How to Pick the Right Smoking Wood for the Right Meat

Learn how to pick the right wood for the right meat from Pork Barrel BBQ pitmasters Heath Hall and Brett Thompson in this Howcast video.


Up next in How to BBQ (40 videos)

Love good barbecue? We got pit masters Heath Hall and Brett Thompson to share their secrets for how to make delicious BBQ. In these Howcast videos, they'll teach you about all kinds of barbecue -- Texas, North Carolina, Kansas City, Memphis, Kentucky -- as well as how trim different kinds of cuts, like spare ribs, packer briskets and pork butts. Plus, they share many of their favorite BBQ recipes.



Today we're gonna talk about the different kinds of woods available for smoking. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of different things you can use out there in the world of smoking, but there are few that we really like. We love oak and hickory. These are our two mainstay woods that we use in just about everything. They provide a really great flavor to large chunks of meat like brisket and pork shoulder. A pecan is also a good substitute if you can't find hickory. Very similar in nature. Provides a similar flavor. One note of caution, these are pretty strong smoking woods so you don't wanna over smoke your meat. So make sure that you use just the right amount of wood in smoking for the right amount of time. If you're looking for some more delicate meats or smaller cuts of meat, we recommend trying some of the fruit woods like peach or cherry. These are really beautiful woods, provide a nice beautiful color and they really are a little bit milder than the oaks and hickories. So give those a try on the poultries and the seafoods and even the ribs, perfect for ribs. Some really unique products out there like the grape vine. It's a really unusual piece that provides a really unique flavor to what you're smoking and grilling. One other thing of note is the sizes of the wood. Use the size that fits best for your smoker. You can get chunks, you can buy the sticks or the logs, and you can buy chips or shavings. Use which ever one is most appropriate for your grill or smoker. Go out there, give 'em all a try. I think you're gonna love two or three of these that are gonna become mainstays in your arsenal for grilling and smoking. We love 'em all but they all have unique attributes and so we just encourage you to pick the ones that you think work best for you.


  • Pork Barrel BBQ

    Pork Barrel BBQ, the world’s fastest-growing barbecue company, was founded by Heath Hall and Brett Thompson in December 2008 with the launch of Pork Barrel BBQ All-American Spice Rub. Today you can find Pork Barrel BBQ’s entire line of gourmet barbecue sauces and rubs in thousands of stores from coast to coast. Pork Barrel BBQ sauces have received high praise from backyard barbecuers to veteran pitmasters including being named the Best BBQ Sauce in America and one of “The 125 Best Foods for Men” by Men’s Health Magazine and many more. Pork Barrel BBQ has competed in the most prestigious barbecue contests in the world and has won numerous awards including being named the Perdue National Chicken Champions and the Grand Champion of the Safeway National Capital Barbecue Battle. In November 2011 Pork Barrel BBQ opened its first Pork Barrel BBQ Restaurant in Alexandria, Virginia.