October 22, 2019

It’s no secret that charcoal is the most 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 use cooking wood as a substitute for charcoal. In this post, we’re going to explore the growing trend of grilling with cooking wood, revealing its unique advantages and disadvantages.

Yes, You Can Grill With Cooking Wood

Contrary to what some people believe, charcoal isn’t the only type of fuel for grilling. It’s perfectly fine to grill with cooking wood. By definition, grilling is a cooking method that involves the use of direct heat — usually in excess of 500 to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit — to sear the exterior of food. Consisting almost entirely of pure carbon, charcoal is an effective type of fuel for grilling. Once lit, it quickly heats up to the aforementioned temperature. But cooking wood can also heat up to an appropriate temperature for grilling. As a result, you grill using either charcoal or cooking wood as fuel.

People have been grilling with cooking wood for centuries — long before charcoal was used for this purpose. Briquette charcoal, in fact, didn’t appear until the end of the 19th century. In 1897, Ellsworth B. A. Zwoyer filed a patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for briquette charcoal. In the years to follow, other entrepreneurs took notice by designing and releasing their own briquette charcoal. Prior to the inception of modern charcoal, though, cooking wood was used almost exclusively for grilling.

Advantages of Grilling With Cooking Wood

Grilling with cooking wood offers several advantages. When compared to charcoal, cooking wood offers a better flavor. Charcoal doesn’t necessarily produce a bad flavor. However, most people will agree that grilled food tastes better when cooking wood is used as the fuel rather than briquette or lump charcoal. As the cooking wood burns, it will release flavorful smoke that’s absorbed by your food.

Cooking wood is also all-natural, so it won’t expose your food to potentially harmful fumes or substances. Some types of charcoal, for example, are pre-soaked in lighter fluid. If you use pre-soaked charcoal such as this, it may leave your food with a harsh and bitter flavor. Even non-soaked charcoal may contain substances that produce an unpleasant flavor when burned. Briquette charcoal, for instance, contains sawdust and wood scraps that are bound together with a filler ingredient like cornstarch. Cooking wood, on the other hand, consists of all-natural wood without any fillers or additives, making it a safer and more desirable type of fuel for grilling.

Let’s face it, charcoal is messy. When preparing your grill with charcoal, you’ll probably get the black particles on your hands and clothes. If left unchecked, charcoal can permanently stain your clothes. You can handle cooking wood, however, without worrying about staining your clothes. All high-quality cooking wood is clean and devoid of any stain-causing compounds.

You’ll probably discover that cooking wood produces a pleasant aroma when burned. Each species of wood offers a distinct aroma. The smell will engulf your patio or outdoor living space to create a more enjoyable grilling experience.

Disadvantages of Grilling With Cooking Wood

What are the disadvantages of grilling with cooking wood? Well, some pitmasters may struggle to light their cooking wood, especially if it’s damp or moist. If there’s too much moisture within your cooking wood, you won’t be able to light it using a match.

Some grills may also lack the space to accommodate cooking wood. If you’re using a small grill, such as a portable camping grill, you may not be able to fit long pieces of cooking wood into the fuel compartment below the grate, in which case you’ll have to resort to using traditional lump or briquette charcoal. Aside from these minor issues — which can be addressed by using the right cooking wood — there aren’t any real disadvantages of grilling with cooking wood.

Choosing the Right Cooking Wood for Grilling

If you’re going to grill with cooking wood, you need to choose the right type of cooking wood. As previously mentioned, damp or moist wood is difficult to light. Therefore, you should choose dry, well-seasoned cooking wood. Here at Cutting Edge Firewood, we offer a wide variety of kiln dried cooking wood. Being that our cooking wood is kiln dried, it contains significantly less moisture than fresh, green and even air-dried cooking wood.

Don’t forget to consider the species of tree from which the cooking wood was harvested. Hardwood species are preferable over softwood species because they contain less moisture and resin. As a result, cooking wood from hardwood trees — oak, cherry, hickory, etc. — are better suited for grilling. They burn more cleanly to produce better-tasting food.

