FAQ: Wood Cooking

Should Smoking Chunks Be Soaked?

Countless home chefs soak their smoking chunks in water before using them to smoke meats or veggies. The general idea is to allow the smoking chunks -- blocks of flavorful hardwood, usually measuring just under 2 inches long -- to absorb some of the water so that they produce more [...]

Meat and Spices: How to Find the Right Balance on the Grill

Any outdoor chef – whether they’re professional or a home cook – will tell you that the right spices are one of the most important parts of cooking a great dish. Even if you cook the perfect rack of ribs or fry up the most well-cooked piece of chicken, it’s […]

Where Should I Place My Grill or Smoker or My Patio?

After purchasing a grill or smoker, you’ll need to choose an appropriate area on your patio to place it. You shouldn’t place your cooking device just anywhere on your patio. To create a safe and enjoyable cooking experience, you must selectively choose the right location for your grill or smoker. […]

The Barbecue Stall: How to Prevent and Overcome the Stall When Smoking Meat

Have you encountered the dreaded “stall” when smoking meat? While most commonly associated with thick, fatty cuts of meat, such as beef briskets, stalls can wreak havoc on your barbecuing activities. When a stall occurs, the internal temperature of your meat will essentially bottom out. Rather than increasing, the temperature […]

Best Smoking Chunk Flavors

Nothing beats the mouthwatering flavor and pull-apart tenderness of smoked meat. From beef brisket and pork chops to steaks, ribs and fish, smoking cooks meat at a low temperature while exposing it to flavorful compounds. Although it takes longer than grilling, the end result is well worth your time. After […]

Where to Buy Wood Chunks for Smoking Meat

Whether you're planning to smoke chicken, beef, pork, or fish, choosing the right type of cooking wood is essential to achieve the perfect flavor. If you smoke meat using only charcoal, then you are missing out. While charcoal is excellent for grilling meat at high temperatures, only high-quality wood offers that delectable smoky flavor we all know [...]

Can I Grill Using Firewood Instead of Charcoal?

Charcoal is the most common type of fuel used in charcoal grills. Available in both lump and briquette form, it burns hot to sear the exterior of meats. Because of its popularity, some pitmasters assume that they must use charcoal in their grill. This is just a myth, however, as [...]

Can I Grill With Cooking Wood Instead of Charcoal?

It's no secret that charcoal is a very popular type of fuel used for grilling. Whether you're grilling hamburgers, steaks, chicken breasts or any other food, you can rest assured knowing that charcoal will provide a sufficient amount of heat. With that said, you might be wondering whether you can [...]

How to Prevent Your Smoked Meat From Drying Out

Smoking is the preferred cooking method for meat by many seasoned and experienced pitmasters. When compared to grilling, smoking typically offers better flavor and increased tenderness. Whether you're cooking steaks, ribs, pork chops, fish, chicken or a brisket, you can't go wrong with smoking. But if you're planning to smoke [...]

Cast Iron vs Stainless Steel Cooking Grates: Which Is Best?

Although there are exceptions, most cooking grates found in grills and smokers are made of either cast iron or stainless steel. Both materials can provide a safe and effective surface on which to cook food. But cast iron and stainless steel are different materials, so they affect your culinary activities [...]

How to Use the Warming Rack on Your Grill

With the exception of small travel-sized grills, most grills have a warming rack. Found above the main cooking grate, it's a versatile feature that can help you grill delicious food. But many people are unfamiliar with the warming rack, let alone know how to use it. To take advantage of [...]

Help! My Charcoal Won’t Stay Lit When Grilling or Smoking

Whether you are grilling or smoking, you'll need a bed of hot charcoal to cook your food. You can still add cooking wood or smoking chunks for better flavor, but charcoal will provide the heat required to cook your food. Unfortunately, many home chefs struggle to keep their charcoal lit. [...]

Should I Use Wood Pellets or Smoking Chunks to Smoke Meat?

Grilling and smoking is a popular and delicious way to cook food. Whether you're cooking meat or vegetables, even pizza or chili, you can make great flavors come to life in your own backyard. One of the keys to successful barbecue is to use the right fuel source. To smoke [...]

What’s the Best Kind of Wood for a Pizza Oven?

According to a recent survey, pizza is America's favorite food. Consisting of round baked dough topped with sauce, cheese, meat and veggies, it's an incredibly versatile dish that can be prepared in countless ways. However, you'll need two things to cook delicious pizza likes the pros: a wood fired pizza [...]

Can I Place Smoking Chunks Directly on Charcoal?

