Jul 1 # 1 of 26
I got a new grill about a week ago and have cooked on it every night since then, almost. Last night I did my first smoking and I have some quesitons. I have grilled for a long time and am very familiar with grilling, but smoking I am not.
Here is what I did and if you can give my pointers, I would appreciate it.
I took a brisket and soaked it overnight the nigth before in some marinade. I started the fire in the smoker at 6pm Fri night and smoked it for about 8 hours, until 2am. I used 2 bags of small wood pieces that I got at the grocery store. The instructions on that bag said to NOT soak the wood, but to light it, let it burn till black, then put it out and let the smoking commence. I did this the first few times, but found that the fire in the wood would go out after 30-45 min or so. So eventually I started soaking the wood and lighting it, letting it burn down to small flames, then shutting the fire box and letting it go.
The meat tunred out very well, nice flavor, perhaps just a bit tough, but briskets are a bit tough anyway. I took it off the grill when it was a nice 150 degrees and soaked all the way thru.
My main question is about the wood I used. Hickory was the type, but should I get better quality wood? Should I get green wood? soak the wood? buy it somewhere in larger logs that will burn longer?
Thanks for any suggestions.
Jul 1 # 2 of 26
Hickory is widely used for smoking because it's plentiful and thus cheap. Better woods would be apple wood, and apricot wood. You can find these online, but a local orchard wood be better since they may give it to you for taking it away.
If you're cooking for a long time, get bigger chunks instead of those little chips. The chips are for people cooking on barbecue for a short period.
There's a place called the Sausage Maker
that sells professional equipment for preserving foods with smoke and they may have some other tips for you on their site. I've ordered sausage making supplies from them. I found them through the Frugal Gourmet series, before the Frugal Gourmet got in trouble and vanished.
Jul 1 # 3 of 26
These aren't chips that I used. There were chunks of wood, about 4x4x4 inches are larger. What I wanted to know was if I should be using larger logs, about the size of fireplace firewood, maybe chopped down a bit and soaked. These chunks that I used said not to soak them....but I did anyway after I burned a few of them up real quicklly.
Jul 1 # 4 of 26
When they said not to soak them, maybe they were the type of chunks used to grill on instead of using charcoal. I've bought those kind in the past to bbq on.
For smoking, you definitely want to soak the wood because you want it to smoke and smolder instead of burning. Even with something more substantial like logs would need to be soaked. I've used green wood for exactly this reason. It's naturally wet so it will smoke instead of burn.
This is assuming you have another source of heat to cook the food.
Jul 1 # 5 of 26
Perhaps these were for cooking instead of smoking, I am not sure. It works fine to use them, I just had to babysit them the entire time to make sure they kept going.
The smoke doesn't cook the food? Or is it just not warm enough if you burn green wood?