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When to use Oak? Hickory? Cherry? or Mesquite?

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    When to use Oak? Hickory? Cherry? or Mesquite?

    When to use Post Oak? Hickory? Cherry? or Mesquite? Other Woods??

    Are some good for dishes but not meats? Pork? Chicken? Hamburgers??

    Are so.e good for veggies or

    Any links tips or help would be much appreciated

    My personal opinion is that mesquite is too much for most things - except beef.

    Besides that I have a hard time discerning which type of wood was used to smoke.

    I use hickory for everything and am pretty happy with it.

    Some good info here https://amazingribs.com/more-techniq...wood-smoke-and


    • Mosca
      Mosca commented
      Editing a comment
      Second on this. I have cherry, apple, hickory, and pecan. All I ever use is the hickory. Maybe I’ll use one of the others next time.

    • Loren
      Loren commented
      Editing a comment
      I third this.

      Also, I've never tried Mesquite, due to the abundance of fruit woods, maple and white oak on my property and the surrounding area.
      Last edited by Loren; June 23, 2020, 10:26 AM.

    I don't think there's anything written in stone about what wood to use.
    There are regional bias's, mesquite in king in Texas, hickory would be a fav in the Carolina's.
    Right now my fav for everything is pecan, last month it was cherry for any meat I smoked.
    Next month who knows, I have bags of maple and oak too.
    I like variety, and like to combine woods, yesterday was pecan with hickory, some stick to one wood, no harm no foul.


      Here is something from a place I visit in GA. https://sbwoodshed.com/smoking-woods


      • BFlynn
        BFlynn commented
        Editing a comment
        I wish I had some bourbon barrels.....and that those barrel weren't empty

      My experience says the type of wood is less important than keeping a good fire going! I use oak for everything.


        I'm mostly a pellet guy and decided awhile ago to keep it simple and use the pellet supplier's competition blend or other similarly named blend on chicken, beef, or pork. I cook fish on the gas grill but might consider a different wood if I was going to start cooking that on the pellet cooker.


          Cherry and Pecan are a good mix for most meats. Mesquite is good for beef. As smokin fool mentioned already, wood use and flavors seems pretty regional.
          Last edited by Skip; June 23, 2020, 04:35 AM.


            I use hickory mostly for chicken and pork, it has a distinctive flavor and is rather strong. I think it goes well with beef as well but I often use mesquite or pecan for beef as well oak, which I think goes with about anything. For lighter meats such as fish, I go with cherry and/or apple. Stronger smoke over powers lighter meats I think. Also for vegetables, baked mac and cheese and things like that, use just a small amount of cherry or apple or other fruit wood. I find these starches absorb smoke easily and can be over powered easily. If you do not like the strong smoke, oak has a good taste without over powering as easily as say hickory or mesquite. , I think it goes well with pork, beef or chicken. Experiment and find out what you like! Just go easy on the amount you put into the smoker, too much is much worse than going on the light side as you do want to be able to taste the food!


              I use post oak for beef, fruit wood for everything else. Or, in a pinch, I use whatever I have for whatever I'm cooking. I can't really say I notice a huge difference; it just makes me sound like I know what I am doing lol.


              • richcinta
                richcinta commented
                Editing a comment
                This made me laugh! Thanks!

              • ofelles
                ofelles commented
                Editing a comment
                klflowers Sounding like we know is very important don't ya know.

              I pretty much only have two group's of wood i use for smoking. Nut Wood = Pecan, Oak, Hickory and Fruit Wood = Apple, Peach, Cherry. I will use Mesquite but only as an added flavor enhancer, so it's used in very small quantities and added to whatever other woods I use. Adding a touch of Mesquite with some Fruit wood for ribs is what's been working out great for me lately.

              As others have said, a good clean burning heat source is more important than the type of wood you use. To help you get that good clean burn you need a good source of seasoned wood


              • richcinta
                richcinta commented
                Editing a comment
                Thanks. Im finding a few firewood suppliers in the Houston area and asking some questions like. How long has it been seasoning.. how is it stored? Pricing...etc.

