If smoking your food hasn’t resulted in the flavor you were after, you’re probably searching for a new blend of wood pellets to try – and that’s perfectly understandable.
And what you’ve most likely discovered during that search is that there’s a wide variety of wood pellets available on the market – and not all of them are created equal.
So, how do you pick the best wood pellets for smoking?
That’s one of the many questions I plan on answering here today, so be sure to stick around!
Table of Contents
- Top 9 Best Wood Pellets for Smoking of 2021
- #1. Camp Chef Bag of Premium Applewood Pellets for Smoker – Best Wood Pellets For Smoking
- #2. CookinPellets 40PM Perfect Mix – Best All-Purpose Blend
- #3. Pit Boss BBQ Wood Pellets Competition Blend – Best Value Wood Pellets For Smoking
- #4. CookinPellets 40H Hickory Smoking Pellets – Best Hickory Wood Pellets
- #5. BBQrs Delight Wood Smoking Pellets Super Smoker Variety Pack – A Little Bit Of Everything
- #6. RecTec Grills Ultimate Blend Pellets – Best Wood Pellets Blend
- #7. Traeger PEL319 Hickory 100% All-Natural Hardwood Grill Pellets – Not Quite What It Seemsg
- #8. Bear Mountain BBQ 100% All-Natural Hardwood Pellets - Best Variety of Flavors
- #9. PIT BOSS 55436 BBQ Wood Pellets - Best for Beginners
- How to Pick the Best Wood Pellets for Smoking: Buying Guide
- Final Verdict
Originally used as a fuel or heat source due to their cost-effectiveness and renewability, wood pellets have slowly made their way to our grills and smokers, too.
I love them for their convenience and the mouth-watering aroma I get whenever I use them.
So, if you’re not quite sure whether or not wood pellets for smoking are worth it, let me list a few reasons why you’re making the right choice here:
Top 9 Best Wood Pellets for Smoking of 2021
Below you’ll find my in-depth reviews of the best wood pellets for smoking that the market has to offer. You’ll surely find the perfect blend for your smoker here!
Although blends are a legitimate option, maybe that’s not what you’re after here, and you want wood pellets that aren’t a part of any combination – 100-percent pure flavored wood, without the fillers? If that’s the case, I’d like to introduce you to these Premium Applewood Pellets by Camp Chef!
As you can tell by now, the main thing that gives this product an edge over the competitors is the fact that there are no blends here.
Besides the so-called “fillers,” the oils, binders, flavors, and other additives are another thing you won’t find listed in the ingredients for these pellets.
What you’re getting here is 100-percent virgin apple hardwood; nothing more and nothing less.
It’s no wonder that they’ll give such an amazing smoky flavor to your food!
And yes, they’re suitable for any brand of grill or smoker you might have, from Traeger to Pit Boss, and anything in between.
Overall, I consider this a high-quality option – and the price isn’t that bad, either.
If you’re currently experimenting with different flavored wood and thinking of adding a touch of smoky apple taste to your food, I strongly recommend grabbing one of these 20-pound bags, too.
Okay, it’s pretty hard to argue with a product that’s confident enough to call itself the “Perfect Mix,” especially when it lives up to its name!
Inside this 40-pound bag of wood pellets for smoking is a blend of four types of hardwoods – a hickory base combined with hard maple, cherry, and apple – that offers an outstanding level of diversity and flavored smoke.
And it’s this diversity that lends this blend of wood pellets its unique aroma and versatility, making it one of the best all-purpose blends for smoking currently on the market. The beauty of it is that you can’t go wrong!
The blend is made from heartwoods – only the center of the log is used – which means they’re bark-free, and burn reasonably clean with a minimal amount of ash. Moreover, it doesn’t contain any additives, oils, or filler woods, such as oak or alder. What you’re getting is a genuine 100-percent mixture of hardwoods.
While the mild smoke flavor they produce might not be everyone’s cup of tea, I won’t hold it against this product – it’s mostly a matter of preference, anyway. That said, if you prefer a more potent flavor, this may not be the blend for you.
Although I’m not afraid of spending more to ensure top-level performance, I’m a best-bang-for-the-buck type of guy.
So, when I first saw the price tag on these, of course, I decided to give them a try – and once I did, I knew it was a product worth recommending to you guys, too!
In the world of grilling and smoked meat, Pit Boss is a force to be reckoned with – time after time, they manage to make some of the best wood pellets for smoking I came across, and this Competition Blend was no different.
The blend contains three types of wood – maple, hickory, and cherry wood – which, when combined like this, give outstanding results smoke and flavor-wise, no matter what you’re cooking.
More importantly, these all come from sustainable sources and are made without the use of chemicals, additives, and artificial binders. As such, they’re suitable for a wide range of grills and smokers, and they burn clean, too, without leaving a ton of ash in their wake.
Oh, and one more thing – you’re getting two 40-pound bags here. Do the math, and you’ll see that a deal like this is, in fact, a steal!
Hickory wood pellets seem to be one of the most popular options among barbecue and smoking enthusiasts, and with good reason, too – the robust and unique flavor it brings to the table is pure perfection.
