Caution- When selecting wood chips for smoking know the wood source!
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN $3.99 WOOD CHIPS FOR SMOKING AND THE SMOKINLICIOUS® BRAND
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If you’ve ever looked at the wood chips for smoking products available at most discount retail stores, you’ll notice that they seem to have consistent pricing in the $3.99 or less bracket. Yet, you look at the SmokinLicious® brand and come up with a price that’s close to twice the cost. What’s the deal with the price difference?
There are many factors involved in determining the retail price of wood chips many of which I’m sure the average consumer hasn’t considered. What exactly are you paying for when you select a specific wood chip brand?
Let me give you some insight.
Let’s Start with the Raw Material
The raw material is by far the largest cost factor with selling wood chips for grilling, smoking, and cooking in general. I’ll make the comparison to cotton purchased by a t-shirt manufacturer. There are grades of cotton. Higher grades of cotton go into more expensive cotton clothing. Purchase a $5 t-shirt and you’re guaranteed a lower grade cotton was used. This means you likely won’t get more than a year of consistent wearing and washing out of that $5 t-shirt!
The same is true for wood chips. There are 8 different grades of wood or lumber for purposes such as cabinet making, flooring, construction, and pallets. Only one culinary wood company specifically purchases raw lumber material for cooking wood manufacture only. That would be SmokinLicious®.
Other companies will do one of three things; have a primary business in one of the areas listed above and use the waste product for producing the wood chips, or, purchase another company’s waste product to market as a wood chip grilling and smoking wood, or, have the company with waste product package a private label brand of grilling and smoking chips and deliver to a centralized distribution warehouse for the brand, something commonly done by equipment manufacturers who feel a need to offer a wood chip to go with the equipment.
Cleanliness of the Manufacturing Process
Another key factor in cost is the handling of the material during the manufacturing process. Now I understand that we are talking about wood and not a food item. However, if you are using a wood to add flavoring to food through smoke vapor from burning wood, then I see the wood as an ingredient. As with any ingredient, I would prefer to use something that is clean and pure since I will be eating this.
Since I’ve already pointed out that many companies use materials that are labeled as waste wood, you have no idea how the waste material was collected, stored, moved, and processed. You also don’t know what’s in that waste wood (treated lumber pieces, a mix of woods, some softwoods) or how old that material is which directly affects the moisture level. Remember, moisture is needed to smolder the wood and produce smoke vapor.
SmokinLicious® is the only culinary wood manufacturer that is Kosher certified, attesting to the steps taken to ensure the culinary products are clean, clean stored, and preserved.
Varieties and Availability
One means of keeping cost down is to offer chips that have not been debarked, have not had any mold spores removed, or for that matter dirt and debris. The entire log piece may be placed in a grinding unit which will generate an assortment of chip sizes as well as the dust that comes with this single equipment use. Honestly, you can’t be sure you are getting 100% of the wood listed on the package when these locations are generating extreme volumes of rough grind chip product. The company may simply call it a hardwood chip and not state what hardwood is in the mix. Remember, only specific hardwoods should be used in grilling and smoking.
Of course, the variety of wood also can increase the cost. Remember, there are many uses for a wood including the export demand to other countries outside of North America. As with any commodity, higher demands translate to higher cost. Hickory is one of those hardwoods that has become very expensive in the market as the wood is used for railroad ties, utility company pavers to get into mountain ranges, and heavily purchased by the Asian market for a purpose that is not clear.
Cost of Manufacturing
Both the labor involved making the chip product and the location that the chips are manufactured in play a role in determining the cost of the final product. Again, if the chip product is the result of another manufacturing level of the wood like making cabinets, then by using the scrap wood for the “chip” product, the overall cost of the chip product will be lower as labor and manufacturing costs can be covered by the initial cabinet making.
If, however, there is no other manufacturing purpose for the wood other than a wood chip production, all manufacturing costs are directed to that chip product. Then there is the question of where the chips are manufactured. Here are some minimum wage costs by the state that will certainly play a role in the final product cost: New York State $10.40, New Jersey $8.60, Texas $7.25, Florida $8.25, Wisconsin $7.25, Michigan $9.25.
Other costs that factor in include: how the chips are packaged, the moisture level of the product which directly determines the weight, how the wood is treated for both drying and for pest control, and if there is a screening of the chips to remove wood dust and make the chips more uniform.
SmokinLicious® developed over a 3-year period a specialized screen process which allows us to offer 7 different grind levels of wood chips, all bark-free, all from the heartwood of the hardwood only, and all dust free.
Perhaps it’s time you take a closer look at that package of $3.99 wood chips and see where it is manufactured, who manufactures it, what the contents of the bag include, and what weight there is to the product. Now that you’re educated on how to assess the value of your next wood chip purchase, the choice will be up to you.
One vegetable that is available throughout the year is the onion. Although you’re likely accustomed to using this in recipes as an added natural flavor when you wood-fire the onion, something magical happens to its cell structure that turns these into the buttery, melt-in-your-mouth gems that you’ll want to use in even more recipes.
Onions are high in vitamin C, can aid in weight loss, and have reduced certain cancer risks, especially those associated with the digestive tract.
Whether you elect to do the standard yellow onion, the sweet red onion, or shallots, you will love how smoke vapor works to bring out the best in any variety.
Preparing for the Grill
Before preparing the onions for the grill, let’s get the grill started by lighting the burners on only half the grill. This is referred to as two zone cooking. On the lit burner side, I place 2 wood chunks – I’m using the Single Filet size from SmokinLicious® – directly on the heat shields of my hot burners. This will provide the wood flavoring to the onions. My burners are set to medium-low which usually produces a cooking temperature of about 300°F. Simply adjust your burner setting to reach this temperature.
