Did you know that you shouldn’t use any kind of wood to cook any kind of meat? People tend to think that wood, no matter the kind can improve meat and other foods by providing a smoky flavor. While this is often true, there is an art to the way you cook with wood.
This is because certain types of wood give off certain aromas or flavors that might not complement all types of food. For that reason, it’s important to learn how to choose wood for cooking so you can match the wood to the type of food you plan on smoking or grilling. To dive deep into the art of wood fire cooking, let us first explore what kind of foods you should try cooking and what kind of wood might compliment the flavors of the food.
Analyze the Kind of Food You Will Be Cooking
Many people would love to know how to barbecue different cuts of meat. Barbecued foods are often covered in a sticky sauce that is both sweet and savory. The savory part of barbecued food often has to do with the wood that you use to smoke the meat.
When you plan on cooking food with wood, you need to think about what kind of spices and sauces you might be using on the food itself. For example, barbecued foods tend to have bold flavors. You need to make sure that barbecued meats aren’t too sweet or too spicy.
In order to achieve the perfect flavor, you will want to choose a type of wood that offers very savory smells and flavors. If you choose wood that is too weak, the sweet flavors of the barbecue might overpower the food and leave much to be desired. But what if you aren’t barbecuing anything but instead are grilling up some very savory steaks?
Many people like to use bold flavors for steaks such as black pepper, garlic, red pepper, and so on. You might even use soy or Worcestershire sauce to amp up the flavor a little bit. Whatever the case, if you are cooking something that is very savory, it might not be a good idea to choose an equally bold type of wood.
When you start cooking with wood in this manner, you will likely notice that the flavor of the resulting food will be much too strong. When you add savory aromas and flavors on top of more savory flavors, the result can be a little overpowering. On the other hand, if you use wood with some sweet and more delicate notes, you will find that the bold flavors of your food will balance out perfectly.
Choosing the Right Wood for Your Meal
Hickory is one of the most popular types of wood that you can buy. You can find it at virtually any store and for that reason, you might think that hickory wood is the type of wood you should always use in your cooking. However, even though this type of wood can be great, you shouldn’t limit yourself to only one type of timber.
As mentioned before, how to choose wood for cooking begins with the consideration of the food itself. Hickory is undoubtedly one of the best choices for Southern barbeque. The reason for this is that hickory wood is full of strong, smoky flavors that can balance out the sweetness of barbecued food.
This type of wood is especially popular with the more tender cuts of barbecued meat such as shoulders and ribs. Maple wood, on the other hand, is a very sweet type of wood to cook with. Many people love to use maple for Christmas hams to give it that extra sweetness in addition to the smoked flavor.
It can also be a great choice for chicken and seafood since maple won’t impart an overpowering flavor. Mesquite wood is the strongest wood you can buy. It is usually reserved for barbecued foods.
If you try to use it on anything other than barbeque, you might find it a bit overpowering. Pecan wood, on the other hand, is famous for being an all-purpose sort of wood. It is quite mild compared to other types of wood and for that reason, you can use it for any kind of meal you can think of.
In the same vein, alder wood is also very delicate and mild. More delicate wood types are usually best for lighter foods such as seafood or chicken.
How to Cook with Wood
Whether you’re using a Big Chief smoker or another kind of smoker or grill, once you have your food and wood picked out, cooking is actually quite easy. The main thing you will need to remember is not to open up your smoker. This is easier said than done because many are eventually tempted to open the smoker to see how the meat is doing.
You won’t have to open your smoker to check on the meat as long as you know how much smoke and heat you are using. Using too much smoke is almost always a bad thing. This is because if you stuff your food with smoke, that’s all anyone is going to taste.
Instead, it is best to use a moderate amount of smoke for your food. This way, people can enjoy the taste of the food itself while catching hints of the wood smoke you used.
Everything You Need to Know about Wood Fire Cooking
If you were unsure how to cook with wood before, you should now know all about it. The art of wood fire cooking is more than just choosing the wood on its own. You also have to think of how the wood will go together with the flavors of the food itself.
This way, you can perfectly match these flavors and aromas and ensure that they are balanced. To learn more about similar topics, explore more of our website.