Got Grill? 3 Heat Sources That Influence Food Flavor

By Dede Mulligan | Uncategorized
Apr. 102015
Doesn't this look wonderful? Great wood grill setup!
Doesn’t this look wonderful? Great wood grill setup!


Today, a majority of grills either use charcoal or gas as their main source of heat. Both of these ways are effective methods of cooking, but are missing an element of flavor when it comes to taste. That missing element is smoke. Nothing can substitute or imitate the flavor of drippings hitting hot embers creating a smoke the perfumes the air. Many people try to add wood chips, chunks, or pellets to their charcoal, or gas grill to impart more flavor. This way can work, but why would you want just one Hersey kiss when you could have the whole chocolate bar? In this article we will be discussing how different heat sources affect the flavor of your food.


Gas Grills

Gas grills are the most common type of grills because they are normally the easiest to control. You can adjust the heat with the flick of the wrist. What’s the problem then? Gas does nothing to flavor your food. The gas combines with oxygen to ignite. The reaction produces carbon dioxide, water vapor, carbon monoxide, and not much else.

You need some form of wood product or massive amounts of drippings to impart flavor into your food. We recommend either using foil or a smoker box to add wood chips to your gas grill.  This will give your food that extra kick to blow people away.

Charcoal Grills

Charcoal is almost the purest form of carbon. Charcoal is created from burning wood in an oven that reaches above 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit. It burns slightly hotter than wood and when you light charcoal it billows out white smoke. You do not want to add your food until a white coat of ash covers the charcoal.

Charcoal has fewer combustion byproducts to flavor the food. We recommend adding dried wood chunks to your hot coals. There is some debate about whether you should soak your wood pieces before you add them to the grill. We found that if you soak them it lowers the temperature of the grill and the quality of the smoke isn’t the same. If you are going to add wood chunks just sprinkle them over the hot coals and you’ll be good to go.


Wood Grills

Wood burning grills are our favorite way to grill. The best woods to use for grilling or smoking are kiln dried firewood such as oak and hickory. If what you’re cooking takes a long time, it is best to use logs or bigger pieces of wood because they will release smoke at a slower rate. If you are cooking for a shorter period it is best to use wood chips or pellets because they produce more smoke in a short burst.

Smoke from wood can vary through a wide range of colors. These colors depend on particle size and how it reflects light. Most people associate smoke with either being gray or black. Theses colors of smoke mean the fire is starving for oxygen. The best color for cooking is either white for short cooks, or blue for long. Both of these colors will impart a layer of bark on your food that will elevate the flavor profile.

How can Premier Firewood Company™ Help?


Premier Firewood Co.™ sells kiln dried cooking wood chips and chunks for your grilling pleasure! Whether you own a restaurant, are a professional grill master or are just looking to spice things up for your weekend barbeque, we have wood that is perfect for cooking. Give us a call at 203.866.4252 to talk to our cooking woods experts about chips, chunks and cooking woods!


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