Traeger brand barbecue pellets are no larger than the eraser on the end of a pencil. People who see them for the first time think they look like rabbit food, but there is nothing small about the heat energy in a barbecue pellet. Over 8500 BTU's per pound! Wood pellets are not new, they have been around for a long time used in industrial, commercial, and residential heating appliances and applications. There are over 100 fully operational pellet mills in the United States. Traeger Industries was the first company to use them for cooking. Only the finest hardwood raw materials are sourced from all over the country. The pure, raw material (sawdust) is then pulverized with hammer mills and dried. The dried material is then processed under heat and pressure. Lignin, which is the natural glue which holds plant fiber together, softens above 100 degrees Celsius, permitting the material to change shape. The hot lignin then acts like a glue to bond the pellet together. Pelleting employs a hard steel die which rotates against rollers forcing the material through the die with pressures of over 10,000 PSI. As the pellet is forced through the die it is sheared off at the specified length, cooled, screened, and bagged into 20 lb bags. General specifications for barbecue pellets are: 100%hardwood, 1" long or less in length, 1/4" diameter, less than 2% ash content, less than 2% fines, 10% moisture content, 8500 BTU's per lb, and about 40 lbs per cubic ft. density.