Alder Wood, Sweet and Smokey

Alder Wood isn’t a wood you may hear a lot of argument over like you do with some of the more common woods used in barbeque, Yet it’s popularity is increasingly growing! Well most of us are late to the party if you were to speak to folks from the Pacific Northwest. They’ve been using Western Red Alder wood for years, smoking up great fish and pork.

This is a spinoff of an article titled “Top Wood Choices When Smoking Meat” that we posted some time ago. We will cover each wood individually that was mentioned in that article. This has come about from the emails and questions we received about different wood choices and which cuts are best to use, along with which meats they work well with.


Alder wood is great for making cabinets, dressers and other types of furniture, but it is also one of the best types of wood to use for smoking. Alder creates a milder sweet delicate smoke best suited for situations where just a hint of smoky flavor is desired. This is not a powerhouse wood when it comes to smoking.

Alder is best used for fish, vegetables, poultry and pork. Traditionally Alder wood is used to smoke Salmon. Nothing compares to the naturally sweet smoked flavor of Western Red Alder Wood. You can usually find it in chunks and chips. The Western Red Alder is a hardwood tree often exceeding 75 ft. in height. Indigenous to west of the Cascade mountain range of the Pacific Northwest, Western Red Alder wood has become a favorite wood smoking flavor. Made popular by Northwest native’s seafood and salmon smoking, the Western Red Alder’s natural sugars provide a truly unique smoked flavor. Great for barbeque, it has a delightful smoke flavor that enriches all fish, seafood, meats, and vegetables.

I usually use logs or chunks but I came across some instructions for using Alder wood chips that I found a bit odd, but I’m going to give it a try.

  • Soak the alder wood chips in apple cider for at least two hours. You need just enough wood chips to fill the smoker box halfway.
  • Remove the wood chips from the cider and place them on a towel for 15 minutes. The chips should be moist, but not dripping.
  • Start the grill and let it warm up to the desired temperature. If using a charcoal grill, start it up immediately after removing the wood chips from the cider.
  • Place the soaked wood chips in the smoker box and close the lid of the grill.
  • Open the vent on the grill and wait for the wood chips to heat up. You can tell they are ready when you see steam coming from the grill’s vent.
  • Put the food on the grill and cook it. The steam from the wood chips will add a smoky flavor.

If you use Alder wood please leave a comment below on your experience using it and why you like or dislike using Alder wood.

Can’t find Alder Wood in your area? Get it here from Amazom,

Now, I’ll leave you with a recipe I used to smoke some salmon using Alder wood.


About Pigskin Barbeque 80 Articles
Just a regular guy who loves to barbeque. Married father of two. I developed a love for grilling as a child watching my dad grill. My love for BBQ, using wood and the "low & slow" method came after I purchased my first horizontal smoker in my 20's.

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