The right wood pellets can make a mediocre chef seem like a five-star one. If you think your smoking skills are the reason your meat tastes good, I’ll stop you right there. It’s always the pellet, not the meat, nor the skills!
Your choice of pellets can make or break your dinner party. With so many brands and flavors on the market, it’s only natural to get confused, especially if you like to blend multiple flavors.
In this article, I’ll give you a roundup of the best pellets for smoking, and you’ll thank me when your next dinner gathering comes around!
The 5 Best Wood Pellets for Smoking
To make sure you find your match, I’ll review five wood pellet options that taste equally good. However, they have different flavors, sizes, and prices. Stick around to meet your match.
We've tried pellets of all types, and here are some our favorites again and again. We're showing you hickory flavor in most of these pellets, but we will be sure to note what other flavors are available.
We picked hickory when possible because it is a classic BBQ wood, and easy to get started with.
Now, let's take a closer look a these pellets for pellet smokers.
CookinPellets Hickory Smoking Pellets
Don’t let the looks fool you. The CookinPellets’ package looks dull, but the wood that comes inside is what counts. Upon purchase, you get 100% hickory wood with no alder or oak filler like most brands. This is partially why this choice is more expensive than a lot of similar bags.
If you’re aiming at a luxurious choice, you came to the right option. The CookinPellets package gives you a distinct hickory taste that you’ll hardly find on the market, seeing as most brands use fillers. Additionally, you get no dust cloud, thanks to the low dust content of the pellets. That way, you can cook for long without having to add more pellets.
The package contains around 40 pounds, which is more than most brands offer in this price range. The wood you receive has been dried out, so it has low moisture, accounting for even cooked meat without cold or hot spots.
You can store the CookinPellets for up to a year, so you don’t have to worry about using them frequently. Besides, they go well with large meat pieces, including ribs and brisket.
Bear in mind that the CookinPellets have a strong smell and flavor. If you want a subtle taste in your meat, you may want to opt for another choice.
I have to admit, I didn't stumble across CookinPellets by chance. I have a friend that is at the pro level when it comes to BBQ competitions, and he recommended them to me.
Cookin Pellets are also available in: Perfect Mix (hickory, cherry, maple, apple), Cherry, and Apple Mash.
- A large quantity of pellets in one package
- Powerful taste and flavor
- 100% pure hickory with no fillers
- On the expensive side of the market
PIT BOSS BBQ Wood Pellets Hickory
If you’ve been smoking meat for years, the name ‘Pit Boss’ probably rings a bell or two. The company is one of the top market manufacturers for smokers, grills, and cooking equipment. All Pit Boss products deliver high quality and reliability, and this bag of wood pellets isn’t any different.
The package contains 40 pounds, but it costs less than the CookinPellets, making it ideal for users on a budget. On top of that, it comes without any spray scents, chemicals, dyes, or glues. You can ensure you’re getting pure smell and flavor, whatever wood flavor you choose.
The Pit Boss pellets are easy to use and burn if you’re a beginner. The natural juices seep out of the wood and bind with your food, creating a robust taste.
Pit Boss is known for pressurizing sawdust when making wood pellets. As a result, each cooking cycle produces merely 1% of ash, meaning you won’t have to replace the pellets during one cooking session. Additionally, the low ash content means your cleaning up will be a breeze, and you won’t have to worry about the ratio of fuel to air.
PIT BOSS Pellets are also available in: Maple, Oak, Apple, and Blends
- Relatively affordable price
- The pellets burn hotter than most brands
- Great value for money
- Some users reported the pellets don’t burn as long as advertised
Traeger Hickory Wood Pellets
If you’re looking for a natural taste, you’ll love the Traeger pellets. Like the CookinPellets, the package comes with only 100% natural hickory wood without fillers. That way, you get the blue smoke and the solid taste you’re aiming for, and at a pretty affordable price.
If hickory isn’t your forte, there are packages available with oak, apple, pecan, cherry, alder, and mesquite wood.
Bear in mind that the Traeger only packs 20 pounds of pellets, though. So, while you won’t pay much, you’ll have to buy again after a short time. It’s ideal for people who don’t frequently smoke and people who only host small dinners.
The Traeger pellets aren’t only perfect for smoking, but they also work for grilling, roasting, braising, barbecuing, and baking just fine. The versatility is my favorite feature in these pellets, along with the pure hardwood taste they deliver.
Traeger pellets are also available in Apple, Cherry, Hickory, Maple, Mesquite, Oak, Pecan, Signature Blend, Texas Beef Blend, Turkey.
- Natural 100% hardwood taste
- Perfect for smoking brisket
- Consistent taste and smell
- The package only contains 20 pounds
Hickory Flavor BBQR's Delight Smoking BBQ Pellets
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BBQR's Delight is another premium brand when it comes to BBQ pellets. These pellets are loved by many, and come in a very wide variety of flavors.
In fact, if you’re a fan of blending, you may also want to take a look at this variety of packages by BBQr's Delight.
