A Newcomer’s Manual to Buying the Best Wood for Pulled Pork in 2021

best wood for pulled pork

Last Updated on August 11, 2021

If you’re looking forward to cooking up some delicious pulled pork this summer, you’ll need to pick the right wood. The type and quality of the smoking wood that you use can make a really large difference in the quality of your BBQ. The Southern traditional woods like hickory, white oak, and pecan work really well if you’re working with pork and beef. You can also try out dense and flavorful woods like pecan, cherry, etc. Here, we’ve compiled some of the best BBQ wood chips, pellets, etc. available online. to help you find the best wood for pulled pork.

The Best Wood for Pulled Pork for 2021 Review: Key Features, Pros, and Cons

If you don’t know what the best wood for pulled pork is, then here are some pointers that you can follow. We have compiled a thorough list of our favorite smoking woods. Keep reading if you want to find out what kind of wood best suits your pulled pork recipe.

ImageBrandWood TypeWeightSourcePrice
BEST OVERALL
Carolina Cookwood White Oak750 cubic inches or 8 poundsLocally harvested South Carolina white oak trees
PREMIUM PICK
Oklahoma Joe's Hickory8 poundsLocally sourced Southern hickory trees
BEST VALUE
Western Peach180 cubic inches or 2 poundsLocally harvested Southeastern peach trees
Zorestar Oak & Apple15 pounds (±10%)Locally harvested Carolina oak trees and apple trees
WesternApple, Mesquite, Hickory, & Cherry180 cubic inches or 2 pounds in 1 bag, total 8 poundsLocally sourced apple, mesquite, hickory, and cherry trees
Midwest Barrel Company American White Oak20 poundsSourced from barrels used to age bourbon whiskey from original Kentucky distilleries
Jack Daniels American White Oak180 cubic inches or 2 pounds in 1 bag, total 4 poundsSourced from barrels used to age Jack Daniels’ whiskey from Tennessee distilleries
Weber Pecan192 cubic inches, or a little over 2 poundsSourced from locally grown Florida pecan trees
Steven Raichlen's Project Mesquite420 cubic inches, or almost 5 poundsSourced from locally grown Texas mesquite trees
Bear Mountain BBQ WoodsCherry20 poundsSourced from locally grown American cherry trees

1. Carolina Cookwood Naturally Cured White Oak Chunks

BEST OVERALL

Read Customer Reviews Here »

Pulled pork is a Southern delicacy, which is why southern hardwoods like hickory and white oak are ideal for smoking pork. When it comes to the best wood for pulled pork, we think that you can’t do any better than Carolina Cookwood’s smoking chips, which are made from local white oak trees. These wood chips are naturally aged and can be used for all kinds of BBQ, grilling, smoking, etc.

Our Observations

Highlighted Features:

  • Premium and locally-harvested hardwood
  • Naturally aged white oak hardwood
  • Ideal for versatile BBQ cook methods
  • Packed in natural and breathable burlap bags
  • 750 cubic inches of wood

Pros:

  • Air-dried hardwood is full of delicious, rich and smoky flavor.
  • They’re sourced from locally grown South Carolina white oaks.
  • Carolina Cookwood is delivered in eco-friendly and durable burlap sacks.
  • White oak chips can be used in a versatile manner.

Cons:

  • White oak can be a difficult wood to source.

2. Oklahoma Joe’s Hickory Wood Smoker Chunks 8 lb

PREMIUM PICK

Read Customer Reviews Here »

Another Southern basic wood for cooking up the perfect pulled pork is hickory. We think that you will love Oklahoma Joe’s hickory wood smoker chunks. These are sourced from locally grown hickory trees. They have a long burn life and they are compatible with all kinds of grills. They’ll impart a delicious and smoky flavor to your meat. You can also use these chips for grilling poultry, beef, and veggies.

Our Observations

Highlighted Features:

  • Long burn life for long cooks
  • Locally sourced hickory wood
  • Works with all kinds of grills
  • Great for all cuts of pork
  • 8 lbs of wood included

Pros:

  • Hickory chips impart a delicious flavor to your pulled pork.
  • These chips are sourced from locally grown hickory trees.
  • Each pack of Oklahoma Joe’s smoking chunks weighs 8 lbs.
  • They can be used with all kinds of grills.

Cons:

  • Too much hickory smoke can make your pulled pork bitter.

3. Western Premium BBQ Products Peach Smoking Chips

BEST VALUE

Read Customer Reviews Here »

Peach is an evergreen choice when it comes to smoking meat, and it’s actually one of our most favorite choices when it comes to pulled pork. If you want to impart some sweetness to your meat, then peach wood is the ideal Southern choice. These smoking chips come in a valuable 2 lb bag and can be used for all kinds of pork. These chips also work with different grills.

