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What is the Best BBQ Smoker Wood for Meat?

If you are new to the world of smoking meat, maybe you just bought your first outdoor smoker, or you invested in a BBQ smoker box, you’re undoubtedly wondering what BBQ smoker wood should you choose for cooking meat.

Not being an expert in smoking meat myself, I asked my uncle who is our BBQ smoker in chief what BBQ smoker wood he would recommend for someone new to smoking, and what BBQ smoker wood is best for smoking meat.

His answer, unfortunately, while beneficial was a little more complicated than I thought. When it comes to choosing your perfect BBQ smoker wood, there are a series of considerations you need to take for choosing the right meat and wood combinations. 

For example, if you’re dealing with more massive meat like pork or beef, you recommend you use a hardwood. When cooking lighter meat like fish or chicken, you should choose a softer hardwood. Softwoods should be avoided altogether. Never use cedar or pine when smoking as they have far too much resin and this can completely ruin the taste of your meat and your smoker.

Here is the BBQ smoker wood that he recommended and what meat they are suitable for smoking. He asked me to point out that everyone has their taste so to find your perfect BBQ smoker wood might be a matter of trial and error.

Maple

This is excellent for smoking game-fowl, pork and poultry. This is a more subtle BBQ smoker wood bringing a taste that is light, sweet and mildly smoky.

Cherry

This is a BBQ smoker wood that is suitable for smoking ham, turkey or chicken. Cherry is considered being fruity and mild, and it goes well when it’s mixed with hickory as the flavors complement each other. 

Oak 

Oak is suitable for smoking sausages, brisket, beef and lamb. He recommends this BBQ smoker wood if you are a first-time smoker, while it offers a medium to strong flavor it won’t be overpowering.

Apple

Apples are popular choices for anyone smoking pork, wild meats or chicken. Applewood offers a sweet flavor because of its mild nature you will need to add at least two hours to your smoking as it takes some time for it to permeate through the meat.

Hickory

Is excellent for smoking almost any poultry or red meat but is famous for smoking pork shoulders or prime cuts of rib. This is one of his personal favorites as it is versatile and is a BBQ smoker wood that will offer you a hearty, savory flavor.

Alder

Goes excellent with smoking salmon or any fish and offers a sweet but light flavor this is very suitable for someone who wants a delicate flavor.

Mesquite

This tough BBQ smoker wood is excellent for smoking red meat if you’re looking for a unique, intense flavor, especially when you’re grilling. It would help if you only used it in smaller quantities as it offers an intense, pungent taste.

Pecan

Pecans are good for roasts, briskets and ribs, offering a nutty, sweet flavor combine it with a harder wood to help balance out the sweetness.

As you can probably guess choosing the best BBQ smoker woods for you are probably going to be down to a matter of preference the next step is determining what size of BBQ smoker would use and why

There are as many ways to approach smoking meat as there are types and varieties of smokers depending on the device and unit you’re using it will require a unique source of fuel and here are the only common types used by people when they’re smoking weed.

BBQ Smoker Wood Logs.

You can probably guess on that whole logs are generally only used for larger smokers. Still, they create a lot of smoke and heat which typically offers excellent results they’re also popular because they burn for longer anything from 45 minutes to nearly 2 hours depending on the insulation of the firebox.

BBQ Smoker Wood Chunks.

These are popularly used when people add them to the charcoal in the grill, replacing some of the wood chunks on top of the coals will create smoke and add flavor to the meat. Which ones are best used in smaller offset smokers or smaller smoking drums

BBQ Smoker Wood Chips. 

If you’re looking to create a steady light source of smoke, wood chips are a popular choice. You can either put them in a BBQ smoker box, add them in pouches to a gas grill or pop them into a standard electric or propane smoker. The only negative of these chips is that they obviously would burn faster, meaning you need to replace them regularly. 

BBQ Smoker Wood Pellets.

These pellets have been specially designed to be used in BBQ smokers, they’re made of compressed sawdust from a variety of different hardwoods and will help you create both smoke and heat. These shouldn’t be mistaken with heating pellets. One negative of using these pellets is that they’re often made from hardwood blends and as a result many brands add flavored oils to create the taste, meaning the smoking process is not as natural as you might like.

How to source high-quality BBQ smoker wood

Now that you’ve found it on the size and wood flavor you want, the next question you need to answer is where will I find a high-quality BBQ smoker wood. The easiest to see is the smoker pellets, and you will quickly and cheaply pick these up in most BBQ stores, their quality will vary depending on the brand. Chips are also easily found online or by visiting your local grocery store. My uncle’s personal preferences to use BBQ smoker wood chunks he purchases online from a specific barbecue supply store. He used to use logs, but these are becoming increasingly difficult and expensive to source.

We hope this guide will prove useful in sourcing the right BBQ smoker wood to suit your needs. Thanks for reading. 

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