Smoked Meats 102 - Using Different Woods


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    Smoked Meat

    Smoked Meats 102 - Using Different Woods

    Attend this entry level class from Meatgistics University by watching the video, reading the article and post any questions you have!

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    Does The Type Of Wood Impart A Specific Flavor?

    Few things cause more confusion with people who are new to smoking than the different types of woods available. They here Apple Smoked Bacon and expect the bacon to have an apple flavor. This is not how using different woods works, the type of wood you use is not going to impart a different flavor of smoke. What the difference between the smoke different woods put off is the strength of the smoke. Fruitwoods like Apple and Cherry put out a milder smoke and are great choices for lighter flavored meats like chicken and fish, I also smoke any vegetables I am doing over fruit woods.

    When To Use Apple

    Apple has a mild, subtle smoke. It works great with poultry, fish, pork, and vegetables. It can be, and often is used for Hams, Pork Shoulder, and Turkey.

    When To Use Cherry

    Cherry is also a milder subtle smoke. It works great with large cuts of meat like Ham, Pork Shoulder, Fish (especially Salmon) and all types of Poultry. This is also a good wood to use with Chimineas.

    When To Use Hickory

    Hickory has a very strong smoke to it. It works well with all types of beef and pork as long as you like smoke flavor. Hickory is the most popular wood to use when smoking and grilling.

    When To Use Mesquite

    Mesquite has a very strong smoke to it. Similar to Hickory it works well with any red meat especially wild game. Mesquite is often the culprit when something has too smokey a flavor to it.

    When To Use Pecan

    Pecan is similar to Hickory with a lighter smoke, it imparts a subtle mild flavor of smoke. Pecan is good on every type of meat, especially poultry but it also works very well when doing vegetables or other non-meat items. Pecan is what I use almost exclusively when either smoking or grilling with my pellet grill.

    When To Use Osage Orange (Hedge)

    This is a very hard wood and it burns extremely hot. When used as a blend with oak it is suitable for smoking but by itself, it is best used as a heat source.

    Pellets Vs. Chunk Wood

    Pellets grills are becoming more and more popular in the United States with numerous manufacturers entering the market. Pellets grills main advantage over charcoal and wood is the convenience, you can simply push a button and be smoking or grilling in a few minutes. People have wildly varying opinions on how effective these “combo smokers” are, I will tell you from experience that Pellet Grills impart somewhere between 50-75% of the smoke flavor that using a wood and charcoal smoker will.

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  • @daveomak makes a good point, sometimes we forget to point out how important food safety is! The last thing any of us want is to make someone sick and that goes double for a family member!

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  • @Kinger no, it shouldnt make a difference, I was responding to this first thing in the morning before running to a class that I am taking at Iowa state so I think I was thinking at the beginning of the response that you cooked to an internal of 178 and then I realized my mistake but never fixed the response! Sorry, once Im back in Wichita, on Friday things will hopefully go back to normal!

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  • D

    @newbe … Afternoon… Keep the meat BELOW 40 degrees F… Bacteria is growing while the meat is warming up… then again when cooling down… The LAST thing you want or need is a batch of meat that has been warm for an hour or longer… One good way to do that is double bowl the meat… Ice in the larger bowl and the smaller bowl, with the meat in it, on ice… You don’t want your family to get food poisoning… Dave

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  • P

    I do it all the time. Still remember my mom saying it’s not a good idea. I’m sure if you are buying a nice steak and intend it eat it as a grilled T-bone you might notice some flesh cell break down (texture change). If you are going to use it in sausage you will not notice any difference. Made brats last night. Once frozen pork and elk. Refroze the brats. I do it time and time again.

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  • E

    Here is a link to a website that has a handy Excel spreadsheet. It is, as it says a free non-commercial site.
    As for Waltons dropping the ball, I vote they are doing a great job.
    I think for all of us there are general guidelines, but unless you have a temperature and humidity controlled environment, both for the preparation, cooking (if you cook them) smoking, hanging etc, the results are bound to vary from batch to batch.
    Personally, I am searching how to get my home made smoked and dry cured pepperoni to the exact texture and firmness of Margarita pepperoni from the store.
    Through trial and error I have the flavor where I want it, but not the texture or firmness. I know time, temperature and humidity are all crucial, but the best I can do is in the basement and then subject to the environment that is there.
    I figure as long as I am not killing anyone or making anyone sick I am making progress. Thanks Waltons for all of the great information so far.
    Having said that, it would be nice to have your chart in an Excel spreadsheet.

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