For the onions, I simply cut the tops of, slice in half and remove the skins. I place the halves cut side down in a roasting pan and add about ¼ cup of oil to the pan. With my pan ready, I place it on the unlit side of the grill and close the lid. In about 75 minutes, these will slightly charred, tender, and juicy.
Tasting Notes: Although I used avocado oil since you are not grilling over direct heat, you can use other oils such as olive, almond, walnut, grapeseed, coconut, sesame, canola, etc. Remember, some varieties of onion are considered herbs so doing an assortment of types will give you an abundance of flavors.
I decided to make a simple sauce of butter, cheese, parsley, and pepper for my onion mix and served these alongside a pork steak, also cooked on the grill with a two-zone method.
The best part is onions are available year-round so I can do this method even in the dead of winter, as remember, the gas grill still functions even in the cold! For those who like to freeze produce, this freezes very well so grill a lot keep them so they’re ready for the winter days you don’t feel like lighting the grill. Just think what an onion soup will taste like when you wood-fire the onions first!
Tasting Notes: If using a charcoal grill, still use a two-zone cooking set up meaning charcoal on only one side of the grill. Be sure you only cook with hot coals, no flames. This type of grilling can have more challenges to steady temperature so make sure you check the onion pan more frequently.
Our Forest Fresh Hardwood is a perfect fit for any Ceramic and Kamado Grill
CERAMIC AND KAMADO GRILL: THE WOOD MASTER’S GUIDE
Listen to all the products available for the Ceramic & Kamado Grill!
For those that have followed us for years, you know we are proud that almost from the start of our Company, we were committed to providing a guide for equipment to culinary wood product match. We refer to our guide affectionately as “Match Your Cooker”.
In this article, we are covering our recommendations for ceramic and komado style grilling equipment; these are grills that are made from ceramic, clay, terracotta or crushed lava rock that allow the grill to reach extremely high temperatures – usually at or above 750°F! They are also capable of using charcoal and wood either independently or in combination.
As there are always new equipment lines and models released, our plan is to provide regular updates on this listing. We also encourage you to send us a message when you don’t see a manufacturer or model listed to ensure it is added to the list (email firstname.lastname@example.org).
For now, we introduce you to our wood master’s guide to SmokinLicious® culinary woods for ceramic and komado grills.
We hope you view this guide as a helpful resource for selecting the perfect culinary wood for your equipment. As always, our Wood Guide Team is ready to answer your additional questions and further assist you with the perfect grilling and smoking experience!
* Although considered a komado grill, this brand is not made with any ceramic, clay, terracotta, or crushed stone.
** This brand is only designed for use with wood chips and includes a patented smokin’ chip feeder.
We specialize in products for Wood Burning Pizza Ovens!
WOOD BURNING PIZZA OVENS: THE WOOD MASTER’S GUIDE
Listen to our Wood Burning Pizza Ovens blog
For those that have followed us for years, you know we are proud that almost from the start of our Company, we were committed to providing a guide for equipment to cooking wood product match. We refer to our guide affectionately as “Match Your Cooker”.
In this article, we are covering our recommendations for Pizza Ovens, whether made of ceramic, clay, brick, steel or any combination, that are wood burning or a combination of wood burning and gas.
As there are always new equipment lines and models released, our plan is to provide regular updates on this listing. We also encourage you to send us a message when you don’t see a manufacturer or model listed to ensure it is added to the list.
For now, we introduce you to our Wood Master’s Guide to SmokinLicious® culinary woods for Pizza Oven.
Barrel Smoker Logs
The following equipment/models would be suitable for the SmokinLicious® Barrel Smoker Log/ Full Cut Log which are only designed for the largest pizza oven’s cooking area. These logs would also be suitable with the commercial-grade wood-burning pizza ovens:
Braza Brick Wood Fired Pizza Oven
Forno Bravo: Primavera 60 Outdoor Oven, Napoli Commercial Pizza Oven
American Barbecue Systems model: “The Judge”, “The Smokehouse 6042”
Authentic Pizza Ovens: Portable Maximus Oven, Traditional Brick Famosi Wood Fire Oven, Traditional Brick Lisboa Wood Fire Oven, Stone Domed Pizza Oven, Traditional Brick Pizziaoli Wood Fire Oven, Traditional Brick Braza Wood Fire Oven
Bella Outdoor Living: Medio Wood Burning Pizza Oven
ilFornino: F-Series Mini Professional Stainless Steel Wood Fired Pizza Oven, Platinum Series Wood Fired Pizza Oven, Piccolino Wood Fired Pizza Oven, Professional Plus Wood Fired Pizza Oven, Professional Series Wood Burning Pizza Oven, Elite Plus Wood Fired Pizza Oven, Grand G-Series Wood Burning Pizza Oven
LaToscana: Forno Easy Pizza Oven
Mugnaini: Medio 110 Barrel Outdoor Oven, Masonry Oven Kits Piccolo 80/Medio 100/Medio 110/Prima 100/Prima 120/Piccolo 60
NXR Professional Ranges: Burning Wood Dome Pizza Oven
Wood Stone: Bistro Home Ovens 3030/4836/4343/4355, Mountain Home Ovens Mt. Chuckanut 4’ & Mt. Adams 5’
Our Charwood product is a partially charred hardwood that still has the core of the specific hardwood’s flavoring intact. In other words, the outside is carbonized while retaining a hardwood core. For those ovens that specify using an anthracite coal only which is a hard, mineral coal, charwood would not be an alternative. Also, any residential oven that requires gas assist, should not use charwood.
We hope you view this guide as a helpful resource for selecting the perfect culinary wood for your wood-fired oven. As always, our Wood Guide Team is ready to answer your additional questions and further assist you for the perfect wood-fired experience!