What is the best wood to smoke a Brisket? (Find Out Here)

Finding the correct type of wood to smoke your brisket can be challenging. A wood that won’t leave your brisket tender, soft, and juicy while providing a smoky flavor should be a no-go zone. So, what is the best wood to smoke a brisket?

The Oak is the best wood to smoke a brisket. It is the most popular type of wood most people use for smoking brisket as it gives a medium smoky flavor and burns for a longer time, ensuring that the meat absorbs enough smoke to enhance its flavor. Further is always the best option for beginners and experts since it is not too overpowering.

This article explains more about the best wood to use in smoking a brisket and many other wood alternatives you can use. Read on to find out more.

What Wood is Best to Smoke Brisket?

As mentioned earlier, the best wood to smoke brisket is Oak, followed by Hickory and pecan. Here is a list of the best woods to smoke brisket in their order of best performance:


Oak has been referred to as the best wood to smoke a brisket. Central Texas is the most famous place for smoking brisket; all they use is Oak. The wood is the best because it gives medium smoke in that if you are not aware of the amount of smoke your guests like in their brisket, you can be safe with Oak.

Moreover, Oak works best with any other type of meat. It leaves your meat with a medium smoky flavor which is easy to notice without overpowering your food. Again, it makes the best choice for beginners who are new to smoking and do not know how to control the amount of smoke brisket will absorb.

Also, Oak offers the best burn time allowing your brisket to absorb enough smoke and remain tender, soft, and juicy.


Most people will say that when it comes to brisket, beef ribs, and other beef meat, Hickory gives the best flavor. If you love the pronounced Smokey flavor in your brisket, this is the wood to use. 

Furthermore, Oak and Hickory can be used together since they burn similarly. Most people prefer Hickory because you do not require to use lots of them so that they can give you a good Smokey flavor. Only a few chunks are enough to provide you with the right smoke flavor. Therefore, if you love using chunks or chips, this wood is the best option, as you will not have to add more every few minutes.


Pecan is categorized in woods that give a mild smoky flavor. It is sweet, and most people describe it as spicy or nutty. However, it does not burn for as long as Oak and pecan, so most people use it for short-time cooks like pork ribs. Sometimes it is combined with other hardwoods to make it burn for a long time.

Categories of Smoking Woods

Smoking wood is always categorized into two:

Medium-strong flavors

  • Oak – medium smoky flavor and not so overpowering. It burns for an extended period and is an excellent option for beginners. The Central Texas Style Barbeque uses this wood more often.
  • Hickory – is solid and smoky. They are mainly described as bacon flavor or nutty. However, when using this, you should be careful because when used in excess, it can make the meat taste bitter.
  • Mesquite gives a strong flavor and burns very fast, producing an intense earthy flavor. This is the best wood to use if you are a fan of authentic Texas smoked brisket.

Mild Flavors

  • Maple – it has a very mild Smokey but sweet smoke.
  • Pecan – it gives your brisket a delightful and nutty flavor. You need to ensure that it does not get overly sweet. Combining it with other hardwoods is better to keep the sweetness in control.
  • Apple’s mild smokiness gives your brisket a fruity and sweet flavor.
  • Cherry – it is sweet and gives mild smokiness. Cherry works better when paired with Hickory.
  • Olive almost has the same smokiness as mesquite, but it is not that strong.

Best Wood Pellets to Smoke Brisket

The best wood pellets you can use to smoke brisket are a combination of Oak and cherry. With this option, you must buy two bags and mix them to blend their smoky flavors. You will surely not regret this because you will be sure nothing will go wrong.

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Oak will produce the classic rich and strong Smokey flavor for the Texas Style barbeque. Furthermore, Oak burns for a long time, giving your brisket a heavy smoke flavor. Also, it is consistent, meaning every side of your brisket gets the same amount of smoke and flavor.

Cherry pellets tend to be lighter and with a fruity flavor. However, the magic of cherry pellets is that they produce a mahogany-like color. Therefore, you will have a sweet, smoky, fruity, and juicy mahogany-colored brisket.

Various Types of Wood Pellets for Smoking Brisket

There is a wide range of wood pellets you can choose from to smoke your brisket, especially when you are more interested in mixing various pellets to smoke a brisket. Here is a list of wood pellets you can use, and choose the ones to blend. However, as I found out, the best mixture remains to be oak pellets and cherry pellets:

  • Oak
  • Pecan
  • Mesquite
  • Hickory
  • Cherry
  • Maple
  • Apple

People will always have differences in tastes and preferences. Thus it is hard to determine what is best for everyone. However, with various trials and combinations, you will eventually get what your favorite is. Nonetheless, I would still recommend the cherry-oak pellets mixture.

What Type of Wood is Best to Smoke Brisket?

Oak is the best type of wood to smoke a brisket. It is considered the best because it gives your brisket a medium smoky flavor and burns for a longer time, thus best for both small-sized and large-sized briskets.

Different Wood Sizes for Smoking Brisket

While the type of wood for smoking is an essential thing to know, it is better to consider the size. The size of wood you require for smoking highly depends on the size and type of smoker you are using. Here are some of the standard sizes:

  • Chips – these come from wood shavings and scraps. Chips are best for gas and electric smokers. Also, they can work in small charcoal burners. They burn fast and thus are not best for bigger briskets.
  • Chunks – these are small woods that are almost the same size as a hand fist. They are best for charcoal burners or any other type of a small smoker. They can burn for a long time and thus make the best choice for bigger briskets.
  • Logs – logs are large split pieces of wood, and their size is perfect for larger smokers where the wood is the only source of heat in the smoker. Also, they make an ideal choice for large-sized briskets.
  • Pellets – are made from compressed sawdust, mainly used to provide smoke and heat on grill pellets. They are clean, non-toxic, and full of flavor.

Final Thoughts

While different types of wood can be used to smoke brisket, there is always the best one. Oka has been used long and is still the best option for a delicious smoky brisket. Nevertheless, there are many other options you can try out, including pecan and Hickory. The point remains: Oak comes first and can be combined with others for more impressive results.

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