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The Best Wood for Smoking Salmon

The Best Wood for Smoking Salmon

By smoking your meat over some firewood, you are going to get a great combination of natural flavors from both the meat and the wood. Depending on the type of wood you use, the natural flavoring could differ from one to the next.

Salmon is a popular type of fish to smoke over an open flame, and some wood works better than others. In this article, we will break down the best options to smoke salmon over, as well as what size of wood you can use.

Best Wood for Smoking Salmon

Beech Wood

Beechwood comes from a European species of trees that can live up to 300 years old! It can also be found in America, both of which come with properties that make them unique.

Normally Beechwood is used to make pieces of furniture such as armchairs, cabinets, and even musical instruments! It might not be commonly used in grilling, but it can be.

Smoking salmon over some beech wood will infuse it with a mild, nutty flavor. Not that overpowering, so for those who like the more subtle smoky tastes, beech wood is probably the best option to use when smoking salmon.


Alder Wood is a type of birch tree with 35 species in total. It is most often used in furniture making, giving the furniture a red undertone.

This is not the most common wood to use when woodworking or while smoking meat, but Alder is good for both!

This gentle type of hardwood will add a mild bit of smokiness to the salmon, even more than beechwood ever would be able to do.

Those who prefer moderate to rich smokiness infused with their salmon will want to steer clear of this. Do not worry, there are plenty of other stronger options on this list!


One of the most common woods used in Oakwood, with there are more than 60 types of trees in just the United States.

It is used in furniture, floors, and other household items, and just homemaking, but is also a popular choice for grillers to smoke their meat with.

Smoking salmon over oakwood is going to give in a moderate to the slightly rich smoky flavor.

It’s not going to be so strong that it is overpowering the natural taste of the salmon, but it’s strong enough that you are going to notice the taste.


The apple tree is used for not only the apple fruit but can also be used for their wood. However, their more common use is specifically that they produce apples because apple trees are on the small side, with the trees growing in a twisted manner.

Grilling or smoking salmon over apple wood is going to give you that perfect blend of fruity, sweet, and smoky.

You will also notice the faint taste of citrus infused with your salmon, which will mix well with the natural flavors of the fish.


Cherry comes from the Black Cherry Fruit Tree, which is not the tree we typically get the fruit from.

Instead, the Black Cherry Fruit Tree is mostly used for its light pink to reddish brown wood. It’s often used to make furniture, kitchen accessories, flooring, cabinets, and to grill food!

Smoking salmon over cherry wood is going to infuse it with a mildly sweet flavor that can also turn your fish a mahogany color. So, you get a mild sweet taste and a piece of salmon that is a lovely deep red? Sign me up!


This type of hardwood comes from the Black Walnut tree. It can come in a variety of colors, the most common being chocolate brown.

Most commonly, it is used to make furniture, floors, and cabinets. You may not have heard much about walnut wood being used, and one reason for this is that it is a very expensive wood. Not every average person can afford walnut wood!

When you smoke salmon over walnut wood, it will infuse your salmon with a rich and powerful smoke flavor, one that might knock your socks off!

If too much of it is used, it can make your salmon on the bitter side, so proceed with caution if you decide to use walnut wood.

Size of Wood

For smoking wood, you discover that there are four different sizes you can use, each coming with its own strong and weak points. These include:

  • Wood in the shape of pellets is specifically designed for pellet grills, so if you have a pellet grill, this is probably the best and only option for you.
  • Splits are in the typical split log shape, and when using this size of wood, it ensures your meat will cook for hours. Best if the piece of meat is a larger cut.
  • Wood chunks are exactly as they sound. Chunks of wood that have been cut up and like split wood will keep the fire burning for a while. Also good for large cuts of meat.
  • Wood chips are smaller pieces of wood and do not burn as long as the other options on this list. They are really good for smaller cuts of meat and poultry, and fish.

These four options are the main sizes you can get wood in. Always practice safety when cooking with an open flame. Nobody likes forest fires! This includes Smokey the Bear and everyone else on the planet.

Final Thoughts

Well, it looks like that is a wrap for all your barbeque lovers out there. Now you know the best types of wood you can smoke your salmon over and what size of wood you need to use as well.

If you are unsure of what type of wood to still use after this guide, then consider trying them all out.

Hey, sometimes you will not know what you prefer until you have tried all of them. The same goes for trying to figure out what size of wood you would prefer to use during the smoking process.

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