Best Wood For Smoking Salmon (Wood Chips) [Top 5]

Best Wood For Smoking Salmon

There are all kinds of meats that can be smoked. You have everything from pork to poultry products. Smoking these foods can provide an ideal flavor that you just simply wouldn’t be able to achieve otherwise.

That being said, there simply is no meat like salmon. It is pink, soft, and delicious right down to the very last bite. In fact, salmon is one of the most popular types of meat to smoke.

People from not only all over the United States, but people from all over the world smoke this meat every day. This is especially true in small fishing villages where the fish is a norm. Smoking your salmon with the right woods can have a major impact on the over taste and flavor, but which are the best woods to use?

That is exactly what you are going to discover.

Alder Wood

If you are looking for something on the mild spectrum with not too much of an overpowering flavor, you’re going to want to opt for alder wood. It is a mild wood that provides mild flavoring that just about anyone can stand. Even if you aren’t big on smoked meats, you’ll likely enjoy everything that this wood has to offer.

It is an excellent choice for anyone looking to smoke for a few hours because it’ll take at least that long to impart the flavors on your meat. In addition to this, you won’t have to worry about the lighter smoke growing too bitter.

Most experienced smokers would recommend starting with Alder wood because it is so mild and light. It can also be used for a wide range of other fish and meats, but it does go extremely well with salmon. It has been recommended from poultry from time to time as well because poultry is heavier meat. Heaver meats work pretty well with lighter and milder woods.

Apple Wood

Here is another one that offers a medium or mild profile. It isn’t as light as Alder and if you are looking for a step up, your next best option would be Apple. That being said, Apple is used by many for all kinds of different meats. It has been used on everything from seafood to lamb, pork, and poultry.

Many experienced smokers would probably recommend mixing apple with a slightly stronger wood to offset the fruity flavor, but it really comes down to personal preference and experience.

If you are thinking about infusing Apple with other wood flavors, you’ll likely want to go with some a little stronger like an oak. Oak goes extremely well with Apple because it helps offset the fruity flavor and provides a dense smoke. Dense smoke with the light sweetness of Apple will drive anyone’s taste buds crazy.

On the other hand, Mesquite is another great option for anyone looking to blend. However, just be well aware that Mesquite is much stronger than that of Oak.

Hickory Wood

Speaking of strong woods, if you are looking for something strong to the touch, you simply cannot go wrong with Hickory. This woods will give you meat extremely smokey flavors that are reminiscent of Southern barbecue. In fact, hickory has long been a Southern barbecue staple because of its strong association with bacon and other pork products.

Some people love the taste of bacon-infused with their meats. This is just one of the many reasons that Hickory is an overall popular wood for not only smoking salmon but smoking in particular.

Just be aware that the flavors do tend to be a bit pungent and strong. Once infused with the meat, you’ll get a cross between smoky and sweet, but it is one that many enjoy. All this aside, you have to be extremely careful when smoking with Hickory because if you use too much wood, you’ll end up ruining your meat.

You’ll end up with a bitter and aggressive flavor that just won’t taste good to anyone.

Maple Wood

Maple is another one that is a bit on the milder side. It’s a good choice if you are having guests over and aren’t sure whether or not they are big on smoked meats. It might not be as quiet as mild as Alder, but it is so mild that just about anyone can palette it.

It is also a good option if you plan on smoking for a long time. You can smoke with this wood for longer periods of time without worrying about ruining your flavors.

When all said and done, this wood will provide your salmon with a sweet and mild flavor. This is a wood that is also commonly used to smoke cheeses, vegetables, and a variety of other poultry products. It can be an extremely alternative for other fish products as well. Not only does Maple taste great, but it provides an excellent presentation, as it really darkens the meat. Maple can be best infused with Alder, Apple, and Oak.

Cherry Wood

Cherry is without a doubt one of the most versatile woods on the market. In fact, it is considered an all-purpose wood by many. When imbued with your fish products it will provide a sweet flavor that is hard to disagree with. However, most experienced smokers will tell you that Cheery is more often than not preferred for pork and beef products.

Now, this doesn’t mean that it won’t work for salmon because that it will. It’ll work great not only on the flavor side, but it’ll give your meat a mahogany hue that will look great.

Cherry is a wood that is also commonly paired with Alder, Pecan, Oak, and Hickory.

After Thoughts

While there are tons of woods and flavors that you can imbue on your salmon, it is these mentioned here that are the best. This is especially true for beginners. Smoking is a difficult process and not for everyone. It might turn out that you don’t even like the way it makes your meats taste.

It is best to start with some of the milder options on the list and go from there. Whatever the situation is, you cannot go wrong with any of these woods when it comes to smoking salmon, other fish products, pork, poultry, and all kinds of other meats.

Brian Koller

Growing up on a farm in eastern PA, I’ve grown fond of wildlife and the woods and learning about the critters and firewood and everything else in-between. I made this site to share my experiences and knowledge.

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