Different Types of BBQ Wood

Chef Dan Catanio , On June 25, 2023

Wood Fired Pizza is Best with Almond or Oak vs Red Meat Which Works Well With Hickory....

Different Types of BBQ Wood Overview

One of the key factors that can take your BBQ from good to exceptional is the type of wood you choose for smoking and grilling. Today, we will dive into the world of BBQ wood, exploring different types and their flavor profiles, to help you create mouthwatering and aromatic barbecued dishes.

What Are The Different BBQ Wood Types Video

Matching Different Types Of BBQ Wood with Menu Items

The choice of barbecue wood often depends on the type of meat or item being cooked. For example, wood fired pizza generally does great with almond wood since it burns clean and infuses great flavor. Stronger woods like mesquite wood or hickory wood are well-suited for beef while fruit wood is generally best for pork.

Wood type

Menu Item



Fruit Trees

Poultry or Pork

Almond or


Personal preference plays a role, and it’s worth trying different combinations to find your favorite. Another alternative is to mix types of wood in your fire to create a blend of different woods.

Different Types of BBQ Wood Description

There are various types of wood available for BBQ, each offering a unique taste profile. Some popular options include:

  • Applewood: Known for its mild and sweet flavor, perfect for pork and poultry.

  • Almond & Pecan Wood: Burns clean and does not leave a lot of ash

  • Cherrywood: Imparts a fruity and slightly sweet taste, ideal for chicken and salmon.

  • Oakwood: Offers a robust and smoky flavor, suitable for red meats like beef and lamb.

  • Mesquite Wood: Provides a strong and bold flavor, excellent for grilling steaks and briskets.

  • Pellets and Chips: I personally prefer using pellets in my smoker, but chips are also commonly used. Pellets provide a consistent and long-lasting smoke, while chips burn quickly, adding a burst of flavor.

Wood can be processed from logs to charcoal or pellets

Logs, charcoal or pellets can be used for most grilling activities. Both charcoal and pellets are derived after wood is processed so they follow the same nomenclature as logs of wood. In the image below, the charcoal was made from mesquite wood whereas the pellets are a blend of hickory and cherry wood.

Charcoal vs Pellets

Charcoal can be used for a bbq vs pellets should be used for smoking

  • Soaking and combining: Some barbecue enthusiasts prefer soaking wood chips or chunks in water before use to slow down the burning process and create more smoke. Additionally, blending different wood types can result in customized flavor profiles for experimentation.

  • Remember, the quality of the barbecue wood, along with proper temperature control and cooking techniques, can significantly impact the final flavor of your grilled or smoked meats.

Where should I buy my BBQ Wood?

Find these BBQ wood types in wood chunks, chips, or pellet form. Wood chunks can be purchased at hardware stores and some grocery stores, whereas the pellets or chips are usually found at grocery stores.

Different Types of BBQ Wood Conclusion

Selecting the right wood for BBQ is an essential aspect of achieving mouthwatering flavors. Whether you opt for pellets or chips, exploring different wood types like applewood, cherrywood, oakwood, and mesquite wood can elevate your grilling experience. So, head to your local hardware or grocery store, grab your favorite wood, and get ready to savor the deliciousness of perfectly smoked BBQ.

Chef Dan Catanio

A Culinary Institute of America graduate from the 1990s, Chef Dan began his career as a saucier at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan under the Hilton Corporation. Over the years, he has held key positions such as Corporate Executive Chef Director at 5-star restaurants, country clubs, and Indian Casino Resorts.