A wood pellet smoker uses small pellets made from real hardwood to subtly impart a smoky flavor in meats, vegetables and anything else you feel like smoking. When you look at some of the best pellet smoker recipes, you’ll even find recipes for making appetizers, side dishes and desserts. These recipes will turn any backyard BBQ or birthday into a hit.
One of the best reasons to invest in a pellet smoker is because you can experiment with wood types and combinations as well as recipes. All you need is a marinade or a dry rub and some wood chips to make the best dishes your family ever tasted before.
To help you out, we tracked down the best pellet smoker recipe books and the best pellets that you can use to make those dishes in your smoker.
Best Pellet Smoker Recipes
Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto
Before you invest in any other recipe book, buy a copy of Franklin Barbecue: A Meat-Smoking Manifesto by Aaron Franklin and Jordan Mackay. Published in 2015, this book comes right from the mind of the man behind Franklin Barbecue, one of the top BBQ restaurants in the country. Franklin went from selling BBQ out of an old trailer to opening a restaurant that won top awards.
His book goes beyond simple recipes to give you tips on why your brisket comes out dry or how long different types of meats should smoke. The photos between the covers will make you want to grab some wood chips and try some of your favorite recipes.
The Unofficial Masterbuilt Smoker Cookbook: A BBQ & Smoking Guide
If you own a Masterbuilt smoker, you need a copy of The Unofficial Masterbuilt Smoker Cookbook: A BBQ & Smoking Guide by Smokin’ Bob Jensen in your library. Jensen is an experienced smoker who frequently gave advice to his family and friends before deciding to write his own cookbook. The tips he provides are perfect for all Masterbuilt models and will make you become an expert.
This book includes recipes for pellet, charcoal, and electric smokers. You’ll find more than 100 recipes covered in its 100+ pages as well as lots of photographs. It’s available in a paperback edition as well as a Kindle download.
Steven Raichlen, the writer behind The Barbecue Bible and several other books on grilling, created Project Smoke as a way to share some of his favorite smoking methods and recipes. Esquire called him a master griller, and you’ll understand why after seeing recipes like jerk chicken and slam dunk brisket. Most recipes include photos of the finished dish too.
You can purchase this book and access dozens of recipes in a hardback, paperback or Kindle version. Raichlen includes tips on using different types of smokers, working with different cuts and changing flavors based on your preferences. It also includes dessert recipes like one for chocolate bread pudding that you can make in your pellet smoker.
Be the BBQ Pitmaster: A Regional Smoker Cookbook Celebrating America's Best Barbecue
Be the BBQ Pitmaster: A Regional Smoker Cookbook Celebrating America’s Best Barbecue by Will Budiaman teaches you how to become the pitmaster of your own lawn or patio. His book is one of the best around for looking at the differences between regional cooking styles. The author walks you through the steps of making Carolina, Memphis and other types of barbecue.
Budiaman also does a good job of breaking down the recipes and letting you know how hard each one is based on your skill level. It features tips from some of the world’s top pitmasters and information on entering BBQ competitions in your area.
Best Pellets for Smoking Brisket
BBQrs Delight Wood Smoking Pellets - Super Smoker Variety Value Pack
The BBQrs Delight Wood Smoking Pellets – Super Smoker Variety Value Pack is the best pellets for smoking brisket because it comes with six bags that each weigh one pound to help you experiment with different wood types. An included bag of Jack Daniels pellets has a slightly sweet note from the whiskey, while the bag of hickory pellets has a richer and more savory flavor.
You also get bags that use wood like cherry, apple, pecan and mesquite. As you only need 1/3 of a cup of pellets for most smoking applications, each bag will last for up to 10 uses. These pellets are also easy to use and do not require any soaking beforehand
Lumber Jack 5086 40-Pound BBQ Grilling Wood Pellets
As you gain more smoking experience, you might decide to try your hand at a barbecue competition, and this bag of wood pellets from Lumber Jack is suitable for any contest. This bag uses a combination of cherry, hickory and maple woods that impart both a sweet and savory flavor in your meats. It’s the same type of wood blend that many professionals use too.
Though the pellets are slightly smaller in size than other pellets, that small size helps the wood burn faster and retain that high temperature for longer to give you, even more, smoke.
Camp Chef Bag of Premium for Smoker
Another solid option for that smoking brisket is this Camp Chef Bag of Premium for Smoker, which comes with 20 pounds of pellets made from apple wood. Those pellets feature only premium hardwood and will work with smokers from all leading manufacturers. As there are no additional flavors added, you’ll taste only the rich flavor of the apple wood.
Camp Chef does not include any added oils either, which cuts down on the moisture produced as you steam to release the dry smoke that you love. The top of the bag folds over for keeping the pellets dry between smokes too.
Louisiana Grills Wood Pellets, 40 lb., Georgia Pecan
If you love the taste of Georgia pecan wood, you’ll love these pellets from Louisiana Grills, which comes packed with 40 pounds of smoking pellets. Pecan has a slightly stronger flavor than other wood types and is similar to hickory but has a slightly sweeter flavor that works well with mild types of meats. Not only are these pellets great for use with brisket, but pecan also pairs nicely with pork and poultry.
Instead of using extra liquids, Louisiana Grills uses only the natural moisture found in the pecan wood to hold the pellets together. As the pellets burn, they burn longer and produce fewer embers.