If you are new to smoking, you may be eager to try smoking a brisket. But the first question which usually comes to mind is – what is the best wood for smoking brisket?
Since brisket is a very large and tough cut of beef, it needs to be cooked low and slow to help break down those connective tissues.
But if you will be smoking the brisket, you will need to use the most suitable wood for the smoked flavor, one which will complement rather than overpower the taste of the meat.
Here are the most suitable woods for smoking brisket.
They are of competition-grade quality and made from wood that has not been treated with pesticides or chemicals and is 100% organic.
It is one of the top choices if you want to add only mild smokiness and a slightly sweet flavor to your smoked brisket.
More about maple woods
Maple is among the mildest and most forgiving woods for smoking, making it a popular choice among smoking newbies.
Since maple wood has a very mild taste, it is very difficult to make a mistake and add too much wood or leave it too long in the smoker. Then again, its mild taste may be a tad too subtle for some people when it comes to cooking brisket.
Maple wood is a good choice for smoking pork, chicken, or turkey without overwhelming the food with too much smoky flavor.
One package includes 570 cubic inches of these large-sized chunks of pecan wood for BBQ cooking.
Western Premium BBQ Products recommends that the chunks are used for barbecuing hamburgers, whole chicken, spare ribs, or baby back ribs.
Our suggestion is that if you want a rich sweet-tasting smoked brisket, you use these chunks for your low and slow barbecue.
More about pecan woods
Pecan wood is another mildly flavored wood with a nutty and sweet flavor. It may not be among the most popular choices for smoking brisket among pitmasters, but it can help flavor the brisket with a rich and sweet flavor like no other.
If you feel that the pecan wood will be too sweet for your taste, you can mix it up with some maple or oak.
Camerons Products recommend the Apple Chunks for wood cooking beef sirloin and filets, trout, salmon, and braised brisket or pork loin.
Since apple wood has a fruity and slightly sweet flavor and tends to produce quite a lot of dense smoke, it is perfect for infusing the tough brisket and adding a subtle fruity flavor to the meat.
More about apple woods
Applewood offers a mild smokiness and a subtle fruity and sweet flavor even though this wood generates a lot of thick and heavy smoke.
You can use applewood alone or as an addition to oak, or other words when you are smoking the brisket. When used with other woods, applewood acts as an excellent diluter of the stronger smoke flavors.
This wood is an excellent choice for smoking chicken, turkey, and ham as well.
Weber recommends the Cherry Wood Chunks for use with pork, poultry, fish, and even vegetables.
We suggest that you use it for smoking the brisket if you only want a touch of smoky and sweet flavor infused in the meat.
More about cherry woods
Cherry wood is the last of the mild woods which we recommend for smoking brisket. As with most other fruitwoods, cherry will infuse the meat with a mildly sweet, smoky, and fruity taste. This makes it suitable for people who are new to smoking meat or for those who prefer more subtle flavors.
If you want to add some strength to the cherry wood’s delicate flavor, you can mix it up with some maple or oak, which will enhance the smokiness without overwhelming the sweetness and the fruity taste.
Cherry wood also pairs well with hickory.
One advantage of cherry wood is that it tends to help darken the bark of the brisket and can even add a touch of red to it.
Medium to Strong Flavors
The wood chunks are made of pest-free and chemical-free USDA-certified wood.
White oak provides a long-lasting burn and will add a smokier flavor to the delicious smoked brisket.
It comes in boxes of 8-10 and 25-30 lbs. and is an excellent primary fuel to have for your barbecuing sessions.
More about oak woods
Oak helps infuse the food with a medium smoky flavor which will not overpower the taste of the meat itself.
Oakwood fire and smoke are long-lasting, and so this type of wood is suitable for beginners.
It is particularly well suited for low and slow smoking of beef brisket due to its long burning time, and also, thanks to its medium smoke flavor potency, it is more likely to be appreciated by most people on the table.
