Wood is used to flavour the food that you eat when cooking it on the grill or in a smoker. You can use untreated planks of wood or chipped hunks of wood in a Smoker Tube or the Charcoal Tray. Below is a description of the most common kinds of wood available and what kinds of flavours they impart.
has a light flavour that works well with fish and poultry. Indigenous to the northwestern United States, it is the traditional wood for smoking salmon.
Mesquite: has been very popular of late and is good for grilling, but since it burns hot and fast, it’s not recommended for long grilling times. Mesquite is probably the strongest flavoured wood; hence its popularity with restaurant grills that cook meat for a very short time.
gives a nutty, sweet flavour that is good with all meats. Almond is similar to pecan.
has a heavy flavour that should be mixed with other woods because of the bitter taste it can impart.
like lemon or orange have a moderate smoke that gives a light fruity flavour that is milder than apple or cherry.
either apple or cherry, gives off a sweet, mild flavour that is good with poultry or ham.
make a lot of tart smoke and give a fruity but sometimes heavy flavour. Use it sparingly with poultry or lamb.
adds a strong flavour to meats, so be careful not to use it excessively. It’s good with beef and lamb.
like fruitwood, gives a sweet flavour that is excellent with poultry and ham.
is strong but not overpowering and is a very good wood for beef or lamb. Oak is probably the most versatile of the hardwoods.
burns cool and provides a delicate flavour. It’s a much subtler version of hickory.
For more information about wood types and flavours read the article “Much Alder About Planking” on the recipe blog.