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Best Pellets for Smoking: In Depth Guide and Hands-on Review
When it comes to smoking on a pellet grill, the choice of pellets can make a big difference in both flavor and performance. In this guide, I will share my personal recommendations based on years of testing various brands of pellets.
Before we dive into specific brands, let’s talk about where to source your pellets. While I will provide links to where you can find these pellets, it’s always a good idea to check for the cheapest options in your area. Stores like Runnings, Home Depot, and Walmart often carry popular brands such as Lumberjack, Pit Boss, Traeger, and Louisiana at varying prices.
What makes the best pellets for smoking? It primarily comes down to two factors: composition and price. The composition of the pellet refers to the types of compressed hardwood used and how much ash build-up they produce. Price can vary based on your location and the brand you choose.
For most high-temperature cooking like burgers or steak, the brand of pellets may not make a noticeable difference in flavor. However, when it comes to smoking meat at lower temperatures for longer periods, the type of wood used in the pellet can greatly impact the taste.
One brand that stands out for me is Lumber Jack. Founded by three loggers from Wisconsin in 2005, Lumber Jack is known for its quality pellets made from actual trees. Their pellets are relatively accessible through stores like Runnings and cost $9.99 for a 20 lb bag. They offer blends like cherry, hickory, and maple or 100% hickory wood pellets at this price point.
Another popular brand among BBQ enthusiasts is BBQer’s Delight. Run by Candy Weaver, a respected figure in the barbecue community, BBQer’s Delight uses de-barked red or white oak as a base for their pellets. While some may argue that this is not ideal, Candy ensures a consistent and high BTU fuel source with minimal ash production. Their pellets are made from 100% natural wood without any added chemicals or flavoring oils.
B&B pellets are also worth mentioning, especially if you have an Academy Sports store nearby. These pellets are rumored to be the same as BBQer’s Delight but at a lower price point of $9.99 for a 20 lb bag. B&B charcoal, which owns the pellet mill, is a family-owned business in Texas, making shipping costs more affordable in that region.
CookinPellets is another brand that receives praise for using only the hardwoods labeled on their product. For example, their Perfect Mix Pellets consist of hickory, cherry, hard maple, and apple without any alder or oak base. The owner of CookinPellets, Chris “Pellet Guy” Becker, created the brand out of frustration with not finding pellets that were 100% the hardwood listed.
In conclusion, while it ultimately comes down to personal preference and availability in your area, brands like Lumber Jack, BBQer’s Delight, B&B, and CookinPellets offer quality options for smoking on a pellet grill. Experiment with different flavors and compositions to find the perfect pellet for your taste.
The Best Pellets for Smoking
When it comes to the best pellets for smoking, there are a few brands that stand out. Lumber Jack is a top choice for many smokers due to its cost and quality. Founded by loggers from Wisconsin, Lumber Jack focuses on providing high-quality wood pellets for grilling and smoking. Their pellets are made from compressed hardwoods and offer a full flavor without any filler or base wood. The composition of their pellets ensures a consistent burn and minimal ash buildup.
Another popular brand is BBQer’s Delight, run by Candy Weaver who is highly respected in the barbecue community. BBQer’s Delight uses de-barked red or white oak as a base for their pellets, ensuring a consistent and high BTU fuel source. They also use 100% natural wood with no chemicals or flavoring oils added. The pellets ignite quickly and provide strong flavors, making them a great choice for smoking.
CookinPellets is another brand that is well-known for its commitment to using only the hardwoods labeled on their product. They avoid using alder or oak as fillers and only use heartwoods from the center of the log. This results in a pure flavor profile without any bark. While there may be differing opinions on the use of oak and alder in pellet production, CookinPellets stands out for its dedication to using 100% hardwood.
1. Lumber Jack Pellets
Lumber Jack is my favorite brand of pellets for smoking due to its cost and quality. Founded by three loggers from Wisconsin in 2005, Lumber Jack aims to provide high-quality pellets for the wood pellet industry. They use only the specified hardwood mentioned on the bag, without any fillers or base woods like Alder or Oak. This means that you get the full flavor from that specific wood variety, such as hickory or cherry. Their pellets have a lower ash content compared to blends since they use less bark in their composition.
The accessibility and affordability of Lumber Jack pellets make them even more appealing. I can easily find them at my local Runnings store for $9.99 for a 20 lb bag. They offer varieties like the “Competition blend” which includes cherry, hickory, and maple, as well as 100% hickory wood pellets. The company’s central location in the Midwest helps reduce shipping costs, making their products more affordable.
