Best Wood Chips for Smoking for Grill and Smoker Use: 2020 Buyer’s Guide

chips

There’s really nothing better than smoked food, especially when its infused with a hint of smoke from your favorite woodchips. Basically, it just makes everything taste much better. While many people associate smoke with using a traditional smoker, using the best wood chips for smoking it what adds that rich smoky flavor to whatever you cook, whether you’re working with a charcoal or gas grill. These woodchips are affordable, easy to use, and can be a simple way to add another layer of flavor to your favorite food.

But how can you tell which woodchips are fresh and loaded with the flavor you’re looking for? There are so many types and brand of woodchips on the market, I decided to do a little investigating. I reviewed many of the leading types of woodchips on the market and have narrowed it down to the top seven products, each of which can deliver that rich smoky flavor you’re looking for. Below, you’ll find a comparison chart that includes each of the products, their important features, and how they rated.

Wood chips for Smoking Comparison Chart

ProductTypeSizeBest ForRating
Weber 17004 Wood Chips
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Apple3 lbsPork &
Poultry
Jack Daniel's 01749 Chips
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Oak2.94 litersRed Meat and
Poultry
Cameron’s Wood Chips
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Oak1 Pint Red Meat and
Poultry
Western BBQ Chips
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Variety7.45 lbsPork &
Poultry
Weber Wood Stephen Chips
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Apple2 lbsFish and
Poultry
Zorestar Woodchips
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Alder, Oak,
Cherry, Apple
3.15 lbsRed Meat,
Poultry, and
Fish
Western Smoking Chips
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Apple, Hickory,
Mesquite
5 lbsRed Meat,
Pork, and
Poultry

Weber 17004 Apple Wood Chips


Our Rating: (5/5)

This is a three-pound bag of apple woodchips which offer a nice mild fruity flavor that will create less dense smoke. The fruity flavor is perfect for poultry and pork and can add a mild smoky flavor to your favorite foods. You can use these chips straight from the bag, or soak them for a minimum of thirty minutes in order to prevent them from burning too quickly.

Pros

  • Mild smoky flavor
  • Fruity taste
  • Three-pound bag
  • Low price

Cons

  • Should be soaked to prevent the chips from burning too quickly

Conclusion

These apple woodchips will be the perfect complement to any type of meats you can smoke, especially pork and poultry. The chips offer a nice mild fruity flavor but can be mixed with another type of woodchip if you want a smokier flavor. There have been many reports that these woodchips tend to burn up too quickly when they’re added to the smokebox without first soaking them. To make the chips last longer, I recommend soaking them for one hour and keeping extra soaked woodchips on hand in case the woodchips burn before the food is finished smoking. These chips are reasonably priced come in a three-pound bag and can be used in a smoker box or in a foil pouch on the grill.

Jack Daniel’s 01749 Smoking Chips


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

If you want a rich, smoky flavor, try these unique woodchips by Jack Daniels. These woodchips are made out of Jack Daniel’s Old No-7 brand whiskey barrels and offer an oaky aroma that has a sweet rich whiskey flavor. These chips can be used for charcoal and gas grills or smokers. They will provide a very distinct flavor that’s perfect for ribs, red meat, and burgers. However, it can also work for chicken and pork shoulders.

Pros

  • Hint of Tennessee whiskey flavor
  • Made out of aging oak barrels
  • Can work for grills and smokers
  • Produces a rich smoky flavor

Cons

  • Must be replenished every forty-five minutes

Conclusion

These woodchips are perfect for the whiskey lover, but it also offers the type of classic oaky flavor that makes them a great choice for the grilling enthusiast who is looking for woodchips that produce a dense smoke. These chips are slow-burning and do not have to be soaked prior to use, although doing so will increase the burning time.

Cameron’s Wood Smoking Chips


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

These chips are easy to handle and portion out and come in a one-pint container for easy access and storage. Each container can provide up to thirty smoking sessions. The chips are made out of kiln-dried, raw timber that’s one hundred percent natural. These chips will ignite quickly, providing a delicate smoky flavor that’s rich and dense. They will work well for cheese, red meat, veggies, seafood, lamb, poultry, and pork.

Pros

  • Resealable container
  • Chips have been kiln-dried
  • Ignite quickly
  • Works with a wide variety of meats, veggies, and cheeses

Cons

  • Must be soaked in water for thirty minutes to one hour to prevent burning too quickly

Conclusion

These mesquite woodchips will produce a rich smoky flavor and work for a variety of meat types. The chips are made out of kiln-dried raw timber and should be soaked thoroughly prior to use to promote a longer burn time. Overall, if you’re looking for woodchips that offer a cleaner burn and a rich smoky flavor then hit that buy now button. Buyers will love how these versatile chips can improve the flavor of poultry, red meat, and pork, cheeses, veggies, and much more.

Western Premium BBQ Products BBQ Smoking Chips


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This variety pack of woodchips includes cherry, apple, peach, and maple woodchips. These woodchips can be used with electric smokers, gas grills, and charcoal grills. This variety pack also comes with a reusable smoker tray. You can use the woodchips in this package separately, or get a little creative and mix them together in order to create your own unique flavor. These chips can be used in a foil pouch or in a smoker tray. The included smoker tray works well for all grill types and electric smokers.

