Friday, July 29, 2011

Smoking Wood Test: Hickory

Hickory is one of the most popular smoking woods and a mainstay of my pulled pork. I've fooled around testing other woods and now it's time to see what Hickory does.

As with other tests, I'm smoking Salmon, Tilapia, pork, chicken, beef and a potato. This time I have a sort of Yukon Gold potato, but I think it is actually a generic equivalent. I've also resupplied the pork (country ribs), Salmon and beef patties. We've had Salmon a couple times recently, just before we headed out for vacation and again on our return, but I grilled it those times (with blackening seasoning mix.) But I digress.

Weather this afternoon is 86° F with full sun and light wind at about 6 mph.

I'm using briquettes for the fire (Kingsford Blue) since the bag is open.

5:30 lit coals on a modified minion lay with several chunks of Hickory interspersed. Both bottom and top vents are full open and there is about a quart of water in the bowl.
5:35Water in the bowl and meat on!
5:55198°,230° (*)Coming along nicely, closed the bottom vent to about 1/2
6:25191°, 225°Fish and patties are coming off. They're done.
6:45226°, 245°Closed the bottom vent just a bit more a few minutes ago.
7:15234°I thought the pork and chicken would be done by now but apparently they are not.
7:35299°, 340°Opening the smoker to check doneness of the chicken and pork really got the fire fired up! I've almost completely closed the bottom vent.
7:50287°, 300°Chicken and pork off!

(*) Maverick, Dome temperatures measured with the Maverick probe hanging through the top vent and a thermometer probe inserted in a hole in the cover.

Fish and beef came off first.

And later the pork and chicken.

Here's an initial impression of the flavor added by Hickory:
  • Chicken legs - Good smoky flavor.
  • Pork country rib - Good smoky flavor.
  • Tilapia fillet - This had that sort of typical muddy taste with a nice smoke flavor blended in.
  • Beef patties - Nice mild Hickory smoke flavor.
  • Salmon fillet - Nice Hickory smoke flavor.
  • White potato, halved - Even the spuds seemed to benefit from Hickory with a nice mild smoky flavor.
Initial impression: Hickory is quite good on both fish and meat. I can see why it is so popular.  It's a bit tangy but seems to work well with both meat and fish. Later in the evening, I took a little taste of the chicken and pork and they were good too. It is a somewhat stronger flavor than some of the other smoking woods, but it seems pretty mellow and seems to blend well various foods.

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