How to Grill With Cooking Wood

When you’re ready to grill with cooking wood, prepare your grill by arranging the wood logs in the bottom of the fuel compartment below the grate. Depending on the size of the logs, you may be able to fit anywhere from three to six pieces into your grill. After filling the bottom of your grill with cooking wood, you can proceed to light it. Just place some tinder and kindling underneath the cooking wood, at which point you can light the tinder with a match. As the tinder ignites, the kindling should catch fire, allowing your cooking wood to heat up and catch fire as well.

Here are some tips to follow when grilling with cooking wood:

  • Wait until the cooking wood has turned white with a glowing flame to add your food.
  • Because charcoal burns hotter than wood, you need to ensure your food is placed directly over the fire.
  • To turn up the heat, open your grill’s dampers all the way. You can also make your grill hotter by gently blowing into the center of the wood fire.
  • As your cooking wood burns to ash, add new pieces of cooking wood to maintain stable grilling temperatures.
  • If you prefer a more smokey flavor, try partially closing your grill’s dampers. The temperature will likely drop with the dampers partially closed, but it will also trap the smoke to promote a more smokey flavor.
  • Experiment with different types of cooking wood to see which varieties offer the best flavor.
  • Don’t use lighter fluid on your cooking wood.
  • Don’t soak your cooking wood in water. Although this sounds like an effective way to extend its burn time, soaking cooking wood in water will only inhibit its combustion while creating excess steam in the process.
  • Like when grilling with charcoal, remember to flip your food on occasion to ensure it cooks evenly on both sides.

In Conclusion

Don’t assume that charcoal is the best type of fuel for grilling. While you can always grill delicious meats and veggies using charcoal, cooking wood offers several key advantages. Among other things, cooking wood produces a better flavor and doesn’t expose your food to potentially harmful fumes or substances.

Become a grill master by choosing Cutting Edge Firewood’s premium kiln dried cooking wood. Whether you choose hickory, pecan, white oak or cherry, it will allow you to cook delicious, restaurant-quality food.

October 15, 2019

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 thinking about smoking hamburgers, there are a few things you should know to achieve the best flavor.

Benefits of Smoking Hamburgers

Smoking hamburgers offers several benefits. Unlike with grilling, smoking uses indirect heat, meaning there’s little or no chance of flareups. Even if the fat melts and drips into the fuel compartment, it shouldn’t trigger a flareup.

You’ll probably discover that smoking creates even juicer hamburgers than grilling. Because of the low cooking temperatures used for smoking, it doesn’t cause juices inside of meat to evaporate as quickly as grilling does.

Of course, the greatest benefit of smoking hamburgers is its unparalleled flavor. Grilling hamburgers involves cooking them over direct heat, such as a bed of burning charcoal. Smoking, on the other hand, involves cooking hamburgers over indirect heat produced by flavorful wood or wood chunks. As it smolders, the wood will infuse your hamburgers will flavorful smoke compounds.

Choose High-Fat Meat

You can smoke any type of hamburger meat, but high-fat meat typically yields better results than low-fat meat. When shopping for hamburger meat at the grocery store, pay attention to its fat content. Most hamburger meat, including ground beef, is labeled with its ratio of lean meat to fat. If a package of hamburger meat is labeled as “90% lean / 10% fat,” for example it contains 10% fat and 90% nonfat or lean meat.

Low-fat hamburger meat has fewer calories and less saturated fat than high-fat meat. The problem with low-fat hamburger meat, however, is that it doesn’t offer the same flavor or level of juiciness as high-fat hamburger meat. The fat in hamburger meat keeps it juicy and flavorful. Therefore, high-fat hamburger meat is recommended when smoking. So, how much fat should your hamburger have? A good rule of thumb is to choose hamburger meat with at least 20% fat. If it’s leaner than 20%, it won’t be as juicy or flavorful.

Select the Right Smoking Chunks

When smoking hamburgers, don’t underestimate the importance of using the right smoking chunks. Smoking chunks are small pieces of high-quality wood measuring a few inches long. Their small size allows them to produce lots of flavorful smoke when heated. Not all smoking chunks are the same, however. Each variety of smoking chunks has a unique flavor. Hickory, for instance, is well-known for its strong bacon-like flavor, which naturally complements most types of meat, including hamburgers. Cherry smoking chunks have a sweeter and more fruity flavor. And oak smoking chunks are an excellent all-around choice because of their mild yet versatile flavor.

