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View Full Version : Wood Properties vs. "Flavor"


tish
02-11-2012, 11:41 PM
Referencing my previous thread on Multiple Woods at Once?, one of Big Mista's videos apparently said that "smoke is smoke" and that there was no difference in flavor imparted between the various types of woods, only the amount of smoke that is created. Big Brother Smoke agreed that "Smoke properties can be described as the following and not limited to: intensity of smoke profile, color added to the protein, smoke ring intensity, etc."

I'm wondering how the rest of the Brethren feel about the wood they use in their cooks. Do you feel the wood you choose to smoke with imparts any flavor to the meat? Or is it just about the amount of smoke, and color and intensity of the smoke ring? I'm fascinated to get as many folks to weigh in on this as possible. Thanks in advance. :wink:

__________________

RevZiLLa
02-12-2012, 12:59 AM
I can easily taste the difference between hickory, mesquite, and oak...

BBQ Bandit
02-12-2012, 05:04 AM
Below is just a personal choice and an incomplete list.
Wood does indeed add a flavor... wood smoke is not all equal.
Its the same concept as a burning incense stick for its aromatic qualities.

The same wood (and amounts of wood) gives different flavors - based on its burning intensity; smoldering thick white smoke versus hotter, inflamed thin blue smoke. Two distinct differences due to the combustible and aromatic Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) which has been released in the air from the wood as it breaks down.

I like to match its flavor intensity to the density of the meat protein; lighter the wood properties - the less dense the meat.

Fruit and nut woods are sweeter (cherry, apple, pecan)
Oak and maple add a mild flavor -
Hickory is a slightly more stronger...

Probably less useful is Mesquite... flavor is so intense and pungent; small amounts strictly delegated and used for beef.

Phesant
02-12-2012, 05:15 AM
I think it does and this doc. tells somewhat about the flavors of different woods.....

Theboz1419
02-12-2012, 05:23 AM
I wondered the same, as I always hear how one wood has a taste profile and another has a different taste.

To me I can not taste a difference. I do taste the smoke flavor But I could never ever tell what wood is being used to smoke with.

This reminds me of Amplifiers for audio. The goal of an Amplifier is to amplify the sound, nothing more. But you always hear people say that a Tube amplifier has a warmer sound or this amp sounds so much better then this amp and so on.....

I think it all taste the same except as you said some wood has more smoke then others and thats where the taste comes from.

I bet nobody could correctly guess the correct wood being used in a blind taste test, 50% of the time.

Dragonfly
02-12-2012, 06:51 AM
I agree with BBQ Bandit. I use fruit woods with pork, and hickory or oak with beef. I rarely use Mesquite anymore, except in very small quantities. I farked up a buttload of briskets one time using mesquite and haven't forgotten it....a little goes a long way.

Greyeagle
02-12-2012, 07:08 AM
I'd love to see a blind taste test of different woods and all other factors equal..see who can tell the differences in taste and identify the wood cooked with.

expatpig
02-12-2012, 08:04 AM
I can tell the difference in taste for example, hickory vs crab apple vs mesquite. I doubt if I could identify a particular wood in a blind taste test.

---k---
02-12-2012, 08:05 AM
Tish, thanks for splitting this off. I wish I knew the answer. I'm looking forward to hearing people's thoughts.

Here is the Big Mista video that started this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYojb9pQFT8&feature=youtu.be

campdude
02-12-2012, 08:36 AM
As I said in the other thread, I think the intensity of the smoke is what most people think of as the "flavor" IMHO. One can certainly tell the differnce between mesquite and say cherry or apple. Is it the "flavor" that tells you difference or the intesity of smoke? I say it's the intensity(MHO). Could that same person tell the taste difference between cherry and apple or lemon and orange (without seeing the meat color or smoke ring)? I don't know if I could.

