vce12342000

Pairing the types of wood to your meats ?

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Im still new to the smoking game only coming from a propane grill. Im a little confused on the selection out there. Is it like pairing red or white wine to your fish & different meats  :headscratch:. Ive been cooking with primarily mesquite for everything. But I have used Apple & Hickory. or its all personal preference ? pfa only  

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I encourage you to play around and learn the different taste profiles of each by doing the same cook multiple times while switching only the wood.  Choosing what wood to use is personal preference, but the rules of thumb exist for a reason.

 

Personally I don't like mesquite outside of hot and fast cooking red meat such as a burger; I think it is overpowering and bitter when used low and slow.  Hickory alone can be overpowering as well, but I use it to cook beef or lamb and often mix a smaller amount in with fruitwoods for pork.

 

Oak is good for most proteins but I rarely see it available as chunks (the form I need) near me.  I use cherry a lot and it provides an excellent color so some gets tossed in on most cooks I do.  I recently started using some pecan which I've been enjoying a lot; it's a bit milder than hickory but has a similar taste profile.

 

At some point I went from one cook=one wood type to mixing multiple types in the same cook after becoming familiar enough with their individual taste profiles to get a feel for what will mesh well.

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Hey vce,

Good topic. 

I think it might also depend on what type of cooker and what form the wood is in. What I mean is, when trying to cook meat on my BGE, charcoal was the heat source and I would add wood chunks I purchased. These chunks were kiln dried. that limited the wood flavor and I had to be really carful to limit the smoldering and wait till the smoke cleared up so food wouldn't biter and like creosote. When using dried chunks on my BGE, I liked hickory or pecan for beef and pork, and alder for fish and chicken. Recently I purchased some Oak "Smoking wood chunks" from Myron Mixon's website. They were the perfect size and claimed to "naturally cured". I liked the results I achieved with those a lot. On his website he sells sever different types of wood chunks.

I believe that you're cooking on a pellet cooker. I've read that pellet smokers create a light smoke profile, though I also believe that some have a "super smoke" function and some people use some sort of smoke tube. I've seen all different types of wood pellet, including blends for pellet cookers, which is very convenient. 

For my stick burner, I need to use seasoned not kiln dried wood. So far I've only fond apple locally. I've been happy with the sweet mild flavor of the apple, but hope to find some cherry and oak soon.

Respectfully,

JD

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14 hours ago, sbcbmx112 said:

I encourage you to play around and learn the different taste profiles of each by doing the same cook multiple times while switching only the wood.  Choosing what wood to use is personal preference, but the rules of thumb exist for a reason.

 

Personally I don't like mesquite outside of hot and fast cooking red meat such as a burger; I think it is overpowering and bitter when used low and slow.  Hickory alone can be overpowering as well, but I use it to cook beef or lamb and often mix a smaller amount in with fruitwoods for pork.

 

Oak is good for most proteins but I rarely see it available as chunks (the form I need) near me.  I use cherry a lot and it provides an excellent color so some gets tossed in on most cooks I do.  I recently started using some pecan which I've been enjoying a lot; it's a bit milder than hickory but has a similar taste profile.

 

At some point I went from one cook=one wood type to mixing multiple types in the same cook after becoming familiar enough with their individual taste profiles to get a feel for what will mesh well.

this is what Im gonna have to do. experiment with the different types of wood as suggested. thx

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1 hour ago, jjdbike said:

Hey vce,

Good topic. 

I think it might also depend on what type of cooker and what form the wood is in. What I mean is, when trying to cook meat on my BGE, charcoal was the heat source and I would add wood chunks I purchased. These chunks were kiln dried. that limited the wood flavor and I had to be really carful to limit the smoldering and wait till the smoke cleared up so food wouldn't biter and like creosote. When using dried chunks on my BGE, I liked hickory or pecan for beef and pork, and alder for fish and chicken. Recently I purchased some Oak "Smoking wood chunks" from Myron Mixon's website. They were the perfect size and claimed to "naturally cured". I liked the results I achieved with those a lot. On his website he sells sever different types of wood chunks.