While it’s possible to smoke hamburgers using wood chips, smoking chunks are recommended because of their ability to produce more smoke. Wood chips are often made of the same varieties of hardwood as smoking chunks. With their smaller and thinner size, though, they don’t produce as much smoke as smoking chunks.

Here are some tips on how to choose the right smoking chunks for hamburgers:

  • Stick with a hardwood variety
  • Make sure they have a low moisture content, such as that of kiln dried smoking chunks
  • If you’re going to use a strong-flavored variety of smoking chunks, consider mixing it with a mild-flavored variety as well

Prepare Your Smoker or Grill

You can smoke hamburgers using a dedicated smoker or a traditional charcoal grill. To get started, go ahead and build a fire in your smoker or grill using either lump or briquette charcoal. Once the charcoal has turned white and developed a light layer of ash, you can add your smoking chunks.

There are different ways to add smoking chunks: You can toss them directly on the charcoal, or you can place them off to the side of the charcoal (or inside a smoker box). If the smoking chunks are directly on top of the charcoal, they’ll quickly burn while producing a lot of clean and flavorful smoke in the process. If the smoking chunks are next to the charcoal or inside a smoker box, they’ll burn more slowly and produce less smoke.

Smoke for 1 Hour

It takes longer to smoke hamburgers than it does to grill them. Assuming your smoker or grill has reached an internal temperature of roughly 220 to 240 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll need to smoke your hamburgers for about one hour.

During this time, avoid the temptation of opening your smoker or grill. You’ll still need to flip your hamburgers a few times to ensure they smoke evenly, but refrain from constantly opening and closing the lid. Each time you open your smoker or grill to check on your hamburgers, you’ll release the smoke. And with less smoke, your hamburgers won’t taste as delicious.

Sear With Direct Heat

After smoking your hamburgers for about one hour, you should sear them to create a crispy, semi-charred exterior. What’s the purpose of searing hamburgers exactly? When you sear your hamburgers, you’ll expose them to direct heat, thereby creating a more crispy texture that’s commonly associated with flame-grilled hamburgers.

To sear your hamburgers, you’ll need to cook them directly over a hot bed of charcoal. Therefore, you should start by building a second fire using a decent amount of lump or briquette charcoal inside your smoker or grill. Once the charcoal has reached an appropriate temperature, place your hamburgers back onto the grate — directly over the charcoal — and sear them for about three minutes on each side.

Don’t make the mistake of searing your hamburgers for too long. Remember, they’ve already been smoked for one hour, so over-searing them may cause them to dry out. To prevent this from happening, set a timer for three times. After allowing your hamburgers to sear for three minutes, flip them and sear the opposite side for the same length of time. After they’ve seared for three minutes on each side, remove your hamburgers from the cooking grate.

It’s important to note that you should only sear your hamburgers after smoking them, not before. While it sounds harmless, searing hamburgers before smoking them will negatively affect their flavor. If you sear then smoke your hamburgers, the patties won’t be able to absorb all of the flavorful smoke produced by the smoldering smoking chunks. Searing creates a hard exterior that restricts the amount of flavorful smoke your hamburgers can absorb. Therefore, you should only sear your hamburgers after smoking them.

Remove and Enjoy

Now it’s time to remove your smoked hamburgers and enjoy them. Depending on your preferences, you may want to add cheese, condiments, lettuce, tomatoes or other toppings. Regardless, when you take that first bite, you’ll realize why smoking is such a popular alternative to grilling hamburgers. Smoked hamburgers have a mouthwatering-delicious flavor and juicy texture that’s sure to draw compliments.

Find the best quality smoking chunks by visiting our online store today. Cutting Edge Firewood offers a variety of high-quality smoking chunks, including white oak, hickory, cherry, pecan and whiskey that you can use in a smoker box when smoking hamburgers. We offer complimentary shipping for our smoking chunk products across the United States.

October 1, 2019

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 your fingers. At the same, smoking enhances the flavor of ribs by injecting them with flavorful compounds from wood chunks.

Choose the Right Type of Ribs

Smoking tender and mouthwatering ribs begins with choosing the right type of ribs. As you may know, all ribs come from the chest area of a pig or cow. With that said, there are several different types of ribs, each of which features unique characteristics.

