Best Wood for Smoking Turkey – The Ultimate Guide 2022

Best Wood for Smoking Turkey – The Ultimate Guide 2022

We are sure most of us have been in this position at one point or another, and it’s quite frustrating not to know what type of wood to use to smoke a turkey.

Luckily, there are many different types of wood you can use when smoking a turkey. Hickory, apple, and cherry woods produce a nice smoky flavor to the meat.

In this article, we’ll go over the best wood for smoking turkey; your Thanksgiving meal. And you can rest assured that your dinner will turn out delicious and succulent. We hope you enjoy our blog post and wish everyone happy holidays.

At a Glance:

What is the Best Wood For Smoking Turkey?

AwardDesignBestRetailer
Best Wood Pellets for Smoking Turkey
Staff PickTraeger Grills Signature Blend
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Best Type of Wood for Smoking Turkey
Weber 17148 Hickory Wood Chunks
Check Price
Best Wood for Smoking Thanksgiving Turkey
Western Premium Post Oak BBQ Cooking Chunks
Check Price
Best Wood Chips for Smoking Turkey
Budget PickWestern BBQ Smoking Wood Chips
Check Price
Best Flavor Wood Chips for Smoking Turkey
Best PickCamerons Products Smoking Wood Chunks (Oak)
Check Price

Traeger Grills Signature Blend

Staff Pick

Best Wood Pellets for Smoking Turkey

Traeger Grills Signature Blend Review
Traeger Grills Signature Blend

The amazing flavors of hickory, maple, and cherry woods combine for a mouth-watering taste that can take on anything you cook. If you’re looking for a BBQ blend with deep, rich flavors that will keep coming back and forth from your meal, then this Traeger Grills is a perfect choice. It works with everything from classic meats like beef or fish to turkey as well.

The Traeger Pellets are an excellent choice for your next Thanksgiving meal. These 100% hardwood pellets will provide you with a long smoking session, and like nearly all quality smoke wood; they contain 70% Alder and 30% Oak. Furthermore, the burn rate is consistent and will not run cold and hot like other cheap pellets. Usually, one large bag lasts around 3 to 4 weeks, and usage is comparable to the amount you will get from a full tank of propane unless you’re using it for slow smoking. Lastly, the pellets are also ideal for high temp searing.

Pros

  • Works with classic BBQ items, fish, and Turkey.
  • Offers an ideal burn to smoke ratio.
  • Affordable

Cons

  • The smell is too mild

Weber 17148 Hickory Wood Chunks

Best Type of Wood for Smoking Turkey

Weber 17148 Hickory Wood Chunks Review
Weber 17148 Hickory Wood Chunks

The wood chunks are a great alternative to charcoal briquettes for those who want the taste of BBQ without all that messy smoke. These cherry wood pieces have an earthy flavor with subtle hints sweet, perfect when cooking pork, poultry, beef, and turkey.

The natural woods used in this product are what make it so special. The smoke enhances the flavor of food instead of covering up any unwanted flavors, and there’s no worrying about chemicals leaching into your meal, like with some brands that use artificial ingredients. The flavor is guaranteed to be delicious with these Weber grills.

The Hickory is a strong but not too bold wood that pairs well with chicken and beef. It’s also popular for making bacon, sausage dishes like hotdogs or bologna sandwiches because of its slightly sweet aroma, which stands up nicely against these savory foods without being overpowering by them with too much smoke. Lastly, these are suitable for grills, smokers, and even for wood-fired pizza ovens. However, makers recommend putting them in water for up to 20 minutes for the desired results.

Pros

  • Adds mild sweet flavor to your meals
  • Contains natural wood
  • Perfect for grilling as well as smoking

Cons

  • Pieces are not uniformly designed

Western Premium Post Oak BBQ Cooking Chunks

Best Wood for Smoking Thanksgiving Turkey

Western Premium BBQ Products Review
Western Premium BBQ Products

When you smoke meat for Thanksgiving, it’s essential that the flavor of your smoker doesn’t overpower what’s cooking inside. Western BBQ cooking chunks have been designed to add a subtle, smoky flavor that enhances your favorite meats instead of drowning them out. These premium pieces are perfect for any gas or charcoal grill and smoker since they will not burn easily as some other brands might do.

These oak wood chunks are ready for you to enjoy! They’ve been heat-treated, so they don’t rot or get infested with pests, and the flavor is pure because there are no nasty chemicals are added to it.

The best part about these wood chunks is that they can be used for smoking just about any type of meat. They work especially well with turkey but also get the job done when cooking beef or pork nicely smoked flavor without all those pesky chemicals. Lastly, Western Products offers a variety of wood chunks such as hickory, cherry, apple, maple, mesquite, and pecan so that you can use the exact type as per the recipe or mix them to get a perfect taste.

