Choosing between smoking pellets and wood may seem like an easy decision. After all, wood is the most common choice for smokers. However, not all wood pellets are created equal. For example, some contain less than five percent hardwood, while others do not have any at all. Instead, they use flavored oils to mimic the flavor of real wood. If you aren’t sure what to choose, read on to learn what to look for.
Less expensive options
While some smokers choose to use expensive hardwoods for their pellets, there are cheaper alternatives. Apple-flavored pellets are a favorite among smokers, thanks to their slightly-sweet flavor. They also go well with poultry, pig, and seafood. Pellets of cherry or hickory wood will also provide excellent smoke flavors. If you don’t want to spend the money on the more expensive varieties, you can buy cheaper alternatives in smaller bags.
If you want to try different flavors and textures, wood pellets are a good option. Wood pellets are highly recommended for smoking because they give off intense smoke, seal natural moisture, and impart an irresistible smoky flavor. However, wood chips are more expensive and require twice the amount of wood in your smoker. The best way to decide whether you want to use wood pellets or chips depends on what foods you want to smoke.
Chemicals in wood
If you’re looking to smoke meats, you should consider using food-grade pellets instead of cheaper ones. Unlike wood pellets, which can be dangerous, food-grade pellets are processed without the use of chemicals. While this may make the pellets more affordable, it will also mean that they’ll likely contain other chemicals such as binding agents and flavor enhancers. Those chemicals can leach into your food and have negative effects.
The quality of your smoke depends on the type of wood you choose. For example, oak or other hardwoods burn faster than other types. Therefore, choose a wood pellet that has oak fillers for consistent burning and avoid those that have too much ash. These pellets will burn more evenly and won’t produce flare-ups or hot spots. Also, make sure that the pellets you use are clean, dry, and safe to store.
Quality of wood pellets
When choosing the right smoking pellets, you need to consider several factors. First, look for food-grade wood. Pellets that are certified as food-grade should burn hot and produce plenty of smoke. There are two main types of wood pellets: single-spear and blended. Single-spear pellets are usually oak, while blends tend to be alder. Both types produce consistent pellets with a consistent amount of smoke and heat.
Next, think about the flavor. If you’re smoking vegetables, fruits, or seafood, you’ll likely want to choose pellets with a mild taste. On the other hand, if you’re aiming to accent a bold beef taste, you’ll want to choose a pellet with a medium or strong flavor. Medium wood pellets will add a distinct flavor to poultry or meat. And if you’re primarily looking to smoke meat and poultry, you’ll probably want to stay away from pellets that contain any oil.
Choosing the right flavor
The best wood for your grill is cherry or oak when smoking meat. These woods add a delicious aroma to meats and provide a clean, steady smoke. Most smokers will benefit from a 20-pound bag of cherry or oak pellets. They also make a convenient quantity, making them easy to use and experiment with. The bag contains 100 percent wood, meaning it has no filler or oil.
Some woods have more or less smoke, while others give off a light or medium flavor. Hickory wood, for example, adds a mild smoky flavor and is often used for smoking chicken and pork. Maple wood is another popular wood and pairs well with a wide range of food. Try mixing cherry and hickory if you’re going for a stronger, more flavorful smoke.