Wood smoking is a low and slow process that increases food flavor. We will discuss in detail what kind of wood to use in an offset smoker and why?
Overview of smoking with wood
Wood is the most common material that is used to create smoking. It gives a delicious flavor to food. Woods are used in two ways to create smoke in food.
- Wood as a whole fuel.
- Wood chunks as flavor.
Wood as the primary fuel source
The burning of wood creates heat and adds a smoky flavor to food. The wood smoker and pellet grill are sources of wood used as fuel. Smoking with wood is the slow-burning process that makes our meat juicy and tender.
Wood chunks as a flavor
The smoker, in which gas or charcoal is the primary fuel source, uses some wood chips to add the smoke flavor to food. If you compare the flavor of food in the case of wood as a fuel or wood chips as a flavor, then more delicious meat will cook in the case of wood as whole fuel.
You can use many kinds of woods to add smoke flavor to your meat, including chips, chunks, pellets, or sawdust. You can use these types of wood according to your situation and availability. Many people use these woods according to their smoke flavor.
Steps of wood combustion
There are almost 100 compounds of smoke. These compounds are found in the form of solid, liquid, and gas. The wood used in the smoker has different combustion abilities, oxygen availability, and humidity.
There are two types of gases used in smokers as fuel: syringol and guiacol. Syringol is the gas used as fuel to increase the fragrance of smoke in food, and guiacol is the gas used as fuel to add a unique smoke flavor to food.
Now we will discuss the steps of wood in the combustion process;
Lack of water
The Dehydration process takes place at 500F before the wood-burning. The wood acts as a fuel source that creates heat. At this point, the moisture in the wood will totally evaporate, and it becomes dry.
Gasification and pyrolysis
When the temperature reaches 500F, the process of gasification starts, and it will proceed till the temperature reach 700F. Mostly this stage is known for catching fire to wood in the firebox.
Burning of wood
The burning of wood will start when the temperature proceeds to 700F. It will proceed till 1000F. The wood starts burning in this process. As the heat touches the meat, the smoke ring starts to become. The perfect temperature to produce a tasty flavor of the smoke is between 650-750°F. The compound of smoke becomes bitter and hazardous as the fire reaches its final stage. The smoke is formed if gas is released without burning.
Formation of charcoal
The coals are created as the temperature exceeds 1000F. After this temperature, there will be no more smoke produced.
Best wood for smoking meat
People often use wood as fuel in offset smokers. In the case of other smokers, they prefer charcoal gas or electric tools. They use wood chunks or wood chips just to add the smoke flavor with other fuels. You can visit this guide to know if you should use wood pellets in an electric smoker.
Here are some main points you should keep in mind;
- It is the best way to leave the wood for six months to dry because, after this period, it has some moisture to produce the smoke. This process will increase your barbeque enjoyment.
- The woods purchased from stores create very hot and fast smoke as they remain in store for a long time, so it may not be easy to control the amount of heat and temperature by using them.
- Another best benefit of using wood as a fuel is that it contains some moisture after a long time, creating a moderate amount of heat in summer, and also it is best for the low and slow cooking processes.
Best wood for smoking chicken
Some of the five kinds of wood best for a chicken are apple, maple, cherry, pecan, and Oak.
Best wood for smoking ribs
The best woods for smoking ribs are hickory, Oak, Mesquite, Pecan, Peach, Maple, Apple, Cherry, etc.
Different types of wood create different flavors in the burning process. We will discuss some of the best wood for smoking procedures in detail.
It is the best wood for creating smoke. It makes our food more delicious. Oka produces a slow-burning process and creates a slow and mild flavor. It is generally the best smoking wood for everyone.
Hickory is the best wood to create smoke compared to Oak because it creates a strong smoke flavor. It creates a slow-burning process by creating strong flavor in food.
Pecan is the best wood which is specially used for a shorter smoke process. It produces a sweet and robust flavor of smoke which increases the taste of wood. This wood is used for a short smoking process; if you use it for a long process, the flavor can become more robust.
Mesquite is the best wood used to produce long-time smoking. It produces a strong flavor which is best for grilling. It produces hot and fast smoking as compared to other wood.
It produces a mild flavor in food and can be used in green. It is used for the slow smoking process.
Types of wood that are harmful to smoking
There are some types of wood that cannot produce a comfortable smoke, and those are listed below;
- Aspen wood
- Locust wood
- Mangrove wood
- Osage Orangewood
- Lamburnun wood
- Cyprus wood
- Tambootie wood
- Elderberry wood
- Yew wood, etc.
