Wood smoke. It’s the soul of barbecue and the essence of some of the world’s greatest foods and beverages, from bacon to bourbon.
Smoke is the very lifeblood of regional American barbecue. Without it, there would be no Carolina pit-roasted pork, no Texas brisket or Kansas City burnt ends, no slabs of spare ribs or baby backs smoked low and slow over a wood or wood-enhanced fire, no smoke-kissed salmon for weekend brunches.
But few among us have access to a steady supply of the hardwood trees that create the magic—not to mention the time to chop the wood, stack it, and season (dry) it for a year or more. Fortunately, there’s a better, easier way.
It’s our pleasure to announce the latest addition to Steven’s line of barbecue products: Barbecue Essentials Wood Chips and Chunks. They will add incomparable flavor and authenticity to your next grilled or smoked meal.
Four Varieties of Wood Chips and Chunks
These natural kiln-dried woods, sourced primarily from the U.S.—can be used in charcoal grills, gas grills, and smokers to generate the thin blue smoke so prized by pit masters. Currently, four wood varieties are available.
Apple Wood Chips and Chunks
This orchard wood from Wisconsin, New York, and Washington is compatible with meat (especially bacon), poultry, seafood, and vegetables.
Hickory Wood Chips and Chunks
Long associated with Southern barbecue, hickory is the wood of choice for Carolina-style barbecue, compatible with pork and other meats, poultry, seafood, and vegetables.
Cherry Wood Chips and Chunks
Full-flavored cherry wood, found in the upper Midwest and on the West Coast, is very versatile. Use it with pork, poultry (we love it with duck), fin fish or shellfish, fruit, or vegetables. Try a smoked cherry cobbler.
Mesquite Wood Chips and Chunks
Native to the American Southwest, mesquite has a strong, distinctive flavor that pairs well with beef, including brisket, plate ribs, steaks, chili, and shoulder clod. Use it to smoke tomatoes or tomatillos, jalapenos, and onions for an explosively-flavored salsa.
How to Use Wood Chips
These easy-to-use 100 percent natural wood chips can enhance foods cooked over charcoal or gas, specifically, small offset smokers, water smokers, ceramic smokers, lidded charcoal or gas grills, kamado-style cookers, drum smokers, etc. For longer smokes (brisket, pork shoulder, whole chickens, etc.), soak the chips in water for 30 minutes, then drain. Replenish as necessary. There is no need to soak the chips if you require a short smoke; quick combustion will flavor foods like chops, burgers, shrimp, chicken breasts, and fish fillets.
To Use: If cooking with charcoal, place soaked, drained chips, or unsoaked chips directly on the coals, then cover the grill. If cooking on a gas grill, put the chips in the smoker box according to the manufacturer’s directions. If your grill does not have a smoker box, enclose the chips (about 2 cups) in an aluminum foil pouch and poke holes in it with a skewer or fork so the smoke can escape. Position the pouch under the grate directly over one of the burners. Alternatively, fill these ingenious smoking pucks with wood chips and direct their spouts toward the food.
How to Use Wood Chunks
Convenient hardwood chunks are slow-burning and do not need to be soaked. (They absorb very little water, even if soaked for several hours. So we don’t bother.) Like wood chips, chunks can be used in all charcoal- or wood-burning grills or smokers, or even gas grills.
To Use: If cooking with charcoal, add one or two chunks to each pile of coals. If building a long-lasting fire using the Snake Method, distribute the chunks at intervals along the length of the “snake.” If cooking on a gas grill, lay a couple of chunks directly on the heat diffuser plates or ceramic briquettes, over the burners and underneath the grill grate.
Another option—one we love to use—is to place the wood chunks in a chimney starter and ignite as you would charcoal. This is a great way to build a wood fire without the need for logs.
Smoking Recipes Using Wood
If you’ve never cooked with wood before, here are some recipes to get you started.
Bourbon Brown Sugar Smoked Pork Loin
Get the Recipe »
Big Bad Beef Ribs
Get the Recipe »
Get the Recipe »
What will you be smoking first with Steven’s new wood chips and chunks? Share them with us on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, or Instagram!
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