Cooking over wood is one of the nicest ways to flavor barbecues. What woods work though? Specially chopped apple or cherry woods? That handful of twigs picked up during a woodland hike? what you do eventually choose will have a big impact on your outdoor meal. It could make or break your barbecue, so be prudent with what you use.
The first question asked is what kind of wood do you want.Most home chefs use whole logs if they're cooking meat in a pit but make sure they're not full of sap or water. This could hinder the wood sparking and ruin the whole cooking process, They also take longer to heat up.An easier alternative are wood chunks, These are usually golf ball size and burn more slowly than the popular wood chip however they also retain heat much longer as well. They're also not costly,, Chips are used most often because they're easy to handle being nothing more than scraps or shavings. They ignite pretty fast but also burn just as quickly too.One of the biggest advantages is that they're found in a variety of different places from your local grocery store to the big box DIY ones.What about twigs? Can those sticks gathered from a country walk work? Yes,Use ones that are one to two inches in diameter. You can also use the smaller ones but remember these will flame up and then turn to ash quickly.
The next step is what kind of wood should be used. Pine should never be thrown into the grill.The resin can dampen the wood and create problems. Mild woods like apple and cherry provide a delicate flavor with a slight fruity, sweet taste.Use this for barbecue, pork and chicken.If you're cooking pork or beef then try a cherry wood chip. Another plus is that it gives a bright red color to the meat. Cherry wood's intensity can be balanced by adding hickory , oak or pecan. Another good fruit wood is surprisingly grape vines.They are perfect for any meat including fish. The only down side is that is does get pungent and does smoke a lot. Pecan is good too but don't cook food too long over it or its' strong flavor can overpower any meat. Most home chefs prefer oak and hickory.Oak is a heavy duty kind of wood that can work for any meat .It also imparts that smoky oaky flavor which is just right for a good grilled sirloin or rack of beef ribs.Mesquite is one of the more popular woods , used for the last twenty years, however it is powerful. The only cut that can stand up to it is brisket.If you want a versatile wood that's not going to overpower your grill then go with maple. It imparts a light , sweet flavor, perfect for ham, pork ribs and chicken,
Nothing beats meats cooked over a fragrant wood barbecue. Any kind of tree adds a delicious flavor to ribs, wings or brisket. Try a variety to create tasty mix of classic grill favorites.