At Wonderwerk Cave in Israel, evidence was found of the earliest concept of human-controlled fire. Traces of evidential structures like hearths dated back anywhere from 690,000 to 790,000 years ago! But the debate rang on to determine when man first used fire to cook food.
In 2012, Richard Wrangham, a primatologist, created a theory called “cooking hypothesis” citing the early use of fire to cook food helped man evolve by providing easier digestible food.
So early man discovered fire and fire became the preferred way to cook meat and many other foods. The smoke from the burning wood added that smoky aroma to the food. Ancient man had no idea that these survival techniques would lead to today’s BBQ obsessions!
Along with barbecue grilling is smoking meats and foods. Wood chips are modern day replacements for cutting down trees and chopping the wood; and we’ve evolved to purchasing it online for incredible convenience and savings!
Buying the best wood chips for smoking your food is why we provided the information in this article! Many people use lump charcoal to smoke their foods. The best charcoal for smoking is typically lump charcoal because it is made with natural wood. But wood chips are the premier choice and also make a great combination when used with lump charcoal.
Read on and find out how to smoke your food with wood chips and learn what types of wood go best with certain foods. Then, get going and enjoy the powerful flavors of smoking your food!
- Comparison Chart
- Our Top Product Reviews
- Wood Chips – The Charcoal of Meat Smoker’s!
- Charcoal Options for Smoking Meats and Foods
- How to Choose the Correct Wood Chips
- Get Creative with Mix and Match Wood Chips
- Embarking on The Road to Being a Meat Smoker Master
|#1 Best Choice WESTERN Mesquite BBQ Smoking Chips||Mesquite Oak Hickory Alder Cherry Peach Apple Pecan Maple||Mixed Sized Wood Chips||2 ¼ lb bag|
|#2 Weber Apple Wood Chips||Apple Cherry Pecan Whiskey||Wood Chips||3 lb bag|
|#3 Jack Daniels Wood BBQ Smoking Chip||Whiskey Barrel Wood||2″ x 2″ Wood Chips||2.88 lbs includes 2 bags|
|#4 Wood Smoking Chips Variety Gift Set||Oak Apple Cherry Pecan Maple Bourbon Hickory Mesquite Wood||Fine Cut Small Chips||1 pint containers Includes 8 varieties|
|# 5Bradley Technologies Smoker Bisquettes||Mesquite Oak Hickory Alder Cherry Apple Pecan Whiskey Melange Special- Blend||Round Patty Bisquette||48 Bisquettes|
Our Top Product Reviews
WESTERN Mesquite BBQ Smoking Chips
This Western Mesquite BBQ Smoking Chip has a perfect ratio of wood to bark; 80 to 20, which is important when you’re smoking red meat. And the chip size is smaller than brands sold in local stores making it easier to feed into many smokers.
Western makes wood chips for smoking in many wood flavors such as Cherry, Peach, Alder, Apple, Maple, Hickory, Maple, and Pecan. This bag is a 2 ¼ pound bag and half a bag will last for a typical smoke of 4 to 5 hours.
Mesquite has a strong, sweet, flavor and is a native species of the Southwest United States like Arizona and Texas. It’s a good wood chip for smoking meats like beef, duck, chicken, and lamb. Western wood chips are 100% natural.
Weber Apple Wood Chips
Weber Apple Wood Chips present a hardwood wood chips. The smell is fruity and goes well to smoke pork, chicken, salmon, and even cheese!
These apple wood chips bring a light and intriguing taste to your meats and especially seafood and fish. These chips are all natural and do not contain additives or chemicals. softer smoke flavoring than other
- Apple wood chips have a delicate smoke flavor
- Perfect alternative to charcoal briquettes or in combination with charcoal
- Good sized chips
- Some customers found these chips would cause their charcoal to extinguish.
Jack Daniels Wood BBQ Smoking Chips
Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey wood smoking chips work great in your smoker and the chips are made exclusively from the charred oak barrels Jack Daniels uses to age its whiskey.
While the whiskey is being aged, it’s drawn in and out of the wood barrels so a small portion of the whiskey stays in the wood.
These smoking chips are made from the oak barrels all natural wood planks and nothing is added. The whiskey flavor is burned off leaving a fabulous aged oak flavor.
- Enough for 5 to 10 smoking sessions in each bag.
- All natural
- No additives
- Check the bags for mold. Some customers found mold in the bottom.
Wood Smoking Chips Variety Gift Set
This set of 8 different flavored wood smoking chips is great for a gift or to try many flavors at once. They come in 1 pint plastic containers and are small chips for table-top smokers.
They ignite quickly and give off enough smoke but not an overwhelming amount. Each 1 pint container can be used to smoke foods approximately 30 times in a smaller, table-top smoker. Experience 8 different smoking woods in this one product!
- Small chips work with portable or table-top smokers
- Ignite easily
- Pint containers can be resealed for freshness
- Customers complained these chips weren’t just small, they were almost like sawdust.
Bradley Technologies Smoker Bisquettes
Bradley Smoker Hickory Bisquettes are made from natural hardwoods only. There are no chemical additives so you get a clean smoke flavor.
Bradley uses a binder to form the Bisquettes made from .02% Collagen, a food safe product used to make gelatin.
These Bisquettes are burned for 20 minutes and then extinguished so the temperature will remain constant in your smoker. Hickory is an excellent hardwood for many smoking applications.
- Made from natural hardwoods
- No additives or chemicals
- 48 Bisquettes provide 16 hours of smoke
- People found the smoke flavor to be a bit too strong.
Wood Chips – The Charcoal of Meat Smoker’s!
From charcoal briquettes to lump charcoal, they all work fine in a meat smoker. But add wood chips, or go with wood chips only for smoking and you add even more true smoked meat essence!