Pros

  • Works with all types of smokers
  • Affordable price tag
  • It comes heat-treated; hence they will not rot soon

Cons

  • You might find a few larger pieces inside the pack

Western BBQ Smoking Wood Chips

Budget Pick

Best Wood Chips for Smoking Turkey

Western BBQ Smoking Wood Chips Review
Western BBQ Smoking Wood Chips

Do you love to smoke a turkey? If so, the Western Variety Wood Chips 4 Pack Variety Bundle is perfect for adding that finishing touch. Wood chips will give your food delicious smoke flavor, and there are four different flavors available in this bundle–so no matter what combination takes your fancy or if you just want some variety on hand, it’s all here!.

These chips also work flawlessly with an electric smoker and assure you nothing but a superb smoking flavor. Besides, you can also use them for Mac and cheese if you want a unique smoky flavor from them.

Apart from turkey, these smoke chips can do wonders for your ribs, salmon, and other delicacies that you intend to smoke using them. These chips can be used inside the smoker and go well for the grill too. However, these are not appropriate for smoke injection guns.

In our opinion, Western BBQ Chips Variety Bundle offers an excellent value for the taste, variety, and amount of chips that it contains in each bag!

Pros

  • Safe to use with grills and electric and gas smokers
  • Perfect for trying new recipes
  • Includes all popular flavors; no need to purchase each flavor separately

Cons

  • It attracts flies and other bugs

Camerons Products Smoking Wood Chunks (Oak)

Best Pick

Best Flavor Wood Chips for Smoking Turkey

Camerons Products Smoking Wood Chunks (Oak) Review
Camerons Products Smoking Wood Chunks (Oak)

If you want to get a more traditional smoking experience, the Camerons Products Smoking Wood Chunks is an excellent choice. The perfect way to add some unique flavor and spices is with these Oakwood chunks. These 10-pound bags can be used for anything you like, though the flavors work especially well when smoking turkey or game birds.

Moreover, the Oak flavor of this wood is different from the other, and while testing it, we noticed it is a bit powerful than the other premium Oak wood chips. However, it will not affect the turkey’s original flavor or taste. Instead of changing the flavor of your turkey or other meat, but it ensures the best-tasting meal as much as possible.

The wood chunks are all-natural and come without preservatives or chemicals that spoil the flavor. These wooed pieces are soaked, dried, and precisely cut for the best results. Lastly, the size of the chunks is also ideal for a kettle grill and offset smoker.

Pros

  • Precisely cut pieces
  • No need to wrap them in foil or soak
  • Unique and delicious flavor

Cons

  • A bit expensive

Ideal Wood for Smoking Turkey

You’ve got your smoker ready to go. You have the turkey stuffed and rubbed with the perfect blend of spices, but you’re not sure what type of wood to use for smoking? We’ll tell you ideal wood types for smoking turkey below:

Cherry

Cherry is the most common and the best wood for smoking turkey. It’s full of flavor and natural without being too smoky. Furthermore, cherry wood matches well with almost all brine that you will use for turkey.

Apart from it, smoke it with cherry wood if you really want to give your turkey a unique and dramatic look. The deep color will draw all eyes in the dining hall as guests ask what special ingredient is used for this dish.

In our opinion, you should use a pinch of hickory with cherry wood to get that traditional smoky taste.

Apple

Next is the Applewood with a delicious, fruity flavor. When fused with turkey, Applewood offers great output without producing harsh smoke, as you will see from the hickory or oak.

The best thing about using Applewood is that its scent is light and won’t bother anyone in the surroundings. Besides, the gentle scent gives perfect results. However, the process gets a bit slower, so plan ahead of time. When using Applewood, be careful as overdoing can ruin the party, and you will end up with a dried-out turkey.

The key here is to balance and maintain the low temperatures and a lot of patience. Moreover, some users spritz the bird or use a water pan with a smoker to keep the things warm and gentle.

Lastly, don’t get confused, and we assure you that Applewood is one of the best wood to smoke a turkey, especially for beginners.

Alder

You can go with alder wood if you want the taste without as much smoke. It burns slower and makes it easier for beginners to avoid any mistakes, but those who are more experienced may prefer something heavier like oak or Apple. However, it also depends on the taste.

Smoked Alder wood is a great choice for smoking seafood, but it’s also perfect when used with poultry. The mild flavor complements both types of meat and will make your dinner even more enjoyable.

For some people, the only way to make their Thanksgiving turkey taste good is by using Cherry or Apple. But if you want something really special this year, then try out Alder wood because it not only gives your bird its signature flavor but also adds an earthy aftertaste that will leave everyone wanting more.

Pecan

Pecans are a unique and delicious wood type that will grant you the perfect combination of sharpness, sweetness, and nutty flavor. They also go well with turkey. You can’t go wrong with pecan for that unique sweet flavor. It’s not too sharp like cherry but has a fabulous overlay to it.

