Best Wood Chips for Smoking
One of the most common questions asked by aspiring pitmasters is “What are the best wood chips for smoking?” Unfortunately, the answer is not that straightforward. In order to determine the best wood chips for smoking in your particular situation, we need to know a little bit more about what exactly it is that you’re smoking, and how you are smoking it.
The first area that we will cover is what you are smoking. This means the meat (or cheese, or whatever else you’re smoking). We have taken the time to go through each of the commonly-smoked meats to identify the best woods to match the meat’s flavor profile. You can check out those posts here: https://smokingwood.com/category/meats/.
The second thing that we need to cover is how you are going to be smoking your meat. For example, if you are going to be smoking directly on coals, in an offset smoker, etc.
In case you are just looking for a quick-and-easy answer, here it is. In general, oak is the best wood chips for smoking if you are looking for an all-purpose, seasoned hardwood. However, as with anything taste-related, this is largely subjective and we can’t tell you which wood chips will give you the best results. Just experiment and find what works for you!
Best Wood Chips for Smoking Brisket
Oak and pecan are commonly regarded as the best types of wood chips for smoking brisket. If you want the best of both worlds, you can combine oak and pecan to give your smoked brisket great flavor. If you want some different flavors with your briskets you can also try hickory wood chips, mesquite wood chips, or some fruity woods such as apple or cherry.
For full flavor profiles of brisket-smoking foods, check out our post on the best wood for smoking brisket.
Best Wood Chips for Smoking Turkey
As with most (almost all) poultry, we recommend using fruit wood chips for smoking turkey. Apple or pear are both great fruity choices. Alternatively, pecan wood chips are always a solid choice.
Best Wood Chips for Smoking Chicken
We generally recommend applewood chips for smoking chicken due to how well the apple flavor profile pairs with chicken. Once again, you can use traditional woods such as alder, oak, pecan, or hickory. Alternatively, in addition to apple wood, cherry wood chips can also be a great fruity wood for smoking chicken.
For more information on woods for smoking, check out our post on the best wood for smoking chicken.
Best Wood Chips for Smoking Salmon
We recommend using alder wood or a fruited wood such as apple, cherry, peach, or pear for smoking salmon. Many recommend mesquite wood chips or hickory wood chips for smoking salmon, however, we feel that these are both too strong and can overpower the salmon.
Best Wood Chips for Smoking Ribs
When smoking ribs, apple wood chips are a great choice. Other common woods used for smoking ribs include: Oak, Apple, Cherry, Pecan, and Hickory.
Check out our article on the best wood for smoking ribs.
Where to Buy Wood Chips for Smoking
There are many places that you can buy wood chips for smoking. Amazon has a good selection of wood flavors. Alternatively, local hardware stores such as Home Depot or Lowes should have a selection of wood chips.
Don’t forget to check out the SmookingWood.com store for our own wood chips.
Should I Soak Wood Chips for Smoking
We frequently get asked “should I soak my wood chips before using them for smoking.” The truth is that smoking wood chips provides little, if any, benefit. While soaking wood chips in water will delay their smoke point, it will not cause them to smolder any slower once they start smoking.
Why Soak Wood Chips
The most frequently cited reason for soaking wood chips is that is prolongs their smoldering, causing the chips to last longer in the smoker. Another common reason for soaking chips it to cause them to produce more smoke. The truth is that soaked wood chips do not smolder any longer than non-soaked wood chips. Also, soaked wood chips do not produce any more smoke than unsoaked chips.
The only potential benefits to soaking woodchips is if you want to prolong the smoldering by soaking have of the chips while leaving the others unsoaked. This will cause the unsoaked chips to begin the smoldering process earlier, followed by the soaked chips.
Foil Pocket for Wood Chips
One thing that you can do to prolong the life of your wood chips during smoking is create a foil pocket for your wood chips. Jeff Phillips has a great article on how to do this on his blog. https://www.smoking-meat.com/how-to-make-a-foil-woodchip-pack
If you have any other questions about wood chips, get in touch!