Types of BBQ Smoking Woods

Barbeque woods that are used for grilling and smoking vary based on demographic locations. Two of the favorite options in Kansas City include mesquite and hickory. If you are interested in using this wood to flavor your meat, then you may want to learn more about the options that are available. In most cases, it is best to experiment with different flavors to determine what you like best.

Here you can learn about some of the most common types of BBQ smoking woods, and the flavors they create.


One of the most popular options available, hickory provides a strong flavor to meats. However, if you are going to use this type, you have to be careful. If too much smoke is produced, your meat may wind up tasting somewhat bitter.

Red Oak

Out of all the hardwoods and oaks, red oak is considered to be the best. This is especially true if you are going to use it for smoking meat. While the oak is strong, it won’t overpower the flavors, taste or texture of the meat you have chosen. If you are planning on cooling or smoking lamb or beef, this is the best type of wood to use.


This type of wood is favored by most restaurants. This is because it is a naturally oily wood and tends to burn quickly and at high temperatures. However, this is not the beset type of wood if you are hosting a barbecue.

Apple Wood

This type of wood has a sweet and mild flavor. It is a good pairing for cooking pork, especially if you are planning on cooking poultry and ham.

Cherry Wood

This is another wood option that is good if you are barbecuing pork, but it is also a good match for beef. It gives a vibrant, mahogany in color to the meat that you are cooking. You can even balance the cherry wood by mixing it with pecan, oak or hickory.

Pecan Tree

The pecan tree is in the hickory family. It is a great option for barbecues and it burns very slowly, giving the meats you are cooking a delicate flavor. Additionally, this makes a great smoking wood; however, it can be somewhat pungent and you should only use it in moderation.

Additional Woods to Consider

There are other woods that are also extremely popular to use for BBQ and smoking. These include:

  • Plum
  • Pear
  • Ash
  • Alder
  • Maple
  • Herb woods, rosemary, sycamore, eucalyptus, fir, pine, elm, cypress and cedar

Taking the time to learn about the different types of woods that are available can help you determine which one is right for your cooking or smoking preferences.