Tips About Some of the Woods Used to Smoke Meat
1. Cherry is especially good with beef and pork. It has a tendency to turn meat a rich mahogany color. It's best to balance Cherry wood with Hickory, Alder, Oak or Pecan.
2. Maple is similar to Alder wood, providing a sweet flavoring and dark appearance. Balance it with Alder, Apple or Oak. Sugar Maple wood is the sweetest.
3. Red Oak is considered the most versatile of the hard woods and is a top choice for smoking.
4. Hickory is the all-time favorite of many Midwest and southern state barbecue cooking teams. However, it adds strong flavoring to meats - too much hickory smoke can turn meat bitter.
5. Alder Ash's natural sweetness is especially suited with fish and poultry and is the first choice for smoking Salmon.
6. Apple's natural sweetness is good for poultry and ham and provides mild flavoring.
7. Mesquite is very popular with restaurant grills, especially the Honey Mesquite wood. The Wesatch variety of Mesquite "pops" embers. Mesquite is oily in nature and considered the strongest flavored wood, so it burns hot and fast. This is not the ideal choice for long barbecues.
8. Pear, Peach and Plum. These woods require a certain level of expertise in their use. Peach and Plum woods tend to lose their flavor shortly after being cut. For the best results, make sure you use the fruit bearing kind of Plum.
9. Pecan,a member of the hickory family, burns cool and provides a delicate flavor. It is gaining in popularity as a smoking wood, however, it can be pungent,so use it sparingly.
10. Dogwood is quite similar to Oak in its smoke flavor.
11. Grapevine cuttings add a nice flavor to fish, poultry and beef but produce a lot of tart smoke. You could achieve the same affect by soaking wood chips in an inexpensive wine before placing the wood on the coals or in a smoker box.
12. Herb woods, such as Basil, Thyme and Rosemary are usually used in combination with other woods. A good combination would be Alder with Basil, and Maple with Rosemary.
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