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Pitmaster 101: Woods and Smoking Meat

Pitmaster 101: Woods and Smoking Meat


It doesn't take tp be the world's best pitmaster to know the importance of wood when it comes to smoking meat. The right wood can only enhance and bring out the best flavor to the meat especially when it comes to the smoking flavor.
Traditionally, the type of wood used is highly dependent on the local source hence, the birth of regional flavors of ribs, bbq, and brisket flavors. Fortunately, these wood whether as chunks or chips are highly available in your nearest BBQ and hardware stores.
What kind of woods should you use when smoking meat? Read on.

1. Oak

One of the most popular woods in a pit master's world, OAK is best for briskets and ribs. Traditionally, oak specifically the white oak are widely used in Central Texas, giving birth to the famous Texan BBQ flavor. Oak results to slightly sweet meat and that tinged flavor similar to a Kentucky Bourbon.

2. Hickory

Next to oak is hickory as one of the most popular woods used in smoking meat. Hickory compared to oak is best for longer cooking and has a stronger flavor. If you want your meat to have that savory bacon-like flavor and smell, use hickory. This wood can be used for brisket, ribs,  and pork butt.

3. Maple

If you are grilling or smoking delicate ingredients, look for maple. A popular mildwood that will result to light sweet smoky flavor. Maple works well with smoked cheese, vegetable, and chicken.

4. Mesquite

Not as widely used compared to oak, mesquite are often used by expert pitmasters who are looking for a spefic flavor. Also used in Texan bbq, it works well for beef, pork, and even poultry. However, this wood might demand some skills as it should only be used lightly to avoid overpowering your meat flavor.


5. Cherrywood

If you want to make sure that your meat flavor won't be overpowered, use fruit woods and on top of the list is cherrywood. Cherrywood results to that subtle smoke flavor yet giving your meat some natural color. Use this wood for turkey, pork, and even beef.

6. Applewood

A beginner? Choose applewood. This wood will being light, fruity, and a slightly sweet aroma to your meat. Applewood is also used with oak and hickory for both pork and poultry.

7. Pecan

Want to be go beyond the basic wood when smoking ribs? Look for pecan wood! This wood will not burn long compared to oak and hickory and the meat flavor is a little but nutty, spicy, and sweet. Pecan also results to milder flavor than hickory.

Whether you are using chunks and chips, choosing your wood shouldn't be hard. Try the common and popular ones and you can experiment with other wood like walnut, alder, pear, and even mulberry. 

How about you? What's your go-to wood when smoking meat?

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