What type of wood should I use to smoke a pork shoulder?

I'll be using a gravity fed smoker.

Michael Hoffman


Jan W. June 6, 2015
Hickory. I've gotten the most consistent results with hickory chips. Also they tend to be cheaper if you are buying it from a shop and not cutting your own.
Chris D. June 6, 2015
It's a good idea not to use wood from a tree that produces food, unless that tree has stopped producing food. Avoid apple, pecan, etc.
drshakyhands June 8, 2015
Is there a reason behind this? I'm curious if there is some kind of compound present in reproducing trees that is released when the wood is smoking? Or is it more about not wasting a productive tree? We use a lot of pecan from our trees on our land, but it's generally all limbs that were trimmed or have fallen on their own.
usuba D. June 5, 2015
The dirty little secret about applewood is in the brine, not the wood. The several brands of applewood smoked bacon available in the market place just add a more sugar to the cure to give a perceived "sweet" smoked flavor. I am third generation, dry-cured & smoked meat producer, whose family has won awards for their smoked meats. Hickory wood is still the favorite and most pronounced of all woods to be used by the best smokers in the US. We always sneak in a little sassafras wood, which is the most pronounced of all woods for a clean smoked flavor to the meat.....it adds a natural sweet smoke character that no other mood gives. It grows wild in most the the South and East of the US. Does not take much to add that something special to any smoked meat.
bigpan June 5, 2015
I'm not convinced on how much wood imparts flavour into meat, especially once it is rubbed and smothered with bbq sauce. So, just cook it as you wish.
janeofmanytrade June 3, 2015
Having worked in a southern(Nashville, Tennessee) landmark restaurant that is known for its pulled pork bbq, I whole heartedly suggest you do as the pros do in the south; go with Hickory wood.
drshakyhands June 3, 2015
I think Pecan could be a good choice, depending on if it's available in your neck of the woods.
JeremyW June 3, 2015
Apple. Always apple.
tastyfish June 3, 2015
I smoke pork with applewood for four hours at 225 and then transfer to oven and bake covered at 350 for two to four hours until fall apart tender. let cool a bit before pulling. some woods start to get bitter and acrid at long smoke times. When the pork is done a knife twisted in the thickest part should have very little resistance.
AntoniaJames June 3, 2015
Oak + apple. ;o)
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