BBQ and Smoking Woods

BBQ and Smoking Woods

Almond Almond wood produces a mild, sweet smoke. The smoke as well as the ash is very light. Apple Apple wood is a popular wood for smoking with the sweet and subtle flavor it gives food. While it is mild, it is the strongest of all the fruit woods making it stand up to red meats. Avocado Avocado wood produces a mild to medium smoke, depending on the tree (not variety of avocado). The flavor is suited for red meats, but poultry also works with this wood. Cherry Cherry wood is a sweet, fruity wood. The smoke is light to medium with smoky notes. The smoke will turn light colored meats (especially poultry) darker, or even a tinge of red. Grapefruit Grapefruit wood produces a medium smoke with a citrusy-smoky flavor. Any citrus is interchangeable: orange, lemon, lime, tangerine, key limes, grapefruit, Minneola. Hickory Hickory is the most commonly used hardwood for BBQ and smoking. It is often called the ‘King’ of BBQ wood. Hickory is closely related to Oklahoma, Eastern North Carolina, and Texas BBQ. Lemon Lemon wood produces a medium smoke with a citrusy-smoky flavor. Any citrus is interchangeable: orange, lemon, lime, tangerine, key limes, grapefruit, Minneola. Lime Lime wood produces a medium smoke with a citrusy-smoky flavor. Any citrus is interchangeable: orange, lemon, lime, tangerine, key limes, grapefruit, Minneola. Mesquite Mesquite wood burns hot and produces a strongly flavored smoke that is often paired with another wood.   Oak Oak is a hardwood, and is the second most popular type of wood for smoking. Oak has a medium to heavy smoke flavor. Since the smoke isn’t overpowering, and depending on the type of...
BBQ and Smoking Woods to Avoid

BBQ and Smoking Woods to Avoid

There are a long list of woods that give fabulous smoke flavor to BBQ and smoked meats, most notably hickory, oak, mesquite, apple, and pecan. But while they all may resemble each other (after all, they are all just hunks of wood), there are several wood types to avoid in BBQ and smoking. The resulting smoke from these woods may contain harmful tars or toxins that can penetrate the meat. Use hardwood, not softwood. Just because it is wood doesn’t mean you can use it. Of the types below, some types may be toxic while others may impart a bad flavor to the meat. Conifers and Oleander Pine, cedar, fir, hemlock, cypress, and spruce are several to look out for and avoid. Avoid anything in the conifer family. You may have a whole pine stand in your back forty, but don’t use the wood for cooking. Same goes for the trimmed pieces of oleander that line your property. Cedar planks are different: they are used as a cooking vessel, not as a direct heat source or smoking wood. Unknown Wood Scraps If you didn’t cut it, then know your wood source. Avoid random wood piles or wood you are unsure about, or wood piles you aren’t positive what tree it came from (you can’t identify it). Chemically Treated Wood If you don’t know positively that the chemicals used are NOT poisonous or toxic, don’t use it. At all. Even if you think the chemicals are safe, the smoke produced will impart a negative, unpalatable flavor to the food. Painted or Stained Wood Same reasons as chemically treated wood. And some paints from older lumber may be lead-based. Green Wood Green wood...