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Best wood to smoke with


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#1 lightningbolt1

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Posted 07 May 2012 - 05:41 PM

Whats yer favorite wood to smoke with and why?

#2 Feck

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 06:01 PM

depends on what i'm smokin and how it will be finished. i tend to stick with Apple, Cherry or Hickory, unless i'm going tex/mex then it's Mequite. sometime i'll start with one, finish with another - by design or lack of materails

why, mostly by what's available at the time.

with my smoker i tend to smoke pork, ribs, bacon or some turkey legs or turkey breast. grill top, i've used pecan pellets for chicken.

i found this guide to be helpful

Woods for smoking:
Acacia is similar to mesquite but not as strong. This wood burns very hot and should be used in small amounts or for limited amounts of time.

Alder has a light flavor that works well with fish and poultry. Indigenous to the northwestern United States, it is the traditional wood for smoking Salmon.

Almond give a nutty, sweet flavor that is good with all meats. Almond is similar to Pecan.

Apple is very mild in flavor and gives food a sweetness. This is good with poultry and pork. Apple will discolor chicken skin (turns in dark brown).

Apricot is great for poultry and pork. This wood is similar to hickory but is sweeter and milder in flavor.

Ash has a light, unique flavor. This wood burns fast.

Black Walnut has a heavy flavor that should probably be mixed with other wood because of the bitter taste it can impart.

Birch has a similar flavor to maple. This wood is good with pork and poultry.

Cherry has a sweet, mild flavor that goes great with virtually everything. This is one of the most popular woods for smoking.

Chokecherry has a bitter flavor and should only be used in small amounts for short period of times.

Citrus woods like lemon or orange have a moderate smoke that gives a light fruity flavor that is more mild than apple or cherry.

Cottonwood is very mild in flavor and should be used with stronger flavored woods. Avoid green wood.

Crabapple is very similar to apple wood and can be used interchangeably.

Fruit, like apple, apricot or cherry, fruit wood gives off a sweet, mild flavor that is good with poultry or ham.

Grapefruit is a mild wood that produces a good, smoky flavor. A good wood for any meat.

Grapevines make a lot of tart smoke and gives a fruity but sometimes heavy flavor. Use it sparingly with poultry or lamb.

Hickory adds a strong flavor to meats, so be careful not to use to excessively. It’s good with beef and lamb.

Lemon is a mild wood that produces a good, smoky flavor. A good wood for any meat.

Lilac produces a good supply of mild, sweet smoke. A popular wood for smoked cheese, but also good for poultry and pork.

Maple, like fruit wood gives a sweet flavor that is excellent with poultry and ham.

Mesquite has been very popular of late and is good for grilling, but since it burns hot and fast, it's not recommended for long barbecues. Mesquite is probably the strongest flavored wood; hence its popularity with restaurant grills that cook meat for a very short time.

Mulberry is sweet and very similar to apple.

Nectarine is great for poultry and pork. This wood is similar to hickory but is sweeter and milder in flavor.

Oak is strong but not overpowering and is a very good wood for beef or lamb. Oak is probably the most versatile of the hard woods.

Orange is a mild wood that produces a good, smoky flavor. A good wood for any meat.

Peach is great for poultry and pork. This wood is similar to hickory but is sweeter and milder in flavor.

Pear is similar to apple and produces a sweet, mild flavor.

Pecan burns cool and provides a delicate flavor. It’s a much subtler version of hickory.

Plum is great for poultry and pork. This wood is similar to hickory but is sweeter and milder in flavor.

Walnut has a heavy, smoky flavor and should be mixed with milder flavored woods.

Other good woods include: avocado, bay, beech, butternut, carrotwood, chestnut, fig, guava, gum, hackberry, kiawe, madrone, manzita, olive, range, persimmon, pimento, and willow

You can also find other wood products around made from wine and whiskey barrels that impart a very unique flavor. I have a fondness for Jack Daniel whiskey barrel wood.

