I spend a lot of time playing with pellet grills and was pleasantly surprised when I saw that Costco was selling a 40 pound bag of Kirkland Signature branded wood pellets.
I have tried a lot of brands of pellets and have found that some brands are great, others are bad and some are ridiculously overpriced. Of course I was curious to learn if the Kirkland pellets were any good so I bought a bag so I could write this review.
The quick version is that these are great, inexpensive pellets with bad packaging.
Kirkland Wood Pellets are Value Priced
The 40 pound bag of pellets only cost $12.99 which works out to a cost of $0.325 per pound.
The $0.325 per pound price point is one of the lowest I have seen for any brand of wood pellet. For some cost comparisons consider the following products:
- Traeger Signature Wood Pellets at Home Depot = $0.947 per pound
- Traeger Gourmet Wood Pellets at Costco: $0.606 per pound
- Pit Boss Competition Wood Pellets at Walmart: $0.37 per pound
It’s pretty impressive that Costco is selling these for less than Walmart and Pit Boss who are the kings of all things related to inexpensive grilling.
These Pellets Work with Any Pellet Grill
One of the tricks that many manufacturers of pellet grills pull is telling you that their brand of grill is specially designed to work best with their brand of wood pellet. Some brands go so far as to imply on the warranty card that you must use their pellets in their grills.
This is complete malarkey.
You can use any brand of wood pellet in any brand of pellet grill assuming hat the pellets are food grade and not fuel grade. Fuel grade pellets can contain harmful products and should only be used in pellet stoves used for heating where the smoke never comes into contact with food.
The Kirkland brand of pellet is Food Grade and is completely safe to use in any brand of pellet grill such as a Traeger Fremont, Pit Boss Austin, Z Grills 700, etc.
The Pellets Are a Hardwood Blend
The Kirkland pellets are a blend of the following hardwoods:
I appreciate that Costco is transparent about the composition of the pellets as that is another area where many pellet manufacturers are deceptive.
It is very common to buy a bag of wood pellets from brands that are marked as “Hickory” only to read the fine print later and realize that the pellets are actually “hickory flavor”. This type of pellets is typically only 40% hickory and 60% oak.
Another deception from other brands is to label the bag as “Hickory” and “100% Hardwood” letting you assume that the product is 100% hickory which it is not.
All of the wood species in the Kirkland pellets are perfectly acceptable for smoking and grilling.
Smoking Meat with Kirkland Pellets
I have put about 15 pounds of these pellets through the burn pot of my pellet grill and have liked how they perform.
The pellets have worked just fine for grilling burgers at 375F and seemed to burn pretty clean at high temperatures. I have done some Low and Slow baby back ribs (25oF, 5-6 hours, no foil) and was pleased with both the taste and color of the finished ribs.
In my opinion the Kirkland pellets are just as good as the Traeger pellets that cost 2-3 times more money.
The Plastic Bags Are Too Thin
The one fault I have found with these pellets is that Costco got cheap and put them in bags that are too thin.
When I was at the Costco warehouse I saw three bags in the pile that had torn and been taped closed. When I got home I carried the bag of pellets to my back porch and found that my bag had torn in the top corner as I was carrying it as the thin plastic couldn’t handle the stress of a 40 pound load.
The thinness of the bag has me a little concerned as I doubt that it offers much protection from ambient humidity. This might not be an issue in your part of the country but in southern Louisiana it is a big deal.
Moisture is the absolute enemy of wood pellets and causes them to swell and turn to sawdust. I don’t know if these thin bags offer any protection from the extreme humidity of Baton Rouge and I might end up buying a separate plastic bin to store these pellets.