                Its hard to know which woods to get, as I want to try and them all.

              Use whatever wood you want, whenever you want. The worst mistakes remain edible.

              From some guy on some website:
              “Smoke flavor is influenced more by the climate and soil in which they are grown than the species of wood.

              This is very important to note, especially when you are caught up in the game of deciding which wood to use for flavor.

              This means that the differences between hickory grown in Arkansas and hickory grown in New York may be greater than the differences between hickory and pecan grown side by side.”
              Raichlen in Project Smoke writes:
              “The wood variety matters less than how you burn it. And while each wood variety produces smoke with a slightly different color and flavor, if your new to smoking, the major hardwoods (hickory, oak, apple, cherry and maple) all work equally well.”
              Oak generally burns slow and even, and you control the amount of flavor with the amount of wood.

              I think the stick burn community has kind of bled their thinking to everyone else. If you're burning sticks, I think wood choice is more important. If you're burning charcoal/pellets/gas/electric, your choice of wood is of less consequence than maybe the amount of wood.

              For the folks who think mesquite is too strong, maybe think back to all the mesquite smoked items we had 20-30 years ago. I grew up in New York City, and near about everything my dad made on his grill with smoke got some mesquite smoke to it. That was the cool thing then, and readily available to add that tex mex flavor to everything. Chicken, shrimp, steaks, etc.

              I'm going to add to these two fonts of wisdom and say that amount of smoke matters. Just think about this... If I double the sugar in a cookie recipe, aside from the chemistry issues that will cause more spreading while baking, I will have a noxiously sweet cookie. If I cut half the garlic and fennel out of a sausage recipe, it's going to be under seasoned. If I have four chunks of wood in my OJB, doesn't matter the wood, I will have too much smoke on my meat. If I have one or two, I'm in the zone. So, maybe if you wanna run mesquite, you run a chunk less....

              Worry about the flavor of smoke less and worry about the quality of smoke more.
              Last edited by Potkettleblack; June 25, 2020, 08:07 AM.


                Thanks. Being new to Grilling and Smoking.. I was curious about the different flavors. I almost want to do a massive Taste Test..and get the exact same dish, like BBQ Chicken or Rainbow Trout or Brisket and have 5 or 10 varieties, each one cooked with a different wood. and get a side by side....comparison. hahahaha.

                So far, Ive made Mesquite Rainbow Trout, Short Ribs, Beef Ribs.
                Post Oak BBQ Chicken, and Salmon.

                I just bought a Brisket Point and will probably do that with Post Oak firewood for a 6 to 10 hours. and wanted to get enough supply when i go to the firewood supplier tomorrow or the next day.


                • Rfhd69
                  Rfhd69 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I love post oak for brisket. I recently found a couple places here in WA that sell chunks for my WSM. Great flavor. Good luck!

                Mesquite burns really hot, so you should beware of that. I’ve heard it can be bitter, but IDK as I’ve never used it. I use hickory a lot, but have come to really like the lighter flavor of pecan. Apple and cherry are also lighter than hickory.


                  Some day I'll get some pimento for authentic Caribbean jerk, but for now, I use a 50/50 blend of hickory and fruit chips. When the palm trees were being trimmed in my neighborhood I scavenged a whole carton of coconuts and dried them out.

                  My PBC and WSJ with GrillGrates naturally generate smoke from the drippings so additional wood smoke is used sparingly. When I do fajita kabobs in the WSJ I'll load up on mesquite for a flavor bomb for my one exception.


                  Ok, I’ll be the odd man. I use all woods hickory, post oak and both apple and cherry for fruit but my favorite is pecan! Love the aroma cooking with it and great color on your meat. Just another point of view. Good luck!


                  • TripleB
                    TripleB commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I'm in the same boat. Pecan is Hickory's younger brother. Not as strong as Hickory, but subtle. I use Pecan, Oak, Apple and Cherry. Cherry for color.


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