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Types of Wood for Smoking: How to Select Best Woods for Different Purpose

Smoke is the quintessence of BBQ. Every wood for smoking has a special flavor quality that increases the flavor of any food. Being a party lover, you may confuse what type of wood for smoking you choose.

You are in the perfect place; here, we have enlisted the best guidelines regarding the type of wood for smoking you choose.

When you use smoke as a flavor ingredient, you can try a variety of meat and wood mixtures until you discover your perfect fit made in BBQ. If these woods are overly resinous, they will damage your meat as well as your smoker. So, follow our write-up below to select the perfect type of wood for smoking.

Short touch up of smoking origination:

As we know, smoking is an awesome technique for preparing meat and other foods over an open flame with a long history.

Meat smoking originated dating back to when humanity first lived in caves. The beef was first started brined, flavoring, and smoked by Romanians and created what is today known as pastrami. Britain united states, and Canada’s country’s shifted that conventional pastrami with them.

How to know the best type of wood for smoking?

Selecting the best type of wood for smoking meat is just also related to understanding the right time and temperature.

If you select the wrong smoking wood can result in poor taste that will ruin the cook. Otherwise, you must be careful when selecting a smoking wood flavor.

Though each type of wood for smoking produces smoke, not all smoke is made equal.


Usually, hardwoods burn more slowly, in fact, over a longer period of time and at a higher temperature than softwoods. They are desired for extended cooking because the wood gives foods a richer flavor. The example of hardest woods are-

  • Oak
  • Hickory
  • Pecan
  • Maple and
  • Alder


Smoking food using softwoods like pine and cedar is not a good idea. Even softwoods burn too quickly.

Types of wood used for smoking meat:

Applewood for smoking:

Applewood is mild and sweet, lending a mellow flavor. Even it can be used on virtually anything, whatever it is, a milder smoke flavor, so it is a higher choice for pork, hen, and fish.  Applewood does not go well with red meat, Because of its mild flavor.  Applewood goes best with-

  • Ribs
  • Pork butt
  • Wildfowl

Hickory wood for smoking:

Hickory is one of the most famous smoking woods for overlong cooks. Otherwise, it is more intense than the fruitwoods, so you have to be careful with what you use it on. Hickory wood has a smoky bacon taste. It goes well with the following cuts of meat:

  • Pork
  • Chicken
  • Red meat
  • Ribs

Maple wood for smoking:

Maple wood is one of the most famous smoking wood. Maple wood has a subtle, sweet, smoky flavor making it best for mild, light, and sweet smoking. For a sweet, soft, faint smokiness, use maple.

Oakwood for smoking:

Oakwood is a good choice for everyone, and it is also mild smoking wood.  Still, this is an excellent place to begin if you’re new to smoking. It has a strong to medium flavor that is rarely overpowering. Oak is ideal and is versatile for preserving a dish the natural flavor. Oakwood is also best for meats like:

  • Brisket
  • Pork
  • Lamp
  • Sausages

Cherry wood for smoking:

Cherry wood is mild, one of the most flavorful, and slightly fruity. Cherry is good on:

  • Pork
  • Poultry
  • Fish
  • Beef
  • Turkey

Pecan Wood for smoking:

Pecan wood has a pleasant and mild flavor, but it doesn’t fire until oak or hickory. Pecan, on the other hand, is usually not as powerful as hickory until you over smoke it.

As the smoke gets more intense, over-smoking meat with pecan wood results in a bitter flavor. The wood should be burned slowly to get the flavor of pecan, your meat delicately allowing the smoke to flavor. Pork, chicken, beef, and cheese are the ideal foods to smoke with this wood.

Which is the best type of wood for smoking meat?

Oak is a common choice for smoking meat. It is most commonly used for seafood, brisket, and red meat because it has a heavy smoky flavor.

Which is the best type of wood for smoking chicken?

Maple wood is more used for smoking chickens. It emits a little smoke that will not overwhelm the bird.