However, we will advise you to test it before serving or prior to smoking the whole thing. This is because, for some users, the unique flavor and taste can be too strong or earthy, especially for kids and old age people.

Maple

If you’re getting ready to smoke your turkey, then maple wood might be an excellent choice. Yes- it’s more aromatic than pecan or cherry, but that means it will have a honey-like sweetness which is milder in taste and smell.

If you want the most of your turkey, Maple is an excellent option. Not only does it give off a rich earthy flavor, but with fragrant herbs like thyme and rosemary mixed in, there’s no need for any spices at all. The scents coming out after firing up that smoker should drive everyone crazy hungry since they know what awaits them on – a mouth-watering Thanksgiving dinner!

Summary of Best Wood For Smoking Turkey

AwardDesignBestRetailer
Best Wood Pellets for Smoking Turkey
Staff PickTraeger Grills Signature Blend
Check Price
Best Type of Wood for Smoking Turkey
Weber 17148 Hickory Wood Chunks
Check Price
Best Wood for Smoking Thanksgiving Turkey
Western Premium Post Oak BBQ Cooking Chunks
Check Price
Best Wood Chips for Smoking Turkey
Budget PickWestern BBQ Smoking Wood Chips
Check Price
Best Flavor Wood Chips for Smoking Turkey
Best PickCamerons Products Smoking Wood Chunks (Oak)
Check Price

Want a Stronger Smoke Flavor Out Of Your Turkey?

If you are looking for a too smoky flavor, then here are some options for you:

Hickory

Earlier, we mentioned how you could use hickory with the cherry to get a more powerful effect, but here we will tell you how to get different and classic smoking using the hickory.

The unique thing about using hickory is a stronger, ideal wood type for classic, traditional smoking.

However, it might not be the ideal wood type for beginners. This is because it can be tough for you to conclude how to use it, the wood’s quantity, and get a desirable balance. And no one likes to miss the shot at the great Thanksgiving dinner, right?

The flavor of turkey varies depending on how you prepare it. Hickory wood is pretty versatile, too, with a wide spectrum from sweet all the way to savory tastes that depend entirely upon what kind of meat and spices are used in its preparation.

Oak

Oak is another type of wood that can be used to smoke anything from red meat and seafood dishes, but its milder scent makes it more popular among those looking for less intense flavor.

Oakwood is a wonderful, versatile choice for all sorts of smoking needs. Pair it with your favorite meat, and you’ll be sure to impress. And just like hickory, you can also use it in combination with Apple or Cherry wood.

Which woods to avoid

Some woods are not recommended or advised smoking a turkey. The woods are

  • Evergreen
  • Pine
  • Mesquite
  • Spruce
  • Eucalyptus
  • Redwood

Apart from turkey, don’t try to use these woods with other types of meats and vegetables. The reason for this is that these woods are pretty sticky. Hence they can create a mess in your smoker, and in severe you cannot remove the mess.

Above all, the taste of your turkey will be changed if you use these woods, and some of them are dangerous for your overall health due to the smoke they produce. Besides, don’t use any wood that has mold or fungus or is painted or chemically treated.

Wood chips, wood chunks, or Woof Pallets for grilling

Mainly, it depends on the smoker’s type that you will be using.

If you have a pellet smoker, wood pellets are the best option for smoking or grilling your turkey. 

These pellets are made to use with a pellet smoker.

On the other hand, woods chips are more suitable to use with electric smokers for strong flavoring. However, there are no restrictions, and you can also use pellets with electric smokers.

Moreover, if you have a charcoal grill or smoker, we recommend using wood chunks as they quickly and add a bit of intense flavor to your turkey. Besides, the cooking period will be short. Additionally, wood chunks are also ideal for low and slow smoking.

If you have a gas or propane grill or smoker, we advise you to go with the wood chips. Wood chips used with propane and gas grills ignite quickly and need less heat.

Wood chunks, pellets, and chips are an excellent way of turning your home smoker or grill into a heavy-duty smoker and allow you to cook unique items, including turkey. Lastly, always choose natural wood and never use chemicals or odd flavors when using the smoker or grills as they damage them.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many wood chips should be used for turkey?

There is no definite answer. However, you can use up to 5 ounces of wood chips if your smoker allows. Start with a minimum, and then replenish the chips if needed. Don’t add too many chips at once, as they can affect the flavor.

Should I soak wood chips before using them to smoke a turkey?

This is an ongoing debate. In our opinion, no need to soak the chips in water. This is because water cannot penetrate into the wood; hence it is useless. But as mentioned above, most people do soak the chips to make them last longer. In the end, all this comes down to your personal preferences and cooking style.

What’s the best wood type for turkey legs?

To get perfectly smoked turkey legs, use maple wood. However, if you are using fresh legs, try Applewood.

What’s the best wood type for turkey wings?

There are plenty of options for the best wood type for turkey wings, including hickory, oak, Applewood, maple, cherry, etc.


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