Choosing the type of wood you want to cook with can be a puzzle if you do not
know what wood is available, and how each type of wood will effect the meat you
are cooking in terms of flavor. The paragraphs below list a brief description of some
of the best woods to use for cooking and when to use them. Being from Texas, of
course my favorite type of wood to use is mesquite, and basically I use it for
everything I smoke. Sometimes I add other woods such as apple, cherry, or pecan to
give different tastes to the meat, but most of the time I use pure mesquite.
Many people do not like mesquite because they believe the smoke adds too much
flavor to the meet. If it is not used correctly, this can possibly happen. Mesquite
needs to be aged, or completely dry before it is used. Using it before then might
add a bitter flavor to the meat you are cooking.
Anyway, enough about mesquite. There are many different types of wood available
for you to smoke with. Just remember one thing. If you are using a type of fruit
tree, then you will be okay. Here are a few examples of fruit trees and the flavors
their smoke produces.
Alder- This type of wood is found mostly in northern states. It is a very delicate
wood that gives a hint of sweetness to the meat. Alder is commonly used to smoke
fish, pork, poultry, and game birds.
Apple- The bark on a piece of apple wood is very thin so it gives off less smoke that
other types of wood. The smoke is fruity in flavor, and can be a great wood to use
for smoking poultry and pork. I use apple in addition to mesquite when I smoke
Cherry- This is a good wood to use for smoking beef, pork, and poultry. The smoke
is mild with a fruity flavor.
Hickory- Hickory is good for smoking pork, ham, and beef. It is probably the most
commonly used wood for smoking.
Mesquite- Mesquite is my favorite type of wood because it gives meat a good
smoke flavor, and a person can find it just about anywhere in Texas. It is important
to use only dried mesquite wood, because if the wood is too green, it can make the
meat taste bitter.
Oak- This type of wood can be used on just about anything if a heavy smoke flavor
is desired. Two types of oak are commonly used: red oak, and white oak. White oak
burns longer, and red oak is sweeter.
Pecan- Pecan is good to use in addition to mesquite when smoking ribs. I smoked a
brisket-using pecan only, and the end result was a 10-pound chunk of meat that
was too sweet to eat. I recommend using pecan moderately, mixed with another
wood such as mesquite or hickory.
These are just a few of the basic types of wood used for smoking. The types I have
described above are the kinds that I most commonly use, and the ones that I have
had the best luck with. The best way to find out which ones will work for you is trial
and error. Hickory is always a good bet, and it can be used in conjunction with
pecan, cherry, etc. to produce a mild, fruity flavor. Good Luck...
The Smoker King
Aaron Ralston, also known as The Smoker King, is the owner of Outdoor Cooking: Barbeque, Sauces, Mops, Rubs at http://www.thesmokerking.com. Check out thesmokerking.com today to learn many great barbeque and cooking recipes and techniques.halloween costume