posey's_pork_pit
02-12-2012, 08:47 AM
Good question Tish ~ Maybe it's just my palate but I can tell when cherry or hickory has been used. Otherwise, it's more a treat for my nose (nothing like the smell of burning cherry) and my eyes (the rich color cherry imparts on poultry skin and other meats). Oh, and maple is pretty good too! :becky:

stephan
02-12-2012, 08:54 AM
I would have said that different woods have different smoke profiles in flavor. But I might be fooling myself. I would also love to see a blind taste test. I feel that there is a flavor difference, There can be no doubt that wood species have different chemical make up as far as resins and oils go [As an example think of sugar maple and pine one you get syrup from the other one you get turpentine ] and I would think that that alone would make difference

speers90
02-12-2012, 09:14 AM
I don't have a link but I remember reading about a study that compared different woods versus the taste they imparted.

I believe the results were something along the lines of, less than 5% of people can distinguish between different woods in a blind taste test.

In my own personal experience, I think there are very subtle differences between different woods, but I believe your mind picks up the flavor if you know you cooked with it. Just my opinion though.

realspaazz
02-12-2012, 09:20 AM
Tish, I think that there are taste-able differences between different species of smoke woods. That difference might be more or less pronounced in different smokers or with different amounts used. Once you find a combination of smoke flavor and fuel that you (and your family) enjoy, I think that we really tend to stick with it. It is like a "confidence lure" in fishing -- it might not be the best, it might not even be the best for the situation, but it consistently results in favorable results for the user. On my wsm, my "confidence wood" is apple... i have never gotten an under-smoked or over-smoked result. I still choose hickory or cherry for some applications (and have some guava and avocado seasoning for future use) Use what works for you.

Mister Bob
02-12-2012, 09:21 AM
When it's burning, I can easily tell the difference between different woods, cherry vs hickory vs mesquite for instance. The flavor (aroma?) that it imparts to BBQ on the other hand is not so easy to identify. On the smokiness scale, I think it starts on the low end with the fruitwoods, next the hardwoods (oak, maple, ash, hickory) and finally mesquite on the high end of the scale. I would cook with whatever is most available and adjust the amount of smoke you lay on the meat.

I think beef can stand up to the heavier smoke in the overall flavor profile, pork a little less, chicken less than that and finally fish which I think benefits from just a kiss of smoke. IMHO, the amount of smoke you apply to your BBQ is more important than the type of wood you use. There are guys that claim to be able to tell the difference between food cooked in cherry as opposed to peach or apple, or oak vs hickory, but I sure can't.

All that said, it does seem that cherry gives pork the reddest color, and mesquite seems to give beef the darkest, so I'm sure there are differences in certain chemical reactions going on it the cooker. The fact that BBQ is a combination of art and science is what makes it so interesting to me!

Q-Dat
02-12-2012, 09:36 AM
I could buy this on most hardwoods, except for Mesquite. There is most definitely a distinct flavor that I get when I use it.

Soulman1282
02-12-2012, 09:42 AM
As I said in the other thread, I think the intensity of the smoke is what most people think of as the "flavor" IMHO. One can certainly tell the differnce between mesquite and say cherry or apple. Is it the "flavor" that tells you difference or the intesity of smoke? I say it's the intensity(MHO). Could that same person tell the taste difference between cherry and apple or lemon and orange (without seeing the meat color or smoke ring)? I don't know if I could.

This is what i was thinking when i read the original post. I believe there are very slight differences in actual flavor imparted from different woods. But, I think the main difference in flavor comes from the intensity of smoke flavor. A good litmus test is bacon though. It's one of the first smoked food we usually eat and everyone is used to it. Eat some regular hickory smoked bacon and then some applewood smoked bacon. There is a big difference in flavor.

Gator BBQ
02-12-2012, 09:48 AM
I believe the results were something along the lines of, less than 5% of people can distinguish between different woods in a blind taste test.

In my own personal experience, I think there are very subtle differences between different woods, but I believe your mind picks up the flavor if you know you cooked with it. Just my opinion though.

