13 Absolute Best Types Of Wood To Use For Smoking And Grilling

13 Absolute Best Types Of Wood To Use For Smoking And Grilling

A go-to for champion pitmasters and popular barbecue joints, oak wood is a prime choice for smoking and grilling thanks to its dense structure, slow burn, and harmonious nature of partnering with red meat, pork, and fish.

“Oak and hickory are literally number one and two on the list of best woods to smoke with, interchangeable depending on where you are in the country,” Will Hair told us. Lending an earthy, woodsy complement to foods, oak is known to burn hot and clean. But though it’s mostly used for slow burning, there’s no need to limit yourself since the size of the wood also contributes to how you control your cook.

Burn time is an important factor — grilling needs a wood that burns hot and fast to achieve maximum potential from the wood, while smoking requires wood to last a long time so you don’t need to keep adding wood to your smoker. But you don’t have to rely on the type of wood alone; consider the size of the wood pieces to help control the heat.

“I can use a hickory or an oak log on a slow burning fire for an extended length smoke, or I can use a hickory or oak wood chip on a hot fire and still manage to gain the advantage of the flavors without changing the type of wood I’m using, only the size,” said Hair.