Smoking Lamb With Hickory Wood

Smoking lamb with hickory wood

Hickory is a hardwood that imparts a strong flavor to food. It is especially a good choice for traditional barbecue meats such as brisket, tri-tip and pork shoulder.

It also pairs well with bacon. Smoking bacon with hickory wood results in a deliciously smoky flavor that pairs well with the salty and fatty texture of the meat.

How does hickory affect the flavor?

Hickory wood adds a strong smoky flavor to meat. This makes it ideal for low and slow cooking. It also doesn’t tend to become too bitter as quickly as some other woods, like mesquite.

It’s important to choose a good quality hickory wood for smoking lamb. This is because different types of hickory can have different flavors.

Shagbark hickory is the most common type of hickory found in North America. Other species include shellbark hickory, pignut hickory, pecan hickory and bitternut hickory.

They’re all used for lumber and a variety of other uses. These trees are also popular landscaping features and habitats for wildlife.

Shagbark hickory’s hardness and strength make it an excellent choice for construction and home improvement projects. It has a Janka hardness rating of 1820, which is higher than hard maple and white oak.

What are some recipes for smoking lamb with hickory wood?

Smoking is a great way to add a unique flavor to lamb. It also helps to mellow out the signature flavor that comes with this meat, making it more pleasant for many people.

Hickory wood is an excellent choice for smoking lamb, as it has a strong flavor and is easily available. This makes it a good choice for those who are looking to smoke lamb on a budget.

For best results, use a large cut of meat. This will ensure that the meat is cooked evenly and it will be more juicy.

To prepare the lamb, preheat your smoker and place hickory or apple chips in the smoker tray. Next, season the meat with a rub made from salt, pepper, garlic, and rosemary. You can use a rub shaker or your hands to apply the rub to all sides of the meat.

How do I buy hickory wood?

Hickory is one of the most popular woods used for smoking meat, particularly lamb. It has the strongest smoky flavor of all cooking woods and is especially good for smoking beef and pork low and slow.

You can buy hickory wood in logs, chips or chunks to smoke on your grill. You can also use it as a fuel for your stick burner smoker.

Pecan is another popular choice for smoking lamb because it gives it a strong smoky flavor and a distinct nuttiness. However, this wood can also be too strong for delicate foods like chicken.

Apple wood is another option that will impart a sweet flavor to your meats. It takes a few hours for apple wood to permeate the meat, so be sure to allow plenty of time in your recipe.

Where can I buy hickory wood?

Hickory is one of the most popular woods for smoking meat. It provides a smoky flavor that’s comparable to bacon, but it can be used with meats that don’t have a lot of fat.

Hickory also burns cleanly and evenly, delivering a consistent flavor that’s not too strong or too weak. This makes it a great choice for long cooks.

Depending on the type of smoker or recipe, you can use different types of hickory wood. Planks work best for setups like ovens and lidded grills that have two-zone fire setups, while offset smokers need sticks (also called split logs) as fuel.

Other hickory woods include mesquite, a strong-flavored option that’s popular in Texas, and pecan. Both have a more intense smoky flavor that works well with lamb.

How To Smoke Lamb With Hickory Wood Step By Step

Smoking lamb with hickory wood imparts a robust and slightly sweet, smoky flavor to the meat. Hickory is a versatile wood that complements the rich flavors of lamb nicely. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to smoke lamb with hickory wood:


  • Lamb (choose your preferred cut, such as leg of lamb, lamb shoulder, or lamb chops)
  • Olive oil or another cooking oil
  • Dry rub or marinade of your choice (suggested ingredients: rosemary, garlic, thyme, and lemon zest)
  • Hickory wood chunks or hickory wood chips
  • Salt and black pepper


  • Charcoal or wood pellet smoker or a grill with a smoking box
  • Meat thermometer
  • Aluminum foil


1. Prepare the Lamb:

  • Start by preparing the lamb. Trim any excess fat from the meat and season it with your choice of dry rub or marinade. Allow the lamb to marinate for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors penetrate the meat.

2. Preheat the Smoker:

  • Preheat your smoker or grill to a low and slow temperature, typically around 225-250°F (107-121°C).

3. Soak the Hickory Wood:

  • If you’re using hickory wood chips, soak them in water for about 30 minutes to an hour before use. Soaking helps the wood produce smoke slowly and evenly.

4. Prepare the Smoke Box:

  • For a charcoal or wood pellet smoker, you can add hickory wood chunks or hickory wood chips directly to the smoker box or the coals. If you’re using a grill, use a smoking box or create an aluminum foil pouch filled with soaked hickory wood chips.

5. Smoke the Lamb:

  • Place the seasoned lamb on the smoker grates, ensuring there is space between the pieces for proper smoke circulation. If you’re using a grill, set it up for indirect grilling, with the lamb on the side without direct heat.

6. Monitor the Temperature:

  • Use a meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of the lamb. The target temperature may vary depending on the cut and your desired doneness, but a general guideline is to cook lamb to an internal temperature of 145-160°F (63-71°C).

7. Maintain a Steady Temperature:

  • Keep the smoker or grill temperature steady by adjusting the airflow and adding more hickory wood chunks or chips as needed to maintain the smoke.

8. Rest and Serve:

  • Once the lamb reaches your desired internal temperature, remove it from the smoker or grill. Cover it with aluminum foil and allow it to rest for about 10-15 minutes. Resting helps the juices redistribute, resulting in a tender and flavorful lamb.

9. Slice and Enjoy:

  • Slice the smoked lamb against the grain and serve it with your favorite sides and sauces.

Smoking lamb with hickory wood adds a bold and delicious smoky flavor that pairs beautifully with the richness of the meat. It’s a fantastic way to elevate the taste of various lamb cuts and create a memorable dish for special occasions or gatherings.

Read more great BBQ articles at Bob’s BBQ Tips