How & Where Are Pit Boss Pellets Made?

Hi, I’m Chris. About Me

One of the most well-known brands when it comes to pellet grills/smokers is Pit Boss. They currently have some of the widest range of vertical pellet smokers and pellet/gas combo grills on the market, among many other models. However, Pit Boss also produces and distributes their own pellets, which are widely available. Therefore, you may have wondered how pit pellets are made and where they are made. So that’s what we’ll discuss in this article. Enjoy šŸ™‚

What you can see here is the pellet mill, the centerpiece of the Pit Boss pellet manufacturing process

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How Are Pit Boss Pellets Made?

My background before I started to spend my days writing about pellet grills/smokers was in pellet manufacturing. I used to design/sell small-scale pellet manufacturing equipment.

Anyway, how Pit Boss pellets are made is pretty much the same process as any other pellets (animal feed/heating pellets). However, there is a difference in material handling/processing.

The reason being, with heating pellets, for instance, they are typically made from a single wood species. With Pit Boss pellets for pellet grills/smokers, they are made from blended hardwoods/fruitwoods.

Take Pit Boss Apple pellets, for instance. Typically around 40% of the wood used to produce those pellets will be Applewood, and the other 60% will typically be Oak. Hence, blended pellets.

This video shows the process of how Pit Boss pellets are made from the forest to the bag

Essentially, various different wood fiber is collected from around the country in log form, and then it is first chipped. Those chips then need to be dried so they are passed through a rotary drier multiple times.

To produce a good finished pellet with a moisture content of below 5%, the wood fiber that goes into the pellet mill is typically around 12%, with around 7% moisture lost in the process of forming the pellets.

However, before that dried wood fiber can be used in the pellet mill, it needs to be reduced down in size further with the help of a hammer mill, which is fitted with a screen to control particle size.

To produce a 6mm pellet (the standard diameter for BBQ pellets), you want a wood fiber particle size below 6mm. Therefore, typically a 5mm screen size is used in the hammer mill.

The dried/milled wood fiber is now ready for the pellet mill, where it is compressed via rollers through a die. This compression creates immense amounts of heat, which is also necessary to melt the natural lignin in the wood, which is what holds the pellets together.

Once the pellets have been formed and they leave the pellet mill, they then need to be cooled before they are packaged. Pit Boss package their pellets in various bag sizes up to a maximum of 40 lb bags.

Is Wood Bark In Pellets A Good Thing Or Not?

In the Pit Boss video above, its stated that they ‘partially’ debark the wood. The reason being the process of debarking helps to clean up the wood fiber by removing dirt etc from the wood.

Its also stated that bark within the pellets can increase fly ash. Hence, it would require more frequent ash clean-up in the pellet grill/smoker, which is true to a degree.

However, within the video Pit Boss also acknowledges that the bark can add flavor to the pellets, and its why brands like Knotty Wood leave the bark on their wood when they make their pellets.

It really is a tricky trade-off, as beyond just more ash, bark within the pellets can create another issue called clinker. This is where the ash literally melts and forms a hard deposit in the burn pot once cooled.

So when you hear different BBQ pellet brands state they do/don’t remove the bark, just know each option has its pros/cons between a cleaner burn with easier clean up and a more intense smoke flavor.

Are Additional Binders/Oils Used To Make Pit Boss Pellets?

So as I’ve stated above, and as referenced in the Pit Boss video above, no artificial binders are used to produce Pit Boss pellets. In any case, additional binders are simply not needed.

Once the natural lignin within the wood gets to a high enough temperature within the pellet mill due to the compression the wood is under, a high-density wood pellet is possible.

However, there is a second video that Pit Boss has produced referencing their pellet production process, which I’ve included below. And one of the Pit Boss owners (Jeff Thiessen) makes some very specific comments.

Pit Boss released this follow-up video on how their pellets are made

Within the video above, Jeff makes some very specific comments about how Pit Boss pellets are made twice in the short video above:

No artificial oils or sprays are used to enhance the flavor or the aroma of our products” – 0.15

Its always fiber, its not an artificial oil, and that’s why we want to make sure that consumers are getting that real rich wood flavor and not the flavor of an oil” – 0.30

Now, anyone who has read my Traeger pellets review article will know what these ‘wood oil’ comments refer to. Its about a patent that Traeger owns on how to produce BBQ pellets. We just don’t know if Traeger is actually carrying out that process.

This shot across the bow by Pit Boss (Danson LLC) is nothing new. These two companies are the top two brands in the marketplace, and it even leads to legal scaps from time to time.

Where Are Pit Boss Pellets Made?

While Pit Boss pellet grills/smokers are not made in the US products to keep them as affordable as possible, all Pit Boss pellets are US made at various locations (four locations currently).

In fact, within the last couple of years, Pit Boss/Dansons LLC has positioned itself to be one of the largest US producers of BBQ pellets with a new plant in Hope, Arkansas.

That manufacturing facility started with three pellet mills with a production capacity of 100,000 tons annually. The original press release also stated the plant was designed for up to nine pellet mills with an annual capacity of 300,000 tons.

Jeff Thiessen of Dansons LLC (owner of Pit Boss) discussing their latest pellet plant

In the video above, Jeff Thiessen states their intention with the Hope, Arkansas pellet plant is to have the largest BBQ pellet plant in North America.

Where the original press release stated the plant was designed for up to nine pellet mills, Jeff states in the video above that the plant is now designed to accommodate up to twelve pellet mills.

As stated in the video, the location of the plant, being relatively close to Texas, one of Pit Boss’s largest customer bases, helps to reduce the transport/logistic costs of the finished pellets.

Furthermore, as Jeff states in the video, Pit Boss are the largest supplier of pellets to Walmart, with which Pit Boss has several exclusive product ranges (Platinum Series/Onyx Edition).

The other new Pit Boss pellet locations discussed in the video are in Thomson, Georgia, and Oregon. On top of that, Pit Boss is looking to expand with another three to four plants.

Final Thoughts On How & Where Pit Boss Pellets Are Made

Pit Boss manufactures all of its pellets in the United States at several different facilities, with more plants coming online within the next few years.

The Pit Boss pellet manufacturing process is currently based on producing blended pellets. For instance, Apple flavored pellets are made from around 40% Applewood and 60% Oak.

While that may not produce a flavor as prominent as 100% Applewood pellets, its also worth noting that Applewood has a BTU heat output quite a bit below Oak. Hence, the addition of Oak does help to improve the heat output of Pit Boss pellets.

As Pit Boss is very keen to make out, their process does not use any flavored wood oils, which some other brands may or may not be using as part of their pellet production process.

That’s it! I hope you found this article interesting/useful. Please check out my article on the best value pellets, where you will see Pit Boss pellets are often near the top of the value charts.

Alternatively, please check out my Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide or my Cooking Guide to learn more. šŸ™‚

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