Best Types of Woods for Smoking Briskets

Who wouldn’t love a bite of beautifully smoked brisket that melts in the mouth? Not us! Let’s admit we all love briskets at any occasion or event- the juicy taste of the beef, the tenderness of the meat, and the smoky flavors- are just some reasons that can make you drool. 

Having said that, it is also an established fact that smoking a brisket is a difficult art form to master. And the type of wood is an important variable that can either accentuate your flavors or ruin them.

So without further contemplation, let’s delve into the article and find out what are the best types of woods for smoking briskets. 

Guide to the Best Types of Woods for Smoking Briskets

Sr. No.Medium to Strong Flavours
(When you want savoury flavours)
Mild Flavours (When you want sweet flavours)
1OakMaple
2HickoryPecan
3MesquiteApply
4Cherry 
5Olive

Different types of woods flavor the meat differently. Trying to get the balance right is tricky. It might get overpowering or undertone if you are not careful enough. So here we will have a look at the best types of woods used in smoking briskets so you achieve the best results. 

1: Oak

Other than being the easiest type of wood to be used on a smoker, Oak has been traditionally used to smoke briskets since the flavors of oak wood go really well with beef.

Besides, the oak has a longer burning time which means that you can relax and not worry about adding more fuel every once in a while. Not just this, it also has a subtle flavor profile to bring out just the right taste.

So, if you want a stronger flavor, you can match it with the other wood types.

2: Hickory

Another popular wood choice for smoking wood is the hickory wood owing to its beautiful nutty flavors. The flavors of hickory match a little to that of oak but are not as strong as mesquite. Also, try and keep a check on the quantity of wood you are having.

If you go overboard, you might end up making the brisket taste bitter. To be even more sure, you can dilute the strength of hickory wood by adding it with applewood.

3: Mesquite

Considered to be a staple of Texan smoking, this is one of the most popular woods for smoking briskets owing to its pungent undertone and intense flavors. One drawback of mesquite is that the wood burns out quite quickly, so you will have to keep adding them at short intervals. Also, if you wish to tone down the intense flavors of mesquite, you could pair it up with a softer wood like applewood.

Also read: How to Smoke Meat With Mesquite Wood

4: Pecan

Pecan is a very common type of wood that is used to smoke briskets. It gives a very natural and subtle, sweet and rich aroma which compliments the taste of a beef brisket fairly well. But if you are not too keen on a sweet aroma, then you can dial down the flavours by mixing it with a medium wood like oak.

5: Maple

Maple is a softer wood that imparts a very light flavour with a slightly sweet aroma. It is mostly preferred by those who do not like to overwhelm their meat by the smoky aromas. Most recommended for amateur smokers, there is little that can go wrong with maple wood when you are smoking a beef brisket.

6: Apple

Apple wood has a very nuanced flavour of its own which is defined by a lovely sweet and fruity taste. While we have already mentioned it a couple of times in this blog only because it goes best when it is paired with stronger strengths of wood like hickory and oak, it can do perfectly well on its own as well.

And not just briskets, this wood goes equally well with ham, chicken and turkey as well.

7: Olive

The last in the list but not the least is the olive wood. Olive wood has a very similar profile to that of mesquite but it has far less strong flavours. In simpler words, it is an extremely subtle version of mesquite. It can go well with briskets, poultry and even fish. 

What Wood Size to Choose to Smoke Briskets?

Aside from the type of wood, the size of wood is also of imperative importance to come up with the best results. There are 4 sizes that you can choose from- logs, chunks, pellets and chips. 

1: Logs

Logs can be a little uncomfortable to get and start a fire with due to the large size. But these are considered the best especially if you are using an offset smoker because they emit a large amount of smoke. The only downside is that they are difficult to ignite and keep lit. But they can be extremely useful if you are smoking a large brisket.

2: Chips

Also known as wood scraps or wood shavings, wood chips are the most common wood size to choose, especially if you are using an electric smoker or a charcoal smoker. However, they do burn out really quickly which is the only downside so you will have to keep on adding more of them frequently. They are preferred for a small brisket size.

3: Chunks

Chunks are another wood type that you can choose to smoke your meat from. However, just like the wood logs, these also take a longer time to ignite (lesser than the logs but way longer than the chips). But the upside is that these burn for a longer time as well as their burning time is high.

4: Pellets

Wood pellets are basically just compacted sawdust that goes well with electric smokers and pellet smokers (obviously). You can also use them in the smoker box on a gas grill as well. But owing to the compacted size, these also tend to burn out really quickly.

So go on and have fun experimenting with different woods to obtain a delicious, juicy and tender brisket. 

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