Despite their increase in popularity, there are currently no published standards or any other known guidance for manufacturing and using BBQ pellets.
From when I first got involved in developing wood pellet standards back in 2005, I recall clients calling to inquire about BBQ pellet standards, and if there were any testing requirements to confirm the quality of the product as a fuel for cooking. Since then, I don’t believe even a whole year has passed without at least one or several similar inquiries. The conversation is always the same. Since BBQ pellets are being used as a fuel to cook food, there is probably something that should be tested or evaluated to verify that BBQ pellets are a healthy fuel to use, and not inordinately causing some type of health risk. While this logic has remained sound, to this day I am not aware of any published quality standards or other requirements for manufacturing and using BBQ pellets.
In 2005, BBQ pellets were not nearly as popular. There were a few companies manufacturing them, but it was relatively uncommon. Fast forward to 2018, and BBQ pellets are being made by numerous companies, and the market has expanded significantly. The topic of BBQ pellets is now something that comes up regularly in publications, at conferences, and in routine conversations. Despite their increase in popularity, the same information holds true, in that, to my knowledge, there are currently no published standards or any other known guidance for manufacturing and using BBQ pellets. This is an issue that has been recognized by the Pellet Fuels Institute, and the conversation of BBQ pellets has begun in concerted fashion with the formation of a PFI BBQ pellet caucus. The efforts are intended to cover all aspects of this burgeoning industry, so if you are interested in being part of the conversation, then I encourage you to contact PFI to see how you can get involved. As a standards developer, I have offered my assistance if it is ultimately decided that BBQ pellet standards are needed.