How to Use Wood Pellets in an Offset Smoker

Wood pellets are currently one of the fantastic possibilities for wood-based fuel sources. Wood pellets, a more recent fuel option in the barbecue world, are a flexible approach to getting an excellent smoky taste in outdoor cooking. In this post, we’ll go into more detail about wood pellets and how to use wood pellets in an offset smoker to make BBQ that tastes amazing and has the smoky flavor you want.

How to use wood pellets in an offset smoker

If you’ve been thinking about purchasing an offset smoker but are unsure what type of wood to use or how to maintain the smoker, this guide on using wood pellets in an offset smoker can help you with your smoking endeavors. Regardless of whether you’re new to smoking, there are some simple steps you can take to ensure that you get the best results from your smoking process. 

Wood has long been a dependable, traditional fire source for outdoor cooking and for creating smoke that will perfectly flavor your meat. Hardwood logs were the only choice for utilizing wood for smoking or grilling for a long time. But in modern BBQ, employing wood can refer to various techniques, styles, and sizes.

Additional Resources:

Visit our post on the “Best Offset Smoker” for additional details on how to select the best offset smoker for your requirements. It offers insightful commentary and suggestions to support your decision-making. We Also reviewed budget-friendly Offset smokers under 500. Have a read and go for the Best option that fulfills your needs and requirements.

What Exactly Are Wood Pellets?

If you’re new to smoking, you may not know what exactly wood pellets are. Simply put, they’re compressed sawdust used for grilling or smoking food. You can purchase them from a home improvement store, and some grocery stores like Whole Foods sell their brand. They typically come in boxes or bags, either of which contains relatively small amounts of fuel.

How To Make Your Pellets:

Making your pellets is easy if you have access to a chipper/shredder (essentially just a lawn mower with an attachment). The machine shreds up pieces of wood into little chips. From there, you must add water and let it sit until it dries out. Some people like to mix in other materials like corn cobs or peanut shells; others prefer making pure pine or hickory chips. How To Use Them In An Offset Smoker: Once you’ve purchased your smoker and gathered everything else you need, Choose the right wood pellet.

Choosing the right wood pellet

There are several types of wood pellets. Here is a guide on selecting which will work best for your smoker. The most common pellet is made of pine and often has metal strapping and metal nails. These can be used, but they tend to burn too fast and have too much sap, so they aren’t perfect for smoking meat or fish. 

They are great for heating fires, though! Wooden pellets treated with fire retardant chemicals should not be used because they can be released into your food when you smoke with them. You don’t want any extra chemicals in your food. It is also recommended that you don’t use pellets from countries where there might be insects or other pests lurking about, such as Asia and South America. If you find yourself with a questionable pellet, soak it in water for at least 24 hours before using it. 

This will help wash away any contaminants left behind by previous shipments. Be aware that some localities prohibit their use due to safety concerns; please check if you live near one of those cities (e.g., New York City). Finally, I recommend choosing one already flat; doing so makes assembly easier and keeps things more stable while cooking your delicious foods!

Using Wood Pellets For Smoking

When looking for a new way to flavor meat, most pitmasters opt for hardwood chips when using a smoker. While adding wood chips is still one of your best options, why not consider another? In recent years, pellets have become more and more common among professional smokers. Pellets are similar to wood chips because they’re made from compressed sawdust or other organic materials. 

The main difference is that pellets don’t burn as quickly, so you can smoke for extended periods without adding more fuel. If you’re interested in trying out smoking with pellets, there are several ways you can go about it: 

The following steps outline how to use wood pellets in an offset smoker. 

Preparing Your Firebox: Using wood pellets in an offset smoker requires a firebox (also known as a smoker box) where you can place your pellets. These boxes typically have holes at the bottom for airflow, which means all you need to do is line them with aluminum foil before filling them up with pellets. However, plenty of DIY solutions are available online if you don’t have any pre-made fireboxes. Just make sure whatever option you choose allows airflow and has enough space to accommodate your desired amount of pellets. 