I believe that you're cooking on a pellet cooker. I've read that pellet smokers create a light smoke profile, though I also believe that some have a "super smoke" function and some people use some sort of smoke tube. I've seen all different types of wood pellet, including blends for pellet cookers, which is very convenient. 

For my stick burner, I need to use seasoned not kiln dried wood. So far I've only fond apple locally. I've been happy with the sweet mild flavor of the apple, but hope to find some cherry and oak soon.

Respectfully,

JD

Im using a gravity feed charcoal smoker. So using wood chunks either in the hopper or ash pan. Sometimes both If I really want to concentrate the smoke infusion into a thick piece of meat like brisket. So far Ive been getting the chunks @ lowes. I think its cowboy brand. Ive been letting  it burn out for about 45 minutes to clear up before placing items into the smoker. trying to avoid dirty smoke. happy smoking JD  

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Pecan for chicken, apple or peach for pork, most split fruit wood for beef or lamb on an open fire … if your food is getting a nasty taste from your smoker open the top vets and let the smoke out … Amazin ribs .com may explain the reasoning . 

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19 hours ago, sbcbmx112 said:

I encourage you to play around and learn the different taste profiles of each by doing the same cook multiple times while switching only the wood.  Choosing what wood to use is personal preference, but the rules of thumb exist for a reason.

 

Personally I don't like mesquite outside of hot and fast cooking red meat such as a burger; I think it is overpowering and bitter when used low and slow.  Hickory alone can be overpowering as well, but I use it to cook beef or lamb and often mix a smaller amount in with fruitwoods for pork.

 

Oak is good for most proteins but I rarely see it available as chunks (the form I need) near me.  I use cherry a lot and it provides an excellent color so some gets tossed in on most cooks I do.  I recently started using some pecan which I've been enjoying a lot; it's a bit milder than hickory but has a similar taste profile.

 

At some point I went from one cook=one wood type to mixing multiple types in the same cook after becoming familiar enough with their individual taste profiles to get a feel for what will mesh well.

This is pretty much what I do as well... Cherry, apple or pecan are my most used, with alder for fish...

 

5 hours ago, Surf bomber said:

Pecan for chicken, apple or peach for pork, most split fruit wood for beef or lamb on an open fire … if your food is getting a nasty taste from your smoker open the top vets and let the smoke out … Amazin ribs .com may explain the reasoning . 

This too...

Butch

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6 hours ago, Surf bomber said:

Pecan for chicken, apple or peach for pork, most split fruit wood for beef or lamb on an open fire … if your food is getting a nasty taste from your smoker open the top vets and let the smoke out … Amazin ribs .com may explain the reasoning . 

thats has some good tips on the website.thx

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Personally I think it’s overstated. I use oak and mix apple and or pecan depending on the mood. Apple is more about color than taste to me. Can’t stand mesquite. 

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I use hickory for most pork and beef.  Cherry puts good color on turkey with less smoke.  Oak is also good on most things but I haven’t had to cut one up recently.  My apple is going funky so haven’t used it.  Wood can get too old after a few years imho.  

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I have to say that I don't think about it too much. Maybe it's my (lack of) taste? I don't know. I don't really like mesquite, that's the one that has a very distinct flavor for me. Otherwise, I have tried various types of wood (apple, pear, peach, oak, hickory, etc), and honestly I don't taste any difference. I use local wild cherry for almost everything. It's plentiful and free. I do like to remove the bark first and use mostly heartwood since I think it provides a cleaner smoke. I agree proper venting is important. 

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You can’t go wrong with, Oak, cherry, apple.  Oak is a bit stronger.  I usually do most of the smoking with charcoal and add one of these woods every so often during the burn.  I tried to smoke with just the wood and it tasted awful.

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3 hours ago, Mono said:

I tried to smoke with just the wood and it tasted awful.

I think this is a good point.  While it does depend on the type of smoker it is very possible to overpower food with smoke.  In my kamado and weber kettle I use chunks plus charcoal and typically only apply smoke for the first 2 hours.

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