A number of websites around the net all back up our findings that the woods listed below are some of the best for smoking most kinds of meat, poultry, and fish. The most popular and widely available smoke woods are oak, hickory, pecan, apple, cherry, and alder.
Woods to Avoid
Cedar, cypress, elm, eucalyptus, liquid amber, pine, redwood, fir, spruce, osage orange and sycamore are not suitable for smoking. When in doubt about a particular smoke wood, play it safe-don’t use it until you confirm with a reliable source that it’s OK for use in barbecuing.
Flavored Smoke Woods
Retailers sell a variety of flavored wood chunks and chips. Some are made from old wine or whiskey barrels, while others have just been soaked in wine or even Tabasco. Flavored woods add an interesting aroma to the smoke coming out of your cooker, but you’ll have to judge for yourself whether they do anything for the flavor of your barbecue.
Logs, Slabs, Chunks, Chips, And Pellets
You’ll find smoke wood available in all these forms. In retail stores you’ll most likely find chunks, chips, and pellets. Chunks will vary in size from small pieces to fist-sized pieces. Chunks burn slowly and release smoke over a long period of time, and are the choice of most Good-One users.
Chips burn hot and fast, releasing smoke in a quick burst. If you use chips, you will have to add them several times during the cooking process, whereas with chunks you can add them just once at the beginning of the process.
Should Smoke Wood Be Soaked In Water Before Use?
Some people like to soak wood chunks in water for at least an hour or as long as overnight before using them. This is not necessary, especially when using large chunks. Thanks to the vents on smoker grills, the controlled air flow into the Smokers allows the chunks to burn slowly throughout the entire cooking session. Besides, water doesn’t penetrate seasoned wood very much, anyway.
Should Bark Be Removed?
Some people are adamant about removing the bark from smoke wood, believing that it introduces an undesirable flavor to their barbecue. On the other hand, I know of one gentleman who barbecues using only the bark. I don’t bother removing bark from my smoke wood. You’ll have to try it both ways and see if you can tell any difference.
Quantity Of Smoke Wood To Use
It is possible to apply too much smoke to meat, resulting in a bitter or overpowering flavor. In general, I’ve found that the equivalent of 2-6 fist-sized chunks of wood work best for most meats in the Good-One Smoker Grills . You should experiment with using different amounts of smoke wood to determine what works best for you, depending on if you like a heavier or lighter smoke flavor.
When using a new smoke wood for the first time, I suggest using a small amount for a lighter smoke flavor. You can always increase the amount of smoke wood next time, but there’s no way to salvage a piece of meat that’s been over smoked.
Apply Smoke Wood To The Fire
Here are some of the ways that people add smoke wood to the fire.
By the way, don’t bother soaking wood chunks before use. It’s not necessary as long as you’re using decent-sized chunks, and the water doesn’t penetrate seasoned wood very much, anyway.
1. Place Smoke Wood On Top Of Hot Coals
Most commonly used when firing the cooker using The Standard Method. Distribute the chunks evenly over the fully lit charcoal after putting the meat in the cooker. This keeps you from getting blasted with smoke while adding the meat, getting the Polder thermometer setup, etc. If using The Minion Method, make sure some wood touches the hot coals to start generating smoke right away.
2. Bury Smoke Wood In Unlit Charcoal
Only possible when firing the cooker using The Minion Method. Bury wood chunks throughout the unlit fuel, followed by a few chunks on top. Distribute the hot coals evenly over the unlit fuel, making sure some wood touches the hot coals to start generating smoke right away.
3. Layering Charcoal And Wood Chips
I don’t advocate the use of wood chips, because I think chunks burn longer and more evenly. However, some people put down a layer of charcoal in the bottom of the chamber, then a layer of wood chips, a layer of charcoal, and so on, until the chamber is filled to the top.
Choosing The Right Smoke Wood
Choosing the right type of smoke wood is an important decision you make each time you barbecue. Each wood imparts its own unique flavor to beef, pork, poultry and seafood. It’s also true that certain woods are commonly associated with and go better with certain kinds of meat.