Smoking Wood Guide
For a more robust smoke flavour while using the charcoal briquettes or lump charcoal, try adding some wood chunks or shavings to the fire. You can layer it with the charcoal in the charcoal basket before lighting or add on afterwards once you have the fire going. Just be careful when throwing in chunks of woods or shavings into a live fire with food hanging as it can cause flare-up – always remember as well that a little goes a long way…
WHAT ABOUT SOAKING THE WOOD CHUNKS OR SHAVINGS?
Many people think it’s a good idea to soak your wood shavings or chunks before putting them on the fire, but we believe its not necessary. According to conventional wisdom, soaking the wood helps it burn more slowly, while also creating more smoke. In practice, the water barely makes it beyond the outer layers of the wood and the interior remains bone dry.
If you put wet wood on top of the flames, it will smolder while the water on the outside evaporates. Once it has evaporated, the wood will simply burn, so what are seeing upon placing it on hot coals is not smoke but simply water that has evaporated a.k.a steam.
Throwing wet wood chunks or shavings right into the smoker also makes it harder to keep a consistent temperature, as it cools off the fire before having time to dry and ignite.
PREPARING WOOD CHUNKS OR SHAVINGS FOR SMOKING
Simple throw them onto the charcoal basket once the fire is light or stack them on top or in between the charcoal within the charcoal basket prior to lighting. No need to soak them.
HOW MUCH WOOD CHUNKS OR SHAVINGS DO YOU USE?
There really isn’t a hard rule for this. Add enough to keep producing smoke as long as you need but remember a little goes a long way.
One thing worth mentioning, people often ask if the meat stops taking on smoke after a certain period of time. The answer is no. As long as the wood's still smoking the meat will continue to absorb smoke throughout the duration of the cook.
Always remember, if your creating billowing clouds of smoke you're doing it wrong. Your neighbors shouldn't wonder if you've set fire to your house. Too much smoke will give the meat a bitter flavor after about an hour. The goal is to maintain a light colored (blueish hue), almost invisible, stream of smoke throughout the duration of the cook.
Feel free to experiment and find the right amount of wood shavings or chunks – and thus the amount of smoke – you prefer for your smoking session.
DO I NEED TO ADD A WATER PAN?
No. Our Firesmiths Hero Smoker & Grill is designed not to require a water pan. The fat dripping from the meat and vaporizing on the coals adds amazing flavour and moisture to the final product. Trust us it works. If you prefer however to smoke some large cuts of meat using the grill grate you can always place a water pan on the heat diffuser itself should you feel you need it or simply spray your meat with some water or apple cider vinegar if extra moisture is required, normally it’s more than ok thanks to our unique design but feel free to experiment to see what works for you though.
SMOKING WOOD FLAVOUR CHART
As a general rule any hardwood that bears a fruit or nut is suitable for cooking. However, different woods have very different tastes. Experiment with different woods to determine you personal favourite and always use well seasoned i.e. dry wood. Green or fresh cut wood can turn food black and tastes bitter. Wood bark should be avoided or burned off first as it contains a high acid content and imparts an acid flavour.
Apple wood has mild, sweet, fruity flavour. Use this wood for smoking poultry, beef, pork, game birds, lamb and some seafood. Because of it’s light character, it will take more time to get the flavour you want.
Cherry wood has a sweet mild, fruity flavour that is a good match for all meats. It makes great smoke rings and can be used in combination with other woods to product more complex flavours.
Hickory smoking wood creates a sweet, yet strong flavour profile, much like bacon. It can be pungent, but it adds a nice strong flavour to just about all meat cuts. Works especially well with pork and ribs.
Mesquite wood has a strong and earthy flavour that is ideal for most red and dark meats.
FIRESMITHS SMOKING WOOD FLAVOUR CHART