BBQ Recipe Secrets

Specialty Wood: Your Secret Weapon for Flavorful Meat

Using specialty wood in your BBQ will create lots of flavor

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Specialty wood is the secret many grill fanatics swear by for authentic barbecue smoke flavor. Which type of specialty wood to use is widely debated, since each creates a certain flavor. Let's talk a little about how to use specialty wood, and how to find out which ones you like best.

Using Specialty Wood

You should think of specialty wood as a seasoning for your barbecue. Using it will give flavor to the meat just like using a barbecue sauce.

Varieties of Specialty Woods

Most of the favorites in specialty woods are from fruit or nut trees. Some are also from hardwood trees. The list below includes most of the available types of smoking wood.

Wood from nut trees, such as hickory and pecan, tends to be much stronger flavored, which some people don't like. Fruit trees tend to have milder flavors.

Pecan
Cherry
Hickory
Oak
Orange
Mulberry
Apple
Sugar maple

Until you know which type of smoking wood you like, you might want to purchase a variety pack of wood pellets. That way, you can experiment with different flavors without having to buy a whole bunch of different cooking woods.

How To Cook With Specialty Woods

Like wine, certain types of specialty woods go best with certain types of meat. Most barbecue experts like oak with beef, and lighter fruitwoods, such as apple, with chicken.

Many seasoned chefs also mix their smoking woods. For instance, you can use half pecan and half apple for a new taste when grilling chicken.

To use specialty woods, soak the wood chips in water for at least half an hour before adding them to the grill. If you have a smoker box in your grill, you put the chips there.

If you are using a gas grill, wrap them in foil and puncture a few holes. If you are using a charcoal grill, you can put them in right on top of the coals.

Buying Specialty Wood

The flavor in specialty woods will last for a while, but it's best not to store the wood for too long. You can find many basic varieties in your local home center or barbecue specialty shop. However, you'll need to shop online to find more exotic specialty wood or variety packs.


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