When you smoke a chicken, there are two things you want from your wood:
- You want it to taste great
- You DON’T want it to overpower your chicken
I’ve tried every option out there on poultry and have learned the hard way that there are some choices that just don’t work with chicken.
On the flip side, using a few of these will really make your taste buds happy!
Our Overall #1 Rated Pick
Our top pick is Weber’s Apple Wood Chunks because they produce the best quality wood and they are sourced right here in the USA.
Whether you’re throwing them in a big smoker or adding them to a charcoal grill, you can’t go wrong with adding apple flavor to your chicken.
Also, you know the name Weber is synonymous with quality. They have consistent sizes of wood chunks, which means consistent cooking temperatures.
Demand is high for Weber’s Apple Chunks right now, so get your hands on yours and have them shipped to your doorstep from Amazon today.
Jump to Section
Our Top 5 Best Woods for Smoking Chicken
In a hurry? Check out our top 5 kinds of wood for smoking chicken! Keep reading to discover more about our top picks.
What Is The Best Wood For Smoking Chicken?
Avoid using harsh woods like mesquite as they’ll overpower your bird.
When you are smoking chicken, choose the wood that will taste great without overpowering the poultry. Apple, Maple, Cherry, Pecan, and Oak are the most popular types of wood for smoking chicken.
Read More >> How To Put Out A Charcoal Grill (3 Easy Steps)
What Are the Different Types of Woods for Smoking Chicken?
The different types of woods for smoking chicken range from pellets to logs, and sometimes even smaller!
Pellets are as the name suggests. Small wood pellets in your choice of wood. These are good for smaller grills and smokers and shorter smokes.
Wood chips are bigger than pellets and offer a longer burning time. They can be used in small grills and smokers as well.
Next are wood chunks, which are larger than chips. They can vary in size depending on brand, from around 2 inches long to fist sized chunks.
Wood logs are large logs of wood used in bigger grills and smokers and to produce a longer smoking time.
Read More >> How To Smoke A Whole Chicken (4 Easy To Follow Steps)
What Flavors Will You Taste With Different Wood Choices?
Figure out what kind of wood is needed for your setup so you can decide on what you want your chicken to taste like.
Chicken pairs well with sweet or fruity woods such as apple, maple, cherry, pecan, and oak.
Stronger woods like hickory and mesquite can overpower the chicken and leave it tasting bitter, so you will want to avoid them.
Apple and cherry wood produce sweet smoke that won’t overrun the taste of the chicken. They are two of the more popular choices for smoking chicken.
Maple and pecan wood will also leave your chicken tasting sweet!
Read More >> How To Reheat Chicken Wings
Here are some FAQs:
Is Hickory Wood Good For Smoking Chicken?
Hickory wood is a popular type of wood for smoking meats, but it can overpower the chicken. The strong nutty flavor of hickory will penetrate the chicken and you’re likely to only taste smoke when eating it.
Is Oak Wood Good For Smoking Chicken?
Oak wood is an excellent choice for smoking chicken. Oak’s medium smoke profile is the perfect blend of smokiness and complementing the chicken’s natural flavor.
Oak is strong than apple and cherry, but not as harsh as hickory or mesquite. It gives you a bit of smoke without overpowering your bird.
Is Pecan Wood Good For Smoking Chicken?
Pecan wood has a sweet, nutty flavor and its medium smokiness is perfect for smoking chicken.
Using pecan wood chips enhances the flavor of the chicken without overwhelming your taste buds.
Read More >> How To Thaw Chicken
Our Reviews Of The Best 5 Woods For Smoking Chicken
1. Weber – Apple Chunks
Weber wood chunks are sourced in the US and budget friendly, so you’ll get the most bang for your buck.
They don’t treat their woods with oils, leaving you with only chunks of real hard wood.
The chunks are a nice size, but you may end up getting a few chips in the package of chunks.
- Subtle but sweet taste
- Great for smoking chicken
- Sourced 100% in the US
- May get a few chips in the bag of wood chunks
2. Cameron’s – Maple Chunks
Cameron’s wood chunks are made in the USA and kiln-dried to prevent rot, mold, and pests.
You get no fillers and no additives in the bunch, only real maple wood.
The chunks are good size, ready to be tossed into your smoker. Keep in mind, you may end up with more chips in the package than you’d like.
- Adds A Hint Of Sweetness
- Great for smoking chicken
- No Fillers, All Natural
- Likely to get a several wood chips in the bag of wood chunks
3. Smoak – Cherry Chunks
Smoak wood chunks are all-natural, chemical-free wood chunks.
They are kiln dried to prevent mold and pests and made in the US.
The chunks are roughly fist size and since they are heat-treated, they will ignite quickly and burn hot!
- Fist Size Chunks
- Competition Grade
- Subtle Sweetness Added
- Competition grade makes them more pricey than other options
4. Western – Pecan Chips
These chips are all-natural wood with no added fillers or binding agents.
They are kiln dried to prevent rot and pests, so you only get good quality wood chips. The chips are average size, but there may be some inconsistency between size pieces.
Western smoking chips give a nice flavor to smoked meats without overpowering the food.
- Convenient Double Pack
- Adds a Light “Bacony” Flavor
- Chips are great if you’re using a smaller smoker or grill
- Chips can be added to other heat sources but not used as the heat source by themselves
5. Jack Daniel’s – Whiskey Barrel Chips
Why take your whiskey on the rocks when you can infuse the whiskey flavor into your smoked chicken?
Jack Daniels BBQ Smoking chips are made in the US from real Jack Daniels whiskey barrels!
They offer a unique flavor touch to the foods you smoke, and the chips are a nice size.
You will not find dust or pellets in the bag, but the bag may contain less weight than advertised.
- Amazing bourbon and oak taste
- Made 100% from Jack Daniel’s whiskey barrels
- Chips are great with gas grills or smaller smokers
- Bag size may be slightly smaller than you expect
Final Thoughts on Smoking Chicken
Chicken, like turkey, is easily overpowered by strong flavors when it is smoked.
Steer clear of strong woods like hickory and mesquite to prevent leaving your chicken bitter.
Lighter, sweet woods like apple and cherry work perfectly with poultry.
If you’re looking for a new twist, try whiskey barrel chips so you get the flavor of whiskey and the smokey taste the wood provides!
And check out our recipe for our easy smoked chicken breasts.
As always, but especially with chicken, make sure to handle your raw meat with care and cook until the correct internal temperature.
Related >> Firewood Storage Ideas