Friday, November 22, 2013

Lignetics updated

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Pre-order your pellets and save

My advice is to pre-order as soon as you are able, and let me tell you why.

The price of pellets from the mills are almost always cyclical. Late spring/early summer they drop, and continue to rise until the next late spring/early summer. It is all about supply and demand, and if you are able to buy when demand is low you can save serious money. The challenge is that on a warm 85 degree June day the last thing on your mind is dumping hundreds of dollars on pellets for use 4-5 months later. Keep in mind that these pre-buy deals are not so much the dealer giving a big discount, but the mills lowering the prices so they can keep demand strong through the summer.

The thing of it is that it is almost always a winning hedge. The question of prices increasing on pellets after spring is not a question of will they or not, but rather by how much. Say a certain pellet is at $215 in the spring pre-buy season, the only question is will it be at $235 or $295 by December. Either way if you purchased them at $215 you have done well.

Some dealers will even store the pre-buy pellets for you, and allow you to pick them up later. Each dealer will have a little different policy, but I would look for a dealer who will allow you to pre-buy.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Back in Bussiness

After a bit of a hiatus I am planning on planning on many more reviews this year. I am looking at some new (to me ) pellets and updating some previous reviews. Remember is you have a review you can send it to me at gscreely@gmail along with a picture of the bag and I will most likely post it.

Here is one update-
Barefoot-
The original review is still accurate for this year. I have burned several bags this year already.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Great American Pellets


Great American Pellets 
by Robert dewsnap:




Price on these was VERY reasonable and so I picked up three tons on the tax-free
weekend in Massachusetts in August 2012. Ad for them said that they are premium grade
pellets from hardwood.

The “Premium” pellets were delivered at the back of the driveway (as ordered) and had
only a few bags with pellet leaks in them. A few of the bags had the top seal not sealed
and a bit of pellets ran out before I patched them with my trusty tape gun. The bags
for these pellets were the thickest bags that I have ever seen pellets in. The bags must
be 6 mil thick plastic – very few puncture holes but, as mentioned, a few “blow outs”
where the thermal seal didn’t take. Pellet loss was confined to the level that the pellet
bag was on so there was no substantial loss. They sat through a few rainstorms before I
brought them in and the outer wrapping was very good against the rain as are most pellets
delivered these days.

These pellets are being burned in a Quadra-Fire “top drop” stove which is run generally
at low – medium speed. Opening the bag of these pellets provides no odor. The pellets
are dark, like a chocolate brown. Also, there must have been a sale on lignite as these
pellets are really shiny and brittle and the bags contain quite a few long pellets. If your
stove has problems with long pellets you may want to try a bag or two before committing
to a multi-ton order. However, there were almost no fines (sawdust) in virtually all
the bags I have burned this far. The excess lignite must bind these pellets tighter than
a drum so no crumbling of pellets producing the sawdust. Dark pellet coloration is
usually a warning sign for me that the pellets are going to burn “dirty” and I was NOT
disappointed (although I wish I was).

The bag states:

Grade: Premium, Material: Wood, Ash: Less than 1%, Fines: Less than 0.5% and
Sodium: Less than 300 ppm.

Most other premium pellets are around 0.60% ash (or less). 0.60% does indeed qualify as
being under 1% but so is 0.99%. As you may have anticipated what I was going to say –
these pellets are kind of “dirty”. The glass on my stove which usually stays clear for 2 or
three days of burning – it is now clouded up with ash after only one day. In the past with
other premium pellets - I could usually go a week before cleaning the stove – with these –
3 or 4 days is the limit before the vacuum makes an appearance. On the other hand, they
were sub $230 per ton and there are no clinkers. I will have to put up with more frequent
cleanings for this heating season.

On the positive side – these pellets seem to burn reasonably hot. I am satisfied with
the heat given off by the pellets. Nothing printed on the bag but read that they are
rated at 8000 BTU’s. The other positive thing is that, as mentioned, there are virtually
no clinkers. The firepot bottom is free of these annoying solidified pieces which can
interfere with the performance of the stove and also indicate that the wood probably had

nails in them when processed. These pellets are free of this.

As you can tell by the many varied responses by other users of these and other so
called “premium” pellets – pellet quality can vary greatly from batch to batch – even
from bag to bag, unfortunately. I had read a few favorable reviews on these pellets saying
they were clean burning. I took a chance and bought a cheap priced pellet (from a new
company). Although stated that they are premium quality – the batch I got burn dirty. If
I had opened the bag and found golden colored pellets – I would have hit the jackpot –
cheap price and a clean pellet. Not this time.

Would I buy them again? I would have to say that I would be lukewarm. If I knew that
a better pellet was being sold at $10 or $20 more per ton – I would now probably pay
more money to get a better rated pellet and spend less on vacuum cleaner electricity. How
would I rate these pellets? I am rating these 2 and a half to 3 out of 5 stars mostly for
price and no clinkers.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Summer time pellets



In the hot summer we do not think too much of the benefits of a warm pellet stove fire, but I do think of pellets in a big way. Why? Because I have a trager grill. I have had it for about 3 years now, and love it.

It is basically a few grills in one (smoker, grill, convection oven). You can do anything from pork shoulders to chocolate chip cookies. If you buy a trager you will end up using it all the time. I especially like to do bacon on it, because it comes out crispy and doesn't smell up the house. I have cooked Thanksgiving turkey on mine for the past 3 years!

As you know this site is geared toward reviewing pellets. With these grills there are specialty flavored pellet they sell, and they work great and add flavor. The problem is they are considerably more costly than home heating pellets. About $19 a 20lbs bag versus $6 for a 40lbs bag. Add to that folk who are into this pellet heating solution tend to be a frugal bunch.

