Quick Recipes and Easy

BBQ Flavors from Wood

Alder: light, delicate aroma, brilliant for fish

Apple: light, sweet, fruity aroma, excellent for pork and
chicken.

Cherry: same as apple

Hickory: most widely used, strong, hearty flavor, used
on beef, poultry and pork

Maple: sweet and mild flavor excellent with chicken,
Vegetables or fish

Mesquite: burns quick and hot, heavy smoke. Be careful
not to use too much. Not used a lot on the
competition circuit.

Oak: strong flavor, not bitter, second most often used in
smoking meat

Pecan: mild smoke with a rich aroma. A mellow version
of hickory

Mixing woods in a smoker is very common. A mix of oak, apple and pecan is terrific on chicken in particular. Beef seems best when smoked with a mix of oak and hickory.
CHUNKS, CHIPS AND PELLETS

Chunks are the most widely used form of wood used on the competition circuit. This is largely due to the size of the smokers; a handful of chips won’t do you any excellent on a smoker that is 6 feet long.

The chunks are mixed in with the coals when the fire is started. As the fire spreads over time throughout the coals, the chunks are ignited, giving you a longer duration of smoke.

Once your meat hits 140 degrees the smoke ring stops being formed inside your meat. The meat will still absorb the smoke flavor though.

Chips are the favorite of the backyard bbq’er, simple to use, dispose of and readily available. Most backyard smokers such as the Weber or Brinkman are perfect for the use of chips.

Chips are soaked first, then either place directly onto the coals or into a foil pouch with holes in it, then onto the coals. Small metal “smoke boxes” are available as well to hold the chips in place of the foil.

Hickory and mesquite are the most common types of wood chips available, but nearly all types including wine soaked ones are available online.

Pellets are made from compressed sawdust. They are thrown directly onto the fire, no soaking. Jack Daniel’s wood pellets are made from the charcoal used to mellow the whiskey and are very well loved.

Pellets, like chips can be ordered in nearly any “flavor” off the internet. A small goes a long way with these, and small or no ash is produced.

There are some pellet fed smokers out there, using the pellets for fuel as well as smoke, a thermometer detects the need for more fuel and pellets are fed into the firebox.

Aside from the flavoring that wood imparts into the meat it is cooking, it also develops a smoke ring. There is a chemical reaction that causes a pink or reddish ring inside the meat. This is very desirable, as the judges look for it in competitions.

This pink or red ring about ¼ inch below the surface is caused by a reaction of the nitrates and nitrides with the myoglobin of the meat. It is not the actual smoke penetrating the meat.

After 140 degrees, the formation of this ring will stop, but the meat can keep retaining the smoke flavor. Remember, it is not the amount of smoke you place into the meat that will get your name called in competitions, it is the flavor. Do not over smoke your meat.

The smoke ring adds color, not flavor. Some cooks place their meat on as cold as possible to enhance the formation of this ring. A excellent smoke ring will certainly help your presentation.

Mike Gerardy
probbq.net probbq.net

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