Want to bring to life really delicious dishes from the comfort of your backyard or patio?
If yes, you need MUST use this one secret ingredient— smoking pellets. The right pellets will add sweetness and deep flavor in your chicken, brisket, beef burgers, scallops, pork shoulder, rib-eyes, and other types of foods.
However, you’ll need to ensure you use the best wood pellets for smoking to enjoy perfectly grilled/smoked dishes. And this might be a challenge given that you’ll need to choose from numerous products out there.
The purpose of this guide is to teach you the crucial info you need to know when shopping for wood pellets and give you our favorite wood pellets for you to choose from.
Our best wood pellets for smoking:
1. Traeger Grills PEL331 Signature Blend 100% All-Natural Hardwood Pellets
Our list starts with this bag of 100% natural hardwood pellets from Traeger. This is one of the most popular pellets on the market today for smoking, grilling, and flavoring your foods.
Whether you’re grilling, smoking, braising, roasting, or BBQing, these pellets will add an amazing pure hardwood flavor to make your foods tastier than ever before. The pellets are a blend of maple, hickory, and cherry hardwood to ensure they pair perfectly with your favorite beef cut for mouthwatering treats in the comfort of your backyard.
The versatile pellets are designed to enhance the flavor of all types of meats, including bacon and pork ribs. They’ll even add rich smoky taste to seafood and veggies.
Made in the USA, the pellets are sustainably sourced and feature 100% pure natural hardwood. Unlike in the low quality smoking pellets out there, Traeger doesn’t use any binding agents or fillers in these pellets. They’re also 100% food-grade and will not add any harmful substances to your foods.
The package comes in a 20lbs bag, with the individual pellets featuring the same size. This way, you can be sure they’ll burn evenly. You can also break them into smaller pieces if you find it convenient for you.
- Made in the USA
- Made from 100% natural hardwood
- No binding agents/fillers included
- 100% food-grade pellets
- Comes in a 20lbs bag
2. Western Premium BBQ Products Cherry BBQ Smoking Chips
These smoking chips will take your cooking to the next level with a distinct cherry smoke flavor. As the grill masters will agree, cherry makes the best pellets for smoking a wide variety of full-bodied meats, including beef, poultry, and pork.
These chips will add a mildly, fruity smoke flavor close to that of apple, but with a bit more punch. It’s great for adding reddish tone to your foods. You can use these cherry pellets with veggies, seafood, chicken, pork, venison, to name but a few.
Quality is central in the manufacture of these wood chips. They’re made from real heat-treated cherry wood to ensure they deliver a robust flavor to all your smoked or cooked meals. They’ll add a bold new layer of flavor to your smoked meats. The heat treating does something even better to these chips…it prevents and eliminates the occurrence of mold, rot, and pests.
Each complete package features 180 cubic inches bag of large sized smoking chips to ensure even burning, with excellent heat and low ash production. Since the bags that these chips come packed in are transparent, you can easily see what you’re getting.
It’s worth noting that these smoking chips are extremely easy to use and work with gas, charcoal, and electric grills.
- 100% made in the USA
- Ideal for charcoal/gas/electric grill
- Heat-treated to prevent mold and rot
- Large sized (180 cubic inches) chips
- Smokes a wide variety of meat
3. Weber Wood Cubic Meter Stephen Products 17138 Apple Chips
These apple chips will make you a cooking hero in your family’s next BBQ with the rich, smoky flavor they add to your smoked foods. Compared to other types of chips, these affordably priced chips add an excellent layer of smoke and sweetness to your food that’s hard to beat.
You can use these chips on a variety of your favorite meats, including shrimp, chicken, brisket, scallops, and more. They add a subtly sweet flavor that excellently complements the different types of meats. The secret here is to let your meat smoke long enough and you’ll get a really amazing pink smoke line, deep into the flush.
The manufacturer clearly states that they don’t use any chemicals in the production of these chips, from the process of cutting down the wood to kiln drying. This simply means the chips are 100% free of chemicals and pesticides, and safe for cooking your foods.
Overall, the Weber chips make the best wood pellets for grilling just any type of meat at an attractive price tag. They add plenty of flavor to your foods and give them a delicious taste that leaves your family or friends in awe!
- Packed in a 2 pound bag
- Subtle sweet apple flavor
- Great for poultry, pork, and game birds
- Large sized 192 cu. In pieces
4. Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey Barrel Smoking Chips
Ever wondered where Jack Daniels white oak barrels go after they’re done aging jack Daniel’s whiskey? Well, you have your answer right here…they make great smoking chips for your grilling needs. These chips carry the Jack Daniel’s secret ingredient that will add a distinct whiskey flavor to your grill.
