10 Best Wood Chips For Electric Smoker (+What Not To Use) 

wood chips tray

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Whether you’re a seasoned smoker or just getting started, there’s no denying that wood chips are a major part of your smoking experience.

Wood chips enhance the flavor of your food. The flavor will vary depending on the type of chips used.

While making some of those treats at home with your electric smoker in your outdoor kitchen or backyard is relatively simple, choosing the right type of wood chips for your meat might be tricky.

The thing is, there are numerous types of wood chips on the market. Whether you’re thinking about using them as flavoring agents or as an alternative fuel source to charcoal, there are options for the best wood chips for electric smoker and tips to consider in this article!

Benefits of using wood chips with electric smokers

Wood chips can add flavor to your meats, poultry, and even fish in your electric smoker.

Wood chips provide a lot of smokey flavors, a key component of many recipes. Wood chips also allow you to add more wood smoke flavor to your food than you would with briquettes alone.

The other benefit of using wood chips with an electric smoker is that they are easy on your budget! They’re cheaper than liquid smoke or other methods of flavoring food because they don’t require additional ingredients or tools.

There are 4 types of wood for smoking: Wood chips, wood chunks, wood pellets, and logs.

My top pick for the best electric smoker & wood chips

I’ll start by saying that I’m a big fan of electric smokers and always looking for the best electric smoker.

That said, there are many options out there, and it’s not always easy to know where to start!

So I’ve researched and put together my top picks for the best electric smoker & wood chips. These are some of my favorite options that I’ve found so far:

My top Pick

Masterbuilt 30-Inch Digital Electric Smoker

The Masterbuilt electric smoker has 4 chrome-coated cooking racks that can hold up to 6 chickens, 2 turkeys, or 4 racks of ribs.

The patented side wood chip loader allows you to experiment with flavor without opening the door, and the electronic controls give you complete temperature control throughout the cooking process.

My top Pick

Zorestar Wood Chips for Smokers

Zorestar smoking chips are all natural and don’t have any chemicals or added ingredients. Also, the packaging is good for the environment because it can be recycled or used as fire starters. All the bags are made of paper and tied with cotton string, which is recycled!

10 Best wood chips for electric smoker

Whether you’re looking for the best wood chips for electric smokers or are simply curious about them, we’ve got you covered with this list of the 10 best wood chips for your electric smoker:

  • Apple wood chips
  • Cherry wood chips
  • Peach wood chips
  • Orange wood chips
  • Hickory wood chips
  • Pecan wood chips
  • Mesquite wood chips
  • Alder wood chips
  • Maple wood chips
  • Post oak wood chips

Let’s look at each type of wood chip in detail to see what smoky flavor it produces and what meat goes well with it!

1. Hickory wood chips

Hickory wood chips are in the same family as pecan but have a distinct flavor. Hickory woodchips have a strong flavor that is more assertive than pecan.

They also have less sweet flavor than pecan. The smoky flavors produced by hickory woodchips are straightforward—they’re not subtle, but they’re also not too powerful or empowering.

If you’re looking for something that impacts your palate, consider using hickory!

Best for poultry, beef, pork, game, and cheese.

2. Pecan wood chips

Pecan produces a stronger and sweeter flavor and aroma than oak, with mild smoke and a nutty flavor similar to hickory.

Pecan pairs well with any type of meat or fish with a medium burn time. In addition to imparting color and flavor, it produces beautiful smoke rings outside the smoked food.

Best for: poultry, beef, pork, lamb, and wild game.

3. Mesquite wood chips

Mesquite has a rather strong flavor but creates a richer and more distinct flavor than any other wood. As mesquite quickly produces a strong flavor, you should combine it with another type of wood chip, such as post oak, to blend the flavors.

Best for brisket, steak, pork, and lamb.

4. Apple wood chips

Apple wood chips are a great choice for those who cook for children and want to add a light, easygoing smoke to their dishes. They have a mild and sweet flavor, complementing any dish with additional sweetness.

Apple wood chips are simple to smoke and have a long burn time. They can be used alone or with other smoking woods such as oak or hickory for red meats!

Best for fish, poultry, game birds, and pork (especially bacon).

5. Cherry wood chips

Cherry wood chips are a special kind of wood that give your dish an excellent mahogany color on the outside that you won’t get from other kinds of wood. If you want to give your dish a fantastic appearance and presentation, cherry wood chips are the way to go!

