Anyone that has decided to seriously approach the culinary world of barbecue understands that there are three different and distinct “legs” and that need to be mastered to get the very best results.
On the one hand, you need to have absolutely top shelf meet and some of the finest cuts you can find. Now, this doesn’t mean that you need to spend a world of money to get fantastic meat – but you need to get the best that you can find and afford.
The second leg for fantastic barbecue is that you control the heat to the best of your abilities. Not only are you going to need to go “low-end slow” across the board, but you’ll also need consistent heat that can allow the smoke to really do the heavy lifting.
Finally, you need to use the very best wood you can find. Wood makes a world of difference when it comes to smoking, obviously, but different woodchips will produce different flavors, different smells, and even different textures. You’ll also need to understand exactly how different woods react with different cuts of meat and types of food, so hopefully you’ll be able to use this quick guide to better assist you moving forward.
Hands-down the very best wood chips for smoking when it comes to fish, poultry, and other “small game” pieces of meat, these woodchips produce a rather musky smoke that fits right into the culture of the Northwest and is picture perfect for salmon.
Probably the most popular of all the woodchips available, and definitely one of the best wood chips for smoking pulled pork and beef – you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone that doesn’t rant and rave about apple woodchips thrown into a smoker.
If you’re looking for a lighter injection of flavor that doesn’t overpower the food, you’ll want to look at these woodchips. These wood chips are extremely good when it comes to fish if you don’t have access to Alder.
Ranking right behind apple wood chips, it’s pretty difficult not to fall in love with the sweet, fruity, delicious smoke that cherry produces on a regular basis. One of the more “long-lasting” wood chips and that you’ll be able to throw in your smoker, using cherry can transform and elevate almost any food in an instant. I’ve found it extremely useful when it comes to smoking briskets.
Readily available just about anywhere, and one of the more popular styles of wood chips that will have access to, oak usually in parts a rather mild smoke with no real extra flavor or taste – making it a perfect pairing partner for nearly any food you have in your smoker.
Woods to Avoid
If we’re on the topic of choosing good woods for smoking, I think it’s only fair that I also tell you about the woods to avoid. I really don’t want to go in an in-depth lecture on why you should avoid each of these; suffice it to say that you should stay away from cedar, cypress, elm, eucalyptus, pine, fir, redwood, spruce, and sycamore.
Trust me, your electric smoker will love you for it!