Best Wood for Smoked Brisket
If you love smoking brisket, you probably want to know the best wood for smoked brisket? For those who are looking for the best wood for brisket smoking, Read on because we will tell you how to choose the best wood for smoking your brisket giving it an unbelieve flavor. Also we will discuss the different kinds of smokers for brisket and the best pellets for smoking brisket and other meat products.
Brisket is the cut of meat that’s the breast part of beef or veal. If you don’t know the difference between beef and veal, these are both cow’s meat. Only, the beef comes from the adult cows while the veal comes from the younger cows or calves. We all love the taste of brisket but unfortunately its kind of expensive. That’s why if you want to buy brisket to smoke , better know the best wood for the job to let you savor the combined taste of the Smokey wood flavor on your juicy brisket.
Smoking meat dates back centuries ago when men smoke their meat to preserve them. But did you know the real significance of smoking or why people usually prefer smoking over other forms of cooking with wood? To know these, you have to learn the difference between grilling from barbecuing to smoking. Basically, grilling means cooking meat over a flame which is fast and easy. Barbecuing is cooking food over embers of charcoal which is also quick and easy. Smoking, on the other hand, involves cooking the meat slowly with smoke and a bit of the heat from the wood so that the smoky flavor from the wood will incorporate into the flavor of the meat.
Importance of Choosing the Best Wood for Brisket
Before we go on how to choose the best wood for smoked brisket, let us tell you first how your choice of wood can make or break the taste of your brisket.
Trees are organic living things that are composed of many substances and minerals. From their roots up to their stem and branches, there are a lot of chemicals you can find in these parts of the tree. When trees are cut down and dried, though their moisture content declines tremendously, some of the compounds in their wood will remain. Once the wood is burned, some of these compounds will be extinguished while some will go along the smoke.
Experts say there are about 100 compounds that can be found in wood and some of these are in solid forms, some are liquid and the rest are oils. So in the event of burning wood for smoking, an oak wood, for example, can release compounds through its smoke that are different from the apple wood.
When it comes to the aroma and Smokey flavor of wood, there are two main compounds that are responsible and these are the “syringol” which provides the Smokey aroma and the other is the “guiacol” that provides the distinctive Smokey flavor on the meat. Although these compounds are in traceable amounts, they still offer that natural taste that only a few wood types can give out.
Do you want to know the kinds of wood that would best provide that Smokey aroma and flavor to your brisket? Consider our tips below.
Apple Wood for Smoking Brisket
Apple wood is one of the best woods that can be used as a secondary wood for smoking meat not only for brisket. Its wood carries that distinctive fruity and sweet flavor much like its fruit. So if you are into getting that kind of flavor into your meat, consider apple wood for smoking brisket as it can offer that mild flavor with a tinge of sweetness on any meat. This wood is also best for soft meats like turkey, chicken and ham.
So how do you burn apple wood to get that rich sweet flavor from your meat? Apple wood is a hardwood so it burns slower but with hotter flames. Compared to oak which is also a hardwood, apple wood emits more smoke which is good when you want to infuse flavor into the briskets which normally have a tough texture. However, if you use pure apple wood for smoking meat, you might get a very sweet flavor from the sweet smoke.
This is why you have an option to use apple wood for smoking brisket either as a primary fuel or secondary by mixing it with oak or other woods that also emit flavorful smoke but milder. When we mix wood with other wood to smoke meat, this is what we call smoking dilution. But why the oak? Oak wood has a milder Smokey flavor and it burns very hot which you need when smoking brisket because briskets are generally cut thick. To get the most from oak wood, the Red Oak is the best especially for smoking briskets and it would not overpower the taste of the meat.
Types of Best Wood for Brisket Smoking
Oak woods are always slow to burn and they will give out that mild flavor on a clean smoke. Oaks are best for burning indoors and because they release clear, white smoke, the aroma that it releases is also clean and sweet with a bit of sourness in it. So if you are to choose the best wood for brisket, always put the oak wood on your list. You can use it as your primary fuel or in combination with apple wood for smoking brisket.
Some smokers say that the hickory wood is better than oak since oak does have that sourness in its smoke. Hickory wood can exude that strong aroma that smells like bacon when it gets absorbed by the meat. This is one of the reasons why some people who barbecue pork prefer hickory wood. If you also want that bacon-like flavor to your brisket, try hickory and it can be paired with any sweet wood like apple wood.
The Pecans also belong to the hickory family. When used for smoking, they give off that strong, sweet and smoky flavor that no other woods can match. Its wood burns slowly to provide that delicate flavor when smoking a brisket. However, be aware that when meat gets exposed to Pecan smoke for a very long time, the meat can develop a pungent smell. So if you want to use the Pecan wood as the best wood for smoked brisket, marinade the brisket first for more than a day to tenderize it so that smoking it would not take long.
Mesquite is known to be some of the most stronger flavored wood chosen for smoking brisket. It can burn quickly and once it starts to burn, it will produce that powerful earthy flavor that’s refreshing to smell. People use Mesquite in garnishing the taste of their meat that’s why if you want to cook your authentic Texas smoked brisket, try Mesquite wood.
What are fruit woods? Fruit woods are woods that come from trees that bear sweet fruits such as apples, cherries, pears, peaches and so on. When burned for smoking, the fruit woods can also impart their sweetness into the brisket. Smoke from fruit woods are milder so their woods are best used for grilling fish, poultry and also pork. As we know, the apple wood for smoking brisket is the most popular among fruit woods.