If you want more than just color, mix your cherry wood with another type of wood before cooking them, as cherry only adds a very light smoky flavor to your dish.

Best for pork, lamb, beef, duck, and other wild game meats.

6. Peach wood chips

Peach wood chips are an excellent smoking alternative to cherry and apple wood. They smoke well with a medium burn time and add a mild, sweet aroma to your dish. Peachwood is very nice on white meats.

Best for pork, fish, and vegetables.

7. Orange wood chips

Orange wood chips are your best bet when you want fruit wood chips that are slightly different from the rest.

It has all the mild, slightly sweet taste of other fruitwoods, but it also gives off a slightly citrusy flavor that you don’t get from other fruit wood chips.

Orangewood gives off a slight citrusy smell when it burns. The color is another thing that makes orange smoking wood stand out. Due to its light color, orangewood gives food a golden yellow color.

Orange burns steadily, like most fruitwoods, but not as long as oak and other hardwoods.

Best for any meat.

8. Alder wood chips

Alder wood chips are made from the bark of a delicious tree found in the northern hemisphere.

Alder wood chips produce a sweet, earthy aroma and a delicate, smooth flavor that is ideal for deepening your favorite recipes.

Best for fish, vegetables, chicken, and poultry.

9. Maple wood chips

Maple wood chips are a great choice when you’re looking to add a little sweetness to your smoking flavors. They’re mild and sweet and blend well with alder, oak, and apple woods. Maple wood chips are ideal for smoking meats like pork and poultry.

Best for poultry, turkey, chicken, duck, and quail.

10. Post oak wood chips

Post Oak wood chips are ideal for smoking brisket in the Texas style. They’ll provide consistent heat and a slightly spicy smoke flavor to your food. Due to their distinct flavor, they pair well with larger cuts of beef, such as brisket, beef ribs, and lamb.

They’re also not overpowering if you’re using a clean fire, which is best suited if you want to ensure your meat is cooked to perfection!

Best for chicken, brisket, ribs, and lamb.

What kind of wood chips should not be used for smoking food?

not to use these wood chips

When smoking food, it’s critical to use the right wood chips. The wrong type of wood can ruin your food and give you headaches.

Avoid using Eastern Cedar, Cypress, Elm, Eucalyptus, Safflower, Liquid Amber, Pine, Redwood, Fir, Spruce, or Sycamore at all costs because they are too resinous and will cause flare-ups and impart an odd smoky flavor.

Softwoods, such as pine and cedar, are also bad for smoking food due to their higher sap content.

Do you need to soak wood chips for smoking? 

soaked wood chips

There are many different opinions on this topic. Some say that soaking wood chips is a good idea, while others say that it’s not necessary at all.

 Wet wood chips take longer to start smoking; over time, they produce more gray, dirty smoke than dry wood chips. Even though dry wood chips burn more quickly at the start, the smoke that comes out over time is thin and clean.

You can watch a youtube video below to learn more about this topic:


How often to add wood chips to an electric smoker?

Wood chips can be added anytime during the smoking process, but most people recommend adding them every 30 minutes when smoking meat.

You should add wood chips every 2 or 3 hours when you slow-smoke your food. If you keep the temperature of your smoker high, you’ll have to add wood chips every 15 minutes.

A wood chip tray is the best way to add wood chips to an electric smoker. So, you don’t have to open the door to get to the cooking chamber.

What wood gives the most smoke flavor?

Hickory chips are a great choice when you’re smoking beef or pork low and slow. The smoke will have a deep, rich flavor that makes the meat taste like it’s been smoked for days. Hickory chips have a higher concentration of tannins than other woods, which gives a dark color and helps seal in the juices.

Mesquite chips are another good option for a strong smoke flavor while not as long-lasting as hickory chips. Mesquite chips have a strong flavor that can quickly get bitter.

How many wood chips to use in an electric smoker?

A good rule of thumb is to use approximately 4 cups of chips every 3-5 hours of smoking.

You can always adjust this amount based on your personal preference—but this will depend on the thickness and size of your wood chip pile and how much you like your food to be smokey.

Final Thoughts

This is the end of the blog. Before you go, here are a few suggestions for great wood chips to smoke with: hickory, pecan, applewood, and cherry. Although there are plenty of other options, these are all great for beginners.

Finally, remember not to use green wood or any kind of softwood for this purpose. They’ll just cause your meat to burn up and be inedible. Enjoy!

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