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Best Wood for Smoking Brisket with a Great Flavor Profile

Best Wood for Smoking Brisket with a Great Flavor Profile

Our team might be split between Memphis and Atlanta, but love beef brisket as much as any Texan. We love the role of brisket in food culture and how a truly good brisket takes time & effort to cook well.

The right wood can make all the difference when cooking or smoking a brisket at home – both brisket flat and brisket point, but which one do you use? Let’s explore some options that might work best for your needs!

The best wood for smoking brisket

When it comes to smoking brisket, the type of wood you use can make a big difference in the end result (as much as a good brisket seasoning sometimes!).

Some woods are better for smoking brisket than others, so it’s important to do your research and find the best one for your needs.

There really isn’t a best per se – it’s all about experimentation. Oak is usually best for beginners while mesquite and hickory (or pecan) will provide the best, consistent flavor. Here are a few your best options:

Oak

Oak (notably Post Oak) is a great option for smoking brisket (or pork) because it has a strong flavor that pairs well with beef. It’s also a fairly hard wood, which means it will last a long time and produce consistent heat.

Camerons Products Smoking Wood Chunks (Oak) ~10 Pounds, 840 cu. in. - Kiln Dried BBQ Large Cut Chips- All Natural Barbecue Smoker Chunks for Smoking Meat
  • Oak Wood Smoking Chunks Bag weighs approximately 10 pounds
  • Soak wood chunks for 20 minutes and place on hot coals for maximum flavor
  • 840 cu. in. (0.013m³)  Oak is particularly wonderful with sausages and blended with cherry for smoking turkey.
  • Great Charcoal Briquette Alternative for smoky flavor
  • Due to natural variations in wood density and chip size, bag weights will vary (may receive in bag or box)

Apple

Apple is a softer wood than oak, but it still has a strong flavor that pairs well with beef. It’s also a good option if you’re looking for something a little bit sweeter than oak.

Cherry

Cherry is another fruit wood that’s easy to find and great for smoking brisket. It has a nice fruity, sweet flavor that pairs well with the beef, but not as strong as apple (similar to peach wood).

Hickory

Hickory wood is also a strong flavor that pairs well with beef, but it’s slightly stronger than oak or apple. If you don’t mind the extra flavor, hickory might be an option worth trying out.

Camerons CAM-GHI20-229 Smoker Chips, Hickory
  • Smoking Wood Chunks - Works with gas grills, charcoal grills, and smoker boxes.
  • Barbecue Smoking Chunks - Made of 100% natural raw timber that is kiln dried.
  • Hickory Smoker Wood - Ignited quickly and com-busts completely to create a delicate smoky flavor.
  • Hickory Coarse Cut Wood Chunks pairs well with poultry, beef, pork, game and cheeses!
  • Made in the USA. 1800 cu. in. (1.04 m³)

Mesquite

Mesquite wood is commonly used for grilling because of its strong, smoky flavor. It’s a good option for smoking brisket if you’re looking for something with a lot of flavor.

Pecan

Pecan is a softer wood than most of the other options on this list, but it has a slightly sweet, nutty, and different flavor that pairs well with beef.

It’s a good option for people who are looking for something a little different than the standard smoky flavor.

As you can see, there are many different types of wood that can be used for smoking brisket. Not all woods are created equal, so it’s important to do your research and find the one that will give your brisket the best flavor profile.

Camerons Products Smoking Wood Chunks (Pecan) ~10 Pounds, 840 cu. in. - Kiln Dried BBQ Large Cut Chips- All Natural Barbecue Smoker Chunks for Smoking Meat
  • 840 cu. in. (0.013m³) Bag weighs approximately 10 pounds
  • (may receive in box or bag)
  • (may receive in box or bag)
  • (may receive in box or bag) Works with game birds and chicken

Why it’s important to use the right type of wood

It’s important to use the right type of wood for smoking brisket because your choice might have a big impact on the final result. Some woods have a stronger flavor than others, so it’s important to know which one you should use.

The brisket is the only cut of beef that is completely boneless – so it relies on the smoke to gain lots of flavor that would usually come from bone or marbling. It can be tough and requires longer cooking times.

It might be a good idea to test out a few different types of wood before picking one so you can see how they all affect the taste and texture of your brisket.

Once you find the right wood, make sure not to over smoke your brisket or else it will come out too dry and tough!

Wood Type for Smoking Brisket

Now, choosing the best wood for brisket is also dependent on what type of smoker you have, what size brisket you are working with, and what is available in your area.

Wood Logs

Wood logs are an excellent way to get the most out of your smoked brisket.

The type of wood log you use can make a big difference in the flavor profile, so it’s important to do some research in your own area for what is available.

Generally, wood logs will be limited to what is native to your area (i.e., mesquite in Texas; Post Oak in Georgia). You’ll have to shop around via local suppliers to find a good source (check your local BBQ joints!).

Wood Chips

Wood chips are a great option for smoking brisket because they produce a lot of flavor and help to maintain a consistent temperature.

They do burn fast, so they might not be best for large brisket. However, they are often bagged & shipped across the country, so you’ll have more choice in flavor.

Wood Chunks

Wood chunks are have a lot of the advantages of wood chips and logs without the disadvantages of either. A wood chunk will burn for a while, and are often more available than logs. They are available via online sources & local retailers.

Saw Dust

Saw dust is also a viable option for smoking brisket because it’s easy to come by and provides a lot of good smoke flavor. However, it is not a heat source, and can only really be used in a small or electric smoker.