Needless to say, these smoking chips are 100% made in the USA. They come packed in a 2.94l reusable bag (makes it a great choice for the environment conscious folks). The chips are optimized to add a special flavoring to your grilled foods.
Unlike the other chips out there, these chips combine Jack Daniel’s whiskey taste plus the oak wood smoke to provide you with mouthwatering meals. How it happens? Well, during the aging process the whiskey gets drawn in and out of the wood to give it a distinctive color and flavor. A portion of the whiskey is left in the wood when the barrels get emptied. When these barrels are used to make smoking chips, you can be assured they’ll give you the real deal of distinct flavor and tastier meals.
Keep in mind that these chips are usable with charcoal, gas grill, or electric smoker. They come packed in large sizes, and you’ll only need 2-3 handfuls for each use. Using them is also pretty easy and they come with detailed instructions to give beginners an easy start.
- Made in the USA
- Made from 100% Jack Daniel’s oak aging barrels
- Ideal for gas, electric, charcoal grills
- Mouthwatering whiskey & Oakwood smoke
- Uniform sized coin-size pieces
- Packed in a 750g bag
5. CookinPellets 40PM Perfect Mix
Planning to do a lot of grilling? If yes, you’ll need to arm yourself with plenty of smoking pellets to ensure you don’t run out of pellets in the middle of grilling. And this pack of pellets is just the perfect package for you.
The complete package comes packed in a huge 40-pound bag, offering you sufficient smoking pellets to last hundreds of grills. The bag holding the pellets is transparent to ensure you see what you’re spending your cash on…you’ll get to check if the pellets come in uniform size. This is essential to ensure they’ll burn evenly and produce low ash.
These pellets are made from 100% natural hardwood and feature a perfect blend of hard maple, mild hickory, cherry, and apple hardwood. The manufacturer digs a lot deeper to create these pellets from the center of logs. This ensures they’re free from the bark—dramatically reducing the lignin associated with pellets. They’re also designed without any fillers and additives, so they’re pure for use with your foods.
Keep in mind that these pellets deliver mild flavor to your food. This makes them highly suitable for delicately flavored foods such as the shrimps. Since the blend contains the top 4 most popular hardwood, you can stay assured they’ll add pure sweetness to your grilled or cooked foods.
- Made of 100% natural hardwood
- Uses top 4 hardwoods only
- Free from binders and oils
- No oak or alder filler included
- Comes packed in 40lbs bag
6. Outset F703 Mesquite Wood BBQ Smoking Chips
If you’re looking for the best pellets for smoking to perfectly infuse that unmistakable, deliciously rich flavor into your grilled beef, poultry, wild game, fish, or veggies, these smoking chips from Outset will make a great choice.
The chips are proudly made in the USA using 100% mesquite wood. Mesquite boasts its place as one of the strongest woods for flavoring meats. This means these smoking chips will add an earthy, bold taste to your food. They give you more flavorful and moist foods, whether you’re grilling jerky meat, lamb, and more.
The mesquite wood works best for dark meats and will burn hotter than most of the chips made from other woods.
Don’t forget that these premium BBQ smoking chips come packed in a transparent package. They also come in uniform sizes to ensure they burn evenly to produce plenty of heat and flavor. Since they come in large sizes, you’ll never have to worry about the annoying problem of too much ash being left behind.
- Mesquite wood smoking chips
- Made in the USA
- Ideal for outdoor grilling use
- Produces flavorful, moist grilled food
- Large and uniform chips
- Packed in 150 cubic inch bag
7. Smokehouse Products All Natural Flavored Wood Smoking Chips
These are finely shredded alder wood smoking chips nicely packed in a little bag. The chips are your best pellets for smoke option if you want to impart delicious flavor when smoking your salmon, beef, pork, poultry, and wild game.
You’ll notice that these smoking chips feature a finer texture than most of the other chips out there. This is of great benefit when smoking fish such as salmon as the smoke will start a bit faster and will burn more thoroughly.
Because these chips come in small, shredded sizes, they burn more evenly and produce better smoke content for flavoring your foods. Their size also enables them to easily mix them with other larger sized woods to create an even greater depth of flavor and do away with the tanginess associated with alder chips.
The fine smoking chips are great for use with your grill. Because they burn pretty fast, you’d want to use them for things that don’t take long to cook, e.g. sausages and steaks. They’ll blast such foods with heavy smoke in a short period of time and infuse them with nice alder flavor.
- Alder wood chips
- Made of 100% all natural wood
- Drier and bark-free for premium flavor
- Perfect for smokers, BBQs, and grills
- Packed in 3.96L transparent bag
8. CookinPellets 40H Hickory Smoking Pellets
Still looking for the best smoking pellets that come in a bigger package? If yes, you can’t go wrong with this pack of pellets from CookinPellets. It comes packed in a whopping 40bs (or 18kgs) bag to ensure it lasts as many grilling sessions as you can imagine.
