When you’re grilling, it’s important to consider what type of wood you should use. Different types of woods have different flavors and qualities, and you want to make sure that you aren’t missing out on any flavor by using one particular type.
There are two main types of wood used in pellet smokers: hardwoods (like maple or oak) and softwoods (like pine). Softwoods tend to offer more smoke when they’re burned at lower temperatures, but they also don’t burn as hot as hardwoods. They also create less heat and so may not be appropriate for hotter situations like grilling whole fish or roasting chicken parts.
Hardwoods burn hotter, which means that they can do more damage to your food if your pellets start burning too soon. But, they also provide a lot more smoke than softwoods, and will give you much better flavor and aroma.
If you’ve never cooked with wood before, then it might seem like you need to buy an entirely new set of tools just to get into barbecuing. This is far from true—there are plenty of pellet smokers available that are designed to work with both kinds of wood.
Here are some tips to help you choose the best wood for your grill. Click here for more info.
What makes each kind of wood good for cooking?
While there’s no perfect way to categorize all wood, here are some general guidelines to keep in mind.
These are often preferred for smoking because they tend to produce more smoke and fewer flames. That means that they won’t scorch your food as quickly, and that the meat won’t taste burnt or bitter.
They also tend to burn slower and cooler than hardwood pellets. As such, they’re great for foods that require low heat or slow-cooked meats like braised beef stew or pulled pork barbecue.
The downside is that they don’t provide much smoke flavor, which means that dishes like brisket or ribs will end up tasting bland. If you want to add extra smokiness, then you’ll probably want to look for other varieties of wood.
These are generally preferred for things like whole chickens or racks of lamb that require a lot of heat. They’re also excellent for roasting vegetables or whole fish since they’re able to sear them without burning them. Hardwoods are also typically more expensive than softwoods, so you may want to stick with the cheaper option if you only plan on grilling once or twice a year.
They burn faster than softwoods, and can potentially cause the food you’re cooking to char or even catch fire. It’s usually recommended that you avoid using hardwood pellets when you’re grilling something that could catch fire, like seafood. You can still use hardwood pellets if you know the food won’t catch fire, though.
In general, most pellet smokers come with either hardwood or softwood pellets. The best ones are going to have a “smoke control knob” that allows you to adjust the amount of time between puffs. This isn’t a feature that everyone has, but it helps to ensure that you don’t accidentally burn all your pellets in one go.
You can find a wide range of wood pellet options, including mesquite, hickory, and pecan. Each one offers a unique flavor profile that will complement your favorite recipes.
Mesquite wood is native to Central America and grows naturally in the dry desert regions where it thrives. It’s known for its distinctive flavor that’s similar to chocolate, coffee, and vanilla. It’s especially popular among smokers who want a rich, smoky flavor profile.
It burns slowly, and doesn’t really get very hot, so it works well for foods like steaks and burgers that don’t need a ton of heat. You can also use it to roast veggies, which gives them a deep, earthy flavor that goes perfectly with grilled meats.
This is a common variety of wood that’s found in many American suburbs. Hickory is a medium-size tree that produces long, straight branches. When cut down, it leaves behind large, flat pieces of wood with distinctive knots and ridges. It produces a slightly sweet, nutty flavor that complements almost any savory dish.
Hickory burns fast, and tends to produce a lot more smoke and heat than other woods. It’s great for searing meats because it heats up faster than other woods, and provides a ton of flavor that’s perfect for adding to anything you’re cooking.
Peanut & Walnut
These are two different varieties of nuts that you can combine together to create a unique flavor and texture. Peanuts are commonly used in Asian cuisines, while walnuts are more common in European cuisine. Combining these two types of nuts brings together their distinct flavors, creating a complex, but subtle taste.
Both of them are high in fat content, so they’re great for making foods like pulled pork or smoked brisket fatty enough to hold up to being sliced and served cold.
This tree is native to North America, and produces the sap that’s harvested for syrup. While it’s mainly grown in Canada, you can find it growing elsewhere in the United States. Maple is often used in barbecue sauces, and it’s great for flavoring dishes like smoked salmon or pork tenderloin.