Pit Boss Pellets Guide (Which Flavor Complements Which Meat?)

Do want to know what flavor pellet to use?

There are so many choices!

I have made a quick guide on what types of wood pellets complement each type of meat.

So whether you are a barbecue beginner or a seasoned pit master, I hope that I can share some snippets of wisdom.

Wood Pellets Pairing For Your Pit Boss 

See below for my recommendations on what pellets for smoking to pair with your favorite recipes.

I have categorized the pellets into your softer fruitwoods and then your stronger wood varieties.

Happy grilling!

Fruit Woods 


Apple is probably one of the sweetest flavors out there. 

It has a beautifully clear and light smoke that won’t be too harsh on your ingredients. 

I enjoy using applewood to smoke homemade pork sausages or pork loin. 

The fruit complements the pork and sage flavor in my sausage mix and doesn’t discolor the casings. 


Cherrywood is another light and fruity taste but with a little more body to the smoke than apple. 

This medium fruity smoke compliments smoking freshly caught salmon, trout, or mackerel.

The smoke binds to the natural oils in these fish and helps flavor and the curing process without discoloring or overpowering. 


One of my personal favorites.

Pecan flavor is nutty and rich but still not as strong as our next types of wood. 

I use pecan wood chips as the fuel for my 10-hour brisket. 

The smoke is strong enough to help from the bark and flavor the meat.

But it doesn’t burn as hot so I don’t have to worry through the long cooking process in regards to burning or hot spots.

Strong Woods 


The lower or medium strength flavored smoke in this bracket. 

Oak is a classic hardwood that has been used as fuel since smoking began.

It has a great musky flavor but will not overpower the taste of whatever you are smoking.

I use oak to smoke my turkey at Thanksgiving as it compliments the gamey taste without taking over.


The strongest out of the stronger wood types. 

These hardwood pellets produce a thicker gray smoke that can be described as earthy.

It also burns very hotly which is why I recommend reverse searing a thick cut of steak with a strong rub. 

The hot temperature will give an adequate sear and the strong flavor really will complement the seasoning.


Hickory wood pellets are somewhere in between the strength of Oak and Mesquite. 

This wood burns clear with white smoke and almost gives off a bacon-type sweetness.

I recommend using Hickory when smoking baby back ribs.

The strong but sweet notes complement the ribs.

What Is the Role of Hardwood Pellets in a Pit Boss Pellet Smoker?

The wood pellets are what is known as a biofuel which means they are made from sustainable means and are natural. 

The hardwood pellets we use in our Pit Boss smoker are leftover wood shavings which pressed together.

These are then electronically heated and act as the fundamental source for the cooking temperatures and the smoke.

As you find in wood, there are different varieties and a range of flavors to choose from and without any artificial flavors either!

See below for the basic premises for food-grade pellets in pellet grills.


The most basic but important of wood cooking pellets is that they well… cook. 

Without the pellets, your Pit Boss would be redundant. 

When heated they smolder and produce the heat and smoke for the long periods it takes to get the brisket or whatever you fancy!


The hardwood pellets come in varieties of wood which all have different temperatures, flavor compounds, and smoke intensity. 

These are all factors during your cooking process as these flavors from the wood pair with the flavors in your meat.

A Precursor For Yummy Chemical Reactions

Similar to seasoning, there are specific chemical reactions that occur like the Milliard reaction.

These types of reactions are caused by the ambient temperature from the heating pellets and the intensity of smoke particles to initiate these tasty reactionaries. 

Smoke On!


Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

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