Barbecue woods that are used vary greatly depending on demographic location and other factors and variables. Two of the favorites from here in the Oklahoma area is hickory and mesquite. In Texas it is predominately mesquite.
I have listed all of the popular types of wood below with a short description of each however I highly recommend that you do not take anyone's word for it (including my own) but that you will experiment and see what works for you.
Types of Barbecue Woods
Apple: Produces a sweet, fruity taste.Good mild wood which works well on poultry and ham. Get it here
Alder: What can I say about this barbecue wood… it is the wood that is greatly preferred for most any fish especially salmon. Get it here
Cherry: Similar to apple… sweet and usually very fruity depending on the age of the wood. Tends to be mild making it a good choice for poultry, fish, and ham. Get it here
Hickory: Probably the most well known woods and while lots of folk may disagree, it tends to be a bit to pungent for my own taste therefore great care must be taken so that it is not overused. Most feel it is excellent on ribs and most red meats. Can also be used very sparingly on cuts of poultry. (should be able to get this at the local hardware/department store)
Maple: Gives a light and sweet taste which best compliments poultry and ham. Get it here
Mesquite: My personal favorite barbecue wood however, great care must be taken or it can become overpowering. Best not used for larger cuts which require longer smoking times but I have been known to be quite successful at it by using it in tandem with another type of wood. (should be able to get this at the local hardware/department store)
Oak: Good choice for larger cuts which require longer smoking times. Produces a strong smoke flavor but usually not overpowering. Good wood for Brisket. Get it here
Pecan: Gives somewhat of a fruity flavor and burns cooler than most other barbecue woods. It is similar to Hickory and is best used on large cuts like brisket and pork roast but can also be used to compliment chops, fish and poultry. Get it here
Bottom line… you must experiment to find out what works for you and what does not. The woods that I like will most likely not be the ones you find most tasty and vice versa.
Note: You can also order the formulas for my rubs and sauce and make these yourself at home. Grab those HERE and download immediately.