Overall, Lumber Jack pellets provide excellent flavor output and require minimal cleanup due to their high-quality composition. Whether you’re grilling at higher temperatures or smoking meat at lower temperatures, these pellets deliver consistent results.
2. BBQer’s Delight
BBQer’s Delight is a popular brand among pellet grill enthusiasts and is known for its high-quality pellets. The company is run by Candy Weaver, a highly respected figure in the barbecue industry who has extensive knowledge and experience in barbecue. BBQer’s Delight uses either de-barked red or white oak as a base for their pellets, which ensures a consistent and high BTU fuel source. Their blends consist of approximately 2/3 oak and 1/3 flavor wood, such as cherry or pecan, providing a balanced and rich flavor profile.
One notable aspect of BBQer’s Delight pellets is that they do not contain any chemicals or flavoring oils. They are made from 100% natural wood, allowing for an authentic and pure smoke flavor. The pellet machinery used by BBQer’s Delight is lubricated with food-grade vegetable oil, ensuring safety and quality.
While there have been rumors that B&B pellets are re-branded BBQer’s Delight products, B&B clarifies that their pellets are made using their own materials and formula. Regardless of the manufacturing details, many users have expressed satisfaction with the performance of BBQer’s Delight pellets. They produce minimal ash build-up, deliver strong flavors, and promote consistent temperature control during cooking.
If you have access to an Academy Sports store in your area, you may be able to find B&B pellets at a lower price compared to other retailers. This is because B&B Charcoal is a family-owned business based in Texas, where many Academy Sports stores are located. Overall, BBQer’s Delight offers reliable and flavorful pellets that are highly regarded within the barbecue community.
3. B & B Wood Pellets
B&B Wood Pellets are another popular brand among pellet grill enthusiasts. While there is some speculation that they may be manufactured by BBQer’s Delight, the company itself states that their pellets are made using their own materials and formula. B&B is a family-owned business based in Texas, and their pellets can often be found at Academy Sports stores for a lower price of $9.99/20 lbs.
I decided to try out B&B pellets after hearing positive reviews from Jason at TrendKillr Grill Craft. I found that these pellets ignited quickly and produced minimal ash buildup during long cooks. The flavors were strong, and I noticed that I used less pellets compared to other brands with my Grilla Grill smoker.
While the lower price may be specific to areas with Academy Sports stores, overall, B&B Wood Pellets offer good flavor output, low ash buildup, and decent cost-effectiveness.
CookinPellets is one of the most common pellet brands recommended by online resources. They are known for using only the hardwoods labeled on their product, without any filler woods like alder or oak. Their Perfect Mix Pellets, for example, consist of hickory, cherry, hard maple, and apple wood. CookinPellets also only uses heartwoods from the center of the log and does not include any bark in their pellets.
The brand is owned by Chris “Pellet Guy” Becker, who created CookinPellets because he couldn’t find pellets that were 100% made of the specified hardwoods. However, there is some debate between Chris and Candy Weaver (owner of BBQer’s Delight) regarding the use of oak and alder as base woods. Chris believes they are used to cut costs for manufacturers, while Candy argues that red or white oak provides a consistent burn and BTU output.
While CookinPellets may cost more per pound than BBQer’s Delight, they are still highly regarded for their quality. Users have noted stable temperatures during cooking and minimal ash build-up with these pellets. Overall, CookinPellets offers a reliable option for those looking for high-quality pellets made solely from the specified hardwoods.
5. Insert Name Brand Manufacturer Here – Pit Boss, Grilla, Traeger, Louisiana, etc.
I have owned and used a variety of grills and smokers, but my go-to choice is always my pellet grill. Over the past 7 years, I have tested numerous pellets for smoking on my pellet grill. While I am providing recommendations for specific brands in this guide, it is important to note that you should always source pellets from the cheapest available option. Personally, I usually purchase my wood pellets from Runnings, Home Depot, or Walmart Supercenter. Runnings carries the brand Lumberjack for $9.99/20 lbs., while Walmart offers Pit Boss brand pellets (which are often expensive) as well as some non-name brands for $6-8/20 lbs. Home Depot typically stocks Traeger (also usually expensive) and occasionally Louisiana Grills – a brand that I quite like is B&B but unfortunately do not have access to an Academy Sports store near me.
