test was with the Weber Hickory, I haven't got around to testing their comp blend yet, but the reviews have been pretty good for that. We also didn't have the fruit wood available at my store, I think it's Cherry but I forget.

    So here's some bags, and some dogs curious about said bags. The Sams stuff is currently 14 bucks for 40lbs. Weber was 16.95 for 20lbs, but I do get a 10% discount there so that more or less washes out the tax.

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    The first 2 obvious things are that the bag didn't smell strong like other pellets I've used before. Usually when you pour a fresh bag into the hopper you get the aroma of wood. This may be due to it being Hickory and Oak and nothing else, I'll comment when I get around to the Grillmaster Blend in a few weeks. The next thing is the size, these are roughly half the diameter of any pellet I've ever tried. These things are about rabbit pellet size and most are broke down to 1 inch length or less where some other brands can have excessivley long pellets. For some grills this doesn't matter, but for others the Weber will be nicer to your auger I suspect.

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    Sams Smokehouse pellets on the left, Webers hickory on the right. I did take some pics on a different surface for better contrast but the focus wasn't even for both brands.

    Performance: On the first startup we had an issue, the pellets stopped feeding. On closer inspection I think it's because the pellets are smaller they were able to to teepee and create a temporary keystone preventing the other pellets from dropping. I think this was because I dumped the whole bag in then pressed down to close the hopper lid. I was able to reproduce the effect in my hand making a fist, the Weber pellets compact together very close compared to the larger pellets. However, my hopper issue may have been a fluke, there were a few random long pieces and they happened to be at the bottom. This also never happened again.

    I don't know if it's the hickory or Webers mix, but these pellets don't smoke all that great at the 165-180 zone that MAK runs in smoke mode, however they really crank out the smoke at 225-240. The time to temp for everything under 375 was in line with all but BBQD and CookinPellets that I've used in the past which ramped up to temp a bit faster than most. I didn't grill until today and the Weber pellets couldn't get above 570 after 40 minutes, the Smokehouse got me to 590 but wouldn't go to 600. It was in the low 50's with heavy wind today though. The pellets deal very well with changing temps up AND down. Some pellets like to flame out when you drop the temp back to smoke, the Weber pellets did very well.

    Taste: I smoked veggies for salsa at 260, then cold smoked queso fresco and olives. Today I cooked some chicken thighs at 325 and then dropped back down to smoke to melt cheese on nachos. These pellets don't smoke very heavy at higher temps, but do produce very faint smoke the entire time, not just during the cycling the MAK does to generate smoke. There was a pleasant smoke taste to every ingredient, not too strong, not too weak. Though I could taste smoke still after I finished my meal. So I'd say they perform very well.

    I'll try to remember to update when I try out the comp blend, that mix has very good reviews across the web and it's different woods than my Sams brand so may end up being something I throw into my mix if I like them.

    At the end of the day, these are a bit pricier compared to the Pittboss they sit next to the shelf on, but I do like the Weber offering a bit more than the experience I had with the PB stuff. *EDIT* That was until I saw the ash production. PB are better than the Weber Hickory in my book now.

    I hope they end up making a charcoal pellet at some point as I do like to blend those into my comp blend of choice. At the current price of the hickory and blend though, many will likely choose to keep buying their mail order pellet of choice, but I am happy to have another quality option I can pick up instore.
    Last edited by ItsAllGoneToTheDogs; March 2, 2020, 03:52 PM.

    #2
    Had to wait til this morning to check the ash buildup, and well... It's pretty excessive. I don't get ash to this level on a normal weekend even when I start with a long butt ot brisket cook on a Friday night. It's enough for me to say with the Hickory anyway, that I would use a different product for that flavor wood.

    This is from maybe 6 hours below 250 and 1.5 hours at higher temps.

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    Comment


    • Dan Deter
      Dan Deter commented
      Editing a comment
      Make me wonder if the ash problems people have reported on the SmokeFire is really due to the Weber pellets. Hmmm.

    • ItsAllGoneToTheDogs
      ItsAllGoneToTheDogs commented
      Editing a comment
      Dan Deter that's what I'm thinking too, it's not the cause obviously but it's not helping

    • Huskee
      Huskee commented
      Editing a comment
      How many folks who use the SmokeFire actually use Weber's pellets though?

    #3
    I'm running the comp blend right now for a short low smoke to cook up some brats. Don't know if I'll crank it up at the end of the cook or not, but I will say that opening the bag I was immediately hit with that pleasant freshly opened bag of pellets smell. Side by side you can't see the difference between the two flavors so no point in taking a picture.

    They ignited quickly, probably one of the fastest startups I've ever had on my MAK. They also seem to be smoking very good at the sub 180 temp unlike the hickory ones. Another thing I decided to do was break some pellets. The hickory ones kinda crumbled, these blend ones snapped. I'm begining to wonder if the hickory bag wasn't from a dud batch or maybe stored wrong?

    Comment


      #4
      Ok, did a 2hr low smoke and a max temp test with the blend. Very quick to get to temp below 400. Smoke production at 160-180 was VERY good.
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      After 2 hours I pulled the brats off and the temp screamed to 425 where it started to slow down. I was hungry so I cooked. I decided to let the grill go to max temp and gave the grill 30 minutes. Came back downstairs and it was at 565 but was fluctuating between 565 and 555, it just couldn't get to 600. Its not windy and it's 10 degrees warmer than when I tried with the Hickory.
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      And then the ash... I've never had a brand blow ash hard core past the flame zone, never accumulated any on my sear grates, and definitely never observed so much ash blowing OUT of the MAKs vents. I was hoping maybe the Hickory was bad, but this Weber stuff is by far the most ash producing pellet I've tried yet.
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      Having said that, I really liked the flavor and performance of the grillmaster blend. My brats had fantastic smoke flavor and the quickness of the MAK going from smoke to a usable grill temp was great.

      I'd buy them again and will be using them over my go to Sams stuff for jerky later in the week. Likely won't buy the Hickory ever again though unless its to test if there was a bad batch.
      Last edited by ItsAllGoneToTheDogs; March 1, 2020, 07:02 PM.

      Comment


        #5
        Weber pellets are Lumberjack brand according to my dealer that sells both. Says they are exactly the same product.

        Comment


        • ItsAllGoneToTheDogs
          ItsAllGoneToTheDogs commented
          Editing a comment
          I've used lumberjack and they were ashy but not like this, maybe factory seconds (seriously though I don't recall LJ being this small diameter)
          Last edited by ItsAllGoneToTheDogs; June 14, 2020, 05:52 PM.

        #6
        Nice tests, good work!

        Comment


        • BBQPhil
          BBQPhil commented
          Editing a comment
          I compared pellet samples from a bag of Weber with my hopper full of Lumberjack and they were indistinguishable from each other. Exact same size and appearance. I also don't have a huge amount of ash in the Yoder, so perhaps the amount of ash in th SF is related to the difference in design of the smokers. As I recall from the review the San Francisco ash was blowing all over the inside and outside of the grill, which might be the result of the fan, combustion, vents and air pattern.

        • ItsAllGoneToTheDogs
          ItsAllGoneToTheDogs commented
          Editing a comment
          BBQPhil on the weberpelletgrilsl forums a guy did caliper tests on various pellets and the SF ones are smaller. Doesn't mean they aren't made at the same place, just a different pellet die. There are also quite a lot of very long pellets in both SF bags, some over 3". Can't access the link from work or I'd send ya direct to it.

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