Unlike the previously discussed package from the same manufacturer, the 40M, this package comes labeled as 40H. This simple means that it’s not a mixture of different types of hardwoods. Rather, it’s made from 100% Hickory wood.
Hickory finds high popularity in BBQ and cooking due to its ability to release strong, unique flavors. You’ll actually taste the smell of your food when it’s cooking, and the taste will be unique, no doubt!
We also like that the manufacturer of these pellets goes on a different path than other manufacturers to give you quality pellets by using 100% natural hickory woods. No oak, alder filler, or any other chemicals used.
Also worth noting is that these smoking pellets burn really well and don’t have any heat or ash issues. They produce quite high BTU (approximately 8500) to make them the perfect fuel source for cooking or grilling just any type of food.
- 100% hickory wood pellets
- Contains no oak or alder filler
- Outputs high BTU, up to 8500
- Low moisture low fine pellets
- Packed in 40lbs bag
9. Bear Mountain BBQ FK99 All-Natural Hardwood Smoker Pellets
These smoker pellets will also take your grilling skills a notch higher. Rated as the best pellets for pellet grill, they will do a wonderful job at adding a well balance sweet plus smoky flavor to your food.
One of the top reasons why these pellets made it to our list of favorite pellets involves their great quality. These pellets are made using 100% natural hardwood. They contain no fillers, flavors, or additives…you can rest assured that they add just pure natural hardwood flavor and sweetness to your food and nothing else.
The pellets are a perfect gourmet blend and will add a truly robust and tasty finish to any red meat, pork, poultry, or fish. Because these pellets feature low moisture content, they guarantee you perfect smoke.
The Bear Mountain smoker pellets are suitable for use with all types of grills, whether you own an outdoor pellet, smoker, gas, charcoal, or electric grill. The complete package comes in an easy to handle 20lbs bag and the price is just right. The pellets come in smaller and consistent sizes.
- Gourmet blend BBQ pellets
- Made from 100% natural hardwoods
- Features low moisture content
- No flavorings, fillers, additives used
- Works with all types of grills
- Comes packed in a 20lbs bag
10. Green Mountain Grills Premium Apple 100% Pure Hardwood Pellets
Lastly, we have these best wood pellets for grilling from Green Mountain Grills. They come designed for grilling and adding flavor to the smoke during your backyard grilling sessions.
These premium pellets are designed for premium cooking. They’re manufactured from 100% natural hardwoods and contain no additives or chemicals. The complete blend features apple wood, red oak, and American Hickory. The grilling pellets have lower moisture content which fires up their performance while increasing their burning efficiency so that you’ll have less ash to deal with.
It’s hard to find fruitwood or blend that burns clean and for long, but these pellets give you just that. They make a great mellow for any meat and infuse that mouthwatering fruit blend smoke flavor in your meats.
You’ll appreciate that these pellets come packed in a 28lbs bag, which 40% more pellets than what you get in most pellet packages. This means you’ll have plenty of fuel to cook up a storm on your deck or patio.
The premium apple blend is perfect for cooking up chicken, beef, fish, pork, or veggies. It imparts truly natural, delicious flavor you yearn for in all your grilled foods.
- 100%pure hardwood pellets
- Premium apple blend
- Larger diameter pellets
- Produce longest smoke w/modest smoke
- Comes in a 28lbs bag
What Pellets Produce The Most Smoke?
The types of pellets you use play the largest part in the amount of smoke produced. The secret to getting high smoke intensity lies in using high-quality pellets without any fillers or additives.
Besides the quality, the type of wood used to make the pellets also determines the amount of smoke they produce. The denser the wood, the more smoke it’ll produce. This explains why hardwoods (with their dense cellular network) are the preferred wood for creating smoking pellets.
If you were to try out different types of 100% hardwood pellets, you’ll discover that a bag of hickory, mesquite, or oak pellets produce higher smoke quantities while fruitwoods such as apple pellets produce subtle smoke.
Don’t get it all wrong, though. This doesn’t mean that apple pellets are bad. If you want them to produce more smoke, consider blending them with oak or hickory pellets.
Things To Check Before Getting One
Smoking pellets come in different types and flavors, so you’ll need to ensure you get a bag of pellets that meets your unique smoking or grilling needs.
Here’s our handy guide to help you choose the right pellets for you:
An important factor to consider when shopping for the best wood pellets for smoking is the quality of the pellets. Some manufacturers tend to use additives, fillers, oils, binders, etc., in the production of their pellets. These help them keep the production cost down but ultimately affect the quality and efficiency of the pellets.
If you want your pellets to reach their full potential and impart rich flavors into your foods, make sure they’re made of nothing short of 100% all-natural, high-quality wood. No barks, additives, glues, fillers, etc., needed for the best wood pellets.
