List Of Worst Wood Pellets For Smoking (With Guide)

Everything cooked in a pellet grill is instantly enhanced with wood-fired smoke; for this, choosing the correct wood pellet with natural wood flavors is the most important part. Using the right type of wood can make a huge, lasting difference when combined with a particular kind of food; therefore, you must always be cautious and conduct your research before finalizing a wood pellet.

Therefore, and for this specific purpose, we bring you the list of the worst wood pellets for smoking and the best wood pellets you can choose as alternatives. Our guide will consider the best and the worst wood pellets so you know which ones to avoid and which to proceed with to make a comprehensive decision and not be led astray. 

worst or best

List Of Worst Wood Pellets For Smoking

Typically, a question is raised- what is the list of worst wood pellets for smoking? Usually, there are no best or worst wood pellets for smoking, but what makes these pellets serve an opposing function, ruining the flavor and smoking of your food, is pairing the meal with an inappropriate kind of wood. 

For example, some grillers will tell you that using heating pellets instead of smoking pellets will work fine for smoking. However, this is not the case because heating pellets are only employed in wood-burning stoves and are made of wood like spruce or pine, which are neither appropriate nor ideal for smoking.

As a result, using these woods in the smoker will make the food taste acrid because heating pellets often contain binding agents as they are sourced from particle board or plywood, making the meat taste sour. 

Likewise, heating pellets are manufactured to be burned to ensure your home remains heated and not to smoke meat for food consumption. Hence, they are devoid of any real and reliable standards for food safety, and when smoking with heating pellets, you will be risking more than the food’s taste! 

Thus, it is critical that you always use food-grade pellets for smoking a smoker and never make use of heating pellets. Another thing to keep in mind is to always pair the food with the kind of wood that will result in the ideal smoking. For example, always pair barbecue with oak pellets instead of walnut pellets, and follow the same rule for beef, ribs, pork, poultry, and other food. 

Best Wood Pellet Per The Food Kind

Previously, we had stressed how combining an inappropriate wood pellet with a food kind can result in an otherwise good wood pellet producing a sour and overwhelming taste of your meal.

To ensure that our readers can avoid this mistake and only end up pairing the right kind of wood pellet with the most appropriate food, we bring you some of the best wood pellet recommendations per the precise food kind.

Bear Mountain BBQ Oak Pellets

oak pellets

The Bear Mountain BBQ Oak pellets, are the best food pellets to smoke your barbecue. Although most people believe hickory to be the standard wood, ideal for smoking barbecue, it is oak. 

Oak- a ubiquitous hardwood that grows in various regions of the country. Depending on the amount used and how long the food is smoked with oak, its application can vary the flavor from subtle to mild and to straight up “punch you right in the grill.” 

This aspect of the oak wood pellets makes them versatile for serving brisket and fish. However, oak is generally considered a cheaper wood than other kinds of hardwood and fruitwood because it is widely used for fillers in manufacturing. 

But the case in reality significantly differs, and oak pellets are the best to produce just the right amount of smoke, especially with Bear Mountain oak pellets available in white and red to give more concentrated burns and deeper flavors. 

Peach Pellets

peach pellets

To define an excellently smoked rib, we would say it is tart, slightly sweet, spicy, and sticky. Peach pellets are a must-use to keep up with the fruity theme for the pork ribs. 

Even though peach wood pellets will not necessarily impart the sweet flavor in the literal sugary sense, the sweetness will permeate the ribs through the peach aroma and compliment the meat in the smoker. 

As fruit woods on the pellet scale are skewed towards the more expensive end, we propose that you use peach pellets in combination with another wood to cut out your budget. Begin smoking with a hardwood like walnut and oak, then add peach pellets to the smoker for your ribs to attain a sweetened flavor.

Camp Chef Orchard Apple BBQ Pellets

apple pellets

Worldwide, the pork-consuming cultures form an association between fruit and pork. Europeans like their pork with stone fruit or apple sauce, whereas Filipinos prefer it with banana and citrus, but Mexicans like their pork with pineapple or candied cactus. 

Now, when you are smoking pork, you would not want to deprive the final meal of a fruity taste, and for this to not happen, use Camp Chef Orchard Apple BBQ Pellets. The apple flavor in this context makes perfect sense, and you will witness the sweetened flavor in your mouth vertically and from side to side. 

Do not mistake the apple wood lending sweetness to your smoked pork, but the terpenes of the apple will lend the pork a complimenting and fruity depth to the final taste. 

Louisiana Grills Pellets

louisiana pellets

Nothing exemplifies and defines Texas barbecue better than beef. Sure, there are other food options like sausages and turkey, but the specialty remains beef, which is frequently paired with mesquite, where mesquite and beef go quite hand in hand. 

