Choosing the best smoker pellets for your grill/smoker combo or smoker can be an endeavor that consumers some people’s time and energy. They spend all of their time weighing what’s the best pellets for what they’re cooking and which brands make pellets that work best for their smokers. We decided that this didn’t have to be the case, so we decided to not only review the pellets that we feel are the best, but also to write a guide on how to purchase wood pellets. Now our readers can spend less time thinking about their pellets and more time smoking their favorite foods.
- Editor’s Choice
Traeger 100% All-Natural Hickory Hardwood Pellets (Amazon) – Review
- Also Recommended
Bear Mountain BBQ All-Natural Gourmet Blend Pellets (Amazon) – Review
- Also Consider
Ol’ Hick Genuine Jim Beam Bourbon Cooking Pellets (Amazon) – Review
Editor’s Choice: Traeger 100% All-Natural Hickory Hardwood Pellets
Let’s preface this review by saying that we’ve reviewed a ton of different smoker pellets of just about every flavor and brand. We’ve seen some pellets that are pretty good at what they do and other pellets that are simply garbage. Fortunately, we were able to also find this brand—a brand that is doing a great job providing the consumer with some of the best smoker pellets available. These are the pellets that consumers are going to want to use for their smoker or grill/smoker combo.
What makes these pellets so great? Well, the first thing that makes them great is that they’re made with 100% all-natural hardwood. That means that there aren’t any additives or fillers added to them. They just use 100% virgin hardwood that’s sourced from quality woods.
The next thing that we liked about these smoker pellets is that they’re manufactured in the United States. Since Traeger has its own mills, it’s able to oversee the manufacture of these pellets from start to finish. They use a special pellet production process that many people have now called the “gold standard” of pellet production. These are all things that will make a big difference when these pellets are added to a pellet hopper or smoker tube.
Each bag of these pellets is consistent from start to finish. They have just the right amount of moisture to create blue smoke and do it without burning up in the process. And although we highly recommend their hickory smoker pellets, the truth is all of their pellets are great. It doesn’t matter if the consumer purchases their alder, apple, cherry, maple, mesquite, oak, pecan, or signature blend pellets. They will provide the flavor and smoke that modern BBQ cooks and smokers want.
It’s for all of these reasons that we’ve decided to give this product two thumbs up and recommend it to all of our readers. This is a product that’s designed for anyone who is looking for smoker pellets that will burn smoothly and slowly, and provide them with high-quality smoke.
– These pellets add depth and flavor to just about any food.
– These pellets are sourced from sustainable wood sources.
– This is an American made product, start to finish.
Also Recommended: Bear Mountain BBQ All-Natural Gourmet Blend Pellets
Bear Mountain BBQ is a company that makes a variety of all-natural hardwood pellets. They make alder, apple, cherry, hickory, mesquite, and pecan smoker pellets. As a quick disclaimer, we should probably say that we haven’t reviewed all of their quality pellets—we just didn’t have the time to do so. However, we did get a chance to review their Gourmet Blend and we do have to say that these are some incredible hardwood pellets.
This is a product that’s designed to be used for smoking poultry, seafood, pork, beef, veggies, and lamb. This is a product that seems to be the perfect combination of oak, hickory, cherry, and maple hardwoods. These are woods that contain no additives or fillers and have just the right moisture content for the smoker. This combination of woods is sure to add a unique flavor to whatever the consumer is smoking.
These wood pellets come in 20-pound bags that are easy to store, and even easier to open and use. The pellets inside each of these bags are designed to work with some of the best grill and smoker brands on the market—including, but not limited to Traeger Grills, Green Mountain Grills, Louisiana Grills, Mastercraft, and more. These are very versatile pellets.
Now that we’ve tried this gourmet blend of pellets, we do have to wonder about some of the other pellets that this company produces. If those pellets have the same level of quality that these pellets do, we’re sure that they will be loved by the people who need them.
Now before we move on to the next review, let’s make one more observation about this product. We’ve found out that this product is made entirely in the U.S., so consumers can rest assured that they’re making quality smoker pellets that haven’t been adulterated in any way. That’s just another reason why we think people should take a closer look at this product.
– This is a product that creates a lot of quality smoke.
– It has a unique flavor profile, unlike other hardwood pellets.
– This is a reasonably priced product.
Also Consider: Ol’ Hick Genuine Jim Beam Bourbon Cooking Pellets
The next smoker pellets that we reviewed and loved were these pellets from Ol’ Hick. This company makes several different types of smoker pellets, but it’s these that caught our attention the most. These are pellets made from 100% natural oak, and includes some Jim Beam barrels in its formula. We found that to be fascinating and prompt us to wonder about several different things.
