Wood pellets are comparatively easier to handle, especially when you are a beginner, and are a bit on the clueless side when it comes to handling charcoal or wood logs.
The wood pellets might come in handy particularly when you struggle with proper ignition, temperature regulation.
They not only impart that authentic smoky flavor to your dish luring everyone with that delicious restaurant-like flavor, but they also are easy to use and are way less polluting than their other fuel counterparts like charcoal or a log of wood.
So if you are unsure whether you can handle the ash that is left by charcoal or wood logs, wood pellets prove to be more on the safer side.
They are generally made by compressing the sawdust which is not otherwise usable, and they leave almost no trace of ash simultaneously delivering a high heat content.
You get varieties of wood pellets in the market, from the most expensive ones like the flavored ones to the blended ones that are 70% filler and 30% flavor.
If you just need them for heating purposes you can choose the standard ones that have almost no flavor profile, they generally are not food safe but perfect for fireplace and even bonfire.
The wood pellets that are designated for smoking are manufactured with an array of different hardwoods. Each hardwood has some unique properties and it imparts a distinctive flavor profile to the food. You can choose from the most popular ones that include, apple, pecan, cherry, maple, hickory, etc.
Buying your favorite pellet smoker or pellet smoker grill is not enough. You need to have good-quality wood pellets that are used as fuel. However, the flavored wood market is massive and you are bound to get confused.
This scoop will give you a plethora of information about the pellets used in smokers and guide you to choose the best pellets possible for the best outcomes.
We have seen people own pellet smokers all their life and still complain about the kind of smoke flavor they get. After some pellet grilling experimentation users frequently conclude that the sort of pellets is much more crucial than the style of the grill.
I have rounded some of the best ones and described their features in detail.
- 1 Hardwood or Softwood
- 2 Additional fillers or entirely flavored wood?
- 3 Heating Pellets Vs Cooking Pellets
- 4 Top 12 Best Pellets For Smokers In 2022
- 4.1 Best Overall: Traeger Grills PEL319 Hickory Hardwood Pellets
- 4.2 Green Mountain Grills Applewood Pellets
- 4.3 BEAR MOUNTAIN Premium Pellets
- 4.4 Pit Boss Natural Hardwood Pellets
- 4.5 Louisiana Grills Pennsylvania Cherry Wood Pellets
- 4.6 Lumber Jack Competition Blend BBQ Grilling Pellets
- 4.7 CookinPellets Perfect Mix
- 4.8 BBQr’s Delight Wood Smoking Pellets
- 4.9 Jack Daniel’s Smoking BBQ Pellets
- 4.10 Ol’ Hick Jim Beam Bourbon Cooking Pellets
- 4.11 Camp Chef Premium hardwood Pellets
- 4.12 Traeger Grills Mesquite Hardwood Pellets
- 5 What are the Best Wood Pellet Flavors?
- 6 What are smoking wood pellets? How are they made?
- 7 Difference between heating pellets and smoking pellets
- 8 FAQs
- 9 Verdict
Hardwood or Softwood
This is an ongoing argument, however, always buy pellets that are made from hardwood. Hardwood provides a clean and pure smoke flavor elevating the taste of the meat. They burn at consistent temperatures and the smoke flows smoothly which is absent in softwood.
Additional fillers or entirely flavored wood?
Pellet manufacturers incorporate fillers to lower the price of their goods. The maker of the pellets can reduce costs by mixing oak or alder, but the aroma is severely sacrificed in the process. The sort of wood you are looking for will have a higher smoke taste if you use only fully flavored hardwood.
When purchasing, particularly if the price appears too good to be true, use caution. Make sure to complete your research because certain pellet mixtures might have up to 80 percent fillers.
Heating Pellets Vs Cooking Pellets
If cooking with pellets attracts you then you must be conscious that pellets are used differently for cooking and heating. If you do not read product information carefully, you can unintentionally cook using heating pellets, which may have unforeseen health effects. In this part, we will go into more detail about the variations between heating and cooking pellets.
Heating pellets are designed just to be used as a source of heat, not for cooking. Cooking cannot be done with heating pellets.
