Best Wood for Smoking Fish, Salmon, Turkey, Chicken, Ribs & Steaks

Pitmasters love to wax expressive about how the specific kind of focal Texas white post oak they use gives their grill its remarkable flavor. Be that as it may, would it be a good idea for you to truly stress over matching different wood “flavors” with what you’re cooking?

Fear not, individual pitmasters; we’ll respond to that inquiry for you while likewise strolling you through the various kinds of woods for smoking, the shifting flavors they emit, and which woods to stay away from while smoking food. Hereafter reading this article you will find the best wood for smoking.

Best Wood for Smoking

Best Wood for Smoking

However, every style of smoker gives you smoke to cook with; not all smoke is made equivalent. We should investigate which woods radiate what kind of smoke.

Hardwoods vs Softwoods

The terms hardwood and softwood allude to how the three repeat. Hardwood trees are deciduous and should be pollinated to repeat. Softwoods are coniferous and repeat by developing cones. Practically all cooking wood is viewed as hardwood, and justifiably.

Hardwoods consume more sizzling, are more extended, and have less gum than softwoods. Softwoods are loaded with sap and sap, radiating a more bitter smoke and making that flavor hinder the food varieties it cooks.

Common Cooking Woods

You’ll see a couple of ordinary cooking woods on your BBQ venture. Texas is enthusiastic about post oak, Carolina is passionate about hickory. Others depend on natural woods – apple, cherry, and peach, among others. Territorial inclinations are generally founded on local accessibility; however, the shared characteristic is that ordinary BBQ cooking woods are from hardwood trees.

You’ll be protected utilizing any of the hardwoods referenced. However, we generally prescribe going with your neighborhood to your area and have been appropriately prepared to dry out any lingering pitch or sap.

7 Types of Wood for Smoking

The types of wood for smoking underneath are among probably the most well-known decisions among grill devotees:

Alder Wood:

Alder Wood

Abundant in the Pacific Northwest, Birchwood produces sensitive, sweet smoke that sets well with poultry and fish, mainly while smoking salmon, frequently barbecued on gentle woods like birch boards. Alder is the best wood for smoking salmon.

Maple Wood: 

Maple Wood

Maple wood is one more well-known gentle wood, with daintily sweet smoke that gives more sensitive cooks like chicken, vegetables, and, surprisingly, smoked cheddar a mark dull, polished mahogany tone.

Pecan Wood: 

Pecan Wood

Pecan wood has a gentle, sweet flavor however doesn’t consume as long as Oak or hickory. Use it for more limited cooks like fish, ribs, and poultry. Figure out how to smoke with walnut wood in our total aide here.

Natural Product: 

Natural Product

Like walnut, these organic product woods consume more quickly than Oak and hickory and produce smoke with an incredibly genuine and balanced fruity pleasantness. Thus, Applewood, cherry wood, peach wood, or pear wood aren’t ideal for brisket, yet they are used for fish, poultry, and pork.

Mesquite Wood: 

Mesquite Wood

Mesquite wood is one of the most bountiful woods in Texas. It consumes hot and quick, creates heaps of smoke, and has a strongly exquisite, gritty flavor. It consumes a large chunk of the day to fix; however, it can be restrained. It’s best utilized for fast cooks like steak or torched as coals. It is the best wood for smoking steak. Figure out how to smoke meat with mesquite wood in our aide here.

Oak Wood:

Oak Wood

The characterizing wood of focal Texas BBQ is a nearby type of white Oak called post oak. One of the many employments of white Oak is the creation of whisky barrels, and assuming you utilize white Oak or post Oak for the grill, you’ll see the smoke gives the meat a somewhat sweet, vanilla-touched flavor like a Kentucky whiskey.

Hickory Wood:

Hickory Wood

Hickory wood is one of the more well-known decisions for longer cooks of red meat. Like Oak, it consumes clean yet has a somewhat more grounded flavor and smokiness similar to bacon.

What Types Of Wood To Use?

Your smoker will assign which sort of wood you should utilize – for the most part, founded on the size of the firebox chamber.

chips and chunks


Chunks are an inside and out excellent style of sliced to use with most any wood or charcoal-consuming smoker. Chunks range in size from a plum upwards to grapefruit and are often put on hot consuming coals to start clean-burning and smoke.