Although we know that they don’t use anything but whiskey barrels for these pellets, we do wonder if they use new or old barrels, what percentage of barrels they use to the percentage of oak pellets, and if all of this truly makes a difference. While we found these pellets to be high-quality oak pellets, we’re not sure if the fact that they’re made using whiskey barrels is a game-changer. They do cost more than other pellets, but that’s about it.
Now don’t get us wrong. These pellets are on our list because we think that they’re high-quality pellets, we’re just not entirely sure if the hooch soaked barrels make a difference is all we’re saying. However, we do feel that these pellets are made from high-quality hardwood and impart a great flavor to just about any meat, seafood, or veggies it’s used for.
All things considered, these pellets are some of the finest pellets we’ve used, although we do feel that they’re sort of gimmicky in how they’re marketed. With that said, we don’t think our readers would be disappointed by these pellets. The quality oak pellets and do create a nice smoke. A smoke that imparts a strong but tasty taste profile to food.
– These pellets impart a nice oak flavor to BBQ.
– They have no artificial flavors added to them.
– They come in easy to use 20-pound bags.
– These pellets cost a little more than other pellet brands.
We imagine that some people are going to look at our list of smoker pellets and wonder why we chose one type over another or why we even chose the pellets we chose in the first place. And to those questions, we can answer by saying that we have a stringent method of determining whether a particular pellet is the best smoker pellet or is one that’s best left on the shelf. This is a method that examines several characteristics of the pellets and examines their quality. It’s also a method that we’re going to reveal to all of our readers right after we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about smoker pellets.
How Are Smoker Pellets Made?
The majority of the smoker pellets made by companies these days are sourced from wood that are the byproducts of sawmills. This is wood that would otherwise be sent to a landfill but is instead is turned into smoker pellets. Why is this important? Because it lets people know that this isn’t a product made by cutting down healthy trees for nothing more than to make pellets. It’s actually a sustainable product.
Once this wood goes to the smoker pellet company, they grind it and dry it. They then send it to a special die. This is where the pellets get formed as they’re being placed under pressure. Once that’s done, a knife then cuts them into uniform sizes.
Because most smoker pellets are made in this way, there’s no need for adhesives to hold them together, nor is there a need for the company to use any chemicals to preserve them. The natural lignin that’s found in the wood acts as a preservative and helps to hold it together.
What’s The Difference Between Smoker Pellets & Wood Chips?
Another question we’re frequently asked is the difference between smoker pellets and wood chips. Besides the obvious difference of them being shaped differently and being of different sizes, the real difference is how they burn. Wood chips burn long and slow, while smoker pellets burn hot and long. That allows them to provide the smoke that’s needed for smoking meats, veggies, and seafood.
Now that we’ve answered some of the most common questions about smoker pellets, it’s time to turn our attention to helping our readers buy the best smoker pellets for their needs. And we’re going to begin this guide by talking about one of the most important things for the consumer to consider and then work our way from there. And the most important thing to think about is what wood the pellets are made from.
The Woods Used To Create Smoker Pellets
The following list is some of the hardwoods used to create smoker pellets and what foods they’re good for smoking. Although different hardwoods can be used for any food, it’s best when the consumer pairs certain foods up with certain woods. By selecting the right wood type for your food, you’ll be able to maximize the flavor of the food and create something truly amazing.
- Alder is good for beef, chicken, pork, fish, bread, and veggies.
- Apple is good for chicken, pork, bread, and veggies.
- Cherry is good for beef, chicken, pork, lamb, and bread.
- Hickory is good for beef, chicken, pork, bread, veggies, and venison.
- Maple is good for pork, beef, lamb, bread, and veggies.
- Mesquite is good for beef, chicken, fish, and venison.
- Oak is good for beef, fish, and bread.
- Pecan is good for beef, chicken, pork, lamb, bread, and veggies.
Think About Bag Size
The next thing that the consumer is going to want to think about is the bag size of the wood pellets. As a general rule, pellets come in either 20-pound or 40-pound bags—although there are some variety or specialty packs that use a bunch of 1-pound bags. How big of a bag does a person need? Well, that depends on what temperature they’re smoking. Below are some common temps and the number of pellets burned per hour at those temperatures.
- Low Smoking (Under 300-Degrees): 1/2-pound of pellets per hour.
- 300-Degrees Fahrenheit: 1-pound of pellets per hour.
- Above 300-Degrees Fahrenheit: 2+-pounds of pellets per hour.
Once the smoker pellets are exposed to temperatures above 300-degrees they’re going to burn pellets significantly faster than at lower temperatures. For example, if a person’s smoker goes up to 800-degrees Fahrenheit, then the smoker pellet is going to be consumed at about 3-4 pounds per hour. The higher the temperature, the faster the pellets will be consumed. Just something for the consumer to think about when choosing their next bag of pellets.