Tip #1
Learn not to 'over-smoke' your meat.
Tip #2
Avoid burning resinous woods - like pine.
Tip #3
Only smoke for roughly 1/4th the total cooking time.

Wood smoke, like peppers, come in a spectrum of options. So, with that in mind and a few tips to accompany you along the way you will be smoking your way to delicious meats in no time.

On one side of the spectrum we have our fruit-bearing woods such as apple, peach, cherry, and pear, that are mild and give your meats a subtle sweetness. Perfect for smoked poultry and fish. In the middle, we have the most commonly used; hickory, maple, pecan, and oak. Mild enough to work perfectly with all styles of pork yet strong enough to work with red meats alike. The strongest of the smoke and a wood well deserving of its own category, Mosquite. A famed Texas favorite, use in moderation and you have a fantastic tool in your arsenal.


Oak is the quintessential go-to for smoking meat. It is a great place to start if you are a newbie to smoking. It will lend a medium to a strong flavor that is seldom overpowering.


The most versatile choice as it can be used to smoke wood in many ways. Be careful, though, because too much hickory flavor will cause your meat to have a more bitter flavor. It has a sweet, savory, and hearty, a bit bacony.


One of the most subtle smoking wood, it will impart a more subtle smoke flavor. Use maple for a sweet, light, mild smokiness.


A hardy wood packing intense flavor. It is recommended for grilling, or to be used in smaller quantities. It is famous for its strong, intense, and unique.


Pecan will lend a rich, sweet, nutty flavor. In fact, the wood is so sweet that you may want to use a combination of it with another harder wood to balance out the flavor.


Applewood is mild and sweet, lending a mellow flavor. Apple smoke flavors take a while to permeate the meat, so anticipate several hours of smoking.


A very light and sweet flavor profile. It lends a delicate and sweet characteristic.


Cherry is mild and fruity, and when mixed with other hardwood like hickory, the two flavors compliment each other for an amazing result.

Some Additional Reads

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Leeks | How to Cut & Cook

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Breaking Down a Whole Chicken