4 Best Woods For Smoking Brisket: Their Flavor, Pros, Cons & More

Smoking meat lovers will know that choosing the right wood makes all the difference when it comes to making the perfect melt-in-your-mouth beef brisket.

The type of wood you use to smoke your dinner (or breakfast, not judging) has a huge impact on the aroma and flavor of the meat. You could say that wood is the essential element to a solid barbecue. 

Multiple types of woods are generally used for brisket, each one of which possesses a mixture of flavors and scents.

So, I’ve gathered everything up into one conclusive guide so you can decide which is the best wood for you.


Types Of Wood For Smoking Brisket 

As mentioned earlier, the type of wood chosen to smoke brisket matters a lot.

The right wood will properly enhance the flavors and make the beef tender enough without over-smoking it and drying it out.

On the other hand, if you use the wrong wood, the brisket will turn out into a disappointingly chewy and dry slab of meat.

Other factors that count are the temperature and smoke duration.

If you exceed the duration too much or smoke your brisket at a very high temperature, you might end up overcooking it or even burning it on the outside and leaving it raw on the inside.

Apple Wood

best woods for smoking brisket

Applewood is popularly known to give off a mild flavor to your brisket compared to other woods. You will also notice that using applewood will produce a subtly sweet and fruity taste.

For this reason, smoking less flavorful meats like chicken or turkey with applewood is quite popular.

However, applewood can also be put into use for smoking beef briskets.

It helps retain the natural flavors of brisket while adding a very subtle smoky flavor.

And, since applewood forms a heavy, thick smoke, it is much quicker for the smoke to burrow deeper into the meat and transmit its sweet, fruity tones.

Applewood is also a wonderful asset to your bbq as a secondary wood.

When you’re using a few of the more conventional woods for smoking your brisket, incorporating apple wood to the combination will reduce the pungent smoke taste and provide the brisket with a bit more sweetness on the side.

Hickory Wood

hickory wood for smoking brisket

Hickory is amongst the most popular and also the best woods used for smoking brisket.

It produces a powerful smoke that permeates the meat efficiently, delivering the wood’s trademark smokiness, moderately nutty, and rich taste.

Hickory’s renowned smoky fragrance lends the meat taste that is often compared to bacon.

This does not just make it an exceptional choice when smoking pork parts, but that also makes it a strong contender for smoking stubborn cuts of beef like brisket, which almost always demand a little assistance throughout its cooking time.

When using hickory wood to smoke your beef brisket, it’s crucial to be cautious and use moderate ratios and cooking durations.

Oak Wood

woods for smoking brisket

This slow-burning wood is the go-to for both newbies and experts, and that it’s exceptionally effective for briskets.

Smoking using oak wood produces a mild taste and texture with a smoky scent that goes exceptionally well with stubborn pieces like brisket.

Oak burns very slowly, which also makes it possible to smoke at high temperatures, however, it’s recommended that you cook with it at low temperatures to avoid creating a bitter mess.

Oak is preferred for beginners due to its mellow smokey taste.

If you want to smoke a range of foods, you should definitely take advantage of oak wood’s adaptability.

Mesquite Wood

best wood for smoking brisket

Mesquite is another strong contender since it burns very quickly, generates a lot of smoke, and is known to have a unique and strong flavor on darker meats.

If you keep the brisket on for too long or use too much wood during any moment through the smoking process, the unique taste will dominate your brisket and obscure the natural taste of the brisket.

I recommend using mesquite with a combination of other woods such as applewood and oak to create a more balanced blend of flavors


Any true meat lover will know that any good brisket has to be tenderized and juicy.

Brisket can be done well and really well.

It all comes down to a few factors that make all the difference, from the wood used to smoke it and the smoking method, including temperature and cooking time.

All it takes is a little practice and some advice. So, are you ready to make the best brisket you’ve ever had?

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