Smoked pork meat

Best Woods for Smoking Turkey Brisket and Chicken!

​Wood selection is very important but often overlooked when it comes to smoking your meats. Depending on the type of meat you are cooking, and how you want to cook it, the type of wood you should use can easily change.

It is best to cook some meats in a specific manner with a smoker. For that reason, using a certain type of wood to smoke them is advised. Today, we will go over the best wood for smoking turkey, brisket, and chicken. 

​Choosing the Right Wood for Smoking Meat

Why It Matters to use an electrics smoker

You may be asking why you can't just use the same type of wood for each piece of meat. Well, there are reasons why you should be using different types of wood for each meat. From a cooking standpoint, it makes a huge difference in the way the meat is cooked and tastes. if you want the best taste look at our best electric smoker reviews. For example, some woods will smoke more than other. This will result in more or less smoky flavor being added to your meat. Some meats that taste too smoky are simply not good. Some meats are more delicate than others. 

You also should think about how the wood is cut. Larger pieces of wood like wood chunks will result in the wood burning differently. It also will affect how fast your food cooks. Smaller pieces of wood like wood chips can result in a faster overall cook.

Using a Propane Gas Smoker Can Affect Taste

Using wood and other clean methods are the best pay to get a clean taste. if you do not own one. Having the best propane smoker you can get a big plus!

​Types of Wood

Let's discuss the types of wood you can use to smoke your meats. There are several types of wood available on the market. In fact, there are too many for us to discuss in one going, however, below is a list of some of the more useful woods mixed with a few lesser known ones.

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    Oak: The second most used wood next to hickory, oak provides a heavy smoke flavor that is irresistible. Every smoker veteran has used some good ol' oak before. It works well with a number of meats. It also has very little after taste making the smoky taste wonderful. 
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    Hickory: Hickory is often referred to as the king of smoking wood. It is used more than any other type of wood you can find. Hickory brings a bacon type flavor to your meats. It is a strong flavor often mixed with other types of wood. 
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    Maple: The smoke from maple wood offers a very low and subtle flavor. If you are looking to produce a flavor that is not super smokey, maple is you best option. It is the least smokey wood on the list. 
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    Pecan: As expected. pecan will give your meat a nutty flavor. It combines great with citrus wood and greatly improves the taste of poultry. 
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    Mesquite: Characterized by intense flavoring, mesquite wood is great for mixing with other wood types. The flavor is quite different from the other woods on our list. 
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    Apple: With apple wood smoke, it can take a while for it to penetrate the meat and make any difference to the flavor. This results in an extended smoking period so keep that in mind. The flavor is somewhat sweet and mild. 
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    Alder: Delicacy is what alder is known for. A sweet smoky taste, alder works with bird game very well. Great for duck and goose. It also is good for fish and other aquatic game. 
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    Cherry: Great wood to be mixed with hickory. It has a mild sweet flavor similar to apple. It also gives a tint to meats that have a lighter color to them. It is excellent if you are going for appearance in your food display. 
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    Beech: Beech is similar to oak and is used a good bit. It has a mild flavor and works well with seafood.
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    Lilac: One of the lesser known woods, lilac offers a floral smell and taste. It is best when cooking seafood. 
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    Olive: The best way to describe olive wood is to compare it to mesquite and think of it as a lighter flavor. It provides an amazing flavor for poultry meats. 
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    Orange: As with the other fruity woods,Orange has a mild fruit flavor and a hint of citrus. This compliments pork quite nicely.
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     Walnut: One distinct feature with walnut is its smoky nature. It also has a very strong and often bitter taste. This is another wood that is mixed with other woods most of the time. Having a lighter wood to balance out the bitter flavor of walnut is advised. 
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    Birch: Birch is somewhat hard to find. It is similar to maple and has a subtle flavor. It is classified as a medium wood.
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     Apricot: A lesser known wood, apricot is up there in versatility along with hickory. You can use it with almost any type of meat. Only difference is Apricot is milder and has a bit less smoke than hickory offers.
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     Ash: Despite its name, Ash offers a light smoke and taste great when smoking fish. 

Best Wood for Smoking Chicken

Picture of smoked Chicken

Smoked Chicken

Chicken is considered a delicate meat. As such, using lighter hardwood to cook it is advised. Apple wood is good as it offers a gradual smoking of the meat. It is mild and offers a mellow flavor..

Another great wood to use would be hickory. It is great for many different types of wood, so having it on hand is always a good idea. Hickory works to balance out other sweeter types of wood as it provides a bitter flavor. It especially goes well with cherry when smoking chicken. They work very well together.

Best Wood for Smoking Brisket

Picture of texas style smoked brisket

Texas Style Smoked Brisket

Using pecan wood is great for brisket. Although, you may want to mix this type of wood with another as it gives a strong sweet flavor. Mesquite is a great compliment to it. It is just as strong as pecan, but it sits on the opposite side of the flavor spectrum.

This is a very popular piece of wood, especially for cooking brisket. Keep in mind that mesquite can be bitter by itself so it is almost always advised to mix this type of wood with others. The wood burns fast and produces a lot of smoke, perfect for a great brisket flavor. 

Best Wood for Smoking Turkey

Best wood for smoking turkey

Smoked Turkey

​Apple wood works well with smoking turkeys. The flavor is very strong and sweet. It also burns slowly, so this will allow for your turkey to have the most flavor once it is done cooking. Cherry is another nice piece of wood to use with your turkey.

It is the lightest and it burns long and slow just like apple. It also mixes well with other woods like hickory. When smoking turkey, having a mix of chunks and chips create a beautiful taste. 


​So, now that you know a little more about woods, you should be okay with smoking your meats. Keep in mind that there are several other types of wood available for you to buy. Deciding how to mix and match your wood types and sizes is the best part about smoking meats.

Each combination can produce a unique taste. Try to stick to what we have suggested in the post today, but if you would like to branch out and use other types of wood with your meat, feel free to do so! Nothing is set in stone or declared the "right way" when it comes to cooking.