The taste of smoked meat, fish or chicken is largely dependent on the species of wood that is consumed in the preparation of products. Therefore, it is important to choose the right wood material and create all the conditions for its storage. What is the best way to use firewood for smoking and how to prepare them yourself?
Suitable tree species for smoking
The type of wood used for smoking allows us to improve not only the taste of the products, but also give them a special aroma and shade. Also, the duration of storage of smoke-treated birds, fish and meat depends on the type of firewood.
Hardwoods are considered the best smoking wood. Such firewood is used moderately dry and slightly moist. The first option is used most often. Such wood contributes to the formation of a golden crust and gives the products a delicate taste. Slightly damp firewood is used when it is necessary to give smoked products a tart aroma and a bright saturated color.
Experienced smokers prefer to work off products on deciduous trees. Such wood is considered the best solution for smoking fish and meat.
Most often I use firewood of such trees:
It gives fish and aspen meat a delicate aroma. The formation of a golden crust can be achieved using beech, but such wood does not affect the taste.
A great smoking option is pear, cherry or plum. Such fruit trees do not emit the minimum amount of resins during the heat treatment process, and also give the products a special unique taste and aroma. For smoking, not only firewood is used, but also wood chips.
Each individual type of tree is used to prepare a separate category of products.
|Smoked Products||Tree species|
|Pork and beef||Apple tree, cherry, maple, oak, cherry, alder, plum and beech|
|A fish||Cherry, peach, linden, pear, alder, oak, maple, apple tree and plum|
|Cheese||Peach, Cherry, Apricot and Beech|
|Bird||Oak, apricot, cherry, apple tree and alder|
|Fruits and vegetables||Cherry, Cherry and Peach|
The quality of food also depends on the type of food it is processed in smoke. For fatty foods, the cold method of smoking is used, and for foods with a low fat content, it is hot.
Many tree species used for smoking have good bactericidal characteristics. The most common of them are mountain ash, alder and acacia. The latter option is mainly used as an additive to the main wood material.
Wood selection criteria
The correct selection of wood allows you to cook delicious aromatic smoked meats. When harvesting trees, the following factors affecting the quality of products should be taken into account:
- Humidity. Overdried firewood burns out pretty quickly. Moreover, such wood does not emit smoke necessary for the smoking process, and the products take a very long time to prepare. The result is very dry meat or fish. The optimum moisture content for firewood is considered to be 60 - 70 percent. Such material forms a uniform smoke and contributes to the formation of the necessary crust of a golden hue.
- The size of the chips. The size of the wood particles affects the uniformity of the smoke treatment of products. Too small chips embedded in the equipment for smoking instantly burns, while giving the fish and meat a pungent odor. All pieces of firewood and chopped wood should be the same size. This also applies to sawdust and shavings.
- The quality of wood. Smoke trees should not have mold or mildew. When burning the affected wood, harmful fumes are released that impregnate the products.
- Wood processing. For smoking, trees without bark are used. When burned, a thick wood layer forms smoke, due to which the products get a bitter aftertaste.
Also not suitable for smoke treatment of birch products. Tar, which is part of the tree, significantly impairs the palatability of the products.
Wood species for meat
The meat of domestic and wild animals and birds is distinguished by its taste characteristics. Therefore, for the smoking of its individual species, different species of trees are used.
|Meat products||Types of wood used|
|Pork||Oak, apple tree, pear, beech, maple, plum and apricot|
|A hen||Cherry, oak, pear, apricot and plum|
|Mutton||Apricot, plum, pear, oak and beech|
|Hare||Plum and alder|
|Duck and goose||Apricot, apple tree, alder, plum, cherry and oak|
|Cow||Beech, oak, apricot, pear and plum|
|Deer||Alder, oak, beech, pear, plum and apricot|
Properly selected trees for smoking meat give the product a unique taste and smell of smoke.
To give smoked meat an original taste, the main type of wood is added branches of such shrubs:
Such wood particles are introduced at the very end of smoking along with berries. Some admirers of a specific taste add juniper branches. It saturates meat products with a special aroma.
Sometimes experienced smokers put rosemary and eucalyptus leaves on the chips. Smoking with these plant components should be carried out correctly. Therefore, for beginners it is better not to use eucalyptus and rosemary for smoking large portions of meat. Experience comes with time during experiments.
A spicy flavor to poultry meat is given by laurel and prune leaves. This combination impregnates products with a special smell.
For pork, a combination of red and black pepper with a lovage is perfect. Such components greatly enrich the taste of meat products.
To overdo it with various additives is not worth it, since not everyone can like the acquired flavor.
Wood Smoked Fish
Smoking fish has its own characteristics. To prepare such a product, these trees are mainly used:
- Apple tree;
When smoking oily sea fish, acacia branches are often used. They are added to the smokehouse immediately after cutting. Acacia slightly gives the fish a sharpness and a unique special taste.
Some woody parts of juniper and wormwood are sometimes added to woodchips. A strong fish flavor can be created using willow branches.
A golden crust can be achieved by throwing cherry, plum or apple tree leaves to the sawdust. If the color of fresh fish is dark for its smoking, oak or alder is used, and in the presence of light yellow shades - linden and maple.
To give a classic taste to smoked fish, you should cook it with an alder.
To create a unique aroma of bright golden color, finely ground particles of the following elements are added to the main tree species:
- leafy part of wild cherries;
- walnut shell;
- young juniper branches.
To get delicious aromatic smoked meats, you should not only choose the right wood, but also qualitatively prepare it.
Do-it-yourself wood chips
On sale you can find various types of finished chips. But many experienced smokers prefer to make high-quality wood material with their own hands.
For wood chips, you can use whole trees or branches of fruit trees. Harvesting is best done in the spring. This time coincides with the planned pruning of trees on the site.
When selecting wood, it should be borne in mind that old diseased trees are not suitable for a smokehouse. Also, you can not use wooden construction waste. Such material may contain varnish, various impregnation or paint. The presence of such elements contributes to harmful emissions during the combustion of wood.DIY smoked wood chips
The process of harvesting chips for a smokehouse is quite simple:
- The bark is removed from the tree. It is especially important to remove the protective cover from tree species that contain a large number of resins.
- Treated wood is crushed. If wood chips are made and sawn, then an ax is used. With its help, firewood splits into longitudinal small strips, which are then chopped into pieces. You can also use shavings after trimming a tree on a machine or use secateurs to divide branches into small fragments. The optimal size of the chips is considered to be 2 * 2 centimeters.
- After dividing into parts, the wood must be soaked well in clean water until one hundred percent moisture is achieved. Soaking time of chips should be five hours.
- After aging in water, the wood material should be dried. For this, a room with good ventilation and lack of moisture is used. The chips should dry to an optimum moisture content of 60 percent.
Chopped wood can be stored in containers or in bags with vents. In large volumes, the material is stored in the open air on an asphalt base in bulk. At the same time, they necessarily provide a cover over it.
If the chips are too dry, then they spray it with water to create the necessary level of moisture. When storing material, safety rules should be followed, which include the absence of open fire near wood.
The competent use of various tree species for smoking products allows you to cook a delicious dish soaked in smoke. The special aroma and taste can be given to fish and meat with the help of various herbal supplements. When choosing wood for smoking, one should take into account not only the type of trees, but also the quality of the wood chips.