Smoking Woods

Wood Smoking Flavor Chart

Wood Characteristics Meats or Veggies Used With
Almond A nutty and sweet smoke flavor, light ash. Good with all meats.


Slightly sweet but denser, fruity smoke flavor. Serve chutney made from the same fruit to accentuate the flavor even more. The strongest flavor of all the fruitwoods. Beef, poultry, game birds, pork (particularly ham)
Cherry Slightly sweet fruity smoke that is great with poultry (turns skin dark brown). This smoke is a mild, sweet and fruity smoke which gives a rosy tint to light-colored meats. 

Good with all meats.

Hickory Sweet to strong, heavy bacon flavor. This great flavor works well with pork, ribs, hams, poultry, and beef. The most common wood used.  Good for all smoking, especially pork and ribs.
Mesquite Strong earthy flavor. One of the most popular woods in the country, mesquite is a scrubby tree that grows wild in the Southwest. Sweeter and more delicate than hickory, it is a perfect complement to richly flavored meats such as a steak, duck or lamb.

Good with most meats, especially beef and most vegetables.

Oak (Red) Most versatile of the hardwoods blending well with most meats. A mild smoke with no aftertaste. Oak gives food a beautiful smoked color. Good with red meat, pork, fish and big game. Red Oak is good on ribs. Especially good with beef brisket.
Oak (White) Similar to the Red Oak. Makes the best coals for longer burning. Similar to the Red Oak.
Olive The smoke flavor is similar to mesquite, but distinctly lighter. Delicious with poultry.
Pecan Sweet and mild with a flavor similar to hickory but not as strong. Tasty with a subtle character. An all-around superior smoking wood. Good for most things including poultry, beef, pork and cheese. Pecan is the best for that beautiful golden-brown turkey.