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Does wood make a real difference?


Fire Starter
Joined Jul 22, 2015
I've been smoking for just a very few years but got to wondering. Does the flavor or/and type of wood use really make a big difference? For example, I went out to check on my chip supply, I need Apple chips for a ham I'm doing, I might have enough but I have plenty of alder and plenty of cherry, I'm glad I checked. It just made me wonder how important is the type of wood you smoke with? How important is the type of wood you use?


chef jimmyj

Epic Pitmaster
Staff member
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
Group Lead
Joined May 12, 2011
There is a big difference with some. Mesquite, very strong. Hickory is distinctive and still pretty forward. Realistically I think most fruit woods are pretty similar. Subbing Cherry for Apple, will not have a huge impact, short of you having a super sensitive palate. Alder is mild and can be mixed with anything...JJ


Master of the Pit
Joined May 6, 2015
I have found the amount of moisture(seasoning) in the wood makes a difference in the flavors. The differences become more distinct and pronounced to my palate when I use wood around a 20% moisture content, rather than the store bought bags.

I'm lucky enough to be able to source several fruit and nut woods locally. Every time I visit a local farm, I ask for wood chunks/pieces.
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