Wood chunks, sometimes referred to as smoking chunks, are chunks of hardwood trees used for smoking that vary in size, but are somewhere in between wood chips and full or split logs. Depending on your smoking situation, wood chunks can be your ideal choice for smoking wood.
Wood Chunks vs Wood Chips
The primary difference between wood chunks and wood chips is their size. Wood chips are typically less than ½” thick and less than 1”x1” in length and width. Wood chunks can greatly vary in size, but are larger than wood chips and can be up to 4”x4”x4”.
The type of smoker you have may limit the types of wood you can use. For example, smaller smokers may require you to use pellets or wood chips. If you have a larger, offset smoker you can likely use wood chunks. If you have a larger offset smoker or commercial smoker/smoking pit, you can likely use logs.
Benefits of Wood Chunks
Due to their larger size, wood chunks have a longer smoldering time than wood chips. If you are looking for a more “hands-off” approach to smoking, wood chunks are a great choice. Another benefit of the longer smoke time is that it doesn’t require you to open your smoker as much, allowing more smoke to remain trapped inside. Additionally, because of their larger size, wood chunks are generally considered to be more flavorful and produce more smoke.
Should I Soak Wood Chunks Before Smoking
Much like wood chips, wood chunks also do not need to be soaked in water prior to smoking. There is no benefit to soaking wood chunks as it does not cause them to produce more smoke, nor does it cause them to have a longer burn time. Soak wood chunks simply delays their smoke point.
Type of Wood Chunks for Smoking
What BBQ wood chunks are right for you? Below is a description of some of the commonly available wood chunk flavors. These are our picks for the best wood chunks for smoking:
Hickory Wood Chunks
Hickory wood chunks fall on the lighter side of smoke, but pack huge hickory flavor (sometimes overpoweringly huge). We recommend experimenting with mixing hickory wood chunks with other woods with a more mild flavor, such as oak or wood, until you find that perfect level or hickory flavor.
Hickory wood chunks pair great with beef or pork.
Pecan Wood Chunks
Pecan wood chunks are another light smoke wood. With a sweet and spicy flavor profile, pecan burns fast and can be a great wood chunk choice if you are looking to quickly introduce some diverse flavors into your meat.
Pecan wood chunks pair great with beef, pork, or poultry.
Cherry Wood Chunks
Cherry wood chunks are among our favorite of the fruity woods. With a mild, fruity, sweet flavor profile, cherry wood chunks are perfect for pairing with beef or pork.
Apple Wood Chunks
Much like cherry wood chunks, apple wood chunks have a fruity, sweet flavor profile that is perfect for a diverse selection of meats (seriously, you can smoke just about anything over applewood and it will turn our great). Some of our favorite meats for smoking over apple wood include beef, chicken, turkey, fish, and pork. Applewood smoked bacon is our favorite!
Mesquite Wood Chunks
Similar to hickory wood, mesquite is a light smoking wood that is very strong in flavor. Producing a spicy mesquite smoke flavor, we also recommending mixing mesquite with another milder wood to find that perfect blend so that you do not overpower the flavor of your meat.
Mesquite wood chunks are great for smoking beef, chicken (or other poultry), or fish.
Peach Wood Chunks
Peach wood chunks are similar to our other fruity choices such as cherry wood or apple wood. Both mild and sweet, peach wood pairs best with pork or poultry.
Post Oak Wood Chunks
Oak wood chunks, often referred to as post oak in the smoking community, is a great all-around wood chunk choice with a heavy smoke flavor. With a mild, nutty flavor oak wood chunks are always a great choice for smoking any meats, including beef, pork, chicken, and fish.
Alder Wood Chunks
Alder wood chunks produce a delicate flavor with a light smoke. Similar to oak, alder wood can be used to smoke many different meats including fish, poultry, beef, and pork. Alder wood is typically considered the traditional wood for smoking salmon.