I agree with speers. I can't really taste much of a difference between the different fruit woods, the differences are very subtle at best. I can differentiate between pecan and the fruit woods. Also oak gives you a different taste from the fruit woods.

Lake Dogs
02-12-2012, 10:06 AM
I agree with BBQ_Bandit and others. I can tell a huge difference. This below is my uses of the woods because of the flavors the different woods impart:

For poultry, particularly when smoking turkeys for Thanksgiving, I'll use only a little apple and sugar maple mixed. Mild flavors on a mild meat that is easily overpowered/consumed by stronger flavors.

I'm not really a fan of cherry, but I'll sometimes mix in a little rather than sugar maple.

I can taste the lighter fruit woods (apples and peaches, etc) in pork; I just happen to be a fan of hickory here. However, if not thin blue this can get thick and black and heavy really quick. I grew up around here in Alabama and Georgia so often times oak was mixed in a little, so I do often times mix in a little oak in there for a little oak *spice* :-).

I'll use oak more on the beefs, mixing hickory in a little.

Mesquite; I love it, but it IS very heavy and can be consuming. I use it sparingly and then only for steaks and/or hamburgers; something that isn't on smoke very long...



Early on my wife couldn't tell the difference. Now that I've told her what I use and when she's learning to discern the differences. I think it took a side-by-side cook with chicken one time for her to taste the difference though. She hates hickory and oak on chicken, but loves apple and peach (and sugar maple).

tish
02-12-2012, 10:08 AM
I find this so interesting that some folks can taste flavor of different wood smoke, and some folks can't. I get the lesser intensity of smoke from a fruit wood, and understand why you would use that for pork or chicken. As far as flavor is concerned, apple or cherry flavor would also coincidentally go very well with pork or chicken.

I wish I had the equipment to smoke some meats side-by-side with different woods to test this out. It would be the perfect experiment to do at a Brethren bash. Multiple identical cookers, with multiple identical meats, smoked with different types of wood, and served to guinea pig Brethren. Wouldn't it be fascinating to see what percentage of folks could tell the difference and be able to identify the different woods while blindfolded?

I remember when I smoked that first naked fattie. I used apple wood because it only made sense to me that the flavor of apple goes well with pork. So, when I went to take that first bite, I loved the smokey pork goodness, but thought to myself, "Where's the apple flavor??" I'm one of those who would never in a million years be able to tell the difference. And yet other folks can... curiouser and curiouser. Why? I don't know, but I'd love to find out. :noidea:

Mister Bob
02-12-2012, 10:24 AM
For a side by side experiment to be conclusive, you would have to devise a way to account for the difference in 'intensity' of the smokiness that the different woods produce. If a person doesn't like the 'flavor' of hickory on chicken, but likes cherry, it could just be the difference in the intensity of the smoke. Double the amount of cherry smoke (in quantity, or time in the smoke, or burn temperature), and it might taste just as 'bad' as hickory.

tish
02-12-2012, 10:24 AM
This is what i was thinking when i read the original post. I believe there are very slight differences in actual flavor imparted from different woods. But, I think the main difference in flavor comes from the intensity of smoke flavor. A good litmus test is bacon though. It's one of the first smoked food we usually eat and everyone is used to it. Eat some regular hickory smoked bacon and then some applewood smoked bacon. There is a big difference in flavor.

Now, see? ^^^ This is really interesting. I can tell the difference between the flavor of hickory smoked bacon and applewood smoked bacon. But I assumed (and you know what they say about that) that it was some kind of flavoring added by the processor of the meat.

I agree with BBQ_Bandit and others. I can tell a huge difference. This below is my uses of the woods because of the flavors the different woods impart:

For poultry, particularly when smoking turkeys for Thanksgiving, I'll use only a little apple and sugar maple mixed. Mild flavors on a mild meat that is easily overpowered/consumed by stronger flavors.