Pros

  • Includes four flavors
  • Can be used on all grill and smoker types
  • Low price
  • Can combine flavors for a unique flavor

Cons

  • Only includes woodchips that are good for poultry and pork

Conclusion

These flavor-packed woodchips can be used alone or combined for a unique smoky flavor. Like most types of woodchips, these should be soaked for thirty to sixty minutes in order to prevent them from burning too quickly on the grill or in the smoker. The ability to experiment with flavors is a huge selling point for both new smoking enthusiasts and seasoned ones. This package will also give you more bang for your buck and is reasonably priced.

Weber Wood Stephen Products 17138 Apple Chips


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This two-pound bag of apple woodchips by Weber Wood offers a subtle hint of sweetness, which makes them perfect for poultry and fish. These chips can be used alone or mixed with woodchips that offer a stronger flavor and aroma, such as oak or mesquite. To use, make a foil pouch and add one to two cups of woodchips, folding the pouch over and poking holes in the exterior. Using a dedicated smoker box is also a great choice.

Pros

  • Subtle sweet flavor
  • Two-pound bag
  • Low price
  • Can be mixed with other woodchips to balance flavor

Cons

  • Burn too quickly

Conclusion

These woodchips are a little on the thin side, so they tend to burn rather quickly.  If you don’t soak the chips prior to use then you may end up going through this two-pound bag at a rapid rate. Aside from the fact that the chips burn at a faster rate, they do provide the type of subtly sweet taste that many smoking enthusiasts love.

Zorestar Woodchips


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This is another popular variety pack that includes alder, oak, cherry, and apple woodchips, which can be used alone or mixed together to create a unique blend and flavor. These are one hundred percent natural woodchips, which are perfect for use on charcoal and gas grills, or in electric smokers. This is a six-pack of woodchips that come in packaging that’s ecofriendly. These wood chips can be used for red meat, poultry, pork, and fish. This is a very versatile set so you can take advantage of the different flavors at your next family cookout.

Pros

  • Includes four types of woodchips
  • Works for all types of grills and smokers
  • Woodchips can be mixed together or used alone
  • Made out of one hundred percent natural wood

Cons

  • Price

Conclusion

These woodchips will make a nice gift, or they can be the perfect set to take with you the next time you go camping. They work for any type of grill or smoker, and can provide a sweet or strong smoky flavor, depending on whether you mix the chips or use them alone. If you’re new to smoking then you can have a great time experimenting with different flavor combinations.

Western Perfect BBQ Smoking Wood Chips Variety Pack


Our Rating: (4/5)

This is a three-bag variety pack that includes mesquite, hickory, and apple woodchips. These chips will work for charcoal, electric, or gas grills and smokers. This package contains all the popular woodchip options that are perfect for your smoker or grill. These woodchips will work for poultry, pork, and red meat. The woodchips must be soaked for thirty minutes prior to use to prolong the burning life and prevent the woodchips from burning too quickly.

Pros

  • Contains three types of woodchips
  • Works for any type of grill
  • Perfect for smoking pork, poultry, and red meat
  • Five-pound bag

Cons

  • Chips may need to be broken up for smaller wood boxes

Conclusion

If you’re looking for more bang for your buck, then you’ll love the flavor variety that you’ll find in this set by Western Perfect. These woodchips can be used alone or mixed together. If you’re feeling a little creative you can combine different woodchip blends for unique aromas and flavors. These woodchips pack a lot of flavor, so you won’t be disappointed by the burn time, smoke produced, or the smoky infused flavor that it can provide to your favorite cuts of meat.

Wood chips for Smoking Comparison Buyer’s Guide

As you’ll soon find out, there are many different types of woodchips to choose from, each of which will add its own unique flavor and aroma. I’ll cover the different types of woodchips used, what foods they pair well with, and how you can mix up different combinations of woodchips or woodchips and charcoal, for a richer, fuller flavor.

While lump charcoal and charcoal briquettes work well in a meat smoker, once you add some woodchips you’ll find that they can add even more flavor to your favorite smoked meats. When you use woodchips, you should make the choice regarding what type based on what you’re cooking whether you want to smoke some fish, poultry, or meat. Pairing the correct woodchips to your dish will provide it with the right type of smoky flavor you’re looking for. Certain types of foods such as seafood and chicken, shrimp, and fish, tend to smoke better when lighter hardwoods are used. Softer woods such as cedar and pine aren’t a good choice for smoking since they’re bad for your smoker and certain foods.

Pairing your food with the right woodchips can have a huge impact on the flavor. Below, I’ve included some examples of the type of woodchips you should use, based on the type of food you want to smoke:

  • Oak: Game foul, pork, poultry
  • Hickory: Poultry, red meat, pork shoulders, ribs
  • Maple: Game foul, pork, poultry
  • Mesquite: Lamb, chicken, duck, red meat
  • Cherry: Ham, turkey, chicken
  • Alder: Fish
  • Apple: Pork, wild foul, chicken
  • Pecan: Ribs, roasts, briskets

Woodchip Types

Below, you’ll find a list of the most common woodchips that are used for smoking, what type of aroma and flavor they have to offer, and what kind of foods will benefit from each particular type of woodchip.