Setting Up Your Grill: Once you have a firebox, fill it with pellets and light them on fire. There’s no need to wait until they turn into coals—you should be able to start cooking right away. Avoid moving your grill around too much while cooking since pellet grills tend to run hotter than charcoal grills. 

Cooking With Wood Pellets: Before putting anything on your grill, remember that using wood pellets in an offset smoker will change its appearance and taste due to smoke.

Flavor Profiles Of Wood Pellets

Finding the right wood pellet for your smoker is about developing a taste and palate for these different flavors. These are just some of my favorites: hickory, cherry, pecan, oak, and mesquite. I recommend starting with any of these. Maple and apple are also excellent choices but may have milder flavors initially; however, you’ll quickly develop a taste for their unique characteristics. 

Be sure not to use more than one kind of wood at once! The flavor profiles of woods can easily clash if used together, so be careful when experimenting. And don’t forget that even though you can get away with using fewer wood pellets than charcoal briquettes, it doesn’t mean they burn longer or last longer either—they still burn pretty fast! You should expect to replace them every 30 minutes when using a full load in an offset smoker. 

For a standard full-size grill, plan on replacing them every 20 minutes or so. If you’re smoking something big like a turkey, plan on adding another handful of pellets every 15 minutes. In other words, always keep an eye on your smoker and ensure it stays hot enough to cook properly without burning too much fuel.

Extra tips and tricks

You can use wood chips or chunks if you want a smoke flavor. They are almost as easy to handle as wood pellets, and they will give your meat a smokier taste. But if you have never used them before, make sure that you follow these steps: 

  • soak them for at least 1 hour; 
  • make sure that they are dry when placed on hot coals;
  • don’t forget about them! Because of their small size, leaving them unattended for too long is straightforward. 

The best way to avoid cleaning up a huge mess is by using large amounts of wood pellets instead of small amounts of wood chips or chunks. This way, you won’t need to worry about leaving any pieces behind. Also, remember that wet wood does not burn well. Soaking it in water will only cause more problems than solutions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Compared to wood chips, pellets will provide a hotter climate. Additionally, because they burn more slowly, they are more economical. Thanks to this long, gradual burn, you’ll be able to regulate the temperature of your grill or smoker more easily. Wood pellets produce minimal ash buildup because of their distinctive composition.

You don’t need to soak your wood pieces and chips. Before producing smoke, soaked wood chips and chunks must evaporate any remaining moisture. It will take some time for the water on the wood to warm up to 212°F (the boiling point of water), where it will remain until it has evaporated.

The advantage of using wood pellets over wood chips is that they will smoke for much longer. Typically, wood pellets have four times the higher energy density than wood chips. As a result, compared to wood chips, the same volume of wood pellets can emit the same quantity of smoke for up to four times longer.


Wood pellets are an excellent addition for any smoker. They have a lot of flavors and will create great smoke rings that your friends and family will love! Pellet smoking is fun, easy, and inexpensive! Give it a shot. You’ll be glad you did. You can find free wood pellets anywhere; ask about local businesses and look online. I got my pellets from Craigslist. 

The only thing I paid for was shipping because they were quite heavy. If you don’t want to go through all of that trouble, there are several places online that sell them already cut up and ready to go. Just remember, if you buy them pre-cut, ensure they aren’t treated with chemicals or pesticides because those could ruin your meat. Also, always check with your local government for any regulations regarding burning wood in your area before starting a fire. I hope this guide on how to use wood pellets in an offset smoker will be helpful for you.

After all the process If your Offset smoker is still not getting hot enough there may be several reasons. Read our Complete guide and get to know it better.


  1. As a new “smoker” with a Metalcraft Memphis a have a few wonderings. Do I still need to start a coal burn first in the offset? Before I put in pellets in the offset? Do I understand right that the offset needs to be lined inside with aluminium foil? Uncertain but I’m thankful to have found this page

    1. Hello Mark.

      As for lining the inside of the offset with aluminum foil, it’s not necessary but can help with easy cleanup. However, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your specific model. Feel free to ask if you have any more questions. Enjoy your smoking experience!

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