What is the Best Wood for Smoking Meat?

Chad's Smoker best wood for smoking meat

We have an outdoor smoker! The only one in Anne Arundel currently. What wood do we use to smoke? Read on.

At Chad’s smoking meat is what we do. We take pride in our BBQ, which is a perfect balance of the right amount of smoke, and our delicious house-made sauces. In fact, we are the only restaurant, currently, in all of Anne Arundel County with an outdoor smoker. That is also why we get the common questions of ‘what is the best wood for smoking meat?’

When it comes to smoking meat, there are recommendations of meat/wood combinations. For example, for heavier meats, like beef and pork, hardwood is recommended. For more delicate meats, like chicken and fish, a lighter hardwood is suggested. Avoid using softwoods like pine and cedar. These woods are too resinous and can ruin the meat and your smoker. Here is a great guide on everything you need to know about smoking wood to check out if you want to learn more.

That does beg the question, what is the best wood for smoking meat?


Oak is the quintessential go-to for smoking meat. It is a great place to start if you are a newbie to smoking.  It will lend a medium to a strong flavor that is seldom overpowering.

Best Meat to Smoke

Lamb, beef, brisket, and sausages


The most versatile choice as it can be used to smoke wood in many ways. Be careful, though, because too much hickory flavor will cause your meat to have a more bitter flavor. It has a sweet, savory, and hearty, a bit bacony.

Best Meat to Smoke

Larger cuts of ribs and pork shoulders, as well as almost all red meat and poultry.


One of the most subtle smoking wood, it will impart a more subtle smoke flavor.  Use maple for a sweet, light, mild smokiness.

Best Meat to Smoke

Poultry, pork, game foul


A hardy wood packing intense flavor. It is recommended for grilling, or to be used in smaller quantities. It is famous for its strong, intense, and unique.

Best Meat to Smoke

Red Meat and for adding additional flavor when grilling


Pecan will lend a rich, sweet, nutty flavor. In fact, the wood is so sweet that you may want to use a combination of it with another harder wood to balance out the flavor.

Best Meat to Smoke

Briskets, roasts, and ribs


Applewood is mild and sweet, lending a mellow flavor. Apple smoke flavors take a while to permeate the meat, so anticipate several hours of smoking.

Best Meat to Smoke

Chicken, wild foul, pork


A very light and sweet flavor profile. It lends a delicate and sweet characteristic.

Best Meat to Smoke

Fish, like salmon and other Pacific Northwestern types.


Cherry is mild and fruity, and when mixed with other hardwood like hickory, the two flavors compliment each other for an amazing result.

Best Meat to Smoke

Chicken, turkey, ham

What is the best wood for smoking meat? This is one of those debates that has gone on for years, and will continue for many more. What type of wood does Chad’s use? Well, that is our little secret.

Check out our part 2!