Oak Woodchips

These woodchips are a great choice for the beginner who has never used a smoker before. They’re used the most often and provide a medium smoky flavor that’s not overpowering, so it won’t impact the true flavors of veggies and meat.

Hickory Woodchips

These woodchips are also used often for a variety of meats. It provides a rich, yet distinct flavor. Because of this, if you use too much hickory you can cause your meats and veggies to have a bitter flavor. This is a very hearty wood that, when used correctly, can leave behind a savory and sweet flavor.

Maple Woodchips

These woodchips offer a mild, sweet flavor that’s perfect for a variety of meats and veggies. When used, these chips produce a mild, subtle smokiness.

Mesquite

Using mesquite can be one of the best ways to smoke meat. This is a denser wood, one that has a unique flavor and an intense aroma that many people often associate with cuisine from the southwest. I recommend using these woodchips mixed with charcoal or sparingly if used alone, due to its very powerful flavor and aroma.

Pecan

Obviously, these chips will offer a nutty, rich flavor. The chips can be very sweet. Because of this, you may want to mix it with another type of hardwood, or you can mix it in with lump charcoal. These chips will help the charcoal to provide more smoke and will provide just enough smoke to flavor your food. Pecan is also a great option to use if you’re grilling fruit or pork. While the flavor of the wood isn’t quite as versatile as oak, and it can be limiting in terms of what you can smoke with it, the light sweet flavor can really have an impact on your meats and veggies, but may be a wood that you only use occasionally.

Apple

Apple woodchips offer a mellow, sweet taste and a mild smoky flavor. The wood is very sweet, but its smoke can take much longer to penetrate meats, however, it a great choice for the beginner who is learning how to smoke ribs or pork, just be sure to give it a little extra smoking time.

Alder

These chips offer a mild smoky flavor and delicate aroma, so they’ll be a great choice if you want to try out new vegan grilling recipes. These chips can be mixed with pecan or apple in order to create a richer smoky flavor. these chips are perfect for smoking seafood and fish.

Cherry

Offering a fruity flavor, these chips will be a great choice if you want to smoke poultry, such as turkey or chicken. It provides a type of fruity, sweet smoky flavor that can add a tropical flair to any meat.

Mixing Woodchips

If you’re a beginner and you’ve never smoked meat before, then you’ll find that there are many options available concerning woodchip types and mixing possibilities. Once you taste how these chips can impact the flavor of your smoked foods, you’ll find yourself experimenting with different mixtures of woodchips. There are endless combinations to choose from. If you’re smoking poultry, then you can try mixing oak and apple chips to create a flavor that’s subtly sweet and dense. For a more southwestern feel, smoke your red meat using a combination of pecan and mesquite. The pecan offers a mild sweetness, while the mesquite provides a stronger smoky flavor.

Woodchips Tips

Using woodchips on your grill is pretty easy. The first step is finding a recipe you want to try, then choosing woodchips that will complement the natural flavor of the meats or veggies. When you smoke woodchips on a grill, you’ll want to use a woodchip smoker box. It will hold the chips while working to improve airflow, which will result in better distribution of smoke and a better burn.

  • Many beginners wonder whether not soaking the woodchips is a required step, but this is often a matter of personal preference. Some people believe that smoking the chips will slow down the burning process, while others feel that soaking the chips will only delay the process and cause the chips to smoker until they’ve finally dried out. Others will use a combination of soaked and dry chips. The dry chips will immediately begin to smoke, while the soaked chips will start smoking later on, once they have dried out. This can provide continuous smoke for the duration of the grilling process.
  • Once you’ve chosen the method you want to use, the recipe, the type of meat, and purchased the woodchips, then you’re ready to get grilling.
  • If you want to use the soaking method, then the chips should be soaked for a period of thirty minutes. If you’re cooking ribs, which have a very long cook time, then be sure you have enough soaked wood chips on hand that will last for the entire cook.
  • Use one to two handfuls of the chips and place them in the smoker chip box on your grill. Before you add the meat, make sure you wait for the chips to begin smoking. You can cook using indirect or direct grilling methods. If you’ve chosen the indirect method then make sure you add one to two more handfuls of chips every forty-five minutes.
  • If you’re new to the whole smoking process and you’re not sure you’ll enjoy the smoky flavor, then if you don’t want to purchase a smoker box you can use some foil instead. You’ll follow the same instructions to get the smoking process started, however, since you’re using foil and not a smoker box, you’ll want to fold the chips in a foil packet. Make sure you poke several holes in the packet in order to allow the smoke to flow out.

Final Thoughts

Adding woodchips to your grill can totally change how your food tastes, for the better. The best wood chips for smoking will offer a mild to rich smoky flavor and will burn slowly, to allow the meat, veggies, or fruit to be infused with the smoky flavor. I’ve included a wide range of woodchip types in my top seven list, so you should have no problem choosing a pack of woodchips for your next barbeque. Remember, the woodchips you choose should be properly paired with the food you want to smoke, for the best results.