Below are some of the most common types of ribs used for smoking:

  • Baby Back Beef Ribs:  Also known as back ribs, back baby beef ribs are lean with minimal amounts of cartilage.
  • Short Beef Ribs: Taken from the shoulder area, short beef ribs are inexpensive but contain more connective tissue than other types of ribs.
  • Baby Back Pork Ribs: Like baby back beef ribs, baby back pork ribs are often preferred among pitmasters because of their tenderness. They don’t contain much cartilage, making them particularly tender when smoked for long periods.
  • Spare Pork Ribs: Taken from the lower chest area, spare pork ribs contain more fat than other types of ribs. When smoked, the fat will melt to keep the ribs moist and flavorful.

Clean Your Smoker

Before you can begin smoking your ribs, you’ll need to clean your smoker. Start by opening the lid to see if there’s any ash at the bottom of the fuel compartment. It’s always a good idea to dump and dispose of ash each time you use your smoker. Simply adding wood chunks or charcoal over the ash won’t work. As the fire draws air into your smoker, it will stir up the ash, which may cause the ash to land on your ribs. Therefore, you should clean out any ash in your smoker before adding your ribs.

In addition to cleaning out the ash, you should also brush your smoker’s cooking grate with a wire grill brush to remove any debris. Just press the grill brush against the grate and scrub it back and forth. When finished, apply a light layer of high-heat cooking oil, such as vegetable oil or canola oil, to the grate. The purpose of the high-heat oil is to prevent the ribs from sticking, which could otherwise cause the skin to tear.


Add Your Charcoal and Smoking Chunks

Now that your smoker is clean, you can add your charcoal and smoking chunks. Depending on the type of smoker you own, it should have either one or two fuel compartments. Most smokers, as well as grills, have a single fuel compartment. Offset smokers, however, have two fuel compartments — one for the wood chunks and another for the charcoal.

If your smoker has a single fuel compartment, you can place charcoal at the bottom of it and either sprinkle wood chunks over them or place the wood chunks off to the side. If your smoker has two fuel compartments, you should place the charcoal in the compartment that’s directly below the cooking grate and the wood chunks in the separate, “offset” compartment. The charcoal will produce the heat needed to cook your ribs to a safe internal temperature, whereas the wood chunks will provide the distinct flavor that’s commonly associated with smoked meat. Of course, you don’t have to use charcoal. It’s perfectly fine to only use wood chunks, assuming you open the dampers to create a hot fire.

It’s important to use the right type of wood chunks when smoking ribs. Avoid using softwood varieties and, instead, stick with a flavorful hardwood variety. Hardwood is denser than softwood, so it’s able to produce more heat. Furthermore, it contains less moisture than softwood, resulting in a more efficient combustion process. Some of the top hardwood varieties used to smoke ribs include pecan, cherry, hickory and oak.

Season Your Ribs

Of course, you should season your ribs before adding them to your smoker. There are dozens of ways to season ribs. Some pitmasters use a dry rub seasoning, whereas others prefer using barbecue sauce.

Keep in mind, you don’t have to use a single type of seasoning for all your ribs. If you’re cooking a full rack of ribs, you can experiment with two different seasonings for each half rack. Through trial and error, you can discover the perfect seasoning for your smoked ribs.

Heat Your Smoker to 250 Degrees Fahrenheit

You’ll need to wait until your smoker has reached an appropriate cooking temperature before adding your ribs. While you can technically smoke ribs at temperatures as low as 150 degrees, this isn’t recommended. At this temperature, your ribs will take forever to cook, and your wood chunks will produce little or no smoke. Therefore, you should aim for a temperature of about 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Only after your smoker has reached 250 degrees Fahrenheit should you add your ribs.

To make your smoker hotter, add more charcoal or wood chunks. With more fuel, the fire will intensity while producing more heat in the process. On the other hand, you can lower the temperature of your smoker by partially closing the damper vents. The damper vents must be at least partially open at all times. Otherwise, the charcoal and wood chunks will stop burning. By closing them about three-fourths the way, however, less air will enter the smoker, which should cause the temperature to drop.

