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Chapter: Smoking Foods
Section: Woods
Recipe: Subject: Wood Types

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Subject: Wood Types
Author: (Michael Freeman) ims@digitallydirect.com
Date: 1998/08/12
Forum: alt.food.barbecue

the following: courtesy of Lloyd


      On the subject of BBQ woods, I have found the best
results to be from nut and fruit bearing trees, cut down
from 6 months to 2 years old. Like Oak, Hickory, Mesquite,
Pecan, Peach, Pear, Apple, Apricot, and Maple to list a few.
These are the safest types to use for cooking. I have found
that wood over two years old tends to produce a dirty taste
in the food more often than not. Wood can be cut down whole,
and split after five or so months of seasoning. I recommend
spliting three days or so before cooking with it.
ALDER - Very delicate with a hint of sweetness. Hard to find
commercially. Good with fish, pork, poultry and light-meat game
APPLE - Very mild with a subtle fruity flavor, slightly sweet. Good
with poultry (turns skin dark brown) and pork.
ASH - Fast burner, light but distinctive flavor, available white or
black. Good with fish and red meats.
BLACK WALNUT - Very heavy smoke flavor, usually mixed with lighter
wood like hickory or mesquite. Can be bitter if used alone. Good
with red meats and game.
CHERRY - Mild, fruity, but slightly bitter if it comes from
chokecherry trees. Good with poultry, pork and beef (turns skin
GRAPE VINES - Tart. Provides a lot of smoke. Rich and fruity.
Expensive. Good with poultry, red meats, game and lamb.
HICKORY - Most commonly used. Sweet to strong, heavy bacon flavor.
Good with pork, ham and beef.
LILAC - Very light, subtle with a hint of floral. Good with seafood
and lamb.
MAPLE - Smoky, mellow and slightly sweet. Good with pork, poultry,
cheese, and small game birds.
MESQUITE - One of the hottest burning. Strong earthy flavor.
Good with beef, fish, chicken and game.
OAK - Lighter version of mesquite. Red oak is good on ribs, white oak
makes the best coals burning longer. Good with red meat, fish and
heavy game.
ORANGE - Light and citrusy. Good with pork and game birds.
PECAN - A cool burner. Nutty and sweet. Tasty with a subtle
character.  Good with steaks, ribs and cheese.
HERBS & SPICES - Don't forget you can add soaked garlic, peppers,
onions, herbs and spices directly to your fire. Good with all meats
and vegetables.
You can use some woods green for cooking, but under
no circumstances should you to use green mesquite for
smoking. It will produce a bitter taste in the pit for years
that cannot be sandblasted out. People have used this
before because they saw someone in a restaurant using it.
That was grilling with it, not smoking where there is top
capturing the bitter smoke. That stuff will black your
eyes it's so strong. Also don't use any pine limbs. I saw a
man cook with the heart of pine, promptly promoting some
of the nastiest red splotches all over the skin of the unhappy
diners, making them extremely sick. I think the antigens got in
their bloodstream. Yuck! Stay away from pines......
Try apple chips soaked in water, placed on your charcoals
when you cook duck or goose in your smoker. It will taste
like you rubbed your bird for hours with honey. Delicious...
Also try smoking a cherry pie on pecan wood. Great...
"Let there be Smoke".......See ya in the Great Outdoors.

And here is something that Bill put together a while back:

WOOD           TASTE / FLAVOR              BEST WITH

Alder      A medium, tart smoke taste   Beef Poultry Game
Maple      Sweet, hearty smoke flavor   Fish Jerky Bacon
Apple      A light, sweet flavor        Poultry Ham Sausage
Hickory    Heavy smoke flavor           Beef Pork Game
Mesquite   A light, tangy smoke flavor  Beef Fish Poultry
Cherry     Distinctive and delicious    Beef Pork Game Lamb
Pecan      A rich, sweet flavor         Beef Pork Fish Poultry Game Lamb
Oak        Heavy smoke flavor           Beef Pork Lamb
Grapevine  A strong smoke flavor        Beef Poultry
Acacia     Similar to mesquite