Chunks are advantageous because you can measure them to fit any firebox, whether in an enormous firebox or the lower part of a Big Green Egg or Weber Smokey Mountain. Assuming you end up requiring more smoke for two or three hours, you can toss on a couple of other lumps to get your favored smoke fixation.

We will recommend Weber – Apple Chunks. Weber wood chunks are obtained in the US, and the spending plan is amicable, so you’ll get the most value for your money. They don’t treat their woods with oils, leaving you with just lumps of genuine hardwood.

The pieces are great, yet you might wind up getting a couple of chips in the bundle of pieces. The details are a great size; however, you might wind up getting a couple of chips in the pile of chunks. It is budget-friendly and great for smoking chicken. 


For the most part, Chips are saved for gas or electric smokers. They sit in a tiny, punctured smoker box and sit on top of the consuming component. They are usually doused in advance to expand their seethe length, albeit this is superfluous. After all other options have been exhausted, they’d be acceptable for charcoal smokers as well.

Tossing a modest bunch of pre-doused chips on the coals will give the meat a new explosion of smoke. Wood chips are likewise helpful for sensitive proteins that main need a couple of moments of smoke – like fish or chicken. They genuinely need 15-20 minutes of smoke, and this is effectively dealt with a modest bunch of chips.

In this category, we would recommend Western – Pecan Chips. These are the best wood chips for smoking turkey. These chips are all-normal wood with no additional fillers or restricting specialists. They are oven-dried to forestall decay and irritations, so you get excellent quality wood chips. The chips are standard size, yet there might be some irregularity between size pieces. Chips are incredible, assuming that you’re utilizing a more modest smoker or barbecue.


Entire logs or split logs are incredible for more excellent smokers and fireboxes. For the most part, they are cut in 18-24 inches portions, ideal for an offset smoker’s firebox.

Logs are explicitly incredible while you’re cooking with exclusively wood. You can add new records to the coalbed for unused fuel when you get a clean, oxygenated ignition. It keeps a constant flow of clean smoke on the protein throughout the cook without overwhelming it.

The disservice to entire logs is that they don’t squeeze into most private smokers. They wind up waiting to be cut into more limited pieces, and at that point, you’re lucky to be simply moving with wood lumps. Logs have their place, and you get to a greater extent a vibe for the wood’s well-being and preparing; however, ensure they fit into your smoker.


Pellets are made by taking wet sawdust and compacting it into a cylinder, generally the thickness of a pencil. The cylinder is then severed into more modest pieces about an inch or so lengthy. Pellets have no fake fasteners in them, so you should rest assured they’re protected to use on food. Assuming they get wet, you’ll see they rapidly return to sawdust structure.

A few smokers use pellets as their principal fuel source, using an electric controlled drill and indoor regulator to keep up with the legitimate temperature. You can likewise involve pellets as you would chip for short explosions of smoke when you want it. For the most part, they come in packs of 10 to 40 lbs. However, make sure to peruse the marks, as most pellets are a blend of various kinds of woods.

In this category, we will recommend Traeger Grills Signature Blend 100% All-Natural Hardwood Pellets for Grill, Smoke, Bake, Roast, Braise, and BBQ, 20 lb. Bag. The kinds of hickory, maple, and cherry hardwoods consolidate for our Traeger Signature Blend Hardwood Pellets for a flavor. It can take on pretty much anything you cook; From exemplary BBQ meats to fish and veggies, this adaptable mix gives you the full-bodied flavor you’ll return to over and over.

The best wood-terminated barbecue available requests the best wood pellets available in the market. Genuine taste doesn’t simply occur; it’s attached to quality materials and accomplishing excellent smoke; it begins with all-regular hardwood pellets made in American factories.

Best Wood for Each Meat Type

We hate the wood smoking flavor charts you see on different sites to coordinate specific woods with various kinds of food. On the off chance that the graph tells you not to utilize apple with sheep or says Oak wood for smoking must be used on hamburgers, then, at that point, go ahead and disregard it.

These diagrams are shared so broadly on the web. Because they appeal to novices, who need to be determined what to do and abstain from stuffing anything up, so given that, we’ve assembled a couple of no-bomb ideas you can adhere to:

Best Wood for Smoking Brisket

Brisket is a thick, hard cut of meat, so you’ll need to utilize a comparative style of wood – one that is thick and consumes hot and long. The top decisions for brisket are Oak and hickory. Oak is the best wood for smoking brisket. These both emit consistent hotness and a solid, entering smoke that merges well with the complex hamburger filaments as they mellow.

