Grill wood pellets take food and meat to a new level, imparting a range of delicate flavors. From hickory to apple, learn which grill granules go with which type of food. Complete your pellet smoker setup with our guide to the best wood pellets for grilling.
Wood pellet smoking is a cleaner, more efficient alternative to gas or charcoal fuel. it’s important to know what you’re getting for the right conditions. Some burn longer, some burn longer, and some offer different flavors. Depending on the meat you are smoking you may want different pellets.
You can set up the right pellet smoker , but if you don’t use the right type of wood, you risk ruining your food. You don’t want to invest in a large batch of pellets only to find out they aren’t compatible with your grill or are of inferior quality.
My guide to the best wood pellets for grilling makes using your pellet grill a breeze. I’ll show you my top 5 options before walking YOU through the top things YOU should look for in grill wood. Let’s get into that.
Camp Chef Competition Blend
Camp Chef has been in the firewood business for a long time and these smoker pellets are the perfect example. They are a beautiful blend of 100% natural granules that burn cleanly and evenly.
In the mix is a blend of premium hardwoods including cherry, maple and hickory. These combine beautifully for a balanced and subtle flavor that pairs well with most smoked grilled meats.
Some people prefer to blend their own hardwoods, but Camp Chef did a good job of blending them for a more natural flavor.
One of the best signs of good wood pellets is that they leave little ash or dust behind after use. These Camp Chef Granules are no different. It has earned its reputation as an excellent all-round fuel.
Perfect Blend of Cooking Pellets
This is another wood pellet blend, but this time using a blend of four different wood species to create a nuanced, layered flavor profile. It combines maple, apple, cherry and hickory to offer a smoking wood that complements a variety of grilled meats.
CookinPellets is a premium brand and these BBQ pellets do not disappoint. They are free of any fillers, so there is no oil or inferior wood(eg alder). It is nothing more than high quality wood fuel for your smoker.
It’s called the perfect mix and it’s hard not to agree.
- Only the top 4 hardwoods
- 100% of what we say is NOT on oak or alder putty
- 100% hardwood
Camp Chef Premium Applewood
Another Camp Chef wood pellet, but this time it’s not a mix. Instead, we have applewood grill pellets that go perfectly with any brand of grill. Made from pure applewood, this pack has a little more flavor than any combo pack you can get your hands on. However, if you want something with a smoky apple scent, then this is for you. It’s the perfect choice for pork and poultry, as well as smoked cheeses . It can be blended with alder wood for a smokier and more balanced aroma.
Contains no fillers and is only high quality apple hardwood. It leaves no ash or dust quickly, and its hardwood composition ensures minimal and clean smoke.
Pit Boss BBQ Competition Mix
With a name like “Pit Boss” you’ll get everyone’s attention. They are indeed a big name in the smoking world and are responsible for some of the best wood pellet grills in the world.
Your grill wood pellet mix comes in two types: hickory or apple. In terms of quality, there is no difference between the two, it is just your personal taste preferences.
Completely free of fillers or chemicals, their North American wood provides you with superior pellets that burn hot and clean. This gives you an excellent aromatic quality and hardly any ash residue after grilling.
Its competing combination is a mix of walnut, cherry and maple hardwoods, making it a great alternative if you can’t decide between walnut or apple.
Traeger Hickory BBQ
Traeger IS the brand behind one of my favorite wood pellet grills, so it’s only fitting that they are behind some of my favorite wood pellet grills.
These granules are among the purest you can get. They contain no fillers and are made from 100% hardwood. They burn cleanly and carry your food with a nice smoky aroma.
They’re pure hickory rather than a mix, but still pair well with beef, pork, and venison.
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Not sure where to start when choosing fuel for your pellet smoker? YOU should pay attention to this when choosing your wood.
When choosing your pellets, choose something that is 100% hardwood. This means it’s free of fillers and chemicals and burns cleanly with minimal impact on the environment or your food.
One of the best things about grilling is the ability to use wood pellets or chips to add extra flavor to your meat of choice. Woods such as apple, maple and hickory can be added to the smoke, which can be combined to take the meat to the next level.
The popularity of wood pellets is related in part to how quickly they ignite and heat up compared to charcoal . In fact, the time it takes them to reach optimum temperatures is almost the same as the gas dying. That’s amazing considering it’s much more of an “organic” fuel source.
What Are Wood Pellets for Grilling?
What I love about wood pellets is the flavor they add to the grill. With gas or charcoal grills, you simply don’t have that choice.
These small pellets are made from recycled wood and sawdust, which usually comes from scrap wood found in sawmills. The wood IS broken down into tiny pieces before being formed into small, dry pieces.
Be careful not to buy heating pellets and alternate them with wood pellets for grilling. These are designed to heat homes and not be thrown on your grill.
What Flavors Are There in Wood Pellets?
This is where you can really experiment. To find the right flavor pastille for you, you experiment and try different ones until you end up with what you like.
However, some certainly complement different meats better than others.
For example, if you’re smoking turkey with wood pellets , it’s going to be something much easier than if you were to cook brisket.
Here are some combinations you might want to try.
|Alder||Beef, pork, salmon, poultry, fish, game|
|Apple||Poultry, pork, lamb, seafood, vegetables|
|Cherry||pork, poultry, beef|
|Hickory||Pork, beef, game|
|Maple||Poultry, beef, pork, vegetables, cheese|
|Mesquite||Beef, game, poultry, fish|
|Oak||all types of meat; often mixed with other woods|
What Types of Wood Pellets Are There?
The selection is not limited to different wood aromas. There are also three general types of granules:
In my opinion the best type of wood. I’ve outlined the different flavors above, and this type of wood lends itself best to them.
With a composition of 100%, the flavors of the granules really come into their own when cooking. The downside is that these types of pellets are slightly more expensive. My counter-argument is that grilling is about flavor and aroma, and flavored wood gives you the best experience.
This is an “economy” level of wood pellets that combines flavored wood with a filler to make it more economical. Unfortunately, this ratio is preferred by filler rather than wood. We have seen fillers used in fuels such as briquettes for charcoal grills or smokers and unfortunately this is not uncommon with wood pellets either.
For pellets, the putty is usually oak. This is because it burns very well. However, it doesn’t add any real flavor to the grill.
It may sound like I’m really into mixed granules, but I’m a purist at heart and would rather use something pure. In order for you to enjoy clean and authentic flavor when grilling, I recommend doing the same.
These granules have no aroma and are usually made from oak wood. They burn well but add no flavor to the food. Therefore, it is better used for heating than for cooking.
What to Avoid
Watch out for dust. Cheap pellets tend to crumble and fall apart very quickly, and a clear indicator of this is when a pile of dust has collected at the bottom of the bag. When choosing your granules, pay attention to how much powder accumulates in the sachet.
Avoid anything that contains chemicals or additives. The vast majority of hardwood pellets are safe and clean , but the same is not true of chemically enhanced pellets.
Avoid barking. While we like to see the crust forming on our chests, we don’t like it in our fuel. This type of wood does not burn like pellets and can wreak havoc on the cooking temperature and heat consistency on the grill. There is a lot of ash that can foul your grill.