Meat+Poultry - June 2020 - 48

M E AT P E R S P E C T I V E S

LOGS

The form of wood - logs,
chunks or chips - is as
important as the type of
wood a pitmaster chooses.

Hickory - Probably the most commonly
used wood for smoking meat. The abundance
of hickory through the eastern parts of the
United States allows this wood to be available
in the areas where much of the traditional
barbecue has its roots. One reference stated
that hickory gives smoked meats their baconlike flavor, and yes, most bacon is smoked with
hickory. Hickory delivers a great complement
to cuts of pork.
Oak - The hallmark of Texas barbecue is
oak-smoked meat, especially beef brisket. The
type of oak used is principally Post Oak. These
trees have been plentiful in the Central Texas
area where many of the barbecue founders,
as well as the new wave of craft barbecuers
make their home. Oak and beef simply go
well together with both of them providing
complementary bold flavors - not unlike using
oak barrels for adding flavor during the aging
of wine and whiskey.
Mesquite - An often time maligned wood
for smoking meats because of its intensity,
mesquite can provide some unique flavors
to meats. Mesquite is found throughout the
Southwestern United States and is known
for burning quite hot. Some restaurants burn
mesquite logs into coals and then use the coals
to cook. That way, some of the intense flavors
are lessened. Mesquite is mostly used for beef.
Pecan - Related to the hickory tree with
some of the similar flavor traits. Too much
pecan can cause a bitter flavor. Excellent for
barbecuing pork and poultry.
Apple - Delicate mild flavor that is fruity
and subtly sweet. Apple has gained popularity
in recent years, especially for bacon and some
other processed meats. It also works well
barbecuing pork and poultry.

MEAT+ POULTRY | 06.20 | www.meatpoultry.com

CHIPS

Peach - Provides light, sweet, and
fruity flavors. Peach wood is used for pork
and poultry.

LOGS, CHUNKS AND CHIPS
The pitmaster's decision about smoke does
not end with which type of wood to use. One
must also decide what form of wood to use
when barbecuing. Commercial barbecue
restaurants most often use split logs, and
there are a wide variety of "stick burners,"
offset or other types of cookers, designed to
accommodate these larger pieces of wood.
Today, there are a variety of wood chunks and
chips that are readily available. Plus, there are
different charcoals, lump and briquette, made
with the different wood types. There are many
forms of wood available for barbecuing, and
for grilling, too.
One of the latest barbecue trends is using
a pellet smoker. This is a broad category
of cookers that use compressed pellets of
different wood types to create a particular
flavor. These smokers use an auger to meter
out sufficient pellets to maintain the desired
cooking temperature. Many users of the pellet
smokers love the convenience and "set-andforget" convenience, compared to monitoring
and adding logs, chunks, chips and charcoal
throughout the cooking process.
There are many options and many
venues to obtain wood. Therefore, barbecue
enthusiasts, whether backyard or commercial,
can experiment with types or forms of wood to
create unique flavors of barbecue. As barbecue
season arrives, dust off those cookers and try
a new type or form of wood. One advantage
to experimenting with smoke from different
woods is eating the results.

motionshooter, Steam Springs Media, aperturesound - stock.adobe.com

48

CHUNKS


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Meat+Poultry - June 2020

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