When determining the best pellets for smoking, two factors come into play: composition of the pellet and price. The composition of the pellet refers to the types of compressed hardwood being used and the resulting ash build-up. Price will vary depending on your region and the brand you choose. However, in terms of flavor output, most people would not be able to distinguish between different brands of pellets when cooking at higher temperatures for items such as burgers, hot dogs, or steak which don’t require much smoke interaction due to shorter cook times. However, when smoking meat at lower temperatures with longer cook times on a pellet smoker, like myself and many others do, having quality wood pellets becomes crucial.
One brand that stands out to me as the best for smoking is Lumber Jack. This brand has become my favorite due to its combination of cost and quality. Founded by three loggers from Wisconsin in 2005 who have extensive knowledge about wood, Lumber Jack aims to provide high-quality pellets to fill a void in the wood pellet industry. In addition to barbecue pellets, they also produce heating, absorbent, and animal bedding pellets. I can easily access Lumber Jack pellets at my local Runnings store, where each bag costs $9.99/20 lbs. They offer different flavors such as their “Competition blend” which is a mixture of cherry, hickory, and maple – my personal favorites – or their 100% hickory wood pellets.
The reason for Lumber Jack’s affordable prices lies in their location. Being centrally located in the Midwest allows them to ship pallets of pellets from Wisconsin to New Hampshire at a lower cost compared to shipping from Texas. But it’s not just the price that makes Lumber Jack stand out; it’s also the quality of their pellets. Unlike some other brands that may use filler or base woods like alder or oak, Lumber Jack ensures that the hardwood mentioned on the bag is 100% of that specific variety. Their round log plant harvests actual trees and chips them up as green chips for full flavor. Blends labeled with Red Oak as a base have less bark than the 100% varieties (not de-barked), resulting in lower ash content.
Another popular brand among pellet grill enthusiasts is BBQer’s Delight, known for its unique packaging and quality products. Though it is unclear who exactly owns and runs the company, Candy Weaver stands out as one of the most respected figures in the barbecue world. As a board member of the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) and former President of KCBS, she understands the importance of an excellent product. BBQer’s Delight uses de-barked red or white oak as a base for consistent high BTU fuel source without excessive ash production. Their blends consist of approximately two-thirds oak sawdust as a base and one-third flavor wood, with no added chemicals or flavoring oils. The pellet machinery is lubricated with food-grade vegetable oil.
Regarding B&B pellets, there have been rumors that they are rebranded BBQer’s Delight products. However, B&B clarified that their pellets are not rebranded and that the pellet mill uses their materials and formula. While it remains somewhat unclear who manufactures these pellets, the output speaks for itself. B&B pellets offer minimal ash build-up, strong flavors, and efficient pellet usage. They ignite quickly and provide wonderful flavor output during long cooks. The cost of B&B pellets is even more affordable if you can access them at an Academy Sports store in Texas for $9.99/20 lbs.
Lastly, CookinPellets stands out as one of the most common brands recommended by online resources. They are known for using only the hardwoods listed on their product labels without any alder or oak base. Chris “Pellet Guy” Becker owns CookinPellets and created the brand to address the lack of 100% hardwood pellets in the market. While Candy Weaver believes oak and alder help cut costs for manufacturers, Chris takes a different stance and insists on using only heartwoods from specific hardwoods for his pellets. CookinPellets’ Perfect Mix Pellets consist of hickory, cherry, hard maple, and apple woods without any bark.
In conclusion, when it comes to choosing the best pellets for smoking on your pellet grill, factors such as composition and price play a significant role. Lumber Jack has become my top choice due to its reasonable cost and high quality without compromising on flavor output or ash buildup. BBQer’s Delight is another popular brand known for its unique packaging and consistent performance. B&B offers affordable options with excellent output if you can find them at an Academy Sports store in Texas. And CookinPellets stands out for its commitment to using only the specified hardwoods without any filler or base woods. Ultimately, the choice depends on your personal preferences and availability in your area.
Do You Have to Use the Same Name Brand Pellets?
No, you do not have to use the same name brand pellets for smoking. While certain brands may be recommended by others, it ultimately comes down to personal preference. Different brands of pellets may offer different flavors and compositions, so it’s worth experimenting with different brands to find the one that suits your taste and cooking style best.
It’s important to note that the composition of the pellet and its price are key factors in determining the best pellets for smoking. The types of compressed hardwood used and the amount of ash build-up can affect both flavor output and ease of clean-up. However, when cooking at higher temperatures for shorter periods of time, such as grilling burgers or steaks, most people may not notice a significant difference in flavor between brands.