I'm not really a fan of cherry, but I'll sometimes mix in a little rather than sugar maple.

I can taste the lighter fruit woods (apples and peaches, etc) in pork; I just happen to be a fan of hickory here. However, if not thin blue this can get thick and black and heavy really quick. I grew up around here in Alabama and Georgia so often times oak was mixed in a little, so I do often times mix in a little oak in there for a little oak *spice* :-).

I'll use oak more on the beefs, mixing hickory in a little.

Mesquite; I love it, but it IS very heavy and can be consuming. I use it sparingly and then only for steaks and/or hamburgers; something that isn't on smoke very long...



Early on my wife couldn't tell the difference. Now that I've told her what I use and when she's learning to discern the differences. I think it took a side-by-side cook with chicken one time for her to taste the difference though. She hates hickory and oak on chicken, but loves apple and peach (and sugar maple).

Since I could tell the difference in the bacon smoked with two different woods, maybe this is what it would take for me, too. I'm not familiar enough with real bbq'd food to begin with. I've never cooked anything besides pork. I've always used apple wood, except this last time, when I used a little apple and a little cherry mixed together. From the one time, I couldn't tell the difference. But it was only one time. I think it's still too early in the game for me yet. I don't have enough experience yet to know what the heck I'm tasting.

Vision
02-12-2012, 10:35 AM
I'm surprised there is debate about this. Different woods certainly offer varying amounts of flavor and strength. If you really want to understand the subtleties start smoking cheese where it's easier detect the differences.

Woods are strong, medium, and mild in their intensity. When considering what wood to use, recognize the intensity of the smoke flavor you desire, and then review your flavors. For instance, when doing a HH brisket, I cannot get much smoke flavor using pecan, but hickory certainly works and I can taste a milder wood used with it like cherry. Apple on pork clearly has it's own flavor. Peach doesn't seem to have a significantly unique flavor to me. My favorite wood is plum, which is mild and sweet. Nobody would argue about mesquite. Oak is medium strength, bourbon and wine barrel are flavored oak and are fun.

Different woods also provide varying amounts of heat, but that's a different subject.

JD McGee
02-12-2012, 10:41 AM
We treat smoke as part of our flavor profile (smoke, spice, sauce)...different woods impart different flavors...just as the spices as sauces do...:cool:

SmokinOkie
02-12-2012, 10:43 AM
...One can certainly tell the differnce between mesquite and say cherry or apple...

Not to pick on this statement, but for many years now, when I've taught classes, I've asked members to "taste" the wood flavor I've used. In all the years, less than 1% have guessed correctly.

There is a difference than smelling the wood smoking and the flavor it imparts.

I've just seen and tested a lot of people, at BBQ Contests too and very few if any can taste the wood flavor, especially after the rubs, sauces, etc, etc.

Can you? Sure, some can.

I think the majority of the people focus on a title (wood type) than on the results. Key is do you taste the difference? If not, don't sweat it. If you do, then try different woods.

I love cherry, but not for the flavor, but for the color it gives the food.

tish
02-12-2012, 10:45 AM
I'm surprised there is debate about this. Different woods certainly offer varying amounts of flavor and strength. If you really want to understand the subtleties start smoking cheese where it's easier detect the differences.

Woods are strong, medium, and mild in their intensity. When considering what wood to use, recognize the intensity of the smoke flavor you desire, and then review your flavors. For instance, when doing a HH brisket, I cannot get much smoke flavor using pecan, but hickory certainly works and I can taste a milder wood used with it like cherry. Apple on pork clearly has it's own flavor. Peach doesn't seem to have a significantly unique flavor to me. My favorite wood is plum, which is mild and sweet. Nobody would argue about mesquite. Oak is medium strength, bourbon and wine barrel are flavored oak and are fun.

Different woods also provide varying amounts of heat, but that's a different subject.