Types of Smokers To Match the Best Wood For Brisket
Smokers are available in various types so you should choose which of these would be best for you to use.
So here are your choices:
These smoking accessories use electricity in heating up a rod more like a heating element found on ovens to cause the charcoal or wood pellet to burn. If wood pellets are used, the smokers that normally have the firebox will slowly pour the pellets into the heater so that there is a continuous burning and smoking that will eventually cook the meat.
A small internal fan provides air into the pellet to keep it burning while the smokes will be blown into the chamber. These electronic accessories have controllable temperature settings so they can be left for many hours until cooking is done.
These smokers have almost the same working principles as the electric smokers but what they need is gas to smolder the best pellets for smoking brisket. If you are outside without electricity , these smokers are good options.
These are the more preferred cooking tools among barbecue enthusiasts because charcoal can produce more of that Smokey flavor in food compared to propane and electric smokers. Charcoal smokers are cheaper but you need to use a lot of charcoal and constant feeding into the coal pit if you to smoke a brisket.
Nevertheless, regularly monitoring the ember of the charcoal is a must and you have to put a good distance between the meat and the charcoal because charcoal can produce too much heat that can cook the meat quickly and without the flavor from wood getting absorbed by the meat.
These smokers are the best when it comes to incorporating the Smokey flavor of wood into the brisket. They are called the “offset smokers” and are the traditional meat smokers in the old days. The only problem with them is that keeping the temperature inside would be difficult.
Since you now know the best wood for brisket smoking , it would be wise to choose the pellet smokers if you want to smoke your brisket indoors. Pellet smokers are very portable and their working and smoking principles are almost the same as with the offset wood smokers though the wood on pellet smokers are in pelletized form. These smokers are mostly electronics so once you set its temperature and load up the pellets in the firebox, the smoker will do its own cooking and smoking and no need to watch over it.
Best Wood Pellets for Smoking Briskets
Wood when turned into pellets can serve as fuel for smoking meat. Wood pellets can produce very high heat and therefore can best be used for grilling and smoking. There are 2 ways to smoke meat and these are cold and hot smoking. Cold smoking does not involve cooking but only smoking the meat to preserve the food while incorporating the flavor of the wood into the meat. However, it takes time to master the process of cold smoking. If smoke is not properly distributed into the meat, the smoke may ruin the taste of the food.
In hot smoking, the best pellets for smoking brisket is said to be the hickory while some meat smoking enthusiasts also prefer the apple wood pellets. But how do you smoke and cook meat with wood pellets? By using pellet smokers, of course. Pellet smokers which are also called pellet grills are the modern-day smokers that are in electronic form and the improved versions of the traditional offset meat smokers. Though they look almost the same and work in the same principle, the pellet smokers can only be used with wood pellets.
Smoking briskets using pellets can take between 15 to 18 hours of slow cooking but in the end, you can get that juicy beefy taste of your brisket along with the natural flavor that came from the wood smoke. The top wood that people generally look for in pellet form are the hickory, apple, oak, mesquite, pecan, cherry and the gourmet blend which means any of the combinations of these woods.
What Woods to Avoid When Smoking Brisket
Brisket can be the most expensive part of beef so don’t waste your money smoking your brisket using wood that can ruin the taste of your meat. So here are some basic tips on what kinds of woods not to use when smoking your brisket.
Do not use any wood that was painted or stained or had been treated with any chemicals. Also, avoid using scrap woods that come from furniture shops or wood pallets because most likely these wood were also treated with chemicals to protect it against insects and wood rot. So since you don’t know the origin of these wood scraps, better avoid them because once they burn, the toxins they have will be released along with their smoke.
Avoid using old wood or musty smelling wood as fuel especially if there are already signs of fungus infestations on it. And you know well that if these toxins get absorbed by the brisket through smoke, this could make you ill from your meat.
Stay away from using softwoods. Most softwoods are sappy and have terpenes in their wood. Terpenes are organic compounds that are in the form of oil and these oils are produced by plants and trees to protect themselves against pests. Coniferous trees like acorns generally have terpenes but any softwood would not be ideal for smoking meat.
Some woods that are great for heating homes may not be the best wood for brisket smoking. Examples of these woods are Locust, Pine, Elm, Eucalyptus, Tamarack, Cedar and other hardwood and softwoods. These woods will not produce flavorful smoke and they may also give out bitter smoke or pungent smoke which is bad for smoking any meat.
The best woods for smoked brisket are available in many forms such as logs that are best for offset smokers, chunks for smaller offset smokers, wood chips or pellets for gas and electric smokers, and even sawdust for electric, stovetop and handheld meat smokers. So if you are into smoking your brisket or other kinds of meat, you do not only need to choose the most convenient smoker but also the kind of woods that can offer their flavorful Smokey taste into your meat products.
This is why it is very important to note that not all hardwoods that are ideal for burning may not be the best choice for smoking meat. In this article, we hope that you’ve learned which woods to avoid and which woods to prefer for brisket smoking.
Brisket is everybody’s favorite and that’s why it can be quite costly. So if you want to know how you can get the most from your brisket, don’t just dive in and smoke it with any kind of wood. Take our tips and these can help you with your brisket smoking.
Our next blog will be how to choose the best wood for smoking turkey. And we know that a lot of you will be interested to learn more about this. So watch out for this.