Maybe you’re vying for a spot in the top BBQ competition in Memphis, Tennessee, the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. Or maybe you want to oust the 2019 Grand Champion, “Cool Smoke,” or the first place winner in the Kingsford Tour of Champions category, “Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q,” or “Nutt’s N Butts” in the Ribs category.
Or maybe you just want to rock everyone’s world in your backyard when you grill up dinner.
Whatever your mad grill master skills at smokin’ up good eats and whatever your grilling competition goals, you’ll definitely want to use the best smoker pellets possible to give you that extra edge and flavor for success.
But what are the best cooking pellets for your smoker to get the best taste, you wonder?
Well, wonder no more because we’ve put together some tips on picking the best smoker pellets. Keep reading to learn how to find top quality pellets that give you what you want in taste. Then, it’s your turn to start experimenting on your road to grill and smoke master perfection. Yum!
The Best of the Best
You pull out all the stops with your mad grill and smoke skills. You make sure you have the best pellet smoker around. So naturally, you want the best smoking pellets you can get.
In finding your ideal pellets, you want to look primarily at two things: quality and flavor. Let’s take a quick look at these so you know how to pick the best pellets for you.
Smoke Pellet Quality
There is a difference in quality between smoke pellet brands. Three things that determine quality are composition, ash buildup, and burn rate.
Smoke pellets are basically capsules of compressed wood. Some are hardwood and others softwood. Which is better? You’ll need to decide for yourself.
Hardwood gives you more stable burn rates, which may provide a more pure flavor, while softwood gives you more heat.
The highest quality pellets are pure flavored wood. Some pellets have filler wood to reduce cost. Filler wood is wood that has little to no flavor so can’t contribute to smoking your grill in a flavorful way. The filler is often oak or alder.
The top quality is 100 percent flavored wood, like pecan, maple, or cherry. The wood gives the flavor. Next in quality is blended wood, which is often 70 to 80 percent oak or alder and 20 to 30 percent flavored wood.
Last in quality is pure filler wood, like oak. These are heating pellets generally meant for heaters to heat your home making them not so deliciously smokey.
Also, you want the pellets to be well compacted, otherwise they fall apart in the smoker and that lowers the burn time. If there is a lot of dust in the bag when you open it, the pellets are usually not compressed well and they’re of lower quality unless they were jostled too much in shipping.
The best pellets burn and leave no ash. The more bark pellets have, the more ash they produce. You want pellets with the least amount of bark. These are the highest quality. The only way to check this is to burn them alone and see if there is ash residue, indicating bark.
Smoke Pellet Flavor
The flavor should come from the wood, not any oil with added flavor. To pick the best smoker pellets for what you’re smoking, try out the different types of woods. And have fun with it!
Here are some suggestions, but if you want to start with some favorites, go with cherry, apple, pecan, hickory and mesquite.
Suggestions for type of grill:
Making steak, burgers, brisket, or another type of beef? Try hickory, mesquite, or pecan for your best smoke pellet flavor.
Making chicken or salmon? Try apple, cherry, or pecan.
Making pork? Try all of them — apple, cherry, mesquite, pecan, and hickory.
Making turkey? Try apple, cherry, or mesquite.
Making veggies? Try hickory or mesquite.
The Best Smoker Pellets for Your Taste
Now that you have a list of some of the best smoker pellets out there, you can give them a go and know some good-tastin’ BBQ will be happening on your pellet smoker.
While you’re out there makin’ grill magic and patiently waiting for your grill to finish, you can peruse our blog for other fabulous tips on everything from family meals to finance. Be sure to check the archives!