Louisiana Grills Pellets have mesquite wood, which burns hot, formulating an intense and distinguished smoke that sets the bark to be smoked uniquely compared to other woods. 

Speculating the flavor, that too is earthy and fierce, which may require a judicious hand to keep a check on the smoke; however, these qualities of the mesquite wood make it the most preferable to be paired with smoking beef. 

Traeger Grills Pecan Pellets

traeger pellets

If you are concerned about smoke overwhelming poultry, look for a wood with a character that simultaneously will not overcome the chicken’s flavor. Ordinarily, hickory is a fine choice. Nevertheless, it can consume all of the chicken’s original flavor. Contrary to it, we have pecan wood, which is nutty, sweet, and a bit spicy, being an all-rounder for a flavor that is not overpowering. 

You can easily source pecan pellets for smoking by purchasing Traeger Grills Pecan Pellets, which do not include any binders or fillers and burn slowly and cleanly, leaving a minimal quantity of ash to be cleaned up. 

BBQ’rs Delight Pellets

BBQ’rs Delight Pellets

In some parts of the country, barbecue culture is considered seafood. Smoking fish has been a traditional discipline, and the historical choice of wood for it has been the mangroves, which are now banned and protected by federal laws.

So, the latter-day wood preference is orange, citrus wood, which brings a sweetened yet spicy flavor to seafood or fish with an unmistakable aroma for burning. Again, your primary option for orange food for seafood should be BBQ’rs Delight Pellets. 

Still, since orange wood is quite expensive compared to other fruit and hardwoods, we advise combining orange wood with a less expensive wood, like walnut or oak, to reduce the costs and attain the most delectable seafood flavor. 

Lumber Jack Pellets

jack pellets

The Lumberjack brand is the popular brand among beginner smokers, the reason for the Lumberjack popularity are just : 20lbs bags are low in price and Quality.

All poultry has not been created to be equal. Where chicken is smaller in flavor and size, turkey is larger and demands a reciprocal treatment. This is not to say that the same kind of wood cannot be used to smoke chicken and turkey, but if you want to highlight further and refine the taste of turkey, add a little sweet, cheery wood to it through lumberjack pellets.  The slightly earthy and sweet flavor of cherry wood will make the turkey’s taste even more prominent. However, since cherry is not keen on generating much heat compared to fruitwoods or hardwoods, you must use a larger quantity of cherry pellets for high-heat turkey cooking. 

Considerations To Make For Wood Pellets

Heating Pellets Vs. Smoking/ Food Pellets

Remember how earlier on in our discussion of the list of worst food pellets for smoking, we considered the distinction between heating and food pellets?

Heating pellets should always be differentiated from food pellets because they serve opposing functions. One’s primary purpose is to impart delicious woody flavor to the meal, whereas the other is intended for burning in stoves and not smoking for food consumption. 

best pellets

Also another significant difference is that heating pellets are composed of softwoods such as pine, which have unfavorable flavors, unlike hardwoods, which are healthy and clean. The two premium brands for smoking pellets are Camp Chef and Traeger, and we have mentioned pellets from each in our best wooden pellets recommendations. 

Pellets Complementing Food

Another consideration that is to be made is whether the chosen wooden pellet complements the food. Each type of wooden pellet has a natural and unique taste that distinctively compliments the food, and these flavors are classified according to their strength, ranging from very mild to very strong flavors.

On the milder flavor ends, you can use maple and alder wood; for stronger flavors, mesquite and hickory can be used for smoking. If you want to have a sweet yet strong flavor, combine different kinds of wood together, one that has a strong flavor and the other that is sweet. 

Wood Pellets Quality

You will encounter plenty of wood pellet options in the market. Regardless, they are not all manufactured of equal quality, so you must try to find premium wood pellets produced without bark, fillers, and binding agents.

These pellets are food-grade hardwood and 100% natural, providing a healthy and clean fuel source that will last longer with favorable results and consistent temperatures.



In our guide, we began by elaborating on the list of worst wood pellets for smoking, noting the alternatives for such pellets, and concluding with some must-make considerations when buying wooden pellets. 

With all this information, you should be making a decision, understanding that no wood pellet is the worst. Rather, it is the inadequate pairing of the pellet and food.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which wood pellets smoke the most?

Some wood pellets that smoke the most are pecan, mesquite, and hickory.

Are wood pellets unhealthy?

Generally, no wood pellets are not unhealthy. But if you use heating pellets instead of food pellets for smoking, then they can prove to be very unhealthy.

Do wood pellets give off smoke?

Yes, wood pellets give off smoke. While some give off little smoke, others give out a lot of smoke.

Which pellets burn the hottest?

Pellets of softwood such as spruce and pine burn the hottest.