What is the best firewood for meat smoking? Well, it depends

Split wood

Do you have a smokehouse at home? If you do, then you know that you should mainly use wood from deciduous trees, or sometimes juniper. The important thing is to use only properly dried wood and without any signs of mould whatsoever. Some people let the wood dry slowly for three to four years. Also make sure that the wood does not have any fungi growing on it. And of course no chemical treatment! Also make sure that you do not use any wood scraps or woodchips. These do not belong in the smokehouse. In the following lines, we shall take a look at individual wood and how to properly use it in your smokehouse.

Beech – the most used wood

Undoubtedly, beech is the most used wood. It is a universal wood that is readily available. Unfortunately, it tends to burn quite quickly, but its calorific value is the highest. So monitor the temperature very carefully, especially when the burning chamber is close to the smoking chamber.

A thermometer in a smokehouse
A thermometer in a smokehouse: Photo Radek Štěpán

Oak – another widely used wood

Oak is also used for smoking but many people are reluctant to use it. The most common argument is that the smoked meat and other delicacies tend to be somewhat sour or bitter after smoking.Oak is mainly used for beef, sausages and cheese. As any wood used in a smokehouse it must be perfectly dry. Otherwise do not even try.

Maple for fine smoking

If you only need to do a “gentle” smoking, choose maple wood and the aroma will not be strong. The smoky taste is very light and it does not cover taste of the meat. If you want to preserve the original taste of the meat as much as possible, go for maple.The good news is that you can smoke basically everything to give any food the special touch.

Split wood
Split wood: Photo Pixabay

What about fruit trees? Sure!

Well, a true connoisseur will most likely use plum wood. This dark wood is usually used for ham, poultry or semi-hard cheeses. Just be careful with apricot and peach trees, because these contain plenty of resin.

Walnut cuts down the bitterness

Walnut is also excellent and it is usually added to oak wood to reduce the bitterness but it is also excellent for ribs or red meat.

Smokehouse: Photo Radek Štěpán

Birch wood may be used even if not completely dry

Birch is the only wood that does not need to be perfectly dry. It is suitable for smoking any meat, and the taste will not be very smoky.

Alder for a sweet taste

If you want a sweet taste, use alder. You will definitely notice the sweet aroma of alder. Alder is excellent if you want to smoke salmon for example.

Acacia wood for anything

Acacia is also a good choice and you can use it for all types of meats, but it is usually used for poultry or beef.

Split wood: Preview photo Radek Štěpán

Radek Štěpán

Gardening is my hobby, I have a lot of experience and I am happy to share it.


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