Smoker wood chips are widely available from your local BBQ or garden store and come in a huge variety of flavors from different manufacturers. Smoker wood chips are available in literally dozens of different flavors, and after a little experimentation with some of them, you will soon find the ones you prefer and match well to the BBQ food and baste/sauce combinations that you like using.
Try starting with “light” tasting smoker wood chip flavors such as applewood, cherry or plum, and if you find these a little too mild for your taste you can try stronger flavors such as hickory, mesquite, and alder, which is one of the most popular all-around smoker wood chip flavors available.
The question is, why use them?
The answer is simply to add additional flavor to your food, and smoker wood chips achieve this by being placed within a BBQ smoker after being moistened with water for around 30 minutes, and then left in the smoker with the food.
The heat that is generated by the BBQ smoker causes the wood chips to rise in temperature and release an aromatic smoke and moisture that permeates the food to give it the classic smokehouse taste.
Many people avoid using smoker wood chips due to the fact that they are unsure as to whether they may ruin their food or even damage their BBQ smoker. This rarely happens if done correctly, and the improvements to the flavor of all cooked BBQ food is improved by the addition of properly prepared wood chips.
Never add dry smoker wood chips to the heat source as this will cause the dry woods to burn off very quickly and will result in a bitter taste on the food. It is recommended that unless otherwise stated by the manufacturer, all wood chips are treated to a good soaking prior to use.
Smoker wood chips are relatively inexpensive to buy and last a fair while, and as such represent a great investment that will elevate the flavor of your BBQ food and you will soon be using them regularly once you have found the flavors that you prefer.
Wood Chip Flavors
Alder is one of the premier choices of professional smoker/barbeque. Considered the traditional wood for smoking salmon in the Pacific Northwest, alder is perfect with seafood.
It adds a medium, tart taste to everything from salmon to swordfish. Alder chips also add a gentle, mild flavor to poultry, pork, lamb and beef.
They’re perfect for adding just a hint of the outdoors to your favorite food. Try them today, they make anything delicious!
Arbutus is ideal for use with lamb, duck or any game fowl. It’s excellent for all meats and fish where a hot smoke is required. It has a strong, pungent flavor that adds something special to any food. Salmon steaks take on a very unique flavor with this chip. If you’re looking for something different, try Arbutus!
Maple wood imparts a strong smoky taste that suits beef, poultry, salmon and trout. Try it with your favorite food, you’ll love how it brings the taste of even the simplest foods alive with flavor!
Wild Willow creates a light, mild smoke that is the perfect accompaniment to meats and seafood that are delicate in flavor. Wild Willow is fantastic with steelhead, it creates a flavor you have to taste to believe! Try Wild Willow with whitefish, trout, and chicken, it will bring the taste alive!
Mesquite is the most recognized flavors used by professional smoker/barbeques. It is the favored wood for barbecuing or grilling in the restaurant industry and is a popular choice for the smoker as well.
Mesquite is a perfect choice for use with seafood, all meats and is a great flavor accompaniment to a variety of cheeses too. It adds a medium, smooth taste to everything from salmon to swordfish and a gentle, mild flavor to poultry, pork, lamb and beef.
They’re perfect for adding a taste of the Southwest to your favorite food. Try them today, they make anything delicious!
Hickory is one of the most widely known barbequing and smoking hardwoods. It is known for its strong dense-flavored smoke. Traditionally used for southern-style ham and pork, Hickory can be used with virtually any meat or fish. If you’re looking for a strong flavor, this is the one!
The fruitwoods are an excellent choice if you’re smoking or barbequing light-colored meats such as veal, pork, turkey, chicken or game birds. They also add a fabulous flavor to shellfish! The sweetness of the fruitwoods makes them ideal for those looking for a moderate touch of flavor.
Apple adds a down-home flavor to any meat dish. Apple chips in the coals will create a savory tang that will gratify anyone’s taste buds. All meat dishes will benefit from apple smoke, even shish kebabs will come alive with taste.
Try apple with your vegetables and seafood, you’ll be amazed at the difference in flavor!
Wild Cherry is the most popular hardwood flavoring in use today. Wild Cherry produces a light, sweet, fruity smoke that is superb with poultry, veal, game, ham, or sausage. Wild Cherry is especially good with fish.
It adds a beautiful color and a delicate flavor to any seafood. Cherry also works well with shellfish such as lobster or shrimp, and it’s great with burgers too!
Plum adds a sweet, fruity flavor that really glows with just about any pork dish. Whether you’re cooking a brisket or steak, pork will take on a lovely taste with plum wood.
Plum wood really adds an incredible flavor when used with spareribs and baby back ribs. Try some, they are terrific.
Check out this Wood flavor guide
Smoker Wood Chips – Great Value
How to use Smoker Wood Chips
- Place the smoker wood chips in a bowl of water for 15-30 minutes, or spray them with water and leave for a while to allow the chips to absorb the moisture.
- Put a tray or pan of smoker wood chips on the briquettes or on the lower rack of your BBQ smoker or grill. If using wood chips in a gas grill, place the pan to one side away from the flame of the burners to avoid them going up in smoke and leaving a bitter taste on your food.
- Raise the temperature of your BBQ smoker to your desired level according to what you are cooking.
- Put the food in the BBQ smoker with the pan of smoker wood chips and cook until done.