How Smoking Works
- Low heat makes smoke as wood smolders, rather than burns, to impart the smoky flavor.
- Water-soaked wood chunks, chips, and/or aromatics are distributed among the coals to enhance the flavor.
- Grill is covered to allow heat and smoke to slowly penetrate and cook the food.
Types of Smoking
- Dry Smoking
Dry smoking uses indirect cooking with a low, smoldering wood fire to slowly cook foods while infusing smoke flavor.
- Wet Smoking
Wet smoking, or water smoking, is more commonly employed and uses a pan of water to maintain moisture and tenderness.
Tips for Smoking
- Keep water pan full, replenishing as needed with hot tap water.
- The water helps to maintain temperature and adds moisture to keep food tender.
- Don't peek! Heat and smoke escape each time the lid is lifted, sacrificing aroma and flavor and increasing cooking time.
- Start with small amount of wood to see if you like the flavor, adding more for more intense smoky flavor.
- Make wood chips last longer and prevent burning by bundling wet wood chips in a foil packet with holes. Place the packet directly on the coals.
- Smoke only those foods that can handle the assertive smoky flavor: beef, lamb, pork, poultry, oily fish, and game.
- Add an aromatic dimension by tossing fresh leaves, stems, or herbs onto the coals.
- Bay leaves, rosemary, grapevine cuttings, fruit peel, or cinnamon sticks are examples of aromatics.
- Generally aromatics with higher oil content provide stronger flavor.
- Soak branches and stems, which otherwise burn quickly.
Food & Wood Pairing
Try experimenting with different foods and woods to find the flavor combination you like.
- Alder, delicate: Pork, poultry, especially fish
- Apple, delicate, mildly sweet, and fruity: Veal, pork, poultry
- Cherry, delicate, mildly sweet, and fruity: Veal, pork, poultry
- Hickory, strong, hearty, smoky: Brisket, ribs, game, pork
- Mesquite, lighter, sweeter: Most meats, vegetables
- Oak, assertive, versatile: Beef, pork, poultry
- Pecan, similar to hickory, more subtle: Pork, poultry, fish
- Seaweed, tangy, smoky: Shellfish
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