Oak wood

Oak and hickory will yield you an incredible tasting brisket each time since you have clean ignition. Mesquite is broadly utilized in Texas. It is robust and thick and can immediately become overwhelming. There is an expectation to absorb information to cook with mesquite.

You need to delay until it has laid out a hot coal bed and keep oxygen consistent with interfering with any recently added logs. Careful discipline brings about promising results here and, when ever done accurately, will bring about a hearty smoke flavor in a completed brisket, considerably more extraordinary than Oak or hickory.

Assuming milder is more your taste, organic product woods like apple and cherry turn out great here and maple and walnut. Brisket is generous meat as far as the smoke entrance, so as long as your fire is perfect, your brisket should end up fine and dandy from a quality angle. It relies upon how weighty a smoke flavor you would instead direct which kind of wood you use.

Best Wood for Smoking Turkey

Natural product

As a general rule, Turkey and poultry take on smoke flavor rapidly. You’ll need a milder wood that doesn’t overwhelm the flavor of the meat. Natural product wood is best wood for smoking turkey. My top decision for smoking turkey is cherry wood. It gives a discreet hint of smoke while not infiltrating too profoundly into the meat and demolishing your bird.

Your turkey will be a profound, brilliant earthy colored when cooked over cherry regardless not be too weighty on the smoke. Different fruitwoods function admirably for turkey, similar to apple or peach; however, cherry has the proper equilibrium between profundity and nuance – sitting in the middle of weighty hickory and lighter apple.

Best Wood for Smoking Ribs


Pork ribs can deal with a heavier smoke, regardless of whether they’re back ribs or extra. Like meat, hickory and Oak are top decisions here. Hickory smoke will infiltrate profound into the ribs, so you’ll be sure you don’t over smoke them. Shading is the vital marker here as your ribs will get a dull mahogany tone and tack up pleasantly on a superficial level.

Assuming you notice the ribs getting excessively dry or dull outwardly, then, at that point, that is an indication to wrap them up to stay away from more superfluous smoke openness. Oak is the best wood chips for smoking ribs.

However, Oak is an incredible decision with less hearty than hickory. Oak creates a ton of smoke, so be aware of how lengthy and weighty your ribs are presented straightforwardly to the smoke. Both of these woods will grant a deep, recognizable smoke flavor into pork ribs that indicate genuine BBQ.

Maple Wood

Best Wood for Smoking Chicken

Similar to turkey, chicken takes on smoke rapidly and without any problem. You utilize a subtler smoking wood. Maple is the best wood for smoking chicken. Maple is our go-to wood for smoking chicken; it emits a light smoke that will not overwhelm the bird.

More modest, separated chicken pieces will take on the smoke more rapidly instead of a cooking entire bird. So again, focus on shading, and if you dread it has taken on too much smoke or is getting excessively dim, go ahead and enclose it with foil or butcher paper.

Best Wood for Smoking Pork


Whether you’re doing pork butt or entire hoard, you will require a deep, robust smoke to enter the thick meat. Bring back our lifelong companions, hickory and Oak. Hickory and oaks are the best wood for smoking pork. Pork butt has a ton of intramuscular fat and connective tissue that consumes most of the day to separate.

Hickory will guarantee that smoke enters profound into the meat during this cycle. Assuming that you utilize a wood with lighter smoke flavor, the pork will cook fine, yet you will not have as much smoke flavor – you should cook it in the broiler.  Likewise, Oak cooks a decent pork butt and entire hoard. It will grant smoke all through the meat that is proper and delectable.

Peach wood for smoking

Best Wood for Smoking Fish and Seafood

Fish and seafood are the most fragile proteins on this rundown, so you’ll be very mindful not to over smoke in case you hazard destroying the feast. Gentle, better woods like apple or peach are best wood for smoking fish. They will not overwhelm the fragile, mild flavor.

Like scallops or shrimp, seafood and fish take on a sticky, entire surface when smoked suitably. Apple and peach will inject into the meat rapidly yet will not overwhelm it. It’s ideal to utilize more modest lumps or wood chips while smoking fish and fish as it needn’t bother with more than 15 – 20 minutes of ceaseless smoke to subside into the meat.

