Smokey meat is incredibly popular, and for good reason. It’s delicious and can increase the taste bud satisfaction level of numerous recipes.

There are times, though, when a strong smoky flavor does more harm than good. Depending on how it is used, it can completely overpower a dish.

And then, there are some people who simply don’t like the flavor of smoke much if at all.

What should you do in these situations?

That’s easy – use alder wood to smoke your meat.

Where Does Alder Wood Come From?

Alder wood is one of the most popular smoking woods. It is made from the bark of alder trees, which are found in the northwestern part of the U.S.

While most people associate alder trees with the Northern hemisphere – there are 15 species of the tree in North America – it can be found elsewhere as well. Eurasia boasts 15 species of alder tree, too.

In the Pacific Northwest, the “red alder A. rubra” is the most popular species of alder tree to use as a barbeque wood chip for smoking meat.

If you like a little bit of folklore, you’ll like this little factoid: Alder wood is said to attract the supernatural. Because of this, some people claim the wood is difficult to burn.

The Flavor Profile of Alder Wood Chips and When to Use Them

Alder wood chips are famed for their subtle flavor. Their flavor profile is sweet and musky. Because it is so light, this is the perfect choice for lighter meats:

In the Northwest, where the alder trees grow, this wood chip is used mainly as a way to smoke salmon. And it’s absolutely delicious.

But just because it’s used so often with fish doesn’t mean it isn’t as good with heartier meats. On a smoker forum, one member wrote in because he somehow purchased alder wood chips when he was shopping for chips to use to smoke his Thanksgiving turkey.

He’d never used these chips before and was worried his meal would be a huge miss with his friends and family. While some on the forum told him that these chips were used only for fish, others encouraged him to give it a try. He was so happy he did. The flavor was great and it was a big hit with his company.

The point of this story is to let you know that as long as the meat is lighter in color, texture, and flavor, this type of wood chip will be a great choice.

If you still aren’t convinced, try the recipes below. You’ll be a believer after tasting them!

Apple and Alder Wood Smoked Turkey

This is an incredibly easy recipe. All you need is apple cider as your brine, as well as some onion and oil. If you want, you can add orange slices, cloves, and garlic – adding these to a pocket you make in between the turkey meat and the skin. Soak the turkey in the brine for at least 12 hours.

Afterwards, remove the oranges, cloves, and garlic. Dry the turkey with paper towels and put in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.

Then, add half alder and half applewood chips to your smoker. Preheat your smoker to 300 degrees F, and then smoke the turkey for 35-40 minutes.

You’ll end up with a turkey that is juicy with a smooth, sweet, smoky flavor.

Alder Plank Smoked Salmon

This is a classic and you need to give it a try. You won’t be sorry!

Soak the salmon in brine overnight, and submerge the alder wood plank in water. After drying the salmon and plank, place the salmon on the plank and smoke for at least two hours. Yum.

Please All Your Guests with the Subtle Flavor of Alder Chips


Some people love the robust flavor of a strong hickory- or mesquite-smoked cut of meat. Others, though, have a hard time with strong flavors. Anything that is too flavorful or spicy just doesn’t sit well with them.


Whether that’s true of you or if you have to prepare a meal for someone with these sensibilities, having an option like alder wood is wonderful.

It allows you to create a main dish that is subtle without being boring. With the hint of smoke that you get from alder wood chips, you’ll be sure to please even the most delicate of palates.

In the Mood for Something New? You’ll Love Chips from the Alder Tree

Most of us are familiar with stronger smoky flavors, like hickory and mesquite. They’re really tasty and work great on a variety of meats.

But if you’re in the mood for something a little different, why not try alder wood?

These wood chips will add a nice, subtle smoke flavor to meat that you may not eat very often. Using a new main ingredient and alder wood chips will make dinnertime a little more intriguing than usual.


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