Can I use green wood for smoking? Experts say yes

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  March 28, 2020

Always the latest smoking tips & tricks?

Subscribe to THE ESSENTIAL newsletter for aspiring pitmasters

We'll only use your email address for our newsletter and respect your privacy

I love creating free content full of tips for my readers, you. I don't accept paid sponsorships, my opinion is my own, but if you find my recommendations helpful and you end up buying something you like through one of my links, I could earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more

Green wood is a type of wood that has recently been cut and has not been given time to season. It contains more moisture than seasoned wood that has been dried throughout the passage of time.

Any type of wood can be green wood including

It is not the type of wood that matters but rather the amount of time it was given to dry and season.

Green wood releases less heat than other types of wood due to the amount of moisture it contains.

So what does that mean in terms of using it for smoking?

This article will look at green wood and how well it works to smoke meats and other food products.

Tips on using green wood for smoking

Can I use green wood for smoking?

The short answer to that is, yes green wood can be used for smoking. However, when it comes to the taste green wood gives to food, the jury is out. Some feel it gives food a great taste while others say, not so much. Here are some opinions to explore.

On the other hand, chef Bobby Flay is known to use green wood in his recipes. He advocates its use in his Throwdown events.

Another chef, Myron Mixon, uses green peach tree wood and says it essential to his flavor profiles.

This is in line with those who say the maple content in green wood can be beneficial if the wood comes from a fruit tree. They say it helps bring out the fruity flavor.

If these conflicting opinions are making you wonder which way to turn, here is some advice that works as a sort of compromise.

For one, it is not advisable for beginners to use green wood. You should only experiment with this type of wood if you have prior smoking experience.

Some also say that green wood works well for smoking when mixed with other types of wood. They say this adds a great smokey flavor.

What types of food go well with green wood?

Those that do use green wood recommend it in the following applications:

Use green wood only in certain types of smokers

There is also the issue of how well the wood will work in smokers.

Fires burn hotter in large smokers so they tend to do well with green wood. Smaller smokers, on the other hand, may not be as effective in producing a strong burn that works with green wood.

How long does wood have to sit before it becomes seasoned?

If you are looking to play it on the safe side and want to make sure your wood is properly seasoned before using it for smoking, here are a few tips.

Check out all of the tips for seasoning wood in my article on it here

If you are looking to season your green wood, it’s also important not to let the wood dry out completely. Even seasoned wood should have some moisture content.

How to keep green woods green

If you do prefer green wood, there is the problem of how to keep it green. After all, it will dry out over time and it may even rot.

  1. One obvious solution would be to cut fresh wood every time you were going to be smoking. However, this can be high maintenance and quite a costly solution.
  2. If you have freezer space, you could try placing wood chips into plastic bags and storing them that way. Freezing wood has been shown to preserve green wood.


Different people have different opinions when it comes to using green wood for smoking. Some feel it gives food a great flavor while others are adamant about sticking with seasoned wood.

Either way, one thing is clear; having some smoking experience under your belt will help you use green wood effectively.

So what do you think? Will you be adding green wood to your smoker?

Also read: Can You Smoke Meat with Mahogany? It Depends, and here’s why!

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Lakeside Smokers is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with BBQ Smoking (& Japanese food!) at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.