Our Observations

Highlighted Features:

  • Works with charcoal/gas/electric grill
  • Heat-treated wood to prevent pests
  • Compatible with all cuts of pork
  • Works with fish and poultry also
  • 2 lbs of wood included

Pros:

  • Peach wood imparts a fruity and sweet flavor to the meat.
  • Locally sourced peach trees are used to procure the chips.
  • These chunks are compatible with all kinds of grills.
  • The 2 lb bag is a great value option.

Cons:

  • Heat-treated wood loses out a lot of the flavor.

4. Zorestar BBQ Oak Apple Wood Chunks for Smoking – Best for Heavy-Duty Cooks

Read Customer Reviews Here »

We think that the Zorestar Oak Apple wood chunks are the perfect choice if you need to smoke your meat on a regular basis. If you have a restaurant or people coming over regularly, then the heady mix of oak and apple can lend delicious flavors to your pulled pork. These natural wood chunks are 2-3” wide and contain no additives. They can be used with all kinds of smokers.

Our Observations

Highlighted Features:

  • 15 lb best for heavy-duty cooks
  • Each chunk is 2-3”
  • 100% naturally sourced wood
  • No harmful additives or pesticides
  • Oak & apple mix perfect for pork

Pros:

  • Apple and oak smoking is perfect for cooking delicious pulled pork.
  • The wood is 100% naturally sourced and free of additives.
  • 2-3” wide chunks fit very easily in the smoker.
  • The 15lb bag is perfect for regular & heavy-duty smoking jobs.

Cons:

  • The amount of wood tends to vary generally.

5. Western BBQ Smoking Wood Chips Variety Pack – Best for Families

Read Customer Reviews Here »

Western BBQ’s variety pack has the best wood for pulled pork – in 4 different varieties. You can try out all kinds of flavors – ranging from the mild sweetness of apple to the heady flavors of mesquite wood. The chips are compatible with all kinds of smokers and will lend an amazing taste to your pulled pork. You can even mix and match the wood to get a unique flavor note.

Our Observations

Highlighted Features:

  • Best for experimenting with different flavors
  • Slow burn for long cooks
  • 4 different varieties of wood
  • Compatible with all kinds of grills
  • Great for family backyard BBQs

Pros:

  • The 4 different woods are great for experimenting with cooks.
  • The naturally aged wood burns very slowly and nicely.
  • Each pack contains more than 2 lbs of premium hardwood.
  • Mixing woods adds flavor to the cook as well.

Cons:

  • The whole set can be slightly expensive for some buyers.

6. Midwest Barrel Company Bourbon Barrel Smoking Chunks – Best Flavour

Read Customer Reviews Here »

If you have a little more to spend, then we would highly recommend you to get yourself a bucket of this special smoking wood. It is sourced entirely from barrels that are used by old Kentucky distilleries. The bourbon is stored in these barrels for 15-20 years, and as a result, the wood is full of delicious smells and flavors. Your pulled pork will become the talk of the town!

Our Observations

Highlighted Features:

  • Bourbon barrel wood for unique flavor
  • Comes in a large 20 lb bucket
  • Consistent 1-4” wood chunk size
  • Directly obtained from Kentucky bourbon distilleries
  • Delicious smell of bourbon whiskey

Pros:

  • This bourbon barrel wood has an intoxicating aroma and flavor.
  • Each bucket contains about 20 lbs of premium barrel wood chunks.
  • The barrels are hand cut to ensure uniform chunk size distribution.
  • These are sourced from original Kentucky bourbon distilleries.

Cons:

  • These chunks can’t be used in wood pellet smokers.

7. Jack Daniels Whiskey Barrel BBQ Smoking Chips – Best Aroma

Read Customer Reviews Here »

No other BBQ smoking wood has an aroma that can match these Jack Daniels BBQ wood chunks. Like the bourbon wood chunks, these are sourced from barrels used by Jack Daniels’ distilleries to age their world-famous whiskey. The wood is hand cut into large 2-4” chunks, and it smells heavenly. It’s going to impart an unmistakable flavour to your pulled pork. You can use these chunks with any grill type.

Our Observations

Highlighted Features:

  • Whiskey barrel wood for unique flavor
  • Made from Old No. 7 whiskey barrel
  • Consistent 2-4” wood chunk size
  • Handcut to ensure uniform chunk size
  • Intoxicating and unmistakable aroma

Pros:

  • The intoxicating aroma of Jack Daniels’ barrel chunks is unmistakable.
  • Whiskey barrel chips impart a gorgeous flavour to the pulled pork.
  • The wood is sourced from Old No. 7 whiskey barrels from Tennessee distilleries.
  • Jack Daniels’ chunks are compatible with all kinds of grills.

Cons:

  • They are rather expensive.

8. Weber Stephen Products Pecan Wood Chips – Best for Experimentation

Read Customer Reviews Here »

Another Southern classic choice for smoking pulled pork is pecan. Pecan is actually related to hickory, which is why it’s one of the best choices for smoking and BBQ. It burns really slowly and can give you fall-of-the-bone meat that’s packed with flavour. This pack comes with 192 cubic inches of pecan chips, which you can use in all kinds of grills. Pecan is the best BBQ wood for experimentation.