Woods to AVOID would include: cedar, cypress, elm, eucalyptus, pine, fir, redwood, sassafras, spruce, and sycamore.


#3 jme

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 08:32 PM

I smoke lots of pork, and I like apple. I have cherry and Hickory on hand as well, but only use the hickory for Brisket, which i tend to season very heavily. I don't care for mesquite.

Here's the lowdown from Meathead over at Amazingribs.com... my personal BBQ bible: http://www.amazingri...en_of_wood.html

this is my favorite part:

No need to soak.

Here's another myth busted: It is conventional wisdom that you should soak wood before using it to slow its burning. I disagree. In separate batches, I took wood chips and wood chunks labeled "apple", and soaked them 12 hours in room temp water. I weighed them on a fairly precise digital postage scale before soaking. After soaking I patted the exterior lightly with paper towels and weighed them to see just how much was actually absorbed. Chunks gained about 3% by weight and chips about 6%. I cut the chunks in half and penetration was only about 1/16". DOH! That must be why they make boats out of wood! Wood doesn't absorb much water!



:lol:



#4 MeOmYo

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 08:42 PM

I partially agree on the not soaking wood

The rule of thumb for air drying lumber is 1yr/1" of thickness so there is no way you can expect wood to absorb it all back in 12 hrs. chips or chunks

with that said, it's not really practial to soak smoking wood for a month

#5 jme

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 08:50 PM

and most people who would soak wood for BBQing, would soak wood for far less than 12 hours. :beer:

#6 MeOmYo

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 08:58 PM

I like apple and maple

#7 Smiles

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 06:00 AM

I smoke lots of pork, and I like apple. I have cherry and Hickory on hand as well, but only use the hickory for Brisket, which i tend to season very heavily. I don't care for mesquite. Here's the lowdown from Meathead over at Amazingribs.com... my personal BBQ bible: http://www.amazingri...en_of_wood.html this is my favorite part: No need to soak.

Here's another myth busted: It is conventional wisdom that you should soak wood before using it to slow its burning. I disagree. In separate batches, I took wood chips and wood chunks labeled "apple", and soaked them 12 hours in room temp water. I weighed them on a fairly precise digital postage scale before soaking. After soaking I patted the exterior lightly with paper towels and weighed them to see just how much was actually absorbed. Chunks gained about 3% by weight and chips about 6%. I cut the chunks in half and penetration was only about 1/16". DOH! That must be why they make boats out of wood! Wood doesn't absorb much water!

:lol:


what a great website! thanks!

#8 jme

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 02:24 PM

he's awesome... I follow on fBook, too. email him with any questions if you can't find them on his site, and he'll either point you in the right direction or email you back. Anyone that considered themselves a "hedonism Evangelist" is high on my list. :lol:

I use so many of his recipes on the regular now... with small adaptations for personal taste:

Memphis Dust for ribs: http://www.amazingri...mphis_dust.html
Simon and Garfunkel for chicken: http://www.amazingri...funkel_rub.html
Big Bad Beef rub for brisket: http://www.amazingri...d_beef_rub.html

I love his technique (that many people use) he calls the Texas crutch: http://www.amazingri...xas_crutch.html On that page in the orange box he talks about his own version of the 3-2-1 / 2-2-1 competition rib style cooking. Last summer I used the crutch on my ribs, and they worked out great, several times. next time I do them I'm going to follow his method instead and see if I can pull it off. the crutch really helps to make sure you've cooked through. I love what it does for ribs, but I haven't done any other way to compare.

I've picked up lots of helpful info from reading through that site, when any friends or family ask me for input on things I always give them this site along with my own experiences.

Another one of my favorite bits of wisdom from Meathead: If you boil ribs, the terrorists win. :lol: you can find that on most of his pages about rib cooking techniques. :lol:

#9 Depends

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 04:00 PM

morning wood