A mix of softwoods, charcoal, as well as other materials is used to make heating pellets, which might impart a chemical flavor to your meal. Even premium heating pellets can contain leaves and wood, which have a terrible taste and might be harmful to consume. Although heating pellets for cooking are frequently less expensive than food-grade pellets, many consumers are lured to buy them. To get an alternate solution and better-tasting meals, resist the desire and purchase cooking pellets instead.
Cooking pellets are intended for cooking, as their name suggests. Heating pellets cannot be used in a grill or smoker. Remember to read the tag to see if the pellets could be used for cooking if you wish to cook with them. “Food-grade BBQ pellets” and “barbecue pellets” are other names for cooking pellets. These pellets provide your food with a greater flavor and are free of fillers and additives.
Top 12 Best Pellets For Smokers In 2022
Best Overall: Traeger Grills PEL319 Hickory Hardwood Pellets
Traeger grills is one of the popular brands when it comes to wooden pellets and these hickory wood pellets are nowhere less.
Hickory is known for its signature assertive flavor that is a popular choice in the BBQ community and chosen by many. It works great with beef, pork, chicken, and vegetables, enhancing and imparting that signature smoky flavor.
Hickory is a bit on the gentler taste profile when compared to other flavored hardwoods like mesquite, oak, or pecan.
However, if you are looking for that deep, rich, sweetish smoky flavor to your food, hickory can be a good choice for you.
Traeger wood pellets are made out of hardwood that is of unique and compact cell structure, it holds the right amount of moisture that gives you the perfect balance of burn to smoke ratio.
They burn cleanly leaving almost no trace of ash infusing that perfect smoky flavor into everything you bake, braise, grill, roast, or smoke.
Manufactured in the USA itself, these pellets are packed in a 20-pound bag, which is an ample amount to check if these pellets are working for you or not.
You don’t have to pay a much hefty price and end up with big-sized bags that are not even of your choice.
Green Mountain Grills Applewood Pellets
The applewood pellets can be a perfect choice if you appreciate the mild fruity flavor profile of applewood smoke. With these green mountain grill wood pellets, you get a perfect blend of red oak, American hickory, and applewood, that imparts a unique flavor profile to your meal.
Applewood is has a distinct flavor profile imparting that mild, fruity smoky flavor. An apple pie smoked in applewood takes the awesomeness to a whole new level and it also goes well with pork, beef, fish, chicken dishes, even vegetables, and other desserts. Have you ever tried baking quiche with applewood smoked bacon? It tastes delicious.
The pellets come packed in 28 pounds of the bag, serving you the optimum amount of fuel for the family cookouts, camping or tailgating. They are comparatively of much larger diameter than the usual wood pellets, they burn a bit longer and absorb less moisture, thus they provide you with an efficient burn with optimum heat content. You can smoke and cook meals efficiently without much worrying about the smoke and ash.
Although, there are a few complaints regarding the amount of sawdust and quality control, like the package delivered ripped, so check the package beforehand to avoid this.
BEAR MOUNTAIN Premium Pellets
Made in the USA, Bear mountain smoker pellets are all-natural hardwood, thus serving you a smooth smoking experience.
Further, these wood pellets are compatible with almost all the major brands of BBQ smokers and grills, like Pit Boss, Traeger Hill, or Green mountain grills.
Available in two different sizes of 20 lbs. and 40 lbs, bear mountain smoker pellets are available in variable blends and scents like Alder, apple, bourbon, cherry, hickory, maple, mesquite, and oak.
These are also available in two gourmet variations including Gourmet BBQ and Gourmet Blend. You can choose one or use them in several combinations that serve your taste well.
They have a low moisture content and are devoid of any additives, binders, and flavoring agents, thus these wood pellets deliver you an ample amount of heat content, without access to smoke and ash so that you can cook your meals with less hassle.
However, since the pellet size is a bit on the larger side, you might want to be careful while feeding the smoke chute.
Pit Boss Natural Hardwood Pellets
Pit Boss is a popular brand delivering world-class grills and smokers to its customers, and the Pit Boss wood pellets are delivered with the same quality standards.
They are available in two packages of 20 lbs. and 40 lbs. giving you more room to experiment with flavors and see if they work for you or not.
Moreover, you get an array of flavors ranging from apples, mesquite, hickory, or cherry including the quirky ones like the competition blends, barbecue blends, and whiskey barrel blends.
