Within the barbecuing and cooking industry, one of the secret ingredients to creating a sensational dish is the use of smoking chips. Using smoking chips can elevate your meat’s flavour profile to new heights, but how do you decide which wood type to use? Here at Eden Products, we are experts in the smoking industry, supplying numerous smoking products to the food sector across the UK. With our expertise and knowledge, we have created this blog post to help you find the right variety of wood for your smoking endeavours. From earthy and rich flavours to more fruity and sweet, understanding the characteristics of wood chips can enhance your culinary craftsmanship.
Why Smoke Foods?
Smoking is a gradual cooking technique, that not only helps to tenderise meats but infuses it with a distinct, aromatic flavour that is difficult to replicate with other cooking methods. The slow release of smoke from the wood chips seeps into the meat, lending it a mouthwatering smoky taste. Smoking chips are not just limited to meats either, they can also be used to smoke vegetables and cheeses.
So how do you select the right type of wood? Well, the choice ultimately depends on your personal preference, the type of meat you’re smoking, and the flavour profile you’re aiming for.
Popular Woods for Smoking
Hickory: The Strong and Sweet Choice
Hickory is famed for its potent, rich, and slightly sweet flavour, making it an ideal match for heavy meats like pork and beef. It’s a go-to choice for a classic smoking experience, particularly in Southern-style barbecue.
Mesquite: Intense and Earthy
Offering an intense, earthy flavour, mesquite pairs exceptionally well with red meats, particularly beef. It burns hot and fast, making it suitable for short, high-heat smoking sessions.
Applewood: Subtly Sweet and Fruity
Applewood, with its mildly sweet and fruity smoke, is excellent for meats like poultry and pork. Its mild flavour doesn’t overshadow the natural flavour, making it a top choice for delicate meats.
Cherry: Sweet and Balanced
Cherry wood chips give off a sweet, fruity smoke, perfect for smoking chicken and turkey. They also work well in a mix with stronger-flavoured wood like hickory, resulting in a balanced smoky flavour.
Oak: The Versatile Choice
Oak is a highly versatile choice, providing a medium-strong smoke that’s less intense than hickory or mesquite. It’s an excellent pick for smoking lamb, beef, and sausages.
Maple: Sweet and Mild
Maple wood chips produce a sweet, mild flavour. They enhance the natural flavours of poultry, pork, and vegetables without dominating them.
Tips for Using Smoking Chips
The type of wood chip you choose should complement the meat’s flavour, not overpower it. Therefore, for lighter meats like chicken and fish, it’s best to go with mild wood like apple or maple. On the other hand, strong-flavoured woods like hickory and mesquite pair well with beef and pork.
Apart from the type of wood chip, it’s also important to consider the size. Smoking chips come in various sizes, from small chips to large chunks. Smaller chips tend to burn faster and produce smoke more quickly, but they also burn out faster. In contrast, large chunks burn slower and provide a steady stream of smoke over a longer period.
Here at Eden Products, all of our smoking chips are available in various grades, suitable for commercial smokehouses and traditional kilns. We supply smoking dust, as well as smoking chips in 2mm, 4mm, and 8mm sizes, so you can choose the most appropriate grade for you. For more information, please contact our team on 01606 835757 or email email@example.com and we will be happy to help!