When it comes to choosing the best wood type for smoking your meat, no matter who you ask, every meat smoker will tell you one thing in common: the best wood for you is the one that best complements your flavor preferences.
But is that completely true? Well, partially yes, but partially no!
This is because some BBQ wood types are better suited to certain types of meat cuts than the others. A poor and incompatible choice of wood with certain meats can even end up ruining the whole feast for you.
Therefore, we are here to talk about our experiences with meats and woods to smoke them, to help you make better decisions!
So without further ado, let’s jump into the article.
Is it Better to Smoke With Wood Chunks, Chips, or Pellets?
When you go to the market to purchase wood for smoking meat, you will have to make a choice between wood chips, wood chunks, or even wood pellets.
These are the different types in which smoking wood is available.
Unless you trust yourself enough to use wood logs for smoking meat, wood chunks are the largest packages of wood form that you can find in the market today.
They burn for quite a lot of time and produce more smoke than wood chips or pellets. This is why they are best suited for meat cuts that can take several hours to smoke since you don’t want to end up refilling the fuel over and over again.
They also end up infusing rich flavor to the meat cuts being smoked.
Wood chips are just tinier wood chunks that burn faster and produce a little less smoke.
However, they also infuse rich flavor into the meat that they are smoking.
The main difference between the use of the two is that wood chips are more convenient for beginners. They can be burned in smaller amounts and replaced when needed.
Also Read: How Do You Use Wood Chips for Smoking?
Wood pellets are made of wood that is first powdered, and then pressed densely into a cylindrical shape.
The density of the wood pellets makes them the best choice for smoking meat since they burn for long periods, slowly, and infuse great flavors to the meat being cooked.
They also smoke more evenly as compared to wood chips or chunks.
Also Read >> Wood Chips vs. Wood Pellets: Comparison
The Best Wood for Smoking Meat
To help you choose from a wide variety of wood flavors, we have constructed a table of the most common smoker wood chips with their flavors and the meats they are best for.
|Wood Name||Flavor||Meat Type it is Best For|
White meat poultry
|Dark meat poultry|
What are the Different Wood Types?
Smoking woods don’t only come in several flavors to complement your meat’s natural taste, but are also broadly categorized into three different types according to their properties.
Hardwoods are one the best options to use when smoking meat, especially when you are cooking it low and slow. This is because hardwoods take their time to burn and hence burn slower, longer, and hotter than other wood types.
Several hardwoods are commonly used for smoking meat, for instance, oak, maple, hickory, etc. All of these are great options to add a distinct flavor to your meat.
You should never get yourself softwood if you want to use it to smoke your meat.
This is because softwoods get their name from their high sap content, which makes them unsuitable for heating in general.
They burn quite fast and often cause flare-ups, which can even ruin your smoker. Their high sap content also leaves your meat infused with odd and funny tastes, which can even make you sick.
The most commonly available softwoods include cedar and pine.
Fruit woods come from trees that bear fruits. They usually have a very delicate, sweet, and light flavor to them, therefore they best complement delicate meats, like that of fish.
They also work great with other meats like beef, lamb, and pork, because they can bring a tender sweetness to their taste.
The most common fruit woods include apple and cherry.
Also Learn: Smoking Meat 101: For Beginners
Do You Need to Wet Wood Chips When Smoking?
One of the most common myths about using wood for smoking meat is that you have to wet the wood before using it.
This isn’t true at all. There is no evidence that doing so helps the meat smoke faster or better. In fact, it slows down the process.
This is because when you use wet wood for smoking meat, the burning of the wood first has to cause all the moisture in the wood to evaporate, and then burn it to produce smoke for cooking the meat.
In our own experience, it even produces steam in the process, which disrupts the heat and temperature control of the cooking chamber of the smoker.
Also Read >> 7 Types of Wood for Smoking Your Brisket
Wrapping it Up
To wrap it up, it’s safe to say that as long as you stick to the recommended wood flavors for your meat cut, and make a choice based on your taste preference, you will get the best wood for yourself.
But if you are still unsure of your choice, hickory and mesquite are the most popular smoker woods used today.