You don't have to restrict your outdoor culinary activities to using either charcoal or smoking chunks. You can use both to smoke delicious meats and veggies, with the charcoal providing the heat and the smoking chunks providing the flavorful smoke. It's a simple but highly effective combination that will take [...]

What Does Applewood Smoked Mean?

Applewood-smoked foods have become increasingly popular in recent years. From pork ribs and beef brisket to fish, chicken and steak, it offers a delicious flavor that's simply not found elsewhere. But what exactly does "applewood smoked" mean? If you're trying to grasp the concept of this culinary term, keep reading [...]

Cooking at Home? Here are 8 Epic Recipe ideas

It's no secret that we love good food. Not only does it taste great, but delicious food brings people together and can provide comfort during stressful times. But eating good food doesn't require you to go to a restaurant. In fact, we think some of the best food can be [...]

What Kind of Cooking Wood Should I Use? [Video]

The art of cooking with wood has been around for thousands of years. Although modern conveniences like microwaves and electric ovens have made cooking easier and quicker, they haven't necessarily done us any favors when it comes to flavors. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why cooking with wood [...]

Hardwood vs Softwood for Cooking: Which Is Best?

When choosing cooking wood, you should consider whether it's a hardwood or softwood variety. According to NPR, there are approximately 60,065 identified species of trees in the world. While no two species are exactly the same, they can all be classified as either a hardwood or softwood variety. So, which [...]

What Does Hickory Smoked Mean?

Hickory smoked food has a bold flavor that brings sweet and savory together and that compliments a wide variety of meats. Many people compare it to a combination of maple and mesquite. It's sweet like maple yet still offers the distinct smokey flavor that so many people love. But what [...]

How to Prevent Your Smoking Chunks From Burning Too Quickly

It takes longer to smoke meat than it does to grill meat. Beef brisket, for example, may require five or more hours of smoking. We've even spent 12 hours smoking a single pork butt. As a result, you need to ensure your smoking chunks do not burn too quickly. If [...]

Do You Need to Soak Smoking Chunks Before Using Them?

If your smoking chunks burn to ash after just a few minutes of sitting inside your smoker or grill, you may assume that soaking them in water will help. After all, wet wood burns more slowly than dry wood, so conventional wisdom may lead you to believe that pre-soaked smoking [...]

Is Seasoned Wood Good for Cooking?

Cooking over a wood-burning fire is one of time's oldest traditions. It offers a delicious, mouthwatering flavor that's simply not found in the oven, microwave, stove, or even with charcoal fires. From steaks and pork chops to hamburgers, hot dogs, seafood and vegetables, you can cook just about any food [...]

How to Prevent Skewers From Burning When Grilling Kebabs

Do you struggle to prevent your skewers from burning to ash when grilling kebabs? You aren’t alone. This is a common problem encountered by countless home chefs. As your charcoal or cooking wood burns, it may ignite your skewers. When this occurs, you may discover some of your food falling […]

Electric vs Wood Smoker: What’s the Difference?

Not all smokers rely strictly on wood or charcoal to produce heat. Some use an electrically powered heating element to cook food at a safe and desirable temperature. Known as an electric smoker, it’s a popular alternative to a traditional wood smoker. But if you’re thinking about buying a new […]

Wood Chunks vs Wood Chips: Which Is Better for Smoking and Grilling?

When grilling or smoking meats or veggies, you'll want to use a flavorful variety of wood. Unlike charcoal, wood contains natural flavor compounds that are absorbed by food. As the wood begins to smolder, it will release smoke that both cures and enhances the flavor of your food. You've probably [...]

Innovative Summer Hot Dog & Sausage Recipes

In an earlier post, we talked about creative twists on one of summer’s fireside staples: s’mores. But s’mores aren’t the only fare you might be cooking up with your high-quality roasting forks this season. For many fire pit enthusiasts, hot dogs and sausages are often just as important to a summer […]

How Firewood Can Affect Food Flavor

The right firewood can make a world of difference in the flavor of your cooked meats and vegetables. All types of firewood produce heat and smoke when burned. Some, however, produce more than others. And the flavor created by the smoke varies depending on the type of firewood used. Whether […]

How to Smoke a Pork Loin Like a Pro

With its flavorful and rich fat content, a pork loin is the perfect cut of meat to smoke. Not to be confused with a pork tenderloin, it’s a wide and thick cut of pork that comes from the sides of the ribs. When smoked, the pork loin’s fat will melt, […]

9 Benefits of Grilling With Wood Rather Than Charcoal

Charcoal isn’t the only fuel that you can use when grilling meats or veggies. While charcoal is undoubtedly popular, an alternative fuel source to consider is wood. Whether it’s whole logs, split logs or chunks, high-quality excels in its ability to create a hot and clean fire. If you’re hesitant […]

Grilling vs Smoking Meat: What’s the Difference?

