Our Favorite Pellets for Smoking Ham (My 6 Favorite Flavors)

Are you a smoking ham but not sure what pellets to use?

The pellets you pick have a big affect the flavor of your ham.

So I have put together a guides that you can see what flavors you like and the pellets you need to achieve that


A Quick Look at the Types of Pellets for Smoking Ham

Smoking ham can be done with several different types of pellets.

Read further for more detail but for now, the pellets to use for smoking ham are;

– Apple
– Hickory
– Maple
– Oak
– Cherry

Each type of pellet has its own distinct flavor profile that can add a unique smoky flavor to the meat.

There is never a ‘right’ answer, especially when it comes to BBQ and smoking.

The key is to be creative and try out different types of wood chunks and pellets.

Your holiday meals or curing process never have to be the same again.

I hope you enjoy my recommendations.


How Different Types of Pellets Can Affect Flavor

Below are the 2 reasons why the type of pellet you use as fuel for smoking will affect your ham!

Type of Wood for Flavor

Wood is of course a natural product with a variety of compounds.

Without getting into the science, think of the herbs or spices you like to enjoy.

The sweet and light taste of vanilla or the earthy and bitter taste of cumin.

When cured wood is burnt, these flavorful chemical compounds are carried by the smoke.

This variety of incredible flavors in wood is partly what makes smoking meat so fun!

Size of Pellets for Burn Rate & Heat Energy

The size of the pellet will determine how quickly it burns and how evenly it distributes heat.

Smaller pellets burn faster and create a hotter fire.

Larger pellets take longer to burn and provide a more even heat distribution.

Ham requires medium heat so the standard-size pellets are fine for perfect smoking.


1 – Apple Pellets

Applewood pellets are the best and most widely used for smoking a ham.

Cheap and easy to find, be sure to pick up apple wood pellets for a traditional and light flavor.

Flavor Profile

Apple pellets provide a mild, sweet flavor with hints of fruit and spice.

Benefits of Smoking Ham With Apple

– Apple compliments the natural flavor in a leg of pork.

– Cheap and accessible.

– Doesn’t require soaking.

2 – Hickory Pellets

Another great and suitable wood for smoking ham.

The bold hickory hardwood flavor will elevate any traditional pork products.

Flavor Profile

The flavor profile of hickory wood pellets is intense and smoky, with sweet and earthy undertones.

Benefits of Smoking Ham With Hickory

– Great for adding extra flavor with a kick of robust smoke!

– Hickory pellets burn slowly with an even heat distribution.

– The smokey flavors work well with traditional glaze ingredients.

3 – Maple Pellets

Maple pellets are a great choice for smoking ham as they provide a subtle sweetness.

This like apple will enhance the natural flavors of the meat.

Especially if you want to use maple syrup in a liquid mixture glaze.

Flavor Profile

The flavor profile of maple pellets is mild and sweet, with hints of caramel and toffee.

Benefits of Smoking Ham With Maple

– Compliments classic ingredients used when smoking ham – such as brown sugar and garlic powder!

– The perfect flavor balance of mild and stronger pellets.

Low risk of overpowering the ham for a spoilt holiday dinner!

4 – Oak Pellets


Flavor Profile

Oak pellets bring an earthy smokiness that is great for enhancing the natural flavors of the ham.

An intense strong flavor and smoky taste are followed by hints of sweetness.

Benefits of Smoking Ham With Oak

– Great for infusing a smokey taste to your ham for BBQ lovers!

Easy and cheap to get hold of.

– They burn slowly and hot which requires fewer pellets than other varieties.

5 – Cherry Pellets

Our last recommendation but certainly not the least!

Flavor Profile

The flavor profile of cherry wood pellets is mild with sweet honey, and notes of tartness.

Benefits of Smoking Ham With Cherry

Milder smoke flavor compared to oak and hickory.

Savory flavor compared to apple and maple.

Burns slowly to allow for a longer smoke time.

The Importance of Burning Food-Graded Wood Pellets

I want to quickly add a note about safety when choosing pellets for any recipe, not just ham.

Always buy food-grade certified hardwood pellets.

These will have been specifically manufactured for wood pellet grills.

Do not attempt to cure your wood or buy from an unlicensed supplier.

Wood can contain a variety of dangerous chemicals or be treated with harmful additives.

These can contaminate your food and make you very ill.

Smoking Process Tips for Ham

The internal temperature before consumption of ham is 145°F

– Smoking ham at 225°F will take 15 minutes per pound.

– Add a brown sugar glaze for caramelization and the perfect skin.


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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