After buying your very first pellet smoker, you are probably jumping at the chance to invite your friends and family over for the opening BBQ!
But before you can do any of that, you still have to buy your wood pellets to fuel the smoker.
Wood pellets do more than furl the flames though, they also create flavorful smoke that infuses your meats with delicious BBQ flavors.
Purchasing a pellet grill is only half the fun since you get to play around with all of the different kinds of pellets.
You also don’t need to be worried about using the pellets that were produced by the manufacturer of your grill, as smokers can work with any pellets as fuel!
Whether you are a pro pitmaster or a newbie to the BBQ would, there is a type of wood pellet for your needs.
With so many options to choose from though, picking the best wood pellets can be difficult.
That is why we have made this list of the top 5 best wood pellets to use the next time you have a BBQ.
All of the pellets on this list burn hot and clean, producing a flavorful smoke with very little ash to clean up afterward.
If you need a bit more advice on how to choose the best wood pellets for your smoker, then check out the buyer’s guide below.
On with the list!
Bear Mountain BBQ 100% All-Natural Hardwood Pellets
Bear Mountain BBQ produces some of the highest-quality grilling pellets available, despite being a lesser-known brand.
They have also been in business for thirty years, offering sustainable smoking wood pellets created in the United States.
They offer an extensive variety of flavors that combine well with whatever you’re cooking and your preferences.
Their options include alder, pecan, mesquite, maple, cherry, apple, and a ‘Gourmet Blend’ (a mix of hickory, cherry, maple, and oak.)
There are no additives, binders, or fillers in any of Bear Mountain BBQs’ pellets; they are all made from pure natural hardwood.
They have a low moisture content, emit minimum ash, burn at a constant high temperature, and provide deliciously flavored dishes.
Oak and alder pellets are the only pellets manufactured entirely from a single species of wood.
But apple, oak, and cherry-flavored wood pellets are combined with either oak or alder.
These pellets offer a good, steady burn rate and heat production over their whole spectrum, making your cooking predictable and easy to do.
There are no inexpensive filler oils or woods. All of the mixes contain either alder or oak with flavor wood.
Try these pellets as we are sure that they will soon become your favorite to use.
If you’re looking for a versatile option, go with the gourmet mix or pecan wood pellets, which complement almost anything.
- 100% hardwood – there are no artificial colorings, flavorings, or additives in these pellets, they are just high-quality wood pellets
- Low moisture content – this always gives the pellets a smooth burning that produces that maximum amount of flavorful smoke
- Loads of flavors – choose the perfect flavor to complement your meats
- The bag might rip – many customers have said that the bag filled with the pellets rips easily, leaving them with a big mess to clean up. But that is the only thing wrong with this product
- Hardwood pellets add well-balanced sweet and smoky flavor while grilling or smoking food
- Gourmet blend BBQ flavor provides a sweet, tasty finish to any red meats, poultry, or vegetable dishes
- Made from 100-percent all-natural hardwoods with no flavorings, fillers, or additives
- Low moisture content provides the perfect smoke and adds a well-balanced flavor to your favorite dishes
- Ideal for use with all outdoor pellet grills, smokers, gas, charcoal, and electric grills
Pecan Flavor BBQR’s Delight Smoking BBQ Pellets
Used by multiple competitive grilling teams, when buying this product you know that you are only getting the very best.
These pellets are starting to get very popular with BBQ aficionados now too.
BBQr’s Delight produces 100% natural, high-quality wood pellets in a range of tastes.
In the last couple of years, they’ve experienced a huge rise in their BBQ community fan base, with several forum and Facebook group participants rating them highly.
The BBQ community can be very ruthless when it comes to slamming low-quality items, so the fact that these things are so extensively used and adored is certainly praiseworthy!
BBQr’s Delight offers a variety of pellets made from various types of wood, so if you like what you taste, you should try some of the dozen other tastes they have to offer.
It’s good to be able to remain with one brand, knowing that you will always receive quality.
Their offerings include oak pellets, hickory pellets, pecan pellets, sugar maple pellets, cherry pellets, apple pellets, and mesquite pellets.
However, they also sell more unusual orange, peach, sassafras, and a “contest mix,” a 50/50 pecan and cherry mixture.
All of their pellets are composed of two-thirds white oak and one-third of the designated flavor wood, except the “contest mix,” which is composed of 66% oak, 17% pecan, and 17% cherry.
This mixed oak foundation offers a constant, predictable, and steady burn, the same over their whole spectrum, so you can plan your cooking the same regardless of the flavor you choose.
These pellets are well-formed, created without filler or oil, contain little moisture, and burn hot and clean.
This brand is a favorite among several grilling competitors. They are of excellent quality. If you wish to grill like an expert, use the same fuel that many of them do.
These are an excellent combination of performance, flavor, and cost.