Smoke for 3 to 4 Hours

It takes longer to smoke ribs than it does to grill them. When grilling, you can expect your ribs to fully cook in just 20 minutes. Smoking uses a lower temperature than grilling, however, so it typically takes ribs about three to four hours to fully cook.

While your ribs are smoking, you can use this opportunity to prepare vegetables or other side items. If your smoker has an elevated grate over the main grate, for instance, you can place your vegetables on it so that it cooks slowly and with less heat. Known as a “warming rack,” it’s perfect for smoking corn, potatoes and other vegetables.

Flip Every 30 Minutes

While your ribs are smoking, try to get into the habit of flipping them about once every half-hour. Failure to flip your ribs will cause them to cook unevenly. The bottom of your ribs — the side directly exposed to the grate — will naturally cook faster than the top. To ensure your ribs cook evenly and don’t burn on either side, you should flip them every half-hour. After smoking for three to four hours, your ribs should be ready to eat. Just remember to use a probe thermometer to ensure they’ve reached at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the minimum safe temperature for ribs as specified by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Find the best quality smoking chunks by visiting our online store today. Cutting Edge Firewood offers a variety of high-quality smoking chunks, including white oak, hickory, cherry, pecan and whiskey, all of which will allow you to smoke delicious ribs. We offer complimentary shipping for our smoking chunk products across the United States.

September 25, 2019

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 than enough heat to grill delicious meats.

Because of its ability to produce so much heat, charcoal doesn’t burn as long as other types of fuel, including cooking wood. However, there are ways to extend the burn time of your charcoal. By following these tips, your charcoal will burn longer.

Position Grill Near a Windbreak

The area in which your grill is placed will affect the burn time of your charcoal. If you place your grill in an open area, such as the middle of your lawn, the charcoal may burn more quickly because it’s exposed to wind. Even small and otherwise minor gusts of wind will make charcoal burn hotter and faster. As air passes through the charcoal, it fuels the charcoal with additional oxygen. By positioning your grill near a windbreak, on the other hand, the charcoal will burn slower.

Keep in mind, you shouldn’t place your grill directly against the side of your home. For safety reasons, grills, smokers, fire pits and other fire containment products should be placed at least 10 feet away from your home as well as all other flammable structures.

Spread Out Charcoal After It’s Turned White

You can extend the burn time of your charcoal by spreading it evenly across the bottom of your grill after it’s turned white. When initially preparing your grill, it’s a good idea to stack charcoal in a mound. Once stacked, you can easily light it from the bottom, allowing it to quickly heat up. However, it’s important to spread your charcoal evenly across the bottom of your grill before adding your food. If the charcoal is still stacked in a mound, it will continue to burn fast, resulting in a short burn time. If you spread it out, on the other hand, it will burn more slowly, allowing for a longer burn time.

Open the Lid

Another way to make your charcoal burn longer is to open the lid on your grill. Some pitmasters assume that opening the lid will make their burn charcoal burn faster because it fuels the fire with more oxygen. In reality, opening the lid causes charcoal to burn slower by allowing some of the head to escape. If you keep the lid closed, heat will remain trapped inside your grill. In turn, all that heat will make your charcoal burn faster. But if you open the lid, some of the heat will escape, thereby causing your charcoal to burn slower and for longer.

Of course, you’ll need to keep a close eye on your grill’s internal temperature when opening the lid. If the temperature drops too low, you may struggle to achieve a charred exterior with your food. Therefore, you may need to adjust the damper vents to maintain an appropriate grilling temperature.

Don’t Use Lighter Fluid

If you’re struggling to light your charcoal, you may revert to dousing it in lighter fluid. While lighter fluid can certainly help to get the fire going, you shouldn’t use it when grilling. Charcoal soaked in lighter fluid will, not surprisingly, burn faster than dry charcoal. After all, that’s what lighter fluid is designed to do.

Aside from a shorter burn time, dousing your charcoal in lighter fluid may affect the flavor of your grilled food. As the lighter fluid burns, it will release vapor chemicals that rise up and into your food. It’s a harsh and bitter flavor that most people prefer to avoid when grilling. For a naturally delicious “grilled” flavor, don’t use lighter fluid.

