Things You'll Need
Pellets with the proper moisture content are shiny and hard when they come out of the mill. If the pellets are crumbly, the sawdust is too dry. Spray distilled water from a spray bottle and mix well with the sawdust before feeding it into the pellet mill hopper. The moisture content should be around 15 percent.
If the pellets are mushy, the sawdust is too wet. Allow it to dry before making more pellets.
The first pellets that were not of the right consistency because of moisture problems can be fed back into the pellet mill with the rest of the sawdust after it has been adjusted for moisture.
Wear safety clothing such as a dust mask and safety glasses to protect yourself from dust as you make pellets.
Use homemade pellets in a Traeger grill at your own risk. The accompanying owners manual for each Traeger model specifically states that you must use only Traeger brand pellets in their grills.
Traeger pellets are hardwood sawdust compressed into small, cylindrical sections about the size of rabbit feed. These pellets, as well those from other manufacturers, serve as fuel for Traeger and other brands of pellet barbecue grills. They are made out of sawdust from food-grade hardwoods. In addition, Traeger pellets can also be burned as fuel in pellet stoves and pellet basket inserts in fireplaces and wood stoves. You can buy bags of Traeger pellets at hardware stores, home improvement centers and barbecue stores, or you can make your own barbecue pellet fuel at home.
Select hardwood sawdust from wood that would make desirable barbecue fires such as oak, hickory, mesquite, apple or cherry wood. Make sure the sawdust contains no chemical preservatives or insecticides that could contaminate food. Ensure there are no pebbles or dirt in the sawdust.
Set up the pellet mill and turn it on. Wait for the metal dies inside to heat up. Place a plastic bucket below the chute.
Feed small shovelfuls of sawdust into the hopper of the pellet mill. As the metal dies compress the sawdust into pellets, will eject out of the chute and into the plastic bucket.
Let the pellets cool after they land in the bucket. They will be hot from contact with the metal dies. Turn off the pellet mill after it has processed all the sawdust into pellets. The pellets are now ready to burn in a Traeger grill or other pellet-burning appliance.
Store cooled pellets that you do not use right away in sealed bags. Store the bags in a dry location.
Karren Doll Tolliver
Karren Doll Tolliver holds a Bachelor of English from Mississippi University for Women and a CELTA teaching certificate from Akcent Language School in Prague. Also a photographer, she records adventures by camera, combining photos with journals in her blogs. Her latest book, "A Travel for Taste: Germany," was published in 2015.