The 10 Best Wood Chips
This wiki has been updated 22 times since it was first published in January of 2016. Love that smoky taste on your barbecued meats and veggies? Next time you're planning a cookout, try a bag of these wood chips or smoking pellets to elevate your food and imbue it with a beautiful smoke ring. When used with a good smoker, they'll enhance whatever you're grilling, from fish to steak, with flavors like apple, hickory, mesquite, and even bourbon, whiskey, or wine. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
July 08, 2020:
Removed the Out Walkabout New Zealand Gourmet because of availability issues. Removed the Smokehouse Products Assorted because they are more like splinters than chips. Added the Oklahoma Joe's Smoker Bag and the Western Premium 78077.
If you're looking to use chips for smoking, they can be used well with any gas, electric, and charcoal grill. Of course, if you have an offset grill, you should be using chunks or logs. For almost everything, I stick to hickory like in the Oklahoma Joe's Smoker Bag. I have found its flavor characteristics to match well with pork, beef, poultry, and vegetables. I like a robust but not overpowering smokiness and that is exactly what hickory imparts. The mesquite found in the Weber Mesquite is a fine wood to use but only on large cuts of red meat where the very strong smoke produced by mesquite won't completely take over. In my opinion, the strength of its smoke is definitely not suited for poultry or fish. For that, you can use one of the fruit woods included in the Western Prime Variety Pack.
You should only soak your chips if you're placing them directly on coals. If you're using a smoker box or a tin foil pouch, there is no need to soak them since they're not exposed to direct fire and soaking them would only increase the time it takes them to get up to temperature to produce smoke.