Some are the main points you should keep in mind;
- You should not use painted wood because the paint contains chemicals and will destroy the taste of your food. The wood treated by any method or stained can become harmful to the taste of your food, so you should avoid using it. Some types of woods, like lumbar scraps or bits, are unknown about their origins. Maybe they are formed with the help of chemicals, so we should restrict their use.
- You can use the wood that produces the food’s delicious flavor, like cedar and cedar plank salmon, but it is unnecessary to keep it as a primary source.
- Never use old wood because its smoke can create physical issues for you and your family. The old wood is covered in mold or fungus. Mold and fungi contain toxins that can make you or your guests ill when they are released in the smoke or contacted with your food.
- You should avoid softwood. Woods that are sappy and contain terpenes are not a good idea. Your meat will taste off. Additionally, some people feel ill after eating meat smoked with these types of wood.
How does smoke ring form?
A smoke ring is produced when smoke touches the meat after burning fuel and interacts with myoglobin to create the red color of meat.
- Take cold meat to cook and keep it moist throughout the whole cooking. You can spray on it. Also, you can use a water pan in your smoker, which keeps your atmosphere moist. This moist atmosphere will be able to stick the smoke on meat.
- You should use a spice rub. It will help to stick the smoke and encourage the flavor of your food.
- You should always add wood when your meat is cold. It will help to create more smoke in food and make your food delicious.
What kind of wood to use in offset smoker? Tips to enjoy BBQ
We will discuss some essential tips to help you enjoy the best barbeque session.
1. Attain smoke from wood
It can be found out. If you use charcoal as a fuel and produce smoke from it, you cannot compare the taste of charcoal and wood. The tasty flavor smoke is attained from wood. Don’t be afraid of totally burned wood. The smoke from totally burned wood is straightforward and gives the best taste compared to incomplete burned wood.
2. Taking your logs outside
The best place to store the wood is outdoors because it is easy to dry and easy to store. Keeping wood on the earth’s surface will prevent the wood from becoming damp, moldy, or rotting away.
3. Size of wood chunks
You should consider the size of wood chunks for the best bbq process. If you want to perform a long cooking process, you should select the size of wood between the size of a golf ball and a baseball because it will produce a consistent amount of smoke for the whole cooking process. But if you want a short cooking process, you should use small wood chunks, which can produce a consistent amount of smoke in a short duration.
4. Do not use wood that creates harmful smoke
When your wood smells musty, don’t assume the smell will go away with time. That may not be the case, and your cook’s flavor may suffer. Burning moldy wood is also not safe because certain molds release toxins.
5. Oxygen control
A brown layer on your meat is due to an insufficient amount of smoke in the cooker. This brown layer can be removed from meat by washing it. You can recook your meat to get juicy and tender meat when you cook meat in an offset smoker that ensures sufficient oxygen is present in the smoker.
6. Do practice
You can become a perfect chef by doing practice in cooking. It is wise to do a few “dry runs” without food if you are new to this. By doing so, you will be able to control the temperature of your barbecue; how to create fire in it, and how to add more wood to get the desired smoke.
7. Buy a good thermometer
The amount of smoke is directly related to the thermometer. A thermometer is used to check the amount of heat and smoke inside the smoker. It would be best to use a digital thermometer that tells the best heat and smoke adjustment.
8. Always keep the smoker clean
We should clean our smokers well to create the best smoking flavor. The dirt on the smoker will disturb our smoke flavor. Grease on the grates will produce nasty smoke when they catch fire. It is essential to keep the grates clean to produce the best smoke flavor.
Methods of adding wood to the smoker
The best smoke is produced by a small fire burning steadily. It would be best if you did not build anything similar to a bonfire in your smoker. You should not light all your fuel at the same time. If you do so, it will not show good results. It is also essential to keep in mind that the amount of wood you need for the fire and when you will put it on will also depend on the type of smoker you use and whether you keep it or not as a primary heat source.
Adding wood to the firebox will depend on the smoker. When you use a Weber Smoker Mountain to produce smoke, you will not need to add more wood. A few chunks of wood will be enough to produce smoke. Many pit masters find that hot coals with wood chunks are the most effective way to start smoking. If you want to get good smoke right away, put the wood on top of the hot coals.
It is concluded that smokers use wood in two ways and is responsible for increasing food flavor. Most people like to eat smoked food, so they prefer to use wood as fuel. We have discussed in depth what kind of wood to use in an offset smoker so that you can choose the suitable wood for your smoker.