When cooking meat outdoors, you generally have one two options: smoking or grilling. Both methods can result in a mouthwatering flavor that’s superior to cooking meat in an oven. While similar, though, smoking isn’t the same as grilling. Each method requires a unique approach that will affect the flavor, tenderness […]

How to Use an Offset Smoker

With their multiple compartments, cooking with an offset smoker can be intimidating for beginners. Even if you have experience smoking food in a traditional smoker or grill, you may not know how to use an offset smoker. This shouldn’t prevent you from trying it, however. In just a few easy […]

7 Tips on How to Control the Temperature of Your Smoker

Regardless of what type of meat you intend to smoke, you need to control the temperature. If it’s too hot, your meat may dry out. If the temperature is too low, your meat may fail to reach a safe temperature. While you can always learn through trial and error, the […]

How to Smoke Jerky in a Grill or Smoker

With its high protein content and long shelf life, jerky is the perfect on-the-go snack. While you can always purchase jerky from a grocery store or convenience store, you can actually make it yourself using a standard grill or smoker. To make homemade smoked jerky, though, you’ll need to follow […]

How to Use a Smoker Box When Smoking Meat

If you’re serious about smoking delicious meat, you should consider investing in a smoker box. This otherwise small accessory will enhance the flavor of your meat by exposing it to more smoke. Whether you’re planning to smoke meat in a traditional grill or smoker, you can use a smoker box. […]

How to Clean Your Smoker

Your smoker will likely accumulate dirt, ash and charred debris over time. Aside from affecting your smoker’s aesthetics, this can affect the flavor of your food. If you smoke meat in a grime-covered smoker, some of the compounds in the grime will rise into your meat, resulting in a not-so-pleasant […]

What’s the Best Type of Wood for Smoking Ribs?

If you’re planning to smoke ribs in the near future, you might be wondering what type of wood to use. Smoked ribs offer the perfect combination of mouthwatering flavor and fall-apart tenderness, which is why many people prefer them over baked and grilled ribs. But you need to use the […]

7 Benefits of Using a Big Green Egg for Smoking Meats

You can smoke meat on nearly any grill or smoker, but few cooking devices offer the performance and versatility of the Big Green Egg. Originally released in the 1970s, it features a Japanese kamado-style design consisting of a large egg-shaped container with a cooking grate in the middle. So, why […]

What’s the Difference Between Charcoal Briquettes and Lump Charcoal?

When choosing charcoal for your grill or smoker, you generally have one of two options: lump or briquettes. Both types can offer more than enough heat to cook delicious foods, but they each have their own advantages and disadvantages. Some chefs prefer charcoal briquettes, whereas others prefer lump charcoal. To […]

How to Prevent Food From Sticking to Your Grate

Whether you’re grilling or smoking, you must take precautions to prevent your food from sticking to the grate. It’s a problem that nearly every home chef has experienced: You’re trying to grill or smoke meat, but when you attempt to flip it, you discover that it’s stuck to the top […]

How to Use a Cedar Plank When Grilling or Smoking Fish

If you’re planning to cook fish in a grill or smoker, you should consider using a cedar plank. Also known as planking or plank cooking, it works particularly well for fish. Whether you’re cooking salmon, tuna, trout, tilapia or mahi-mahi, it offers a delicious flavor that complements the natural flavor […]

What’s the Purpose of a Side Burner on a Grill?

All grills have a primary grate on which to cook food. Some grills, however, have one or more additional cooking grates or surfaces attached to the side. Known as side burners, they allow you to cook other foods and side items while your meat is cooking on the primary grate. […]

Choosing the Right Smoking Chunks for a Pork Shoulder

The secret to smoking a delicious pork shoulder is using the right smoking chunks. Also known as a pork butt or Boston butt, pork shoulders contain natural marbling that, when smoked, provide flavorful moisture. But you need to use the right type of smoking chunks to achieve a truly mouthwatering […]

How to Protect Your Grill or Smoker From Rusting

Because they are typically stored outdoors, grills and smokers are susceptible to rusting. It may not happen overnight, but if you leave your grill or smoker outside for long enough, it may eventually rust. It’s frustrating when you discover rust eating through your grill or smoker. Not only does rust […]

