The Complete Guide to Wood Pellets: How to Choose the Best Pellets for Your Grill

So, you want to smoke the best meats on your grill, but you’re not sure which pellets will deliver the best results? Luckily, we all have all the answers for you (and more—but we’ll get to that later).

Why Choose Wood Pellets

When you burn wood pellets, you have the upper hand. You know what you’re getting and what to expect.

Grilling with plain old wood can work, but the heat and flavor are a mystery until you cook and consume your smoked meats.

Plus, you should never use treated wood, scrap wood, or wood from certain plants in your smoker because they can contaminate your food with chemicals and toxins. Play it safe and avoid the guessing game by always using wood pellets in your grill.

Always Grill with 100% Natural Hardwood

While it’s totally up to you if you want to experiment with hardwood and softwood pellets (most grills can burn either), we recommend always grilling with 100% hardwood pellets (and yes, the 100% part is important).

Hardwood burns at a slightly lower heat than softwood, making it ideal for a slow, long

roast that helps infuse that desirable smoky flavor into your meats. For this same reason, you won’t need to use as many pellets as often when you choose hardwood.

However, life is all about accepting the give and take. Hardwood pellets create more ash than softwood pellets, which means you’ll need to clean your smoker more often. We think that’s a fair trade-off for great flavor.

Choose a Trusted Manufacturer

Many wood pellet manufacturers add filler to their wood grill pellets. Although this helps these companies offer a lower price to you, the sacrifice for quantity is quality—and we don’t recommend cutting corners.

So, always ensure that your wood pellets, whether they are a blend or not, are composed entirely of high-quality hardwood.

At Z Grills, we only offer 100% hardwood pellets crafted from the finest wood. All of our wood pellets feature natural ingredients, plus low ash and low moisture contents. And they never contain bark or recycled wood.

Although the choice between hardwood and softwood is an important one, choosing the right manufacturer may be even more important.

Which Hardwood Pellet Flavors Are the Best?

Now you know that you want to buy hardwood pellets from a trusted manufacturer, but there are still more choices to make.

Hardwood pellets come in a wide variety of flavors, and there are countless flavor blends out there. Some blends are premixed for you, while others can be created at home to produce custom flavors on the grill.

No flavor beats the rest, but some are better for specific meats than others. Here’s the complete rundown of everything you need to know about different wood pellet flavors.

Oak Wood Pellets

Oak wood pellets are one of the most versatile you’ll find. You can use it to smoke and grill anything from beef to vegetables. It tastes just as great with poultry and pork as it does with fish and bread.

When you cook with our premium oak wood pellets, we recommend starting with lamb, sausage, or brisket.

Maple Wood Pellets

Maple is a common flavor for wood pellets, and it’s one of our favorites!

Maple wood delivers a sweet yet mild flavor. It tastes best with small game birds, pork, vegetables, and cheeses.

Hickory Wood Pellets

Hickory adds sweet, nutty, and savory flavor profiles to any meat, which many people describe as having a natural bacon-like taste.

Our hickory barbecue wood pellets are the best for smoking red meat, especially ribs and steaks—although it is by no means bad when used to grill poultry and vegetables.

Cherry Wood Pellets

Although cherry wood is a lesser-known hardwood for smoking meats, it pairs well with everything, making it an ideal choice to have around the house. Its sweet, mild, fruity flavor is comparable to apple wood.

Alder Wood Pellets

Alder is one of the less common woods for smoking, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t great. Alder is a delicate wood and provides a sweet flavor that is subtle and delicious. It pairs extremely well with salmon and tastes great with other fish, poultry, and pork.

Applewood Pellets

Applewood pellets lend a flavor that is mild, sweet, and fruity. If you like applewood smoked bacon, the taste is probably a familiar one.

Applewood pairs best with pork and poultry, and we recommend cooking low and slow for optimal flavor.

Mesquite Wood Pellets

Do you like Texas-style barbecue? If the answer is yes, then you’ll probably want to try your hand at grilling with mesquite wood pellets. Mesquite hardwood pellets deliver great (and strong!) flavor, which means it takes a careful hand to achieve the right results. If you’re still a beginner at grilling, we recommend moving up to mesquite after you’ve mastered the basics.

Custom Blends of Wood Pellets

At Z Grills, our competition blend is one of our most popular flavors. It pairs well with anything—and we mean anything. Whether you’re cooking your favorite meats, fish, or veggies, our unique blend of the best hardwood pellets is sure to impress and delight you.

We also offer a custom blend that features only fruitwood. We recommend this blend for cooking beef, pork, poultry, and vegetables.

Conclusion: Buy the Best Hardwood Pellets from Z Grills

Z Grills currently offers most of the pellet flavors above, so if you see one you like, don’t be afraid to try it out! All of our pellets are entirely produced from hardwood, 100% natural, and made in the United States.

If you’re not sure which to choose (there are many great choices, after all), we recommend the pellet flavor bundle. It includes five of our most popular wood pellet flavors, plus a free surprise flavor!