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Wood Cooking

There is nothing like using wood when you are grilling. Wood cooking goes back to the stone age. Now it has become an art. Using different types of woods gives different flavors to what you are cooking or smoking.



Like slow cooking hickory being a hardwood stands up to large cuts of meat like briskets and whole fowl. It has a spicy, smoky profile giving the strongest, smokey taste.


Oak is a level below hickory for smoky flavor. Good for any meat which you want a smoky flavor.

Maple is good for vegetables especially corn on the cob. It gives a mild, sweet flavor. Sugar maple is used mainly for turkey.


Alder is milder than hickory and gives smaller cuts of meat particularly fish a subtle flavor.


Applewood gives a mild, sweet flavor to white meats like pork, poultry, and fish.


Cherry like apple gives a sweet, fruity flavor to lamb, beef, and gamey meat. Also great for steak.


Pecan gives more of a nutty flavor which is good for chicken.


Mesquite is the most concentrated, earthly smoke you will have. Like hickory, used for large cuts of meat.


Apricot is like hickory but not as strong and sweeter.


Black walnut and chokecherry have a bitter flavor. They are used to mix with other woods.


Citrus wood will give a milder, fruity flavor compared to an apple or cherry.


Lilac is used in Europe for smoking cheeses. It produces a mild, sweet smoke that goes well with poultry and pork.


Plum and pearwood give a fruity, mild flavor.



What some of you do not know is cottonwood can be used to give a mild smoke for those that do not have a strong smoky smell or taste. The Sioux used cottonwood to remove some of the gamey taste out of the bison meat. As with all woods, avoid green wood.


How much smoke do you want is often a trial by error? So before cutting any hardwood tree down, maybe you might make use out of wood by placing it in your grilling recipe.

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