Wet and moldy pellets are ruined pellets. Wondering how to store them?
We’re here to help!
In this TheGrillingDad.com guide, we will cover:
- How to properly store wood pellets
- 6 pellet storage ideas
- And much more!
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What You Need to Know About Storing Wood Pellets for Your Pellet Grill
A pellet grill is an amazing cooker that can let you smoke and grill all sorts of amazing foods. But you won’t be able to do any of this without any wood pellets. Therefore it is in your best interest to ensure you always have some pellets on hand and they are stored properly.
Generally, it is best to store wood pellets indoors in an air-tight container. But we also have some ideas to make your pellet storage more organized and a bit more fun.
Read on to learn all about wood pellet storage so you can always have pellets on hand for your pellet grill.
Related >> Best Wood Pellets for Smoking
Why You Need to Worry About How You Store Your Pellets
It might seem easy to grab a bag of pellets from the store and toss them next to your pellet grill outside. The problem with this is that pellets are very delicate and will degrade quickly if not stored properly.
Wood pellets are made of compressed sawdust. While they burn well, they are also highly susceptible to humidity and water. When wood pellets get wet, they turn into a mushy wet sawdust and become unusable almost immediately.
This is why you need to take the time to properly protect your pellets from the elements, otherwise, you might as well be throwing money away because once wood pellets get wet, you basically have to throw them in the trash.
Is it Better to Store Your Wood Pellets Indoors or Outdoors?
As you begin to think about where to store your wood pellets, most people think that since they are a part of your outdoor cooking environment they should be left outdoors. However, due to the fluctuating weather conditions in some areas, this may not be the best place to store them.
Even if you keep the wood pellets in an airtight container, it is still best to store them indoors where the temperature is controlled. This is because depending on where you live, the weather can change from hot and humid to cold and damp with the various seasons.
Because of this, if you store your wood pellets outdoors, you are risking exposure to these fluctuating temperatures. The result of this exposure can cause your wood pellets to go bad faster than they should.
Keep in mind that although a garage or shed is technically an indoor environment, it may not do the best job of protecting your wood pellets. These environments, while indoors, do not have an environment that is clear of various weather temperatures.
The bottom line is that wood pellets survive much longer if you keep them in a temperature-controlled environment. This is why it is best to store them indoors, if at all possible.
How To Store Your Wood Pellets
There technically isn’t a right or a wrong way to store your pellets for your pellet grill as long as you follow a few guidelines.
1. Pellets are Best Stored in Air-Tight Containers
Because wood pellets are ruined when they get wet, the first thing you need to do for your wood pellets is keep them in an airtight container.
Many pellet grill companies, like Traeger and Pit Boss, even sell specific containers designed to work well with their grills. But don’t feel like you have to buy a branded container, as big storage tubs from a home goods store can work just as well.
You will want to store your wood pellets in these containers with the lid on tightly. We recommend grabbing a few containers, especially if you plan to keep different types of wood on hand to customize your smoking sessions.
2. Store Your Pellet Containers Indoors
Wood pellets don’t do well with moisture at all, including humidity, which is why they should always be stored indoors. Now it is okay to take the tub of wood pellets out when you have a large smoking session coming up, but once you are done with your session, close the bin and put it back in your garage or shed.
If you live somewhere especially humid, the garage or shed may not even be enough, and in these cases, you will want to keep your bins of wood pellets in the basement or a closet, somewhere where it is more dry and safe for your wood pellets.
3. Store Pellet Containers Off the Ground
No matter where you decide to stick your bins of wood pellets, you will want to store them off the ground. This is because the ground tends to be damp, and it can lead to moisture getting into your wood pellets.
Additionally, if you are in an area where flooding is common, the last thing you want is to lose your pellets to water that got into your garage or shed!
4. Store Wood Pellets Separately
While this isn’t as critical as some of the other items on this list, we do recommend that you store each bag of pellets separately. This way, you can ensure you are using older pellets before newer bags.