Furthermore, lighter fluid increases the risk of injury when grilling. If you pour too much, it could create a large fireball when lit, potentially burning you or anyone else who’s nearby. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), grills are responsible for over 4,500 house and structure fires each year in the United States. To protect your property, as well as yourself and others, don’t use lighter fluid. If you’re struggling to light your charcoal, try using a chimney starter. Chimney starters offer an enclosed environment in which you can easily start charcoal.

Switch to Briquette Charcoal

Not all types of charcoal burn for the same length of time. There are two primary types of charcoal: lump and briquette. Lump charcoal is the most common type. It’s made by burning wood down into small pieces of almost pure carbon. While less common, briquette charcoal is preferred by some pitmasters because of its ability to burn slower and for longer than lump charcoal. Briquette charcoal is made by combining sawdust, as well as other wood scraps, using a binding agent.

If you’re tired of constantly adding charcoal to your grill, switching to briquette charcoal may help. Briquette charcoal doesn’t burn as hot as its lump counterpart, but it’s able to burn slower and longer. As a result, it’s an excellent choice to use when grilling foods at low temperatures.

Combine With Cooking Wood

Even if you’re planning to grill with charcoal, consider adding some cooking wood as well. Cooking wood burns slower than both lump and briquette charcoal. Placing just a few logs of high-quality cooking wood inside your grill will minimize your dependence on charcoal.

What type of cooking wood should you use exactly? All types of kiln dried, hardwood cooking wood offers a long burn time. With that said, no two varieties have the same flavor. Cherry wood, for example, has a sweet fruity flavor that’s synonymous with cherries. In comparison, hickory wood has a strong bacon-like flavor. These are just two of many varieties of cooking wood. Other popular types of cooking wood include oak, pecan and pizza cut. By combining charcoal with cooking wood, you’ll be able to focus more on tending to your food and less on constantly adding new charcoal to your grill.

Add Food at the Right Time

This won’t necessarily extend the burn time of your charcoal, but adding food at the right time can reduce the amount of charcoal you need. A good rule of thumb is to wait until the charcoal has turned to a gray-white color — and is covered with a thin layer of ash — before adding your good. With that said, you shouldn’t add your food immediately once the charcoal achieved this appearance. Depending on the conditions, the charcoal may only burn hot for another 30 minutes. If you wait 20 minutes to add your food, you’ll only have 10 minutes of cooking time, meaning you’ll probably have to add more charcoal to maintain the temperature inside your grill.

In Conclusion

It’s frustrating when you add new charcoal to your grill, only for it to burn down in just a half-hour or less. If this sounds familiar, follow the tips outlined in this blog post to extend the burn time of your charcoal. From positioning your grill near a windbreak to spreading out the charcoal and more, there are several ways to make charcoal burn for longer.

Stock up on premium cooking wood today by visiting our online store today.

September 19, 2019

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 Right Type of Sausage

There are dozens of types of sausage, some of which are better suited for smoking than others. Generally speaking, most types of raw sausage are more flavorful when smoked than their pre-smoked counterparts. Italian, bratwursts, kielbasa, kishka, weisswurst and polish sausages are all great choices. You can still smoke pre-smoked sausage, but most pitmasters prefer smoking raw sausages such as these because of their rich flavor. They’ll absorb more smoke, resulting in better flavor. With that said, feel free to experiment with a variety of smoked sausages. You don’t have to limit yourself to smoking a single type of sausage.

#2) Clean and Oil the Grate

It’s frustrating when you spend hours smoking sausage, only for it to stick to the cooking grate. Regardless of which type of sausage you intend to smoke, it’s probably encased in a shell. Known as sausage casing or skin, it’s typically made of collagen and cellulose. The purpose of the casing is to hold the sausage’s filling together so that it doesn’t fall apart.  If your sausage sticks to the cooking grate, however, the casing may tear. When this occurs, your sausage will likely fall apart.

You can prevent your sausage from sticking by cleaning and oiling the cooking grate beforehand. Start by scrubbing the grate with a wire brush to remove any hardened debris. Next, clean any lingering debris with a few damp paper towels and mild dish soap. When finished, pour a small amount of high-heat cooking oil, such as vegetable oil or canola oil, onto some paper towels and then rub it across the surface of the cooking grate. The oil will create a nonstick surface, ensuring that the sausage casing doesn’t tear or otherwise fall apart.

