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When it comes to smoking chicken, choosing the right type of wood can make all the difference. Different woods can impart different flavors and aromas to the meat, and some are better suited for smoking chicken than others.
In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the best types of wood to smoke chicken and how to choose the right one for your next BBQ.
Applewood is a popular choice for smoking chicken due to its mild, sweet flavor. It imparts a subtle fruity taste to the meat that pairs well with the natural flavors of chicken.
Applewood also has a low smoke point, which means it produces a relatively low amount of smoke. This can be beneficial if you’re concerned about the chicken becoming too smoky or overpowering the other flavors in the dish.
Cherrywood is another excellent choice for smoking chicken. It has a slightly sweet and fruity flavor that is similar to applewood, but it is slightly more robust. Cherrywood also has a low smoke point, so it won’t overpower the chicken with too much smoke.
Maplewood is a hardwood that is native to North America and is often used for smoking meat. It has a mild, sweet flavor that pairs well with chicken. Maplewood also has a relatively low smoke point, which means it produces a moderate amount of smoke. This can help to add flavor to the chicken without overpowering it.
Oakwood is a dense, hardwood that is often used for smoking meat due to its strong, smoky flavor. It has a higher smoke point than some of the other woods on this list, so it can produce a lot of smoke. As a result, it is best used in moderation when smoking chicken. Too much oakwood can overwhelm the natural flavors of the chicken, so it is important to use it sparingly.
Pecanwood is a hardwood that is native to the southern United States and is often used for smoking meat. It has a mild, nutty flavor that pairs well with chicken. Pecanwood has a lower smoke point than some of the other woods on this list, which means it produces a moderate amount of smoke. This can help to add flavor to the chicken without overpowering it.
Mesquite is a dense, hardwood that is native to the southwestern United States and is often used for smoking meat. It has a strong, smoky flavor that can be overpowering if used in large amounts.
As a result, it is best used in moderation when smoking chicken. A little mesquite can go a long way, so be sure to use it sparingly to avoid overwhelming the natural flavors of the chicken.
A Quick Note On Grilling vs Smoking Chicken
Smoking chicken low and slow ultimately means your chicken will be exposed to smoke for a longer time compared to a quick hot sear on the grill. All of the above woods are great choices to grill chicken as well – and you can get away more with heavier flavored wood types such as mesquite.
Tips for Choosing the Right Wood for Smoking Chicken
When choosing a wood for smoking chicken, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Consider the flavor: Different woods can impart different flavors to the chicken, so be sure to choose a wood that pairs well with the natural flavors of the chicken.
- Think about the smoke point: The smoke point refers to the temperature at which the wood begins to produce smoke. Woods with a lower smoke point will produce less smoke, while woods with a higher smoke point
- Use wood chips or chunks: If you’re concerned about using too much wood, consider using wood chips or chunks instead of logs. Wood chips and chunks will burn faster than logs, so you’ll need to use less of them. This can be a good way to add flavor to the chicken without overwhelming it.
- Experiment with different woods: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different woods to find the one that works best for you. Every grill is different, and what works for one person might not work for another. Try using a combination of two woods to create your own unique flavors.
- Keep it simple: When smoking chicken, it’s often best to keep things simple. A single type of wood can be enough to add flavor to the chicken – two types maximum, so you don’t need to use a lot of different woods.
Ultimately, the best types of wood to smoke chicken are those that have a mild, sweet flavor and a low to moderate smoke point. Applewood, cherrywood, maplewood, and pecanwood are all good choices.
Oakwood and mesquite can also be used, but it’s important to use them in moderation to avoid overwhelming the flavors of the chicken.
When choosing a wood for smoking chicken, consider the flavor, smoke point, and whether you want to use wood chips or chunks. And don’t be afraid to experiment with different woods to find the one that works best for you.