Recently, Kingsford reached out to me and asked if I would like to do a review of their brand new Wood Smoker Pellets. Having been introduced to them by Brad Orrison of the Shed at Memphis in May, 2018, before the pellets ever hit the store shelves, I was giddy to not only get my hands on them but also to get a chance to review this new entrant in the pellet fuel market. I realize a lot of pellet grills rigorously recommend you only use their pellets, but I’m willing to bet these do just fine in any pellet cooker and considering you can find them at Lowe’s, Cabellas and on Amazon, these may be easier to find than the manufacturer’s pellets. I’d also bet that soon enough these pellets will be available in far more retailers, but that’s just a guess.
Kingsford Wood Smoker Pellets Review
I know that pellet smokers get a bad wrap from the stick burner crowd. I was one of them, swearing by my offset for years. But then I had kids and my priorities changed. I used to think lump charcoal and wood was the only way to cook meat. Once I had kids, I realized the method in which I made BBQ was irrelevant as long as the BBQ was great. Besides, of the hundreds and thousands I’ve cooked for, not a single one, after taking a bite of my food has said, “This is fantastic. How much sleep did you lose adding fuel and adjusting vents last night?” And I noticed something when I went to Memphis in May and the American Royal (the two biggest BBQ competitions in the world). Stick burners didn’t dominate the top spots on either of the finalist lists. But wait. They said nothing is better than a stick burner? There were some here and there among the finalists, but there were also pellet smokers, drum smokers, kettles, trailered rigs and on and on. It seems to me the type of grill, and the fuel burned, is less likely to predict grilling success than the ability of the pitmaster him/herself. So pick what fits your lifestyle. For me, I’m not sure I’ll ever not have a pellet cooker on my deck. If nothing else for Thanksgiving alone. I set the bird my pellet cooker on and forget about it until it’s done. That way I can enjoy the party too. But that’s just me. I like parties. Oh, and I like sleep too.
One other knock on pellet smokers is they don’t produce enough smoke. Or so people perceive. I’ve had some that the smoke is barely visible, but the taste of the finished product is outstanding. The people that complain about not enough smoke generally think the smoke ring is the only thing that proves the meat got enough smoke. That’s a complete fallacy. The smoke ring is much more about cosmetics than it is about flavor. That being said, the amount of smoke I got from these pellets and this cooker were nothing short of perfect:
I decided to run the pellets through their paces with some cherry to begin with, just because it’s dad’s favorite:
On subsequent cooks I tried the hickory and the competition:
I started off with a pork butt/pork shoulder (same cut) as it has a ton of surface area to soak up that smoke:
It occurred to me that I had a lot more space on my grill and that pork shoulder would be lonely in there so I added a couple slabs of spare ribs that I trimmed down to St. Louis style ribs:
It didn’t take long for all that gorgeous blue smoke to start turning that shoulder golden:
It only took a few hours at 275 for the bark to start to form on the shoulder:
Looks like everything is just about done. Ribs are sauced and ready and my pork shoulder has a BEE-YUTE-IFULL bark on it all thanks to those Kingsford Wood Smoker Pellets:
Sometimes I absolutely crave a saucy, messy slab of ribs:
But what about that bark on the shoulder?
And the smoke ring?
What did I make with this pulled pork? Besides sammiches? How about some pulled pork nachos?
So what’s the verdict? I love the new Kingsford Wood Smoker Pellets. The smoke level was fantastic and more important, the BBQ I smoked with these pellets tasted great! I’m hoping they go on sale like the Kingsford Briquettes do every year on Labor Day weekend as I just might pick up a pallet or two.
Full disclosure, Kingsford compensated me for this review, but you know me, I won’t recommend anything I don’t honestly believe in, and by the time this article was published, I went to Lowe’s and bought more bags of Kingsford Wood Smoker Pellets because I enjoyed cooking with them that much.