Best Wood For Smoking Meat


Read time: 3 mins

With so many different options for smoking wood in Australia it’s handy to know what is on offer.

The basic rules of using hardwoods for smoking meat Australia

The Heavy Woods – Oak, Hickory, Maple, Mesquite, when you are looking at smoking woods “heavier” hardwoods like oak and hickory for smoking “heavier” meats like beef and pork.

The Light Woods – Pecan, Apple, Alder, Cherry, when you should use “lighter” hardwoods like alder, maple, fruit and nut-bearing woods for smoking “lighter” meats like poultry and fish.

Traeger Pellet Guide in table format

You can play around with adding small amounts of the lighter woods to accent the flavors of your heavier meats and vice-versa.

Wood chunks are larger than chips, so they can be used as a standalone fuel source or in combination with lump charcoal or briquettes.

Smoking wood chunks on bbq grill
Smoking wood chips on bbq grill

In a smoker, wood chunks are used as the primary fuel source for providing smoke and heat. In a charcoal grill, one or two chunks can be added directly to coals or set near coals to smolder and smoke. Wood chunks make it easy to maintain a steady long-term smoke source.

We only sell 100% natural wood chunks, a natural way to flavour food.

Smoking chips add a delicate, smoky flavor to your grilled foods. Chips burn more quickly than chunks, so they’re perfect for shorter barbecue cook times. You may consider purchasing a smoker box for use in a gas BBQ. Amazing results from some slow cooking in your gas BBQ.




Hickory Chunks

It has a pungent, smoky, bacon-like flavor.Hickory is a great all rounder used to smoke meat with delicious outcomes.


Sweet to strong, hearty, almost bacony
Burn Characteristics: Hot and slow
Best Used When Smoking: Larger cuts like ribs and pork shoulders. Can also be used with nearly all red meats and poultry. 

Pairs with:

Pork, chicken, beef, wild game, cheeses.




Rich and more subtle than hickory, but similar in taste. Burns cool, so ideal for very low heat smoking.

Medium, fruity/sweet, nutty
Burn Characteristics: Slow and cool
Best Used When Smoking: Briskets, roasts and ribs. Very good as a complement to mesquite.

Sometimes you may find that it’s better to mix Pecan with some heartier woods like Oak, Hickory or Mesquite.

Pairs with:

Pork, chicken, lamb, fish, cheeses.



Mesquite wood is native to Texas, it’s wiry, hardy and tough as nails. Mesquite also has a potent flavor.It is best used for grilling or in small doses for adding flavor to your meat when smoking.

Strong, lots of smoke
Burn Characteristics: Hot and fast
Best Used When Smoking: Red meats. Also great for adding flavor when grilling.Tends to burn hot, so use carefully.

Pairs with:

Most meats, especially beef.
Most vegetables


Alder Pellets


Alder smoke is light and sweet. Alder wood is great for smoking fish.

Light, sweet and delicate
Burn Characteristics: Cool temp, medium length
Best Used When Smoking: Traditionally used with fish, especially in the Pacific Northwest. Alder can also be used for poultry and pork.

Alder Hardwood has a delicate flavor that enhances lighter meats.

Pairs with:

Salmon, swordfish, sturgeon, other fish. Also good with chicken and pork


Oak Pellets


The mighty oak tree has long stood for strength and endurance. There are few better woods with which to start your meat smoking adventures.

Medium to heavy flavor, but seldom overpowering

Burn Characteristics: Hot and slow
Best Used When Smoking: Lamb and beef, brisket and sausages.Forthright but pleasant flavor. Blends well with a variety of textures and flavors.

Pairs with:

Beef (particularly brisket), poultry, pork


Maple Pellets


Maple is a little subtler than cousins hickory and oak, but it’s still a good choice for smoking. When used for barbecue, Maple imparts a milder, flavor than hickory or oak woods.


Sweet and light, mildly smokey
Burn Characteristics: Hot and slow
Best Used When Smoking: Poultry, pork, game birds.
Says the Pit Boss: Sugar Maple, as you may have guessed, is the sweetest of the heavy woods.Mildly smoky, somewhat sweet flavor. Try mixing maple with corncobs for ham or bacon.

Pairs with:

Poultry, vegetables, ham.


Apple Chunks

Apple wood is mild, fruity, sweet and mellow. Use apple wood when smoking chicken, quail, pork and poultry.

Light, mild, fruity, slightly sweet
Burn Characteristics: Hot and slow
Best Used When Smoking: Chicken, quail, pork and poultry. The light character of Apple smoke takes several hours to permeate the food.Slightly sweet but denser, fruity smoke flavor.

Pairs with:

Beef, poultry, game birds, pork (particularly ham).

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