Consequently, you get to explore your taste profiles and experiment more with your meals.
The Pit Boss wood pellets are manufactured out of all-natural compressed hardwood, they are devoid of any flavoring agents, binding agents, and chemicals, thus they are completely food safe and ready to use.
Louisiana Grills Pennsylvania Cherry Wood Pellets
Next in the list of wood pellets, we have these Pennsylvania cherry wood pellets by Louisiana Grills. These pellets are packed in 40 pounds bags, thus giving you an ample quantity of wood pellets that last for months.
The brand sources the raw materials from North America, thus serving you the best of the product in terms of quality. It manufactures the wood pellets from all-natural hardwood, that is kiln dried and you get a perfect heat content to cook and smoke your meals.
This Pennsylvania blend is composed of a blend of cherry and maple in a 40:60 ratio, which leaves a slightly sweet and a bit of a tart flavor profile. If you are cooking chicken, fish, or any lighter meat, the pellets leave a slightly pink tint to it, thus adding to the overall appeal of the dish.
The gripe however is of disintegration of the pellets and the amount of sawdust the package contains. The wood pellets overall give a clean burn, with less amount of moisture and heat.
Lumber Jack Competition Blend BBQ Grilling Pellets
There is an array of flavor profiles Lumberjack serves, which include oak, apple, hickory, and one of the favorites of many the competition blend that is made out of maple, hickory, and cherry, all mixed in equal parts. You can add some strongly flavored dishes, that are grilled and smoked to perfection, to your menu with these wood pellets.
These wood pellets work with almost all the major brands of pellet grills and the two packaging of 20 pounds and 40 pounds, give you more space to consider and experiment with the flavors.
Further, the wood pellets from this brand are more on the authentic side, if you are seeking oak, the pellets delivered to you will be 100% oak with no fillers or additives.
Since these pellets are made of 100% flavor wood, they tend to give more ash which can be a problem, if you are not much into handling excess ash.
CookinPellets Perfect Mix
Cooking pellets serve you 40 pounds of wood pellets that are made of 100% hardwood and have no fillers added, like alder or oak. They blend four different flavors, namely cherry, hickory, hard maple, and apple, to deliver you the perfect mix which is ideal for smoking and grilling.
You can whip up many dishes with these wood pellets like brisket, steak, pork, or turkey, these wood pellets will provide you perfectly smoked meals almost every time.
The packaging is storage-friendly, which means you don’t have to transfer them in some container or bucket and the bag is crafted for immediate storage. Moreover, the pellets are backed by the guarantee that they will not void any grill warranties which is a bonus indeed.
Although the pellets are great for cooking and grilling, there is a tighter scope with the flavor profiles and there is less room for experimentation.
BBQr’s Delight Wood Smoking Pellets
If you are clueless as to which flavor works for you but don’t want to all those bumper bags of pellets, BBQr’s here has something that might pop your interest. It delivers you 6 small bags of wood pellets with different hardwood and blends namely, Jack Daniels, pecan, hickory, mesquite, apple, and cherry.
Each bag weighs 1 pound, which is an ample amount for almost 10 cookouts, giving you enough room to mix and combine the different flavors and see what works for you the best.
You don’t have to worry about the quality as the pellets are made in the USA and they work great with any type of smoker grills, be it gas-fueled, gas-fueled, or grills that are electrically operated. Further, they are easy to use and require no prior soaking.
Despite, luring its customers with a variety of flavors and compact packaging, the BBQ’s Delight wood pellets are a bit on the pricey side. You get only 6 pounds of wood pellets in total, which is more like a trial size for beginners.
Jack Daniel’s Smoking BBQ Pellets
Unlike the earlier mentioned pellets, these BBQ’s Delight wood pellets are delivered to you in 20 pounds bag. They are available in various flavors that include, apple, cherry, hickory, mesquite, oak, or pecan, and some quirky flavors like Jack Daniels whiskey flavor, the contest mix, and Master Your Beef mix.
The Jack Daniels smoking Pellets might be of your taste if you prefer flavors on the stronger side. They are made of 100% oak mixed with Jack Daniel’s whiskey-flavored wood. If seek fruity and more mild flavors then you might go for the flavors like Apple, hickory, or cherry.
