The Kirkland Signature BBQ Wood Pellets are Better than Traeger!

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.

40 pound bag of Kirkland wood pellets

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:

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.

Price of Kirkland Wood Pellets at Costco

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.

Kirkland Pellets in the Hopper of my Grill

Hardwood Blend

The Kirkland pellets are a blend of the following hardwoods:

  • Oak
  • Hickory
  • Maple
  • Cherry

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.

Kirkland Pellets are a Hardwood Blend

Smoking Meat

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.  

Baby Back Ribs Smoked with Kirkland Wood Pellets

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.

Plastic Bag is too thin


Good morning and welcome to the site dedicated to helping you find great products at Costco and other stores! My name is David Somerville and these are hands on reviews of products that I have bought and used or am seriously considering purchasing. I do most of my shopping at the Costco in Baton Rouge, Louisiana but will check out any other Costco warehouses I find while travelling. Please get in touch with any questions and let me know of any great products that deserved to be featured in this blog!

33 thoughts on “The Kirkland Signature BBQ Wood Pellets are Better than Traeger!

  1. Hey Dave,
    The “Kirkland”brand @ COSTCo is a superior product, but I didn’t know they sold smoker pellets.
    You’re right about “Trager” & using only their pellets & avoiding of their warranty! That’s a bunch of HORSE-RADISH that Traefer tries to pull on us!
    Thanks for the heads up.

    1. From Traeger Website:

      You are free to use any brand food-quality grill pellets with your Traeger without fear of voiding its warranty. Home heating pellets have adjuncts, binders/glues, biomass, and softwood that will create performance and reliability problems that are not covered by warranty.

      Note: we only test the performance of the Traeger-branded pellets that we produce. Therefore, we do not design our grills for other brand pellets, and they may not provide the same heating, smoke, or flavor performance that customers expect.

    2. All of these pellets are made by the same company with the same fibers I have worked there and have pics of the Kirkland pitboss expert grill and Traeger they over price for the same products lol

  2. Good to know! I just saw them yesterday at my local Costco and wondered if they were any good. Appreciate the info!

    1. They are the only pellets I use. Great flavor and have never had problems with jams or temp flux. Great price

  3. No what the packaging or brand, I put them plastic buckets . I live in Lubbock Texas so humidity isn’t a problem.

  4. I have a good friend who has been making pellets for 30 years. (fuel type but same application for hardwood) When all of the cheap pellets started coming out I asked him about it after having a couple issues with supermarket brand pellets. He said it all has to do with the moisture content in the pellets, a lesser quality will have more moisture in them and won’t perform as well, (that is the biggest challenge to making pellets, getting them to retain their shape while getting the moisture out of the sawdust) high temps, more ash etc. I went back to traeger pellets after that just because I know they make a good pellet, but good to know about this Kirkland brand, that is an excellent price, although I haven’t seen them yet where I live in Idaho.

    1. Yes – the Kirkland brand performs great. I do wish they’d improve the bags, though. Probably like other Kirkland brand products – they find manufacturers, test them, pick the best & then try to get the manufacturer to do the same product under Kirkland name.

  5. Among Weber Smokefire owners it is well known that the Weber pellets have a smaller diameter than most. The “fatter” pellets can jam the auger. I have had it happen. Any idea on the diameter of the Kirkland pellets?

  6. What is the filler wood on the Kirtland BBQ pellets? I can’t seem to find that listed on the packaging?

  7. Keep in A medium sized plastic pail with lid. Keeps them just fine. I have done baby back ribs, smoked wings, all sorts of chicken and steaks. These pellets are all you will need!

  8. Just got them today. Doing some chicken at 275, the tem is holding just fine. Didn’t even realize it was a 40 pound bag. Nice

  9. These are hands down as good as Bear Mountain or any top brand! Did pork butts twice and burned perfect temp and nice aroma…Just bought another bag!!!

  10. I can confirm they have them at Costco Pleasant Prairie, WI. Just picked some up yesterday and can’t wait to use them.