Wood pellets aren’t cheap, and while mixing flavors might be a fun experience, you don’t want to need cherry wood only to find you only have a single bin of all your wood flavors mixed together. It is much better to have a separate bin for each flavor, so you know exactly where to find your favorite types of wood.
5. Store Them in an Accessible Way
Wood pellets are a bit on the delicate side, and if you are constantly shaking or moving their bin, this could cause the pellets to get broken up into smaller pieces or even turn into sawdust.
You should find a place that is out of the way but also accessible for storing your wood pellets. This way, you won’t have to constantly move the bins unless it is time to load up your pellet grill for the next smoking session.
Related >> Firewood Storage Ideas
6. Store Away From Water and Heat Sources
You must pay attention to where indoors or outdoors you store your wood pellets even if they are in a storage container. Placing them near water or heat sources can wreak havoc on the integrity of the pellets.
Since there are typically several water sources as well as areas that produce heat, it is best to ensure that you store them away from these areas.
7. Use Labels on Your Pellet Containers
As you store your wood pellets, you may want to consider using labels that will help you keep track of their age. Since wood pellets are not meant to last indefinitely, knowing how long they have been there can help you to know which ones to use first.
Plus, this way you can keep track of which flavor is which!
6 Wood Pellet Storage Ideas
Finding the best wood pellet storage ideas can seem overwhelming since there are so many on the market. The right storage for your needs will depend entirely on the size of the storage container you need and how much money you want to invest.
While some wood pellet storage options are more affordable than others, if you grill often you may want to consider a more permanent storage option. No matter what you decide, you should choose the one that fits your personal preferences and needs best.
1. Shelf With Bins in the Garage
Our personal favorite idea, which we alluded to above, is to have a shelf in the garage dedicated to wood pellet storage filled with clear bins that are labeled with each type of wood they hold. It’s simple, effective, and meets all the requirements for proper pellet storage.
2. Stacked Buckets
Buckets, like those you find at the hardware store, also make for great pellet storage. We recommend grabbing a few and labeling them with a permanent marker or masking tape. These stack well and can be placed in any corner or even in the pantry!
3. Pellet Bags on Hooks
Many companies, such as Weber, make pellet bags that can be great for storing a small number of pellets. While these bags aren’t rigid or stackable, they can easily be hung in a shed or garage without taking up much space. While this is definitely a workable idea if you plan to have lots of pellets on hand or live in a humid climate, this storage method probably isn’t going to work for you.
4. Wood Pellet Bag
At the very least, if you cannot afford to purchase a better storage option, you should consider keeping the pellets stored in the bag they came in. While this is not the safest option since these bags are not often made with the best materials, it is better than using nothing.
Although many people may argue that a bag is a great option for storing your wood pellets this may not be the case. When the wood pellets are stored in the bag in the stores, they have not been opened and are exposed to the air, which can make a big difference.
However, if you do not have any other option, storing the pellets in the bag they came in may work in the short term. Keep in mind that you should at least roll the top of the bag down as tightly as possible and use a bag clip to try to keep some of the moisture out.
5. 5-Gallon Bucket
For those who want a simple option but would rather not store wood pellets in a bag of any kind, you could use a 5-gallon bucket from your local hardware store. These buckets typically come with a storage lid and can fit quite a bit of wood pellets.
You can easily purchase these buckets for less than $10 at any of your local hardware stores such as Lowe’s or Home Depot. Since they are affordable, you may want to consider buying more than one.
While 5 gallons can hold up to about 20 pounds of wood pellets, if you need to store more than that, you may not have enough space. Keep in mind that these buckets typically come with the stores’ logo on them so they may not look as nice as other options, but will do the trick of storing your pellets safely.
6. Oklahoma Joe’s Pellet Bucket Kit
Another great option is the Oklahoma Joe’s Pellet Bucket Kit which can easily be used to store your wood pellets. This option will provide a safe place for your pellets while keeping them free from any moisture.
This pellet bucket not only comes with an airtight lid that is designed to keep moisture out but it also is equipped with a basket inside the bucket. This basket with a handle can be taken directly out of the bucket for easy portability.