Well, apparently, there is a difference of opinion. I know that Big Mista is a well respected professional in the field of Q. He says "smoke is smoke". Who the heck am I to argue? But if there is flavor to be tasted, obviously I want to become familiar enough with my Q to discern the differences.

So, what say the rest of you? Please weigh in and let us know who can or cannot taste a flavor difference between the various woods?

JD McGee
02-12-2012, 10:48 AM
"So, what say the rest of you? Please weigh in and let us know who can or cannot taste a flavor difference between the various woods?"

We can...and do! :cool:

smokeyw
02-12-2012, 10:59 AM
Adam Perry Lang says in his book, Serious Barbecue, "Picking a certain type of wood is not about choosing between different flavors that you'd like to impart to your meat--cherry and apple might smell very different, but the flavor difference is very, very subtle. Rather, different woods bring different levels of smoky assertiveness and some burn hotter than others".

I agree with this statement, at least from my perspective. I can not taste a difference in flavor, but I can tell a difference in the level of the smoke. I can sometimes distinguish between two different woods, but not by flavor. I can't say what other people can or can't taste but I suspect that many who say they can taste a difference in flavor, are really only picking up on the smoke level and not the actual taste.

Someone commented earlier about the difference in taste between hickory smoked bacon and apple wood smoked bacon. I have noticed the difference in flavor of these myself. But what I was eating was commercial bacon from a store and I suspect there are some flavoring additives in the bacon that have nothing to do with the smoke.

tish
02-12-2012, 11:06 AM
Adam Perry Lang says in his book, Serious Barbecue, "Picking a certain type of wood is not about choosing between different flavors that you'd like to impart to your meat--cherry and apple might smell very different, but the flavor difference is very, very subtle. Rather, different woods bring different levels of smoky assertiveness and some burn hotter than others".

I agree with this statement, at least from my perspective. I can not taste a difference in flavor, but I can tell a difference in the level of the smoke. I can sometimes distinguish between two different woods, but not by flavor. I can't say what other people can or can't taste but I suspect that many who say they can taste a difference in flavor, are really only picking up on the smoke level and not the actual taste.

Someone commented earlier about the difference in taste between hickory smoked bacon and apple wood smoked bacon. I have noticed the difference in flavor of these myself. But what I was eating was commercial bacon from a store and I suspect there are some flavoring additives in the bacon that have nothing to do with the smoke.

As I said earlier, I assume that it's the additives, but I've never actually read the label to see what they put in it, if anything, that might add flavor. So you know I'm gonna be reading labels the next time I go food shopping. Actually, I'm hoping they don't add any flavors at all, because this gives me hope that there actually are flavor difference to be tasted, and that the pallate is trainable to discern these differences.

Gore
02-12-2012, 11:08 AM
I don't think I could identify what wood the meat was smoked with, but I can definitely see different results with the wood I use, and I gravitate to different woods for different meats. The smokes definitely smell different and the meats smell different. And smell is a big part of taste. Counter to what others have said, the best pork butts I've made have been smoked in mesquite. :crazy:

tish
02-12-2012, 11:12 AM
I don't think I could identify what wood the meat was smoked with, but I can definitely see different results with the wood I use, and I gravitate to different woods for different meats. The smokes definitely smell different and the meats smell different. And smell is a big part of taste. Counter to what others have said, the best pork butts I've made have been smoked in mesquite. :crazy:

Well, here, taste is a subjective thing. See now, that would be a variable that we wouldn't be able to control when we say side-by-side testing of different woods with all else being equal. Each person's opinion would be subjective as to whether or not the taste was pleasant. But if you were able to taste whether or not it was a pleasant taste, you should be able to taste a difference between woods. Wouldn't you think?

SirPorkaLot
02-12-2012, 11:24 AM
To boil it down to the simplest measure...

The biggest differences are between cookers and not wood.

IE: someone using a cooker with lump charcoal and some wood chunks will not notice as much difference.

Someone using a stick burner with mostly wood will.