6 Tips to Make Your Smoked Meat More Tender

Tenderness is equally as important as flavor when smoking meat. If your smoked meat isn’t tender, it will have a not-so-pleasant chewy texture, making it difficult to consume. By following these six smoking tips, however, you can increase the tenderness of your meat. #1) Choose a Fatty Cut of Meat […]

6 Practical Uses for a Grill Mat

Also known as a barbecue mat, a grill mat is an innovative grilling accessory that can be used in many different ways. Consisting of a large and flat sheet of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), it offers a nonstick surface on which you can grill meats and veggies. Just place the grill mat […]

How to Clean Ash Out of Your Grill

Whether you use charcoal, cooking wood, smoking chunks or any combination thereof, your grill accumulate ash each time you cook on it. Unfortunately, you can’t just leave this ash sitting in the bottom of your grill. If you cook on a grill that’s filled with ash, some of it may […]

How to Prevent Flare-Ups When Grilling

Does your grill erupt into a towering fireball whenever you add meat or veggies to the cooking grate? Known as a flare-up, it’s a common problem encountered by home chefs. While flare-ups are only temporary — meaning the flame dies back down shortly after it erupts — it can still […]

Barbecuing vs Grilling vs Smoking: What’s the Difference?

Barbecuing, grilling and smoking and three of the most popular methods for cooking meat. While they can all be used to cook delicious meals, though, they aren’t necessarily the same. Each cooking technique offers unique qualities to meat. So, what’s the difference between barbecuing, grilling and smoking? What Is Barbecuing? […]

Campfire Cooking: 7 Tips to Follow When Cooking Over a Campfire

Ask any seasoned camper and he or she will likely agree: Food tastes better when it’s cooked outdoors over a campfire rather than indoors on the stove or in the oven. Unfortunately, many people are unfamiliar with campfire cooking, resulting in lackluster meals. Whether you’re going camping for a single […]

What Is Reverse Searing? And How Do It Cook Steaks Using This Technique?

Touted by many world-renown chefs as being the best way to cook steaks, reverse searing has become increasingly popular in recent years. This alternative cooking technique combines both low-heat and high-heat cooking to offer truly mouthwatering steaks. Whether you’re cooking sirloins, filets, New York strips or ribeyes, you can’t go […]

Horizontal or Vertical Smoker: Which Should I Choose?

The right smoker will allow you to smoke delicious meats and veggies at a low temperature using flavorful wood, such as smoking chunks. While there are over a dozen brands of smokers available on the market, most can be classified as either horizontal or vertical, depending on their shape. Horizontal […]

How to Smoke Cheese (Without Burning or Melting It)

You can use your smoker or charcoal grill to smoke more than just meats. Along with beef, pork, chicken, fish and other meats, you can also smoke cheese. Assuming you use a flavorful variety of smoking chunks, it will produce a rich smokey flavor that complements the natural flavor of […]

A Pitmaster’s Guide to the 5 Cuts of Steak

Nothing beats a delicious grilled steak cooked with a flavorful variety of wood or smoking chunks. If you’re trying to achieve a seared, semi-crispy exterior, you should still use charcoal in your grill or smoker. Adding just a small amount of wood or smoking chunks, however, will inject your steaks […]

How to Season Your New Grill or Smoker

Congratulations on your decision to purchase a new grill or smoker! It’s a smart investment that will open the doors to a new world of culinary activities. Before using your new grill or smoker, though, it’s recommended that you season the grate. What Is Seasoning? Upon hearing or reading the […]

How Brining Can Enhance the Flavor of Your Smoked Meats

Smoked meat offers a delicious flavor and pull-apart tenderness that’s not achieved using other cooking methods like grilling or baking. As your smoking chunks heat up, they’ll release flavorful smoke that’s absorbed into the meat. While using the right smoking chunks alone can offer a delicious flavor, however, you can […]

Turning Up the Heat: How to Make Your Grill Hotter

Grilling is a popular way to cook steaks, hamburgers, pork chops and chicken because of its ability to sear the exterior of meat. When you grill meat, the heat from the burning charcoal or wood will sear the exterior, thereby preventing the meat’s flavorful juices from escaping. For this to […]

Grilling in the Rain: Don’t Let a Little Rain Prevent You From Grilling

It’s disheartening when you prepare and light your grill, only for a sudden rainstorm to roll your way. When the rain begins to fall, you may assume that you can no longer grill. After all, grilling requires a hot fire, and water can extinguish fires. While it’s difficult to grill […]

