When smoking meats it’s important to choose the right type, size and quantity of wood.
It’s crucial to use the right size of wood for your smoker. With a Kamado-style cooker, you want to make sure you are not using too much wood in your firebox. All you need is two or three chucks of hand-sized wood. If you have too much wood in your pit, it won’t burn perfectly which will end up putting bad smoke on your meat.
If you’re using an offset stick burner you want to use sticks that are forearm size or smaller. Don’t put large logs in your offset stick, as it will be hard to ignite them. As many things in life, less is often more.
When smoking, you’re looking for that perfect balance of flavors from the smoke, rub and meat. Too much smoke will mask the flavor of your cook. Keep your woods dry and ready to go – avoid setting them out where they can get wet – and choose well-aged pieces.
Your region or location is a good way to choose what type of wood you should use or match flavors with the type of food you’re smoking. When it comes to beef, reach for oak, hickory, mesquite or pecan. Items with lighter texture, like ribs and chicken, match well with milder woods or apple or cherry. However, your individual preference will always win. The bottom line: buy the wood that you like, that suits your flavor.