So what are the wood types suitable for smoking?

All BBQ smoked Low-N-Slow OR Hot-N-Fast goes here.

Moderator: TBBQF Deputies

OSD
Retired Lawman
Posts: 7290
Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2007 6:59 pm

So what are the wood types suitable for smoking?

Postby OSD » Wed Jun 06, 2007 6:43 am

So what are the wood types suitable for smoking? This is a question that is always coming up. So I thought this might help.

Here's a list that was compiled from various sources.

ACACIA - these trees are in the same family as mesquite. When burned in a smoker, acacia has a flavor similar to mesquite but not quite as heavy. A very hot burning wood.

ALDER - Very delicate with a hint of sweetness. Good with fish, pork, poultry, and light-meat game birds.

ALMOND - A sweet smoke flavor, light ash. Good with all meats.

APPLE - Very mild with a subtle fruity flavor, slightly sweet. Good with poultry (turns skin dark brown) and pork.

ASH - Fast burner, light but distinctive flavor. Good with fish and red meats.

BIRCH - Medium-hard wood with a flavor similar to maple. Good with pork and poultry.

CHERRY - Mild and fruity. Good with poultry, pork and beef. Some people say the cherry wood is the best wood for smoking. Wood from chokecherry trees may produce a bitter flavor.

COTTONWOOD - It is a softer wood than alder and very subtle in flavor. Use it for fuel but use some chunks of other woods (hickory, oak, pecan) for more flavor. Don't use green cottonwood for smoking.

CRABAPPLE - Similar to apple wood.

GRAPEVINES - Tart. Provides a lot of smoke. Rich and fruity. Good with poultry, red meats, game and lamb.

HICKORY - Most commonly used wood for smoking--the King of smoking woods. Sweet to strong, heavy bacon flavor. I don't know if I get the flavor of bacon from this wood, but it does taste like BBQ to me. Good with pork, ham and beef.

LILAC - Very light, subtle with a hint of floral. Good with seafood and lamb.

MAPLE - Smoky, mellow and slightly sweet. Good with pork, poultry, cheese, and small game birds.

MESQUITE - Strong earthy flavor. Good with beef, fish, chicken, and game. One of the hottest burning. Can be bitter. My family doesn't like it if I use only mesquite in the fire. They feel it makes the food "hot" and "spicy."

MULBERRY - The smell is sweet and reminds one of apple.

OAK - Heavy smoke flavor--the Queen of smoking wood. RED OAK is good on ribs, WHITE OAK makes the best coals for longer burning. All oak varieties reported as suitable for smoking. Good with red meat, pork, fish and heavy game.

ORANGE, LEMON and GRAPEFRUIT - Produces a nice mild smoky flavor. Excellent with beef, pork, fish and poultry.

PEAR - A nice subtle smoke flavor. Much like apple. Excellent with chicken and pork.

PECAN - Sweet and mild with a flavor similar to hickory. Tasty with a subtle character. Good with poultry, beef, pork and cheese. Pecan is an all-around superior smoking wood.

SWEET FRUIT WOODS - APRICOT, PLUM, PEACH, NECTARINE - Great on most white or pink meats, including chicken, turkey, pork and fish. The flavor is milder and sweeter than hickory.

WALNUT - ENGLISH and BLACK - Very heavy smoke flavor, usually mixed with lighter woods like almond, pear or apple. Can be bitter if used alone. Good with red meats and game.

Other internet sources report that wood from the following trees is suitable for smoking: AVOCADO, BAY, CARROTWOOD, KIAWE, MADRONE, MANZANITA, GUAVA, OLIVE, BEECH, BUTTERNUT, FIG, GUM, CHESTNUT, HACKBERRY, PIMIENTO, PERSIMMON, and WILLOW. The ornamental varieties of fruit trees (i.e. pear, cherry, apple, etc.) are also suitable for smoking.

Don't use any wood from conifer trees, such as PINE, FIR, SPRUCE, REDWOOD, CYPRESS, etc. :D
Last edited by OSD on Thu Jun 07, 2007 6:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
bowhnter
Chuck Wagon
Posts: 3258
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2007 1:01 pm
Location: Van Alstyne, TX
Contact:

Postby bowhnter » Wed Jun 06, 2007 6:53 am

very handy, thanks
Mike

Primo Oval XL
Weber 18" One Touch
User avatar
TX Sandman
Outlaw
Posts: 1746
Joined: Sun Mar 18, 2007 11:08 pm
Location: DFW, Texas
Contact:

Re: So what are the wood types suitable for smoking?

Postby TX Sandman » Wed Jun 06, 2007 10:12 am

OSD wrote:HICKORY - Most commonly used wood for smoking--the King of smoking woods. Sweet to strong, heavy bacon flavor. I don't know if I get the flavor of bacon from this wood, but it does taste like BBQ to me. Good with pork, ham and beef.


:lol: I used hickory when I did brisket for the Throwdown. I didn't think of it at the time, but the next day my wife said she was dreaming of bacon all night.
Rob - TX Sandman
Midnight Blue Smokers BBQ Team

"...grilling is fun and tasty, but it isn't brain surgery and the patient won't die if you mess up."
Steven Raichlen
User avatar
nascarchuck
Retired Lawman
Posts: 4677
Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2007 11:34 pm
Location: Ft. Worth, Texas
Contact:

Postby nascarchuck » Wed Jun 06, 2007 1:05 pm

Thanks Jim!!!

