Grilling And Smoking Woods Top 12 Tasty Flavors


11 Amazing Grilling And Smoking Woods

Grilling and smoking Woods: A variety of woods can be used for cooking and grilling food items. Hardwoods are more suitable to use over softwoods since they burn longer and produce more heat. They also impart greater flavor to food due to the fragrant smoke produced when the wood is burned. Softwoods burn rapidly and the flavor smoke imparts to food items is usually not pleasant.

Wood can serve as the main fuel source to create a fire to cook on, or it could be added in smaller amounts to the fires that are fueled by a different material like charcoal. In both cases the smoke that is produced by the wood’s burning imparts distinctive flavors to food.

It is crucial to keep in mind that different kinds of wood shouldn’t serve as grills or smoking food items. While, as we’ve already mentioned softwoods are not suitable to grill and smoke but other kinds of wood could be dangerous if employed. Check out the following information on woods that aren’t suitable for smoking and grilling.

Hardwoods are a great option for smoking and grilling. Smoke from hardwoods imparts a distinctive taste to food items which many people like. There are a variety of hardwood types and varieties, however only a few are suitable for grilling or smoking food items.


The following are some of the most commonly used hardwoods in barbecuing:

• Apple – mild with subtle fruity taste • Alder – light & delicate with a hint of sweetness—used traditionally in Pacific Northwest on seafood • Cherry – mild, slightly sweet with hints of nuttiness • Grapevines/Wine Barrels- Neutral or slightly sweet in flavor • Hickory – strong earthy flavor, good with pork products & in larger amounts with poultry & beef • Maple – aromatic with a sweet, mild flavor • Mesquite – earthy & somewhat spicy pure smoke flavor, good for grilling red meats

There are several other woods that can be used for grilling and smoking food. These woods tend to produce flavors that may not be as desirable as those mentioned above. However, they do provide some variety in the types of wood available for cooking. The following list provides examples of such woods:


Suitable Woods for Grilling And Smoking

Popular woods used for grilling, barbecuing and smoking food


Alder Wood Chips

Alder is most often used for grilling and smoking salmon. It is also used for other species of fish, poultry, small game birds, and pork, providing a subtle, sweet flavor to the meat.

Whether you’re smoking salmon, fish, meats, or, barbequing a turkey, nothing compares to the naturally sweet smoked flavor of Western Red Alder wood chips and chunks.

It is the Western Red Alder, unlike its low sugar Eastern cousins that resemble a shrub (Golden Speckled, Golden, Common and others. ) It is a wood tree, often reaching 75 feet. in the height. It is native to the west of the Cascade mountain range in the Pacific Northwest, Western Red Alder wood has been the most popular wood smoking flavor. (Extracted Alder syrup smells just like bananas!) Famous all over the world through Northwest natives’ fish or salmon smoking Western Red Alder’s naturally sweeteners give the most unique flavor of smoked. It is ideal for BBQ smokers and meat smokers, Western Red Alder wood’s wonderful smoke flavor is a delight to all seafood, fish meats, vegetables, and fish. Additionally, Alder makes a great wood for cocktails. Blend with your Alder with hickory or other fruit woods.


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Apple wood chips


Apple wood provides a sweet, fruity flavor to most meats but is especially good for smoking ham. The wood is dense and very hard in texture.

Apple wood emits thick smoke, which is great for infusing flavor into the tough textures of a brisket. It will add sweetness and a subtle fruity layer of taste.

You can use apple wood as a primary or secondary smoking fuel. It can either be the focal point of the smoke, or you can add it to oak for some sweetness.

Semi-hardwood Mild, sweet and fruity smoke Poultry, Fish, Shellfish, Pork, Veal, Vegetables, Fruit Water, Apple Juice/Cider, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pineapple Juice

Beech wood chips

Generally readily available, this hardwood provides a flavor similar to oak and several other hardwoods. The wood of the beechnut produces a mild, somewhat delicate smoked flavor. Since it is a hardwood, it will last longer and is great for smoking large cuts.

Beech wood chips provide a delicate, nutty smoke. The flavor that comes from beech wood smoke is mild when compared to the flavors from hickory, mesquite, and other pungent woods. It has been described as being somewhere between alder and hickory in terms of mildness, which means that its potency would rank around that of apple wood or pecan. In other words, it is less likely to overpower dishes and it is more difficult to accidentally over-smoke foods with it.

Beech trees in the Fagus genus grow in much of North America and Europe. This hardwood is generally considered to be superior to other types, like oak or ash, but it is not the most common choice for smoking due to its limited distribution across the Northern Hemisphere.

The wood itself can vary in color from off-white to pale gray, with a straight grain pattern. It is very dense and the specific gravity of beech wood ranges from 0.55 to 0.75. When burned, it releases a nutty aroma that most people find pleasant, although some compare the smell to burning paper or plastic.

Beech tree bark can contain a substance known as fagusin E, which has been shown in laboratory tests to inhibit tumor growth in mice [source: NCI]. As such, this may have implications for cancer treatments in humans [source: Science Daily].

