This Wood Smoking Cheat Sheet takes all the guessing out of what wood pairs perfectly with different foods, including seafood and vegetables.
It’s not always easy to know which kind of wood to smoke with each package of meat I plan to put on the grill. Does peach wood go well with beef? Will hickory work with chicken? The answers are all there for you on a one page PDF.
🍁 Why This Works
Quick Reference Tool – This one sheet PDF can be printed off and hung in the pantry or you can add a magnetic sheet to the back of it for quick and easy reference on the side of the refrigerator.
🔥 How it Works
Step One: Look at the left hand side of the page first as it will guide you through the MILD to STRONG intensity scale. This is the area that I call attention to first and will be the most important. Each piece of wood that you choose to smoke with gives off a different intensity of smoke that will flavor the meat.
Step Two: Look at the types of wood and the flavor columns. If you haven’t used wood to smoke, then I recommend starting out with the more mild smoke flavors. The more intense flavors can overpower a dish if you’re not careful.
Step Three: Pair up the type of food you will be grilling to the complementary woods.
For example: Apple Wood is a sweet, mild fruity flavor to your meat. It goes well with Beef, Poultry, Lamb, Seafood, Baking and Veggies. The only one that it doesn’t go well with is Pork.
Maple Wood is sweet and mild but will leave a darker appearance. It goes well with Poultry, Seafood and Veggies.
Note: These are just my recommendations. If you have tried pairings that are not listed, and you loved it, then drop me a note below. I love to try new things and am interested in what you found success with.
‼️ Expert Tips
If you are new to smoking and aren’t sure what you like, begin with light and easy. Go for the fruit woods and see what you like before hitting hard and heavy on the hickory and mesquite.
For anyone that is super nervous about starting to smoke, I suggest doing a faux smoke. Grill your favorite dish without any smoke to serve as the baseline for comparison. Now, add a couple of chunks of a mild wood for your next batch and take notes on how you and your family liked it.
For this example, I smoked a rib roast for my mother in law who doesn’t love too much smoke. I grilled it low and slow for over 9 hours at 225 but there wasn’t any wood in my Big Green Egg, just charcoal. The taste was fantastic and not smoky at all, yet it was the most tender cut of meat she has ever had.
We enjoy a light smoke flavor and used a nice cherry wood for the first few hours when we grilled our next rib roast.
Important: Know that leftovers that are not meat-based seem to have the smoky flavor intensify the longer it is kept in the refrigerator. We’ve noticed that our leftover meat tasted about the same, but our leftover Smoked Deviled Eggs and Smoked Potato Salad had the smoke flavor intensify significantly the second day.
Sometimes you will come across wood that is not on our scale, like when we made the Bourbon Barrel Cranberry Sauce using wood from an oak bourbon barrel. Oak is considered a classic/medium smoke and so we matched it with the cranberry sauce as it wasn’t smoking very long and it turned out fantastic.
🖨️ How to Download
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