Our Observations

Highlighted Features:

  • Florida pecan wood with sweet flavour
  • 192 cubic inches (2 lbs) of chunks
  • Consistent wood chip size
  • Works with all kinds of grills
  • Best for experimentation and combos

Pros:

  • Pecan lends an earthy yet sweet flavour to the meat.
  • Each pack comes with over 2 lbs of premium pecan smoking chips.
  • You can use these with all kinds of grills.
  • It’s slow-burning and perfect for long cooks.

Cons:

  • Too much pecan can add pungency to the meat.

9. Steven Raichlen’s Project Smoke Mesquite Smoking Wood Chunks – Best Mesquite

Read Customer Reviews Here »

As fans of grilling, we are huge fans of Steven Raichlen and his inventive method of smoking and grilling. After reading his ‘Project Smoke’ book, we were very excited to try these mesquite wood chunks. Mesquite is kind of risky to work with, but these wood chunks are amazing. They give a delicious flavor to the pork, and the naturally aged wood has a heady aroma that you will enjoy.

Our Observations

Highlighted Features:

  • Sourced from Texas mesquite trees
  • 420 cubic inches (5 lbs) of chunks
  • Suggested by Steven Raichlen
  • Works with all kinds of grills
  • Lends a delicious smoky flavor

Pros:

  • Mesquite is the classic choice for cooking authentic pulled pork.
  • This 5lb pack will last you for 7-8 months.
  • You can use these with all kinds of grills.
  • These chunks are sourced from local mesquite and aged naturally.

Cons:

  • Mesquite is oily, so first-time smokers need to be careful.

10. Bear Mountain Premium BBQ Cherry Hardwood Pellets – Best for Pellet Smokers

Read Customer Reviews Here »

Pellet smokers will love anything that Bear Mountain comes up with. When we’re on the hunt for smoking pellets, then Bear Mountain is our go-to choice. Their cherry pellets are our favorite because we love the fruity and delicious flavor it lends to our pulled pork. This is 100% classic hardwood and is free of all flavorings, additives, etc. The 20 lb quantity is ideal for all your summer barbeques.

Our Observations

Highlighted Features:

  • Moisture-free pellets make good smoke
  • 20 lbs of hardwood cherry pellets
  • Free of flavorings & additives
  • Works with all kinds of grills
  • Made from authentic American cherry

Pros:

  • Bear Mountain pellets have very little moisture for efficient smoking.
  • They’re made out of authentic hardwood cherry trees.
  • They lend a gorgeous flavor to the pulled pork, brisket, poultry, etc.
  • Pellet quantity is more than enough for regular cookouts.

Cons:

  • These pellets can be a little pricey for some.

best wood for pulled pork

A Buying Guide

While doing BBQ, the right type of wood can make all the difference for your cook. Here, we have compiled some of the important considerations you should keep in mind if you want the best wood for pulled pork. Following these will help you cook pulled pork, steak, burgers, etc.

Type of Wood

The best wood for smoking and BBQ always has to be hardwood, and it also has to be free of resin and sap. We’d recommend you to go with the classic choices, such as hickory, oak, and mesquite. Carolina Cookwood, Oklahoma Joe’s, & Western BBQ are great choices.

Type of Drying Process

The drying process can make a huge difference in the quality of the smoke. If the wood is kiln-dried, then a lot of the flavor is lost. This is why we’d recommend you to go with naturally dried wood brands, such as Carolina Cookwood, Zorestar, etc.

Special Flavors

You can add a special flavor to your pulled pork by going for wood from unique sources. The best examples are the Jack Daniels’ whiskey barrel wood and the Midwest Barrel Company bourbon wood. These are two varieties of BBQ wood that add a special flavor to the meat.

Source of the Woods

Lastly, it’s also a good idea to get the wood from brands that source the wood in a sustainable way. For example, the Jack Daniels’ whiskey barrel wood is a great way to recycle used barrels. The best wood for pulled pork is also sourced ethically.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the best wood for smoking pork?

When it comes to working with pork, the best wood choice are original Southern hardwoods. For example, American white oak, mesquite, hickory, pecan, and cherry are the best choices for BBQ.

Q: Is hickory or mesquite best for pulled pork?

The answer to this totally depends on the flavor notes that you’re going for. Mesquite lends a dense and strong flavor to the meat. Hickory, however, leaves a subtle and complex aftertaste.

Q: What wood imparts the strongest flavour?

Mesquite wood imparts the strongest flavor to smoked meats. It’s a naturally oily wood, which is why professional smokehouses use it very frequently. It’s ideal for working with dense meats like brisket, pork, etc.

Conclusion

This is all of the info that you need to know if you want to buy the best wood for pulled pork. If you’re a budding BBQ enthusiast, you can use this info to host a satisfying cookout in the warm summer months. Make sure to use our product recommendations, buying guide, and FAQs. Buy some wood and start cooking!

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