If you are in a hurry and want to find out what the Best Wood To Smoke Chicken is then we would recommend the Weber Hickory Wood Chunks.
Are you looking for the best wood to smoke chicken and blow away your next batch of BBQ invitees? Today, we’re going to tell you about our favorites and go over some smoking essentials. Let’s dive right in.
Here is the wood that we will be reviewing:
- Weber Hickory Wood Chunks
- Western Premium BBQ Products Cherry BBQ Smoking Chips
- Western Premium Post Oak BBQ Cooking Chunks
- Weber Wood Pecan Chips
- Camerons Smoking Maple Wood Chips
Common Types of Wood for Smoking
Before we talk about our top picks, it’s vital to know about the most common types of wood for smoking. Here are some go-tos chefs love.
If sweet flavors aren’t your thing and you’re looking for a traditional wood, hickory is a safe bet. It’s got a nutty flavor that’s not too overpowering, and it’s perfect for beginners. You can expect moderate to medium smoking intensity and a clean burn. Plus, hickory is convenient because it’s widely available.
Experienced BBQ cooks love oak. You get a ton of versatility with this wood, and it delivers a heavy smoke flavor that isn’t too much. It’s popular for the clean burn and even heat it produces.
For sweet flavor lovers, there’s a vast array of fruit wood types to satisfy all palates. Some of the most popular options include:
- Grape Vines
Deciding which one is right for you is a matter of personal preference, but we recommend apple, which pairs incredibly well with poultry.
Mesquite wood delivers a rich, earthy flavor, and it’s one of the most robust tastes you can find, but it has a significant downside. Mesquite burns both fast and hot, which can make it a bit unpredictable for novices. For anyone new to the smoking game, you may want to avoid this type of wood until you gain some experience.
If you’re looking for something a little more potent than apple, you may want to try maple, even though this wood is more commonly associated with pork. Many chicken fans love maple and consider it their go-to thanks to the sweetness it gives the meat. But despite the intense flavor, you don’t have to worry about it overpowering the chicken’s taste.
Finally, we have to mention pecan, a wood option for anyone who loves sweet, rich flavors. Smoking your chicken with pecan takes the sweetness up a notch and will be an instant hit at your next BBQ. But a word to the wise—if you want to please your dinner guests, avoid trying to match it with something like hickory or oak, which may result in an unpleasant taste.
The Right Smoking Technique
Okay, now that you know a little bit about the different types of wood, we have to mention the smoking technique.
Sure, wood chips are a vital part of the smoking equation, as is an excellent cut of meat. But you can’t forget to employ the right smoking technique—otherwise, these first two elements mean nothing.
What’s critical is allowing the meat enough exposure to the wood to achieve the flavor you want. Sometimes, doing so can be challenging, especially when cooking with charcoal, which can overpower the wood. The right balance is fundamental.
In our experience, the best way to successfully smoke your chicken is to put your wood chips in a gas or electric smoker. A charcoal grill also works well for this purpose, as long as you know how to operate it correctly.
What Is the Best Temperature for Smoking Chicken?
Aside from the proper smoking technique, the correct temperature is another crucial part of getting mouth-wateringly delicious chicken. If you want the best results, remember these words—low and slow.
You want to put your chicken in the cooker for hours while you gradually bring it to the temperature you want. Going about the smoking process this way infuses the meat with rich flavor. Make sure to keep the temperature below 280°F, but somewhere around 220°F is ideal.
You’ll want to maintain this temperature for at least two hours, possibly three. And as tempting as it may be, you should do your very best to avoid opening the lid while your chicken is cooking. Opening the lid causes you to lose valuable heat and smoke that give your chicken a delicious flavor.
The Best Wood to Smoke Chicken
Now that we’ve gone over smoking basics, let’s look at some of our favorite woods. We tried to include a healthy variety of wood types to suit a variety of tastes.
Here are our top choices.
Weber Hickory Wood Chunks
For the classic cooks reading this, we think you’ll like this option from trusted brand Weber, which also produces its own wood. Weber’s Hickory Wood Chunks are an ideal way to add a subtle, sweet flavor to your cooking at an excellent price. Not only can you use it to get the delicious smoked effect you want in your chicken, but you can also use it for pork and beef.
The only negative to speak of is that some reviewers mentioned that instead of the bag having strictly chunks, the contents were a mix of chunks and chips.
- Available in various size packs
- Suitable for beginners
- Some chips included with the chunks
Western Premium BBQ Products Cherry BBQ Smoking Chips
Next, we’ve got this cherry option for fruit lovers. Use it with a variety of cooking devices—gas, charcoal, and electric grills—to infuse the smoky flavor you’re after. You can use the smoking chips alone or add them to charcoal, and they’re perfect for other meats as well, like brisket, pork loin, and hamburger.
Plus, they are heat-treated, which means they store well and won’t get invaded by unwanted pests. You also won’t have to worry about these chips molding or rotting.
- Excellent price
- Burns well
- Can be used with practically any meat type
- Uniformity of chip size could be improved
Western Premium Post Oak BBQ Cooking Chunks
We think Western Premium products are so great that we added a second option to this list. The Post Oak BBQ Cooking Chunks are a versatile smoking wood, ideal for adding the texture you want to your chicken. You can also use it with a variety of meats besides chicken, such as pork, beef, salmon, and more.
Like the other Western Premium chunks, these are treated with heat, so they won’t rot or mold—perfect for chefs who only smoke meat once in a while. You can also use it with various smoking devices, such as electric, charcoal, and gas grills, though the chunks are right at home on large smokers and open fires.
- Can be stored for extended periods
- Delivers excellent flavor
- Works well with various meats
- Uniformity of chip size could be improved
Weber Wood Pecan Chips
When deciding on a pecan option, we had to give Weber another coveted spot on our list. The flavor that these chips deliver is exactly what we’d expect from using pecan wood for smoking. When done correctly, you end up with a beautiful combination of smoky sweetness that doesn’t overpower the chicken. It’s also an ideal wood for fish fillets or lamb chops.
Reviewers are quite enthusiastic about the results they get when using these chips. Several spoke about the perfect flavor that they deliver. As is true of all pecan woods, the caveat with this product is to make sure to use them in moderation—it’s entirely possible to go overboard and end up with a flavor that’s too intense.
- Chips are long-lasting
- Delivers excellent flavor
- Fair price
- None to speak of
Camerons Smoking Maple Wood Chips
Real smoking fans know about Camerons, which means you should, too.
If maple is your thing, we think the Maple Wood Chips are the best wood for smoking chicken wings. You get pure natural hardwood with no chemical additives—just wood as you find it in nature that produces a clean burn. The chips ignite and begin to smoke quickly, and we like the resealable packaging to keep things fresh.
Another aspect we like is that this wood is produced in the USA, and reviewers are highly pleased with the results they get with Camerons.
- Maple flavor also available in extra-fine sawdust form
- Made in the USA
- Excellent reviews online
- Some reviewers had difficulty getting the maple flavor to come out
Before declaring a winner in this roundup, it’s essential to recognize that all palates are different. Some people prefer traditional flavors to more intense, fruity ones, and not everyone will love our top choice.
Having said that, after carefully considering the options, the Weber Hickory Wood Chunks are our number one pick. Weber’s hickory product topped our list for several reasons.
Most importantly, for cooks who know how to use them, these wood chips deliver amazing flavor every time. We were pleased to see a healthy amount of glowing reviews for this product, and we think the price is right for the high quality you receive. For these reasons, though the competition was tough, we believe that Weber had a slight edge over the rest.