Best Wood For Smoking Chicken For Barbecue Lovers

Some of you are undeniably looking for the best wood for smoking chicken. The mere fact that you are here is proof that you are in pursuit of this particular fact. But there is nothing to get ashamed here. After all, the wood is an essential component to improve or alter the overall tang and texture of the food.


When you are or smoking or barbecuing, it is necessary that you have the right amenities for you. Aside from the ingredient, you also need a reliable food smoker or grill. The charcoal or any fuel source should be present, too. But if you want to achieve finesse in your cooking, you need to include flavored wood in the equation.

The art of smoking has been etched in the long and winding roots of history. It was an age-old method of preserving food, but in the long run, became one of the most delectable ways of cooking meat, such as beef, pork, and chicken. Currently, a perfectly smoked ingredient is produced by the inclusion of flavored woods.

There are a variety of woods that you can use if you are planning to smoke chicken. Specifically, the ones that you should choose are hardwood variants that can release strong and alluring flavor but minus the resin. They are the perfect choice if you want to convert a dull-flavored chicken into something wonderful.

Honestly, there are a lot of hardwood that you can use whenever you want to smoke chicken. The only thing that you have to be careful here is the characteristic of the wood and how they can affect the taste of the meat after you smoked them.

If you do not want to get confused right from the get-go, you should check out the list that I have made below.

Best Wood For Smoking Chicken: Top Reviews​

Best Wood For Smoking Chicken: Top Reviews​

1. Alder

This particular wood offers a light flavor that works well with poultry products and fish. Turkey and chicken can really benefit from this hardwood. However, the saddest part of this wood is that it is only flourishing in the northwestern part of the United States.

2. Acacia

Acacia is a good option if you want to overwhelm the chicken with strong flavors. Noticeably, acacia tends to burn fast and hot, especially if it has been dried properly. It is necessary that you only use the wood gradually and in small amounts if you do not want to burn the food.​

3. Apple

The hardwood of apple is one of the best choices for chicken and other poultry products. Generally, if you want to induce sweet flavor to the food, apple should be your prime choice. Do not worry if you notice that the skin of the meat has some discoloration while you are smoking it with apple. That is completely natural.​

4. Apricot

Another hardwood that can generate sweet and mild flavor to chicken meat is apricot. The taste that it creates is somehow similar to hickory. But between the two, apricot has the lighter touch.​

5. Black walnut

It is quite hard to experiment with black walnut. However, it would be great if you can experiment it once for a while. If you have access to this type of hardwood, you must try it at your next cookout. On its own, black walnut is bitter. That's why it is better if you can mix it with other mellow ingredients such as apple or apricot.​

6. Birch

The flavor of birch is similar to the maple hardwood. It is sweet and moderate, giving an elegant accent to the food that you are smoking. Both poultry and pork can be smoked with the use of this wood.​

7. Citrus

There are varieties of citrus hardwood that you can use to smoke chicken. You can always opt for orange and lemon because they can increase the strength of the flavor of the food. Citrus woods can induce a light and fruity taste to the meat. I can attest that they are way milder than cherry or apple.​

8. Cherry

The versatility of cherry as a hardwood used for smoking is very impeccable. It can induce moderate and sweet flavor to the food that you are smoking. Since you are dealing with chicken, it is guaranteed that these particular flavors can elevate the overall quality of the meat.​

9. Cottonwood

It is hard to attest if cottonwood can stand on its own. That's why I always recommend that you combine this mildly flavored hardwood with woods that have strong flavors. Also, let me warn that you should avoid mixing the cottonwood with any variant of green wood. That would destroy the overall flavor that they can induce to the chicken.​

10. Fruit

Fruit trees like apple and apricot are naturally sweet and mild. They can work well with ham and poultry, especially if you are planning to make sweetened recipes. Fortunately, there are different types of fruit hardwood that you can get today. Some of them can get for the free or small price, while others are naturally expensive.​

11. Grapefruit

This particular hardwood is a great choice if you want to foster a smoky flavor to the chicken meat. Just don't put too much of this wood on the smoker. Otherwise, it will totally overwhelm the food that you are smoking. If you want, you can pair it with a sweeter hardwood such as apple.​

12. Hickory

A hardwood that can cover the flesh of the meat with strong and earthy flavor. Therefore, you should always be careful when you are using it. The original taste of the chicken can be lost if you use too much of this wood. I have experienced such misfortune already. Make sure that you do not follow my mistakes at all.​

13. Lilac

Another wood that can introduce a mild and sweet flavor to the meat is lilac. It is a unique hardwood that can never be found easily in other regions of the world, except if you are living in Italy, Germany, or France.

Originally, lilac is used for smoking cheese. However, its real magic that can manifest once you use it on pork and poultry products.​

14. Maple

The flavored wood that you can trust when it comes to providing a sweet accent to the food. The sweetness of the maple is pretty close to some of the known sweetened woods today. Maple is commonly used to prepare ham. But little they know that this wood works great with poultry meat as well.​

15. Oak

You can also try oak if you need to improve the strength of the chicken's flavor. The flavor it offers is not that strong or weak. It just settles in the middle. You will get impressed by its capability to create highly flavorful meat and other applicable ingredients.​

16. Plum

Just like hickory hardwood, the plum is an easy option if you want the chicken to be sweet and mild. Apparently, they claim that plum has similar nuances to hickory. For me, it is a fact. But I also noticed that plum has a higher level of sweetness than hickory. Furthermore, it is also a great choice for pork and poultry products.​

Related: How To Dehydrate Chicken: Tips And Methods.


Looking for the best wood for smoking chicken is an ordeal, especially if you do not have an idea to the kind of flavor that these amenities can offer. As what you can see, the woods that have been featured here can work with other ingredients and foodstuff. They are compatible with other hardwood, too. Using any of these hardwoods can improve the taste of the chicken, one way or another.

Was this article helpful? If you have something in your mind, just ask me in the comment section below!​

Best Wood For Smoking Chicken For Barbecue Lovers
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Margaret - March 8, 2018

Thank you very much.


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