Cherry – Very versatile and popular for adding a sweet mild flavor with a great fruity taste. Perfect with poultry, pork, turkey, ham and beef goes great with virtually everything. Try mixing with other hardwoods like Hickory, for amazing results.
Apple – One of the milder woods with a subtle sweet fruity flavor ideal with poultry, beef, pork(especially ham), game birds, lamb and seafood, being one of the hottest burning woods when it comes to smoking. Apple smoke takes a bit to permeate the meat, so anticipate several hours of smoking for best results.
Oak – The quintessential go-to for smoking meat with mild smoke that provides a nice flavor that is seldomly overpowering, at great place to start for newbie smokers. Best with lamb, beef, brisket, game and sausage
Hickory – The most versatile choice that provides a sweet, savory and hearty taste, but be careful though, too much hickory flavor can cause your meat to have a more bitter flavor, so makes a great mixer. Best with large cut ribs, pork shoulder, and most all red meat and poultry.
Pecan – Pecan will lend a rich, sweet, nutty flavor and is considered one of the best smoking woods available in Arizona. Provides and yields an excellent flavor that is less bitter than Hickory, and a little bit more flavor than Oak or Apple. It makes good coals, and burns as hot as any other hardwood in its class, best suited for briskets, roasts, chicken and ribs. Some folks say that combining with another hard wood to balance the sweet flavor works best.
Pistachio – Brings a mild nutty flavor that flavors well with all red meat. Tri-tips and tenderloins are a couple of cuts that turn out really well when using pistachio wood.
Mesquite – Readily available in Arizona and famous for its strong, intense, and unique flavor. Perfect for grilling and will pack a hardy noticeable punch. Many a favorite with some of the best restaurant establishments in the Phoenix area. Some prefer to add it to other smoking woods to add a hint of flavor and taste.
Charcoal – We sometimes run across some great deals for 40 lb bags of mesquite charcoal great for grilling, call or email for availability.
Citrus – Another great option for smoking and cooking and under rated for sure. Citrus provides a nice light smoke and works well with seasoned meats. Grapefruit in particular is a mild wood that produces a good, smoky flavor. Citrus works well with any meat and is great to mix and match with other hardwoods.
Almond – Not readily available, but when we do come across some love to promote it as another great alternative that gives off clean burning heat, great smoke. Perfect for all meats on the grill or in the smoker.
Smoking has become an artform and science of sorts. It is so fun to try new smoke woods and experiment with blending smoke flavors from various woods. The woods used for smoking do not give the meat the flavor of the type of fruit or nut the wood came from–pecan wood does not make the meat taste like pecan nuts and orange chunks do not give the meat a citrus taste.
To use chips or chunks, either will do nicely. The main difference is that chips burn faster than chunks. If you plan to add just a handful or two of chips for a light smoke over 20 minutes or so, then the burn rate is not a real issue. But if you want to smoke your food for an hour or more, it might be more convenient to use chunks. As for to soak or not to soak, in truth, soaking your wood isn’t necessary and here’s why…..Wood chips and chunks that have been soaked have to rid of any moisture and water before they can produce smoke. The water on the wood will have to heat to 212°F (the boiling point of water) and will stall there until the water has been evaporated.
Smoking chunks can be used as both a source of flavor, as well as a fuel source. Chunks are perfect for use in barrel smokers, pit smokers and charcoal grills alike, which require the build-up of hot coals and embers. Smoking chunks also burn longer compared to chips, which means you don’t have to refuel as often. Opening a smoker lets out both precious smoke and heat, so only open as necessary.
HERBS and SPICES – Here is where it gets really fun to experiment…you can sprinkle, coat, inject, or rub your meats and vegetables or try adding spices and soaked veggies directly onto the coals when cooking to really add depth and flavor. It is endless with possibilities, have fun with it.