All the best wood chips for smoking and elevating any barbecue to the next level.
With fall now upon us, it’s time for us all to whip out our grills, lawn chairs, and smokers.
There can be nothing more perfect than an evening barbeque in the fall, with the slightly chilly weather and the toasty, fatty meats being perfect companions. However, there’s a lot that goes into making any barbeque a success.
Proper technique and innovation are essential if you want your guests to be raving about your food long after they’re gone.
One of the best ways to take your barbecuing game to the next level is by smoking your meat.
Smoked meat has an exceptionally memorable and distinctly rich flavor. There’s no meat that you can’t smoke. From fish to poultry to beef and lamb, every meat can be elevated by adding smoke. However, smoking is no easy task, and the first thing you need to know is what sort of wood to use for smoking.
There is a wide range of options out there, but below, we shall discuss the best wood chips for smoking meat and how you should use them.
Getting the perfect amount of smoke.
Before we get into the best wood chips for smoking, a word of moderation, wood chips can help you elevate any meat to the gourmet level, but only if you do it right.
Not only do you need to pick the perfect companion for each meat, but you need to pick the best smoking time.
A common mistake is that people end up smoking their meat for way too long. This can destroy the flavor of the meat instead of enhancing it.
After all, at the end of the day, you want your guests to taste the meat’s richness, not feel like their eating a lump of coal.
The duration for which you smoke your meat also depends on the type of meat. Meats such as fish and poultry need to be smoked for less time as compared to pork, beef, or lamb.
Overall, smoking is all about knowing your produce and playing on its strengths.
All the meat-wood combinations you can think of
If you’re looking to create a gourmet level meal, you need to think carefully about your meat and wood pairings.
Luckily for you, we’ve done all the thinking beforehand.
Below is a list of the best combinations for wood chips for smoking:
Applewood Wood Chips - Perfect for Poultry
Applewood is a classic wood chip for smoking.
Not only does it have a distinct smell, but also a sweet, mild flavor that can add much-needed depth to poultry.
If you’re tired of plain old chicken or foul, smoke your meat with applewood for a mildly fruity flavor. However, be careful not to over smoke your poultry as the sweetness can get too overpowering.
Additionally, applewood can add tremendous depth to pork as well!
Mesquite Wood Chips - Perfect for an Intense Flavour
If big, bold flavors are more up your alley, mesquite is the best option for you.
Paired with any red meat, it adds a bold flavor that’s hard to ignore. When using mesquite, be careful to use it in moderation, as the flavor can quickly get overpowering. This can be used while grilling as well.
Mesquite is a wood that packs a punch, so it’s best if you don’t start your smoking journey with these wood chips for smoking.
Hickory Wood Chips - The Best All-rounder
Hickory is an easy wood to work with, and you can smoke almost every meat with it. In particular, it’s perfect for intensifying the flavor of red meats.
If a rich, bacony flavor is what you’re after, choose hickory wood chips for smoking. It can add smoky heartiness to poultry, red meat, and even fish.
Again, be careful not to over-smoke, as it can make your food bitter and chalky.
Cherrywood Wood Chips - A Delicious Experiment
As you get better at smoking, you can start using more experimental woods such as cherry.
Cherry has a mild, sweet, and rich flavor, which can be the perfect complement with meats like turkey, ham, or chicken. This sweetness can help elevate the savory taste of the meat.
Cherry is great for layering with other wood chips for smoking, such as oak. For lovers of bold, layered flavors, cherry wood chips for smoking are an absolute must.
Alder Wood Chips - Perfect for Fish
Alderwood has a delicate flavor that is difficult to pick up on when used on red meats or poultry.
In fish, the sweet, gentle flavor can really shine through and make your grilled fish so much more complex.
These wood chips for smoking can make delicate fish such as salmon sweeter, fresher, and more complex.
Oak Wood Chips - The Classic Choice
No list of wood chips for smoking would be complete without oak. This is the go-to wood that’s difficult to do wrong.
If you prefer rich, red meats such as brisket, beef, or sausages, oak wood chips for smoking can give them a strong, smoky taste without being overpowering. The bold smoke of oak wood chips can be too much for poultry, however.
Additionally, oak can be the perfect wood for layering. If you want to get the most from your alder, cherry, or applewood, layer them with oak for a much more robust flavor profile.
Final thoughts on Wood Chips for Smoking
Using wood chips for smoking is a great way to play around with loads of interesting new flavors.
The different kinds of wood you can use make this technique great for sneaking in extra flavor in your meat dishes.
The sweetness, fruitiness, or the intense smoke can help make any barbeque a gourmet affair. When smoking your meat, do keep in mind not to over-smoke, and don’t soak your wood either.
Smoking is the perfect way to take any grilled meat to the next level as well, and it can make any meal memorable. Layer your wood chips for smoking with different meats to find the flavor combinations that work the best for you.
Ever since I started cooking I’ve been fascinated by how different people’s techniques are and how they best utilise the ingredients around them. Even the person living next door will have their own unique way of frying an egg or cooking a salmon fillet.
This fascination led me on a journey across the globe to discover the countless practices and traditions the world of cooking has to offer. I thought you’d enjoy and find value in sharing that journey with me so I created Cooked Best!