When it comes to smoking meat, choosing thecorrect wood chip is just as important as selecting the proper cut of meat! Wood chips can drastically change the taste of your meat and the cooking time so choosing the correct wood chips to use is imperative. The flavor that the wood chips give your food comes straight from the wood so there are no artificial flavors. Follow this list to help you decide which wood chip you want to use the next time you smoke your meat!
Hickory is one of the most popular wood chips to use for smoking meat, and for a good reason, it adds a solid bacon-like flavor. The smoke profile is more intense than many common smoking woods like cherry wood. The smoke from hickory wood gives your food a robust nutty flavor, so it is excellent to use when smoking dark meat. We recently used hickory to smokePre's grass-fed and finished brisket, which turned out absolutely delicious! Hickory is an excellent choice if you are just starting to smoke meats. They don't burn as fast as some of the other wood chips on this list, so you don't have to worry too much about them burning out.
Oak wood has a strong taste but does not overpower the food like hickory or mesquite wood can. Red meat and brisket are delicious when cooked with oak wood chips because it has a medium-potency smoke flavor that satisfies everyone, even those who do not love smoked meat. It also burns slowly, so you can put your meat into the smoker and not worry about the wood burning out.
Mesquite wood has the most robust and potent flavor out of this list. This wood can be tricky for beginners because if you use too much, the taste can become bitter, so using the correct proportion of mesquite wood can make or break your meat. Additionally, it burns incredibly hot, so there will be a lot of smoke! The smoke adds a delicious earthy flavor to your meats. Mesquite is excellent to use withbrisket or otherred meats but not with poultry and fish, as the wood flavor is incredibly overpowering.
Cherry wood is perfect for smoking any meat. The light and sweet flavor from cherry wood complements anything you want to smoke. Cherry wood produces a mild to medium smoke that's fruity and takes a while to burn out. If you are a novice with smoking meat, cherry wood is a great starter! We recommend cherry wood on Pre's brisket because the wood's fruity flavor compliments brisket meat perfectly.
Pecan wood has a delightful and nutty flavor. Some feel that it is too sweet and is best used in combination with another wood. We wanted to feature pecan because it burns slowly and adds a delicate flavor; it is easy to work with. That being said, pecan can be a little overpowering if you use too much, so make sure you proportion it correctly for different recipes. Considering its light flavor, you can use it with various types of meat. We would recommend using pecan with pork, steak, or brisket!
Can you mix wood chips for extra flavor?
Absolutely! Mixing wood chips can add different flavor profiles to elevate your meat. Combining a light-flavored wood with a stronger wood mellows out the bitterness in woods like mesquite and hickory. Oak is a great wood to mix with heavier woods like mesquite or hickory because the oak's mellow flavor balances out the richer smoke flavor. Mix cherry and oak for a gentler flavor. We love mixing woods for a layered taste profile, have some fun and mix your woods!