In the mood for a barbeque with your friends and family? Whether you prefer the mild and sweet flavor of maple and beech or the rich flavor of hickory and mesquite, using wooden pellets will make smoking food very easy. Fortunately for you, we’ve put together a list of some of the best wood pellets for smoking in 2023.
A great alternative for traditional forms of smokers and barbeques, pellets bring out a distinct and satisfying taste. Whether you’re a pro-smoker or new to the grills, with this article, you will know all the best wood pellets for smoking brisket and other cuts of meat.
Moreover, we will also go into the details you need to know before buying wood pellets. Once you’re through with this article, you’ll know everything there is to know about wood pellets.
- 1 The 5 Best Wood Pellets for Smoking for 2023 Reviews
- 1.1 1. CookingPellets 40PM Perfect Mix
- 1.2 2. Traeger PEL319 Hickory
- 1.3 3. Lumberjack 100-Percent Maple Wood BBQ Grilling Pellets
- 1.4 4. RectTec Grills Ultimate Blend Pellets
- 1.5 5. BBQrs Delight Wood Smoking Pellets – Super Smoker Variety Value Pack
- 2 Using Wood Pellets in a Smoker
- 3 Best Wood Pellets For Smoking Buying Guide
- 4 How to Use Pellets?
- 5 How to Make Wood Pellets
- 6 Conclusion
The 5 Best Wood Pellets for Smoking for 2023 Reviews
You won’t be surprised to know that there’s a wide variety of pellets available in the market. There are so many that you might have a difficult time choosing the right one. Don’t worry, though, we have you covered. After some research, we’ve compiled some of the best wood pellets for pellet smokers. Ready to dig a little deeper?
1. CookingPellets 40PM Perfect Mix
Perfect for short cooking and long smokes, the CookingPellets 40 PM Perfect Mix is a hickory base mixed with hard maple, apple, and cherry.
These pellets are produced from the center of the log, no bark is used in the manufacturing process either. Wood bark usually has quite a lot of lignin. To clarify, there is less lignin in these particular pellets.
Moreover, it does not contain any additives such as oak or alder, as these are oil and filler woods.
For some, the flavor produced by these pellets might be too mild, so keep your preferences in mind when purchasing wood pellets. One downside of these pellets is that they might not be appropriate to use in all grills. We suggest you check first to see if these pellets are compatible with your grill.
- Hickory base mix
- Mild flavor
- No additives
- Great for long smokes and short grilling
- The flavor might be too mild for some
- Might not be suitable for all grills
2. Traeger PEL319 Hickory
Next up on our list of the best wood pellets for smoking is the Traeger PEL319 Hickory. Made with 100% pure hardwood, this 20 lb bag of pellets contains no artificial additives or fillers. These hickory pellets offer a strong and rich flavor to a wide variety of meat, including but not limited to beef, poultry, pork, and vegetables.
Traeger uses sawdust to manufacture its pellets from existing hardwood without harvesting any trees. These pellets are a bit larger than most pellets, so you may have to break them to ensure faster and uniform heating if you have a smaller grill.
This can be a little inconvenient. As with all pellets, you need to protect these pellets from moisture. Otherwise, they will turn to dust.
If you’re on a budget, these pellets are a great option for you. They offer quality at a reasonable cost.
- Strong and rich hickory flavor
- Sustainable timber
- Ideal for a wide variety of food
- 20lb compact bag
- Pellets are a bit large
- Need to be protected from moisture
3. Lumberjack 100-Percent Maple Wood BBQ Grilling Pellets
Made from actual tree bark and the cambium layer, the LumberJack premium pellets are made mostly of hickory wood. Given that they’re made of tree bark, they bring out more flavor in comparison to residual wood. Furthermore, these pellets do not contain any oil or additives in them.
Due to their small diameter, these pellets provide more surface area for burning and smoking. Moreover, they also produce a minimum amount of ash.
The composition of chemicals and ash has been tested independently for these food graded pellets are made by blending the fiber before the wood pellets are compressed into shape. So, unlike its competitors that mix different types of pellets in a bag, Lumber Jack has pre-blended pellets in a variety of flavors.
However, the downside of using these pellets is that because these are mostly hickory, they can easily over smoke.
- Mostly hickory wood
- Pellets with small diameter
- No additives or oils
- Tested for ash and chemical composition
- Can over smoke very easily
4. RectTec Grills Ultimate Blend Pellets
Made from 100% natural hardwood, the RectTec Grills Ultimate Blend Pellets are a blend of oak and hickory. They’ll provide your meat with a delicious, strong, and rich flavor. These pellets are also suitable for all types of grills and provide consistent quality.
During the production process, these pellets are compressed in such a way that it produces a dense form of wood, making these pellets denser than any hardwood log. This allows the pellets to store large amounts of energy. Moreover, thanks to the way they’re produced and their uniform size, you can enjoy consistent and reliable grilling.
However, these particular pellets are a bit pricey and can have an unpleasant smell when inside the bag.
- Oak & Hickory blend
- Consistent quality
- Uniform size pellets
- Can store large amounts of energy
- A bit pricey
- Pellets smell unpleasant when in bag
5. BBQrs Delight Wood Smoking Pellets – Super Smoker Variety Value Pack
The final entry on our list of best wood pellets for grilling is the BBQrs Delight Wood Smoking Pellets Super Smoker Variety Value Pack. This one is for those of you who’re playing a big barbeque party or want to stock up for the month. This value pack contains one-pound bags of a variety of flavors such as apple, hickory, mesquite, cherry, pecan, and jack daniels.
Each bag can last up to 10 days. These pellets are super easy to use, and you don’t have to worry about soaking them. Moreover, these work pretty well with all sorts of grills. You can also use the different flavors to come up with your own blend of pellets.
