Are you a BBQ aficionado looking to take your grill game to the next level? Wood pellets may be the secret ingredient you’ve been missing. But before you start stockpiling, you might be wondering – how long do these little guys last?
With proper storage, wood pellets can last 6-12 months (in an environment with 10% or less humidity). If the humidity is high, the shelf life would be around 1-3 months. To ensure maximum freshness, it’s important to store wood pellets away from moisture.
There are several factors that can affect the shelf life of wood pellets. This includes the type of wood used, the level of moisture content, and how they are stored.
In this article, I’ll dive into the factors that affect the shelf life of wood pellets. I will also share some tips and tricks for storing them.
How Long Do Wood Pellets Last in a Pizza Oven?
Wood pellets are made from compressed sawdust. This makes them highly combustible and easy to burn in a wood pellet grill or smoker. In general, wood pellets will continuously burn for 7-12 hours in an outdoor pizza oven.
Ooni Premium Hardwood Pellets Highlights
- Bag weight: 20lb
- Boxed Dimensions: 60 x 36 x 7.9cm
- Pellet size: 6mm (¼″ diameter, 1″ length)
- BTU: 8500/pound
- Moisture content: <10%
That said, the length of time that wood pellets will burn in a pizza oven will depend on a couple of factors-
- One of the main factors is the size of the oven and the amount of insulation it has. A well-insulated oven will retain heat more efficiently. This means the wood pellets will burn for a longer period of time.
- The type of wood used in the pellets can also affect their burn time. Hardwoods such as oak and hickory tend to burn longer and produce more heat than softer woods like pine.
- Another factor is the size of the wood pellets. Larger pellets tend to burn longer than smaller ones, as they contain more carbon inside.
- The age of the pellets will also affect how long they burn. Freshly-made pellets will last longer than older ones. That’s because they contain more sap and moisture.
- The moisture content of the wood pellets is another crucial factor. Pellets with a lower moisture content will burn more efficiently and last longer.
- Proper ventilation is also essential for getting the most out of your wood pellets. Sufficient airflow will help the pellets burn evenly and completely. On the contrary, a lack of ventilation can cause the fire to go out prematurely.
- The moisture content of the pellets is also a key factor here. Kiln-dried wood pellets are more expensive than non-kiln-dried ones. But they will burn longer and produce less creosote than their untreated counterparts.
- The amount of time that your pellets will last will also depend on how well you maintain the fire. If you allow ash to build up in the hopper, then it can affect how efficiently your pellets burn.
How Much Wood Pellet Do You Need for Pizza Oven?
A standard wood-fired oven will consume about 1-3 pounds of pellets per hour. A large bag of wood pellets (20 lbs) will give you approx. 7-12 hours of continuous cooking time.
If you are using a smaller oven or cooking at a lower temperature, you may be able to get by with less wood.
Also, preheat the oven with a small amount of wood pellets before adding the pizza. This will help to bring the oven up to temperature more quickly and evenly.
Here is a chart that shows the approximate amount of wood pellets you may need for a pizza oven based on the size of the oven and the duration of use:
|Oven Size||1 Hour||2 Hours||3 Hours||4 Hours|
|Small||1 pound||2 pounds||3 pounds||4 pounds|
|Medium||1 pound||2 pounds||3 pounds||4 pounds|
|Large||2 pounds||4 pounds||6 pounds||8 pounds|
Keep in mind that these are rough estimates, and the actual amount of wood pellets you need may vary depending on factors such as the type of wood pellets you are using and the efficiency of your pizza oven. It is always a good idea to have a little extra on hand, just in case.
I also discovered that combining hardwood and softwood pellets yields better combustibility. Hardwoods such as oak and hickory produce more heat and burn longer. Softwoods like pine add a delicious smoky flavor to the pizzas. Mixing the two types of wood can help to create the perfect balance of heat and flavor.
