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3 Things to Consider Before Buying Wood Pellets

Wood pellets can infuse your meats with a rich, smoky flavor.
Wood pellets can infuse your meats with a rich, smoky flavor. (Camp Chef/)

Very few of us have a full-size barbecue pit in the backyard, and gas, barrel, and kettle-style grills just can’t compare to a real smoker. That’s where pellet grills come in. While relatively pricey, they are the most convenient way for a backyard chef to consistently get rich barbecue goodness. Other than what meat to lay on the smoky altar, the only decision you have to make is what to feed the grill itself. Here are a few woods to consider.

Hickory and Pecan

If you’re new to pellet grilling, you can’t go wrong with hickory.
If you’re new to pellet grilling, you can’t go wrong with hickory. (CookinPellets/)

Pellet choice is literally a matter of taste. But if you are just beginning to experiment, you can’t go wrong with hickory for beef, pork, or poultry. Pecan has a similar but nuttier flavor. Either can be considered more or less universal smoking woods. Hickory is sometimes blended with oak to optimize burn qualities and flavor.

Cherry or Apple

If you prefer a mild smoke flavor, try cherry or apple wood pellets.
If you prefer a mild smoke flavor, try cherry or apple wood pellets. (Camp Chef/)

Apple and cherry wood produce a milder smoke. While not as suitable for beef, either works well on chicken or pork, with the added versatilty of being great flavor enhancers for seafood or vegetables.

Mixed Hardwoods

If you just don’t know what pellet to use, try a blend of pellets.
If you just don’t know what pellet to use, try a blend of pellets. (CookinPellets/)

If you are still in doubt as to which wood is right for you, go with a mixed bag. These incorporate multiple woods, usually of the aforementioned species with the possible addition of mesquite, in ratios that produce a foolproof smoking blend for almost any occasion.

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