The pellets are made of authentic natural hardwood and are food-safe, easy-to-use pellets. They are They serve you the heat content of high BTU, with less moisture and minimal ash thus you can neatly grill the consistently cooked meats, veggies, or pies with less of the worries.
They are compatible with almost all grills and smokers and blend well with other flavors. There are a few gripes about the inconsistent smoke and the need to relit them.
Ol’ Hick Jim Beam Bourbon Cooking Pellets
If you savor the warm taste of Jim Beam Bourbon and prefer them in your smoking flavor then Ol’Hick got you covered.
Manufactured out of all-natural hardwood these wood pellets work well for baking, barbecue, braising, grilling, etc, and impart a distinctive taste to your dishes and meals.
They are available in two different packaging of 20 pounds and 40 pounds each. The bags are thick and tear-resistant and are easy to carry.
Thus, you don’t need to store the pellets separately in the container, the bag keeps the pellets secure.
Moreover, the pellets are made purely out of natural oak, without any flavoring agents that mimic the bourbon flavor. It goes well with the meat dishes like beef, chicken, lobster, shrimp, pork, and even desserts.
Camp Chef Premium hardwood Pellets
Camp chef offers one of the quality wood pellets that too on a reasonable price. The pellets are manufactured through a kiln-dried process which makes the pellets super dry devoid of any moisture, thus they impart quick ignition, and a cleaner burn, with less ash.
Packed in 20 pounds bag, these pellets are natural food-grade pellets and are available in different flavors like Cherry, apple, mesquite, alder, or hickory. They go well with chicken, seafood, beef, or vegetables. My favorite is the apple, as imparts that scrumptious smoky flavor to my grilled chicken.
Like all the above-mentioned pellets, these pellets too are made in the USA from authentic raw materials, and no binders, agents, or oils are added to them. They are safe for almost all the models of pellet grills, and smokers.
Altogether, you get a good product on a reasonable budget that gives you consistent burn without disintegrating or clogging the chute tube of your smoker.
Traeger Grills Mesquite Hardwood Pellets
Last but not least is this mesquite blend by Traeger grills. The pellets, like all the other flavors, come packed in 20 pounds bag. They are great for beef dishes, you can smoke some hamburgers or some lasagna and toast some garlic bread. You have a meal ready in no time.
The subtle flavor of mesquite goes with almost all the varieties of meat and vegetables, it particularly goes well with the beef dishes and chicken dishes, or a turkey. You can even use the mesquite in combination with other flavors and see what works for you the best.
These pellets give you optimum heat content, and efficiently burn leaving almost no residual ash. They are made in the USA from all-natural and authentic raw materials with no binders or additives.
What are the Best Wood Pellet Flavors?
When we talk about the flavors of different pellets, we are discussing the sort of wood used to produce the pellet.
Smoker pellets are available in a variety of wood flavors, including less well-known woods like peach, pecan, alder, and sugar maple. The widely used woods are mesquite, hickory, apple, and cherry. Every kind has a distinctive flavor of its own, from the subtle sweetness of cherries to the nutty undertones of pecan, and can be combined with cuisines to bring out and enhance their inherent qualities. By combining several types of wood, you may also produce flavor combinations with multiple layers.
It is advisable to pick flavors that can be used on a variety of dishes when purchasing pellets for the very first time. Hickory and Apple are among the two most famous pellet aromas. Both are traditional BBQ hardwoods, and you can cook anything with either one. Hickory generates a medium-strong fragrance that can stick up to the robust flavor of beef while not overpowering pork or poultry.
Contrarily, apple generates a gentle, fruity smoke that pairs well with comfort foods like seafood as well as vegetables while yet having the substance to be used with meats like poultry and pork. Cherry wood pellets also produce great smoke rings and leave a good color on your food. Current events have promoted diverse blends, which combine diverse types of wood to produce a delicious pellet that can be used with any type of meal. These mixtures are excellent for novice grillers who want to improve their skills.
What are smoking wood pellets? How are they made?
