When it comes to smoking, every person has their particular taste. Some like a subtle amount of smoke and others like the taste to smack them in the face. Achieving just the right flavor to suit your needs means adjusting the quantity of wood you use and the type. Here are some of the most popular types of wood that you can use and what they are best used for. If you are new to smoking, you need to try them all. Here is a great variety pack of wood, you can start with from Amazon.
Alder wood is a very subtle wood, milder but very similar to Oak. It is a perfect choice for meats such as fish.
Oak is a good base wood. It has a very mild taste making it suitable for blending with other woods. It also burns hot so keep that in mind when cooking low and slow.
Hickory imparts a medium strength smoke taste to your meat. It is a perfect addition to pork where you want a strong flavor. Pork is often cooked low and slow and hickory will give it a strong smoke taste without being too overpowering. On shorter cooks like chicken, the taste will be milder than with some strong woods like Mesquite.
Mesquite is an extremely strong wood but is one that is very commonly used in Texas. Use it on beef to provide a strong smoke flavor. It is best with beef or with shorter smokes. It can be used well with chicken but be careful to not use too much or you will get a bitter final flavor. A little Mesquite goes a long way.
Pecan wood is similar to Hickory in strength. Try it with pork but be careful to not use too much or it will turn bitter.
This refers to woods like Apple, Cherry, Peach, ETC. Fruit woods impart a very mild and of course fruity taste. They are great on lighter meats like chicken but can be used well with any type of meat because of the non overpowering flavor.