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Question about different traits from different wood

Joined Sep 30, 2020
Hey everybody.

I've been smoking ribs, pork butt and pork belly for a bit now. I've basically stuck with Apple wood chunks the whole time.

Recently, I took a pork belly and prepped it as I normally would. After it was done with the brine, I cut it in half and smoked one half in Apple wood. I smoked the other half in Hickory.

Obviously the smell was slightly different but they looked very similar. When I had my family try them, the main response to the pork belly smoked in Hickory was that it tasted like it had more salt than the one smoked with Apple wood. Now, the belly was brined and seasoned as one piece. I only cut it right before I smoked it so there was no additional salt.

My question is, have other people seen this specific response to hickory? Or do you have any other woods that have caused folks to mention they taste sweeter, or salty or anything? I'm trying to start using woods other than Apple and Hickory but any stories as to what differences you may have had would be interesting to read. I'm thinking about trying Maple or Cherry for more pork belly. But also maybe post oak for another attempt as brisket.


Master of the Pit
SMF Premier Member
Joined Dec 1, 2019
Brine? This is fresh shoulder and belly? Or is this a curing brine?
Joined Sep 30, 2020
I use the word "brine" but maybe that's not the correct wording. Not sure of the right way to refer to it. It's a rub I put on a belly and then put in the fridge for about 8 days to marinate. Usually something like 1 part salt to 1 part raw sugar and then some sort of flavor. But in this particular case, I just did 1 part salt, 1 part raw sugar.


Smoking Fanatic
OTBS Member
Joined Oct 20, 2015
Could it be that the testers were just interpreting the hickory taste as salt? If they are not familiar with the taste, that could be the easiest way to describe it.

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