You know I was just thinking while writing this how important our wood-chips are in making great barbecue.
Wood is the real thing-there is artificial sweet smoke, and liquid smoke to add to food but that is not real barbecue and you can taste the difference!
The question that beginners of barbecues asked me many times was what's the big deal about different woods?
Well, each different tree is made different chemically. When the wood is burdened the burn wood releases different chemicals that coat the meat giving the meat a great flavor as well as helping to preserve the food. That's how smoking meat started before there were refrigerators to help preserve the meat.
And the side benefit was that the meat tasted great also!
Types of wood-Chips
There are 5 popular trees that are used for smoking and making of wood-chips.
Let's review them now
Number 1 is hickory wood .This tree grows in the South and produces a very smoky flavor. It is used to smoke ribs, brisket, Turkey, chicken as well as sausage.This would has a very strong presence on the meat
Number 2 mesquite wood is a tree that grows in the Southwest United States. I prefer hickory wood chips to Mesquite even though I have four Mesquite trees growing in my backyard. I am sure they don't mind that I don't chop pieces of them to use in my smoker! The mesquite wood also gives a very strong flavor to the meat
Number 3 pecan wood these wood chips are used mainly for smoking ribs. Its flavor is not too strong.
number 4 Maple wood
Just like the maple sure that we put on pancakes this wood leave a sweet flavor to the meat its good on Chicken and hogs.
Number 5 Alder Wood this wood is used mainly on salmon for smoking and for other fish. It has a sweet flavor which is just right for seafood but can also be used on meet.
Number 6 Cherry wood just like the cherries this would have some mild and sweet flavor. President George Washington got in trouble when he was a boy for chopping down the cherry tree for making some barbecue!
The rules about using wood
It's very simple you don't need a lot of chips to smoke your meat. 5 of 6 chips on top of the coals in the vertical smoker is all that I usually use.
Again it's important to soak your chips for at least 3 hours before you grill because if you put dry wood on the hot coals they will burn giving the meat a bitter taste and turn turn meat black-You'll end up throwing the meat up take it from me it happened to me in the beginning.