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The 9 Best Woods For Your Grill In 2024

Selecting the best firewood for grilling is crucial as it greatly influences the flavor and quality of the cooked food. Different woods impart unique tastes, and using the wrong type can ruin a dish's flavor. Moreover, certain woods burn hotter and longer, ensuring consistent cooking temperatures. Choosing the right wood ensures a safe, efficient, and flavorful grilling experience.

Best Woods for Grilling

What Lumberjacks Know That You Might Not

Lumberjacks play a crucial role in preparing the best woods for grilling, understanding the importance of removing excess moisture and resin to optimize flavor. The seasoning process, which can take up to two years, is essential for ensuring the wood burns efficiently and imparts a subtle smoky taste to food. This method involves a delicate balance of drying conditions to prevent wood defects.

Kiln drying stands out as the preferred method for its consistency and speed, producing high-quality firewood by regulating moisture and eliminating impurities. This technique results in firewood with an ideal moisture content, ensuring it ignites easily and burns consistently. The end result is an enhanced grilling experience, offering the perfect blend of flavors and aromas to grilled dishes.

The 9 best woods for grilling

  1. Apple Sweet and somewhat fruity
  2. Alder Sweet and delicate
  3. Cherry Mild and fruity
  4. Hickory Sweet, strong, and bacon-like
  5. Maple / Sugar Maple Sweet, light, and very mild
  6. Mesquite Very distinct, with a strong earthy flavor
  7. Oak Medium-strong, classic smoke
  8. Pecan Sweet, rich, and nutty
  9. Walnut Strong, intense, with a potential for bitterness
Moisture Meter for Seasoned Wood

The importance of seasoned firewood

Seasoning firewood properly enhances grilling. Splitting wood evenly ensures faster drying and uniform burning, while storing it off the ground prevents mold. Choosing between split and whole logs is crucial; split logs light easily but burn quickly, whereas whole logs offer a longer burn.

Ideal firewood for grilling has a moisture content below 40%, with many professionals preferring around 20% for consistent heat. Assessing this moisture, either through a supplier or with a moisture meter, is vital for preparing firewood that optimizes grilling results.

Arteflame XXL 40" Grill with Wood Storage

Grill and storage combined

Arteflame is transforming outdoor cooking with its advanced airflow design. This system blends charcoal and wood combustion, creating a unique grilling experience. The technology heats the grill grate above 1,000°F, perfect for searing steaks while maintaining internal rareness.

The Arteflame XXL 40" Grill with Storage elevates the grilling experience with its built-in wood log storage, a must-have for outdoor cooking enthusiasts. Its convenient design ensures a continuous supply of wood, enhancing flavor and maintaining ideal cooking temperatures.

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Discover the best woods for grilling

Uncover the ideal firewood types for open fire grilling in this thorough guide. Delve into a curated selection of the best woods, each enhancing your grilling experience with unique flavors and burning qualities. This comprehensive list offers insights and tips to elevate your outdoor cooking, making every grilling session an exceptional culinary adventure.

Experiment with these firewood options to enhance your open fire grilling experience. Each wood type brings its unique characteristics, allowing you to tailor the flavor profile based on your culinary preferences.

Kiln dried Apple wood for grilling

Apple

  • Flavor Profile: Sweet and somewhat fruity.
  • Ideal for: Beef, pork, lamb, poultry, and certain seafood.
  • Applewood is milder and sweeter than many other types on this list. It pairs best with lighter-tasting meats but also try Applewood grilled burgers! They are amazing!
Kiln dried Alder wood for grilling

Alder

  • Flavor Profile: Sweet, delicate, and universally appealing.
  • Ideal for: Seafood and vegetables, making it a versatile choice.
  • Alder is much milder than mesquite or hickory. It gives your food just a hint of smoke.  It enhances your food rather than dominate the dish.
Kiln dried Cherry wood for grilling

