6 Best Woods for Smoking Salmon: The Right Choice for the Perfect Meal (Winter 2022)

In this post, we have picked the six best kinds of wood for smoking salmon, so you can find the perfect one for your next smoking session.
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Last updatedLast updated: September 28, 2022
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No matter what type of salmon you’re smoking – Sockeye, Coho, Chinook, or Pink Salmon – the wood you use for smoking is key to a successful recipe. Here, we have picked the best woods for smoking salmon, so that you can choose the perfect one for your next smoking session.

When taking our picks we considered such things as wood type, density, flavor profile, and how well it burns. You’ll also want to take into account the size of your smoker, as some woods are better suited for smaller smokers while others work best in larger ones. And finally, we looked at the cost of each wood to help you find the best option that fits both your needs and your budget.

6 Best Woods for Smoking Salmon Review 2022

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1
Features
  • What it is: wood chips
  • Type of wood: alder (apple, cherry, hickory, maple, mesquite, pecan)
  • Bag size: 170 cu. in.

Other features: natural wood smoke flavor

The GrillPro 00250 Alder Wood Chips top our list of the best woods for smoking salmon because of the natural wood smoke flavor that it imparts to the fish. The alder wood also helps to keep the salmon moist while cooking. The 170 cubic inch bag is also resealable, so you can use it multiple times.

Where the GrillPro 00250 Alder Wood Chips stand apart from many other Alder wood products is that you can use them wet or dry. This allows you to enjoy a delicious smoldering smoke or a burst of smoke, depending on the flavor and texture you want to accomplish.

What are its best features?

  • Light flavor for salmon and other types of fish.
  • Reusable bags
  • Works on most grills and smokers
  • Decent price

What could be improved?

  • The wood chips burns fast
  • Flavor might seem too mild for some people
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Features
  • What it is: wood chunks
  • Type of wood: walnut (oak, cherry, apple, pecan)
  • Bag size: 1.1 lb.

Other features: made of natural raw fruit wood, naturally dried kiln, strong smoky flavor

The Ruby Lil 1.10Lb/500G Smoking Wood Chunks are made of natural raw fruit wood that has been naturally dried in a kiln, so you know that you’re getting a quality product. The strong smoky flavor pairs well with poultry, seafood, lamb, pork, beef and cheeses. The wood chunks are also a good size, so you’ll get plenty of use out of them.

Wood Chunks are far larger than many other chunks and certainly bigger than shavings. This means that they will burn longer, producing more smoke to create a better flavor. This is a great option for less confident smokers, as you don’t need to keep such a close eye on your Salmon.

What are its best features?

  • Power flavor
  • Made of natural raw fruit wood
  • Also pair well with poultry, lamb, pork, beef and cheeses

What could be improved?

  • None
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9.4
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9.7
3
Features
  • What it is: wood pellets
  • Type of wood: apple (bourbon, cherry, Gourmet BBQ, Gourmet blend, hickory, maple, mesquite, oak, pecan)
  • Bag size: 20 lb., 40 lb.

Other features: no binders, fillers or additives; for use with all outdoor grills and smokers

If you’re looking for wood pellets that will infuse your salmon with a subtle sweet and smoky flavor, then Bear Mountain BBQ’s 100% All-Natural Hardwood Pellets are the perfect choice. These pellets are made from apple wood and are a great go-to option for smoking ham, fish, poultry or vegetables. Plus, they’re free of any binders, fillers or additives, so you can be confident that you’re getting a pure product. These pellets can be used with all types of grills and smokers, making them a versatile option for your cooking needs.

One of the stand out features of Bear Mountain hardwood pellet products is that the manufacturer creates wonderful flavor blends. The BBQ blend features apple, hickory, maple and pecan, but if you want a sweeter or bolder flavor, Bear Mountain has a product to suit your tastes. So, you can tailor your smoke perfectly to your fish or meat dish.

What makes it special?

  • Provide a subtle sweet and smoky flavor
  • No binders, fillers or additives
  • Can be used with all types of grills and smokers

What cons did we find?

  • Packaging can be easily damaged
RELATED: 6 Best Woods to Smoke Chicken — Make Your Poultry Irresistable! (Winter 2022)
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4
Best for Cold Smoking Salmon

Camerons Products Alder Wood Smoker Chips

Features
  • What it is: wood chips
  • Type of wood: alder (apple, bourbon, hickory, maple, mesquite, oak, pecan)
  • Bag size: 260 cu. in. (2 lb.)

Other features: 100% natural raw timber, coarse cut, delicate smoky flavor

If you’re looking for a light and delicate smoke flavor, Camerons Products Alder Wood Smoker Chips are a great option. Made from 100% natural raw timber, these coarsely cut chips ignite quickly and combust completely, providing consistent smoke flavor without the hassle of having to constantly add more wood. Alder is a versatile wood that pairs well with poultry, seafood, and pork, making it a great option for those who like to experiment with different flavor profiles. The 2-pound bag is also a great value, making it a good choice for those who smoke on a budget.