Beginners, who have no idea about wood pellets should know that wood pellets are made from old paper, compact, crushed cubes of sawdust, agricultural or forestry waste, etc. Wood pellets are spherical and range in diameter between 1-2 cm to 6-12 mm. However, 6 mm (about 0.24 in) pellets are preferred since they offer the ideal environment for burning. They are a renewable heating source and are made from recycled items.
Sawdust is compressed in a pipe with a funnel form called a die to create wood pellets. The sawdust gets dense as it is pressed through the die. The lignin, a substance present in the cell membranes of plants, heats up and disintegrates because of the contact between the moulds as well as sawdust. It emerges from another end of the moulds as long, spherical pellets made of crushed sawdust.
These lengthy pellets are placed as smoker pellets in a smoker tube after being allowed to cool and are divided into manageable pieces. When sawdust is compressed, natural compounds are released that serve as pellet binders. Smoker pellets are devoid of binders and additives as a result.
Difference between heating pellets and smoking pellets
Heating pellets and smoker or BBQ pellets are the two diverse types of smoking wood pellets. They are not the same, despite being manufactured using the same method and material (sawdust).
Smoker wood pellets are made entirely of hardwood and therefore do not contain any binders or chemicals. They do not give much or any thought to producing heat; instead, they are mostly focused on producing certain fragrances.
In contrast, heating wood pellets are typically manufactured from a blend of hardwood and softwood. Resins and other substances found in softwoods like pine produce bitter, unpleasant smoke. A worse thing you could do as a griller is to infuse your meat with resin smoke, which is a poor idea. Bark, leaves, as well as other plant components, can be included in heating pellets as well. The flesh may become bitter or even unpalatable because of these contaminants.
To cut a long tale short, you must always use food-grade heating pellets and smoker pellets for your gas barbecue and pellet grill, respectively. Pellets for heating are designed to be eaten and used to heat a grill. On the other end, smoker pellets work well as a gas grill’s primary heat source and provide smoke to the cuisine.
How Long Do Wood Pellets Last in a Smoker?
One to three pounds of pellets are consumed every hour by a pellet barbecue. However, if it is windy or colder outside, you might burn more pellets than usual. Some types of wood pellets burn more quickly than others. This implies that you might consume more flavor-specific pellets.Finally, the quantity of the food you are cooking can influence how quickly pellets burn.
Are Wood Pellets Safe?
Wood pellets that have food-grade tags can be consumed as they are made from edible hardwood. Never buy heating pellets to prepare or consume food. These pellets could include impurities like chemical treatments or pesticides. Cooking the food with heat pellets rather than food-grade pellets will only ruin the taste and diminish the experience.
Additionally, if wood pellets have been maintained properly, smoking them is harmless. Burning wood pellets that have been subjected to moisture is not advised. The pellet may have become a poisonous habitat for mould or fungus due to moisture. The danger of sickness rises if this mould or fungus is swallowed, making it unsuitable for food processing and preparation.
Do Wood Pellets Need to be Soaked Before Use?
Moisture is not required for wood pellets. Moisture is a wood pellet’s worst nemesis. Wood pellets are comprised of sawdust, therefore immersing them in water means losing their structural integrity. While this would give the impression that wood pellets are delicate, the contrary is true. They require minimal upkeep because they do not need to be soaked in water.
A good smoking experience not just requires a smoker or a grill, it requires good fuel to go with it. Wood pellet is a clean source of energy, which is not only user-friendly but versatile in its way.
It is available in various flavors and you can choose from them that match the best to your flavor profile. If you prefer the blended wood pellets you can choose Traeger grills wood pellets, their mesquite and signature blend is one of the best-reviewed and trusted by many.
If all 100% natural hardwood is your thing you can go for Lumberjack wood pellets, they are made from 100% hardwood, and you get exactly what you have signed up for.
If you enjoy the liquor-flavored wood pellets you can choose from BBQr’s Jack Daniel whiskey flavored wood pellets or Ol’Hicks Jim beam Bourbon flavored wood pellets.
Still not sure about what kind of flavor you are looking for? You can buy little bags of wood pellets in 6 flavors from BBQr’s Delight. They are available in 6 different flavors and you can experiment with them to see what works for you.
I hope I was able to help you in your search for wood pellets. Comment down below your views, or if you have any suggestions regarding the same.