You get six bags with six different flavors, and each bag contains one pound of pellets. While the pellets cost a lot more than any other option on this list, they’re a wonderful solution for people who like to blend flavors without the hassle of buying each bag separately.
The flavors you get include pecan, cherry, apple, mesquite, and hickory woods. There’s also one Jack Daniels bag included. The pellets work perfectly well with smokers and grills, whether they’re electric or gas-powered.
The BBQr’s set is expensive, so make sure only to get it if you know your way around smoking. If you’re a beginner, there are a lot of more affordable options. The set also serves as a perfect gift for smoking-enthusiasts.
Back to these BBQR's delight hickory pellets. These are another very popular brand when it comes to BBQ pros and enthusiasts.
BBQR's delight flavors include: Hickory, Mesquite, Pecan, Cherry, Apple, Jack Daniels, Mulberry, Herb, and more!
Single flavor pellets come in 20 pound bags, you can find them here.
- The set is perfect for wood blends
- No soaking needed for the pellets
- The pellets work for any type of grill or smoker
- On the expensive side of the market
Bear Mountain BBQ 100% All-Natural Hardwood Pellets Mesquite Flavor
The Bear Mountain pellets are highly versatile. You can use them for smoking pork, chicken, beef, veggies, or fish. On top of that, there are multiple flavors for you to pick from, including mesquite, apple, cherry, alder, pecan, and maple.
To add to the versatility, the wood pellets work perfectly well on a number of smokers and grills, including electric, charcoal, and gas-powered options.
If you’re a fan of mesquite, you’ll love this package. The flavor is powerful and smoky—just like you want it. The only downside to this bag is the fact that it only packs 20 pounds, which means it won't suffice for large gatherings. However, it’s pretty good for family dinners, although you’ll have to buy more eventually. A larger package would have typically been better.
The Bear Mountain package contains no binding agents, additives, fillers, or chemicals. The pure wood blends account for a natural taste with a smoky edge. Besides, the 5% moisture in the wood allows it to burn at high temperatures and for long hours.
You won’t see a lot of ash with these wood pellets, so your cleaning mission will hopefully be easy.
Bear Mountain Flavors include: Hickory (currently sold out), Apple, Alder, Cherry, Gourmet Blend
- Ideal for smoking beef
- The wood burns hot and long
- Minimal ash content produced
- On the expensive side of the market
Everything You Need to Know About Picking Wood Pellets for BBQ
If you’re yet to make a decision about pellets, these answers may help you. Dealing with pellets generally needs some experience, so some frequently asked questions from users may give you some insight.
How long do wood pellets burn?
It depends on many factors, including your cooking temperature, the grill size, the insulation, and the type of wood you use. The outdoor temperature may also affect it.
It should take an hour to burn 1–3 pounds of wood pellets as a rule of thumb, depending on the previously mentioned factors.
If your smoker has good insulation, it’ll need fewer pellets because they’ll burn for longer. Meanwhile, less-insulated smokers will go through pellets faster, especially if the grilling heat is high.
Should I leave the pellets in the hopper?
You can leave them, but the humidity will get them moist and affect their smoky taste. The best thing you can do is empty the hopper out regularly so you prevent getting them moist. Moist pellets can grow mold, which will need deep cleaning afterward,
Do wood pellets need soaking?
No, good wood pellets shouldn’t need any soaking. Although a lot of people do it, it’s not recommended. Pellet manufacturers make sure to include around 5% moisture in the wood so they eliminate the need for soaking.
Soaking wood pellets will cause them to heat poorly, and it’ll affect their ability to produce the smokey smell people love.
Choosing the Best Wood Pellets for Your BBQ
Let's take a look at these amazing options when it comes to wood pellets for BBQ one more time. There truly is something for everyone in this guide!
My top pick out of the list above is undoubtedly the CookinPellets Hickory Smoking Pellets. The package comes with 40 pounds, which is great for the price it comes with. Additionally, the hickory taste is 100% pure without any additives or oak and alder fillers. This one was also recommended to me by a great BBQr!
If you're looking for the more premium side of things, consider the No products found.. The great thing about BBQR's delight is they have many different size options, and even sample packs.
Another fantastic premium option are the Bear Mountain BBQ 100% All-Natural Hardwood Pellets Mesquite Flavor which also come in a wide variety of flavors. This is the Mesquite option, because the Hickory is so popular it is sold out!
Next, we have the manufacturer pellets. One misnomer is that if you have a Traeger grill, you have to use Traeger pellets! This isn't true at all!
If you've recently gotten a Traeger grill and are a bit intimidated, they I 100% recommend the Traeger Hickory Wood Pellets for peace of mind.
The same goes for the Pit Boss pellets. If you are a new Pit Boss owner, and new to the world of pellets, the PIT BOSS BBQ Wood Pellets Hickory is a great way to get started!
We hope you found this guide helpful in picking your new favorite BBQ wood pellets for smoking. Enjoy!
Last update on 2022-08-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API