The Camerons Products Alder Wood Smoker Chips are a fantastic option to tailor your smoking to your specific tastes. Alder lends itself to sweeter or savory cooking. This makes it perfect for creating the perfect flavor profile for your preferences. Additionally, the coarse cut nature of the product quickly ignites and completely combusts to create delicate flavor.

Why did it make our list?

  • Provide a sweet and fruity flavor
  • Don’t burn too fast
  • Can be used on various types of smokers

What is not ideal about it?

  • The chips are too big for a smoke gun
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9.1
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9.5
Features
  • What it is: wood chunks
  • Type of wood: pecan (apple, cherry, hickory, mesquite)
  • Bag size: 350 cu. in. (4 lb.)

Other features: subtle sweet flavor; for use with fish, poultry, lamb, & beef

The Weber Pecan Wood Chunks are a great value for the price, and they offer a subtle sweet flavor that pairs well with fish, port, poultry, lamb, and beef. The only downside is that the bag is only 350 cu. in., so you may need to buy multiple bags if you plan on smoking a lot of salmon.

Where the Weber Pecan Wood Chunks differ from many other wood smoking products is that the chunks are quite sizable. This makes them easy to use. They will burn for longer, creating plenty of smoke. While the bag is a little on the small side, once your smoker is loaded, you shouldn’t need to worry about adding more wood mid way through your cooking.

What stands out?

  • Subtle sweet flavor
  • Decent price
  • Nice, balanced flavor

What cons did we manage to find?

  • Sometimes there might be many splinters in the bag
  • Some chunks are too big for the Weber Summit Grill Smoke cage
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Consumer Engagement
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9.3
Features
  • What it is: wood chips
  • Type of wood: oak (apple, cherry, hickory, maple, mesquite, peach, pecan)
  • Bag size: 180 cu. in.

Other features: treated to eliminate and prevent pests, mold, or rot

The Western Premium BBQ Products Post Oak BBQ Smoking Chips are included into our list of best chips for smoking salmon due to their oak composition. Oak is a hardwood that imparts a strong, distinct flavor to your salmon that is both delicious and unique. In addition to its great taste, oak is also resistant to pests, mold, and rot, so you can be sure your salmon will be cooked to perfection. The chips are also easy to use with any charcoal, gas, or electric grill. Simply add the desired amount of chips to your grill and enjoy perfectly smoked salmon filets or trout.

One of the features that make the Western Premium BBQ Products Post Oak BBQ Smoking Chips stand apart from other products is that they are treated to eliminate rot, mold and pests. Many consumers are wary of treated wood, but Western Premium has created a product that is still food safe and protected.

What do we love it for?

  • Made of oak, a hardwood that imparts a strong flavor to your salmon
  • Resistant to pests, mold, and rot
  • Can be used with any charcoal, gas, or electric grill

What were we disappointed with?

  • The bag is quite small, so you’ll need more than one for use with a smoker

Things to Consider

When it comes to smoking salmon, there is no single best wood. The best wood for smoking salmon really depends on your personal preferences in terms of flavor and aroma. There are a variety of woods that can be used for smoking salmon, each with its own unique flavor profile. In this buying guide, we’ll take a look at some of the things you need to keep in mind when choosing the best wood.

What Wood Type Is Good for Smoking Salmon?

There are a variety of woods that can be used for smoking salmon, each with its own unique flavor profile. Some of the most popular woods for smoking salmon include:

Alder: Alder is a very popular choice for smoking salmon due to its mild flavor.

Cherry: Cherry wood imparts a sweet, fruity flavor to smoked salmon.

Hickory: Hickory is a strong-flavored wood that can give smoked salmon a bacon-like flavor.

Maple: Maple wood imparts a very subtle sweetness to smoked salmon.

Oak: Oak is a versatile wood that can be used for smoking salmon. It imparts a slightly smoky flavor to the fish.

There are also a few woods that you should avoid using for smoking salmon. These include:

Cedar: It imparts a strong, pungent flavor to smoked salmon that many people find unpleasant.

Pine: It can impart a disgusting resinous flavor to smoked salmon.

How to Choose the Best Wood for Smoking Salmon

When choosing the best wood for smoking salmon, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:

Chunks, Pellet or Chips?

6 Best Woods for Smoking Salmon: The Right Choice for the Perfect Meal (Winter 2022)

There are three wood forms to choose from: wood chunks, pellets, or chips.

One of the first things you need to decide is whether you want to use chunks, pellets or chips. Chunks are the best choice if you’re looking for a more intense flavor, while pellets or chips will give you a more subtle flavor. In this post, we reviewed wood pellets, chips and chunks altogether, but if you prefer using only wood chips, you might also want to check out our list of the best wood chips for smoking.