Grillmasters over the years have come to love and cherish their smoked meat and fish. The elaborate garnishing and exquisite wood flavors are mixed and matched to create endless combinations. There’s a pride to smoking your meats and foods yourself. When they’re served up with corn on the cob and sprigs of herbs on the side, your diners will salute your skills!
Charcoal Options for Smoking Meats and Foods
Growing up with charcoal barbecue grills brings the memories of those glowing coals achieved after dousing the charcoal briquettes with lighter fluid. If not heated up properly, you transferred the chemical taste of lighter fluid to your food.
Charcoal briquettes made with a sugar-based binder are okay to use in your smoker, but you wouldn’t want to use briquettes made with anthracite coal or other foreign materials and chemicals.
Lump charcoal can be used in a smoker and is generally made from 100% natural wood. Lump charcoal burns longer then briquettes and makes a great base for wood smoking chips.
To learn more about the best charcoal if you want to use it for smoking, read our article on Charcoal for Grilling & BBQ.
How to Choose the Correct Wood Chips
In order to get the best wood flavor for your meat, poultry, or fish, you want to purchase the proper smoking chips. Pairing the right wood chips with your meat choice will provide the exclusive smoked meat-house flavor of any Southeast BBQ kitchen!
When you decide to smoke meats, heavier, denser meats like beef and pork do better with hardwood type wood chips like Jack Daniels Wood BBQ Smoking Chips. Meats like chicken and seafood items like fish and shrimp cook and smoke better with lighter hardwoods. Softer wood like pine and cedar aren’t good for smoking because they’re resinous and are bad for certain foods and even your smoker.
This Wood Smoking Flavor Chart has our meat and wood chip pairing for fabulous smoked foods!
|Oak||Poultry, Pork, Game Foul|
|Hickory||Ribs and Pork Shoulders, almost all Red Meat and Poultry|
|Maple||Poultry, Pork, Game Foul|
|Mesquite||Red Meat, Duck, Chicken, and Lamb|
|Pecan||Briskets, Roasts, and Ribs|
|Apple||Chicken, Wild Foul, Pork|
|Alder||Fish, like Salmon and other Pacific Northwestern types.|
|Cherry||Chicken, Turkey, Ham|
Oak wood chips are a great place to start for beginning grill smokers. These smoking chips are used most often and allow a medium to strong flavor to your food. It won’t overtake the delicious flavors of your meat or vegetables.
Hickory smoking chips are used often for many meats. It has a distinct flavor and using too much of it can cause your meat to taste bitter. It is a hearty wood choice and leaves a somewhat sweet and savory bacon flavor. Hickory can be mixed with charcoal for smoking to reduce its potency.
Wood chips for smoking with maple wood conjure up that sweet, mild flavor such as breakfast sausage flavored with maple syrup. Smoking your food with maple wood chips produces a subtle, mild smokiness for your meat.
In the desert Southwest, Mesquite trees dot the landscape with thorn laden branches and sparse greenery. This dense wood has an intense aroma and a unique flavor many people associate with Southwest cuisine. Use Mesquite sparingly or mixed with charcoal when you load your smoker.
Pecan, of course, has a nutty flavor with a rich confectionary taste. The wood can be very sweet so it should be added to another hardwood or added to lump charcoal in your smoker. It will help the charcoal produce more smoke and give just enough of a flavor to your food. Makes a great mix with charcoal when grilling fruits!
Apple tree wood is a mild and mellow sweet wood. Apple wood is so sweet, even small animals like rabbits enjoy eating the branches! The apple flavor takes longer to penetrate your meats so you may have to add extra time to your smoking.
Alder has a delicate aroma and leaves a mild smoke flavor to your foods. It can be combined with apple or pecan to create a dessert-like smoke. It works great for smoking fish and seafood items.
This fruity wood chip is just perfect for a smoked turkey—a favorite for many families at Thanksgiving. It’s similar to cranberry so it’s perfect to smoke turkey and ham. Chicken dishes with a bit of tropical flair come out incredible when you smoke your poultry with Cherry wood smoking chips.
Get Creative with Mix and Match Wood Chips
If you’re new to smoking, there will be many options for what kind of smoker to buy, what meats go well with flavored wood smoking chips, and what wood chips to buy. When you start out, buying a set of wood smoking chips such as Wood Smoking Chips Variety Gift Set gives you an idea about how the flavors affect your foods. These are small wood chips and work better on smaller smokers, or smokers that are table-top size.
Once you taste the affect of these wood flavors on your smoked foods, you’ll find the ones you prefer and use those often. But don’t be afraid to experiement with mixing wood flavors. There are endless combinations you can come up with according to your meat type and recipe.
If you are smoking chicken to use in a pineapple based tropical recipe, a combination of apple and oak wood chips creates a dense yet subtlely sweet flavor. For a southwestern meal with smoked beef, Mesquite wood chips and Pecan compliment each other; the Mesquite being stronger and the Pecan being lighter and a bit sweet.
There are different types of wood that go with your choice of meats. When you consult our Wood Smoking Flavor Chart, you can pick woods based on their food pairing and the recipes you’re using your smoked food for.
Get wild and try them with other food items like vegetables, fruits, and even salt! Many smokers like to use wood chips to create smoked salts for cooking.
Embarking on The Road to Being a Meat Smoker Master
First, buy the best meat smoker, choose some recipes and meats, and then buy the best wood chips for smoking. You may have a difficult time finding the variety in your local stores so we provided the information here so you can shop online and choose the wood type for the flavor you want to achieve.
Experiment with your smoker and smoking wood chips and invite friends and family to try your new creations. It’s almost guaranteed they’ll love it all and keep coming back for more!