Beech wood has also been found to produce high amounts of acetic acid when heated [source: Grzybowski], indicating that it could potentially become a valuable source of vinegar production if additional research confirms these laboratory findings.

Beech wood is an unassuming type of wood with notable benefits that might become widely available if demand grows. At the current time, its rarity means that it will be difficult to source quality chunks of beech wood unless you can find a local supplier or decide to purchase larger quantities for smoking over time.

If you happen upon beech chips at your local store, they are easy to transport home and simple to light on a charcoal grill or smoker . They burn easily and produce very little ash, so cleanup is quick and efficient. You can also buy bags of pre-chopped beech wood chips online through retailers like Amazon who sell everything from small containers for portable use to large containing several cubic feet of material.

The flavor that beech wood smoke adds to food is subtle, but it is delicious. It works well with pork, poultry, and fish dishes. The best way to use it in barbeque recipes is on shorter cooking times at lower temperatures since the wood does not burn for very long before turning to ash. This will allow you to take advantage of its delicate flavor while still producing tender meat every time.

Be advised that your experimentation with this type of wood should be conducted with some degree of caution by starting out with small amounts until you get a feel for how strong it burns relative to other types of wood. It may work better than expected or it could have an adverse effect if used excessively or when mixed inappropriately with stronger flavors like hickory or mesquite.

Beech wood chips are a useful addition for any barbecue aficionado, and they may become much more valuable if the tree species expands its range because of climate change. It would certainly be worthwhile to experiment with this type of wood and test out how it works in your favorite recipes since it is available through online retailers at a very low cost. The delicate flavor could add a lot of depth to your dishes without requiring you to compromise on tenderness or smokiness like other options that can affect both aspects when used improperly.

Be sure to use only untreated (not pressure treated) chunks in order to avoid harmful chemicals from leaching into your food [source: FDA ].


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Blackberry wood chips

Much like the woods provided from fruit trees, the small diameter trunks of the blackberry bush provides a slightly sweet and delicate flavor for grilling poultry and other meats, such as small game birds like grouse, pheasant, partridge, and quail.

Cedar wood chips

A very common wood used to grill fish, poultry and various meats such as pork and beef. White or red cedar are the species most often available, which provide a distinctive natural and aromatic flavoring for a variety of foods. Salmon and other types of fish are often grilled or smoked using cedar.


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Cherry wood chips

Cherry is used for all types of meat and like apple, it provides a subtle, sweet, fruity flavor to foods. Cherry can be used to grill and smoked turkey, chicken, small game birds, and pork.


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Although not considered to be a true wood, it is often used as a smoking chip when grilling foods such as poultry, fish and small game birds. The heart of the cob that holds the kernels is the fuel section of this alternative for wood. It is ground into small granular bits that can be added to a smoking box or it can be combined with other woods such as woods from fruit trees, to impart several flavors. The Corncob provides a sweet flavor that may overpower the food if too much is used to season the food as it cooks. Begin by trying small amounts until the desired flavor is achieved.

Grape Vine

Small in size, the chips from matured grape vines provide a flavor that is much like other species of trees bearing fruit. Somewhat sweet and fruity, the grapevine is most often used for poultry, small game birds, pork and sausage.


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Hickory wood chips

Hickory is more common in the South but is popular in many regions. It is used just as often if not more often than oak. Hickory provides a strong smoky bacon flavor and can be used for all types of meat, but is especially good for cuts of pork, wild game, chicken, and ribs.

Great for

  • whole chickens or turkeys, wild game, and larger cuts such as Texas-style beef brisket.
  • Pork, such as pork loin and pork shoulder (used for pulled pork), pairs particularly well with the sweetness of hickory


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Maple wood chips

Maple provides a mild, smoky and somewhat sweet flavor to foods. It is best used with pork, poultry, small game birds, and is often considered to be a good wood for grilling vegetables.


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Mesquite wood chips

Mesquite burns very hot and provides a strong flavor to foods. Because of its more intense heat properties, it may burn too hot for some foods. It is very popular in Texas and the Southwest United States where it is most often used for grilling or smoking cuts of beef; however, it is also a good choice for a variety of other meats and vegetables as well.


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Mulberry wood chips

When mulberry wood is burned, it produces a sweet-smelling smoke similar to an apple. It is a good choice for imparting flavor into poultry, fish, and pork.

When I was a kid, we had a mulberry tree in our yard. We never made anything with the wood, but it did add some flavor to the meat when we would grill up burgers and such.

Mulberry Wood Chips:

The great thing about this wood is that it’s readily available, easy to use and its relatively easy to find.

“But…all I can find is mulberry paper and mulberry wood pellets for smoking!”

I know, right? But lucky for you if you live in or near a city that has Asian markets or at least a large Hispanic community. You can score fresh Mulberry Wood Chips by getting some wood chips from that market and then going on eBay and buying the 5-7 lbs bags of frozen Mulberry Wood Chunks. That’s what I had to do when I first started smoking meat, but again this isn’t as hard as it sounds. All Asian markets have “Freezer” sections. And those freezers almost always contain tons of different forms of frozen Mulberry Wood Chips/Chunks .

Find some tasty flavors on Amazon


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