Which is the best type of wood for smoking fish and seafood?

When smoking fish and seafood, it is better to use smaller chunks or wood chips because it only takes 15–20 minutes for the smoke to resolve into the meat. So, you will be careful not to smoke too much so as not to spoil the dish.

Which is the best type of wood for smoking steak?

Use mesquite, oak, or hickory wood to give your steak a rich smoky taste. All of these woods enhance the flavor of the steak. Use cherry wooden to offer your steak its wood-fired flavor if you desire a softer smoked flavor with bright color. The steak will now no longer be delicious, but it will also look so fantastic. Choose alder, pecan, or maple if you prefer a simple, slight smoke flavor.

Proper use of different types of wood:


Chunks are a versatile cut that may be used in almost any wood or flaming charcoal smoker. Chunks range in size from a pearl overhead to a grapefruit, and they’re usually placed on hot coals to start a clean-burning and smoke. Chunks are useful since you can cut them to fit any size fireplace, whether it is big or small.

Still, you can add a few additional chunks to achieve your desired smoke concentration if you need more smoke after a couple of hours.


Chips are mostly used in electric or gas smokers. They sit on top of the burning element in a small, penetrate smoker carton. They’re normally wet prior to lengthening their smoldering time. However, this has been found to be gratuitous.

They’d also work for charcoal smokers in a pinch. A handful of pre-soaked chips tossed over the embers will give the meat a fresh burst of smoke. Wood chips are also accessible for delicate foods like fish or poultry that only require a few minutes of smoking.


Pellets are created by compressing wet sawdust into a tube about the consistency of a pencil. Some smokers use pellets as their primary fuel source, controlling the temperature with an electric auger and thermostat.

Pellets can also be used as chips for quick bursts of smoke as needed. They usually come in sacks ranging from 10 to 40 pounds.


 Larger offset smokers, in general, use full wood logs to generate both the heat and the smoke needed for impressive BBQ. You may simply add additional logs to the coalbed for the latest fuel once you’ve achieved clean, oxygenated combustion. This keeps a compatible rivulet of clean smoke on the protein without overpowering it throughout the cooking process.

Whole logs have the stumbling block of not fitting into most home smokers. They eventually need to be sliced into smaller pieces, and you’re better off just moving with wood bits by then. Otherwise, logs will be on fire for 45 minutes to an hour and a half on solidity and size.

Where do you find smoke wood?

It is analyzed below:

Amazon shop:

Smaller bags and boxes, generally weighing 4–10 pounds, are available diversely. Independent vendors and storefronts are a terrific way to keep up local communities because Amazon sells a wide range of products, not just the big box brands.

You’ll be suitable to order chips, chunks, small logs, and a diversity of sizes from the comfort of your own home.

Local suppliers:

You’ll be astonished at how easy it is to buy smoking wood from a local tree service or timber company. A lesser mixture of smoking woods may be available from other merchants, including locally-owned outdoor clothiers. Smoking wood is also available at big box sporting goods retailers like Academy Sports, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Bass Pro Shops, although in fewer quantities than you’d find at a wholesaler.

What should you avoid when using wood smoking?

  • Cypress, pine, elderberry, cedar, eucalyptus, elm, fir, and spruce are examples of wood kinds that do not have a pleasant flavor.
  • Never utilize woods that are harmful to you.
  • Stay away from any painted or chemically treated wood. Lumber and old pallets are instance, redwood, pine, cedar, eucalyptus, fir, sycamore, spruce, liquid amber, cypress, elm, elderberry, or sweet gum are among the woods that should not be utilized.
  • Overall, the range of BBQ woods is vast; keep in mind that chemically treated wood should not be burned and that some types of material should be avoided.

Final thought:

Finally, we are optimistic that our guideline is enough for you to choose the best type of wood for smoking. If you have more ideas regarding this content, let’s share with us the comments below.

Happy grilling!!

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