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Best Wood for Smoking Brisket: Heavy and Light Woods

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There’s nothing like a good old brisket to show off to your friends and family during gatherings, but to get the best brisket in town, you must also use the right kind of wood to use when smoking it. While there are plenty of woods to use in smoking briskets, your demographic location, as well as other factors, will help determine what kind of wood you should be using.

For example, in Texas, this state mainly uses mesquite to smoke briskets and other types of meat, while this may not be the same for those in Alabama or Oklahoma. If you want to know the best wood for smoking brisket, you should get to know the different kinds of wood out there first.

Why Briskets are Awesome

To cook the best briskets in town, you must know what it is and how to achieve its unique texture. The term “brisket” comes from an Old Norse language that means cartilage or refers to one. They are mainly parts of the pectorals of a cow or the muscles that support the cow’s body. Because of that, it needs to be finely cooked so that it comes out tender.

In addition to the pectoral meats, briskets can also have parts of the cow’s ribs, cartilage, and sternum. Make sure that the brisket is simmered and stays moist throughout the process. It is always good to cook the meat with wood or charcoal and not with a pan. This cooking method ensures you that the meat is being cooked and smoked slowly under controlled temperate to perfection.

To keep the brisket moist, it must be basted throughout the cooking process. This way, the meat texture becomes tender, and the collagen fibers begin to gelatinize. That is why this meat is often the favorite among meat lovers.

Choosing the Best Wood for Smoking Brisket

You need to remember one thing when you are cooking brisket: the type of wood you should use. How do you choose a suitable wood to use for a brisket anyway?

First of all, you must know the different kinds of wood used in smoking meats. This will give you a better hand at how they can affect the taste of the brisket. Second, always ask for suggestions from friends or family who are veterans in smoking meats. They might have tips on the type of wood you should use, especially if you share the same preference.

Lastly, check the wood supply around your area and see if there are good woods available for you to use. That said, I have listed the popular types of wood used in smoking briskets. I highly recommend that you experiment and try combining one or two types of wood so you can figure out what works best for you.

Types of Barbecue Wood You Can Use

Best Wood for Smoking Brisket: Heavy and Light Woods | electricsmokerpro.com

As I have mentioned, different wood means different flavors, and that is why you must be able to identify, experiment, and find the best wood for smoking brisket. Only then can you say that you have the best smoky flavored brisket in town. Here are some of the best woods that you can try.


Apple wood is perhaps one of the best for smoking meats as it produces a fruity and sweet taste. It’s also perfect for poultry meats like chicken or turkey and, of course, ham.


If you smoke salmon or any fish, then Alder is especially popular. Overall, it is one of the most preferred wood by hundreds of smokers, and will undoubtedly bring out the taste that you want.


Just like apple, Cherry wood also produces sweet and fruity flavors to your meats. It has a mild aroma that is a good choice for fish, ham, or poultry.


One of the most popular types of wood used in smoking meats, Hickory might be unfavorable to some as it tends to be quite pungent. That is why you must know how to use hickory wood while smoking briskets. It’s best used for ribs as well as other red meats. Some also use it for poultry cuts, but in my opinion, it’s best to stick to your red meats.


Another favorite among users is maple wood. This one produces a sweet and light taste which is excellent for chicken, turkey, and other poultry meats. It’s also a good choice for smoking hams.


One of the best and popular woods used, mesquite is one of those woods that can produce a distinct flavor in your meat. However, you must know how to use this wood as this can be overpowering at times. It is not recommended for larger cuts as it requires longer smoking time unless done correctly. Additionally, it can be paired with other lighter woods for an even taste.


If you want to smoke larger portions of meat, Oak is an excellent choice. It may require a longer smoking period, but it is not as overpowering as mesquite. It’s a good choice for brisket too.


Another wood that gives out a fruity flavor; Pecan burns easily and is cooler among other barbecue woods. It is somewhat similar to hickory but mainly used for briskets and pork roasts. It can also be used for poultry and fish.

Yes, there are plenty of woods to use for smoking brisket, but you must also experiment with it to figure out the flavor you like best.

Basic Rules for Using Wood in Smoking Meat

There are heavy woods and light woods to choose from, and here’s a rule of thumb: Heavy wood like hickory, oak, maple, and mesquite are excellent for beef like brisket and pork, while lighter woods like alder, apple, oak, and the rest of fruit or nut-bearing woods are great for fish and poultry. However, the best flavor comes when you add small portions of light wood to the heavy ones to add flavor to your brisket. The same goes for poultry meats when smoking.

Final Thoughts

A delicious brisket is something that melts in your mouth and yet has texture. It should be moist, not dry, and must have the best flavor! If you can achieve this, you are doing it right, and if not, you need more practice. If you are a first-timer, don’t worry, there’s plenty of room to grow and more time to experiment. So don’t be disheartened if you haven’t figured it out just yet. What’s important is that you know what kind of wood to use and how you can mix and match.

When in doubt, always seek help. You can always go to barbecue sites that offer support to those who are new to smoking meats. Ask the experts and see what they can advise you when it comes to smoking the perfect brisket. Watching video tutorials could give you plenty of insight on what to do. You might even learn how to slay the best barbecue sauce or marinade for your brisket!

All in all, learning how to cook/smoke a brisket is not an overnight Learning about the best wood for smoking brisket is as essential as choosing the right recipe for your brisket, so it takes time to learn everything. Don’t worry if you haven’t mastered it yet; grab the chance and learn from whenever the opportunity presents. We hope that you find this article helpful.