Best Wood For Smoking Chicken (Wood Chips) [Top 6]

Best Wood For Smoking Chicken

Smoking chicken is one of the best ways to prepare this delicious food. If this is something you’re interested in, you’ll need to go above and beyond to make sure you choose the right wood. You need to choose a good option that is going to provide your chicken is more flavor.

You’ll also want wood that is going to burn for a long time. This combination will ensure that you’re able to get more from your chicken. In this guide, you’re going to find tips for choosing wood for smoking chicken.


You can do any amount of research you want and you’ll always find applewood is highly touted when it comes to chicken and other poultry products. And, there is a good reason for this. This first is because it offers a subtle and sweet taste that is unlike anything else you will experience elsewhere.

You combine this with the fruity flavors, and you’ll find that you are left with an end product that is so mellow and subtle that it will simply be hard to beat. However, this can be a problem for some that are looking for something with a bit more of a flavor profile.


If the apple is too subtle and delicate for your palette, you’ll probably fall right in love with Maplewood. It is slightly stronger and preferred by many chicken fans. While the flavor is strong, it isn’t strong enough to overpower the natural flavors of the chicken. If anything, it adds to the flavor and enhances it.

There are a lot of people that don’t oftentimes like to associate maple with poultry because it is so well known with pork. Sure, maple goes great with pork products like ribs, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be utilized on chicken as well. In fact, it can, and it will provide you with a mellow and sweet flavor that will be hard to beat.

[Related Article: Best Wood For Smoking Turkey]


When it comes right down to it, you are going to get the same kind of sweetness from cherry that you would get from other fruit woods on this list, but it really is the presentation that puts this wood in a class of its own. When you are done, if cooked right, you’ll have a beautiful-looking bird that looks like it came out of a five-star restaurant. It puts a beautiful dark color on the meat that is hard to match. After just a few hours of cooking, you’ll have a bird that is beautifully charred with deep red colors.

All that aside, cheery is also good wood for mixing. There are some individuals that will like to throw in cherrywood with other earthy types of hardwood like hickory. This will not only leave you with a sweet-tasting bird, but you’ll have one that is sweet with just the right amount of smokiness.


Speaking of hickory, this is another wood that you cannot go wrong with, especially when it comes to poultry. There is a reason that hickory has remained a long time favorite amongst BBQ aficionados. And, this is because it offers a smoked, nutty flavor profile that is hard to match. In addition to this, it works well with other woods like cheery.

Another great think about hickory is that it is widely available everywhere. It is also a good place to start if you have never smoked meats before or never smoked chicken. You’ll know that you are going to end up with a good overall product, but you’ll get some practice in.

That being said, hickory has remained an immediate classic because it is smokey, but it isn’t quite as earthy as other woods like mesquite. This is not to say that hickory can’t be overpowering if not cooked right because it certainly can be if you use too much.

Too much and your chicken will end up tasting overly bitter. If this is your first time, you’ll want to err on the side of caution by only utilizing a small amount. It is better to end up with not enough flavor than too much.

[Related Article: Best Wood For Smoking Salmon]


The thing that is so great about pecan is that it offers a sweet flavor, but it offers it with a bit richer profile. If cherry is too subtle for you, the next step up would be pecan, at least in terms of sweetness. Not only does it offer a sweet profile that is hard to match, but it an extra layer of nutty flavor as well.

And, this flavor just sits right beneath that sweetness, so you won’t taste it until you’ve bitten into the bird. Most people will associate pecan with turkey, but use it on chicken and you’ll never go back.

If you do some research, you’ll find that a lot of people mix fruity woods with earthy woods. Something similar to that of cherry and hickory. Well, be advised because this is not the case with pecan at all. While it is a fruity wood, it would be ill-advised to mix it with an earthy tone. Doing so will offer more of a profound flavor. You would almost end up with something that is unpleasant.


If you have tried every wood on this list and still aren’t quite satisfied then you might want to opt for the mesquite. Maybe you are just looking for something that is a bit stronger to the taste. Whatever the situation is, a good mesquite wood would be your best option.

However, you do need to keep in mind that this is an extremely strong wood that will imbue your chicken with extremely strong and somewhat earthy flavors. Many individuals would also recommend this wood for fish, beef, turkey, and similar game meats.


You’ll want to take advantage of the right wood to smoke chicken. Doing so will enhance the flavor of your food and ensure that everyone is satisfied with the results. Just remember that some options are not going to work well for smoking chicken.

It is pertinent to use the aforementioned information so you can ensure that you’re spending your money wisely. Follow the advice above and you’ll have no trouble finding wood that is going to work best for you.

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