So inevitably the question arises is it ok to use home heating pellets in a grill for food. Short answer: maybe.

It all depends on the pellet manufacturer. I live in Pennsylvania and most of our pellet are hard wood to start with, but soft wood pellets would be out of the question. The other issue is what kind of wood was used for the pellet, and is there any binders or other materials in the pellets.

In my grill I have used Hammer and Turman, and they work great. I called the actual factory and asked what went into the pellet before I used them. Before you consider using a pellet to cook with I would recommend a call to the factory- even the ones I mentioned as factories change formulas often.

Even though the Trager pellets are more money, the grill does not burn up a lot of pellets (give or take a pound and hour), and the different woods really do provide different flavor.

Any way you go these grill are amazing.


Gary

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Inferno Pellets

Like many others this brutal heating season – I ran out of pellets recently (March, 2011)
and was forced to buy what would be the “leftovers” at many outlets. Unfortunately, I
happened to be at Lowes and saw a couple of pallets of pellets for individual bag sale.
I bought six bags to try them out – planning on going back the next week to get more
if they worked out. These pellets were burned in a Quadra-Fire stove which had been
9b2c4b44fb86522964124ed80d03c5e8_XL.jpgrecently cleaned (including the firepot).

Without reservation – these are the absolute worst pellets that I have ever used. I bought
five bags too many. They produced a large volume of clinkers (5 days of burning
produced a two inch thick layer of clinkers in the firepot) and produced a large volume of
black soot on the inside of the stove from day one (when the firepot was still clean). I was
literally stunned on how poorly they burned (of course, the bags proudly displayed the
rating of Premium Pellets). Possibly I got a bad batch but I would be extremely hesitant
to buy them again.

I cleaned the stove and found a place selling LG pellets and bought some bags of those.
The LG’s have burned (and are still burning) fine so I don’t believe that it was the stove
that caused the Inferno to be so terrible. On a one to 5 scale – I would give them a rating
of 1 – meaning that if there were nothing else available – I would be hard pressed to
purchase these again.

Thanks to Bob for this review

LG Granules


granulesLG_lg.jpgLike many others this brutal heating season – I ran out of pellets recently (March, 2011)

and was forced to buy what would be the “leftovers” at many outlets. After having a
bad experience with the few bags of Inferno pellets that I bought at Lowes – I looked
around and found a brand that I had used a few years ago (on a limited basis). A brand I
was at least familiar with – the LG Granules brand from Canada (softwood). They come
in heavy clear plastic bags so that you can actually see what you are getting so if they
were many black or dark pellets - you would be able to directly see them through the
transparent bag.

I knew from the past that they were not the best but, also, not the worse pellets that I had
used and they didn’t disappoint on this outing in my Quadra-Fire stove. As virtually ALL
the pellets sold these days - they are touted on the bags as being “Premium Quality”.
They burn relatively hot and relatively cleanly. They do produce clinkers but not a
tremendous amount. Ash is about – “middle of the road” and there are few fines or
loose sawdust per bag. They have a pleasant light “woodsy” odor which, I find, is very
pleasant.

All in all, if you bought a few pallets of these you probably would not be disappointed in
their performance. They are a solid – middle of the road pellet. LG’s are not outstanding
but not poor either and are of this consistent quality - judging by buying them again a few
years later and finding the same quality. On a scale of 1 to 5 (one being the worst and five
being the best) – I would give them a two and a half or three. I would buy them again.

Unfortunately, I happened to be at Lowes and saw a couple of pallets of pellets for
individual bag sale. I bought six bags to try them out – planning on going back the next
week to get more if they worked out. These pellets were burned in a Quadra-Fire stove
which had been recently cleaned (including the firepot).

Without reservation – these are the absolute worst pellets that I have ever used. I bought
five bags too many. They produced a large volume of clinkers (5 days of burning
produced a two inch thick layer of clinkers in the firepot) and produced a large volume of
black soot on the inside of the stove from day one (when the firepot was still clean). I was
literally stunned on how poorly they burned (of course, the bags proudly displayed the
rating of Premium Pellets). Possibly I got a bad batch but I would be extremely hesitant
to buy them again.

I cleaned the stove and found a place selling LG pellets and bought some bags of those.
The LG’s have burned (and are still burning) fine so I don’t believe that it was the stove
that caused the Inferno to be so terrible. On a one to 5 scale – I would give them a rating
of 1 – meaning that if there were nothing else available – I would be hard pressed to
purchase these again.

Thanks to Bob for this review

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cleanfire



This season, I ordered CleanFire Certified Premium pellets (softwood blend) (www.cleanfirepellets.com) and the following is my experience with them over the heating season.

The pellets are close to 4 tons on three pallets as there are 60 bags per pallet. I like to review how the bags on the pallets arrive as I have had them arrive with many broken bags and this is a real pain. Fortunately, these pellets arrived with only about 10 – 12 bags with holes large enough to spill pellets. I usually have a tape gun and scissors handy with me when I move the pellets into the basement, so that I am able to patch the holes so I don’t wind up spilling loose pellets all over the driveway.

These pellets burn VERY hot in my Quadra-Fire stove. They also leave few clinkers in the fire pot, however, they are VERY dusty with much sawdust. The pellets are generally small with many tiny pieces. Coloration is generally yellow with a few dark or darker pellets. Unfortunately, when you load up the hopper there is a cloud of dust when you pour them in as the bottom of the bag always has a handful or more of sawdust. The amount of ash – I would say is average to above average as the area around the fire pot fills rather quickly with ash.

I will, unless assured otherwise that I got a bad batch, NOT be purchasing these pellets again. The high heat is attractive but this is more than offset by the high dust and sawdust content. I would give these pellets a 2 and a half out of five stars.

Review by Bob