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How To Choose The Best Wood Pellets for Your Grill

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April 30, 2024

What home cook doesn’t love firing up the grill and enjoying the smells and flavors of a perfectly grilled meal? If you want to experiment with different woods to enhance your steaks or vegetables, maybe it’s time to change up your wood pellet game. Each pellet type imparts its own unique flavor to proteins and vegetables in different ways.

Read on for how to get ready for summer and the best wood pellets for your grill.

Setting Up Your Pellet Grill for an Outdoor BBQ 

Warm, sunny weather ushers in grill season, which means it’ll be time to throw an epic outdoor get-together.

A pellet grill is one of the best tools for making unforgettable smoky eats. It offers more precise temperature control than coals, making it ideal for seasoned grillers and first-timers alike. Plus, pellet grills are highly versatile, allowing pitmasters to grill, smoke, roast, and bake! If you are new to the wonders of pellet cooking, here are a few tips to help get you started.

Pellet Grill 101

Before using your grill for the first time, season it by preheating it to at least 400F and letting it run for 60 minutes. Fill your hopper with your pellets of choice. Turn on the grill and set the thermostat to the correct temperature depending on your recipe. Once the grill is done preheating, add your food on the grates, close the lid, and monitor the food’s internal temperature until your grub is done. 

For the best BBQ every time, you should always empty your hopper after each grill session, stick to a regular cleaning schedule, and choose the best pellets for your recipe.

For More Grilling Tips Check Out Our Blog: How to Grill for Beginners


8 Types of  Wood Pellets for Grilling and Smoking 

Knowing which pellets to use is the first step in mastering finger-licking good cooking. Wood pellets are broken down into two major categories: fruitwood and hardwood. Fruitwood pellets derive from fruiting trees, such as apple and cherry. Hardwood options come from deciduous trees like maple, hickory, mesquite, and oak.

Both hardwood and fruitwood impart flavor and have recommended applications. The key is knowing which wood is ideal for your desired outcome. You’ll discover a wealth of wood options when searching for grill pellets. However, these eight types are classics that every griller should know.

3 Standard Fruitwood Pellets

1. Apple Flavor: Light, sweet, and slightly fruity

Pair With: Poultry, game birds, pork, lamb

2. Cherry Flavor: Slightly tart, sweet, and subtle

Pair With: Poultry, game birds, pork, lamb, game, and beef

3. Pecan

Flavor: Nutty, rich, and sweet

Pair With: Poultry, beef, pork

5 Standard Hardwood Pellets

1. Alder Flavor: Naturally light smoky undertones

Pair With: Beef, pork, seafood, vegetables

2. Hickory Flavor: Sweet, “bacon-esque,” with classic BBQ notes 

Pair With: Anything! However, beef, pork, and poultry are standard hickory grilled and smoked proteins.

3. Maple Flavor: Subtle smokiness with an underlying sweetness 

Pair With: Poultry, pork, fish

4. Mesquite Flavor

Flavor: Pungent, earthy, and savory

Pair With: Beef, poultry, pork

5. Oak Flavor: Vanilla-like, rustic, and bold

Pair With: Beef, poultry, game birds, fish, and lamb

Choosing the best grill pellets ultimately comes down to your personal preferences. When selecting and cooking with different pellets, consider flavor profiles and wood type. Don’t be afraid to experiment and have fun!

Get Your Grill On with BBQ Essentials from US Foods CHEF’STORE 

Summer is right around the corner, so it’s time to visit your local CHEF’STORE for all your party needs. We stock exceptional meats, seafood, and produce perfect for a home BBQ. Looking for pellets? We have those, too, as well as spices, beverages, paper goods, and more to make grilling season a successful one.

Check out our full line of affordable products and get ready for your outdoor barbeque!

The information materials and opinions contained in this blog/website are for general information purposes only, are not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied on or treated as a substitute for specific advice relevant to particular circumstances. We make no warranties, representations, or undertakings about any of the content of this blog/website (including, without limitation, as to the quality, accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose of such content).

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