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-   -   What wood(s) do you like to smoke with? (http://www.discusscooking.com/forums/f36/what-wood-s-do-you-like-to-smoke-with-10153.html)

AllenOK 04-16-2005 08:36 AM

What wood(s) do you like to smoke with?
I like to use hickory, which is widely available here. I've also got some maple, which I want to try. Down in OK, where I'm from, a lot of folks use Pecan.

DampCharcoal 04-16-2005 02:58 PM

I've only used hickory and mesquite and love them both but I've been wanting to try wood from fruit trees. I heard (was it from here?) that one of the best places to get any variety of smoking wood for next to nothing is from the local tree removal service. I haven't opened up a phone book and called anyone yet but it makes sense to me!

choclatechef 04-16-2005 03:44 PM

Apple wood.

I lived in the country for many years, and it was filled with apple trees.

Dead apple branches made the best bbq I ever ate!

DampCharcoal 04-16-2005 09:28 PM

I've heard nothing but good about apple wood, Choc! Same with cherry wood, I'll have to expand my horizons soon! :chef: :cool:

AllenOK 04-16-2005 10:22 PM

I went over to my MIL's back yard and picked up lots of winter-kill limbs that came down over the past couple years from a large Maple in her yard. I don't think that tree has much longer left to it, as it's been shedding limbs at a prodigious rate.

Last year, we had a very strong squall line move through town that downed trees everywhere. So many trees were downed that I can remember seeing logs, branches, and chipped wood filling parking lots for two square city blocks! I also know of a park that has literally several tons of Oak tree trunks and limbs just laying around.

There are lots and lots of fruit orchards here in MI. I bet, if I called a few up, and asked what they did with the wood from trees that they took out of production and replaced, I could get quite a bit of free fruit wood.

choclatechef 04-16-2005 11:36 PM

I think you will love it Allen. I know I did.

Chief Longwind Of The North 04-17-2005 01:22 AM

There is a tree considered pretty worthless around UP Michigan and it grows everywhere, like a weed, maybe a goodweed, called Tag Alder by us locals. I have yet to try it but have been told it is an amazing wood for the barbecue. I do use sugar maple, white birch, apple, hickory, and mesquite, depending on what I'm cooking. For foul, I prefer apple or hickory due to the tangy flavor that goes so well with the chicken and turkey. For pork, I like the milder flavor of the mesquite, or especially the maple and birch. For fish, Again, I'd go with the hickory, though I really want to try planking some fish on cedar.

Watch out for the oak. Use only white oak as the red oak is so full of tannins as to be a trigger for migraine sufferers, and also produce a bitter flavor.

My advice, as usual, is to try various woods with various foods. You will soon learn which ones you like with various foods. And don't limit yourself to using smoke with just meat. It adds a wonderful flavor to everything from baked beans, to fried eggs, to scalloped potatoes, all cooked in a pot or pan surounded by smoke (now that's what cast iron is all about :mrgreen: ). Even breads and pizzas benefit from a bit of smoke. I have yet to taste a food not enhanced by the flavor smoke brings to the palate. Not sure if it would help hot chocolate, but it does wonderful things to a marshmallow.

Seeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

Michael in FtW 04-17-2005 07:43 PM

Wood has two properties ... flavor and cooking temperature. I like the flavor of hickory ... but I learned from an old guy that had a BBQ place that he used a mix of hickory (for flavor) and mesquite ... because the mesquite burned hotter.

It's a big thing now to use cedar planks to "plank salmon" ... but I can get the same flavor by using red cedar logs.

I, too, love pecan wood .... and apple, cherry, peach, pear, etc. It's something you have to play around with ... I'm sure there is a book that will give you their burning temps but I don't know of a book that will be able to adequately describe the various flavors the woods impart.

Guiedo 04-17-2005 07:49 PM

I have had fantastic results with Peach tree chips, especially when hot smoking salmon. It seems to give a delicate sweet flavour, without the heavyness of hickory.
In the past I have also used Apple to smoke pork and find the result very pleasing.

Raine 04-17-2005 09:52 PM

We use hickory & pecan mostly. We don't care for mesquite.

Jack Daniels is good on burgers & steaks.

Orange for chicken is nice.

The traditional woods for grilling are HICKORY, PECAN, OAK and in Texas, MESQUITE.

Here is a list of woods suitable for grilling and smoking:

ACACIA - these trees are in the same family as mesquite. When burned in a grill, acacia has a flavor similar to mesquite but not quite as heavy. A very hot burning wood.

ALDER - Very delicate with a hint of sweetness. Good with fish, pork, poultry, and light-meat game birds.

ALMOND - A sweet smoke flavor, light ash. Good with all meats.

APPLE - Very mild with a subtle fruity flavor, slightly sweet. Good with poultry (turns skin dark brown) and pork.

ASH - Fast burner, light but distinctive flavor. Good with fish and red meats.

BIRCH - Medium-hard wood with a flavor similar to maple. Good with pork and poultry.

CHERRY - Mild and fruity. Good with poultry, pork and beef. Some List members say the cherry wood is the best wood for smoking. Wood from chokecherry trees may produce a bitter flavor.

COTTONWOOD - It is a softer wood than alder and very subtle in flavor. Use it for fuel but use some chunks of other woods (hickory, oak, pecan) for more flavor. Don't use green cottonwood for smoking.

CRABAPPLE - Similar to apple wood.

GRAPEVINES - Tart. Provides a lot of smoke. Rich and fruity. Good with poultry, red meats, game and lamb.

HICKORY - Most commonly used wood for smoking--the King of smoking woods. Sweet to strong, heavy bacon flavor. Good with pork, ham and beef.

LILAC - Very light, subtle with a hint of floral. Good with seafood and lamb.

MAPLE - Smoky, mellow and slightly sweet. Good with pork, poultry, cheese, and small game birds.

MESQUITE - Strong earthy flavor. Good with beef, fish, chicken, and game. One of the hottest burning.

MULBERRY - The smell is sweet and reminds one of apple.

OAK - Heavy smoke flavor--the Queen of smoking wood. RED OAK is good on ribs, WHITE OAK makes the best coals for longer burning. All oak varieties reported as suitable for smoking. Good with red meat, pork, fish and heavy game.

ORANGE, LEMON and GRAPEFRUIT - Produces a nice mild smoky flavor. Excellent with beef, pork, fish and poultry.

PEAR - A nice subtle smoke flavor. Much like apple. Excellent with chicken and pork.

PECAN - Sweet and mild with a flavor similar to hickory. Tasty with a subtle character. Good with poultry, beef, pork and cheese. Pecan is an all-around superior smoking wood.

SWEET FRUIT WOODS - APRICOT, PLUM, PEACH, NECTARINE - Great on most white or pink meats, including chicken, turkey, pork and fish. The flavor is milder and sweeter than hickory.

WALNUT - ENGLISH and BLACK - Very heavy smoke flavor, usually mixed with lighter woods like almond, pear or apple. Can be bitter if used alone. Good with red meats and game.

other internet sources report that wood from the following trees is suitable for smoking: AVOCADO, BAY, CARROTWOOD, KIAWE, MADRONE, MANZANITA, GUAVA, OLIVE, BEECH, BUTTERNUT, FIG, GUM, CHESTNUT, HACKBERRY, PIMIENTO, PERSIMMON, and WILLOW. The ornamental varieties of fruit trees (i.e. pear, cherry, apple, etc.) are also suitable for smoking.

AllenOK 04-17-2005 09:58 PM

Thanks everyone.

Rainee, I'm glad you mentioned Liliac. My MIL has a large liliac limb down. I'll have to go over and snag it as well.

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