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What kind of wood produces the best smelling/best tasting smoke?

Yaqo Homo Aug 9, 2008 11:45 AM

I accidentally left one of my prized olivewood spoons too close to the burner the other night, and the ensuing smoke smelled amazing (better than, say, generic hickory or mesquite chips, etc.).

What other woods smell great when burning? Are some known for smelling bad?

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  1. BarmyFotheringayPhipps RE: Yaqo Homo Aug 9, 2008 11:49 AM

    I'm a big fan of the fruitwoods in general, particularly apple and cherry.

    3 Replies
    1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
      DockPotato RE: BarmyFotheringayPhipps Aug 10, 2008 01:12 AM

      I'm with you on fruitwoods. Ash is seldom referred to in smoking items. I've used it and am leaning more and more towards it. I would say to anyone, go with whatever hardwood's available locally.

      Now, as to the OP query "Are some known for smelling bad" has anyone had experience with peach or teak? Peachwood is resinous and teak is oily.

      And has anyone tried corn cobs? In parts of Germany and Hungary, I understand they're used for smoking sausage.

      1. re: DockPotato
        porker RE: DockPotato Aug 10, 2008 03:05 PM

        I was in Burlington VT this week. A place called Dakin Farms has an outlet there (I think its their only one) selling products like honey, spreads, and organic meats. Their smoked products are advertised as 'cob smoked'. Didn't try it, just thought I'd pass it along...

        I usually smoke with lump charcoal and fruit (cherry or apple) or hickory chips. I also grill with lump.
        However, I picked up some chunk mesquite and plan to grill steak over the burning embers. Will I get noticible results compared to grilling with lump charcoal?

        1. re: porker
          DockPotato RE: porker Aug 10, 2008 09:47 PM

          I grill over wood at times. You will definitely get a smokier result.

    2. g
      Grillncook RE: Yaqo Homo Aug 9, 2008 12:40 PM

      How many different kinds of trees are there? Each one is used to cook with somewhere in the world. I like just about any of the "nut" woods but especially pecan. Others I've used include maple, apple, cherry, hickory, olive. Which one I use depends on what meat is getting cooked or smoked.

      1. mr jig RE: Yaqo Homo Aug 9, 2008 01:09 PM

        May i add to Grillincook's suggestions, Oak for beef and Alder for Salmon.
        Each wood has it's favored or traditional uses in smoking various food products.
        Avoid resinous woods like pine, hemlock, spruce etc for smoking food.

        1. joshlane4 RE: Yaqo Homo Aug 9, 2008 02:42 PM

          this page has a lot of info about various smoke woods


          1 Reply
          1. re: joshlane4
            jumpingmonk RE: joshlane4 Aug 10, 2008 06:33 AM

            A lot of the upscale Chinese resturaunts also use camphor wood, though whether this is from true camphor or one of the other members of the cinnamon genus (the laters seems more likely as I undersatnd that real camphor is supposed to be not good for you to eat)
            This thread brings up a question I've always been curios about. Given how "global" and exotic varities of many basic products (like honey, alternate spices etc.) have become big business, does anyone else think it's a bit odd that most of the trees used in smoking are still European natives. If you live in Australia, for example are there places that smoke with wattle wood (that would fall under acaica I guess,) or macadamia wood? its certainly Honey's from many of the native flowers of the world are common, but I dont recally seeing such smoke products for the woods.

          2. danhole RE: Yaqo Homo Aug 10, 2008 08:39 AM

            I like to mix them. My new favorite is an apple & hickory or pecan mix.

            3 Replies
            1. re: danhole
              Davwud RE: danhole Aug 11, 2008 07:06 AM

              I'm a big fan of apple. I buy logs from a local apple farm and break them down.


              1. re: Davwud
                soupkitten RE: Davwud Aug 11, 2008 04:32 PM

                fyi crabapple is just as good as apple. pear is good too. jerk is traditionally cooked over burning pimiento wood. if you have a large rosemary or laurel, the herbal tree trimmings can be used for aromatic smoke, or toss the stems from storebought herbs on the coals.

                1. re: soupkitten
                  Davwud RE: soupkitten Aug 11, 2008 05:46 PM

                  Good to know.


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