How to Smoke Meat With Wood

How to smoke meat with wood
Written By: Kathy Jeffery
Date Published: November 25, 2020

Whenever a person strides into the smoking realm, the fear of making the right choice without big blunders pursue every one. It's critical to make a good choice for a good barbeque and a good knowledge on how to smoke meat with wood. As it's tough to choose a good smoker for your backyard, choosing the right fuel source is also risky these days. A better selection can give off better results beyond your expectations. Imagine you choose the right fuel in line with your taste, but the rise in the smoking community has expanded the fuel choices as well.

We are here to guide you about How to Smoke Meat With Wood with the right fuel source based on our extensive smoking experience. Looking around the wide range of smoking fuels, our preferable and honest choice is for you to smoke with Wood. There are best pellet smokers in the market that are using hardwood pellets for the power. It is a great option for barbecuing.

Cooking with Wood is a traditional way of extracting the woody flavor into the food. Back in the old times, Wood was the main source of cooking food, which remained a trend for ages. As time passed, new fuel sources were added to the collection of smoking and grilling. The acceptable fact is that a vintage style barbeque is incomparable. Charcoal and propane are the fuels that can give your food even heat, but Wood is on another level. Pure Wood used for smoking puts on the delicate smoky flavor resulting in traditional Barbeque.

How to smoke meat with wood
How to smoke meat with wood

Cooking With Different Types Of Woods:

Trying charcoal, propane, and others as fuel sources can be easy to choose, but when it comes to woods, you will notice an enormous bundle of wood types. You may hear about the amazing wood results and give it a chance to enhance your smoking experience. Taking an initial step towards wood smoke can be difficult for some, but once you enter this wood fire world, there is no way back.

There is a wide range of wood types used for different flavoring. Most commonly, people talk about oak, hickory, or mystique because these are the dominant ones in the wood market, and most people like them. Wood comes in numerous packaging with wide varieties; all you have to do is pick the right one for yourself and expand your cooking.

Wood log

It is a long wood piece having a size of 19-20 inches. You can smoke with these logs in a large offset smoker and for large parties—wood log functions for both heating and smoking.

How to use: 

All you need to do is measure how much wood logs are sufficient for you to cook for your gatherings. Add wood logs into your firebox and let it burn. You can use them for smoking and flavoring your meat.

Wood chips

Wood chips are small and used to cook. These chips are the smallest woods up to 1 inch in width and length. These are the easiest to use and will add all kinds of flavor and aroma to your food. Wood chips are known for quick cooking. You can cook your chicken and fishes with mesmerizing flavor just in less time.

How to use: 

You can use these chips in two ways; it depends on you what method you like. I recommend trying both and decide on the results.

  1. Starting the procedure, you have to first soak the chips in water for half an hour or more. As they are dry, soaking them will create a wonderful aroma and flavor. You can use them on both charcoal and gas grill. All you have to do is pour them into the smoker box after soaking and monitor the usage.
  2. Simply take a hand full of chips. Covert them around with aluminum foil, making a package style. After that, poke the hole on the foil for a better smoke. Put the package on the grill, keeping the poked side up.

Wood chunks

They are fist-size cylindrical wood pieces that require a longer smoking time than chips. Wood chunks are perfect for cooking pork, briskets, and ribs, e.t.c in a small offset smoker, water, barrel, or gas smokers.

How to use: 

For wood chunks, you don't need to soak them in water. Drop it as it is, to get a lot of smoke for hours of cooking.

Suppose you are using an offset smoker. Start it with charcoal and add wood chunks to it for longer cooks. You can also use it without wood chunks to smoke your meat for a pure woody taste.

Making foil packages can be a good option too. Wrapping the wood chunks in aluminum foil is convenient for fast cooking. If you only have chunks, then you can use this method to quickly serve your guests.


Sawdust is the powdery material formed by grounding Wood. It is not used for heating; sawdust is only to spread smoke all over the food. It adds an instant smoky flavor to your meat.

How to use:

Take an aluminum foil, prepare packing, and add sawdust in it. Then put another sheet of foil on it and poke a hole in it. The smoke comes out of it and penetrates the food.

Wood pellets

Sawdust is converted to pellets after processing. These are small cylindrical-shaped bars having a length of 15-20mm and a diameter of 5-10 mm. They burn at higher heat and good for slow smoking.

How to use:

As pellets have a small size, they burn up quickly, and a lot is used. In pellet smokers, you can use them as smoking and flavoring both. Special pellet grills are designed to control the burnup speed of pellets. All you need to do is add the pellets to the pellet hopper, and the healing process starts.

When To Use What Type Of Wood?

For a long time, people are confused about the flavors of the Wood. Yes, it's right to be amazed because, with increased demand for wood smoking, there is a variety of woods discovered to relish your smoking and grilling game. Before choosing are the right flavor for yourself, firstly, you have to be clear about the intensity of the flavors.

You may hear about Cherry, Apple flavors of Wood. It doesn't mean they will impart a fruit flavor to your food. Their name is nothing to do with their flavors. The main function different woods perform is to give different strengths of smoke to your meats. Woods fall into three categories.

Mild woods: 

These give off mild or lighter flavor to your food. If you want to give a slightly sweet woody flavor to your chicken, vegetables, or fish, then you can use the mild woods.

