How to Choose the Correct Wood for Cooking, Smoking, and Grilling

How to Choose the Correct Wood for Cooking, Smoking, and Grilling

Guest writer Kyle Upchurch of

GrowOKC is owned by a college degreed Professional Horticulturist, Kyle Upchurch. Growokc specializes in the finest cooking, mushrooms, organic food and gardening products.

When you choose a wood for cooking and smoking meat, it is important to look for the correct wood to use with what you are going to be cooking.

Grilling and Smoking Fish

Fish is delicate so it is important to not use a smoking wood that is overbearing. The types of smoking wood that are not recommended for grilling fish is smoking woods like hickory wood and mesquite wood.

Mesquite Wood

For example, mesquite wood is so powerful it will overtake the flavor of the fish. It may be so intense that it may not be edible. Mesquite wood is a favored smoking wood in Texas and is used on nearly everything but fish.

Hickory Wood

Hickory wood is another that is going to be too overbearing for grilling fish.  The types of smoking wood that should be considered are woods like Pecan smoking wood. Pecan wood is a great choice for fish because it is a light cooking wood and it will let the natural flavors of the fish come through.

Smoking Wood Combinations

Smoking wood combinations are another great way to cook well. Having two woods at the same time can increase and compliment your cooking. One great combination is mixing hickory wood with pecan wood. On some occasions it is advised to use 50% / 50% ratio and on some times it works best by changing that.

Let’s take smoking pork for example. I would not use such a high percentage of hickory wood because pork can be fairly delicate and too much hickory wood would really overdo it.  Pork like boston butt would call for a ratio of 25% hickory wood and 75% pecan wood. When you choose the correct cooking wood, what you end up eating will make all the difference!