How to Use Hardwood Pellets

Wood pellets are made from finely ground and compressed hardwoods to fuel pellet grills like the Oklahoma Joe’s® Rider DLX Pellet Grill. Unlike cooking with wood chunks and splits on a traditional smoker, pellets are automatically added to the pellet grill’s fire pot to provide a continuous stream of fuel for the heat source.

How do wood pellets work?

Wood pellets are poured into your pellet grill’s hopper and fed through a rotating auger into a fire pot at the bottom of the cooking chamber. While the pellets burn, a fan stokes the fire and sends the smoke and heated air into the chamber to cook and flavor your food.

Are wood pellets safe TO COOK WITH FOOD?

Yes. Our ultra-premium pellets are 100% natural, hardwood, food-grade pellets. They’re clean burning with low ash for easy clean-up and are available in 20-pound bags. We currently offer apple wood, hickory wood and competition blend wood pellets. Oklahoma Joe’s® food-safe wood pellets are specially made to infuse your meat, seafood, fruit and vegetables with wood-fired flavor.

Can you leave pellets in the Quick Draw Hopper?

No. We do NOT recommend leaving pellets in the hopper. In fact, we strongly recommend that you drain the hopper after cooking and run a shutdown burn, each and every time, to keep the internal components clear and dry.

Leaving unused pellets in the Quick Draw Hopper exposes them to moisture and humidity, causing them to break down and swell up inside the hopper and auger, which can clog the auger, causing performance issues and jams.

How do I empty the hopper of unused wood pellets?

The Quick Draw Hopper makes draining unused pellets a simple 3-step task, allowing you to empty the hopper and swap pellet flavors quickly and easily.

  1. Slide the pellet bucket into the pellet bucket mount under the hopper.
  2. Pull the pellet release handle 2 to 3 times to shake loose and drain unused pellets.

  1. Remove the bucket and seal with lid for moisture-free storage.

Should I remove the pellet bucket while cooking?  

Yes. Do NOT operate your grill while the pellet bucket in mounted under the Quick Draw Hopper. Remove the bucket, seal it with the lid and set aside until it’s time to drain unused pellets from the hopper.

How do you store wood pellets?

We recommended keeping your hardwood pellets fresh, dry and ready to use in the pellet bucket included with your Rider DLX. This container will keep moisture out and lock freshness in. When not storing in a pellet bucket, store your wood pellets in the driest place you have, avoiding damp basements and wet sheds, where they can absorb moisture from the air.

HOT TIP: Stock up and keep multiple pellet flavors fresh and dry with additional pellet buckets. Our pellet bucket kit includes a wire-mesh filter that sifts out wood dust to avoid pouring it into the hopper as the dust can cause the auger to jam.

Do I need to soak wood pellets?

No. Wood pellets do NOT need moisture. Soaking them in water or any other liquid causes them to disintegrate because wood pellets are made from compressed sawdust.

How long will 20 pounds of pellets last?

Pellet consumption varies based on cooking temperature. At low smoking temps (gray temp settings), you can expect 20 pounds of wood pellets to last 10 hours or more. When cooking with high grilling temps (orange temp settings), it will be more like 2 to 3 hours.

For pellet grill recipes and answers to your most frequently asked questions, go to

Up Your Game: Tips & Tricks from the Pros

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