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Favorite Wood?

Just an informal survey...

For those who grill or use a smoker, what's your favorite type of wood to use? (Include your location for survey statistics, please.)

I'll start.
I love smoking with pecan wood. And living in north Texas I can get all I need from my front yard!

And you?

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  1. I had my smoker plum in the middle of a pear grove .Thick seasoned limbs were burned down to just hot coals ,sprayed with water and at times some of the pears I'd pick off the ground.I would wet brine turkey and use a dry one on fish ,Long Island N Y .

    1. for pork sausage and lamb, i use maple and apple to give a tame, somewhat sweets-reminiscent smoke. can't say it's my favorite, since i have yet to try hickory or oak. one day i'll work my way down the list of non-poisonous woods.

      1. Mesquite for grilling, for smoking, pecan or pecan hulls, hickory also for smoking. I got ahold of some chunked up old oak wine barrels but I'm not so sure they are that great. Apple and alder are great for smoking fish. I've heard that pruned grapevine branches are good but I've never tried them.

        1. Fig wood. I am lucky enough to get it from several trees here in Northern California, so I use it whenever I smoke something.
          I also have access to apple and vine cuttings from all the vineyards up here.

          I am jealous of the pecan wood in your front yard though!

          1. Mesquite for beef, hickory for pork, apple for poultry. I made the mistake of using mesquite on a turkey once. Whoa. MUCH too strong.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Indirect Heat

              Agreed... Mesquite is even too strong for pork IMO and it burns at a higher temperature. I use hickory most of the time but would like to try more fruit woods.

            2. When I lived in the country in New England we mostly used hickory, which was widely available, oak , maple and apple.

              My fav is apple. My desire is to try grape vine cuttings and pecan.

              1. Central Connecticut - Hickory, apple, and oak. Trade you some apple for your pecan!

                1 Reply
                1. While I prefer hickory, I've found little difference between most hardwoods (maple, apple, cherry, oak). Mesquite is the one exception -- way too resinous and bitter for smoking, though it makes fantastic charcoal (burns hotter than others)

                  1. Mesquite is excellent for everything except brisket. I've also had good success with hickory, apricot and maple. West Texas, by the by.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                      I use pecan, here in northern Louisiana.

                    2. Mixture of oak and cherry for most applications. Straight hickory when I want to make the neighbors envious. Pecan for my baby back ribs so I can be a BBQ legend to my kids and their friends.

                      1. Here at the NJ Shore, the most readily available wood is probably maple. Thus, I use that and oak most for direct grilling and, when necessary, to supplement fruit woods for barbecue. Ideally, I prefer to use only the fruit woods, as I find the smoke less powerful than hickory and therefore more forgiving. Nevertheless, the old "beggars can't be choosers" rule sometimes applies as there are times when I can't find seasoned apple or cherry for love or money.

                        A couple years ago, a buddy had a black walnut tree hit by lightning. The next summer, I had a lot of free cooking wood and he ate a lot of free barbecue. Truth is, when I can get my hands on free stumps of hardwood, I'll take it. Often my willingness to help split logs permits a labor for lumber transaction and amicable spirits amongst neighbors.

                        While we're at it, anybody care to share where they get the wood? Does anybody buy those bags of chunks from retailers?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: MGZ

                          I've got an apricot tree that is good enough to occasionally kill off some of its own limbs for me. Otherwise, I buy wood from retailers.

                        2. Western New York (Buffalo) - lots of orchards between here & Lake Ontario. Lucky to have friends with a peach orchard - I love the peach wood for anything pork, and for turkey thighs.

                          But I don't think it's assertive enough for beef - still prefer hickory for brisket. And I like something sweet & delicate for turkey breast - sugar maple is the best. These, I have to buy retail, preferably chunks.

                          1. The secret of Santa Maria-style "barbecue" (grilling, actually) is red oak, especially including the bark. This is on California's central coast, where that's one of the commonest trees. I was on a campout in those parts and collected a bunch of deadfalls for the fire, and as has always been my habit started stripping off the bark. Three of the guys I was with all jumped up at once and hollered at me not to do that! I wound up carrying a big bag of the bark home to use in my own smoker. Pretty good stuff, at least for tri-tip or pork shoulder.

                            1. Hickory and Cherry are my favorites, both plentiful here in the mid-atlantic area.

                              1. I use the standards: Apple for poultry, hickory for pork, mesquite for beef, maple and cherry here and there. I'd love to have more access to pecan wood. And I'm in St. Paul, MN.

                                1. Red Oak is my favorite: I love it for beef, pork shoulder, and especially for my pizza oven. I live in Southern California and have it delivered by the 1/4-cord from a local supplier. And I always use it with the bark. Sometimes, just the bark, if I'm lucky enough to get some extra in the delivery from time to time.