Choosing which wood to use for smoking can be a difficult decision.  Much of this decision will be made by personal preference.  We have only had the chance to try a limited number of woods due to the supply dictated by the area in which we live.  Hickory, Mesquite, Apple, Cherry, and Pecan are common woods we find sold in local stores.  Because we are in Washington State, there are opportunities to get many kinds of fruit wood from local orchards such as Apple, Cherry, Plum, Pear, and Apricot to name a few.  We are excited to continue to try new meat and wood combinations to find our favorites.  Below is a chart with some basic suggestions to get you started.  The only way to truly know if you will like a certain meat/wood combination is to experiment and give it a try!

Wood type
.
Characteristics Use with

Alder

Very delicate with a hint of sweetness Good with fish, pork, poultry, and light-meat game birds. Traditionally used in the pacific Northwest to smoke Salmon.

Apple

Slightly sweet but denser, fruity smoke flavor.

Beef, poultry, game birds, pork (particularly ham).

Cherry

Slightly sweet, fruity smoke flavor

Good with all meats.

Grape Vines

Aromatic, similar to fruit wood.

Good with most meats.

Hickory

Pungent, smoky, bacon-like flavor. The most common wood used.

Good for all smoking, especially pork and ribs.

Maple

Mildly smoky, somewhat sweet flavor.

Good with pork, poultry, cheese, vegetables and small game birds.

Mesquite

Strong earthy flavor.

Good with most meats, especially beef and most vegetables.

Mulberry

The smell is sweet and reminds one of apple

Beef, poultry, game birds, pork (particularly ham).

Oak

One of the most popular wood’s, Heavy smoke flavor.

Good with red meat, pork, fish and heavy game.

Peach

Slightly sweet, woodsy flavor.

Good with most meats.

Pear

Slightly sweet, woodsy flavor.

Poultry, game birds and pork.

Pecan

Similar to hickory, but not as strong. Try smoking with the shells as well.

Good for most needs

Plum

The flavor is milder and sweeter than hickory

Good with most meats.

Walnut

Very heavy smoke flavor, usually mixed with lighter woods like pecan or apple. Can be bitter if used alone.

Good with red meats and game.