The Right Moisture Content

The moisture content of the wood is also important. If the wood is too dry, it will burn too quickly and produce too much smoke. On the other hand, if the wood is too wet, it won’t burn well and won’t produce enough smoke.

The best way to ensure that you have the right moisture content is to buy your wood from a reputable dealer who can guarantee that the wood has the right moisture content.

Bag Size and Weight

When buying wood for smoking salmon, you’ll also need to decide on the bag size and weight. Most smokers can accommodate between 20 and 40 pounds of wood.

If you’re only smoking a small amount of salmon, then a 20-pound bag should be sufficient. However, if you’re planning on smoking a large amount of salmon, then you’ll need to buy a 40-pound bag.

Price

The price of wood for smoking salmon varies depending on the type of wood and the supplier. However, you can expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $40 for a 20-pound bag of wood pellets.

How to Store Wood for Smoking Salmon

Once you’ve bought your wood for smoking salmon, you’ll need to store it properly to ensure that it stays in good condition. The best way to store wood is in a cool, dry place.

If you live in an area with high humidity, then you may want to consider storing the wood in a plastic bag to keep it from absorbing too much moisture.

How to Smoke Salmon: Useful Tips

6 Best Woods for Smoking Salmon: The Right Choice for the Perfect Meal (Winter 2022)

You can either cold or hot smoke salmon. It’s up to you which way to use.

Now that you know how to choose the best wood for smoking salmon, it’s time to learn how to smoke salmon. Smoking salmon is easy, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind to ensure that your salmon turns out perfectly. Here are a few tips for smoking salmon:

– The best way to smoke salmon is with cold smoke. This means that the salmon is smoked at a temperature of less than 85 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are new to cold smoking, check out our article on the best cold smoke generators.

– Hot smoking salmon will cook the fish, so if you’re looking for a cooked salmon, then you’ll need to hot smoke it. However, if you want your salmon to be raw or just slightly cooked, then you’ll need to cold smoke it.

– When smoking salmon, you’ll need to use a smoker that can maintain a consistent temperature. This is because fluctuations in temperature can cause the salmon to dry out or even cook unevenly. We have compiled the reviews of the best smokers available in the market today that are worth checking out.

– It’s best to smoke salmon on a wire rack so that the air can circulate around the fish. This will help to prevent the salmon from sticking to the smoker and ensure that it smokes evenly.

– We recommend soaking the wood chips or pellets in water for 30 minutes before using them. This will help to prevent them from burning too quickly and produce too much smoke.

– When you’re ready to smoke the salmon, put the wood chips or pellets in the smoker and preheat the smoker to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

– Once the smoker is up to temperature, place the salmon on the wire rack and insert it into the smoker.

– Smoke the salmon for two to three hours, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.

– Once the salmon is cooked, remove it from the smoker and allow it to cool slightly before serving.

Smoked salmon is a delicious and healthy way to enjoy fish. By following these tips, you can ensure that your smoked salmon turns out perfectly every time.

FAQ

The best wood for cold smoking salmon is alder. Alder has a light, sweet flavor that pairs well with the delicate flavor of salmon.

The best wood for hot smoking salmon is hickory. Hickory has a strong, smoky flavor that can stand up to the bold flavor of salmon.

It takes two to three hours to smoke salmon. The time will depend on the thickness of the salmon and the temperature of the smoker.

The best way to keep salmon moist when smoking is to cold smoke it. Cold smoking salmon will prevent it from drying out or overcooking.

Our Verdict

If you’re looking for wood chips that will impart a great smoke flavor to your salmon and help to keep it moist, the GrillPro 00250 Alder Wood Chips is the best option. In case you prefer using wood chunks, we recommend using the Ruby Lil 1.10Lb/500G Smoking Wood Chunks. They have a strong smoky flavor and are made of natural raw fruitwood. If you want a pure product that will infuse your salmon with a subtle sweet and smoky flavor, then go for Mountain BBQ’s 100% All-Natural Hardwood Pellets. These pellets are made from apple wood and can be used with all types of grills and smokers.

Now that you know how to choose the best wood for smoking salmon, it’s time to get smoking! Smoking salmon is easy, and with the tips we provided, you can ensure that your salmon turns out perfectly every time.

References

1.
Smoking Wood Flavors | Char-Broil
The type of wood you use will vary based on what you smoke. While meats are the most popular food to smoke, you can also smoke nuts, cheeses, vegetables and more.
2.
How to Select Smoking Woods: 7 Types of Wood for Smoking - 2022 - MasterClass
For a pitmaster, understanding how smoke flavor contributes to grilling or smoking meat is an integral part of creating dynamic barbecue.
3.
Smoked Salmon Recipe | Alton Brown | Food Network
Get Smoked Salmon Recipe from Food Network
4.
How to Smoke Salmon: a Step-By-Step Tutorial
This is a step-by-step tutorial on how to smoke salmon or any other fatty fish. These instructions can work for other fish such as bluefish and mackerel.
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