Factors That Affect the Shelf Life of Wood Pellets
There are a bunch of factors that can directly or indirectly impact the shelf life of your wood pellets. For example:
Moisture content plays an important role in how quickly your pellets will burn. If they’re too wet when you put them into the oven, they may not light at all or may produce smoke instead of heat. This is because moisture prevents combustion.
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If the wood doesn’t burn properly, it won’t release any energy and won’t produce heat. Kiln-dried wood pellets tend to last much longer than pressure-treated pellets. That’s because they have a lower moisture content.
Kiln drying is a process that involves heating wood to a high temperature in a controlled environment. This process results in wood that is dry and stable, with a moisture content of around 10%.
In contrast, pressure-treated wood is soaked in a chemical preservative solution. This can leave the wood with a higher moisture content. The higher moisture content of pressure-treated wood can makes it prone to deterioration.
The type of wood used to make wood pellets can affect their shelf life. Hardwoods tend to have a longer shelf life than softer woods like pine. It’s due to their lower moisture content and denser structure. Hardwoods also produce more heat and burn longer than softer woods.
Age of the Pellets
Freshly cut wood pellets will generally have a longer shelf life than older pellets. This is because the moisture content of wood tends to decrease over time as the wood dries out. As the moisture content decreases, the wood becomes more dense and resistant to decay.
It is important to buy high-quality, freshly cut wood pellets to get the most out of them. Freshly made pellets will have a lower moisture content. Hence, they’ll be less likely to spoil or lose their effectiveness.
When shopping for wood pellets, be sure to check the expiration date or production date.
The storage conditions can also impact the shelf life of wood pellets. Proper storage is essential to keep wood pellets dry and protect them from moisture.
High humidity levels can be particularly damaging to wood pellets. Reason? Excess moisture in the air can cause the pellets to absorb moisture and become moldy. It’s important to store wood pellets in a dry place with low humidity levels to extend their shelf life.
Extreme cold temperatures can also be harmful to wood pellets. It’s because the cold can cause the pellets to contract and become more brittle. This can make them more prone to breaking or crumbling, which can reduce their burn time and heat output.
6 Ways to Extend the Shelf Life of Wood Pellets
Here are a few fail-safe tips to help you extend the life of your wood pellets:
1. Moisture is the number one enemy of wood pellets. So, make sure to store wood pellets in a moisture-free place. If you live in a very humid area, consider purchasing a dehumidifier. Store them in a sealed container or plastic bag to keep moisture at bay.
2. Use kiln-dried wood pellets instead of pressure-treated pellets. Kiln-dried wood has a lower moisture content (10-15%) and, therefore, is less prone to decay. Also, regularly check the moisture content of the pellets. Use a moisture meter to ensure they are within the recommended range.
3. Wood pellets can absorb odors and flavors from their surroundings. This is why it’s important to store wood pellets away from strong-smelling substances.
4. Avoid storing wood pellets in an extremely hot or cold environment. Extreme temperatures can cause the pellets to become brittle. This can reduce their burn time and heat output.
5. Regularly rotate your wood pellet supply. This will ensure that you are using the freshest pellets possible. Using up older pellets first will help to extend the shelf life of your remaining supply.
6. Buy only high-quality, freshly made pellets, as they will have a lower moisture content.
Stocking up on wood pellets is fairly easy. But you should be aware of the shelf life of your product.
Wood pellets are usually good for 6-12 months in low humidity and up to 3 months in a highly humid environment.
No matter where you’re storing your wood pellets, ensure they’re protected from humidity. That’s pretty much it for today. If you have any questions about how long wood pellets last, feel free to ask me in the comments below!
Tim Anderson is the founder of pizzapeopleaz® and has been in the pizza industry since 1998. Since then, his mission has been to make a pizza lover’s guy into a personal pizzaiolo. And each year, he continues to help more people with Pizza chemistry, pizza Crust, pizza oven, and oven troubleshooting.