Smoky flavor is barbecue's signature, and wood is what brings that essence to the grill. The type of wood is mostly a matter of personal taste (we love the sweetness of applewood in our Applewood-Smoked Chicken with Dijon Rub), but choose based on the flavor and intensity the wood will impart. As a rule, avoid evergreen woods like pine. Use the chart below for guidance.
CHIPS OR CHUNKS? SOAK OR NOT? Small 1- to 2-inch wood chips are widely available. They burn quickly, so use them for short jobs (30 minutes or less). Soak beforehand to prolong their use. Chunks (4- to 5-inch blocks) will burn for about an hour. Soaking is optional.