But to get the best flavor profile possible, rather than using cheaper filler wood with added oils, you should opt for genuine hickory wood – and that’s precisely what CookinPellets has to offer.
Since you’re getting 100-percent hickory wood pellets here, rest assured that the smoky flavor is going to be on point. That's what I like about CookinPellets as a brand
Their products are 100-percent what they say they are – no gimmicks, and no oak or alder fillers.
Another thing worth mentioning is that they’re low-moisture and burn relatively clean, too, which means that there’s not a lot of ash for you to clean up afterward. That’s always a plus in my book.
And while there’s a general consistency in size and shape, I did find quite a few larger pieces that needed to be broken up to avoid clogging the feeder. It’s more of an inconvenience than an actual issue, but it was worth noting, nonetheless.
It’s understandable if you’re not ready to commit to large 40-pound bags straight away – you should try a few different things before you know what works for you, right?
That’s why I’m here to offer you the perfect solution – this BBQ’rs Delight Super Smoker Variety Pack!
Featuring six of their signature flavors – apple, cherry, pecan, hickory, mesquite, and last, but not least, Jack Daniel’s – these one-pound bags will let you experiment, mix and match all these different aromas to find precisely what works for you.
And who knows, maybe you end up creating your signature blend along the way, too!
Another thing worth noting is that these are not blends – each bag contains nothing but pure hardwood, as stated on the label.
For example, hickory pellets are made from 100-percent hickory wood, and apple pellets are made from 100-percent applewood, without any added “filler woods.” You get the picture.
What I don’t like is the price. I mean, it’s a great deal versatility-wise, but considering the amount you're getting here, the cost seems a bit high.
That said, if you’re scouting for new flavoring pellets, these are, by far, your best bet!
Another option worth considering, and one that certainly deserves a spot on my list of the best wood pellets for smoking is the Ultimate Blend Pellets by RecTec.
Let’s start with the most obvious thing – the composition of these pellets. What you’ll find inside this 40-pound bag is a mixture of oak and hickory wood, made from 100-percent natural, fresh hardwood, and free of additives, as well.
Upon opening the bag, you’ll notice two things – the smell of fresh wood, and the uniform size and shape of the pellets that make them suitable for automated grills and smokers, too.
Not only is the quality of the blend undeniable – the flavor is, too. If you enjoy an intense, smoky flavor, these pellets might be the best choice for you.
As I’ll explain later, in a blend such as the oak and hickory one we have here, the base hardwood to flavored wood ratio can be a deciding factor. Unfortunately, though, I couldn’t find any exact information about the contents of this blend anywhere on the packaging.
It’s not a deal-breaker, but it was somewhat disappointing to see that the manufacturer didn’t specify the composition of their blend.
Traeger is easily one of the most trusted names in the industry, and unless you’ve been living under a rock, you couldn’t miss hearing about their pellet smokers. And what kind of brand would make pellet grills without launching their line of wood pellets, too?
Made from 100-percent natural, virgin hardwood that was sustainably sourced, these pellets are free of any binding agents and fillers, which is always a plus. They burn slow and clean, too, which means there’s much less ash for you to clean up later.
The rich hickory flavor was so beautiful and mouth-watering that it almost fooled me.
If you’re under the impression that you’re paying for hickory wood pellets here, I hate to break it to you, but you’re wrong – these are base hardwood pellets that had hickory oil added to them, rather than genuine hickory.
However, this doesn’t have to be a total deal-breaker – opting for oil-flavored hardwood comes with the advantage of combining all the natural aromas of flavored wood with the efficient burn rate of oak and alder.
Overall, you can’t go wrong with the pure flavor profile of hickory pellets – especially when they come from a trusted brand like Traeger.
The Bear Mountain is one of Amazon’s best-selling pellets, and it’s for a reason as well! So, when I tell you you will be amazed by the wide selection of Bear Mountain’s pellet flavors, I genuinely mean so! But, let’s not drag along and tell you what you can expect out of these hardwood pellets.
You can pick from various flavors ranging from cherry, alder, apple, gourmet blend, hickory, maple, pecan, and mesquite! Talk about diversity!
If this is your first time purchasing hardwood pellets, we strongly advise you to go with this brand as you can choose from so many types of wood and give the meat the extra zest.
Moreover, we highly appreciate that these hardwood pellets are made from pure wood without fillers, binders, or bark! Therefore, you can only expect pure quality and clean smoke each time.
What most of the customers found to be exquisite was their consistency during moisture. With an even 5% moisture, the pellets won’t clog up the auger. As this is the issue with most of the pellets, Bear Mountain offers exceptional performance.
Their unique consistency delivers a consistent burn with a reliable smoke level. This is mainly because the base of these pellets is oak and alder wood. This can be an issue for some searching for 100% one wood structure, but for us, Bear Mountain is an unbeatable pick.
Next up, we have the Pit Boss hickory wood pellets. If you haven’t heard of their famous grills, we strongly suggest you take a look at the first and then see why we value their pellets so much!
But, if you are a grilling fanatic, you have heard of the name Pit Boss! Not only do they manufacture grills, smokers, but they deliver exquisite grilling equipment as well.