Is the first instance you are using lump for fuel and wood for it's color and smoke properties, more so than flavor.

In the second, the fuel and the flavor are the same component.

The_Kapn
02-12-2012, 11:24 AM
I have experimented (tinkered) with many wood flavors and combos.
I am in the "intensity" camp now.

I use mesquite (60% oak, 40% mesquite pellets) if I am doing a pure beef cook. Love the gentle mesquite flavor.

For a poultry and pork only cook, I use fruitwood (60% oak, 40% apple pellets).

For a mixed load of meat, I use hickory (60% oak, 40% hickory pellets).

If my hopper has one flavor and I am too lazy to change over, I cook any meat with any flavor.

So much simpler than what I used to do with 10 (ish) flavors, blends, etc.
And we are really happy with the results.

Just me.

TIM

Vision
02-12-2012, 11:31 AM
The_Kapn, I'm not sure if I'm reading your post right, but many pellet blends contain oak as a base for BTUs and then add flavor wood. So a hickory pellet could be made of 70% hickory and 30% oak for instance.

Gore
02-12-2012, 11:32 AM
Well, here, taste is a subjective thing. See now, that would be a variable that we wouldn't be able to control when we say side-by-side testing of different woods with all else being equal. Each person's opinion would be subjective as to whether or not the taste was pleasant. But if you were able to taste whether or not it was a pleasant taste, you should be able to taste a difference between woods. Wouldn't you think?

I absolutely agree. If you can taste a difference, in theory you should be able to identify from those differences. But in practice it is not so easy and different people have different abilities at doing this. My taste is not as advanced as others. I can tell things I like and don't like, which I like better (even if what I'm comparing it with was a few months ago), and whether something is "missing," but I usually cannot tell what is in it. My wife can take a taste of something and tell you exactly what spices are in it and then recreate it in the kitchen. If she had a bit more experience with different woods, there is no doubt in my mind that she would be able to tell what is smoked with what wood. I can only tell you which wood produced a better result (for me). Some woods are obvious like hickory, mesquite, and fruit wood. But it is something gained from experience.

tish
02-12-2012, 11:48 AM
I absolutely agree. If you can taste a difference, in theory you should be able to identify from those differences. But in practice it is not so easy and different people have different abilities at doing this. My taste is not as advanced as others. I can tell things I like and don't like, which I like better (even if what I'm comparing it with was a few months ago), and whether something is "missing," but I usually cannot tell what is in it. My wife can take a taste of something and tell you exactly what spices are in it and then recreate it in the kitchen. If she had a bit more experience with different woods, there is no doubt in my mind that she would be able to tell what is smoked with what wood. I can only tell you which wood produced a better result (for me). Some woods are obvious like hickory, mesquite, and fruit wood. But it is something gained from experience.

Right there is the key, for me, anyway. Gotta get out there and Q everything in site, I guess, before I'll be able to tell what's what. :wink:

The_Kapn
02-12-2012, 12:12 PM
The_Kapn, I'm not sure if I'm reading your post right, but many pellet blends contain oak as a base for BTUs and then add flavor wood. So a hickory pellet could be made of 70% hickory and 30% oak for instance.

There may be some with that ratio, but I have never seen them 8)

Every blended brand I have used have been 60-70% oak with flavor wood for the balance.

TIM

Cabin Fever
02-12-2012, 12:21 PM
Iím no expert so Iím just going on personal experience, but this is my take on the meats I've smoked on my Weber OTG using regular Kingsford blue and the limited wood choices available to me.

Hickory - If I don't pre burn the wood chunks and have perfect thin blue smoke the entire time, I get a very harsh and almost burnt bacon taste . Otherwise, hickory makes everything I smoke taste like bacon. I tend to stay away from hickory thanks to apple.

Apple - To me this is what hickory should taste like. It always imparts a lighter bacon-like taste to what I smoke, but is not very sweet to me.

