When it comes to slow cooking and smoking meats, the right wood chips are just as important as the seasoning. The right wood chips can enhance the flavor of your smoked dishes tremendously and drive your neighbors crazy with the tantalizing aroma!
Whether it’s pulled pork, smoked salmon, or a 12 lb smoked brisket, flavorful wood chips burn clean and help to bring out the natural flavor of your food by providing contrast. Pairing spicy chicken with mild fruity flavors, for example, creates a delicious contrast of sweet and sour. But how do you choose the right wood chips for your electric smoker?
Popular Types of Wood Chips
Wood chips are available from many brands. The most popular types of wood chips for electric smokers include:
Generally speaking, the heartier and darker the meat ( red meats, venison) the stronger the flavor or wood chip you can use. Lighter meat, cheese, and vegetables can be enhanced with the fruitier, milder wood chips.
Watch the video to learn some great tips on how to use wood chips for your electric smoker, charcoal or gas grill:
There are many more to choose from, but if you’re a beginner the table below will help you get started finding the right flavor of wood chips.
Wood Chips Comparison Table For Electric Smokers
|Wood Chip Type||Flavor Profile||Best Suited For|
|Walnut wood chips||heavy, smoky, nutty||Red meat, wild game|
|Oakwood chips||dense wood, long, slow burning||Red meat, pork, fish|
|Hickory wood chips||bold, robust flavor||All meats, especially ribs and pork|
|Cherry wood||Mild, fruity, smoked flavor||Beef, Pork, Salmon|
|Applewood chips||Sweet, strong, dense flavor||Beef, Poultry, Fish|
|Mesquite wood chips||Earthy, bold, can be mixed with other wood chips||All meats, especially beef|
|Pecan wood chips||Nutty, earthy, mild flavor||All meats|
|Alder wood chips||Light and sweet, can be mixed with other flavors||Fish, Poultry|
|Maple Wood chips||Sweet, mild, mixes well with other flavors||Pork, Small game, Steak, Cheese, Vegetables|
|Plum wood chips||Mild, sweet, smoky,, can be mixed with other flavors||Most meats, Fish|
Looking for a great electric smoker? Read these reviews of the best electric smokers to find one that’s right for you!
5 Tips For Using Wood Chips In Your Electric Smoker
- Fill the wood chip tray with 4 cups of wood chips. 4 cups should last approximately 5 hrs at a temperature of 200 – 225F.
- Use a mixture of wood chips to create more contrast in flavors. Mesquite, plum, and alder wood chips can be mixed with most flavors to enhance your smoke and flavor.
- Don’t wet or soak wood chips before burning them. Burning wet wood produces excess moisture which will steam your meat instead of smoking it.
- Burn low and slow. Smoking meat is not the same as grilling or searing. Maintain an even temperature in the range of 200 – 225F for the best results. Smoking meat at high temperatures will result in overcooked, burnt food, and excessive smoke.
- Avoid opening and closing the smoker door unnecessarily. This causes heat and smoke to escape during the smoking process. It can also cause temperature variances in the cooking chamber, making it more difficult to maintain a consistent smoking temperature. Use an internal meat thermometer probe instead to monitor your smoked dishes.