What type of wood is best to use for barbecuing?

Today, most flame broilers and smokers utilize charcoal or gas to deliver the heat for cooking. They get added flavor and fragrance from the use of wood chips, chunks, pellets, logs, and sawdust. When warmed, these added products create smoke and thus add flavor. However, not all woods are created equal.

Below is a list of woods that we regularly stock at Southbay Firewood and recommended for barbecuing…


  • ALMOND – A nutty and sweet smoke flavor, light ash, very much like pecan. Good with all meats.


  • APPLE – Very mild with a subtle fruity flavor, slightly sweet. Good with poultry (turns skin dark brown) and pork.


  • HICKORY – Most commonly used wood for smoking. Sweet to strong, heavy bacon flavor. Good with pork, ham and beef.


  • MAPLE – Smoky, mellow and slightly sweet. Good with pork, poultry, cheese, and small game birds.


  • MESQUITE – Strong earthy flavor. Good with beef, fish, chicken, and game. One of the hottest burning.



  • OAK – Heavy smoke flavor. Red oak is good on ribs, red meat, pork, and game meat. White oak makes the best coals for longer burning. Good with red meat, fish and heavy game.


  • PECAN – A cool burner. Nutty and sweet. Tasty with a subtle character. Good with steaks, ribs, and cheese.


  • WALNUT is usually light in color and produces much more heat than typical warehouse or grocery store bundles, making it a good value. It burns clean for an easy cleanup and is typically smaller and easier to carry than some other woods.