Best Wood To Smoke Turkey | Enhancing The Turkey Flavors!

best wood for smoking turkey

Turkey, the queen of every barbecue party, needs to be rich, soft, and flavorful to melt in our mouth and make us say, YUMMM!!! But do you know what makes it so delicious besides the obvious efforts of the chef and the ingredients? It’s the wood that you use! Not any random wood will make the real flavors of Turkey pop out! Hence know what the best wood to smoke turkey is!

If you’re planning to host a barbecue party and desire to make it as good as your grandpa’s, then you need careful planning! Turkey is at the top of our list when hosting a barbecue party and hence you need to avoid the most common mistakes that other people commit! Like randomly choosing wood to smoke Turkey! 

Our dear Turkey here will want a perfect wood to be smoked on and that’s what most people forget! We all are well aware of Mesquite and the rich flavors it adds to our red meat but did you know that it should not be your preferred choice while smoking Turkey? Well, you should know! The best wood that will enhance the flavors of Turkey depends on “what flavors do you seek?” If you need a subtle sweet flavor, why not go for cherry wood? Some of the best woods to smoke Turkey are Cherry wood, Apple wood, Maple wood, Alder wood, etc!

Wood Chips For Smoking Turkey – 3...
Wood Chips For Smoking Turkey – 3 Best Wood Chips You Can Try

What wood you choose to smoke your Turkey also depends on a number of other factors that we will be shortly looking at ahead! Stay tuned to enjoy a richly smoked Turkey!

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All About Smoked Turkey: Best Wood To Smoke Turkey

best wood to smoke turkey
Source: weber

A traditional American household will have one thing for sure in their thanksgiving meal, and that is TURKEY! There are many ways to make a heaven-defyingly delicious turkey and these methods decide the nutrients our dear turkey will bestow upon us! Turkey can be simply grilled, stewed, or steamed, But there’s a different charm to a smoked Turkey! The rich brown color laden with enhanced smoky flavors is simply mind-blowing! And you know what? 

Smoking Turkey will not only give you a delicious meal at the end of the day, but it will also leave your oven or microwave free for preparing other dishes for your barbecue or thanksgiving feast!

Smoked Turkey is not only delicious but healthy too! The turkey that has been smoked for about 5-6 hours is high in vitamins and minerals. The National Institute of Health maintains that – “ it is necessary to have at least 2-3 servings of proteins per day”. And how much protein does one serving of Smoked turkey give us? It is 12.3 grams! Let’s look at what nutrients we are adding to our diet by consuming smoked turkey!

NutrientsGrams Per Serving/ %age
Calories9.25 gram
Fats 2.1 gram
Proteins12.3 gram
VitaminVitamin B3- 11.4%Vitamin B6- 9.7%

Besides this, smoked Turkey has a high content of Selenium also! Selenium protects us against antioxidants and is very good for our hearts!

As this delicacy has so many good qualities, let’s look for ways to make it delicious now! Let’s look at the best wood that will give us a flavorful serving of a delicious Turkey!

Types Of WoodFlavors
OakStrong Smoky Flavor
Mesquite Strong Earthy Flavor
Hickory Strong Flavor Than Fruitwoods Like Apple, Cherry Etc.
Alder Mild Sweet And Delicate Flavor
Beech wood Mild Nutty Flavor
Pimento Medium Earthy Flavor
Apple Mild Sweet And Fruity Flavor
Pecan Mild Sweet Flavor
Cherry Mild And Subtle Sweet Flavor
Maple Mild And Subtle Sweet Flavor
Peach Medium Sweet And Woody Flavor
Orange Medium Tangy Flavor

This table shows what kinds of wood will give what kind of flavor, but is that all you need to know? Obviously NOT! Knowing this wood flavor guide is good as this will help you decide better but that’s not all! Not all these woods are best or most preferred ones to smoke a delicious Turkey! Let’s see what the most preferred wood for smoking Turkey is!

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5 Of The Most Prefered Wood For Smoked Turkey: Hardwood Or Fruitwood?

wood for smoking turkey
Source: Food Fire Friends

Hardwood like Oak, Hickory, Mesquite, Alder, etc are used for smoking different foods, but they are mostly preferred and work well with red meat! Your turkey will get overpowered if smoked with hardwoods like Mesquite and hence, mesquite is not the most preferred wood for smoking your bird! 

However, if you look at fruitwoods like maple or cherry, things are quite different! The mild and sweet flavors that fruitwood gives off go really well with your Turkey and not only this! Fruitwoods, except for smoking red meat, are usually at the top of the list when looking for the best wood for smoking any food, may it be poultry or even vegetables!

So without dilly delaying, let’s look at the best and most preferred woods for smoking Turkey!


Oakwood does wonders to our red meat and it does not disappoint us with Turkey too! All you have to do is get your proportions right and VOILA! You’re all good to go and savor the earthy aroma that oak adds to your Turkey! Oak can be pretty overpowering if used for a longer cooking duration, hence it’s advisable that you use it for a shorter duration! Or maybe, you can smartly mix other woods with your oak to lessen the impact of its overpowering flavors!


Hickory wood will not only make your Turkey taste delicious but it will also make it smell and look HEAVENLY! The dark brown color while smoking with Hickory will add a rich texture to your otherwise bland white Turkey! But like any other hardwood in question, you have to get the proportions right so that your turkey doesn’t get overpowered! Hardwood flavors are pretty strong and thus we have to balance it out by mixing some fruit woods to lower the impact!


Alder is the most preferred hardwood for smoking Turkey and not only Turkey but seafood too! This low-burning wood will not overpower all the ingredients and flavors that you have added to your Turkey! All the buttery flavors and citrusy flavors will remain and the only subtle additions would be sweet and mild given off by Alder.


Cherry is one of the widely used woods for smoking a Turkey which adds beautiful golden color to it! The mild and sweet flavors will be good additions to your otherwise bland turkey making it heaven-defyingly delicious! Smoking with cherry wood will make your Turkey the centerpiece of your barbecue party that I’m sure everyone would be drooling at the simple sight of it!


If you want your Turkey to have mild and sweet flavors and want it to not only look but smell delicious as well, go for maple wood! Maple wood will add beautiful golden color to your bland-looking turkey and will not overpower the other flavor additions that you have made! Maple wood is a simple and best choice for smoking Turkey at home that looks like a masterpiece!


Apple wood is a smart choice if you’re a beginner at BBQ as nothing would go wrong if you keep on monitoring the temperature of your Turkey. This fruitwood will not overpower your Turkey and add subtle smoky and sweet flavors to your otherwise bland bird! You can also mix other woods with this one if you want rich and strong flavors!

Also Read: 9 Foods That Look Gross But Taste Good (Worth A Bite!!)


Smoking Turkey is pretty and all you have to do is know what you’re doing! Prior knowledge will not only help you in monitoring the temperature well but also make you aware of the best wood to use! Alder and Cherry woods would be the best choice if you’re a beginner at BBQ and want minimal smoky flavor with a mild sweet taste.

Feature Image Credits: The Spruce Eats

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