Hickory smoked barbeque – is there anything better?
Hickory wood is probably the most popular wood used to smoke meats because it can easily be toned down or ramped up depending on a person’s flavor preferences.
Have you ever tried using hickory wood chips to smoke or barbeque your meat? If not, read on to learn about the best ways to add this wood to your culinary tool belt.
What You Need to Know About Using Hickory Wood Chips
Here’s everything you will ever need to know about using hickory to amp up the flavor of your meat dishes.
It’s important to first recognize that not all smoked meat will taste the same. You’re probably saying to yourself – of course they won’t because we’ll use different wood chips, marinades, sauces, and spices.
But this isn’t the only thing that affects the flavor of the meat. The type of smoker or grill you use will affect the flavor, as well as the color of the meat.
Charcoal grills leave a darker bark on the meat, while gas grills leave a reddish-brown hue to the meat.
Additionally, gas grills tend to leave the meat with a somewhat lighter, sweeter, bacon-like flavor.
This information is just good to have in the back of your mind so you don’t automatically think you did something wrong if you get different results with different grills.
Another thing that will impact the flavor of your meat is the type of wood chips you use. Within each category – hickory, mesquite, pecan, etc. – are multiple species. For instance, think about apple trees. How many different types of apples are there? Each type of apple tree will provide a different type of applewood chip.
The same goes for hickory. There’s not just one species of hickory tree. There are multiple types that grow around the country. Each of these species will present their own unique, slightly different flavor.
The next thing you need to know is in regard to the hickory wood chips themselves. Chips need to be thoroughly dry before they’ll smoke properly. A lot of people will make their own chips by getting branches from hickory trees and putting them through a wood chipper.
If you choose to go this route, make sure you give them a few days to dry completely before you use them.
What size wood chip should you use? Hickory wood chips vary in size depending on your needs. Those that are the size of a golf ball and even as big as a baseball are best for meats that take longer to cook, like beef brisket. Smaller chips are better for lighter meats that don’t need to cook long, like chicken, turkey, and fish. If you want a stronger flavor, simply add more wood chips.
Finally, if you want to end up with a really hearty, strong hickory flavor, make sure to start off with cold meat. Don’t let the meat warm up to room temperature. The smoke is attracted to cold surfaces, so it will start flavoring your meat right away if it’s nice and cold.
How to Incorporate Hickory Wood Smoked Dishes into Your Routine
Once you know the basics of hickory wood and smokers, the next thing you should know is how to incorporate this ingredient into your recipe repertoire.
If you’re a fan of Southern barbecue, you know the hickory flavor very well. It’s extremely popular in that style of food.
Hickory wood adds both a sweet and savory element to meat that makes it one of the most popular choices for smoking and grilling.
Here are just a few ways to add this tasty tool into your life.
Add hickory smoked ham to some country fried potatoes for a hearty start to your day. Or, add the ham to a rich and savory omelet.
Add Hickory to Your Lunches
Create a Southwest-style with smoked beef and lots of barbeque sauce. Or, if you’re a traditionalist, stick with the pulled pork sandwich. It’s messy but so delicious.
Delicious Dinner Ideas
Serve a smoked pork dish for a nice treat whenever you have company. Pork and steak dishes can be dressed up or down to fit whatever occasion – from a business meeting to a family picnic.
Make Your Family’s Mouth Water with Hickory Wood Recipes
Do you get frustrated when you put dinner on the table and your family reacts with ho-hum expressions? This is a definite sign that there needs to be a change. And hickory wood can do that.
Using this wood can help you incorporate meat that you wouldn’t normally use, which will definitely delight your family’s taste buds.
Even if your family is totally satisfied with what you set down on the dinner table, you can use these wood chips to create a culinary masterpiece for special occasions, like picnics or watching the game.
However you decide to incorporate it, this wood will definitely add a lot of flavor and zest to your culinary repertoire.