Our Favorite Wood Chips for Smoking Ham

Are you looking for the best wood chips to use when smoking a delicious ham?

Using wood chips when smoking meat is a great way to add flavor and aroma.

Different types of wood impart different flavors with a wide variety available.

These can range from fruity and sweet mild woods to smoky and intense stronger woods.

Let’s take a look at the contestants!

The Best Types of Chips for Smoking Ham

Finding the ‘best’ type of wood chunks or chips can be tricky.

As it depends heavily on your personal preference and the type of food being smoked.

I have split up your options from mild to a stronger flavors.

With the common and popular woods in each section.


My Picks of Fruit Wood Chips for a Sweet Mild Flavor

 Apple Wood Chips

Apple wood chips are a great choice for smoking ham, as they impart a subtly sweet and fruity flavor.

This wood has a natural taste, producing a light smoky flavor.

Fruity smoke pairs well with the natural sweetness of the meat.

Note: Apple wood is the most common wood to smoke ham.

A pre-smoked and cured ham likely has had a kiss of apple smoke!

Want my favorite ham recipe? Smoking Ham on a Pit Boss. This recipe always leaves you with a tasty yet tender smoked ham.

Peach Wood Chips

The lesser-known peach wood is a great option for smoking a ham.

The sweet and fruity wood notes complement the savory taste of the pork.

It has a complex but subtle smoke flavor profile you won’t find with any other type of chip.

Not only this, but peach wood also burns at a lower temperature than many other varieties.

Making it ideal for meats such as ham that need hours of smoke when cooking.


Cherry Wood Chips

Cherry wood chips are another great choice for smoking a ham.

As they impart a sweet, fruity flavor that pairs well with the natural saltiness of the meat.

Cherry hardwoods will enhance the taste of smoked ham without overpowering it.

This is because the smoke from cherry wood isn’t dense.

Stronger woods that create dense smoke will sometimes overpower your dish.

So this is the best pick if you don’t want a smoky and assertive flavor in your ham.

I hope you enjoy the light but hearty cherry wood flavor as I do!

Wood Chips for a Balanced & Milder Flavor

Alder Wood Chips

Alder wood is one of the mildest hardwoods for smoking.

Creating a delicate flavor throughout the sweet and salty ham.

Best used if you want to utilize smoking but prefer not to taste smoky tones throughout the meat.

Another great reason why alder wood can be a great pick is because of its versatility.

It is one of the few kinds of wood you can mix with other types for unique flavor profiles.

Maple Wood Chips

The flavor profile of maple pellets is mild and sweet, with hints of caramel and toffee.

Like apple chips, maple-flavored wood will sweeten up your ham recipe 

Maple pellets are a great choice for smoking ham as they provide a subtle sweetness.

Especially if you want to use maple syrup in a liquid mixture glaze.

Pecan Wood Chips

Pecan has a milder smoke flavor than other woods that pair nicely with the savory taste of ham.

These wood chips are widely available and popular for infusing meat with flavors.

Sweet and mild with black pepper notes.

Consider smoking a pre-cooked ham with pecan as it won’t overpower the natural ham flavor.

Olive Wood Chips

Olive-smoking wood chips give a zesty subtle flavor of smoke.

This smoky citrus flavor of olive pairs well with the hind leg of pork.

Infusing through the skin and your glaze ingredients the entire time.

So you can be confident you’re on to a winning holiday meal!


Wood Chips for a Strong Smoke Flavor

Oak Wood Chips

Oak has a heavy smoky flavor that can add intense flavors to the meat’s surface.

A small cup of wood chips goes a long way and infuses an almost spicy and earthy flavor.

Consider using it in moderation as it can overpower the taste of the ham if too much is used.

A combination of oak and lighter wood can help to balance out the flavor profile when smoking a ham.

Mixing a sweet flavor from citrus wood with the hearty flavor of strong wood will please any taste buds!

Hickory Wood Chips

One of the stronger flavored woods available which gives off a dense hearty smoke flavor.

The bold hickory hardwood flavor will elevate any traditional pork products.

Hickory wood pellets and chips have intense flavor profiles.

Lightly sweet and earthy undertones with a nutty flavor.

Mesquite Wood Chips

Looking for a strong flavor to infuse in your ham?

I bring you mesquite which is my final selection of the best smoking woods for ham.

Like oak, you should use mesquite sparingly on the hot coals in your charcoal grill.

The full-bodied flavor of this wood can be mixed with cherry for a balanced and nice blend.

The Difference Between Wood Chips & Pellets

Wood chips and pellets are two different types of wood products used for smoking.

Wood chips are pieces of hardwood that have been cut into small chunks.

Pellets are made from sawdust that has been compressed together, then formed into cylindrical shaped.

Pellets can be easier to manage and last longer than chips.

Both have pros and cons and I recommend considering using both to see what works for you.

Note: Wood chips require soaking to make them last longer whereas pellets do not.

Soak the Wood Chips for a Longer Cooking Time

It is recommended to soak wood chips for a longer smoking time.

Soaking the wood chips helps to reduce their burning rate.

This prevents them from creating too much smoke that can overwhelm the taste of your smoked ham.

Soaking also helps keep them moist and extends their burning time. 

This results in more flavor is imparted into the meat.


The Importance of Using Food Safe Wood Pellets & Chips

Industrial wood is made for the food industry and passes safety regulations.

Do not burn wood that has not been processed.

Doing so can result in serious illness from additives or bacteria.

Smoking Process Tips for Ham

The internal temperature before consumption of ham is 145°F

– Smoking ham at 225°F will take 15 minutes per pound.

– Add a brown sugar glaze for caramelization and the perfect skin.

Wrap in aluminum foil to avoid meat drying through cooking.

Smoke On!


Hi, I’m Charlie, I have been meat-smoking and grilling for the past 15 years. I have an array of different smokers, thermometers, and have a love for finding the right wood and charcoal combo My favourite recipes are my EXTRA CRISPY smoked pork belly, juicy pulled pork, smoked brisket, duck poppers, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill).

I loves sharing his tips with beginners, helping them navigate the world of smoking. I find it’s not just about cooking; it’s a quest for that perfect smoky flavor.

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling recipes with you!

You can read more about me on our About Us page.

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