Keep in mind, you should only use high-heat oil on the cooking grate. High-heat oil is designed to withstand more heat without burning than low-heat oil. If you use a low-heat oil, such as olive oil, it will likely burn off as your smoker heats up. And once the oil has burned off, your sausage will no longer be protected from sticking.

#3) Use High-Quality Smoking Chunks

You shouldn’t use just any wood to smoke sausage. Rather, stick with high-quality smoking chunks. With their block-like shape — measuring about 2 to 3 inches long — they are the perfect size for smoking meats, including sausage. Smoking chips are typically shorter and thinner, so they don’t produce as much as smoke. You can always use cooking wood logs, but they are more difficult because of their larger size. For delicious smoked sausage, use high-quality smoking chunks in your smoker. Just a handful of the right smoking chunks can produce an out-of-this-world flavor that’s not found elsewhere.

Smoking chunks are available in a variety of species of hardwood. Oak smoking chunks are a great all-around choice for smoked sausage because of their mild yet delicious flavor. Hickory smoking chunks are also a great choice. While stronger than oak, hickory smoking chunks offer a sweet bacon-like flavor that complements most types of sausages. Other popular varieties of smoking chunks for sausage include cherry and pecan.

If your smoker has a firebox, place the smoking chunks inside it. Fireboxes are separate containers that are placed away from the smoker’s main compartment. They are still connected to the main compartment, so when your smoking chunks begin to smolder, smoke will travel to the area in which your sausage is located. If your smoker doesn’t have a firebox, simply place the smoking chunks in the main compartment. As long your sausage is exposed to smoke, the smoking chunks will enhance its flavor.

#4) Combine Smoking Chunks With Charcoal

In addition to high-quality smoking chunks, consider using charcoal when smoking sausage. Why is charcoal important? When used alone, smoking chunks won’t produce much heat. To achieve a safe internal temperature, you need to use another type of fuel, such as charcoal. As the charcoal burns, it will produce heat that cooks your sausage to a safe temperature. At the same time, the heat from the charcoal will heat up your smoking chunks, causing them to smolder and release flavorful smoke.

There are two types of charcoal: lump and briquette. The most common type, lump charcoal burns hot and fast. In comparison, briquette charcoal produces less heat and burns more slowly. Of those two types, most pitmasters prefer lump charcoal when smoking sausage.

#5) Control the Temperature of Your Smoker

Smoking delicious sausage requires a precise temperature. If your smoker gets too hot, you sausage may dry out and shrivel up. If it doesn’t get hot enough, on the other hand, your sausage may fail to reach a safe internal temperature.

For most types of sausage, you should set your smoker to 250 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, your sausage will cook slowly while still achieving a safe internal temperature. You can control the temperature of your smoker in several ways. To make your smoker cooler, use less charcoal (or use briquette charcoal). Alternatively, you can lower the temperature by closing the damper vents on your smoker. To make your smoker hotter, reverse the steps by using more charcoal and/or opening the damper vents. Just remember to keep your smoker’s internal temperature around 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

#6) Smoke for 2 to 3 Hours

You might be wondering how long, exactly, you should smoke for your sausage for. Assuming your smoker has an internal temperature of 250 degrees Fahrenheit, two to three hours is usually the perfect length for smoked sausage. Of course, it’s always a good idea to check the temperature of your sausage before consuming it.

Using a probe thermometer, check your sausage after it’s been smoking for two hours. The recommended safe internal temperature for sausage is 160 degrees Fahrenheit. If the internal temperature of your sausage is lower than this amount, allow it to smoke for a little longer. Only after your sausage has reached an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit should you consume it.

#7) Flip Sausage Every 30 to 45 Minutes

When smoking sausage, try to get into the habit of flipping it every 30 to 45 minutes. Even at just 250 degrees Fahrenheit, sausage can still burn if not flipped. Furthermore, failure to flip your sausage will cause it to cook unevenly. The bottom of your sausage — the side that’s exposed to the cooking grate — will cook faster than the top. The bottom may develop an overcooked, burned char, whereas the top of your sausage may still be raw. To ensure your sausage cooks evenly, you need to flip it every 30 to 45 minutes. Along with the other tips listed here, flipping your sausage regularly will help you achieve the best possible flavor.

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