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Cherry wood, I am beginning to think never again...

Discussion in 'Woods for Smoking' started by viper, Feb 18, 2011.

  1. viper

    viper Smoke Blower

    So far, I have smoked cheese and chicken in cherry.  Typically I use mesquite for everything.  I really feel the cherry leaves an off flavor that I just do not like...  this is cherry in a bag from the hardware store so I cannot be sure of species, curing, etc.  I do know I do not like it.  I am wondering about apple, peach, etc, or if I just do not like anything but the authentic taste of hickory or mesquite. 
  2. les3176

    les3176 Master of the Pit

    Apple and peach are both great woods, Some people have their favorites and flavors that they like. Everyones taste is differant, i happen to really like cherry and tend to lean away from mesquite. Give the apple and peach a try they are a very light sweet smoke that goes good with most meats.
  3. forluvofsmoke

    forluvofsmoke Smoking Guru OTBS Member


    I've used alot of cherry in the past 8-9 months, and just brought another bag of chunks home today. Cherry has been a good overall smoke wood for me so far...hickory/cherry is good for brisket and other heavy/deep flavored meats, while cherry alone is still good for most applications. Cherry isn't a strong smoke like hickory or mesquite, so if you want the cherry flavor and aroma, but a bit stronger, use some hickory along with it for more of a bite.

    Cherry doesn't seem to carry itself very well with really spicy dry rubs, IMO. With my cherry spiced/cured beef brisket, which was a pretty zippy recipe of brine/cure and a lighter dose of heat and spiciness for the dry rub, the cherry smoke was there as more of a back-ground flavor (but that's what I wanted in this case). With milder dry rubs such as my red bell pepper rub, which is a very simple and basic blend, the cherry smoke seems to be more prominent, but still lends to a milder overall flavor profile. I've also used cherry in a few hot smokes for fish, and it was equally tasty.

    Apple is great with pork ribs and poultry when using a milder rub as well.

    Main point being, fruit woods in general give a milder and sweeter smoke. If you want a strong flavor, the fruit woods aren't what you want to use. In combination with something else, now that can give you a nice sweet background with more punch right up front...it's all in how you use them and what you want your smoke to taste and smell like.

  4. Viper, I am not sure of all the woods that you can smoke with as I basically use hickory from my own trees or specific manufactures for meat's and I sometime will use other woods with hickory depending on what I am smoking.  However, I have been buying a commercial cheese in several varieties such as Sharp Cheddar, Mild Cheddar, Swiss, and Pepper Jack Smoked with Apple wood.  My family and I love this cheese and more particularly the flavor and texture of this cheese.  I have never smoked cheese but when I do I certainly will use Apple.  I don't know that this will be much help but when you smoke your next batch of cheese try some apple wood and let me know how you like it. Keep up the good work!

    Your SMF Friend,

    Barry  [​IMG]
  5. viper

    viper Smoke Blower

    I would not say the cherry is "sweet",  I would just say "off", like creosote off but not bitter.  Maybe the cherry and chicken was a bad match. I have realized that whiter meats are like a clean slate for flavors.  Maybe hickory will be a better match.  I am still interested to try peach wood.  I have heard it is nice for about everything but never tried it. 
  6. richoso1

    richoso1 Legendary Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Mesquite is my favorite, but I do mix it with apple and sometimes cherry wood chunks. When I smoke cheese, I often use cherry or apple sawdust. It's all good my friend. 
  7. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Elaborate a little more please...

    What smoker do your use?

    Are you attaining the TBS?

    Using Chips or Chunks?

    Soaking First?

    I use Apple for just about everything, because I have "Tons" on if on hand.    Maple and Cherry are very mild woods to smoke with and I've smoked cheese with Cherry.  You may have smoked your cheese too long or with too heavy smoke...Who Knows??

    Hickory and Mesquite are quite strong when compared to the Apple , Cherry or Maple.

