How to Choose the Right BBQ Smoking Wood – Chips Or Chunks?

Choosing the right BBQ smoking wood for your next barbecue is one way that can make the difference between great tasting meat and dried out bitter tasting meat.

Using the wrong wood or bad wood is not the place to cut corners and will result in bad tasting meat. The wood for your next barbecue should be carefully chosen from a number of hardwoods and be totally free from resin. Always use all natural wood that is free from pesticides and chemicals. Selecting wood that is in a slow growth, natural forest would be the best choice. Of the wood found in the forest, the very best wood is the heartwood from the center of the tree. It is the most mature wood on the tree and contains no bark. Tree bark is susceptible to contamination from mold, spores, and insects.

Different food benefits from different selections of wood . Unused firewood or pieces laying around in the yard will not work. Smoking meat will do better with chunks of dry wood placed on top of the charcoal. Otherwise, try soaking wood chips in water for 15-20 minutes before adding to the charcoal. Wood chips have a greater surface area and produce more smoke and are ideal when barbecuing. Dry wood chucks last for a very long time in the smoker.

Hardwood free from resin makes good smoke as does nut and fruit wood. Apple wood adds a light mellow flavor and imparts a sweet flavor working best over a long period of time. Water soaked wood chips placed in a smoker box wrapped in aluminum foil with holes in it is a good choice. The ashes remain inside the foil while the wood remains close to the heat. Mesquite is a hardwood that will produce a strong smoke and lots of flavor in a short period of time.

When choosing wood chunks, you might want to start with Sugar Maple, Red Oak, White Oak, Wild Cherry, Ash, Hickory or Beech wood. Wild Cherry, Beech and Maple impart a sweet flavor. Oak is a very earthy flavor while Ash burns quickly and is ideal for mixing with other woods. Hickory has a bacon like flavor. Wood chunks are cut in a number of ways that exposes the grain. Check with your equipment manufacturer for the correct cut. Store wood chunks in a location where they can retain their moisture.

Some smokers require the use of wood chips instead of wood chunks and don’t require soaking in water. When grilling with gas, soak in your favorite liquid. Charcoal requires no soaking. Jack Daniel Whiskey barrel wood produces a unique flavor that is highly sought after.

It is recommended to avoid using cedar, cypress, elm eucalyptus, pine, fir, redwood, sassafras, spruce and sycamore. Many of these woods contain a resin that should not come in contact with food.