We always trust a brand that has been around the market for decades, delivering products all chefs love! This 40-pound pellet bag is ideal for those on a budget or who want to try out a new brand of pellets.
If you are looking for premium quality, you can rest sure knowing that Pit Boss offers nothing less. The bag of pellets contains no chemicals, additives, or scents. Instead, you will get only a pure wood aroma that will deliver the most delicious meat!
If this is your first time purchasing pellets for a smoker, we suggest you start with the Pit Boss. These pellets are beginner-friendly as they burn rather nicely.
What we love the most is that they do not create a mess after a cooking session. PIT BOSS 55436 works by pressuring sawdust, so it will only leave nearly 1% of ash behind. There is no need to replace a new pellet every time you decide to get creative in the cooking area.
How to Pick the Best Wood Pellets for Smoking: Buying Guide
You’ve seen what the market has to offer, which leaves us with one more essential question: How do you pick the best wood pellets for smoking that will add that perfect flavor kick to your food?
Let’s find out together!
1. Watch Out For Moisture Content
The moisture content of your wood pellets will make a significant impact on your smoker’s performance.
A lower moisture level not only makes it easier to fire the wood pellets up but generates more heat than the higher moisture varieties in the same amount of time, as well.
My recommendation is to focus your search on wood pellets with the moisture content of 6.5 percent or lower.
You’ll find high-quality, premium-grade options with less than five percent of moisture in them, and even though they may cost more, the investment will be worth it in the long run.
2. Low Ash Content Matters, Too
Another factor worth considering is the amount of ash produced by burning wood pellets.
Low-quality products often end up producing excessive amounts of ash, which could mess with your smoker’s ability to regulate cooking temperatures, cause it to run less efficiently, and lead to abnormal temperature fluctuations, too.
One way to prevent that is to look for wood pellets with low ash content.
3. Bark or No Bark?
Some manufacturers will remove bark before producing their pellets, while others will keep it on, which causes a lot of confusion among consumers.
Should you go with bark or no bark, then?
Bark smolders rather well and ensures a lot of smoke, and it may seem like a no-brainer, but here’s the thing.
Using wood pellets that contain bark could lead to inconsistent burning and excess ash production.
Hardwood and bark will burn at different temperatures and produce different levels of heat.
Moreover, you’ll end up with a lot more ash when the bark is involved, which could further interfere with the smoker’s ability to control the temperature.
4. What About Fillers?
You may think you’re buying pellets made from a specific type of wood, but what the label often doesn’t tell you – at least not explicitly, anyway – is that you’re usually getting a blend of that particular wood and a more common, neutral one, such as oak or alder, used as a “filler.”
One of the main reasons why this is done is to keep the price of wood pellets down.
If you’re okay with spending more to get 100-percent flavored wood pellets, go for it, but if you’re looking to save some money, blends can be a decent option, too, as long as you pay attention to the flavored wood to “filler” ratio.
Is there a difference in smoking pellets?
Smoking pellets come in various wood flavors, so you can pick the one that works the best for you. Some grillers like to pair the specific kind of wood pellet to the type of meat they smoke.
Generally, you will get a unique aroma based on the type of wood you choose. For example, applewood pellets are great for universal cooking, while oak is best mixed for veggie grills.
Which wood pellets are the best for smoking?
The best wood pellets for smoking are the Camp Chef. These wood pellets are made from 100% natural food-grade pellets. If you search for a pure wood pellet for smoking and avoid blends at all costs, then the Camp Chef is the right choice for you.
These are the pure apple hardwood which is magnificent for smoking chicken, lamb, pork, but you can also use it for universal cooking!
Do pellets smoke better than wood chips?
We have to give an advantage to wood chips when it comes to smoking performance. Although pellets do a fantastic job at smoking, they only work with a specific type of smoker, while chips can be used in all classes.
Wood chips will also serve a better smoky aroma to the meat, veggies, or other produce you are smoking.
Can wood pellets be used in a regular smoker?
You can use wood pellets only in a pellet smoker, which is often called an offset smoker. They are best used for cold smoking as they will burn longer and offer consistent, clean smoke for the process.
Pellets can also be used in grills, but they proved to do a better job at smoking meat.
Are pellet smokers expensive to use?
When you compare pellet smokers with gas or electric ones, you would see that they are relatively expensive. They range from $500 to $5,000, which is a significant investment! But, of course, models that are advanced and acquire a high-quality build are significantly expensive.
You will also need to repurchase pellet woods which can often be pricey, but the usage of pellet smokers is versatile and will deliver the best smoking results.
Now that you’ve reached the end of this article, I’m sure you’ve learned enough to make an informed purchase decision – but here’s a little extra help, anyway
Out of all the different blends and pure hardwood pellets I’ve tried, the Camp Chef Bag of Premium Applewood Pellets for Smoker is the one that stood out; the flavor profile, the price, the wood used – everything about it seems high-quality.
That’s why this product is my top choice as the best wood pellets for smoking, and one I’d recommend to you guys, too!
What are your go-to wood pellets for adding that smoky touch to your food? Let me know in the comments below!
As always, stay safe and have fun creating new smoky flavors!
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