Best Woods for Smoking Meat

What are the Best Woods for Smoking Meat – Ultimate Guide!

When it comes to smoking meat it can very confusing knowing what meat goes with what wood. Over time we all learn and through trial and error we work out what we like and what we don’t like. So I hope this guide will help you to know what are the best woods for smoking meat.

We will look at each wood one at a time and go through the benefits, and what meat they work with. There are many different combinations that you can try and all of us have a different palette. Like anything in the smoking world you should keep experimenting till you find what you like.

There are lots of things to consider. When you use heavy meats such as pork and beef you should use a hardwood. If you are smoking lighter meats such as fish and chicken it is recommended that you use a lighter hardwood. At all costs, you should avoid any softwoods like cedar or pine. There is a lot of resin in these woods and it will ruin your meat completely.  

Oak

Oak is the grandfather of all meats when it comes to smoking. If you are a beginner is it the perfect place to start. It gives the meat a fairly strong flavor. Importantly if you are a beginner it is very rare that the smoke from it is overpowering.

What meats to smoke!

Brisket, sausages, lamb, and beef!

Oak Wood
Oak Wood

Hickory

Hickory is the wood that you can fall back on if you are unsure what to use as it goes with so many meats. You do need to be careful though with hickory. If you use too much hickory then it will leave your meat tasting bitter. If used correctly it will have a mixture of sweet and savory. It is very hearty wood that some people say tastes a bit bacony.

What meats to smoke!

This wood lends itself to being used on larger pieces of meat such as Boston butts or ribs. You can also use it on poultry and pretty much all red meat.

Hickory Wood
Hickory Wood

Maple

Maple has a very gentle flavor and is ideal for people that like a subtle smoky taste to their meat. There is a certain sweetness to it, and it is great for those of you who are unsure just how much smoke you like in your meat.

What meats to smoke!

Pork, Game Foul, and Poultry,

Maple Wood
Maple Wood

Mesquite

The complete opposite of Maple. Mesquite packs a really intense flavor that we really enjoy using when we are grilling. Don’t use too much of it as it really does have a kick. It’s a unique flavor that you will either love or hate!

What meats to smoke!

If you are getting red meat on the grill, then use a small amount to really impart some awesomeness.

Mesquite Wood
Mesquite Wood

Pecan

If you like a nutty flavor then this is the meat for you. It gives off a sweet, rich, nutty flavor. For some people, the flavor from the wood is a little too sweet so combining it with a harder wood will work nicely to give a balanced flavor.

What meats to smoke!

Roasts, Ribs, and Brisket.

Pecan Wood
Pecan Wood

Apple

Applewood is a sweet and mild wood. It gives the meat a very mellow flavor. Due to its delicate nature, it will take a good few hours for the smoke to really get into the meat. If you are looking to smoke something quickly this is not the wood for you.

What meats to smoke!

Pork, Wild Foul and Chicken.

Apple Wood
Apple Wood

Alder

Alder is a sweet wood that has a light flavor.

What meats to smoke!

This will work well with fish such as Salmon.

Alder Wood
Alder Wood

Cherry

Cherry is a wood that is fruity and mild. You will want to mix it with another hardwood. My recommendation would be Hickory. They work together to create a fantastic smoke that gets a fabulous flavor into the meat.

What meats to smoke!

Turkey, Ham, and Chicken.

Cherry Wood
Cherry Wood

When it comes to the best wood for smoking meat it is a conversation that will never end. We all have different tastes and like different things. Keep trying new ideas and keep researching and you will find the ones you love.

Not sure of the difference between grilling and barbecue then check this out! Grilling Vā€™s Barbecue! Basic Guide!

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