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Wood Flavor Pairings for Smoking on the Grill

Smoking adds another element to foods on the grill.

Smoking adds another element to foods on the grill.

Different types of wood complement meat when smoked on the grill. What types of wood go with what can be confusing so I’ve created a brief guide of wood types and their food pairings. To give credit where credit is due for this information, I found a flyer with this information at the local grilling store with the source unknown.

  • Alder – delicate, slightly sweet: fish, pork, poultry and light game. Traditionally used in the pacific NW to smoke salmon.
  • Apple – slighty sweet but denser; fruity smoke flavor: Goes with beef, pouty, game birds, ham and salmon.
  • Cherry – slightly sweet , fruit smoke flaver: good with all meats and seafood
  • Cedar – mild and aromatic: used in the NW for smoking salmon
  • Grape Vines – aromotic, similar to fruit wood: good with most meat
  • Hickory – pungent, smoky, bacon-like flavor. This is the most common used wood for smoking: great for all smoking but especially on pork and ribs
  • Maple – mildly smoky and sweet: great with pork, poultry, cheese, vegetables and small game birds
  • Mesquite – strong earthy flavor: while this is great with beef and most vegetables, it goes well with other meat too
  • Oak – heavy smoke flavor: good with red meat, pork, fish and heavy game
  • Peachslightly sweet, woodsy flavor: good with most meat
  • Pear – sweet and woodsy flavor: poutlry, game birds and pork
  • Pecan – the flavor is milder  and sweeter than hickory: good with most meats
  • Walnut – very heavy smoke flavor hence tends to be used with lighter woods like pecan or apple. It can be bitter used alone: good with red meats and game
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2 Responses to Wood Flavor Pairings for Smoking on the Grill

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