Monday, December 3, 2012

What kind of wood should I use in my smoker?

Ron from Yelm, WA asked: 
What kind of wood would you recommend for smoking fish, venison sausage, and jerky?

Very good question Ron! I'm glad you asked! The type of wood you use will depend on several factors...

First: Is the product traditionally hard smoked?

Second, and most importantly: Do you like a heavily smoked product?

Third: How wet is the surface of the product and how much moisture is in the product?

Finally: What is the surface area of the product (diameter)?

Let me explain: If you're making a black forest ham, you will want a deep penetrating strong flavor that would come from a wood such as hickory or mesquite. If you want a light smoke, you may want to use apple or alder wood.

When I speak of how wet the surface of the product is, I am meaning: When you touch the surface, is the product wet or dry? If the surface is wet, like fish or waterfowl, the product will absorb a lot of smoke. If the surface is dry, it won't matter what type of wood you use. You will have trouble getting a strong smoke flavor and getting good penetration of smoke into the meat. Always remember that moisture is the way smoke travels into the meat. No moisture = no smoke penetration, little moisture = little penetration, a lot of moisture means a lot of smoke penetration!

When I speak of surface area I am meaning: How big is the product you are smoking? A ham will have a lot more surface area than a snack stick, so you are going to have less time to apply smoke to a snack stick than a ham because the surface of the snack stick will dry out much faster than the surface of a ham.

Thanks again for the question Ron, and I would really recommend the Advanced Sausage DVD (click to check it out) for you! Judging by your question, I believe you would really enjoy the content of that DVD.

Brad Lockwood
"The Meat Man" 

No comments:

Post a Comment