As the processing of these pellets generates heat, any risk of contamination is eliminated. So, these pellets are quite safe to use.
The only downside is that these are a little pricey, but since you’re getting a wide variety in bulk quantity, it sort of balances the price out.
- Easy to use
- Suitable for all grills
- Available in a variety of flavors
- Safe to use
- A bit pricey
Using Wood Pellets in a Smoker
Best Wood Pellets For Smoking Buying Guide
By now, you’re aware of all the best wood pellets for grilling in the market, let’s move on to look more closely at wood pellets themselves.
What are Smoking Wood Pellets?
If you’ve ever been to a lumber mill, you’ll see small pieces of wood and sawdust all over the place. These usually comprise of the waste that comes from the cutting of lumber. That is to say, the sawdust is re-purposed and compressed to form wood pellets.
During the process of compression, natural substances are released from the sawdust, these are initially soft but then harden. This allows the sawdust to maintain its shape. Generally, wood pellets are cylindrical.
Difference Between Heating Pellets and Smoking Pellets
A very important thing to understand from the start is the difference between heating pellets and smoking pellets. Heating pellets are usually made from hardwood that has insecticide and various chemicals on it. These pellets are specifically made to be used in pellet stoves for heating purposes. It is very dangerous to use these as smoking wood pellets.
Smoking wood pellets are made from wood that is safe to use for smoking food. Made specifically for pellet grills, smoking wood pellets are available in a wide variety, as we will see later on.
Different Flavors for Wood Pellets
Made from different types of woods, you can decide the right flavor according to the type of food you will be smoking. Each type of hardwood pellet has different characteristics that can enhance specific flavors of your barbeque. Let’s look at some of the most popular hardwood flavors.
- Alder – This is perfect for smoking fish and poultry. Certainly, it adds a mix of subtle smokey flavor with a hint of natural sweetness.
- Maple – The mild and sweet flavor of maple brings out the taste in foods such as poultry, vegetables, and cheese. Maple also helps darken the meat. Moreover, it works well when combined with other types of pellets, such as oak, alder, or apple.
- Beech – Perfect for adding a mild flavor to seafood and meats.
- Apple – You can use apple-flavored pellets with a variety of food. Some people use it with pork and ham, while others prefer it for poultry and lamb too. Some even use it for smoking seafood or beef. However, it might produce a flavor that might be, for some, a bit too mild for red meat.
On the plus side, apple-flavored wood pellets are also blending woods. This means you can mix them up with other pellets to bring out specific flavors. Therefore, you can consider mixing them with oak or mesquite.
- Mulberry – This works great to enhance the flavor of apple pellets.
- Cherry – If you want to turn your meat into a mahogany color, then this pellet is the one for your barbeque. Moreover, this works great with a wide range of meat. It is also a blending wood and can be mixed with oak, pecan, alder, or hickory.
- Grape – These pellets add a tart and fruity flavor to your meat. You can smoke pork, poultry, lamb, sausages, and even game birds with these pellets. However, we suggest using this in small quantities as using too much might give you a strong tarty flavor. Trust us, you don’t want that to happen.
- Olive – These pellets replicate a flavor similar to that of mesquite, only not as strong. Olive wood pellets work well with poultry
- Oak – Oakwood pellets tend to produce quite a lot of heat. These pellets add a medium smoke flavor to the meat. Furthermore, this works well as a blending wood.
- Pear or Peach – These add a mild fruit and sweet flavor to the medium smoky flavor. This is a great pick for poultry.
- Hickory – Hickory wood pellets are great from adding a strong, smoky, and sweet flavor to your barbeque. This works well with all sorts of meats, from ribs to bacon, it brings out the essence of the meat. However, do be careful, your meat might end up tasting bitter if you over smoke.
- Pecan – Not as strong as hickory, but pecan wood pellets, being a cooler burning wood, add a delicate flavor to your food. These are perfect for both pork and poultry. Word of caution, though, over smoking or using too many pellets might cause your food to become bitter and pungent.
- Walnut – Walnut pellets are a favorite for game and red meats. These add a strong and bitter flavor to you meat, which is why we suggest mixing these with another flavor of wood pellets.
- Mesquite – Ideal for darker meats, mesquite is an oily wood that burns fast and produces quite a lot of heat. If you’re new to the grill, we suggest you be a little careful with this one. You can start by mixing this with pellets of another flavor and also by decreasing the smoking time of food until you’re more used to these pellets.
You might end up with harsh and bitter meat if you don’t use this properly. Once you have an idea of how these pellets work, you can enjoy strong, earthy flavors of the meat.
How to Use Pellets?
You can use your wood pellets in almost any charcoal grill – given, they must be smoking pellets and not heating pellets. You can simply mix them up with your charcoal and get grilling. If you’re a bit hesitant about how to use the pellets, fret not. We’ll guide you through the whole process.
- Start by switching your grill on. Fire up some charcoal.
- Once the charcoal is hot and burning, add a generous amount of wooden pellets under the rock grate.
- Normally, the pellets will ignite after a short period. This is your cue to start grilling. You want to catch the nice smoky, woody flavor.
- Lastly, close the lid and let your food bask in the smoke. Be sure to keep track of the time.
You can just use wood pellets if you want. However, do keep in mind that when used on their own, wood pellets burn out quickly. You may also add a foil or smoker box to slow down the process. Normally, ⅓ cups of wood pellets can burn for up to half an hour.
How to Make Wood Pellets
Wood pellets can add a lot of flavor to your barbeque. They help bring out the richness and essence of the food. Moreover, the variety of flavors available cater to different palates. You can also experiment with different flavors of meats and vegetables with some of these best wood pellets for smoking.
So, if you’re a barbeque lover, we suggest you test out some of these best wood pellets for grilling.