When it comes to choosing a good smoking wood for chicken, most people tend to lean toward wood from fruit trees (Apple and Cherry are excellent choices).
Some other woods that pair well with and complement smoked chicken are:
- Maple: Contributes a sweeter flavor
- Hickory: The favored species in the southern states
- Oak: Preferred in European countries like Germany and the UK
It’s all about the right smoking technique
In my opinion, it’s not so much about the type of wood you use, but more about the technique and how you use it.
The key to smoking successfully is having enough exposure to wood smoke to provide adequate flavor. This can be achieved by using chips in a gas or electric smoker. If operated correctly, a charcoal grill can also make an excellent smoker.
Keep an eye on the temperature
Cooking low and slow is also key. I prefer never to exceed a temperature of 280°F when I smoke anything and although it’s torturous, I always resist the urge to lift the lid and peek at my goods.
Opening a smoker during the cooking process lets out both precious heat and flavorful smoke.
If you are more prone to using traditional methods like pit smokers, I would recommend using something like smoking blocks. These can be used to both provide flavor and heat as a fuel source, they can also add an eye catching, smoky hue to lighter colored items like chicken. • Using Wood instead of Charcoal
So fire up that smoker, choose a wood you think sounds tasty, and get smoking.
Matt worked his first kitchen job in the country of Malta at the age of 15. He has worked as a restaurant Chef in Arizona, Maine, Spain, the UK, Oregon and finally North Idaho. Now the Executive Chef at Wildwood Grilling, he thoroughly enjoys his day job.