This is a question that I always have, what type wood goes with what meats...
Chuck

http://cookinwithchuck.blogspot.com - Updated 01/10/10

Image
xxfubarxx
Rustler
Posts: 130
Joined: Wed Jan 31, 2007 8:57 pm
Contact:

Postby xxfubarxx » Thu Jun 07, 2007 6:09 am

I never thought of cotton wood being good for anything. I've been throwing it away or using it in the fire pit to get rid of bills and junk mail. I still have 3 trees left to play with. Hope it works, plenty around here. Also the mullberry. Been burning for no cause except for storage area and getting rid of paper trail. May have to try cottonwood with the flavored chips.
User avatar
antaean7
Cowboy
Posts: 263
Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 3:39 pm
Location: League City, Texas
Contact:

Postby antaean7 » Thu Jun 07, 2007 11:26 am

I am still pretty new at the smoking part but I have used just pecan mainly. Until last Sunday I did a combo, pecan with apple chips, and apple pellets. HUMMMMMM, WOW, I would recommend mixing and matching them, it had a difference.
honu41
Outlaw
Posts: 1588
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 2:16 pm
Location: Everett, WA
Contact:

Postby honu41 » Thu Feb 07, 2008 3:15 pm

Aloha Jim,

Mahalo for the info on wood fuel. Like xxfubarxx I never thought of cotton wood. Are you referring to the cotton plants on the plantations? I wonder if that is the same as the "cottonwood" tree that grows to 50 ft plus here in the Northwest. Will check with my arborist friends.

take care a hui hou,
honu41
User avatar
Papa Tom
Deputy
Posts: 5973
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2007 9:40 am
Location: Oak Point, TX
Contact:

Postby Papa Tom » Thu Feb 07, 2008 9:50 pm

I started smoking with cottonwood long long ago in Nebraska simply because that was the most plentiful tree in the Great American Desert. Yes Cottonwood tress grow 50' tall and tend to burn fast so ya have to learn how to use the wood but it does have a good but non distinctive flavor.
tarde venientibus ossa....
honu41
Outlaw
Posts: 1588
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 2:16 pm
Location: Everett, WA
Contact:

Postby honu41 » Fri Feb 08, 2008 12:16 pm

Aloha PT,

Mahalo for the info. May have to check "Craigslist", look for free alder, maple and cottonwood. Been pretty windy (up to 50 mph) here so there may be free wood for the taking...

You all have a "Happy Aloha Friday" and a fantastic weekend.

Take care a hui hou kakou,
honu41
User avatar
JamesB
Retired Lawman
Posts: 6215
Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2007 7:29 am
Location: Irving, Tx
Contact:

Postby JamesB » Fri Feb 08, 2008 2:17 pm

Papa Tom wrote:I started smoking with cottonwood long long ago in Nebraska simply because that was the most plentiful tree in the Great American Desert. Yes Cottonwood tress grow 50' tall and tend to burn fast so ya have to learn how to use the wood but it does have a good but non distinctive flavor.


I've never thought of cottonwood as a hardwood, so I never thought to try to cook with it... Learn something everyday...

James.
Image
bigwheel
Outlaw
Posts: 1767
Joined: Sat Jan 13, 2007 11:34 am
Location: Cowtown
Contact:

Postby bigwheel » Sat Feb 09, 2008 9:53 am

Think the only way I would use Cottonwood for cooking is that be the only wood available. Have burned tons of it in the fireplace and it burns up fast/hot and some how seems to leave more ash than it had wood to start with. Now will vouch for Hackberry. Does a good job on heat production very unoffensive aroma. Flavor fairly well neutral sorta like Ash. Anybody ever try Locust Wood for cooking? Cut a bunch of it but it all went in the fireplace as far as I can recall. Seem to burn real well and didnt stink at all. Maybe only slightly behind Oak on heat production and
endurance.

bigwheel
User avatar
Papa Tom
Deputy
Posts: 5973
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2007 9:40 am
Location: Oak Point, TX
Contact:

Postby Papa Tom » Sat Feb 09, 2008 10:43 am

Yeah cottonwood ash is not granular like most hardwoods but is fluffy and some of it is fly ash that will get on the food. It is white and doesn't affect the flavor or texture but might not be good for sales. I have burned hackberry and mulberry and think they would both be good for smoking. I don't like ash and would be careful with locust it might be OK but never trusted a tree with thorns like that. I've burned a lot of Osage orange (hedge, bois d'arc) and it makes an exciting hot hot fire.
tarde venientibus ossa....
honu41
Outlaw
Posts: 1588
Joined: Mon Dec 03, 2007 2:16 pm
Location: Everett, WA
Contact:

Postby honu41 » Mon Feb 11, 2008 12:59 pm

Mahalo for the info PT. You mentioned something about wood with thorns. Mesquite has thorns but I think it is a good wood to use since that is all used in my younger days and had no probs. There are literally tons of blackberry bushes around here so I'm wondering about using it. They are more like vines than branches/trunks do it might not be a good fuel.

Take care a hui hou,
honu41
welder
Pilgrim
Posts: 29
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2008 8:29 pm
Location: ky
Contact:

Postby welder » Mon Feb 11, 2008 6:10 pm

I use hickory because it free from a furniture factory close by. If they made oak furnitur i use oak
User avatar
Papa Tom
Deputy
Posts: 5973
Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2007 9:40 am
Location: Oak Point, TX
Contact:

Postby Papa Tom » Mon Feb 11, 2008 7:28 pm

welder wrote:I use hickory because it free from a furniture factory close by. If they made oak furnitur i use oak


Great strategy right there.....
tarde venientibus ossa....

Return to “Smokehouse - BBQ Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 3 guests