The Best Woods for Smoking Chicken: [Best Options Explained]

Chicken is the type of meat that can be made in many different ways and still give the best taste. However, smoking chicken is the best way of getting the best flavor and taste. But, before you smoke your chicken, you should know the best woods to use.

Fruit woods are great when smoking chicken. However, maple and hickory give your chicken the most intense and deep flavors. Other types of woods that will give your chicken the sweetest flavors include apple, cherry, and peach. These woods leave the smoked chicken with a fruity aroma that most people love. 

This guide explains the various available options and when to use them. These are not just options but the best woods to use when smoking chicken. Read through to learn more.

Best woods for smoking chicken

Chicken is made up of several parts. Each part contains a different amount of meat and fat content. Thus the type of wood you use on every other part may vary from one cut to another. Generally, most people prefer using sweeter woods rather than fruity woods.

The following are the best woods you should use for smoking chicken


Hickory is at the top of the list as the best wood to use when smoking chicken. This wood combines two great things everyone looks for when smoking their chicken; sweet and intense nutty flavor resulting in the greatest barbeque feeling.

For a long time now, hickory has become the most used wood to smoke various types of meats, chicken being among the top ones. This wood is readily available almost everywhere and makes the greatest starter for barbeque beginners. It enables you to control the amount of smoky flavor you want on your meat because it is not overpowering. Therefore, if you want a minimal taste, you can use normal amounts, but if you aim for an intense deep smoky flavor, use too much hickory wood.

Also Read: Benefits Of Marinating Chicken: [Everything You Should Know]

If you are using hickory as one of the best woods for smoking chicken for the first time, there are things you are required to know. When the chicken is smaller, you should use about two chunks of hickory wood because too much might include bitterness in your meat. Start small as you keep adding more the next time you smoke with the wood.


You are probably wondering if silver maple is ideal for smoking meat because it is mainly used when smoking pork. However, it also gives the best flavor when used for smoking chicken. Maple has a great sweet and rich taste that can easily penetrate through your chicken meat pieces, leaving it with a golden brown color that enhances its flavor and makes the presentation perfect. It makes the ideal choice, especially when you love smoking your chicken with sauces and barbeque rubs, as it gives the best final taste.

Maple has a light but sweet aroma that will not overpower your chicken’s natural flavor, giving it greatness. This wood is also readily available in all grocery stores and at a very affordable cost. However, the amount of flavor you get from maple highly depends on the time you smoke and the temperature.


You know how popular fruitwoods are when smoking chicken. So, be sure that nothing will go wrong when you use apple wood for your chicken. It has a mild but sweet and fruity flavor that does not easily overpower the chicken’s natural flavor. This is the best wood to use when you only love a mild smoky flavor accompanied by sweetness on your chicken, making the meat delicious.

Applewood is much more mellower than many fruitwoods used for smoking chicken. This makes it the perfect choice for smoking either a whole chicken or parts of the chicken. Also, it makes an ideal combination with various marinades and rubs as it has a mild smoke flavor.


Smoking chicken with cherry is an excellent way of getting a balanced aesthetic, aroma, and great taste. The wood gives your chicken a fantastic dark red finish, ensuring its presentation is one of a kind. Also, it has its exact fruity flavor, rich but mild in that it retains the chicken’s natural flavor. Cherry wood works even better when mixed with other strong hardwoods, such as hickory, to add more smokiness to your chicken.


Peach is is also one of the best woods for smoking chicken. It has a unique fresh fruity flavor that will enhance the flavor of your chicken. The secret to great peach-smoked chicken is always to use fresh peach wood. Peach loses its flavor over time, meaning if you use older peach wood chips, you will likely get the mildest flavor, something you would not want.

Best wood for smoking turkey

Smoking an entire turkey is the best thing to do, especially for Thanksgiving and Christmas. However, the secret to making the best turkey for your loved ones is the type of wood you choose for smoking. With the many different kinds of wood available, it can easily get confusing. Let’s see some of the best woods for smoking turkey.


Cherry gives your turkey a touch of great sweetness without overpowering its natural taste. You only need to smoke your turkey with cherry for a few hours to achieve the greatest flavor and color. With cherry, you have a great visual representation and a fantastic taste, a dream every turkey lover has.


If you love the combination of smokiness, sharpness, and sweetness in your turkey, pecan wood is what you should use. It has a stronger flavor than the other fruit woods with a subtle nuttiness making your turkey more than delicious. Pecan has a deep flavor; therefore, you should not add any other wood together like it might be with other woods with mild flavors.


Imagine a smoked turkey with an earthy spicy flavor with a natural turkey taste. This is the greatness you will achieve with maple. Suppose you love rubbing and marinating your turkey with herbal or your favorite marinades. In that case, you will get a final turkey with the taste of your rubs and marinades and a flavor together with the smokiness of maple.

This wood also contributes to the fantastic golden brown color you want on your turkey. This not only makes your turkey have a great taste but also has the best presentation to your loved ones.

What woods are best for smoking chicken and fish?

Chicken and fish are the two most famous white meats that are delicate and require special preparations. They have many things in common except their smell. Most people prefer covering their natural smell by smoking chicken and fish in various fruity woods.

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The following are woods that are best for smoking chicken and fish.

  • Apple – it is the most popular wood for chicken and fish due to its mild fruity flavor that compliments the natural taste of the two without overpowering either of them.
  • Cherry – cherry has a sweet deep fruity flavor that is perfect mainly for smoking fish. In addition, it can be used together with other woods to smoke any type of fish and chicken and give the best outcome.
  • Maple – however, maple works best when mixed with hickory or apple to give a strong flavor. Maple is famous among many fish and chicken lovers.

Wrapping it Up

Smoking is one of the best ways of cooking any type of meat. Chicken, turkey, and fish make the best meats to smoke. However, it can be challenging for you if you do not understand how to do it and what wood to use. When smoking with wood, you should pay attention to the amount of wood, temperature, and smoking time because the three directly impact the flavor you will get. Apple wood is our recommendation for the best woods for smoking chicken.

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