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  • Writer's pictureKanning Kathy

Using Wood Chips When Grilling

How to Determine Which Chips to Use

There’s nothing quite like grilling during the warm months. When you choose to grill with wood chips, you can infuse the meat with delicious flavors that you can’t get otherwise. While you can use any type of wood chip when grilling, some chips go better with particular types of meat. Use the following combinations to get the best flavor possible when cooking meat on your grill.


When beef is your meat of choice, you may want to use either mesquite, oak or cherry wood chips to give it a unique flavor your friends and family will love. Mesquite is a great choice if you have Tex-Mex foods on your menu. Cherry wood will add a fruity flavor to your meat with just a hint of tartness.


Chicken is a more delicate meat. Using subtle flavored chips will ensure you donít overpower the meat itself. Apricot, hickory, maple and pecan are good choices when chicken is on the grill. Use apricot or maple to add a little sweetness to your meat. This will allow you to reduce the sugar-laden condiments you normally use. If you like a little nutty taste, pecan wood chips will provide that undertone.


Speaking of pecan wood chips, they are also great to use when you have a duck on the grill. Many people don't consider cooking duck much less tossing it on the grill. You won't be disappointed when you have grilled duck to serve for dinner.


Hickory wood chips are universal as they can be used with any types of meat. You can't go wrong when pairing hickory wood chips with pork. Whether you're grilling pork ribs, ham steaks or pork chops, hickory is the best choice. You can add a few apple, or even apricot, wood chips if you like a slightly sweet and fruity taste with your pork.


It used to be that lamb was a common grilled dish but it isn't served as often as it once was. Lamb can be an expensive cut of meat, but there's nothing to compare it with. When choosing to grill lamb, use cherry wood chips. The fruity, tartness provided by cherry wood chips is out of this world.

Fish and Seafood

More and more people are choosing to grill seafood now that there are special pans or grates to grill them on. Fish and seafood is best paired with alder, apple, maple or oak wood chips. Alder will bring out the natural flavors of the seafood while apple will enhance the flavor of the fish.


Turkey may be most often prepared at Thanksgiving but there is no reason not to enjoy it throughout the year. Use pecan wood chips when you grill turkey as it will add a nutty flavor to the meat.

Wood chips for grilling are available to purchase at most discount or hardware stores. You can also purchase them from online sources which may have a wider variety to choose from. When considering how much to buy, keep in mind that hardwood chips will last longer than softer woods.

No matter what meat you choose to use, getting different flavors from wood chips is an easy thing to do. Remember to soak and drain the wood chips prior to adding them to the smoker box on your grill.


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