The type of wood used in grilling determines the flavor of the food. The flavor is not in the charcoal itself, but in the smoke. This is why the wood used for grilling is called smoke wood. So, how do you choose the best wood for grilling?
Consider your particular needs when choosing between wood for grilling. This is because different woods bring out different flavors. Consider the specific preference of the people you are grilling for.
Stick with the most popular grilling woods since these have been tried and tested. One of the best options is mesquite. The wood is known for its extremely strong flavor. The wood burns fast and hot, making it a good choice for people with little or no barbecuing experience. It works best for beef, but it can also be used for some veggies. Oak is also popular. It can be used for any type of meat to give a medium to heavy flavor. It is, however, not as strong as mesquite.
Yet another option is hickory. This is the most popular barbecuing wood, best for ribs and pork. It is characterized by a strong flavor. Most people think its flavor is too overpowering to be used alone and is, therefore, usually mixed with other woods. If you want a fruity flavor, go for apple. The dense, fruity flavor you get from the wood is ideal for chicken and pork.
Alder is the best choice for fish. It also goes well with poultry and pork. It is characterized by a light flavor that is slightly sweet. Cherry is a good choice for grilling chicken. It is characterized by a fruity flavor that is rather subtle and sweet. It also goes well with poultry, pork, and beef.
Another option if you want a sweet aroma is Guava. The wood is used for pork, beef, fish, lamb, and poultry. Kiawe, indigenous to Hawaii, has a strong flavor. The wood is ideal for grilling fish, poultry, and beef. Pecan has a nutty and sweet flavor and maple's light, sweet flavor goes well with veggies. Other woods worth considering are pimento, plum, apricot, ash, beech, bay, birch, walnut, willow, almond, cottonwood, fig, grapefruit, grapevine, hackberry, lemon, lilac, mulberry, nectarine, acacia olive, and orange.
When making the choice, know what to avoid. Some of the worst woods when it comes to barbecuing are sassafras, cedar, eucalyptus, cypress, elm, liquid amber, pine, spruce, redwood, and fir. Consider mixing different smoke woods for the best effect. Some of the most popular combinations are apple and hickory, apple and cherry, cherry and oak, apple and oak, cherry and maple, oak and hickory, oak, hickory, and apple, and oak and pecan.
Consider going for flavored smoke wood. There are retailers who sell different flavored wood chips and chunks. Some are made from old whiskey barrels and others from old wine barrels. Some soak wood chips and chunks in Tabasco and wine.
As you choose the best wood for grilling, consider the type of grill. This is because different grills are made for different types of fuel. There are grills for pellets, logs, chunks, slabs, and chips. Most people prefer chunks because they burn a lot slower and they release smoke over an extended period.
Consider if the grilling wood has bark on. Some people think that bark leads to undesirable flavors. The choice is yours. You should go for readily available woods as this ensures you will never run out and that you will get a good price. As you choose the best wood for grilling, ensure that it is from a renewable source so that you do your part to protect the environment.