What Is The Best Wood For Smoking Beef Jerky?

Is there the best wood for smoking beef jerky? The subject of which is the question here, that’s not an easy answer. There are many factors to consider when determining what wood would be best to use in smoking your beef jerky. The type of smoker you have, the size of your cuts of meat, how much smoke flavor you want, and even what kind of taste you’re going for as well as other things about the cut itself will determine which wood might be right for your needs.

In this article, we’ll go through some different types of woods and their uses so that if you aren’t sure what kind to purchase next time or if someone asks “what’s the best wood for smoking beef jerky?” You can tell them exactly what kind of wood would be best and why.

The Benefits Of Using A Smoker

best wood for smoking beef jerky

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Smokers are a tool for smoking food, typically meat. The smoke from the wood chips or chunks is heated up by an electric element in the smoker, and then it rises around the meat, which hangs in front of that heat source. This process slows down how fast the meat cooks because some of its moisture evaporates into steam before it hits the surface. It also imparts flavor to the outside layer of protein on all sides of it.

The benefits of using a smoker are many: 

  • You get more even cooking throughout your meat;
  • Your grill space can be used for other purposes since you don’t need an open flame;
  • You have greater control over your cook time and temperature with this type of setup;
  • The smoker adds great flavor to your food.

So if you’re looking for a foolproof way to cook meats like pork butt, brisket, or chicken, a smoker is the way to go!

How To Use Your Smoker To Make Beef Jerky

It is possible to make beef jerky in a smoker. This article will show you how and share some tips for success.

First off, if your smoker has not been used in a while then it’s important to wash all of its parts thoroughly with soap and water. Once it’s clean, pat the grill racks dry then brush them down with oil or spray them lightly with cooking spray. You can also fill a bowl with oil and use a paper towel to spread the oil over all of the grate surfaces.

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Next, mix up your seasoning blend which will include salt, pepper, sugar (brown or white), cayenne pepper if you want some extra heat, garlic powder, onion powder, ground ginger powder, and any other spices you might enjoy in your beef jerky including chili powder or parika. To make your mixture easier to apply to the smoker racks just place everything into a large pot that has tall sides because this makes it easier for one person to their fingers into the spice blend and spread it over the racks without getting too much all over you.

If you want extra spicy then go ahead and add some cayenne powder now because it works well with beef jerky if that’s what you plan on making. After your mixture is ready, let the meat sit on the just-enough mixture for about 24 hours.

If you’re in a hurry to get your smoker going, you can skip the 24-hour wait and just go ahead, start cooking, spread it over the racks while you are smoking. But it’s definitely worth taking the time to let everything blend together for maximum flavor. After all, good things come to those who wait and that definitely includes delicious homemade beef jerky!

best wood for smoking beef jerky

Next place one of the pieces of meat on top of each cooking grate (if you’re using a charcoal smoker, you’ll need to add more briquettes as needed during the cooking process). Turn on your smoker and make sure it reaches at least 100F – if using an electric smoker, set it to the “smoke” setting. You can add wood chips if desired, or keep it simple with just plain beef jerky.

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The time for cooking will vary depending on your smoker – for a typical electric water smoker, plan on smoking the meat for around 3 hours at 100°-120°F. If you’re using a charcoal smoker, check the temperature every hour and add fresh coals as needed so it stays between 180-200°F throughout the entire smoking process. Remember that beef jerky is ready when the meat is dried out and has a slightly tough texture – it should not be pink in the middle.

Once your beef jerky is cooked to perfection, remove it from the smoker and allow it to cool completely before storing it in an airtight container. It should last around 2-3 weeks stored this way, but it’s so delicious you’ll probably want to eat it all sooner!

How To Prepare And Season A Smoker Before Using It To Make Beef Jerky

In order to get the best result from your smoker, you need to prepare it properly so that the meat doesn’t stick or burn. The easiest way is with a spray can of cooking oil – preferably vegetable oil, but you could also use PAM cooking spray. If you have an electric smoker, just plug it in and wait for 10 minutes until the metal heating coils are hot enough for cooking.

For charcoal smokers, preheat them by adding about 5 pounds of charcoal briquettes on top of a layer of coals; add more as needed during the smoking process). You should also check if there’s any food residue left over from previous sessions which needs wiping off with a damp cloth – including the inside of the smokebox and the cooking grates.