- 100% wood – nothing has been added to these pellets, meaning that you are getting a pure, clean product
- Low ash – clean-up will be very easy thanks to the very little ash that these pellets make
- Burns hot – this makes as much smoke as possible, which filled your meat with flavor
- Mild flavor- some of the wood flavors are pretty weak compared to other pellets, but this could be a pro for some people
- Expensive – compared to many other pellet brands, this one is more on the pricy side
- Pecan, similar to hickory but milder and sweeter with a nut after-taste.
- Pellet grill fuel is flavorwood blended with oak to give you consistent, clean fire for your pellet burning cooker and plenty of great smoke flavor for your food.
Lumber Jack Competition Blend
This brand always produces wood smoking pellets of top quality that are appropriate for weekend warriors and professional pitmasters alike.
Lumber Jack takes a unique approach to their product, removing the bark from the oak in the mix but leaving it on the flavor wood for a more robustly flavored smoke.
This massively boosts the smoky flavor of the pellets, making them some of the most flavorful out there.
There will be a little bit of ash once all of the burning is over, the trade-off for getting a better taste is definitely worth it!
Also, because they are made entirely of wood, we know they will burn well and provide fantastic smoke.
It is also important to note that Lumber Jack does not use sawmill scraps.
This company specializes in wood products and uses its trees to produce pellets for cooking and heating and shavings for pet bedding.
Lumber Jack offers a comprehensive selection of five basic and five blended tastes, allowing customers to pick and choose, mix and match, and always rely on consistent quality.
This is a brand that we cannot recommend enough.
- Intense flavor – you will be able to taste the smoky flavor in every bite of your brisket
- Clean smoke- as these pellets are made completely from wood, they will burn hot and clean, giving you that intense flavor
- Many options – you will find the right pellets for you thanks to their large selection
- Some ash – as there is some bark in the mixture, there will be a bit more ash than you might be used to. This could make clean-up get a bit messy
Traeger PEL331 Signature Blend
You cannot go wrong when purchasing from one of the most reputable brands in the industry!
Traeger (see also ‘Are Traeger Grills Electric?‘) is the most popular and well-respected brand in the business. They produce grills, rubs, sauces, and, of course, pellets.
Traeger pellets are among the most popular pellets available.
They employ only 100 percent natural, virgin hardwood supplied from current, sustainable manufacturing businesses.
No additives are used, and no trees are cut down specifically for manufacture.
The selection of pellets offered by Traeger includes traditional varieties such as mesquite, pecan, cherry, apple, and hickory.
In addition, they offer a “signature blend” that contains hickory, maple, and cherry woods, which we recommend as a terrific all-arounder.
However, flavoring oils are added to the basic hardwoods.
You can argue that if you choose flavored hardwoods and oils instead of pure flavor wood, you will have all the natural tastes, but with the improved even-burning qualities of oak or alder.
Overall, these are some excellent pellets to try
- Good quality- Tregar always makes pretty well-rounded and high-quality products
- Good burn – the thin clean smoke also results in less ash to clean up afterward
- Sustainable – If you are more eco-conscious, these are the pellets for you
- Low flavor – rather than the flavor coming from the wood itself, flavoring oils are used. This makes the flavor taste weaker overall
- SIGNATURE BLEND WOOD FIRED FLAVOR: The flavors of hickory, maple, and cherry hardwoods combine for in our Traeger Signature Blend Hardwood Pellets for flavor that can take on just about anything you cook; From classic BBQ meats, to fish and veggies, this versatile blend gives you full-bodied flavor you'll go back to time and time again
- NOT ALL PELLETS ARE CREATED EQUAL: The best wood-fired grill on the market demands the best wood pellets on the market. Real taste doesn't just happen, it’s tied to quality materials and achieving perfect smoke; It starts with all-natural hardwood pellets made in American mills
- TRAEGER HAS SPENT YEARS DEVELOPING THE PERFECT PELLET: Our hardwood's unique compact cell structure results in a balanced, dependable burn; Traeger has spent years mastering the development of hardwood pellets that have just the right amount of moisture content—the sweet spot—to maintain a perfect burn-to-smoke ratio
- PAIRS WELL WITH EVERYTHING: Pairs especially well with Beef, Poultry, Pork, Lamb, Seafood, Baked Goods, Vegetables
- FEATURES: Made in USA, Premium Quality, All-Natural, Clean Burn, No Binders, Low Ash, 20lb Bag
CookinPellets 40PM Perfect Mix
CookinPellets was created because the company’s founder had a bad pellet grilling experience.
Although not a very old brand, the wood pellets made by CookinPellets have become very popular in the industry.
They have received great reviews and are adored by several competition chefs and backyard pitmasters.
People praise the reasonable cost, particularly for the durable 40-pound bulk bag, the robust flavors created, and the constant product quality.
CookinPellets are consistently suggested as the best wood pellets for smoking in forums and Facebook conversations.
However, despite being so popular, there are very few wood pellet flavors offered by this brand.
Their most popular product is the Perfect Mix pellets. This includes apple, cherry, hard maple, and hickory.
