Choosing the right type of wood for smoking meat is as much an artistic talent as it is a scientific skill. Choosing the right type of wood can greatly enhance the taste of the grilled meat. The mildest flavored woods are apple, peach, cherry, pear, birch, hickory, maple, pecan and oak. However, mesquite wood is the strongest wood you can grill with.
There are 5 things to know when you are grilling with a pellet smoker:
1) You should experiment with the types of wood you cook your food with. Make sure to keep a record of the results so that you can identify the best wood type for grilling.
2) You should also grill food with wood because it adds color to it. This makes the food more inviting to eat.
3) You can grill with more than one type of wood if you want enjoy a combination of their flavors.
4) Make sure to use large pieces of wood because if they are too small, they will burn out before the food is grilled.
5) You should also consider using wood chips instead of wood if you want to cook for a short period of time.
Some wood types are not usable for grilling, such as pines. Additionally, while grilling food with wood, you will have to add juices or sauces to keep it moist. This article on Grills Forever will tell you more about smoker chips.
Use fruit-bearing woods, like maple to grill chicken and fish. Use hickory and oak to cook different types of meat, such as beef and pork. Use pecan to cook briskets, roasts and ribs. Pecan is best used in combination with heavier woods, such as oak, hickory and mesquite. Be careful while using pecan because overusing it can make the food taste pungent.
Use apple wood to cook chicken, quail and pork. It takes a lot of time to cook food with apple wood, so be prepared for that. Alder is primarily used for cooking seafood, like salmon and shrimp. Use peach to cook fish, poultry and pork. Don’t forget to use peach wood as soon as it is cut from the tree because it tends to lose its flavor fast. You may use cherry to cook chicken, turkey, fish and ham. Fruit-bearing woods add a sweetness to your food that can be delicious.
Use oak to cook beef, lamb and sausages. There are two types of oak, white oak and red oak. One surprising fact is that white oak looks redder than the red oak. Use hickory to cook ribs and pork shoulders. However, be careful while using hickory because overusing it will make your food bitter. Maple is also good for cooking chicken and pork. Use mesquite for red meat and when you need to add a lot of flavor to your food.
As you now know how each type of wood helps in adding flavor to your food, you can decide which type of wood you will need for your next meal. Do not be afraid to experiment to get the best experience!
— Denis Lubojanski, Grills & BBQ Expert