Wood Pellets

Wood pellets are likely the most convenient option, though they only really work well with pellet smokers. Companies that manufacture pellet smokers usually also have a line of wood pellet flavors and good ease of use.

Wrap-Up

Smoking meat is a great tradition that is truly about the art and science of meat. Choosing the best wood for smoking brisket isn’t really about getting the #1 choice as it is about experimentation and enjoying the unique flavor profile of different woods. Just make sure you buy a good cut of brisket and defrost it well. Here are a few other options –

Bestseller No. 1
Weber Hickory Wood Chunks, 350 Cubic Inch (0.006 Cubic Meter), 4 lb
  • Hickory wood chunks
  • Rich subtly Sweet flavor
  • Great for poultry, pork & beef
  • 350 cu. in. (0.006 m^3) sized bag
Bestseller No. 2
Oklahoma Joe's Wood Smoker Chunks, 8 lb, Hickory
  • Oklahoma Joe's hickory wood chunks are the best way to get a long last burn in the cooker and to infuse great taste into meats
  • For use with smokers and charcoal grills to add flavor over a long period of time
  • Ideal for smoking meats, poultry, vegetables and fish
  • Made of all natural wood chunks
Bestseller No. 3
Weber Wood Cubic Meter Stephen Products 17138 Apple Chips, 192 cu. in. (0.003 cubi, m
  • Subtle Sweet flavor
  • Chip size pieces
  • Two pound bag
  • 192 cu. in. (0.003 m^3) sized bag
Bestseller No. 4
Zorestar Apple Cherry (Fruit Mix) - 13-15lb - Wood Chunks for Smoking and Grilling
  • 🔥The Box with Apple/Cherry Wood Chunks for Smokers + Bonus Apple Chips bag weight is approximately 13-15lb (+/-5%), with their size varying between 2-3 inches each. Smoker wood chunks are a seasonal occurrence, meaning that at some point cherry chunks would be swapped out for peach and vice versa, while the bonus pack of smoking wood chips is apple at all times!
  • 🔥100% NATURAL: being precision cut out of solid wood logs and completely eco-friendly and organic, Zorestar smoking wood chunks pose no risk of emitting any intoxicating chemicals or fumes, which results in a true smoke aroma and smoking experience!
  • 🔥 BREATHTAKING AROMA: cherry and apple wood chunks for smokers are the perfect addition in cooking beef, pork, salmon, lamb, seafood, or game, as well as vegetables and baked goods. Giving off a mild, subtly sweet, fruity flavor, the taste you get from the apple and cherry chunk mix truly can’t be compared to anything, while the addition of smoker wood chips makes it even better!
  • 🔥 KILN-DRIED WOOD: the moisture content of bbq wood chunks and wood chips for smokers sits at 6-8%, being just the right figure to gradually smolder and emit rich, flavorful smoke at a constant rate, gifting your dish with a scrumptious smoke crust!
  • 🔥 WORKS WITH ANYTHING: mix of fruit smoke wood chunks may be used for smoking and grilling with gas grills, charcoal grills, and all types of smokers. Just 3-5 chunks and a sprinkle of apple wood chips for smoking would be enough to smoke up any dish of your liking - enjoy!

FAQs about Wood for Smoking Brisket

Here are a few common questions about using wood to smoke brisket.

What is the best wood to use when smoking a brisket?

The undisputed champion of wood to use when smoking a brisket is hickory. You can experiment with others such as cherry, maple, and red oak, but most people prefer hickory for their smoking process.

Is cherry wood good for brisket?

Yes, cherry wood is a wood that is recommended for smoking brisket, though it may not stand up quite as well as hickory. That said, cherry may be used as an alternative.

Is mesquite good for brisket?

Mesquite is a popular type of wood to burn for brisket, and there are some fans (usually from Texas) who say that it is the only type of wood that they will use for this process. It is a good choice.

How many hours per pound does it take to smoke a brisket?

Typically, smoking brisket requires about one hour per pound. You can adjust this as necessary, but most agree that one hour per pound feels like the right number.

What flavor of pellets is best for brisket?

You have choices when it comes to what kind of pellets you use for brisket. Typically, people like to gravitate towards pecan, hickory, or mesquite pellets to get the types of flavors they are looking for. 

What wood is used for Texas brisket?

Mesquite wood is the most popular choice for Texas brisket. If you want to make something that will remind people of the Lone Star state, then you need to go with mesquite wood.

Which is better – mesquite or hickory?

Mesquite is better if you are going for the specific Texas flavor mentioned above. However, if you are trying to cook large portions of brisket to serve to a crowd, then hickory tends to perform better.

Is mesquite wood a brisket?

Mesquite brisket gets its name from the mesquite wood that is used to smoke it. The wood itself is a separate entity, but the brisket that it produces is sometimes known as mesquite brisket.

Can you mix woods when smoking brisket?

You can mix woods when smoking brisket, and some say that playing around with the combination of different types of wood when smoking brisket helps add certain flavor combinations that you could not otherwise get.

Can you mix hickory and mesquite?

You certainly can mix hickory and mesquite together when smoking brisket if you would like to. It will allow you to capitalize on the great properties of both as you work out how you will use each to produce something that those who eat your brisket will love.

Can you mix hickory and cherry wood?

If you want to add a sweet mixture to standard brisket, consider mixing hickory and cherry wood together for a wonderful flavor. You will be surprised by just how much of a difference something like this can make to the quality of the brisket that you serve.

Can you mix apple and cherry wood?

The ultimate sweet brisket is made by mixing apple and cherry wood together in the smoking process. You will be amazed by how much of a difference it can make.