Author Topic: Wood question  (Read 7715 times)

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Wood question
« on: September 18, 2007, 06:02:03 pm »
I'm still very much a newbie to the Bradley, with only 6 smokes under my belt (ribs twice, brisket twice, one salmon and one pork tendorloin), but is there really that much difference in the taste of the varieties of the wood pucks? I smoked for many years with different upright water smokers, and I could not taste the difference no matter what type of wood I used. I bought a 120 count of hickory pucks when I bought the smoker, and that's all I've use so far. If you were blindfolded and and were given the same slice of meat but smoked with different wood flavors, could you honestly tell they were different? I'm looking forward to some different opinions on this....Thanks.

Offline Gizmo

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Re: Wood question
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2007, 06:10:36 pm »
I think you will find a large variation of the answers  you will get here that will be dependant on individual acuteness of taste buds and experience with different woods.

I can tell difference between certain types of wood but not all.  The meat being smoked also has a lot to do with my ability to taste the difference.  Take for instance bacon.  I taste a big differece between apple smoked bacon and hickory smoked bacon.  On a heavily seasoned brisket or butt, maybe not notice as much of a difference.

To give you an example of the taste bud reference, I had an executive chef taste some chilli I made.  He was able to name almost every ingredient I had in the chilli.  I was very impressed when he was able to tell every type of pepper I had in there as I tend to taste them as more blended and less distinct.  A lot of that may be training and experimenting which equals experience.
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Re: Wood question
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2007, 06:28:39 pm »
Thanks for your input Gizmo. I smoke cigarettes and eat very spicy foods, so I'm sure my taste buds aren't as sensetive as some, but I do love that smoked taste. It's almost my bedtime tonight-arising at 5:15am-but I look forward to some opinions from the panel of experts when I get home tomorrow!

Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: Wood question
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2007, 03:22:22 am »
It will be interesting to see the replies from others. I've gone through a few water smokers (uprights) also. You have to consider the different types of smoking methods. If you are using a charcoal upright smoker, the charcoal flavor is almost as dominant as the smoke flavor. With the Bradley, the only fuel you are using is electricity, so the smoke flavor is more "cleaner".

As already mentioned, the amount of tastes bud varies with individuals and age. As old as I am - you have less taste receptors as you age; I can still distinguish mesquite, hickory, cherry, oak and maple or apple from one another. Maple and apple I have a hard to distinguishing between the two, if you put them side by side. Sometimes the pecan can taste very close to hickory. The special blend is very close to tasting like cherry.

If at all possible I will not use mesquite, hickory or pecan on poultry. I now prefer maple or apple. With beef I will use oak over hickory because I can definitely tastes the difference.


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Re: Wood question
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2007, 01:16:36 pm »
Thanks Hab-spoken like a true professional. I'm no spring chicken, either, (46) and like I said earlier, the cigarettes, alcohol, and jalapenos have probably made a few of my taste buds run for cover. The thing that puzzles me is the people who "use two hickory pucks, followed with one apple, then two maple...".
Don't get me wrong-I'm not doubting them for a minute-it just makes me jealous that they still have enough taste buds left to tell the difference. I guess the only way I'll know for sure if I can tell the difference is to ORDER MORE PUCKS!!! I'll just have to set up my own little taste test-sounds like more good food on the way!

Offline iceman

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Re: Wood question
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2007, 03:23:21 pm »
Ontrack I think you said it. Some of us sent a lot of our taste buds to bed years ago. Ann can actually taste the difference on pork if I slide in a mix as apposed to one kind of wood. Not me that's for sure. I'm jealous too when it comes to that. I had a chef at the Hilton taste my BBQ sauce and he thought it was the best he ever had and bought some. I purposely deleted the 1 Tablespoon of white pepper from one batch (5) gallons and I'll be darned if he didn't tell me which was which. Some have it and some don't but like you I still love the flavor smoke cooking has.
I use mostly hickory, apple and oak on most of my smokes. I love apple on chicken and pork but like oak on beef as does Hab.

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Re: Wood question
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2007, 03:43:12 pm »
My wife-a non cigarette smoker-could never tell the difference in wood on my old upright smokers either-which were LP gas, by the way. I told her I was gonna quit cutting wood and crush up a pack of Marlboro's and see how she liked that! (rolled her eyes and walked away, as usual). I still have about 18 hours of hickory pucks left, but I think I'm going to go ahead and order maybe some apple, oak, and...hell, I don't know what else. I mainly smoke pork,brisket, and the occasional salmon-any suggestions for the third wood?

Offline iceman

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Re: Wood question
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2007, 03:49:36 pm »
My wife-a non cigarette smoker-could never tell the difference in wood on my old upright smokers either-which were LP gas, by the way. I told her I was gonna quit cutting wood and crush up a pack of Marlboro's and see how she liked that! (rolled her eyes and walked away, as usual). I still have about 18 hours of hickory pucks left, but I think I'm going to go ahead and order maybe some apple, oak, and...hell, I don't know what else. I mainly smoke pork,brisket, and the occasional salmon-any suggestions for the third wood?
I kind of got used to using some alder on my salmon.

Offline Wildcat

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Re: Wood question
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2007, 04:03:52 pm »
I normally use apple on butts/briskets and maple for birds and sometimes bacon.
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Re: Wood question
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2007, 04:43:45 pm »
Decisions,decisions...I guess I could order a box of everything but the devil's wood...maybe a home equity loan to pay for it all...the wife has been on my case lately about ordering so much stuff-I can jack up a credit card faster than she can pay it off.

Offline iceman

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Re: Wood question
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2007, 09:00:42 pm »
Decisions,decisions...I guess I could order a box of everything but the devil's wood...maybe a home equity loan to pay for it all...the wife has been on my case lately about ordering so much stuff-I can jack up a credit card faster than she can pay it off.
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« Last Edit: September 19, 2007, 09:03:51 pm by iceman »

Offline LilSmoker

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Re: Wood question
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2007, 12:14:20 am »
I find if i ever do a mix of hickory and something else i can only taste the hickory, although i think if i mixed hickory and mesquite, i would probably taste the mesquite more?

I can certainly taste the difference between the stronger tasting woods against the milder flavours, and some have a stronger after taste.

A few weeks ago i did a big batch of ribs, half were hickory, the other half pecan, quite a few people commented that some were more smokey than others, but nobody actually mentioned a flavour difference?,  just that some were more smokey.
Although we use the smoke for flavour, some woods just seem more intense as opposed to different flavoured?

I like most of the woods, although i'm not a fan of mesquite

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Offline Habanero Smoker

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Re: Wood question
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2007, 02:02:22 am »
I took a two day course in "Flavor Dynamics". Which not only included how to blend flavors, but also tasting and breaking down flavors in their characteristics. It was a very interesting course. I believe that people just haven't learned how to express the different flavors they are tasting. So they will make the comment of "more smokey", and if it's spicy foods they will use the term "hotter" or "more spicy" even though the flavors may be different.


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Offline kiyotei

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Re: Wood question
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2007, 08:00:22 am »
where did you take a course in flavor dynamics?  Sounds interesting.

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Re: Wood question
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2007, 01:29:47 pm »
I was going to ask the same question. That sound like a very interesting course, fried taste buds or not.