If you’re a fan of smoked foods, then you know that the key to great flavor is all about the wood. Different woods impart different flavors to the meat, and finding the right combination is essential to creating a dish that’s truly memorable.
Table of Contents
The Best Wood Pellets For Smoking
Wood pellets are made of compressed sawdust, typically formed into small cylindrical-shaped pieces. These pellets are then used to add a smoky flavor to smokers or even gas or charcoal grills.
There are so many different types of wood pellets on the market, it can be hard to know which one is the best for smoking in your pellet smoker.
Join us as we take a look at some of the most popular wood pellet varieties and what makes them great for smoking meat. We’ll also provide some tips on how to choose the right wood pellet for your needs.
So, whether you’re a beginner or an expert grill master, read on to learn more about the best wood pellets for smoking!
Camp Chef Premium Hardwood Pellets
Camp Chef’s line of premium hardwood pellets is available in many different flavors including Hickory, Oak, Applewood, Mesquite, Cherry, various blended flavors, and their signature blend called the Competition Blend.
Camp Chef hardwood pellets blend cleanly and efficiently with absolutely no oils, chemicals, or binders added. These all-natural hardwood pellets are some of the best wood pellets for smoking and are available at a fair and reasonable price.
Weber SmokeFire Hardwood Pellets
The Weber SmokeFire Hardwood Pellets were created for the SmokeFire Pellet Grill, but can be used with any grill manufacturer where pellets are required. The Weber wood pellets are available in Hickory, Mesquite, Cherry, Apple, and their signature Grill Master Blend comprised of a gourmet blend of Maple, Hickory, and Cherry.
Lumber Jack Competition Blend Grilling Pellets
Lumber Jack wood pellets are smaller in size than the traditional pellets which are said to create a hotter burn with more smoke than the average wood pellets. These wood pellets are 100% natural hardwood pellets and contain the bark of the tree blended within them, which may produce more ash than desired.
They have a huge variety of flavor combinations with absolutely no artificial flavors included.
Pit Boss Natural Hardwood Pellets
Pit Boss Natural Hardwood Pellets are available in all the classic wood pellet flavors, as well as a few extra flavor blends like Whiskey Barrel blend or BBQ blends. Pit Boss pellets don’t have any artificial flavors and they burn hot and clean.
Things to consider when buying pellets for smoking
Buying wood pellets for smoking in your pellet smokers or pellet grills is relatively easy once you know what you’re looking for. Considering the type of wood used to make your wood pellets and whether there are any additives or fillers are important factors.
There are various types of wood pellets for smoking, including flavored wood pellets, blended pellets, and standard pellets.
Flavored wood pellets are made of 100% flavored wood, like cherry wood and applewood pellets with no filler. 100% flavored wood pellets are typically the more expensive of the three varieties.
Blended pellets are made of flavored wood mixed with a filler wood, typically oak, and are less expensive than 100% flavored wood pellets for smoking, but still, give a great smoky taste.
Standard wood pellets are generally made of random varieties of wood and are mostly reserved as heating pellets, designed for heating the home, not smoking food. Be sure to check if your smoker pellets are food-grade pellets before using them in your smoker.
BBQ Hero Tip: Try a new wood pellet blend next time you fire up your pellet grill. Try combining different flavors of smoking wood pellets to find the perfect pellet blend for you.
Wood Pellet Flavors
Wood Pellet flavors are similar to those of wood chips or wood chunks, but are often sold in pre-made blends with the perfect mix of tried and true flavor combinations.
Hickory Wood Pellets
Pure hickory pellets are a popular variety, known for their intense, almost spicy flavor that is great with beef and pork. They’re more intense than fruit woods and pack a powerful punch.
Mesquite Wood Pellets
Mesquite pellets are a great option for smoking brisket, giving it a Texas mesquite touch. The intense, bold smokey flavor that mesquite wood produces is ideal for most red and dark meats, delivering a flavor punch that is unmatchable.
Apple Wood Pellets
Apple pellets have a mild, sweet, and fruity flavor, best used with chicken, lamb, or seafood. Because of its mild aroma, creating an apple blend with more intense smoking pellets is a great option.
Cherry Wood Pellets
Cherry wood pellets are similar to apple in that they have a mild, sweet, and fruity aroma and is a great variety to use in a combination. Cherry smoke is known to give the meat a dark, almost red tint to the surface.
Pecan Wood Pellets
Pecan wood pellets are the best wood pellets for smoking chicken. They’re similar to hickory with a nutty pecan flavor that will add a sweet and rich flavor profile to your meat of choice.
Oak Wood Pellets
Oak pellets have a mild flavor and are used often as filler in blended pellets, or to tone down intensely flavored pellets. Oak wood pellets are an excellent variety to keep on hand at all times.
How To Store BBQ Wood Pellets
It’s important to consider the conditions in which you store your wood pellets. Proper storage will maximize the life of your wood pellets and ensure that you have wood pellets safe for consumption.
Wood pellets typically come in bags of varying sizes, which aren’t always the best option for long-term storage. Plastic bags are at risk of being punctured which could result in your wood pellets getting wet and developing mold.
Instead, after you’ve opened your wood pellets for smoking, place the remainder of the bag inside an airtight container like a 5-gallon pail or this handy Pellet Bucket by Oklahoma Joe’s. It comes with a wire-mesh basket to separate wood dust from pellets, a scoop, and an air-tight seal.
The key to maintaining wood pellets is avoiding moisture at all costs. Because wood pellets are essentially made of compressed sawdust, they are at risk of breaking down in the presence of moisture. Moisture will also increase the risk of mold or fungus growing on your wood pellets, creating an unsafe product to use with food.
To avoid moisture, store your wood pellets in a cool, dry place, off the ground, and only open the container when necessary.
Wood Pellets FAQs
Can you use wood pellets on any type of grill?
The best part about wood pellets is that they can be used on a variety of grills, not just pellet grills! Grills specifically designed for wood pellets will be easier to burn pellets on, thanks to their hopper system, but you could also introduce pellets to gas grills and charcoal grills. The best way to use pellets in a gas grill is to ignite them in a pan or smoker box and let the smoke infuse your grill.
What kind of flavored wood pellets are there?
There are many different pellets available on the market, from hickory, oak, and mesquite wood pellets to cherry, pecan, and apple wood pellets, if there’s a wood for it, chances are there’s a pellet. Not to mention all of the blends that manufacturers are coming up with, there is no shortage of variety.
Should you use the same brand of wood pellets as the pellet grill manufacturer?
Although grill manufacturers would like you to believe that you should use their own brand of wood pellets for smoking, it is not necessary. As long as the wood grilling pellets you choose are from a reputable brand, you should have no issues mixing it up.
How many pellets will a pellet smoker use?
An average pellet grill will typically burn through 1-3 lbs. of hardwood blend pellets per hour. This burn rate will fluctuate based on the outdoor temperature or wood type.