Best Wood For Smoking Turkey – 6 Picks for Perfect Smoky Flavor

Every one loves having some roasted turkeys on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Its ultimate smoky flavor and crunchy texture, however, intrigue users to smoke it regularly during the year. In this regard, using the best wood for smoking turkey is as important as the meat itself.

Turkeys are a little different version of poultry compared to chicken and require a subtle arrangement of things. There is an unending list of the types of wood that you can utilize for turkey. It begins with Cherry and Apple and goes all the way to Pecan and Hickory. 

One’s personal preferences determine whether one likes light or an intense flavor. This guide aims to help you select an appropriate wood type for smoking turkeys besides suggesting some useful tips for a highly delicious turkey meal.

Let’s start out with the basics!

What Is The Best Wood For Smoking Turkey?

Best Wood For Smoking Turkey

The following are some amazing wood types that you can utilize in the process of smoking turkeys by using one of the best pellet smokers for a remarkable smoky taste and flavor.

1. Cherry

Cherry is undoubtedly the most relevant wood for smoking turkey. The distinguishing feature of cherry is that it does not overwhelm the original flavor of poultry besides adding an unforgettable sweet aroma to your food.

It makes the perfect choice for people who want to enjoy a perfect smoky texture coupled with the original taste and deliciousness of the meat. Additionally, using cherry wood to smoke turkey produces a fantastic combination of deep hues that further enhances the desirability. As a result, the smoked meat can win the appreciation of guests, as it does stand out from the rest.

Read Also: 8 Best Infrared Grills

2. Alder 

Alder is the second-best choice for smoking the bird. It is one of the wood types that are famous for its extremely lighter flavor. Yes, you heard it right! Consider trying it if you find Cherry’s flavor and taste to be somewhat intensified.

There are many advantages of using Alderwood as an alternate choice. Firstly, there are low chances of complete burning of the food as the wood burns slowly. Secondly, newbies can get the most out of smoked turkey if they use it to power the smoker.

In terms of flavor addition and overall taste of the food, you can expect a perfect combination of an absolute earthy aroma coupled with a natural taste.

3. Maple

The greatest advantage of using Maple wood is that it burns at a uniform pace that can help you with consistent taste throughout the cooked meat. It is another addition to the “light flavor segment” that does not alter the taste of turkeys intensively. Instead, you will notice a subtle aroma of perfect sweetness and irresistible flavor.

I don’t know why many people ignore this type of wood for smoking and grilling. It can get the job done even in the most difficult situations where you have to grill ribs, briskets, steaks, and other heavy stuff.

As far as smoking turkey is concerned, it adds a delicate, yet effective touch of flavor to the meat without altering the original taste. 

Are you new to grilling? Don’t worry, check out these best pellet smokers for beginners.

4. Apple

Applewood chunk outperforms many of its competitors in terms of the addition of sweet, mellow flavor that increases the deliciousness of the cooked meat. However, I would not recommend it to everyone without discussing the limits.

The addition of mellow flavor to the cooked turkey is a time-consuming process. Since turkey is one of the most delicate types of meat that dries out quickly, not everyone can obtain the desired output using Applewood.

If you want to add a natural aroma of applewood, you will have to pay attention to every aspect of the process in detail. You have to get the job done without over-smoking or drying the turkey. In short, temperature management is the key thing here that can decide the success of your pursuits.

So, if you, like me, are always concerned with maintaining the proper temperature during cooking, I highly recommend that you try using applewood for smoking turkey.

But, what if someone wants something more intense than apple or cherry wood? Alright, then you can go for the following options.

5. Pecan 

If you are looking for something sharper and more intense, you can go for pecan wood. Smoking turkey with this type of wood would give your cooked poultry a perfect layer of nuttiness.

Pecan wood would result in a sweeter and earthy flavor full of richness and aroma. That said, it is always a good idea to test smaller quantities of meat before you start smoking an entire turkey. Once the taste and aroma of the food intrigue you, you’re ready to move on to a fuller version of the dish. 

However, it may not work for people who do not like the intense earthy flavor. In that case, selecting cherry or applewood may work for you if you are one of them. 

We have reviewed: the 10 Best Indoor Smokeless Grills

6. Hickory

Last but not least, if you just want a heavily smoked turkey, hickory is another excellent wood choice. The reason why I did not mention it at the top of the list is that turkey is a delicate bird that requires a subtle addition of smoky flavor. It can burn or dry up quickly if you fail to take care of it properly.

On the other hand, hickory is known for its sharp, distinctive flavor which gives the meat a rich, smoked taste. If you want the addition of a stronger and more intense smoky flavor, you can go for hickory. 

However, you will have to be careful with the amount of wood you use in the process. Make sure your temperature management is maximizing efficiency and delivering the desired results by maintaining an ideal balance.

Once you master the skill of smoking turkey on hickory, you will enjoy the unprecedented taste it brings to the dish.

The Best Wood For Smoking Turkey

Let’s discuss some tips that can help you smoke turkeys professionally.  

Things to Consider for Effective Turkey Smoking!

Many things can help you obtain the desired results in terms of smoking turkeys. However, the following two things are the most important ones that you should not forget:

Utilizing Required Accessories 

The biggest mistake people make during the process is that they do not use the proper accessories and tools that help a lot. For instance, you should have a high-end thermometer that would help you maintain the temperature within the range. This will help in the prevention of drying out or complete burnout of the bird.

As I have already mentioned, smoking turkeys is one of the most delicate jobs that has several risks attached. Therefore, you cannot deny the importance of things such as temperature probes, steel skewers, and a dependable combination of a set of wooden spatulas.

Read Also: 6 Tips For Grilling Fish

Prefer Fresh Poultry

Another thing that can largely affect the performance of turkey smoking is the quality of the meat. Try avoiding frozen meat from a supermarket. Instead, you can visit your local butcher shop to get the freshest turkey available.

You will notice a significant difference in the taste and flavor of the meat besides the ease of cooking that meat. With that said frozen meat is only a viable choice if you don’t have time to do all the shopping from the butcher.  


The type of wood you use for smoking directly impacts the taste and flavor of cooked meat. To that end, it is worth the time and effort to select the best wood for smoking turkey.

Cherries, alder, apple, and maple are pleasant choices for people who like a mild flavor, while pecan and hickory fit the bill for those who like a more intense smokier flavor.

Rate this post