These woods include Apple, Cheery, Alder, peach, and pear.

Moderate woods: 

If you are smoking pork, poultry, or lamb, then this category of woods is perfect for you. It gives a mildly smoky and sweet flavor.

Moderate woods include oak, hickory,

Strong woods:

Strong woods give off the strongest results. Mesquite is the strongest Wood. Actually, it is a category itself and cooks perfectly the strong meats like lamb or beef.

Let's talk about when to use a specific type of Wood to clear the doubts about mild, moderate, and strong woods.

Type Intensity Flavor Smoke meat
Alder Mild Sweet and light flavor Seafood, beef, pork
Apple Mild Slightly sweet, fruity smoke flavor Pork, poultry, beef. Seafood
Cherry Mild Slightly sweet, fruity smoke flavor Pork, poultry, seafood
Peach Mild Slightly sweet, Woody flavor Pork, poultry
Maple Moderate Mildly smoky Pork, poultry, seafood
Pecan Moderate More subtle than hickory, smoky flavor Pork, poultry, beef
Hickory Moderate Bacon-like flavor, pungent, smoky flavor Beef, pork, chicken, turkey
Oak Moderate Good smoky flavor Beef, pork, fish
Mesquite Strong Very strong flavor Beef, lamb, pork, vegetables
Types of Woods and their Flavor

Best Woods To Choose:

Most people don't smoke just because they are afraid to pick the right Wood for their cooking. In the BBQ world, it's an essential thing to get the best results.

It's not a big deal to choose the right Wood for your cooking. Sincerely, as a beginner making the wrong choice in the first place is just an addition to your smoking and grilling experience. For the best flavor, according to your taste, stay, stick to one flavor for a long time and try others as well. This can help to strengthen your smoking experience. Possibilities are that you could like more than one flavor and use it for several occasions.

The recommendation of the best woods for you to smoke meat is listed below.

  • Oak
  • Hickory
  • Pecan
  • Mystique
  • Fruit woods (Apple, Cheery, peach, e.t.c)

I suggest you try all of these wood flavors. Surely, after trying all these, it would be hard for you to decide which one is better. These famous woods are all perfect in their manner.

How To Smoke Meat With Wood?

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    Best Woods to Smoke Meat

It's quite traditional to talk about woods. Woods can be used in many ways. You can either directly dump it into the firebox, or you have the choice to spread it on charcoal for a smoky flavor. Two functions that Wood perform are adding flavor to the food, depending upon the wood type you use, and gives a smoky texture to the food. Let's take a look at how Wood to smoke meat.

For direct heating:

Suppose the Wood is used as the main fuel source. It heats up and adds smoke to your meat. In an offset smoker, You can add the Wood to the firebox and let it burn. While using a pellet smoker, there is a hopper for pellet woods to directly heat and smoke the meat.

For flavoring:

If you are not willing to directly cook with your woods, then woods can be used as a side flavor. Simply you can place Wood to your coals lightened in the smoker or use it in an electric smoker. This imparts a little smoky flavor with complete cook and moisture.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should you add woods to my smoker?

You should add your Wood before the food heating up to a specified temperature, which means as early as possible. When Wood is added, its initial comes out, and the cool meat traps the smoke inside of it, causing an amazing favorable taste.

Why your wood chunks give a bitter taste?

A bitter taste in meat is produced when there is a lot of smoke trapped in the meat. It happens when there is no proper airflow while cooking. To fix this problem, open the exhaust vents, wrap the meat into the foil, or avoid adding excess Wood to the fire.

Which woods should you not use for smoking?

Many kinds of Wood are not made to cook the food as you want. Soft Woods from conifer is the main example of it. You can not use them. These woods produce an awful taste that you won’t like, and in some cases, these can make you sick too.

Can I mix Wood with other woods?

Yes, you can mix your woods when you are smoking. Combining one fruity Wood with other stronger woods impart a unique flavor to the food.

Why my Wood doesn’t produce smoke?

In some cases, the Wood doesn’t give off enough smoke or no smoke at all. It happens when the Wood doesn’t contain measurable moisture. Make sure to buy woods having sufficient moisture to produce smoke. Woods with labels of kiln dry are a lot dry for you to make enough smoke as you want

Should I soak my wood chips or chunks in water before use?

No, you should not soak your Wood before dumping it into the smoker. You are smoking your meat with Wood, not steaming it. Making the Wood moist in soaked water will remove its capacity to produce smoke. So it’s better not to soak your woods.

Should you remove the bark or leave it on?

It’s a matter of taste. Some people don’t like cooking with the bark on. Just because they feel a bitter taste in the smoked meat, others claim that there is no impact of bark on the flavor. But in some cases, leaving the bark on can be risky as well because it can absorb and retain harmful chemicals. So peeling it off is better.

How to get the best out of your Wood?

For good smoke, choose dry and good Wood. Either by heat or age, it’s moisture is seasoned out, for good clean smoke-dry woods works properly by eliminating impurities out of it. When lighting it up, everyone wants it to be clean and produce smoke with any burning flavor. It works well in it and doesn’t give off thin white impure smoke

Article written by Kathy Jeffery
Kathy learned to cook early on in life because she had to feed the ranch hands! Kathy is a mama of 2 boys and dreams of having a vegetable garden one day.

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