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What Wood Flavor Should I Use??


We get questions all the time about what is the best wood flavor to use for various meats. This article will give you some easy tips to smoking your meats and making them the best they can be. Wood can come in various cuts from pellets, chips, chunks, pucks and logs depending on what type of smoker or grill you have. There are dozens of woods that can be used, but some woods are better on certain proteins, and don't work on others. So here is a simple cheat sheet you can print and keep in your recipe book.


Apple - sweet & fruity Cherry- sweet & fruity Peach-mildy sweet and woodsy Pecan-sweet and mild

Generally all fruit woods produce a milder smoke which pair well with Pork. Since pork is a more subtle flavor profile, its best to stick with the milder smoke woods. I would never use Mesquite or Hickory on low and slow pork such as butts or ribs.


Hickory-sweet bold & bacony flavor Mesquite-earthy very strong smoke flavor Oak-traditional smoke flavor Pecan-sweet and mild.

Beef can take a much stronger smoke than pork such as a few of those listed. Be careful not to "over-smoke" with the stronger smoke flavored woods as it can get beyond tasty and become acrid in flavor. When using stronger flavors, I recommend you use smoke for 1/3 to 1/2 the cooking time. For example, If your brisket takes 12 hours at 225 degrees, and you are using mesquite, I recommend smoking for only 4-5 hours of that time and just heat for the final 7-8 hours. I also use the milder fruit woods on beef and simply smoke it longer than with the bolder flavored smoke mentioned above. For example, if I am using apple wood for beef, I would smoke it for about 1/2 the total time to complete the entire cooking process.


Alder-sweet & musky smoke Apricot-hint of sweet & fruit Maple-sweet subtle flavor.

Alder is the classic Northwest Coast wood for their famous smoked salmon. Other good woods for seafood are most of the fruit woods as you are looking for a milder smoke for the more delicate flavored fish.

Raunig Rib Rub Company is always willing to answer any questions you might have regarding your smoking/grilling adventures. Feel free to email us at

Happy New Year, and Happy Grilling!

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