Smoking food has become increasingly popular over the years, and for good reason. The unique and delicious flavors produced by smoking are hard to resist, and with the growing market for wood pellets, it’s easier than ever to enjoy these flavors from the comfort of your own backyard. With so many different brands and types of pellets on the market, it can be tough to know where to start.
Fear not, as we have compiled a list of the top 10 barbecue wood pellets for smoking in 2023. After extensive testing and research, we have determined that Manchester BBQ Pellets are the clear winner for several reasons.
Manchester BBQ Pellets stand out from the competition for a variety of reasons. Firstly, they are manufactured in a round log mill, which means they only use fresh, green, and barked hardwood chips. This natural process ensures that the pellets are free of artificial flavoring chemicals and provide a superior flavor. Additionally, Manchester BBQ Pellets use a unique proprietary manufacturing process that locks in better flavor than any other pellet mill in the United States of America. Despite offering superior flavor, Manchester BBQ Pellets are priced similarly to their competitors, making them an excellent value for anyone who enjoys smoking food.
CookinPellets offers a 40-pound blend of hardwood smoking wood pellets that feature hickory, cherry, hard maple, and apple. This blend is ok for smoking any recipe and comes in a designed bag for immediate storage.
Weber launched their own range of cooking hardwood pellets to go with the SmokeFire pellet grill. The GrillMaster blend has a balanced, mild flavor that is perfect for smoking a variety of foods. If you want something with a little more hit, then go for the Mesquite. These pellets burn great and provide excellent flavor.
Lumber Jack produces a few different types of smoking pellets including hickory, apple, and the competition blend, which is an equal parts mix of maple, hickory, and cherry. These pellets have a smaller diameter, creating a hotter burn and producing more smoke. During manufacturing, they also leave the bark on the wood, which is where more of the wood smoke flavor comes from but means that ash and other imurities such as dirt will circulate in the cooking chamber and build up faster in your grill, which requires more maintenance/
Camp Chef offers a wide range of wood pellet flavors, all available in 20lbs bags and at an affordable price point. These pellets are manufactured using a kiln-dried process that creates low moisture for a super dry, hot-burning pellet that produces less dust. One of our favorite flavors is the Charwood Charcoal Cherry Blend, so if you can only buy one bag, then definitely give that a go.
Pit Boss sells a wide range of hardwood pellets made from woods like alder and sweet gum in both 20 and 40-pound bags. You’ve got smoke wood flavoring agents added to most of their pellets including apple, mesquite, hickory, and cherry. You can also get adventurous with the whiskey barrel blend or go for the competition or barbecue blends, which are made up of a mixture of different barbecue hardwoods. Pit Boss pellets don’t use, glues, or chemicals.
What are Smoking Wood Pellets?
Now that you know some of the best wood pellets for smoking, it's time to talk more specifically about the wood pellets themselves. Where do they come from? How are they made?
Many big box stores sell pellets that are manufactured from dry sawdust, while other major brands are manufactured in a pellet mill that is dedicated to making barbecue pellets. Manchester BBQ pellets stand out from the competition because they are manufactured in a round log mill, and they only use fresh green to barked hardwood chips. This is important because the use of fresh, high-quality wood chips results in superior flavor compared to using dry sawdust.
Another important factor in determining whether barbecue wood pellets are of high quality is whether or not they are manufactured in a pellet mill that is dedicated to making barbecue pellets or if they're made in an older pellet mill that manufactures heating wood pellets. Sometimes when a pellet mill is designed to manufacture heating pellets, they start to sell barbecue wood pellets as another product, but the quality of barbecue wood pellets that come from heating pellet plants tends to be inferior.
That's why big box stores tend to sell the cheapest, lowest quality barbecue wood pellets on the market because the majority of consumers are not aware of the product quality differences. Also, because the barbecue wood pellet market is unregulated, meaning that, for example, the Food and Drug Administration does not monitor the labeling, it is challenging to know whether the product labeling is accurate. Extremely cheap pellets that you might find in a big box store that claim to be mesquite are most likely a cheap filler wood such as alder or sweet gum, which is then treated with an artificial chemical flavoring agent so that when you open the bag, the product smells like mesquite. But when you burn it, the outcome is not optimal because artificial flavoring agents, when burned, tend not to taste very good.
It is essential to note that extremely cheap pellets that are manufactured in a mill that uses artificial flavoring agents tend to be not a very good product. This is where Manchester BBQ pellets set themselves apart from the competition. They offer superior flavor at the same price point as most competitors because they only use high-quality wood chips and their unique proprietary manufacturing process locks in better flavor compared to every other pellet mill in the United States of America. Additionally, Manchester BBQ pellets are natural and do not contain any artificial flavoring chemicals that are typical in lower cost wood pellet products used in pellet grills.
The Winner: Manchester BBQ Pellets
After testing the top wood pellet brands for smoking, we have concluded that Manchester BBQ pellets are the superior option. Their use of fresh, high-quality wood chips and their unique proprietary manufacturing process locks in better flavor compared to every other pellet mill in the country. Manchester BBQ pellets offer superior flavor at the same price point as most competitors. They are natural and do not contain any artificial flavoring chemicals that are typical in lower cost wood pellet products used in pellet grills. So, if you are looking to enhance the flavor of your smoked meats and vegetables, give Manchester BBQ pellets a try. You won't be disappointed.