Can you tell the difference?

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Smoking Fanatic
Original poster
Jun 26, 2007
Central Ohio
How much difference does the type of wood make? I have only used mesquite and hickory and have never had a side by side comparison of the same type of meat at the same time so dont really know how big a difference there is. I have some apple wood but have not used it yet. If I did 3 boston butts at the same time in 3 different smokers one with hickory, one with mesquite and one with apple all with the same rub how much different would they taste?
Sure you could tell the difference!
Hickory is the standard, and you can overdo it, but it is hard to beat. Apple is really nice. Pecan is very mellow. Cherry is a sweet smoke that is fine. I personally do not care much for mesquite. See, it's all personal taste.
You need to try some different woods. And try them with different meats.
Check out "Barbeque Woods" in the "How To" box on the left side of the main page.
Jeff refers to a "fruity" flavor. I can't say I get that, but the different woods produce different smoke flavors that are very good. You can mix woods also, and get some great flavor.
Only way to know about them is to try them. You won't ruin anything doing it. Get some and go for it!
I'm into cherry, no, I don't get a sweet like cherry pie taste, but it's a more mild flavor than your hickory and mesquite. I think mesquite is too strong, maybe for a beef roast or something really strong and big...try oak mixed with some cherry or apple!
the differences in wood characteristics are subtle, but some meats and rubs just beg to be coupled with a specific flavor of smoke. for example, mesquite and chicken just dont jive but cherry/apple/hickory really make the meat sing. i like to think of different woods as being lighter or darker on the scale, mesquite being on one polar end and the fruitwoods way on the other side. compare it to white and red wines in food pairing and youll get an idea of what im talking about. experiment with it long enough and youll get an idea of what level of smoke youll need in whichever scenario.
I only use apple and occasionally hickory when I'm out of apple. Apple seems to go with everything, a milder smoke. I don't like mesquite either, it's strong and bitter. Some others love it.
I love mesquite.....but Im also a native Texan.
I use mostly pecan though cause I like the flavor and I get the wood for free.
i just looked @ a website & found out i have sugar maple,apple,peach,wild cherry & pear(all those trees in my back yard in my porch pics)and a downed hickory... breaking out the chainsaw tomorrow. used some of the maple already but didn't know the smell.. whoohoo.
Peach is excellent!!! I got to try some when my neighbors peach tree got hit by lightning and he had to trim it. He also has a pear tree, but I cant convince him to cut me a few branches off.
Never used any maple, I have a maple tree but its only about 6 feet tall.
I just checked out your, my space site, nice job!! Thats the most unique "smoking" song I have heard. I must admit, my mind wasn't exactly on a smoker though!!
I did some ABTs and Italian sausages yesterday with apple wood and they were GREAT! The ABTs I couldnt really tell a difference from the other ones I have done and it was the first time I have done Italian sausages so I guess I dont have a really good comparison but the smoke flavor was outstanding! I couldnt believe how nice the sausages looked, they browned up really nice and had a great looking smoke ring. They looked almost too good to eat, almost!
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