  11. I’ve gone through 3 bags of the Kirkland brand with no issues. In the beginning, I got sucked into Traeger pellets with the marketing hype. I haven’t bought any Traeger pellets in years. Recently, I had the chance to compare on a friends new Traeger, his Traeger pellets from Costco and my Kirkland pellets. In every category we measured, Kirkland scored higher. My friends now a convert.

  12. Kirkland Pellets can be found in Gig Harbor WA store. I have purchased a bag to use in my RECTEQ 340. I also feel they could improve on the quality of bag.

  13. Tried these for the first time and was pleased with the results. I do agree about the cheap bag, you have to be a bit careful when handling. I filled my pellet grill with 20lbs and stored the rest in a 5 gallon bucket with a lid. So far this is the best value in pellets today.

  14. Thanks for the review Dave.
    I have gotten into the habit of transferring all of my unblended smoker pellets (i.e. straight oak, cherry, apple, etc.) into 5 gallon buckets with screw-on lids, so the thin bag issue isn’t a problem for me. I know taste is very subjective and I like to make my own blends. I usually use oak as my base and create something like a 4:2:2 ratio of oak, pecan, cherry/apple. Sometimes I will do 4:2:1 Oak, cherry/apple, mesquite. I, personally, hate the taste of hickory in almost anything. I can “tolerate” it in store bought bacon or some smoked pork meats. I can usually get my pellets “on sale” for about $0.50 a pound but that $0.325 a pound is tempting.
    My question to you is how prevalent is the hickory flavor produced with these pellets? Does everything taste like Hickory smoked bacon?

  15. “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”. ”

    I see this said all the time in reviews, yet, specific brands are NEVER called out for it. In fact, I’ve NEVER seen that on any major brand (Pit Boss, Traeger, etc.) “Very common” – Nope! More like very rare. Lets not give false praise.

  16. I picked up a 40lb bag of Kirkland pellets at the beginning of the year. Due to the rainy weather we had in CA this year, the unopened bag remained stored in an enclosed patio bin. It is mid-April and I pulled them out for the first time today. When I opened the bag, I saw that about half the pellets had disintegrated mostly into dust which would have quickly clogged my smoker’s burn tray. Good pellets to bad was about 50/50. Rather than drive 50 miles to return a $13 bag, I’ll probably use my garden sifter to shake out the dust and bad pellets. If it wasn’t a bad batch, most likely dampness in the air had something to do with it. The plastic bag the pellets came in is pretty thin. Maybe they just have a short shelf life.

  17. I’d guess these are Lumber Jack Competition pellets. I’ve used a lot of Lumber Jack Pellets and the size and shape of the pellets look consistent with my Lumber Jack experience. The plastic bags tearing under the weight of the 40 lbs of pellets is also a trait I recognize from my Lumber Jack experience.

  18. Great review Dave! I am now on my second bag of Kirkland brand pellets! Love smoking ribs with them! Tampa area Costco’s have them. Sometimes a challenge to find them. I always ask an Employee and they bring me over to where they are at. My Zgrill is amazing and holds about 20 lbs of pellets. I just leave the rest in the bag, tightly sealed with a hand clamp. The HUMID Gulf coast of Florida has not caused any deterioration on them yet. I might get a plastic 5 gallon bucket with lid to be safe. Cheers!

  19. Just adding to the 2023 California comment. I use pellets with an ooni fyra 12. I had no issues with the first bag I bought which happened to be traeger. I picked up the Costco pellets a couple months ago in Southern California. After the rain stopped but not sure how they were stored.

    But after 2 weekends of trying them in the ooni I believe the ones I have are way too wet to work. Alot of smoke coming out of the pellet cylinder vs going out the chimney. They get clogged in pellet hopper, leading to the fire going out if I’m not careful.

    Not sure they are worth lugging back to Costco, but going to grab a bag of traegers to compare again as I’ve eliminated as many other factors as I could.

    Might make them great for smokers but for pizza ovens that need to maintain a high temp fire I’m totally frustrated.

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