Cherry - Like others have mentioned, it provides a nice color to meats and is very sweet. I've smoked pork butts using only cherry chunks with a salt and pepper rub and have had family members ask me if I injected the butt with something sweet. Compared to the other woods I've tried, nothing else tastes like cherry whatsoever.

Red oak - To me red oak comes off as a lighter version of mesquite. To strong and "ashy" tasting to me.

Mesquite - My least favorite wood next to red oak. Just way too overpowering and bitter even when used in moderation.

---k---
02-12-2012, 01:02 PM
...On the smokiness scale, I think it starts on the low end with the fruitwoods, next the hardwoods (oak, maple, ash, hickory) and finally mesquite on the high end of the scale. I would cook with whatever is most available and adjust the amount of smoke you lay on the meat. ...


So how does one control the amount of the smoke on different cookers?

It seems easy on a WSM or UDS. Just more or less wood chunks, right? So if you filled your basket with lump and 4 pieces of hickory would it be the same as the same basket and 6 chunks of apple? And how do you control the amount of smoke on a stick burner? Or is this where the wood selection comes in?

BTW, I think this is one of the better threads in a while. Great to learn and explore something.

Durzil
02-12-2012, 01:45 PM
Below is just a personal choice and an incomplete list.
Wood does indeed add a flavor... wood smoke is not all equal.
Its the same concept as a burning incense stick for its aromatic qualities.

The same wood (and amounts of wood) gives different flavors - based on its burning intensity; smoldering thick white smoke versus hotter, inflamed thin blue smoke. Two distinct differences due to the combustible and aromatic Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) which has been released in the air from the wood as it breaks down.

I like to match its flavor intensity to the density of the meat protein; lighter the wood properties - the less dense the meat.

Fruit and nut woods are sweeter (cherry, apple, pecan)
Oak and maple add a mild flavor -
Hickory is a slightly more stronger...

Probably less useful is Mesquite... flavor is so intense and pungent; small amounts strictly delegated and used for beef.

This is how I feel as well. I doubt "taste" wise I could tell the difference between the fruit woods. Although bark color there is a difference and I'd like to think smell wise there would be as well. I have an acute sense of smell and smell plays a role in taste. But the smell difference could just be in my head as my nose is always full of smoke smell from being the guy doing the smoking.
I would like to think I could tell the difference between Mesquite, Hardwoods (Oak & Hickory) and Fruit woods. Due to intensity of smoke flavor. But have no real way to test this and I really don't use enough different types of wood to be familiar with them. I don't personally use Mesquite as I didn't like it early on in smoking. And I feel that Hickory produces more smoke intensity than oak and I prefer oak. I like Apple and have recently been using Cherry with Apple for that redder bark. So with my limited experience and narrowed exposure to types of wood, after reading all this makes me doubt I could tell the differences blindly.
I have a large amount of Plum currently seasoning I'll be using next year. And I would like to trade some Plum for Oak. Maybe I should try and get others to experiment.
I really only like a mild smoke flavor in meats. To me the smoke can quickly overpower the meat. The advice on this site to use a small amount of wood at first and see how you like it really rang true to me. In the begining most of my cooks came out too smokey for my tastes. After cutting the amount of chunks I was using in half I found I really enjoyed the finished product a lot more. I've noticed even using BBQ sauce with liquid smoke in it on top of my smoked meat is too much for me. My wife on the other hand prefers a more smoked taste than me.
I'd be interested in seeing the results from some blind testing at a bash. I would think type of smoker would play a role in ability to differentiate as a stick burner would have a lot more exposure to wood smoke than my UDS does.