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Once your smoker is ready, it’s time to season it. This is really easy to do and will help to prevent sticking or burning during the cooking process. Just take a small bowl and mix together 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon paprika, and 1 teaspoon garlic powder. Then use a pastry brush to apply the mixture all over the inside of the smoker, including the metal heating coils (if using an electric smoker), and also on the cooking grates.

Now your smoker is prepped and seasoned, you’re ready to start cooking some beef jerky!

Types Of Woods That Are Good For Smoking

best wood for smoking beef jerky

There are a lot of different types of woods that can be used for smoking.

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Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to know which is best for you before you make your purchase.  Here are the four major types: 


These produce a milder flavor than other wood types because they have less tannin in them. They also burn at a lower temperature, making them ideal for grilling or long-smoking items like pork shoulder but not great for quick cooking methods like pan searing. Some popular fruitwoods include peach, apple, cherry, and pear trees. 

Woods From Evergreen Trees

Some people swear by the smoke from pine tree branches while others prefer fir needles or spruce. All evergreen woods have a high resin content, which means they produce a lot of heat and can be difficult to work with. They’re also not great for longer smoking sessions, as they can impart a strong flavor to whatever you’re cooking. 


These include oak, hickory, maple, and pecan and are the most popular type of wood for smoking. They have a strong flavor that stands up well to bold foods like beef brisket or pork ribs, and they burn hot and clean, making them perfect for shorter smoking times. 

Woods From Tropical Trees

These can be either hard or soft, depending on the species. Some popular types include cherry, apple, mango, etc. Tropical woods are good for smoking, especially fish because they burn clean and produce light smoke. They also tend to be milder than other types of wood, which makes them great for cooking delicate foods like seafood or vegetables.

What Is The Best Wood For Smoking Beef Jerky?

best wood for smoking beef jerky

Many people believe that Hickory is the best wood for smoking jerky because it has a stronger, smokier taste than other woods like apple or mesquite. This may be true but there are also some disadvantages to using hickory. The biggest disadvantage is that hickory gives off more heat which means you will need to use less of it and will get less smoke flavor in your meat. Another thing about hickory is that you have to keep an eye on the temperature while cooking which means you might not get as good of results without constant monitoring. If you want more control over the process then mesquite or apple would probably be better.

Apple and mesquite are great for beef jerky in the sense that they give a smoky flavor without making it too smoky or overpowering. If you like lighter, softer flavored jerky then these kinds of wood would be best. You can get a good amount of smoke from them but you have more control over how much gets into your meat. In addition to this, apple and mesquite don’t produce as much heat so keeping an eye on the temperature isn’t as big of a deal when using these woods.

That being said, using fruit woods does mean that if you aren’t careful about checking the heat often enough then your meat might come out a little bit undercooked so keep eye on it while it’s smoking.

So, what is the best wood for smoking beef jerky? The answer to that question depends on what you are trying to achieve with your smoked meat. You may be looking for a light smoky flavor that will cook the meat without adding too much of its own flavor, or you might want a strong smokey flavor that would make it more like bacon. There are many types of woods and various ways to smoke meats so there is no one right answer. It all comes down to personal preference!

Tips On How To Get The Most Flavor Out Of Your Meat When You’re Making Jerky

best wood for smoking beef jerky

Even though the process of making jerky is quite easy, it can be hard to get the meat just right. The good news is that there are some things you can do to make your jerky come out perfect every time. The following are a few tips on how to do this.

  • Make sure that your meat is cut in strips about 3/4” wide and 1/2″ thick so they will dry evenly during the dehydrating process. If you have trouble finding beef or venison with these dimensions, try looking for ground beef in the supermarket instead which has already been packaged at this size.
  • Find a recipe online or in one of your cookbooks that suits your tastes, then follow it closely. There are a variety of recipes for jerky, so it’s important to find one that has flavors you enjoy.
  • Use a spice mix or marinade to season your meat before dehydrating. This will add flavor and help keep the meat moist.
  • Don’t overcrowd your drying racks. Make sure there is plenty of airflow around each piece of meat to ensure even dehydration.
  • Start with a low temperature (140-160 degrees Fahrenheit) and dehydrate for 6-8 hours, or until the meat is dry but still chewy. If you like your jerky more crispy, increase the temperature to 175-200 degrees and dehydrate for an additional 2-4 hours.
  • Allow the jerky to cool completely before storing it in an airtight container.

