Wood Fired Memorial Day BBQ Tips

By Katie Conaway | Wood Fired Cooking
May. 162017

In America, nothing kicks off summer better than a good ol’ fashioned BBQ! When striving for the an authentic smoke flavor, nothing beats a wood burning grill or oven. Any type of food from the obvious choice of meat to the less obvious choice of dessert can be grilled over a wood fire.  Below are some good tips to follow to make a scrumptious Memorial Day feast memorable.

Don’t Rush It

There’s no need to quickly BBQ anything. In fact, hanging around the wood fired grill is one of the main points to a Memorial Day BBQ. What better setting is there than gathering around your grill, wood fired oven or fire pit grill with family and/or friends on a Monday off from work!

In fact, “low and slow” is a well known motto when smoking meats. Smoked meats turn out the best when they are able to cook over a long period of time over a low heat. The best wood cooking wood that yields the highest BTU’s is kiln dried oak firewood.

Don’t Add Wood Flavor Indiscriminately

There is such a thing as “the right wood for the right food” when it comes to smoke flavor. For enhanced flavor use wood that pairs well with specific foods:

  • Applewood – good for all meats
  • Cherrywood – good for all meats
  • Hickory – good for pork and ribs
  • Mesquite – great for beef and most vegetables
  • Oak – good with red meat, big game, pork and fish
  • Peach – great with most white or pink meats including chicken, turkey, pork and fish
  • Pecan – good for most things including turkey, brisket, pork and cheese
  • Cedar – good for all seafood as well as hearty meats and vegetables

To get the most flavor out of the woods listed above by soaking the cooking wood in water for a minimum of 30 minutes and drain well before adding to the fire.

Don’t Over Smoke

Is there such a thing as “too much smoke” when smoking food? Yes! If too much smoke is rendered during the cooking process, the result can quickly turn from wonderful, to awful. Smoke flavor can quickly turn from deep and complex to just over smoked with a bitter taste if too much smoke is created during the cooking process.

According to grilling guru Steven Raichlen, add wood chips every 30-40 minutes and wood chunks once an hour. The best way to tell if there is the right amount of smoke is when a pale blue smoke is emitted. Once this is achieved, sit back and savor the aroma.

Remember, don’t ruin a good BBQ by rushing the process, adding wood flavor willy-nilly and being overzealous with smoke! Enjoy the day and soak in the start of summer. Follow these tips and be sure to experience a flavor rich wood fired Memorial Day BBQ this year.

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