tish
02-12-2012, 01:53 PM
This is how I feel as well. I doubt "taste" wise I could tell the difference between the fruit woods. Although bark color there is a difference and I'd like to think smell wise there would be as well. I have an acute sense of smell and smell plays a role in taste. But the smell difference could just be in my head as my nose is always full of smoke smell from being the guy doing the smoking.
I would like to think I could tell the difference between Mesquite, Hardwoods (Oak & Hickory) and Fruit woods. Due to intensity of smoke flavor. But have no real way to test this and I really don't use enough different types of wood to be familiar with them. I don't personally use Mesquite as I didn't like it early on in smoking. And I feel that Hickory produces more smoke intensity than oak and I prefer oak. I like Apple and have recently been using Cherry with Apple for that redder bark. So with my limited experience and narrowed exposure to types of wood, after reading all this makes me doubt I could tell the differences blindly.
I have a large amount of Plum currently seasoning I'll be using next year. And I would like to trade some Plum for Oak. Maybe I should try and get others to experiment.
I really only like a mild smoke flavor in meats. To me the smoke can quickly overpower the meat. The advice on this site to use a small amount of wood at first and see how you like it really rang true to me. In the begining most of my cooks came out too smokey for my tastes. After cutting the amount of chunks I was using in half I found I really enjoyed the finished product a lot more. I've noticed even using BBQ sauce with liquid smoke in it on top of my smoked meat is too much for me. My wife on the other hand prefers a more smoked taste than me.
I'd be interested in seeing the results from some blind testing at a bash. I would think type of smoker would play a role in ability to differentiate as a stick burner would have a lot more exposure to wood smoke than my UDS does.

That would be another area that could be controlled at a bash. Have side-by-side cooks with the same meats on two of the same lump cookers, but with different woods. Then repeat everything exactly the same, except in two stick burners. Then serve all of it to the same Brethren, and see if they can tell the difference between the woods on the lump burner. If not, can they taste the difference between woods on the stick burner. Would love to have the wherewithall to pull this off! :thumb:

BBQ Bandit
02-12-2012, 02:08 PM
That would be another area that could be controlled at a bash. Have side-by-side cooks with the same meats on two of the same lump cookers, but with different woods. Then repeat everything exactly the same, except in two stick burners. Then serve all of it to the same Brethren, and see if they can tell the difference between the woods on the lump burner. If not, can they taste the difference between woods on the stick burner. Would love to have the wherewithall to pull this off! :thumb:

Tofu - as a control experiment?

Run multiple smokers running the same brand of lump - adding different wood to each pit.

Or use the same smoker - only a tiny fire would be needed - similar to smoking cheese then vacu-seal for a later taste test.

Previous tofu links;
http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=39845
http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=110450
http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=118331

tish
02-12-2012, 02:14 PM
^^^Harvard loves that stuff. Me? Meh. :roll:

On Edit: I realize that it's pretty tasteless on it's own, and that it would probably be an excellent way to show the difference in taste between samples, but couldn't we figure something to use that actually tastes good all on it's own? Yech... :mmph:

Theboz1419
02-12-2012, 04:17 PM
doing a test.

To control the test you would need the same amount of each wood, lets say two or three 2inch squared peices of each type of wood. Dont worry about which wood may have a more intense smoke thats not a problem as long as each smoke has the exact amount of wood.

Then Charcoal has to be same amount per smoke, that would make briquette easier to test with as you can easly count an uniform amount and start a uniform amount in a chimmy.

The tempeture of all the test must be the same, regardless of temp as long they are the same in every test, there will be some various tempetures but as long as its stable around the set point then that should be ok.

The item being smoked, as long as they are all the same, it could be anything. Or better yet would be to do a test with beef, chicken and pork in each smoke, and as long as each type of meat is cooked to the proper temp.

To get a result, there should be no use of any rubs on any meat, as that will screw the results up as that adds flavor. This has to be just meat and smoke nothing else, lol.

As for anything else, Im not sure if anything else could or would effect the outcome then what I have outlined above.

jestridge
02-12-2012, 05:10 PM
I use all different kinds of woods , they all give about the same flavor, actually a few wood chunks of wood over charcoal isn't going to give you much of anyting