They also offer an apple and maple blend, cherry wood, and hickory wood pellets.
None of the variations contain oak or alder, nor any fillers.
Their ideal mix mixture blends four of the most popular smoking hardwoods into a single, unique box of smoking pellets.
CookinPellets 40PM Perfect Mix provides only flavorful smoke by combining four of the most popular hardwoods.
This combination should be suitable for smoking virtually anything.
This mix of high-quality pellets with a crowd-pleasing smokey flavor is an ideal starter pellet for those who are just beginning to use a pellet barbecue.
The flavor this will give your meat is neither too strong or too weak.
It burns cleanly and quickly, and the cherry smoke imparts a crowd-pleasing scarlet hue to your meats.
- Low cost – compared to almost all other pellet brands, this one is the cheapest
- No bark – this means a lot less ash, making cleanup a breeze
- No fillers – made from pure hardwood, you’re only getting the best with these pellets
- Not many flavors- CookinPellets could do with adding more flavors to their lineup, as it is currently missing a lot of classic smoking flavors such as oak
- Top 4 hardwoods only
- 100% of what we say it is NO oak or alder filler
- 100% hardwoods
- Will not void any manufacturers warranty!
- (Playback Language)
Here is everything that you need to know about wood pellets for your smoker (see also ‘Best Vertical Pellet Smoker‘).
Type Of Wood Pellets
This variety is mixed pellets. Alder and oak are typically used as the base for the pellets.
The pellets are then combined with genuine wood flavoring.
Typically, the flavor wood makes roughly 20% (or up to 40% for some producers) of the mixture, while the remainder is filler.
Flavor wood refers to any wood that, when burned, releases its distinct and natural flavor. Some tastes are stronger than others, while others are gentler.
Check the label to see if the pellets are mixed.
If it does not specify that a flavor wood has 100 percent of that taste, then it is a combination, though some companies do indicate pellet type on the label.
Manufacturers combine flavor wood with oak or alder as these create the most steady base to burn.
Different types of wood burn at varying temperatures and BTUs.
In other words, you may need to burn more of one type of wood than another to create the same amount of heat.
Additionally, some woods, such as peach or apple, do not form good pellets by themselves.
By combining oak and alder, blended pellets will all burn at the same pace and BTU, resulting in uniform cooking.
Oak and alder provide a gentle smoke that allows the taste of other woods to shine through. They also produce less ash.
100% Flavor Wood Pellets
These pellets use no foundation or filler wood, they just use flavor wood shown on the bag.
For instance, 100% pecan pellets are created from nothing but pecan wood.
These pellets have the benefit of extracting more flavor from your chosen wood.
There are neither oak nor alder trees in the background of the flavorings.
Some grillers swear by these pellets, but others cannot see a large difference in flavor between them and the mixed pellets.
The primary drawback is that they generate more ash than mixes.
In addition to being tougher, they can cause your pellet grill’s auger to clog more frequently.
Lastly, they are more expensive than mixes and the third type of BBQ wood pellets, oil-flavored pellets.
Oil Flavored Pellets
These pellets continue to use oak or alder as a foundation material.
Instead of adding actual taste wood, however, producers use oils that mimic the flavor of a certain wood.
For example, they could make mesquite pellets that contain no mesquite wood, only mesquite-flavored oil.
You still receive the taste as well as the additional heat from 100% oak or alder filler (as opposed to 60% to 80% for mixed pellets).
Heating Pellets Vs Smoker Pellets
These are wood pellets for residential stoves and heaters.
Even though they are manufactured in the same manner and appear identical to smoker pellets, they are unsafe for cooking.
Softwood or a mixture of softwood and hardwood is used to manufacture heating pellets.
The high sap content of softwood, such as pine or spruce, when burnt might damage the taste of your meat.
Some firms also employ varnished and preservative-coated plywood or timber scraps to create their pellets.
These are poisonous and may cause illness.
The majority of wood pellets are for smoking blends, so their taste profile will consist mostly of flavor wood with a dash of oak or alder.
If you prefer a single wood taste, acquire 100% flavor wood pellets instead.
Due to the absence of additives or chemicals, BBQ pellets immediately burn upon ignition.
To create more BTUs, pellets burn more effectively at high temperatures in a pellet smoker, resulting in less smoke. At low temperatures, pellets combust and emit more smoke.
Also, they burn cleanly. Because of this, their smoke is more delicate and mild.
These pellets impart a subtle smokey taste to your dish when used for cooking.
Poorly compressed pellets will not hold together and may come apart when the auger draws them in or as you pour or scoop them out of the bag.
This means they will not burn properly, resulting in lower temps, inferior smoke, and an unpleasant experience overall.
Check the bottom of the bag for dust before you buy.
If there is a lot, then they are already breaking apart. This is a sign to avoid this bag.
Before blaming your grill for temperature issues and buying replacement components, consider switching to a better pellet brand to see if it resolves the issue.