Best Types of Wood for Smoking

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If you are just starting off learning the art of smoking your meat, you should begin with just a small amount of wood to see how you like the flavor.

Afterwards you can add more wood to increase the smoky favor.


You don’t want to overuse it and overpower your meat, as it is possible to get too much smoky flavor over a long cooking period and it could actually make your meat bitter tasting.

This is quite true with the heavier wood flavors such as oak and hickory.


Mesquite and the woods from fruit trees don’t ever seem to do this to your meats since they have a much lighter smoke flavor.

If you cook beef brisket for up to twenty hours, for example, you won’t have a problem with a bitter taste.


You can use just about any kind of wood for smoking except pine and cedar. You can try out different woods or combinations of different woods with different meats.

You should always use a wood which is well seasoned or dry. You don’t ever want to use green woods, as they can ruin your cooker for good.


Many people prefer mesquite wood over all the rest. It burns rather hot, and it has a light and sweet taste.

It goes great with pork, beef, poultry, fish and lamb, so you have all kinds of options when use mesquite wood chips.


On a side note, meat which has been smoked will taste even better the next day.

The smoky flavor seems to get better and better with time, so your leftovers will taste even better on the second and third days.

You can always cook some extra meat so that you can enjoy these leftovers!

Below you will find a very useful chart showing you all the different kinds of wood types, what kinds of characteristics they have, and what meats they go with.

This will make it much easier for you to choose which woods you want to cook with what meats, depending upon the kind of flavor you are aiming to get.

Wood Type

How you may feel

Best fit with

OakHeavy Smoke Flavor, One of the most PopularRed meat, Pork, Fish
HickoryStrong and Smokey taste, one of the most commonAll meats specially pork and ribs
MesquiteSweet, Light TasteAll meats specially ribs and vegetables
PecanMostly like hickory but Lighter then it.Almost anything
AppleSweet, Fruity smoker flavorBeef, poultry and good for salmon, trout.
AcadiaSimilar to mesquite but lighter than it.Most meats and vegetables, good with beef.
AlmondNutty and sweetGood with all meat
AlderLight and delicate with slight sweetness.Fish and Poultry
ApricotMilder and sweeter then hickoryAll meats
AshFast burning, lightRed meats and fish
BirchSlightly SweetPork and poultry
CherrySweeter then fruit flavorAll meats
Grape vinesAlmost like fruit woodsAll meats
GrapefruitMedium smoker flavorGood with beef ,poultry and pork
LemonMedium Smoker flavorGood with beef ,poultry and pork
LilacLight Smoker flavorGood with seafood and lamb
MapleSomewhat sweet, mild flavorGood with Vegetable
PeachSweet but different then otherSuit with almost anything
PersimmonStrong but tasty piney flavorRed meats
PearSomewhat sweet, almost like applePork and poultry
PlumMild flavorMost meat and fish

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