Woods for subtle smoke flavor?

Discussion in 'For New Members' started by uscguardsman, Jul 26, 2014.

  1. uscguardsman

    uscguardsman Newbie

    Hello all, new to smoking here and needed some advice. I just purchased my first smoker, a WSM 18.5" and had my first turn on it tonight. I smoked some chicken legs and used a hickory wood chunk for smoke. I liked the strong smokey flavor created from hickory, however my children did not. Can anyone recommend a more softer and less potent wood that is suitable for most smokes? I am considering apple and oak or a combo of both. Yay or nay? I am hoping to make this a new hobby and jazz up my families dinners!

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance.

    marauder likes this.
  2. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Any of the fruit woods will work. You can also dry smoke which cuts down on the smoke flavor too.
  3. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hickory is very strong for poultry.

    I only use lump for poultry.

    Apple an oak would work.
  4. uscguardsman

    uscguardsman Newbie

    Thanks for the advice and quick response! I am most certainly going to give apple and oak a shot. What do you mean by dry smoke? Without a wood?
  5. grillmonkey

    grillmonkey Smoking Fanatic

    Never used apple, but dried oak wood is nice and mellow. It would be a good stepping stone back up to the hickory.
  6. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Dry smoking means no water in the water pan.  Water helps smoke stick to the meat, but mainly acts as a heat sink to help keep temps low.  With chicken you're better off with higher temps so dry smoking will help less smoke stick to the meat.   
  7. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  8. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

     A smoking secret I learned long ago, try a smoke and see what the least amount you can use and still get the hint of smoke flavor. If I heavy smoked smoked something, Mom, she wouldn't say anything but she never did much but cut it uo and move it around her plate. A light smoke, I normally use pecan but of any wood, and she would have a hard time figuring out how to get more without needing to say something...LOL

    Remember that 100 to 145 IT window, try 1/2 a chunk instead of one, try 1/2 of 1/2. Some of the different woods are harsher than others but you can easily change the smoke profile by varying the amount of wood smoked.

    Mixing really just confuses those lucky few whose palete is refined enough to distinguish those smoke tastes. I always believe that less is mo' better. I can't imagine someone telling me that my meat was harsh from smoke, man, woman, or child.

    You really can use any smoke for any meat if you can master the amount that it needs. Mesquite is really heavy like hickory and I have used both on nearly all the standard meats. Its about learning to measure the smoke. You'll be amazed when you try using a light hand on the smoke, and the compliments you'll recieve.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2014
    marauder likes this.
  9. uscguardsman

    uscguardsman Newbie

    Thanks noboundries I will certainly take a look at that link. That makes sense about the dry smoke.
  10. uscguardsman

    uscguardsman Newbie

    Thanks for the advice foamheart, I do think I added too much wood. I tried to use the minion method and hid a few blocks under the coal. I am going to do this on the next smoke and add smaller blocks as I go, as needed. Thanks!
  11. Try pecan it's a mild version of hickory.
  12. welshrarebit

    welshrarebit Master of the Pit

    I use guava, waiwi, kiawe or coffee wood for my milder smokes. I use ohia for when I want a stronger smoke flavor (beef).
  13. uscguardsman

    uscguardsman Newbie

    Thanks everyone for the advice. I decided to smoke a beer can (actually used a Dr Pepper instead) chicken today and I went with the Apple Wood as it was available at Home Depot. The smoke was perfect and I did what foamheart said and slowly added my wood, used only three chunks overall and the kids liked it. Thanks again!

  14. I have the 221/2" version of your smoker. For years I used a cheep gas, all in one smoker and turned out some really good food. The WSM was a new experience for me. So I made some mistakes, one of them was the same one you made. I used the same method of placing wood chunks around in the unlit charcoal which all started smoking at the same time over smoking my ribs. They came out tasting smoke damaged. I put one chunk at a time in now and get great smoke rings and taste.
  15. foamheart

    foamheart Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Nice looking bird, have you brined one yet......Oh my goodness...... that's some good stuff maynard!

    You didn't mention what did your bride think? Get her on-board and the doors to outside cooking open up!

    Its as good as the one you just cooked and better! Its just the next step in your voyage.
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2014
  16. The chicken looks good Where do you live? I'll be right over:)
  17. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Oak will be milder than apple if it is well seasoned, my favorite mild smoke wood is maple.
  18. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Man I love maple.

    Not many use it.
  19. dandl93

    dandl93 Smoking Fanatic

    I used Fig wood today.Great flavor on the beef and pork.My new smoker is a full on stick burner.I only have a half a pickup load of it I will have to find some more.


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