How to Choose Which One is Right for You
There are different modes wherein one can eat a particular food – frying, baking, steaming and even smoking. Smoking is the process wherein the food is exposed to a smoke coming from burning plant materials, usually using wood.
As a form of cooking, smoking is believed to originate during the earliest times when primitive men discovered that the meat being hanged up to dry in smoky areas has a different flavor. Over the years, the process of smoking food evolved into something like what we have today.
Factors to Consider in creating smoke from wood
There is a variety of woods available that is suitable for smoking different types of poultry, meat or fish. Further, the smoking wood to be used will have an effect on the food to be grilled and will even pass on a unique and different flavor. That is why it is important to know what the best wood for smoking is, otherwise the wood can overpower the taste of the food.
Also, it is imperative to determine the moisture content of the wood because when the woodchips are too dry, it has the tendency to catch fire easily. Therefore, it is better to dampen the wood chips for smoking using a water spray to avoid any accidents.
The size of the smoking wood chips or shavings is another factor that should be taken into account. Shavings tend to burn by itself while smoker wood chips smolder less due to its lower surface area to weight ratio, thus the need for additional heat from a wood charcoal.
Different types of Wood that is Best for Smoking
There are a lot of woods that are great for smoking, depending on the meat you are about to use. One of which is hickory wood. This type is the most popular and widely used among all smoking woods due to its intense and overpowering flavor that complements all types of meats, especially pork and ribs.
Pecan wood is another option and it works well with beef, pork and poultry since it produces a rich smoke similar to hickory, only milder. If you like the taste produced by hickory smoke and yet finds it too overpowering, then pecan wood can be resorted to.
Alder wood, which is traditionally used for smoking salmon, is also among the commonly used wood and is ideal for fish as well as beef, pork and light-meat game birds. It also contains a light and a hint of sweetness flavor that is not overwhelming.
Another smoke wood appropriate for grilling is apple wood. It has a light, fruity and slightly sweet but denser smell that is commonly used for poultry and pork, particularly ham and pork ribs. It can also be mixed with oak and cherry woods for better grilling results.
When it comes to meat smoking, oak wood is the best choice since it goes well with any type of meat – beef, lamb, ribs, you name it. It only offers a medium smoke that is not too strong since it is lighter compared to hickory wood. It also has a dense, tight grain and color which ranges from almost white to yellow to red.
Also one of the most widely used smoke woods, maple wood has a mellow and mild sweet flavor that goes especially well with vegetable, pork and poultry. It is also dense in weight but light in color.
Although commercially available in the market and retail stores, being able to cut the wood from its trees and branches is still the best option in order to get that natural taste. Soak the wood chips in bulk for at least a day and freeze them in order to be barbecue ready anytime of the day.