Most electric smokers look similar from the inside. In the bottom of the smoker, you can find a heating element, a water or grease pan, and wood chip tray. While the heating element heats up, it heats the wood chips for smoking and they start to produce smoke and eventually give meat that special taste and flavor.
Today I want to show you what makes wood chips so important, how you can change the flavor or your meat using only flavored wood chips for the electric smoker and what you have to know about wood chips for smoking meat before you decide to buy them.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out how does an electric smoker work which means that you are aware of the role smoking chips have in the smoker. Wood chips for smoking are one of the most important parts of electric smokers because they give you that wanted smoke in the chamber.
Where to buy wood chips for smoking?
The great thing about wood chips is that you don’t have to think hard to figure out where to buy wood chips for smoking. They are highly available in almost every specialized store, even the ones that aren’t selling smokers because wood chips for smoking can be used for other purposes, but that is not a part of my interest at the moment.
Even though you can buy it almost everywhere I would suggest you don’t buy them like that. Wood chips for smoking have to be stored properly or they won’t provide you a good amount of smoke or even flavor you want. That is why it is far better to buy them in stores that are respectable and you know that they have good quality merchandise.
A great idea is to buy smoking chips where you bought your smoker because you will know that the store is OK.
If you aren’t a fan of going to the store just for a bag of smoking chips like me then I would suggest you buy them online. Big stores like Amazon or Home Depot will offer you free shipping with the purchase and they will deliver the smoking chips directly at your door.
Types of wood chips for smoking on the market
The great thing about the wood chips in the smokers is that they come in a different type, which means you can use one taste when you are smoking chicken and the other when you are smoking pork butts. Also, not every wood smokes the same which gives you the opportunity to smoke a meat with mild or with strong smoke flavor. All that depends on the wood chips for smoking you plan to use.
Basically, there are not best smoking chips. You can’t go wrong if you use one kind of smoking chips all the time with all the types of meat, but there are some smoking chips that work better with a special type of meat and that is what I will show you in this chapter.
Due to that, I have separated best wood chips for smoking by the most popular flavors on the market so you can see what are the types of wood chips for electric smokers:
Cherry Wood Chips For Smoking
Cherry is a fruit with a special taste because you can characterize it as sweet and sour taste, all combined together, so you can assume that the cherry wood chips will give similar flavor to the meat. It is one of the most popular wood chips for smoking because it works well with absolutely everything you can smoke. That means that the flavor is mild and it won’t change the taste of the meat which is pretty important in special recipes.
Oak Smoking Chips
Oak is one of the most common wood and we all have at least one wooden furniture made from oak. But, when it comes to smoking, oak is not so common, which is a shame. It is a good quality wood which lives well-smoked meat after smoking. That is why it is recommended to use with dark meat like lamb or beef. If you use it with poultry probably won’t be bad, but you will taste the smoke more.
Maple Wood Chips
Maple has that well-known sweet taste and the most famous maple product is the maple syrup. People who are fans of that syrup will also be fans of maple wood chips. That sweet taste works wonders with chicken and other poultry because their meat is light. But, you would be surprised when you hear that it also works great with more serious meat like ham.
Peach Wood Chips
Peach is actually pretty strong flavor which you can assume if you have ever drunk peach tea or used peach shampoo. That is why it works good with poultry and if you love that fruity taste then you will love peach wood chips. I am not a fan of peach so I am not using peach wood chips while smoking.
Pecan Chips For Smoking
Pecan is a species of hickory which means it smokes similar to it, but it is not as strong as hickory. Hickory can give a strong flavor to the meat so you mustn’t use it too much, but pecan has a much weaker taste. That is why you can use it with most meat and you don’t have to be careful with dosing.
Alder Smoking Chips
Alder is a tree which is common for NW United States of America where people are using it for a long time. It is one of the first wood chips for smoking used to smoke salmon so you can assume it goes well with fish. Just like most types of fish, alder smoking chips also work great with light meat like poultry.
Apple Wood Chips
Apple is used in cooking for a long time so you can assume that apple wood chips for smoking are a must-have for every smoking enthusiast. The apple wood chips are mild but you can taste the sweetness when you eat meat prepared with apple wood chips. There is one thing you have to know; apple will turn chicken skin dark brown and that is not something you need to worry about.
Mesquite Wood Chips
Mesquite is one of the most popular wood chips, especially for grilling but you have to know how to work with it because it burns fast so it is not for long smoking or grilling processes. Also, it gives the strongest flavor so if you have to use it, use it only during fast smoking.
Orange Wood Chips
Like any fruit, orange is a mild wood chip used for smoking and it works well on any type of meat. It won’t change the taste too much but it will give it a mild smoky flavor. Orange is a very common fruit used in cooking meat which means that you can easily get used to that.
Walnut Wood Chips
Walnut wood chips are interesting smoking chips because they produce strong and heavy flavor. If you don’t want the walnut wood chips to take over the entire flavor you should combine them with milder wood chips because they will lower the flavor of walnut chips.
Other Wood Chips For Smoking
There are many more smoking chips you can use within your smoker and I have introduced you to the most popular ones. Here are some other smoking chips you can use: beech, avocado, olive, persimmon, willow, bay, carrotwood, chestnut, guava, fig…
Just like there are good wood chips, you have to be aware that there are bad wood chips you mustn’t use during smoking or grilling and some of them are cypress, sycamore, elm, pine, redwood, and eucalyptus.