Not only does the basket insert make it easy for you to load into your pellet grill, but it also keeps the pellet dust out of the way. Most of the dust and other residues will drift to the bottom of the bucket and not around the pellets which makes for a cleaner burn on your grill.
How Long Do Wood Pellets Last?
When stored properly following the guidelines above, wood pellets will last almost indefinitely. This is why it is so critical to take the time to ensure you’ve stored them properly, as this is what will help them to stay good!
That being said, you will want to check the bag you purchased them in for an expiration date. Some types of wood pellets do go bad, and others are best before a certain date. If you are dumping your wood pellets into a different container, we recommend writing the original best-by date on the bin so you know when to use the wood pellets by.
If you just entered your garage and found a bin that was past date, chances are you can still use the wood pellets inside. As mentioned above, they don’t really go bad, they just may not burn as well. You will want to double-check the quality of the wood pellets, though, because some may become crumbly with age.
Now, if you’ve accidentally left some pellets in the hopper, it isn’t the end of the world, but you will want to check them to ensure they are still good before you fire up your pellet grill. Instructions for checking if wood pellets are still good are included below.
And if you’re wondering how long pellets last while smoking your food, we have a guide on that too.
Related >> Pellet Grill Tips and Tricks
How to Tell If Wood Pellets Are Still Good
Wood pellets do last a long time, but if you’ve accidentally left them out in the open where they could be exposed to moisture, it’s important that you check over the quality of your wood pellets before you fire up your grill.
If you fire up your pellet grill with wood pellets that have gone bad, your pellet grill could jam or be damaged by the rotten wood pellets.
Here’s how you check if wood pellets are still good:
Like with most things, you can typically look at wood pellets to determine whether they have gone bad or not. Wood pellets should be somewhat shiny and smooth in appearance if they are in good condition.
Pellets that have gone bad will have cracks and lose the luster that they once had. If you notice that they are not as shiny as they once were, they have most likely gone bad.
Mold or fungi growing on your wood pellets is a dead giveaway that they’ve gone bad. Take a moment to look at your wood pellets up close to see if there are any signs of mold growth.
Touch your wood pellets. If they are soft, crumbly, or fall apart in your hands, then, unfortunately, they’ve gone bad and will need to be thrown away.
Another way to tell if your wood pellets have gone bad is to do the snap test on a few of them to see what happens. A good wood pellet will snap easily with a slightly audible sound and produce little to no debris.
When a wood pellet has gone bad and you snap it in half, it will most likely crumble under the pressure. If a few of your pellets do this, then most likely the entire batch has gone bad.
Another surefire way to tell if your wood pellets have gone bad is to do the water test on a handful of your existing ones. The key to this test is that it should be done and observed quickly to avoid any confusion.
To perform this test, take a handful of pellets from your storage and drop them into a glass of water. If the pellets immediately sink, they have more density and are still in good condition, however, if they float immediately, they have most likely gone bad.
Wood pellets should smell like wood. If you lift yours towards your nose and find a rotting scent, then it is plausible that your wood pellets have rotted, and they will need to be thrown away.
Can You Leave Pellets in the Hopper?
Whether or not you can leave wood pellets in your hopper will depend on where you live as well as the type of pellet grill you own. As a general rule, you shouldn’t plan to leave pellets in your pellet grill for longer than a week, no matter where you live.
For those that live somewhere humid, it is a good idea to plan to take your pellets out of your pellet grill after each use. This will ensure you don’t accidentally leave them there to be ruined by the elements.
Still not sure? We’ve got an entire post on whether or not you should leave pellets in the hopper.
Can You Store Wood Pellets Safely Outside?
As previously stated, wood pellets do much better when they are stored in a temperature-controlled environment such as inside your home. However, there are some cases when this is not possible.
In these cases, you can store your wood pellets safely outside for a limited period as long as you have taken precautions. These safety measures include making sure they are stored in an airtight container, away from water and heat sources, and off the ground.