  8. pintobean

    pintobean Smoke Blower

    If you can get some peach, try it out. It's very light and very sweet IMO. I had one of my peach trees die, and have been using it to flavor my smokes. I love it. I'm fearing the day it runs out!
  9. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I'm just kind of a hickory guy, but lately I've been mixing it with oak, & pecan. The 3 together seem to be just right for my taste.
  10. viper

    viper Smoke Blower

    Has anyone done cheese with something other that fruit wood?  Real curious to see if something like hickory would work well or cause over smoke real easy...
  11. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    I have had the same off taste w/ cherry . But after looking at my log book It was because i had poured the smoke to the meat alot longer than i normally do.

     Now i mix a little cherry w/ pecan and it's great.
  12. pintobean

    pintobean Smoke Blower

    A cheese with a stronger flavor would probably hold up better to the heavy wood smokes like Hickory/Oak. Maybe a mixture of say half hickory half maple, or half hickory half fruit wood would give good results.

    Hmm, now I have something to try!!
  13. ellymae

    ellymae Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I am a fan of cherry, hickory, and oak. I use cherry for just about everything and have been happy with it.
  14. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hickory has always been my "go to" wood, but I often like to mix in others or use others depending on what I am smoking.

    With the AMNS, I have had great cheese smokes with maple and cherry mixed.

    Keep experimenting with your set up and you will find what you and your family will like best.

    Good luck and good smoking!
  15. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    BBQ and Smoking is a lot of "Trail and Error".  God knows I've made lots of errors!

    Try Mesquite or Hickory and see if you like it.

    I like Mesquite on Chicken, but would be too heavy on cheese for my tastes.

    Also, I usually smoke my cheese for 2+ hours.  Next time, I'll smoke for around 1 1/2 hours for a little lighter smoke flavor.

  16. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member


    I use at least 80% Hickory, but Cherry is my number two, when I don't want it as strong as Hickory.

    When smoking cheese, it is very easy to put too much smoke on it, making the outside a little moist, with creosote flavor. I think the same thing can happen with chicken.

    However that could happen just as easily with Hickory as with Cherry. I think the bad flavor you're talking about has more to do with the amount of smoke than the type of wood used.

    Also, when smoking cheese, make sure the surfaces are dry, or you will get a greasy yuck on the outside.

  17. walterwhite

    walterwhite Smoke Blower

    I've been doing some smoking wood tests and my most recent test was with cherry. I felt it was pretty subtle with beef, pork and chicken (but still good) and found it "OMG" good with salmon and tilapia. All of my meats were unseasoned save a little oil because I wanted to see what flavor the smoke imparts.

    My cherry was from an ornamental that someone cut down and advertised on craigslist (free firewood.)
  18. cabin fever

    cabin fever Smoke Blower

    I'm with you viper on just not being a big fan of cherry wood. I used cherry for the first time a few weeks ago on a pork butt for my WSM's maiden voyage and while I don't think it gives an "off" taste, I wasn't all that crazy about it either. I certainly don't hate it by any means and I'll definitely use what I have left, but so far I'm strictly a hickory kind of guy until I find another favorite anyway. [​IMG]
    Last edited: May 23, 2011
  19. duanes

    duanes Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    I'm with you Viper, I tried Cherry and for me, there is a very subtle unpleasant after taste.  The first time I used it, I thought maybe it was reacting with the rub so I smoked a few potatoes (fairly neutral flavor) and went light on the smoke.  I could still taste it.  Only one other person in my family could taste it too, but I decided there are other woods just as good that work for me.
  20. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    This is what the "Guide to Smoking Woods" wiki has to say about cherry-
    [*]"CHERRY - Mild, fruity, but slightly bitter if it comes from chokecherry trees. Good with poultry, pork and beef (turns skin brown)."[*] [*]I take it that some of the posters to this thread disagree that it is "mild".[*]I find that the wild cherry(aka black cherry) that I use has a very pleasant, sweet, floral smell that is just as strong as hickory. I do not consider cherry smoke to be mild at all. IMHO it is easy to over smoke mild foods like cheese or chicken if you use cherry.