There’s an old saying “If you don’t know where to start, go back to the beginning.” When it comes to grilling, the same can be said. Here is a great basic plank flavor pairing guide for those of you just getting started with planking and asking the question, “What wood pairs best with my food?”.

How to Pair Food with Wood: Plank Flavor Pairing Guide

Our desire to combine fire, wood, and food together is one of our most basic instincts. Simple and ancient, these techniques work to create a taste that is bold and reminiscent of our rugged pasts. The travelers, explorers, and adventurers will all recognize that instinct. We help to make it as easy as listening to your gut feeling.

  • Cedar: Known for its classic pairing with salmon. Cedar also pairs well with vegetables, soft cheeses with a rind, pork chops, and tofu. A spicy and fragrant smoke flavor that finds a place in your stomach as well as your heart. Read more about the Cedar Wood Flavor Profile.
  • Cherry: Slightly on the sweeter end, Cherry pairs well with chicken, turkey, peaches, and vegetables. Cherry offers a sweet fruity flavor that keeps on kicking.
  • Hickory: Popular in smoking for its strong and bold flavor. Hickory pairs especially well with beef, lamb, wild game, and bacon.
  • Maple: With a subtle and balanced flavor, Maple pairs especially well with pork. Wrap whatever you’re grilling in bacon or prosciutto and use a Maple plank for delicious and sweet smoke flavor. Pizza, pineapple, and veggies are also great pairings for Maple planks.
  • Red Oak: Medium strength flavor, Red Oak is the most versatile of the grilling woods. It goes well with beef, pork, lamb, wild game, or fish.
  • Alder: With its delicate earthy flavor, Alder is the perfect pairing for white fish like halibut, seafood in general, vegetables, and fruit. Read more about the Alder Wood Flavor Profile.

In the end, go with your instinct. Cooking is all about making what you like. Consider these guidelines your jumping off point and go from there. 

You might also like our Wine & Wood Flavor Pairing Guide.

Find out which wines pair best with your
favorite grilling plank flavor.