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Thread: Wood/food matches-advice for newby?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    45

    Lightbulb Wood/food matches-advice for newby?

    New ST owner asking for experienced ST smokers for their advice on matching wood types to different meats. I'm going to attempt my first prime rib next Saturday. It'll be a 5-5.5 lb boneless from Kansas City Steaks so should be good USDA Choice. Thinking mostly oak with a little hickory to keep from being overpowering with all hickory. Willing to listen to any suggestions. Also would appreciate thoughts on other meat/fish/wood combos. Also any experience with how long the rib roast might take at 200. Trying to have it ready around 7 after resting for 20-30 minutes.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Cedar, MN (but still not far enough from the Cities)
    Posts
    693

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    Prime rib sounds like a great project, but I've never done one, so can't offer much in terms of suggestions doing one, but as far as wood, though...

    I like stronger woods with stronger meats. Beef has it's own flavor, as does pork, so you want to try to take advantage of that. Kind of like the red wine/red meat deal. I like cherry, pecan, oak, on things like venison and beef, while pork, cheese, chicken, turkey, seafood, I'd lean more toward the "lighter" flavored woods, like apple, hickory, apple and cherry mixed, and pear.

    All that said, tastes are personal, like dark vs light beer, ales vs pilsners. If you like the flavor of hickory, try mixing apple and hickory. Still get the hickory, but the apple will help with smoke output and offer a sweeter side to the hickory.

    While I like hickory, it's the commercial "go to", so everything you buy is hickory. I want to try to find something outside the norm, if only to be different...
    Last edited by bigwalleye; 04-02-2012 at 07:41 PM.

  3. #3

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    Wood Flavor Chart

    __________________________________________________ __________________
    Wood type | Characteristics | Use with

    __________________________________________________ ____________________
    Alder | Very delicate with a hint of sweetness. | Good with fish,
    | pork, poultry,and light-meat game birds. Traditionally used
    | in the pacific Northwest to smoke Salmon.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________
    Almond | A nutty and sweet smoke flavor, light ash.
    | Good with all meats.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________
    Apple | Slightly sweet but denser, fruity smoke flavor.
    | Good with Beef, poultry, game birds,
    | pork (particularly ham).
    __________________________________________________ ____________________
    Apricot | The flavor is milder and sweeter than Hickory.
    | Good on all meats, Great on most white or pink meats,
    | including chicken, turkey, pork and fish.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________
    Ash | Fast burner, light but distinctive flavor.
    | Good with fish and red meats.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________
    Birch | Medium hard wood with a flavor similar to maple.
    | Good with pork and poultry.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________
    Cedar (Western Red - Only/No Other) | Good for seafood.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________
    Cherry | Slightly sweet, fruity smoke flavor.
    | Good with all meats.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________
    Chestnut | Slightly sweet nutty smoke flavor, plentiful in the UK
    | Good with most meats.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________
    Grapefruit | Produces a nice mild smoky flavor.
    | Excellent with beef, pork, fish and poultry.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________
    Grapevines | Aromatic, similar to fruit wood.
    | Good with most meats.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________
    Hickory | Pungent, smoky, bacon-like flavor.
    | The most common wood used.
    | Good for all smoking, especially pork and ribs.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________
    Lemon | Medium smoke flavor with a hint of fruitiness.
    | Excellent with beef, pork and poultry.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________
    Lilac | Very light, subtle with a hint of floral.
    | Good with seafood and lamb.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________
    Lime | Medium smoke flavor with a hint of fruitiness.
    | Excellent with beef, pork and poultry.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________
    Maple | Mildly smoky, somewhat sweet flavor. | Good with pork,
    | poultry, cheese, vegetables and small game birds.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________
    Mesquite | Strong earthy flavor. | Good with most meats,
    | especially beef and most vegetables.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________
    Mulberry | The smell is sweet and reminds one of apple.
    | Good with Beef, poultry,game birds,
    | pork (particularly ham).
    __________________________________________________ ____________________
    Nectarine | The flavor is milder and sweeter than hickory.
    | Good on most meats, great on most white or pink meats,
    | including chicken, turkey, pork and fish.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________
    Oak (White and Black Jack) | One of the most popular wood's,
    | Heavy smoke flavor.
    | Good with red meat, pork, fish
    | and big game.
    | RED OAK is good on ribs.

    __________________________________________________ ____________________
    Olive | The smoke flavor is similar to mesquite,
    | but distinctly lighter.
    | Delicious with poultry.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________
    Orange | Medium smoke flavor with a hint of fruitiness.
    | Excellent with beef, pork and poultry.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________
    Peach | Slightly sweet, woodsy flavor, milder and sweeter
    | than hickory.
    | Good on all meats, great on most white or pink meats,
    | including chicken, turkey, pork and fish.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________
    Pear | Slightly sweet, woodsy flavor.
    | Good on Poultry, game birds and pork.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________
    Pecan | Sweet and mild with a flavor similar to hickory
    | but not as strong. Tasty with a subtle character
    | an all-around superior smoking wood.
    | Try smoking with the shells as well.
    | Good for most things including poultry, beef,
    | pork and cheese.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________
    Plum/Prune | The flavor is milder and sweeter than hickory.
    | Good with most meats, great on most white
    | or pink meats, including chicken, turkey,
    | pork and fish.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________
    Walnut (English) | Very heavy smoke flavor, usually mixed with
    | lighter woods like almond, apple, pear or pecan.
    | Can be bitter if used alone.
    | Good with red meats and game.
    __________________________________________________ ____________________
    Hope this helps
    __________________

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    152

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    Chefw,
    Thanks for posting this great smokin resource.
    This is an awesome detailed list on smokin woods.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    124

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    Hi ajax,

    I've done quite a few prime ribs both in the conventional oven and a few in the smoker. I personally would rather do my Prime Ribs in the conventional oven because the initial first 15 minutes you need 500 degrees to seal the roast and 350 to cook the roast. Prime rib is such a tender roast that there is no need to go low and slow. When doing a Brisket you need low and slow to break the meat down, with a prime rib you don't need that. If you like the smoke flavor I would cold smoke it and then place it in a conventional oven and you'll end up with the best of both worlds. That's my two cents anyway.
    Last edited by SmokeRing; 04-17-2012 at 12:47 PM.
    I think the world is wearing bi-focals, I'm the only one with perfect vision. 'Paul Newman" in "Cool Hand Luke"

  6. #6

    Default

    I do Prime Rib (or standing rib roast, cause I usually can't afford prime) Low and slow in the smoker at about 225* until it hits 115* internal. Then I will take it out and put it in the oven at 500* or higher (I've used my Big Green Egg at 700*+ and it was the best ever) until it hits 120* internal. Take it out, let it rest under foil for at least 15 minutes or until the internal temp hits 130-135*.

    It will be perfect.

    I like a mix of Hickory and apple woods to smoke beef, but really almost any fruit/nut wood will do. You're not smoking it for that long relatively speaking.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    587

    Default

    Chefw - excellent resource. I'm printing this now.

    Woodsy, you sold me! Now I have a new project
    Remember: If it weren't for marriage, men would go through life thinking they had no faults at all

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    45

    Default

    Chefw--thanks for the great chart. I'll print it and keep it with my 1400 for future reference. Woodys and SmokeRing--appreciate the advice especially about the outside of the rib roast. Guess it's the age-old debate --sear it first or sear it last--because I prefer a little crusty bark on my rib roast. I'll probly try both ways but I'm pretty sure they'll turn out well in either case. Thanks again for responding to a newbie.

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