What types of wood should I smoke with?

Smoking woods comes in a variety of forms:

  • Dust
  • Chips
  • Chunks
  • Splits/Logs
  • Formed (pellets/briquettes)

Although all of these different wood types can come in the same ‘species’ of wood such as oak, apple, mesquite etc, the different forms and sizes that they can come in all have their own ideal uses when it comes to smoking.


This is simply wood that has been ground down into a course powder. 

Wood dust is ideal for cold smoking, as when lit, it smoulders slowly giving off a flavoured smoke but with little to no heat.

To control the rate of burn of the dust, it is best to use a cold smoke generator to ensure an even, gradual, longer burn.

Wood Chips.

When smoking foods, chips are often used for the shorter smokes as they are smaller pieces of wood and ignite easier and burn quicker than larger pieces of wood.

To control the time that it takes for wood chips to burn on a charcoal fire it is quite common to put the wood chips in a foil pouch or smoke box to allow for a more gradual burn, rather than all of the chips burning at once as they are kept away from the direct heat

A smoker box is a small metal box with holes. Filled with wood chips and placed on the heat allows the wood chips to smoke at a more controlled rate.

Also, wood chips are used when certain hot smoking grills or ovens are designed with ‘feeders’ for wood chips.   Some brands of Kamados use a wood chip feeding system as well as most electric smoking cabinets such as the Master built range which also have the something similar.

Wood Chunks.

Wood chunks are ideal for longer cooks and when being used solely for flavour, several chunks are placed amongst the charcoal in the direct heat. 

As they are larger pieces of wood, they will burn for a lot longer than smaller pieces of wood, meaning that you will not have to top them up as often, if at all during a cook.

Wood splits and Logs

These larger pieces of wood are only really use in either a direct heated wood fired grill such as an Argentinian grill or in a smoking chamber of a large wood fired off-set smoker.

Not to forget, they’re the also the go to fuel for outdoor ovens for bakes, roasts and pizzas

Formed wood (Pellets/Briquettes)

Formed wood pellets and bisquettes are compressed wood dust moulded into specific shapes and unlike most of the other types of wood identified, provide both the heat source and wood flavour when doing a smoke.

They are almost exclusively used in grills and smokers that are designed for this source of fuel, such as pellet smokers or brands like Bradley’s, whose cabinet smoker are designed to run off wood bisquettes.

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