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Choose the right wood to make the perfect smoke

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Woods for smoking:

Acacia is similar to mesquite but not as strong. This wood burns very hot and should be used in small amounts or for limited amounts of time.

Alder has a light flavor that works well with fish and poultry. Indigenous to the northwestern United States, it is the traditional wood for smoking Salmon.

Almond give a nutty, sweet flavor that is good with all meats. Almond is similar to Pecan.

Apple is very mild in flavor and gives food a sweetness. This is good with poultry and pork. Apple will discolor chicken skin (turns in dark brown).

Apricot is great for poultry and pork. This wood is similar to hickory but is sweeter and milder in flavor.

Ash has a light, unique flavor. This wood burns fast.

Black Walnut has a heavy flavor that should probably be mixed with other wood because of the bitter taste it can impart.

Birch has a similar flavor to maple. This wood is good with pork and poultry.

Cherry has a sweet, mild flavor that goes great with virtually everything. This is one of the most popular woods for smoking.

Chokecherry has a bitter flavor and should only be used in small amounts for short period of times.

Citrus woods like lemon or orange have a moderate smoke that gives a light fruity flavor that is more mild than apple or cherry.

Cottonwood is very mild in flavor and should be used with stronger flavored woods. Avoid green wood.

Crabapple is very similar to apple wood and can be used interchangeably.

Fruit, like apple, apricot or cherry, fruit wood gives off a sweet, mild flavor that is good with poultry or ham.

Grapefruit is a mild wood that produces a good, smoky flavor. A good wood for any meat.

Grapevines make a lot of tart smoke and gives a fruity but sometimes heavy flavor. Use it sparingly with poultry or lamb.

Hickory adds a strong flavor to meats, so be careful not to use to excessively. It’s good with beef and lamb.

Lemon is a mild wood that produces a good, smoky flavor. A good wood for any meat.

Lilac produces a good supply of mild, sweet smoke. A popular wood for smoked cheese, but also good for poultry and pork.

Maple, like fruit wood gives a sweet flavor that is excellent with poultry and ham.

Mesquite has been very popular of late and is good for grilling, but since it burns hot and fast, it's not recommended for long barbecues. Mesquite is probably the strongest flavored wood; hence its popularity with restaurant grills that cook meat for a very short time.

Mulberry is sweet and very similar to apple.

Nectarine is great for poultry and pork. This wood is similar to hickory but is sweeter and milder in flavor.

Oak is strong but not overpowering and is a very good wood for beef or lamb. Oak is probably the most versatile of the hard woods.

Orange is a mild wood that produces a good, smoky flavor. A good wood for any meat.

Peach is great for poultry and pork. This wood is similar to hickory but is sweeter and milder in flavor.

Pear is similar to apple and produces a sweet, mild flavor.

Pecan burns cool and provides a delicate flavor. It’s a much subtler version of hickory.

Persimmon like the other fruit woods, mild and slightly sweet.

Plum is great for poultry and pork. This wood is similar to hickory but is sweeter and milder in flavor.

Walnut has a heavy, smoky flavor and should be mixed with milder flavored woods.

Other good woods include: avocado, bay, beech, butternut, carrotwood, chestnut, fig, guava, gum, hackberry, kiawe, madrone, manzita, olive, range, persimmon, pimento, and willow

You can also find other wood products around made from wine and whiskey barrels that impart a very unique flavor.

Woods to AVOID would include: cedar, cypress, elm, eucalyptus, pine, fir, redwood, spruce, and sycamore.

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