If you are reading this you are probably aware that smoking different woods can bring unique and wonderful flavors to your cooking game.
We wanted to share some tips with you on which woods might be better suited than others during certain cooks.
Tip #1: Hickory
Hickory has a strong smoke flavor and is best paired with bigger tougher cuts of meat such as pork or beef. My father, Jim Quessenberry was a big proponent of using hard woods such as hickory while slow smoking pork. He is quoted in an interview with Ardie Davis saying, “God gave us one tree, the hickory tree, he knew what were going to do with it.”
Tip #2: Oak
Oak like hickory is best paired with tougher bigger cuts of meat to provide them with a strong smoke flavor. We sometimes use these two woods together depending on availability.
Tip #3: Mesquite
Mesquite like the woods above has a strong smoke flavor, but it could be considered too harsh for pork or poultry. It is kind of in its own category. It is best paired with beef. A beef brisket is a big tough piece of meat. It takes many hours of slow smoking to penetrate and break this piece of meat down.
Tip #4 The Fruit Woods (Apple, Peach, Cherry, etc.)
These woods have a mild sweet smoke flavor and are great to use with more delicate meats like poultry and lamb, but can also be used with pork to sweeten the deal. My favorite combination for pork is a small portion of hickory and lots of apple.
Tip #5 Charcoal
Charcoal can be just the right amount of smoke flavor you need to grill or slow smoke everything. If you aren’t looking to experiment with different woods, and you just want to get the job done, you can use charcoal. Charcoal provides a delicious smoke flavor that’s not too harsh for the delicate meats, but provides enough flavor for the tougher meats.