Cherry

  • Flavor Profile: Mild and fruity.
  • Ideal for: Pairing well with all meats, providing a unique wood-burning experience.
  • Cherry has a mild, fruity sweet flavor that pairs well with just about any meat. It pairs well with poultry, pork, cured meats such as hams or sausages, and even wild game like duck or goose. As it is less intense tasting than other woods, cherry is a very good choice when grilling fish.
Kiln dried Hickory wood for grilling

Hickory

  • Flavor Profile: Sweet, strong, and bacon-like.
  • Ideal for: A go-to choice for many grillers, especially for pork or chicken.
  • Hickory and Oak are probably the #1 and #2 types of wood for grilling and smoking depending of where you live in the US.
  • The taste of hickory smoke reminds of the taste of molasses — sweet, rich, and a bit nutty in flavor.
maple wood for grilling

Maple / Sugar Maple

  • Flavor Profile: Sweet, light, and very mild.
  • Ideal for: Poultry, adding a sweet, smoky, savory flavor.
  • Maple delivers a mild, sweet smokiness to veggies and is great for grilling poultry and fish. It's light sweet smoke doesn't overpower the food and Maple burns for a lengthy amount of time.
Kiln dried Mesquite wood for grilling

Mesquite

  • Mesquite is one of, if not the, strongest smoking wood available.
  • Flavor Profile: Very distinct, with a strong earthy flavor.
  • Ideal for: Dark meats like brisket, wild game meat, duck, lamb, or Brazilian-style Barbacoa.
  • The smoke flavor is like hickory but a more intense. Use mesquite for grilling rich tasting cuts of beef, venison, or game. Mesquite will overpower more delicate tasting foods.
Kiln dried Oak wood for grilling

Oak

  • Flavor Profile: Medium-strong, classic smoke.
  • Ideal for: Compatible with almost every type of meat, dense, and produces long-lasting fires.
  • As one of the most popular choices and an easily accessible pick, hickory wood features a profile similar to oak, and pairs well with pork and beef.
Kiln dried Pecan wood for grilling

Pecan

  • Flavor Profile: Sweet, rich, and nutty (similar to hickory).
  • Ideal for: Poultry and meats like ribs, offering a trusted and less overpowering taste.
  • Pecan is popular when grilling meat. Pecan's smoke gives a nutty taste that pairs well with many different foods. Pecan adds a rich taste without dominating all other flavors.
Kiln dried Walnut wood for grilling

Walnut

  • Flavor Profile: Strong, intense, with a potential for bitterness.
  • Ideal for: Wild game, providing a heavy flavor that complements robust meats.

Efficient Firewood Storage: 5 Essential Tips

Proper storage of firewood is essential to preserve its quality. The Arteflame XXL 40" Grill with Storage, featuring built-in storage for wood logs, enhances outdoor cooking. This grill is ideal for those passionate about grilling, as it provides a steady supply of wood, enriching the flavor and sustaining the perfect cooking temperature.

Here are five key tips to ensure your firewood stays in optimal condition:

  • Covered Protection: Shield your firewood from the elements by covering it with a tarp, angled roof, or rack cover. Storing it inside a woodshed is also an effective option. This protective measure prevents exposure to rain, snow, and wind, preventing moisture absorption.
  • Elevated Stacking: Always stack firewood above ground level to deter pests and prevent moisture absorption from the soil. Moisture can lead to wood rot and make the firewood challenging to ignite. Utilize a raised platform or a sturdy slab made of wood or concrete for proper elevation.
  • Optimal Airflow: Adequate airflow is essential for preserving the integrity, effectiveness, and aroma of your firewood. It also helps combat any moisture that may have entered the storage area. Ensure the chosen storage location is well-ventilated, and avoid stacking the firewood too densely to allow fresh air access to the bottom layers.
  • Distance from Foundation: Keep firewood several feet away from your home's foundation, preferably on a raised rack. This distance helps prevent insects and protects your foundation from potential damage.
  • Proximity to Your Grill: If you use firewood for grilling, store it conveniently close to your grill. This ensures easy access every time you want to enjoy a barbecue, making the process more efficient and enjoyable.