Smoking pellets greatly vary in the type of flavor they infuse to your food. There’s no straight answer on the best smoke flavor, since it all boils down to your unique preference. That said, some flavors have proved themselves to work better for certain foods than the others.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the best flavors you can choose for various types of foods:
Apple: pork, lamb, poultry, seafood, and veggies
Alder: salmon, fish, beef, pork, poultry, and wild game
Cherry: poultry, beef, pork
Hickory: pork, poultry, beef, wild game, poultry
Maple: beef, pork, poultry, cheese, vegetables
Oak: suitable for all meats. Oak is usually blended with other woods.
Mesquite: beef, poultry, fish, wild game
Walnut: beef, wild game
TIP: You can easily mix the different flavors mentioned above to achieve an even richer smoke flavor in your meat cut.
Size of pellets
You should also check the size of individual pellets included in the package. The ideal package should feature uniform sized pellets. This is crucial in enabling them to burn more evenly. A smaller size is usually preferred for wood pellets for smoking.
For the best performance, you should look for wood pellets with low moisture content. Why? Most people are unaware of this, but pellets with high moisture content don’t catch fire well. Dry pellets, on the other hand, burn efficiently and create more heat as you’d want. If you want your pellets to reach optimal efficacy levels, make sure they contain moisture content up to 6.5 or lower.
You should also ensure the pellets you pick produce low ash content. The problem with low-quality pellets is that they tend to produce a lot of ash when they burn. This affects your smoker’s ability to regulate the cooking temperatures, making it less efficient with time.
It’s easy to ignore the size of bag that comes with the pellets you buy. This is a huge mistake since the size of bag will determine the amount of pellets you’ll get and whether they’ll meet your unique smoking needs. That said, most pellets come packed in 20 or 40lbs bag. If you intend to do a lot of grilling, then you’d want to look for the bigger bag. But make sure you have sufficient space for storing the 40lbs bag. Some folks prefer the 20lbs packs as they’re easier to handle and use.
Type of Wood Pellets for Smoking
When shopping for smoking pellets, you’ll also need to decide the type to go with. Currently, the market offers you up to 3 main types of wood pellets to choose from.
1. Flavored wood
The pellets are made of 100% flavored wood, with no fillers. This means the pellets are all about adding flavors into your food, and will make the best choice for BBQs where flavors and aromas are necessary. However, keep in mind that these are a bit pricey than the other types.
2. Blended wood pellets
As their name suggest, these pellets are simply blends. They combine flavored wood mixed with filler in an effort to keep the production cost down. Note that the filler used here is usually oak, which burns well but contributes very little or no flavor to your food.
3. Standard pellets
Pellets in this category are usually made with little or flavor aspect. They’re usually made of oak and burn really well. These pellets are usually more oriented for heating than cooking.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are wood pellets safe?
Wood pellets that are marked food-safe are generally safe for human consumption as they’re made from consumable hardwoods. But wood pellets meant for heating might not be safe as they may contain insecticides and other unsafe chemical treatments. Using these types of pellets not only makes your food taste worse but also negatively affects your health.
Q: What’s the best brand of pellets for smoking?
In the wood pellets industry, some manufacturers have stand out from the rest with their quality products. These big names include the Traegar, Bear Mountain, Cookin’ Pellets, LumberJack, Smoking Brothers, BBQ Delight, Camp Chef, Q-Pellets, and Todd’s Pecan Pellets.
Q: How long do pellets last in a smoker?
Typical pellets grill uses about half-pound of pellets every hour during smoking. Wind and cooler temperatures might, however, increase the amount of pellets you burn in an hour.
It’s also worth noting that some pellet grills are designed with faster burn rate, meaning you’ll use more pellets of a given flavor.
The size of meat you’re grilling also affects the burning rate for pellets. Larger chunks of meat will go through more wood pellets than the smaller ones.
Q: Do I need to soak wood pellets before use?
No. You don’t need to soak your pellets before you can start using them. Moisture can cause the pellets to disintegrate bearing in mind that they’re made from sawdust. Moisture will also give habitat to mold and fungus, both of which are unsafe for human healthy and can lead to illness if consumed.
Q: Which pellets produce the best smoke flavor?
Some wood pellets that have stood out from the rest with their ability to produce strong smoke flavors include apple, black walnut, cherry, hickory, mesquite, Jack Daniels, and savory herb.
The market offers you varieties of smoking pellets to choose from and the process can be intimidating for pure novices. To help you find the best wood pellets for smoking for your next backyard or patio grilling session, we have offered you the key considerations and tips to remember when making a selection. We have also listed out favorite wood pellets for smoking which are sure to add a deep layer of flavor to your food and make you a hero cook to your family or friends.