Why should I use wood chips and chunks when grilling?
Smoking adds an aromatic essence to food that you can’t get any other way. The type and amount of wood you choose for smoking, and how you prepare it, can infuse foods with delicious flavorful accents.
What kind of wood works best for smoking?
Use only hardwoods for smoking food, as softwoods like cedar or pine generate a distasteful sooty smoke. Choose among mild flavored hardwoods like cherry, pecan, or pear, or stronger flavors like oak and hickory.
What is the difference in wood chips, wood chunks, and splits?
Chips are very small pieces that ignite and burn quickly. Chunks are larger pieces of wood that burn slower and longer. For a short smoke or subtle flavor, use chips. Many smokers are designed to use only chips. Use chunks for slow cooking and heavier flavor for smokers that have a firebox, wood pan, or drawer. Splits are 10-inch logs split into thirds used in larger smokers at events and competitions.
Does the wood need to be pre-soaked?
Some grillers like to pre-soak for two reasons: to make the wood burn slower, and to infuse special flavors into the smoke and the cooked food — for example, fruit juices or liquors. For making the pit burn slower, soaking is optional for wood chunks but necessary for wood chips. Otherwise, wood chips burn away before giving off much smoke. Let wood chips or chunks soak covered in water or other liquid for about 30 minutes, and drain well before adding to fire.
How do I use smoking wood in a gas grill?
Smoking in a gas grill requires a smoking box to keep ash out of the gas works. Your gas grill may be equipped with one already, or you can buy one at a hardware or grill supply store. Or simply put wood chips on heavy-duty aluminum foil and fold into a pouch, and punch small slits in it to let smoke escape. Use about a quarter-cup of pre-soaked wood chips. Place the pouch or smoking box above the burners of a gas grill but under the grilling grate.
How do I use smoking wood on a charcoal grill?
Light the charcoal and let briquettes get fully hot with gray-ash color. Add four to six wood chunks (either dry or pre-soaked) directly on top of the charcoal, or use wood chips in a smoke box as described above for gas grilling.
Quite mild. Subtle flavor of fruit. Good with poultry and pork. Slightly sweet.
Subtle smoke flavor. Similar to apple. Excellent with chicken and pork.
Mild, sweet, rich and nutty. Subtle like light hickory. Good with all meats.
Light, fruity. Sweeter than apple. Good for beef, fish, poultry, and pork.
Heavy flavor. Slow burner. Good with red meat, pork, fish, game.
Top-rated. Sweet, strong flavor. Good with pork, ham, beef.