Walnut Wood for Smoking


Hickory smoker wood is one of the most durable wood chips in the grilling world thanks to its strong flavors and long burn time. Find out how YOU can use walnut wood for your next cookout.

Walnut wood for roasting

Hickory is one of the most common woods that YOU will find in the store when purchasing your smoker. This hardwood is a great choice for adding a strong flavor to your smoker. However, the key to smoking hickory is understanding its properties and the situations in which it is appropriate for use.

If you’re unsure how to use hickory in your smoker, or just want to brush up on the best wood species out there, this is your ultimate guide to hickory.

What is walnut wood?

Walnut wood comes from the walnut tree, a species of nut tree native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, including the United States.

Walnut wood can come from two types of walnuts: black walnut and English walnut. For roasting, most manufacturers use walnut since black walnut IS used in furniture, but be sure to double check. Although black walnut is slightly more bitter, the two wood species have a similar flavor and smoke profile.

Properties of walnut wood

Perhaps the most distinctive characteristic of hickory grilling wood is its flavor. Walnut has a strong, bitter taste that no other wood can match. The black walnut in particular has a strong, uniform, bitter taste.

The smoke has a very strong, slightly pungent odor. Both in taste and in smell, walnut wood is a type of wood that makes itself felt. The bitterness and acidity of the nut come from the tannic acid present in the tree.

The smoke color of hickory wood is nothing special. It just darkens the flesh like any other wood. Its taste and aroma are much more distinctive. Some smokers say the smoke has a unique thick, oily texture.

Hickory wood is then ideal for long barbecue evenings, as it can burn intensely for a long time. It is one of the hardest woods that IS used in smokers, making it resistant to burns.

How to use walnut wood

The most common format you can buy for hickory wood is in chunks, making it ideal for propane or electric smokers. You can also find logs for your staggered smoker. 

If you’re trying to cut hickory wood for your smoker yourself, try changing it first. Many pitmasters prefer to use hickory that has been aged for at least a year, if not two, because that reduces some of the bitterness.

Most pitmasters advise against using hickory alone in your smoker. Instead, mix it with a softer wood like walnut or apple to balance the flavor.

The best meat to smoke with hickory

Because of hickory’s intensely bitter taste, the best meats that have a sufficiently strong flavor of their own are more pronounced. Soft meats like poultry will be overpowered.

Hickory wood pairs well with venison like venison because the bitterness of the wood cuts through the rich venison meat.

Hickory also goes well with cuts of beef. Grilling some steaks with walnuts is an excellent way to spice up your dinner.

Pork is a versatile meat that pairs well with all types of wood, including walnut. The natural sweetness of the meat balances the bitterness of the wood.

While hickory is avoided by many pitmasters due to its strong bitter taste, you can incorporate it into your routine by mixing it with other woods and pairing it with the right meat.

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