Can you smoke meat with water oak? Yes & look out for these tips

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  March 25, 2020

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The water oak tree is a type of oak tree that is adapted to wet, swampy areas. It’s great for the environment and it’s a good source of timber and fuel, but what about it’s smoking abilities?

Can it give food the same great taste that other types of oak wood provide? Can you smoke meat with water oak?

Some say it gives a similar taste to pecan, and others that all oaks taste about the same. As water oak can burn for a long time and gives a mild taste to your food, it is perfect for red meats like lamb, beef and briskets. 

Read on to find out more about smoking meat and other foods with water oak.

Can you smoke meat with water oak

Is water oak good for smoking meat?

The simple answer to this question is yes, water oak is good for smoking meat. It burns for a long time so it can be useful for smokes that last as long as 24 hours. It also leaves behind a delicious aroma.

Flavorwise, the jury is out when it comes to the taste water oak gives food. Some say water oak gives food a taste that is similar to pecan.

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Others say the flavor is not quite like pecan or mesquite and that it is best when seasonings are added. Some say that when it comes to culinary uses, all oaks are the same.

While it’s true that people can argue back and forth about the type of flavor water oak will give to food, if we review the opinions provided here, it’s clear that water oak will not provide an overpowering flavor.

Most oaks provide a medium to a strong flavor that is seldom overpowering. The wood is recommended for red meats like:

Those that feel that water oak is similar to other types of oak when it comes to flavor it lends food will want to use it to smoke these red meats.

Those that find water oak provides more of a pecan taste will describe the flavor as sweet and nutty.

Either way, we see an overlap in the meats that will be best when smoked over water oak as pecan is recommended to taste best when making:

So, overall water oak will be great for smoking the red meats listed above.

What else can you smoke with water oak?

Because water oak is not overpowering, it will work well with a variety of foods beyond meat. Here are a few you can try.

Here’s Rico showing how to smoke with oak wood:


Water oak may not be as well known as some of its cousins, especially when it comes to the world of smoking meat; but its ability to provide a long burn time and a great flavor and aroma sets it apart as a chef’s favorite.

What types of foods do you like to smoke with water oak wood?

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.