What is Smoking?
Some might call real barbecue cooking slowly over low heat infused with wood smoke. When you cook low and slow, you break down connective tissue and tenderize tough (and typically less expensive) cuts of meat like beef brisket, pork shoulder, pork butts and spare ribs.
For smoking these kinds of foods, cooking times are measured in hours rather than minutes, so patience is key! You’ll love the result – succulent, fall-off- the-bone tenderness with a tangy, complex combination of spices, smoke and natural meat flavors.
You can also smoke fish, poultry, vegetables and even cheeses. The taste is delicious with the added hint of wood smoke.
Here’s a Flavor Guide for Wood Chips and Chunks:
Add delicious flavor to your food with wood smoking chips and chunks pellets. Two factors determine the smoke intensity of your food: the amount of time food is exposed to smoke and the type of wood used.
Cherry: Slightly sweet and fruity. Great with poultry and pork.
Apple: Slightly sweet and dense. Good with beef, poultry and ham.
Grape: Delicate with a sweet, wine flavor. Good with fish and poultry.
Maple: Smoky and a bit sweet. Super with poultry, vegetables and ham.
Oak: Strong, but pleasing. Great with beef (think brisket), poultry and pork.
Hickory: Smoky, strong, baconlike flavor. Great with pork, chicken and beef.
Pecan: Rich and more subtle than hickory, yet similar. Ideal for very low-heat smoking. Good with pork, chicken, lamb and fish.
Here’s a Flavor Guide for Wood Pellets:
Alder: These pellets are the most versatile because of their mild flavor and aroma. Alder wood gives off a great amount of smoke without overwhelming even the most delicate flavors like chicken, fish, or baked goods.
Apple: Most often used with poultry and pork, apple wood pellets offer a lightly fruity smoke that helps enhance mild flavored meats.
Cherry: One of the more flavorful pellets, cherry wood lends itself to application where you want to add a hearty smoke flavor.
Hickory: Probably the most widely used pellets in barbecue, hickory pellets release a strong flavor and complement most meats. Some people find hickory can be a little strong and like to mix it with a milder pellet like oak or apple.
Maple: Mild, with a hint of sweetness, maple pellets are great on pork and especially turkey
Mesquite: A favorite of Texas BBQ, Mesquite pellets infuse your meat with hearty smoke flavor. That super smoky flavor is great for recipes that are begging for a little something extra.
Oak: Oak is a great middle ground as far as smoke intensity goes. A little stronger than cherry or apple, and a little lighter than hickory, Oak is great to use with fish and veggies.
Pecan: Deliciously nutty and even a little spicy, Pecan pellets are great with beef, pork, or poultry. They add a great depth to baked goods as well.
Tips & Tricks for How to Smoke with Aromatic Woods:
Soak your soak wood chunks in water for several hours or overnight before using them. This allows the wood to smolder and release the smoky aromas and flavors to permeate food.
Water is always good, but you can try soaking them in wine, beer or fruit juice to add another flavor dimension.
You can also scatter the dry wood directly on the coals. This works because when you smoke foods at low temperatures, the wood doesn’t tend to burn quickly.