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Best Wood for Smoking Brisket

Brisket is a large and delicious cut of beef that requires a higher level of difficulty when being cooked and smoked. This is because the perfect smoked brisket has to include that smoked scent that infuses inside the meat. As well as, it has to be soft, tender, and juicy at the same time. Obtaining all these might not be that easy, but it’s worth the effort. When it comes to the smoking process, it’s important to take into consideration some essential aspects, but the most important one it’s to properly choose the type of wood you’re going to use. The type of wood you are using in smoking can considerably change the flavor of the brisket, so it’s better to make sure you’ve made the right decision. Let’s see the different types and how they can improve the savory of the brisket.

Top 10 Types of Wood

As brisket is usually tough, it’s able to resist intense smoke flavors from stronger wood types. Therefore, it’s recommended to use hardwoods. In the list below you’ll find all the types of wood that can be used during the smoking process, so take a closer look and discover them:

  • Oak

    Oak is the easiest hardwood to work with, and it’s a great choice for every beginner. Oak wood can burn for a long period of time, thus you won’t have to refill the smoker regularly. What’s good to know is that it does not transmit a powerful smoke flavor to the meat, so you can reliably combine it with other types of wood. If you prefer a medium level of flavor, oak is for sure a great pick to take into consideration for the smoking process.

    Ideal for: brisket, lamb, sausages
  • Hickory

    Hickory is the most popular and the most versatile choice when it comes to smoking brisket. This is because it can be used in a lot of ways. It has a sweet, bacony-flavor that easily infuses into the meat and provides it with a delicious taste and great texture. Even so, you have to be careful as too much hickory will provide your meat with a more bitter flavor. Unlike oak, hickory has a stronger smoke flavor and it’s great for smoking ribs, too. So, if you love pork, you can always count on this hardwood for preparing appetizing ribs. As well as, it’s able to smoke quickly as it only takes 2-3 hours until the meat is ready to be served.

    Ideal for: almost all red meat and poultry, large ribs, pork shoulders
  • Mesquite

    Mesquite is a highly-flavored hardwood and it has an intense flavor. If you want to obtain the authentic Texan brisket, Mesquite is surely the best pick to consider. It is usually recommended for grilling, but for also for smaller quantities as it has a quick burning power. If you want to mix it with another type of wood, make sure you pick a softer wood, as Mesquite is already extremely flavorful and intense.

    Ideal for: red meat, and for additional flavor when grilling
  • Maple

    Maple is another great choice to consider especially for beginners. It’s subtle-flavored and it transmits a light smoky taste to the meat. Usually, maple is used for a light and mild smokiness, and it doesn’t overwhelm the meat with a powerful aroma. Besides, it can work very well with other types of meat such as chicken and pork. For instance, you can prepare delicious smoked chicken as it will offer just a delicate smoking flavor.

    Ideal for: poultry, pork, brisket
  • Pecan

    Even though it might not be a popular pick, Pecan wood generates a sweet, nutty flavor. Actually, as it’s extremely sweet, you might want to mix it with another wood to balance the aroma. If you finally decide to blend it, it’s important to use a stronger wood, such as oak or hickory, so that you can obtain the desired results. Even so, it works amazingly with brisket and it’s definitely an excellent choice for the smoking process.

    Ideal for: brisket, roast, ribs
  • Apple

    Apple wood gives your brisket a sweet and fruity flavor, so it will lend the meat a delicate aroma. It goes great with brisket, but also with chicken and turkey. Unfortunately, it takes a while until it’s spread through the meat, so prepare for a couple of hours of smoking. Even so, it’s worth the wait, as the final outcomes are both delicious and scented.

    Ideal for: chicken, turkey, pork, brisket
  • Cherry

    Cherry wood is another sweet and fruity option to smoke the meat. It’s very similar to the apple wood, as both of them have a mild and pleasant scent, able to season the meat in a subtle way. Cherry can be easily blended with other types of wood, such as the hickory as they will perfectly complement each other and obtain stunning results. Thanks to this subtle aroma, it’s perfect for smoking turkey, and chicken, too.

    Ideal for: turkey, chicken, brisket
  • Mulberry

    Mulberry wood, too, is similar to the apple wood and has an interesting smell. It leaves a mild smoke taste and it reminds us of blackberries. So, it’s pleasant, fruity, and fairly intense, enough to infuse the meat with a pleasant aroma. Even so, we thoughtfully recommend a combination of mulberry and apple wood, rather than using it by itself. It will taste even better, while the meat will get the proper seasoning, but also a fruity scent.

    Ideal for: chicken, turkey, pork, brisket
  • Olive

    If you want that Mediterranean flavor to your meat, the olive wood will surely suit your needs. It’s similar to Mesquite wood but it isn’t as powerful. We can say it’s the lighter version of the Mesquite. Even though it’s not a very common choice, it’s worth to be mentioned as it goes perfectly with brisket, poultry, and even fish.

    Ideal for: brisket, chicken, pork, fish
  • Alder

    It’s a smooth and gentle wood that usually burns slowly. Alder is a great option for white meats, such as chicken, turkey, and fish, but it can be used with brisket, too. Even though it doesn’t have a strong flavor, it will offer a hint of sweetness and smokiness.

    Ideal for: poultry, fish, brisket


With all these types of wood, you’ll now be able to perfectly smoke brisket, and many other types of meat such as ribs, chicken, and turkey. Therefore, hoping that this article was a helpful one, you just have to start expanding your creativity and dare to introduce yourself into the culinary world. Nevertheless, it all depends on the type of meat you are going to cook. If you are interested in smoking red meat, we suggest using hickory. On the other hand, if you love poultry, you should try maple, while for pork, we recommend using mulberry as it’s fruity and flavorful.

Has gathered knowledge about meat from her family as her parents started a neighborhood butcher shop in Baltimore when she was just a child. Growing up, she learned the tricks of the trade from her father and later went on to get certifications. To obtain these certifications, Amy took courses in meat selection, evaluation, and processing. Moreover, she learned about the importance of reliable suppliers and thus makes it a point to only work with trustworthy sources.

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