Do you have a BBQ Smoker or grill and need to find out the suitable wood type?
This guide will be of help.
Below is a compiled list of different sources.
Acacia wood burns hot very well.
Acacia trees and mesquite belong to the same family and share alike flavour to the mesquite when they are being burned on a Smoker.
However, the flavour of the acacia is lighter than the mesquite.
The earth flavour of mesquite wood is strong.
It is good for smoking red meat, fish, poultry, and game.
Mesquite is one of the woods that burn very hot.
It is said that excess mesquite smoke is bad and when it is used for a long time generates a sour flavour.
When it comes to smoking halibut and salmon, the indigenes of the Pacific Northwest prefer to use alder.
For alder, the flavour is of wood smoke with a trace of sweetness.
Alder is good for smoking light-meat game birds, fish, poultry and pork.
Cottonwood trees are less hard than alder.
Their flavour is subtle and there might be the need for additional flavours when in use of cottonwood.
Almond wood can be used to smoke all kinds of meat.
It comes with a flavour that is sweet and smoky, as well as some ash.
For poultry, pork, ribs and bacon, apple wood is excellent. 
The same goes for crab apple wood.
Their flavour is soft but delicate, fruity but a little sweet.
Ash wood burns fast. 

Though its flavour is unique, it is light and nice with beef and fish.
Birch is good for pork and poultry.
It is a wood not soft but at the same time not too hard. It has a maple flavour.
Maple wood generates a smoky, smooth and a little sweet flavour. 
It is fine with beef, poultry, small game birds and cheese.
The cherry tree is acclaimed as the best smoking wood.
It is soft and fruity.  It goes well with red meat, pork and poultry.
Lemon and orange trees have good soft and smoky flavour.


Find woods like grapevines and lilac.



Good for poultry, red meat, fish and pork.
Drupe wood, Peaches and nectarines, and other fruit tree wood can be used to smoke light meats like fish, chicken and pork.
Their flavour is sweet and soft.
Grapevines generate a tart flavour.
The vines offer plenty rich and fruity smoke. It is fine with birds, beef, game and lamb.
Hickory is perhaps the most frequently used wood when smoking.
It has smoky bacon flavour that is sweet, strong and heavy. It is nice when used for pork, red meat, ham, fish and poultry.
Not-easy-to-find Lilac wood is a light and soft flavour that comes with a flowery taste.
It can be used for lamb and seafood.
Mulberry wood has a faint and sweet flavour that comes from its smoke.
Pear trees offer a pleasant subtle smoky flavour similar to mulberry and apple. 
It is good with poultry and pork.
The flavour of oak trees is smoky. 
Though oaks are of different types, they are all nice for smoking beef, heavy game, fish and pork.
Not-easy-to-find Pecan wood has a sweet and mild flavour that goes with chicken, red meat, cheese and pork.
It is comparable to Hickory.
Walnut has a strong smoky flavour.
To avoid the flavour getting bitter, you may need to add some light or fruity wood to it.
It goes well with beef and game.
Other sources from the internet highlight some other trees that are also appropriate for smoking.
Some of them are olive, persimmon, Avocado, Beech, fig, chestnut, Butternut and Carrotwood. 
Almost every fruit and nut woods are good for smoking.

Woods To Avoid

Conifer woods or evergreen trees should be avoided. 

Same goes for high resin generating woods such as pine. 

They can be poisonous as well as make your food taste sour.

Though the use of cedar woods to cook salmon is popular, not much is known about smoke wood from burning cedar.

Sycamore, elm, sassafras and eucalyptus, is said to generate a terrible flavour too.

Avoid using lumber scraps as it contains poisonous chemicals. 

Avoid using woods that has paint on them. It is also poisonous.

Where To Source Fancy Woods For Smoking

 The first place to start could be from picking sticks and stumps in the yard of your home or your neighbourhood. 
It is, however, important to identify the type of wood which you pick.
For branches that have fallen from trees, it is important to check them for mould.
Avoid using them if they are mouldy.

On the internet Smoker bags, wood pieces, pellets and chips can be found.
However, it is not for all kind of woods.
To find woods like grapevines and lilac, you will need to go into your neighbourhood to find them.
Firewood companies in your locality might be able to direct or source it for you.
With previous experience from working with firewood companies, cherry and apple fruit woods are sent to local canteens that cook with fruit woods.
There are also some pizza businesses that make wood fired pizza with hardwoods from firewood companies.

You can also take advantage of trees from neighbour’s homes so as long as you know the type of tree you are looking out for. 
Well-seasoned wood is preferred to green wood.

There have been arguments for both sides.
Some have infused wine into smoking wood.
It sounds fascinating, but will a lover of wine want his wine to go down in that way.



  • Woods for purchase can also be found where grills and smokers are sold. Local hardware stores sell mesquite chunk and chip hickory.

  • There is still an ongoing debate as to whether to soak wood chips or chunks or not. The choice, however, is yours.