Pellet Flavor Test - Anyone Ever Done It?
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Pellet Flavor Test - Anyone Ever Done It?
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Thread: Pellet Flavor Test - Anyone Ever Done It?

  1. #1

    Pellet Flavor Test - Anyone Ever Done It?

    With all the discussions of pellets concerning flavor, base wood vs flavor wood, oils, etc., I'm wondering if anyone ever did a real controlled test?

  2. #2
    Yes, I have done various tests with chicken, pork, etc. to see what I like and if I, and/or my family & friends can tell any difference, not only in flavor, but also how the pellets perform in our two pellet grills.

    As far as flavor difference: cold-smoking is where I can tell the biggest difference in 100% flavorwood versus and oak/flavorwood blend. The 100% flavorwood gives me a true flavor profile for that wood type.

    The strongest flavors that give the deepest smoke profile when cold-smoking are Apple, then Hickory (mesquite is way too strong for use in cold smoking, in my opinion). Apple gives a very deep penetrating smoke and aroma with subtle hints of sweetness that reminds me of a campfire. Hickory gives you a very distinct bacony, salty smell and flavor with warm tones. Apple and hickory together are a perfect pairing for pork shoulders!

    Color: Different wood smokes will give noticeably different colors on meat. Apple gives a very distinctive dark chestnut color. Cherry gives a reddish mahogany color, and hickory gives a color something in between the two.

    As far as performance: There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that an oak-blended pellet absolutely performs better; good BTU's (for more stable temperatures), and considerably less ash than 100% flavorwoods such as 100% hickory, or 100% apple.

    Now that does not necessarily mean they are blended already in the bag. Since I like to cold-smoke certain things I tend to get 100% hickory, and 100% apple to use for cold smoking, then mix them 50/50 with oak for use in the hopper.

    So basically... I run oak/flavorwood blends in the hopper and save the 100% flavorwood pellets for cold-smoking using an "A-Maze-N Pellet Tube" or "Smokin Wedgie" (a similar device).

    I also really like Lumber Jack's Competition blend (formerly called their MHC blend), which is a 100% flavorwood blend of Maple/Hickory/Cherry.

    For grilling on the MAK (FlameZone in Grill Mode): I have not found anything that performs better than Lumber Jacks's Charblend Hickory (hickory/charcoal mix). They are Very high BTU's and relatively low ash. I have not tried the BBQer's Delight Jack Daniels pellets, which also contain charcoal, but I imagine they too would give great results for grilling mode.

    One more note: As far as telling the difference between flavors, I still hold that a lot of it has to do with a person's sense of smell, because a LOT of the subtle differences in smoke profiles are in the aroma which then affect taste.

    I hope this helps!
    Last edited by TentHunter; 09-06-2018 at 03:37 PM.
    MAK 1 Star General #651 - 2014 Model
    former owner - MAK 1 Star General #171
    22.5" Weber Performer with Stoven Pellet Grill attachment
    27 + year old 22.5" Weber Kettle (still works fine)
    Modified Horizontal Offset Smoker - used mainly for cold smoking.

  3. #3
    Any specific place to purchase the lumber jack?

  4. #4
    Administrator Big Poppa's Avatar
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    Jul 2010
    La Quinta California
    Ok here is how I did it. Tent yours is fabulous and Im not discounting it...very good.

    It's a pain to do but I did it. I cook boneless skinless chicken breasts. Let them cool and then refrigerate. I find that the next day you can really identify the flavors more easily with the technique above and there is not interference with seasonings

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by wolverines View Post
    Any specific place to purchase the lumber jack?
    Did you search yet for this one?

  6. #6
    As Tenthunter noted certain types makes different colors on the meat. We choose cherry the most as we like the color of the finish product. We also like the oak/pecan blends. Honestly pellet flavor is our least concern. I will second that apple is good for cold smoking. It makes great smoked salt.
    MAK Grills ,BPS Drum Smoker, Ole Hickory Pits Ace BP, Hasty Bake Legacy KCBS CBJ

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by wolverines View Post
    Any specific place to purchase the lumber jack?
    You can get LJ online as well as in-store. Also, check BBQ Pellets Online. You may luck out and find a Group Buy near you. I just participated in a Group Buy in the Sacramento area. Worked out great and I've got my pellets for at least the next year.


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