While my hearts go out to all of those who have been dealt a tough hand...I have always been the type to go with the flow no-matter-what. In my business as a caterer, you have to learn to go with it and do the best with what you have. In that spirit, now is the time to keep your eyes peeled for good bbq (or firewood) woods. IMHO fruit woods are best used green/wet and everything else is best used dry. Here is a short list of good trees to keep your eyes open for depending on your protein.
Apple: Produces a sweet, fruity taste.Good mild wood which works well on poultry, and coupled with hickory is award winning on your ribs or brisket ( or for that matter cheddar cheese)
Alder: What can I say about this barbecue wood... it is the wood that is greatly preferred for most any fish especially salmon.
Mulberry: Widely available all over the east coast. It burns at a high temp and offers a sophisticated fruity bouquet.
Cherry: Similar to apple... sweet and usually very fruity depending on the age of the wood. Tends to be mild making it a good choice for poultry & fish
Hickory: Probably the most well known woods and while lots of folk may disagree, it tends to be a bit to pungent for my own taste therefore great care must be taken so that it is not overused. Most feel it is excellent on ribs and most red meats. Can also be used very sparingly on cuts of poultry.
Maple: Gives a light and sweet taste which best compliments poultry and veal.
Mesquite: Best not used for larger cuts which require longer smoking times but I have been known to be quite successful at it by using it in tandem with another type of wood. One of my favorites is Mesquite with Wine barrel woods, so so wonderful for your Thanksgiving birds!
Oak: Good choice for larger cuts which require longer smoking times. Produces a strong smoke flavor but usually not overpowering. Good wood for Brisket.
My 5yr old son who was off of school today helped me drive around and score nearly 2 cords of A+ woods, namely a whole Cherry tree (I did not chop it down;), a mulberry tree and three vans full of red and white oak. Awesome!!!
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