Cooking Wood Rack and Box

What Kind of Cooking Wood Should I Use?

The art of cooking with wood has been around for thousands of years. Although modern conveniences like microwaves and electric ovens have made cooking easier and quicker, they haven’t necessarily done us any favors when it comes to the flavors of our food.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons that cooking with wood has become so popular again. Not only does it connect us with the past through tradition, but it also makes food taste better!

Whether you choose to cook over wood in an open fire pit, a Big Green Egg, an offset smoker, a Pizza oven, or a full-sized smoker we have the right type of cooking wood ready for you.

Now let’s take a look at some size options for your cooking wood, the different cuts available, and dive a bit deeper into the purpose of each wood.

What Size Wood do I need?

When it comes to the type of wood you cook with, size definitely matters. There are two primary concerns:

First, you want to ensure there you’re using enough wood to provide the heat and flavor required for cooking delicious food.

Second, you want to make sure you can fit the wood into whatever it is you’re cooking with. 16″ logs, for instance, won’t fit into a smoker box that’s 10″x10″x10.”We offer several different sizes (or cuts) of wood, and each one has a special purpose.

Use Cooking Chunks For Charcoal Grills and Smokers

Smoking Chunks

If you’re cooking with a Big Green Egg, Kamado Joe, Primo, Weber, or any other grill/smoker that typically requires charcoal, we recommend using smoking chunks. You can continue to use the charcoal as the primary heat source (recommended for beginners), but then just add 2-3 wood chunks to produce wood flavor.

Many people will attempt to use wood chips in this scenario, but we don’t recommend them. Cooking with wood chunks consistently produces a better result than cooking with wood chips.

The reason for this? It’s because chips are so small that they quickly turn to ash before they can provide much flavor. Chunks, on the other hand, can last for hours at a time.

Advanced cooks might choose to replace charcoal and cook with nothing but wood cooking chunks. This is certainly possible, and our oak cooking chunks can provide plenty of heat and replace charcoal.

If you decide to give this a try, we recommend using oak chunks instead of charcoal and then adding 2-3 chunks of hickory, cherry, or pecan to add flavor.

Use Cooking Splits for Offset Smokers, Vertical smokers, and Large Kamado style grills


If you’re working with a smoker box that’s too small to fit 16″ logs of cooking wood, then you should try the cooking wood splits.

These pieces of wood are “split” to be 8 inches long and 1-2 inches wide. These pieces of wood may look small, but they are dense hardwoods that can provide a lot of heat and a long burn time.

Similar to cooking chunks, you can mix splits with charcoal. Some professionals will get the fire going with charcoal, and then use nothing but splits once they start cooking the food.

However, you can also cook an amazing meal using nothing but cooking splits!

Use Cooking Logs for Full-Sized Smokers or Open Fire Cooking

fire pit

If your smoker is so large you need a trailer, you probably need our 16″ firewood. If you plan to cook 20 racks of ribs at a time, then you probably need 16″ firewood. If you’re cooking over a grate and inside a fire pit…then you need our 16″ firewood.

All of our firewood receives the most rigorous drying process in the industry. That means it will come to you dry, clean, and ready to burn.

No musty flavor from wood that is too moist, no mold or fungus cooked into your meal. Instead, you’ll cook over a fire that leads to incredible flavor!

In order to get the fire lit for these large smokers, you should use some fire starters and excelsior fire starters. They’re all-natural and will get the fire going well without the risk of any fire starter chemicals that so many folks use.

Choose the Perfect Wood for your Pizza Oven

Cooking Pizza with Cooking Wood

Wood-fired pizza ovens have exploded in popularity.

There is simply no better way to cook a pizza! The high heat allows the pizza to cook quickly, providing a crust that is perfectly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

If you’re cooking inside a full-sized pizza oven like the image above, then we recommend using our pizza firewood. These pieces of wood are 16″ long but cut thin to allow for better heat control and more consistent cooking.

You won’t have any trouble getting it to light, and the clean wood will give your pizza the perfect wood-fired taste!

If you’re cooking on a smaller pizza oven like the Ooni Pro, Ooni Karu, Bertollo Wood Fired Oven, or any other small, portable oven, we recommend our miniature pizza cut.

These smaller pieces of wood are 6″ long and made from the same quality hardwood as our standard pizza wood. The dense wood will provide plenty of heat for making amazing pizzas wherever you take your oven!

What Species of Wood should I Cook With?

Variety of Wood Species

While there are many different species of wood that can make for great cooking, there are a few to avoid.

First, we always recommend cooking with hardwoods instead of softwoods. Not only do hardwoods last longer and provide better heat, but they also taste better. The problem with grilling or smoking foods with softwood is that it exposes your foods to resin-saturated smoke, and resin does not taste good!

So, stick with the following hardwoods and you’ll be in good shape!

Pecan is our most popular wood for cooking. With just the right amount of classic nutty flavor, this wood offers a smoky taste perfectly suited for any meat. Our quality pecan wood is popular amongst both restaurants and residential customers alike and was even featured in Garden and Gun.
Shop Pecan Wood >>

Hickory packs a powerful flavor punch, and when you bite into something cooked over it, the food bites back. It’s another classic choice and is renowned around the world for its excellent flavor. Hickory goes well with venison, burgers, steaks, and any larger cuts of meat. Be careful not to overpower the food.
Shop Hickory Cooking Wood

Cherry: There’s a reason that young George Washington cut down his father’s cherry tree…it makes for some incredible cooking wood! Cherry wood is a favorite for cooking because it provides a sweet flavor and rosy color to food like pork, chicken, or fish. Cherry is very popular with some of the famous chefs that use our cooking wood.
Shop Cherry Cooking Wood

Oak is a timeless and popular cooking hardwood from one of America’s most iconic trees. Oak has a more subtle flavor than hickory or cherry, and it’s a great choice for cooking high heat items like steak or pizza. Also if you are cooking with all wood, you can swap the charcoal for oak.
Shop Oak Cooking Wood

Maple is a sweet take on one of nature’s most beautiful trees. The same wood that creates syrup will add a sweet flavor to your food in a way that is delicious and memorable.
Shop Maple Cooking Wood Logs or Splits or Chunks

Apple wood is as American as apple pie or Johnny Appleseed. It provides a sweet, apple-smoked flavor to your food and is a crowd favorite when cooking pork, poultry, seafood, and lamb.
Shop Apple Cooking Wood Logs or Splits or Chunks

About The Author

Leroy Hite

Leroy Hite is the founder and CEO of Cutting Edge Firewood, an ultra-premium firewood and cooking wood company located in Atlanta, Georgia. Leroy's mission is to give people the experience of the perfect fire because some of life’s best memories are made in the warmth of a fire’s glow. He founded Cutting Edge Firewood in 2013 with a goal to provide unmatched quality wood and unparalleled customer service nationwide. The company offers premium kiln-dried firewood, cooking wood, and pizza wood in a wide variety of species and cuts to customers around the country.