When it comes to smoking meat at lower temperatures for longer cook times, the type of wood pellet becomes more crucial. Some popular flavors for smoking include cherry, hickory, and pecan. It’s recommended to choose pellets that use 100% of the specified wood without any fillers or base woods like alder or oak. This ensures a full flavor from the specific variety of wood chosen.
What are Barbecue Wood Pellets?
Barbecue wood pellets are compressed hardwood pellets that are used as fuel in pellet grills and smokers. They are made from various types of hardwood, such as cherry, hickory, pecan, and maple. These pellets are designed to create smoke and provide flavor to the food being cooked. They can be used for both high-temperature grilling and low-temperature smoking.
The composition of barbecue wood pellets is important as it affects the flavor output and the amount of ash buildup. Some brands use a blend of different hardwoods, while others use a single variety. The choice of wood flavor is subjective and depends on personal preference. Common flavors include cherry, hickory, and pecan.
When choosing barbecue wood pellets, it is important to consider both the composition of the pellet and the price. Different brands may have different prices based on region and availability. It is recommended to source pellets from wherever is cheapest, such as home improvement stores or supermarkets.
What to Look for in Wood Pellets for Smoking
When choosing wood pellets for smoking, there are a few factors to consider. First, you should look at the composition of the pellet. The types of compressed hardwood used will affect both the flavor output and the amount of ash build-up. Some brands use filler or base woods like Alder or Oak, while others stick to 100% pure hardwood. It’s important to know what you’re paying for and choose a brand that aligns with your preferences.
Price is another important factor to consider. The cost of wood pellets can vary based on your location and the brand you choose. While some brands may be more expensive than others, it’s important to remember that higher price doesn’t always mean better quality. You may be able to find affordable options that still deliver great flavor and performance.
Lastly, consider your cooking style and temperature needs. If you primarily cook at higher temperatures for shorter periods of time, you may not notice a significant difference in flavor between different brands of pellets. However, if you enjoy low and slow smoking at lower temperatures, the type and quality of wood pellets can have a bigger impact on the final taste of your food.
Word of Caution on Shipping Pellets
Shipping pellets can be a bit tricky, especially if you’re ordering them online. Pellets are heavy and bulky, which means they can be expensive to ship. Additionally, they can be fragile and prone to breaking during transit. This is especially true for bags that are not properly packaged or handled with care.
If you choose to order pellets online, make sure to check the shipping policies of the retailer. Some retailers may offer free or discounted shipping for pellet orders, while others may charge extra fees due to the weight and size of the packages.
It’s also important to note that extreme temperatures during shipping can affect the quality of the pellets. High temperatures can cause the pellets to expand and break apart, while low temperatures can cause them to become brittle. This can result in a loss of flavor and overall quality.
To minimize these risks, it’s recommended to purchase pellets from local stores whenever possible. Not only will this save you money on shipping costs, but it also allows you to inspect the bags for any damage before purchasing.
Overall, while ordering pellets online can be convenient, it’s important to consider the potential risks involved in shipping. It’s always best to source pellets locally if possible or choose a reputable retailer that takes proper precautions when packaging and shipping their products.
In conclusion, when it comes to finding the best pellets for smoking, there are several factors to consider. While personal preference plays a role in flavor profiles, the composition of the pellet and its price are important factors as well. From my personal testing and experience, Lumber Jack stands out as my favorite brand of pellets for smoking. Their commitment to using high-quality hardwood without fillers or base woods ensures a full flavor and minimal ash buildup. Additionally, their affordable price makes them a great option for regular use.
BBQer’s Delight is another popular brand that offers consistent quality and flavors. With Candy Weaver’s expertise in barbecue and her dedication to producing a good product, BBQer’s Delight pellets are reliable and flavorful. However, it’s worth noting that some resources criticize their use of de-barked oak as a base wood.
CookinPellets is known for their commitment to using only the hardwoods listed on their product labels. This dedication ensures pure flavors without any fillers or base woods. However, the cost of CookinPellets may be higher compared to other brands.
Ultimately, the choice of pellet brand depends on personal preference and availability in your area. It’s always recommended to source pellets from the cheapest option available to you. Whether you choose Lumber Jack, BBQer’s Delight, CookinPellets, or another brand altogether, experimenting with different flavors can enhance your smoking experience and help you find your favorite pellet for smoking meats.
In conclusion, choosing the best pellets for your pellet grill is essential for achieving optimal flavor and performance. Factors such as wood type, moisture content, and purity should be considered when making a selection. Ultimately, it is important to experiment with different brands and flavors to find the perfect fit for your grilling needs.
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