10 Grilling Myths and Misconceptions You Shouldn’t Believe

Grilling is a centuries-old cooking technique that involves placing meat, as well as other food, directly over a fire. Because it uses direct heat, it cooks meat more quickly than other methods. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of misinformation out there on the topic of grilling. In this post, we’re going […]

7 Tips on How to Smoke Delicious Sausage

Grilling is just one way to cook sausage. For the best possible flavor, you should consider smoking sausage. Smoking allows you to cook sausage more slowly while exposing it to flavorful smoke. By following these seven tips, you can smoke delicious sausage using a grill or smoker. #1) Choose the […]

How to Smoke Delicious Hamburgers

When most people think of hamburgers, they envision flame-grilled patties with a seared exterior and juicy interior. While you can always cook hamburgers by grilling them, you shouldn’t discount smoking as a cooking method. Smoked hamburgers have a distinct flavor that’s not found in their grilled counterparts. But if you’re […]

Cooking With Wood: Should I Cook With Wood That Has Bark?

As a pitmaster, you might be wondering whether it’s safe to cook with bark-covered firewood. The secret to grilling and smoking delicious food is using the right firewood. There are thousands of different tree species, each of which has a unique composition that results in a different flavor. Regardless, nearly […]

How to Make Your Charcoal Burn Longer When Grilling

Whether you’re grilling chicken breasts, steaks, hamburgers, pork chops or any other type of meat, you need a hot bed of charcoal. Consisting primarily of carbon, charcoal produces a significant amount of heat when burned. Some types of charcoal, in fact, can reach over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is more […]

How to Smoke Mouthwatering Ribs

There’s no better way to cook ribs than by smoking them with flavorful wood chunks. Whether beef or pork, ribs are comprised of connective tissue that, when not properly cooked, is somewhat chewy. Smoking, however, breaks down the connective tissue to create tender ribs that you can pull apart with […]

Can I Use a Smoker Box When Grilling Meat?

A smoker box is an otherwise small and simple accessory that’s often overlooked by pitmasters when grilling meat. Whether you’re grilling steaks, pork chops, ribs, chicken or any other type of meat, though, you should consider using a smoker box. It won’t necessarily affect the temperature at which your meat […]

How to Cook Smoked Fish Like a Pro

With its high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, fish is both delicious and nutritious. Research has even shown that people who eat fish on a regular basis are less likely to suffer from heart disease than their counterparts who rarely or never eat fish. Rather than grilling or baking, though, […]

9 Things to Consider When Shopping for a Grill

Not all grills are made equal. If you’re looking to buy a new grill, you need to choose the right type. A high-quality grill is a smart investment that will pay off in the form of better-tasting food, which is something all your family members are sure to appreciate. Below […]

8 Gift Ideas for BBQ Enthusiasts

We love the holidays. It’s a great time for families and friends to get together, make memories, and share food, fun, and stories. We also love good BBQ. Grilling or smoking food is an amazing way to make delicious food and we can’t get enough. Odds are, you (or someone […]

Gas vs Wood Smoker: Which Is Best?

Are you looking to purchase a new smoker? The right smoker can make a world of difference in the flavor, texture and overall quality of your smoked foods. Whether you’re smoking a beef brisket, a pork shoulder, chicken wings or even fish, it will provide an enclosed environment that traps […]

Smoking Chicken That’s Both Juicy and Crispy: What You Should Know

With its ability to produce unique and delectable flavors, smoking is one of the best ways to cook chicken. Whether you’re cooking a whole chicken or a few chicken breasts or wings, they’ll have a mouthwatering flavor after being exposed to the flavorful wood smoke. In terms of flavor, smoked […]

What Causes Flare-Ups When Grilling Meat?

Flare-ups are a common occurrence when grilling meat. It’s characterized by the eruption of a large flame, which usually lingers for just a few seconds to a few minutes before subsiding. With the towering flame rising up through the cooking grate, it can char and dry out your meat. By […]

How to Keep the Fire Going in an Offset Smoker

Offset smokers have become increasingly popular among pitmasters. Featuring a separate firebox that’s away from the main cooking compartment, an offset smoker offers the perfect environment in which to smoke meat. You can place your meat inside the main cooking compartment, and you can place your charcoal or wood in […]

9 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Grilling Steaks

Few foods are as savory and delicious as a grilled steak. Grilling the perfect steak, however, requires more than tossing a cut of beef on a grill for a few minutes. When grilling steaks, use caution to ensure that you don’t make the following mistakes. #1) Choosing Lean Steaks What’s […]