Oak works well on its own or can be paired with smaller amounts of stronger-flavored woods such as hickory or mesquite if you want a richer multilayered taste.
One of the oak’s strengths is that it produces a smoky flavor that matches wonderfully with beef brisket. It’s long been a popular wood choice, partly due to it being one of the easiest types of wood to use in a smoker.
The Weber Hickory Wood Chunks are a premium choice if you are a fan of more robust smokiness for your brisket. This wood helps infuse the meat with a savory and strong smoky flavor which is almost bacon-like.
The large hickory wood chunks are an excellent option for beef, pork, and poultry and come in bags of 350 cubic inches.
More about hickory woods
Hickory has a much more robust and richer flavor than the previous wood types and yet is not as strong as mesquite.
Hickory wood is a classic wood used by pitmasters who appreciate the nutty notes which this wood gives to the meat and food.
Hickory wood produces a lot of thick smoke, so you need to be careful not to go overboard with it, as it may overpower the meat and make your brisket taste bitter. You can dilute it a bit with some applewood.
Overall, hickory is among the best choices for smoking brisket, especially among traditionalists.
The recommended use of hickory for smoking brisket is to use for the first 2-3 hours for hot and fast smoking, and then to switch to a blend of oak and hickory for the rest of the cook.
You should choose these Weber Mesquite Wood Chunks if you are not afraid of adding a big and bold flavor to your smoked brisket.
Mesquite wood goes well with beef, pork, and lamb, and this one by Weber is offered in large bags of 350 cubic inches.
More about mesquite woods
Mesquite wood is wood that burns quite quickly but produces a robust earthy flavor. It is the most powerful wood suitable for smoking brisket. But if you want to prepare the brisket Texas barbecue style, then mesquite is the wood to opt for.
Because it burns quickly, you will need to make sure that you have enough for your smoking session.
But be careful not to over smoke the meat with mesquite because it can be very potent.
If you want to stay on the safe side, you can blend the mesquite with a milder wood such as applewood which is an excellent diluter.
Otherwise, mesquite is among the most commonly used woods for smoking and is a staple for Texas barbecue and smoking, distinguishingly intense flavor.
Tips for choosing the perfect wood
Even though the type of wood you will be using for smoking the brisket is more important, you should also keep in mind that the size of the wood plays a role as well.
The size of the wood you should use for the brisket depends on the size of the brisket and the type of smoker you have.
The most common sizes for cooking wood are:
If you have a pellet grill, then you need to use wood pellets for it. Pellets can also be used in smoker boxes on gas grills or electric smokers, but since they are made from sawdust, they do burn out very quickly. This means that you will need to keep feeding the smoker with new pellets during the low and slow cooking unless you have a pellet grill with an automatic feeder for the auger.
Chips are an excellent choice for electric smokers that do not use an open flame, as well as for gas grills, smoker boxes, and for homemade smoking packs from foil.
Wood chips from all types of wood and flavors are offered on the market. They are compact, easy to use, and store.
Keep in mind that they are made from wood scraps and shavings and are small, which means that they will burn fast and will need to be replenished during the cooking of a large-sized brisket.
Wood chunks are fist-sized or larger and heftier pieces of solid wood which are probably the most suitable solution when choosing wood for long brisket smoking.
You will most likely need only 2-3 wood chunks for the smoking, but you can always add more if needed. They work best when placed on the charcoal pile, which will ignite them as the coal lights up.
Wood chunks are suitable for charcoal and for small offset smokers.
They are long-lasting and will last for hours, making them perfect for smoking large-sized brisket.
Logs are the number one choice for old-school smokers. They are suitable only for smokers that can fit them, such as offset smokers. These smokers have large fireboxes that can fit one or more logs.
Keep in mind that flavored wood logs are not as easy to find as pellets, chips, or chunks.
You can, of course, use your own wood, but only if you are sure that it has not been treated with chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers.
If you own a large offset smoker and are planning on smoking a large-sized brisket, then using logs could be the most suitable option for you.
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