Chips or Pellets – Which is Best?

When smoking you have a choice between a lot of different styles of materials to turn to smoke. Actually ‘materials’ might be the wrong word, because they are all hardwood. But it comes in many different forms. You have chunks, chips, pellets, sawdust, pucks and pellet chunks amongst others. Finding which one is best for you to use depends on the type of smoker you have.

Most people use chunks, because they burn slow and they don’t have to be fed constantly throughout the duration of a cook. But, this means that you need a big cooker and a lot of meat to smoke to make the most out of chunks. So for smaller cooks and cookers you have the choice between chips and pellets.

So which one should you use? It depends on what you are looking to do and what type of cooker you have. Most people go with chips, because they are cheap, easy to find and easy to use. You just grab a handful feed it into the machine every now and again and you let the delicious meat smoke. They can also come in various flavors, depending on the tree they come from, or they can even come with coats of flavoring.


Pellets on the other hand have specialized cookers made specifically with them in mind. Pellets are pencil shaped rods of compressed sawdust that can be used for smoking. You don’t need to necessarily have a cooker specifically designed for pellets to use them, but that is one place where you won’t find chips. The main advantage that pellets have is the large variety of flavors that they come in, being available online or in stores. You will find flavors of pretty much anything from cherry to Jack Daniel’s.

As for the question of which to use for your grill, there is no right answer. This depends on your grill most of all. You will have to find out what works best for you, and how each cook goes when using what. For example, a lot of people prefer to use a combination of chunks and chips. Others swear by pellets. In most cases it is simply a matter of taste, or more exactly a combination of smoker and personal preference.

So the best advice in this case is try them out for yourself. Use chips one time, pellets the next, and then compare. If you have an electric smoker, just throw them in the tray. If not, use some aluminum tin foil, wrap it around either the chips or pellets, prick some hole into it, and let it smoke. You can go even further and experiment with pellet chunks, bisquettes or pucks if you like, but as far as the top 3 contenders for best smoking materials go, it’s a fight between chips, chunks and pellets, because they are cheap, good and readily available. Other than that, have a nice cook and never quit smoking.