It is always a great deal to know the kind of wood chips to use when you are smoking meats. Any veteran cooks who have been smoking meats for a period of time knows that the right kind of wood will also give the meat its unique flavor and so if you are on the search for the best king of smoke woods for grilling then let this article be your guide in your purchase.
Knowing the Different Types of Wood Chips
Before smoking your meats, know that there are various types of wooden chips to use when you are using a smoker in cooking your food. In fact, there are PLENTY of types that you can use but we will narrow the list and talk about the most popular ones used when smoking meats. When smoking meats, you generally need to use wood chips that came from nut-bearing or fruit-bearing trees. This is because when used, they can provide the best flavors for your smoked meats.
By tradition however, most barbecuers make use of the most abundant wood or wooden chips used when smoking food. In Texas for example, the most common type of wood chips used are from oak, pecan, hickory or apple as these provide the best flavors. However, in order to widen your knowledge about the different types of wood chips used, here are the most common types:
- Alder – this is usually used when smoking fish but it can also be used in pork and beef. They add a slight sweetness to the meats and are less dense compared to cedar wood.
- Apple – apple is a popular wood used in smoking meats and is usually mixed with other types of wood like cherry or oak for the best flavors for your meat.
- Cherry – commonly used in chicken, it gives a subtle fruity and sweet flavor for the chicken you are grilling. It can also be used with oak and apple.
- Guava – most common in tropical regions, this wonderful fruit-tree provides a sweet smelling aroma when you are cooking your meats with it. It’s recommended for lamb, pork, fish and other types of poultry meat.
- Hickory – this is one of the most common smoke woods used for grilling or barbecue. This is because it has a strong flavor that adds more taste to meats. Although there are people who are not in favor of using this type of wood, it is best to mix it with woods like oak to tame the after taste of hickory.
- Kiawe – originally from the state of Hawaii, this wood contains a strong flavor and works nicely with beef, poultry and fish. It can be found in stores too which is great as you don’t have to travel to Hawaii to get some.
- Maple – maple contains mild flavor when used in grilling. It also comes in wide variety and is known for its sweetness. Best used with pork and poultry meats.
- Mesquite – this wood is popular in Texas and is usually used in wood-fired smokers or cookers. It is also widely used for fish, poultry, beef and pork when grilling.
- Oak – one of the many favorites among grilling, the oak wood is delightful in barbecuing meats. It also contains a smoky flavor but not as strong as hickory. It works well when mixed with other woods too.
- Pecan – the flavor is best described to be nutty and spicy and is great when mixed with oak. It is most recommended for chicken or ribs when grilling.
When looking for the right kind of woods to use, it’s best to avoid cedar wood, eucalyptus, elm, pine and liquid amber. You must also avoid the redwood, sycamore, spruce and fir as they are not very suitable for smoking. However if you are in doubt of the wood you are using, it’s best to talk to an experienced cook or chef. Ask for the best type of wood to use so you can avoid disaster on your grill and waste a good amount of meat.
When using smoke woods for grilling, it is best to place them on top of unlit charcoal before lighting the coals. Make sure that they are dry before adding fuel and lighting them. Once they are lit, distribute the coals to ensure that the woods are burned properly. Always remember to add coal when you are using wood to grill your meat as wood chunks can burn longer. I recommend that you add coal and spread them evenly at the bottom of your wood chamber. This can also help you avoid charring your meat in the long run too.