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Now that you know how to make perfect jerky every time, there’s no need to buy it from the store anymore. So get out your knives and spice mix and start slicing up some meat!

Ways In Which You Can Cook Or Bake With Smoked Meats After They’ve Been Made Into Jerkies

best wood for smoking beef jerky

Smoked meats are often used in cooking and baking, but sometimes people forget that they can be made into jerkies.

It is possible to cook or bake with smoked meats after they’ve been made into jerkies, so this article will talk about ways you can do just that!

The Main Ingredient For Other Dishes

If you want to use meat as the main ingredient for your dish, then it’s recommended that you chop it up first. That way all of the flavors will be evenly distributed throughout your meal. You’ll also need salt and pepper to season the meat before adding it to other ingredients like onions, garlic, rice, or pasta sauce.

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Barbecue Sandwiches

You could also try making barbecue sandwiches if your family likes them! Mix some chopped smoked meat with barbecue sauce, then put it on bread with cheese and onion.

Cold Sandwiches Or Salads

If you’re not too sure what to do with your smoked meat, then you could try making a cold sandwich or salad. A delicious sandwich would be one made of smoked meat mixed with cream cheese, cucumbers, and pickles placed between deli slices!

A smoked ham can also be turned into brown sugar glazed ham which is known as an easy dish for parties or events.

Best Accessories For Smoking Beef Jerky

Grilla Grills Foldable Multipurpose Jerky Rack

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This is a really great product! I’ve been wanting a jerky rack for a while now and I’m so glad I got this one. It’s really well-made and it’s perfect for smoking wings, ribs, or anything else. The best part is that it collapses down so it’s easy to store when you’re not using it.

Grilla Grills Foldable Multipurpose Jerky Rack is essential for the pit barrel smoker owner. This rack is made of durable 304 stainless steel and has a 21″ width, 6″ height, and 17.2″ depth. Smoke up to three racks of ribs or wings at a time on the 1/4 inch rods with the included stainless steel grid. With just a few simple steps you can be smoking like a pro! Grilla Grills Foldable Multipurpose Jerky Rack is a must-have for the pit barrel smoker owner.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who wants an easy way to smoke food.

Camp Chef Pellet Grill and Smoker Jerky Rack

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I was really excited to try out this jerky rack for my Camp Chef pellet grill and smoker. It was really easy to set up – you just have to place it inside the smoke chamber. There are three racks that come with it, and each one of them is removable.

This allows you to cook a lot of jerky at once, or other types of meat. The rack itself is also quite large – it nearly quadruples the cooking surface. This makes it great if you want to cook a lot of food at once. I would definitely recommend this jerky rack to anyone who has a Camp Chef pellet grill and smoker.

LEM Products 735 Jerky Hanger

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I love this jerky hanger! I have made jerky before and it is a lot of work to hang the strips on skewers. The Jerky Hanger from LEM Products is a great way to hold over 100 strips, as well as comes with stainless steel skewers. I’ve tried other brands of jerky seasoning, but nothing compares to the backwoods-original package of seasoning. It gives your jerky that perfect smoky flavor.

The rack is also stainless steel so it’s very durable. The drip pan is aluminum and it’s a great size. The Jerky Hanger from LEM Products makes it easy to hang and season your jerky strips, and the rack also doubles as a handy way to cook your jerky in the oven or smoker. It is also foldable for easy storage. I highly recommend this product to anyone who loves to make jerky!


This article is about the different wood types and what is the best wood for smoking beef jerky. One of our experts has smoked her own beef jerky with hickory, apple, and mesquite woods before. She recommends using a combination of two or three different kinds of smoking wood for more flavor variety in your finished product.

We hope you enjoyed reading about the different types of wood and smoking tips. If you’re interested in buying some good-quality beef-jerky smoking, we recommend looking into the 3 products above. You can also read others of our articles on how to choose the best pellet grills or smoker! Happy Smoking!

If you have any questions about which type of wood would be best for your needs, feel free to contact us! Our team will work closely with you so that we can answer all of your questions and give you advice on how to choose the right meat for this process as well as what equipment might help make it easier too. We hope this was helpful information – thanks for reading!

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