10 Best Types of Wood for Smoking Meat

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There is probably a barbecue party planned. The only problem is that you are still trying to decide which wood to use. Feel relaxed! We will guide you through different types of wood for smoking meat.  

Occasionally, wood choices depend on the type of meat you plan on grilling or smoking. For instance, if you want to grill red meat with seasoning to add flavor, go for Mesquite wood. On the other hand, fruit and nut woods taste best with milder meats. We also answer:

  • What’s the best wood chips for ribs?
  • Is pecan wood best for chicken?
  • What wood is better for brisket?
  • What are the best smoking wood combinations?

Learn more about these woods so you can cook delicious and hearty BBQ meals for the family.

Best Types of Wood for Smoking Meat

1. Maple Wood

You can also find maple trees in Europe, Northern Africa, and North American. If you live on one of these continents, you might find maple wood easier to work with than other wood. Maple has a subtle, versatile flavor that is perfect for poultry, pork, and game birds. More than that, maple wood contributes a slightly strong sweet flavor to enhance your meat’s flavor. It does not overpower its original taste. It is usually one of the best woods to use for different types of meat.

2. Cherrywood

To add a mild, fruity flavor to your meats, cherrywood is your best choice. This wood also creates a unique reddish hue in your poultry, turkey, and ham. These meats go best cooked with cherrywood. Cherry goes well with other hardwoods such as Hickory if you want to add a touch of different smoke flavors.

3. Applewood

Applewood comes from the apple tree and has a pleasing aroma for a more delightful taste. This wood is excellent for grilling and smoking chicken, wildfowl, and pork. The flavor is milder than that of other woods, so you can complement the flavor even further with Hickory or other hardwood. Moreover, you can find this type of wood year-round. We have used Weber Apple Wood Chips on many barbecue occasions.

4. Pecan Wood

Pecan wood imparts a sweet and nutty flavor to meats; it burns more slowly than the other woods, so you might use hardwood to balance it out. Furthermore, it imparts delicate flavors to your meat because it burns slowly. Pecan is not for a quick BBQ, It’s best to cook low and slow and your meat will come out tasteful. Ribs, roasts, and chicken are the best meat to smoke with pecan.

5. Oakwood

This oakwood is one of the best smoking woods for beginners and experts. It gives smokey and rich flavor to meats. The meats that go good with oakwood are lamb, beef, brisket, and sausages. Others can be fish or other game meats. You get a medium flavor, but it won’t overpower as with other woods. So, if you want mild and versatile woods, this is the best choice for your barbecue meals.

6. Alder wood

Alder woods give smoked or BBQ meats a mild and sweet flavor, while other woods would overpower the original taste of the meats. Alder woods complement your meal’s original taste. Alder is a relative of the birch tree. Its color changes when exposed to air. Despite this, it could still be a good wood for barbecue parties or other occasions. It’s one kind of wood that gives subtle flavor to meats.

7. Hickory wood

Grilling meat with hickory can leave your food with a sweet and hearty flavor. But it might also cause a bitter taste in your foods if too much hickory is used. The right way to grill meats using Hickory wood will also give a slight bacon flavor. This wood is perfect for red meat, poultry, ribs, and pork shoulders.

8. Mesquite Wood 

This mesquite wood can be used to cook red meat for a more intense flavor. The meat that works best for this is beef. You can add more flavor and moisture to your meat during cooking with Mesquite wood. This wood has an earthy flavor since it burns fast and gives off more smoke compared to other woods. In addition to this, it cooks red meat quickly and is also useable to create coals from.

9. Peach & Pear Woods

These two kinds of fruitwoods are excellent options if you prefer smokey and fruity flavors. They are ideal for meats such as poultry and pork. You will never regret buying them once you get your hands on them. The unique flavor they provide is not similar to other kinds of wood available.


You’ll find these top types of wood for use next time you have a barbecue with your friends. The type of wood you pick will depend on your preference. 

Walnut, hickory, mesquite, and pecan are choices if you prefer a more spicy taste. Apple, cherry, oak, and fruitwoods are great if you prefer a medium taste. Alder and maple also have mild taste.

Getting a variety pack is perfect if you cannot make up your mind about what wood to smoke.

Or, as a special treat, you could try Jack Daniels 01749 Wood BBQ Smoking Chips (2 Pack)

About The Author

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James is a writer who is a self-confessed kitchenware and coffee nerd and a strong advocate of Sundays, good butter, and warm sourdough.