Best Wood Combinations for Smoking

Here we will see the best wood combinations for smoking. When you get a strong vibe for various sorts of woods and what their novel smoke properties mean for explicit proteins, you can begin to blend and coordinate smoke profiles with multiple food sources.

For instance, beginning a turkey with a couple of pieces of hickory and wrapping it up with a split log of apple will give a profound, gritty flavor establishment. At the same time, the apple takes the bird across the end goal and holds it back from being too Smokey to taste. It is the tomfoolery part, indeed.

I try different things with your preferences and see what blends impact meats. Important thing is how to identify hickory wood for smoking.  It is additionally much nuanced, so you need to be sure you have a strong comprehension of smoke and burning first.

Where to Get Your Smoke Wood?

Since you thoroughly understand smoking woods, where would you be able to source it for your cooking needs? We should dive into a couple of choices.


Yet again, web-based business follows through in the grasp. You can observe more modest sacks and boxes typically running in the 4 – 10 pound range in an assortment of woods. Autonomous merchants and customer-facing facades are an extraordinary method for supporting nearby networks, as there are a ton of choices that sell on Amazon, in addition to the enormous box brands.

You will want to track down pieces, chips, pellets, and little logs in an assortment of sizes on the web and transport them right to you.

Local Suppliers:

Presumably, there are BBQ eateries where you reside, and they need to get their wood supply from someplace. Try not to be reluctant to ask your neighborhood pit master where they source their wood. You’ll be astonished to perceive how effectively you can get smoking wood from nearby lumber or tree administration organizations.

Different retailers and privately claimed open-air suppliers might offer a more modest choice of smoking woods. Large box outdoor supplies stores like Academy Sports, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Bass Pro Shops likewise convey smoking timber, yet in more modest limits than you’d have the option to get from a distributor. Call around and see what meets your requirements.

Chop Your Own:

On the off chance that you’re feeling loggers, there’s generally the choice to leave your wood. You’ll need to prepare your wood. Preparing is the most common way of maturing and drying wood to have the perfect proportion of dampness for clean ignition and food-grade smoking.

Wood can be air-dried or oven-dried. A decent guideline is to prepare your wood for 6-year and a half if air-dried outside. Store it off the ground and cover it with a canvas or wood cover. Anything more than a year and a half, and you hazard the wood losing flavor or decaying. Furnace-dried wood is done as the name says – in an oven. Except if you have a furnace promptly accessible to you, pass on this to the experts.

We advise against utilizing green wood, or wood that has been as of late hacked. The wood contains natural gums and sap that will consume messily and bestow a bitter taste to your food. Assuming that you need to utilize greenwood, let it torch to a coal bed, so every one of the natural mixtures and dampness has consumed off and will not get into your food.

How to Prepare Wood for Smoking?

Here is how you can prepare best wood for smoking. Just cut the wood in lumps or chips to the wanted size. The bigger the chunks, the more they will create smoke. It is significant because smoking ribs and butts can vary incredibly in its time to smoke them. Instead, you would not need to continue to open the smoker to add wood for more smoke.

The more modest the lumps or chips of wood, the less time they will smoke. It adds to their capacity to radiate smoke and heightens the smoke flavor. When the wood has been flooded, spill out and let the lingering water deplete off, so it doesn’t put your fire out. Here we need to know that how long to season wood for smoking.

 Add the wood on a case-by-case basis on top of the consuming coals. Lock the cover down over some delicious meat with liberal measures of preparing and offer it legitimate consideration and hotness not long after you will partake in the magnificent rewards for so much hard work. Simply not superior to giving a-list grill in your backyard.

Smoking meats is easy when you comprehend the necessities and techniques utilized. The temperatures are generally low, and the connection between the hotness and how much time is vital yet not under any condition challenging to dominate. When this is achieved, your choices are perpetual. The lines out to the road will appear to be the equivalent whenever you have gathered the basic procedure for smoking.

Bottom Line

Chicken, similar to turkey, is effortlessly overwhelmed by solid flavors when it is smoked. Avoid solid woods like hickory and mesquite to forestall, leaving your chicken unpleasant. Lighter, sweet woods like apple and cherry work impeccably with poultry.

Assuming you’re searching for another turn, attempt bourbon barrel chips, so you get the kind of bourbon and the Smokey taste the wood gives! As usual, yet particularly with chicken, try to deal with your crude meat with care and cook until the right interior temperature.

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