One of the most asked questions about smoking in order to get amazing backyard barbeque is, “What is the best wood for smoking meat?” The answer answer is that it depends on what you prefer. Because different woods impart different flavors, there are no hard and fast rules.
Since there are no concrete answers to the question of which wood is best, here is a guide to explain some of the woods most commonly used for smoking meat. If you’re starting from scratch or are wondering about new ways to expand your meat smoking repertoire, I hope you will find this to be a handy reference. Of course, uniqueness and perfection can only be found through experimentation.
You might even want to consider keeping a written record of your experimenting and results for future reference.
The basic rule of thumb is to use the heavier hardwoods like oak, hickory or mesquite for smoking heavier meats such as beef and pork. Use the lighterhardwoods like that from fruit trees, maple and nut-bearing woods for smoking lighter meats like fish and poultry. Some of the fun in doing your own backyard barbeque is when you start experimenting with mixing small amounts of the lighter woods to accent the flavors of your heavier meats and vice-versa.