What Wood To Smoke Turkey

Smoking is the process of cooking food by exposing it to the smoke from burning or smoldering wood. The term can refer to grilling, baking, roasting, braising, barbecuing and more. But what about smoking turkey? Is there an ideal type of wood for that endeavor?

The answer is yes! There are many types of woods available and they all have their own unique flavor profile which will determine the kind of flavor you want your smoked bird to have. This article will offer advice on the best types of wood for smoking turkey depending on what sort of flavor you desire in your finished product.

what wood to smoke turkey


Smoking a turkey with applewood is an easy and delicious choice. It has a mild flavor which means it won’t overwhelm the other flavors in your bird, so it’s perfect for smoking any type of meat. Plus, if you’re not currently using applewood before, this will be a great opportunity to try something new.


Maple creates a lighter smoke than other woods, so it’s perfect for those who are sensitive to strong scents. It has very light flavors which makes it ideal for smoking seafood or light meats like poultry. It also pairs well with other sweeter fruits like oranges or peaches.

Maple syrup is also derived from maple trees! So if you need some on your turkey this Thanksgiving, you’re already halfway there.

Citrus woods (orange, grapefruit, lemon)

Lemons and oranges are great for smoking meat because the citrus acts as a mild preservative to keep your food moist even after it’s been cooked. It also adds a nice flavor without overshadowing the other ingredients in your bird like applewood might. Plus, they’re abundant in your grocery store!

Remember to only use these types of wood for their intended purpose. Using just any random type of wood can have some detrimental effects on your food. For example, fruitwoods are not good choices for smoking meat because their low density and high water content won’t produce as much smoke.

Cherry Wood

Cherry wood has a strong sweet flavor which is perfect for smoking poultry. It’s also great for lighter meats like fish because it doesn’t have very heavy flavors to compete with the meat. However, you should keep in mind that cherry will produce more ash, so be prepared to use an extra clean grill grate when using this kind of wood. 


Hickory wood is one of the most popular woods people use to smoke their food with. It’s also great for smoking turkey because it has a strong spicy smoky flavor that will give your meat a nice kick! Just make sure you use it sparingly if you don’t want your bird to be too overpowering.


This wood is a popular choice for smoking meat because it’s abundant in the United States and has a strong flavor. It also gives a nice smoky flavor to your bird that won’t be too intense or overpowering. However, remember that mesquite is rich in sap which can cause flare-ups if you’re not careful. And as with other heavy smoky woods, it can leave a bitter taste if you use too much.

In summary, smoking a turkey is an excellent way to prepare your bird for the holidays! However, keep in mind that there are certain types of wood that will produce more smoke or create a stronger flavor than others, so make sure to use the appropriate kind for what you’re cooking. Good luck and happy smoking!

Pecan Wood

Pecan wood is excellent for smoking poultry. The flavor of pecan wood tastes light and delicious, but also smoky. The flavor of the pecan wood works very well with poultry because it’s a lighter meat. You can use other heavier woods to smoke foods like beef or pork, but you’ll have a stronger flavored turkey if you use a lighter type of wood.

A few other things to consider when using pecan wood are that it gives off less smoke than some other types of wood, but it’s still potent enough to give you a deep smoky taste without being too overpowering. It also burns better than other woods because the oils from the nut help preserve the wood and make it burn better.

Conclusion on What Wood To Smoke Turkey

The type of wood you use when smoking your turkey will depend on the flavor profile that you’re looking for. If you want a light, slightly sweet taste then applewood is your best bet because it’s made from fruitwoods and has a low density with high water content which produces less smoke than other woods. However, if spicy, smoky flavors are more up your alley then mesquite or hickory would be better choices because they have stronger flavors that won’t overpower the meat in your bird. In addition to these factors, remember to only use certain types of wood for their intended purpose so as not to ruin any food by burning it too much or adding an unpleasant bitter taste due to sap from trees like mesquite. Happy Thanksgiving!

Check out these articles on smoked turkey:

How To Get Crispy Skin on Smoked Turkey

What To Serve With Smoked Turkey

How Long Does Smoked Turkey Last

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