Woods To Smoke With

Woods To Smoke With

One of the reasons we all love to grill is the enhanced flavor it imparts the food on our grates. A good steak can be grilled on a pan over a stovetop. A great steak is grilled over hot coals in the backyard.

While just the act of grilling creates new flavors, there is one more way I like to add to the experience: smoke. We already know smoke is an integral part of BBQ or low and slow cooking. However, it’s also a great addition to straightforward grilling. When I’m looking to add something more to poultry, steak, or fish, my wood chunks are not far behind.

There are two types of wood I like to smoke with: cherry and pecan. What I’m grilling dictates what I use.

Cherry adds a moderately sweet flavor and is perfect for more delicate pieces of meat. Just a few chips, or a chunk, can subtly transform poultry. The key to remember is a little goes a long way. The smoke is a supporting character in your “grill play,” not the star of the show. Please do not remind me of the time I went a little overboard with mesquite and pork!

When grilling steaks, or even beef, in general, a bit of pecan, a slightly sweet, but more aggressive wood, gives each bite something extra as the smoke works its way around the crust. Even a few minutes of smoke on a hot grill with a fast cook can make a big difference.

Next time you are compiling your shopping list for dinner, make sure smoke is down as one of your ingredients.

What are your thoughts? (1)


travis n

I couldn't agree with you more Mike. I always throw on a chunk of wood with whatever I'm cooking to impart a little smoke flavor. I cook with coal and keep briquettes and lump on hand and cook with both together, but always throw a small chunk of wood with it for a nice compliment. I totally agree with using enough smoke to add to the meal, not over power it. One thing I do (saw it on a "grilling and smoking" show on YouTube) was to put the wood chunk on top of the grates instead of directly on the coals during high heat cooks so it doesn't burn to quickly. It works great! Minding you its not wood chips, but wood chunks. Thx! Travis.


Mike Lang

Hi Travis -

Yes, I like exactly how you think! Wood can add so much, I'm not surprised at all you use it a lot. I also like the wood on grate idea. I'll have to try it out! Thanks!

Grill on!


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