Dr. Smoke Questions and Answers
About Using Wood Chips versus Wood Chunks,
Smokin' Dust, Grilling and Smoking Tips
For a general listing of Do's and Don'ts
Below you will find some of the most Frequently Asked Questions we have been asked regarding our wood products and accessories:
Listen to Doctor Smoke
A. Wood chips are very small pieces of hardwood that provide a quick burst of natural flavoring or smoke to the foods you are cooking. At Smokinlicious, we developed a rather coarse-cut, fresh (never kiln-dried) wood chip that contains no bark. As a general rule, if you plan to smoke for only a short time, or if you desire only a small amount of smoke flavor to your food, then using wood chips is ideal. Keep in mind, that many electric and gas smokers on the market today, are only designed for use with wood chips. If you own a gas grill, then be sure to see our response to:
Wood Chunks are large pieces of hardwood designed specifically for equipment that has a wood pan, drawer, or firebox. At Smokinlicious, we offer two specialty cut "filets": 'The Single' which consists of wood pieces 3-4" wide that have been fileted one time for flavor release; and 'The Double' which consists of wood pieces of 2-3" wide which have been fileted twice allowing for maximum flavor release. Smokinlicious also offers "blocks" and "logs" which are considered "unfileted" cuts of heartwood that allow for extended smoking time. If you should have questions as to what gourmet wood is compatible with your cooker, see our "Match Your Cooker" page - simply select the manufacturer of your unit, find the model, and the appropriate gourmet woods are listed for you!
Listen to Doctor Smoke
A. Whether you choose to use wood chips or chunks, the main idea is to sustain the burn time of the wood. These woods are used not as a fuel source but to impart natural flavoring into the foods your cook. We recommend soaking the wood chips in either hot water, wine, beer, whiskey, or any flavoring you wish to impart into the food. No, you do not have to use only water for soaking! Remember, what you soak the wood in will also reveal itself in the flavor of the foods being cooked. The soak time will depend on the desired result. Dr. Smoke's easy rule regarding the soaking time is ... the stronger the flavor of the liquid, the shorter the soak time! So if your using a Merlot wine which has a strong flavor, you may only soak for 15 minutes. Using lemon juice, you may want to soak for up to 8 hours. Smokinlicious wood chips have never been kiln dried! Therefore, re-hydration and imparting of flavor will be very fast! Just drip dry the chips and you are ready to go!
Once wood has been harvested, it will continue to loose moisture in what is referred to as the seasoning process. At Smokinlicious we take a moisture reading on all our chip, chunk, block, and log products at the time of packaging. We scribe this reading on our packaging to assist the user in determining how to use our gourmet woods. Keep in mind, that for charcoal/wood based equipment, you usually don't have to pre-soak the wood. You can apply the chunks and chips directly to the coals for smoke. Unsoaked wood chips are an easy way to bring the temperature of a cooker up quickly, while still adding natural flavor to your foods. However, you should always inspect your wood for the tell-tale signs that rehydration is needed: cracks appear at the ends of the chunks, blocks or logs or the wood has actually begun to split in two. If these signs are observed then you should consider soaking for rehydration. Since our gourmet wood products are never kiln dried they should re-hydrate adequately in about 30 minutes. Always allow the wood to drip dry for a few minutes prior to adding them to your fire. You never want to apply wood that is dripping wet.
Q "I previously purchased some of the Sugar Maple wood chunks and noticed that despite storing the wood in a cool, dry, dark place, the wood appeared to change color. Is the wood still good?"
A. Yes - we harvest our Sugar Maple from the maple syrup producing maple tree. Generally, that requires us to harvest the wood between the months of June and January, in advance of the annual tapping of the trees for syrup. Although we do not tap any of the trees we harvest, they are still a maple syrup producer. The Sugar Maple hardwood will change from a light tan/blonde coloring to a deep brown/light gray coloring due to the seasonal change of the wood as influenced by the sap. There is no change to flavor of the wood even with the color change.
Q "If I purchase a mixture of wood chunks or chips, are the woods labeled?"
A. Yes - we always package each wood species between a cardboard divider and label each section. Please note, that when ordering a small refill of the chip box or large refill of the chunk box, there can be up to two species of wood for a mixture. For a "serious smoker" box, there can be up to three species packaged. If you desire specific wood types, please note this in the comments section of the Pay Pal order page or by listing them with your telephone number on the ordering details page.
Q. "How much wood should I be using when I smoke or grill?"
Listen to Doctor Smoke
A. There is no single answer to this question but let us provide you with some guidelines. Natural grilling or wood fired grilling, is the process of imparting the natural flavor of wood into your meats and poultry. If you have a charcoal grill, start the fire as you normally would. Be sure not to over fill the charcoal or burn area. Keep in mind, you will be adding wood pieces to this fire so don't over fill the basket or kettle area. Let all the charcoal catch fire and reduce itself to burning embers. You'll know when the charcoal has reached this stage by the color of the embers - they will appear grayish-white. At this point, you are ready to add wood. We recommend using 1-2 cups of presoaked wood chips or 3-5 wood chunks. As soon as the wood is added, you should see smoke begin to develop. Add your meat to the grilling grate at this time. This allows you to capture all of this natural flavoring into the foods being grilled. If there is a hood to your grill, lower it during the cooking process. This will ensure that none of the wood flavoring escapes from the cooker. Add additional pre-soaled wood chips or wood chunks as needed to maintain the smoke and temperature. If your cooker does not have a hood then be sure to have additional woods available as the level of oxygen entering the cooker will reduce the woods to ash at a faster rate.
Q. "How do I smoke on a gas grill?"
Listen to Doctor Smoke
A. The two most important items to remember when smoking on a gas grill are you don't want the wood to burn too quickly and you don't want the ash to collect in your gas grill. We recommend a smoking box for using wood chips in your gas grill. These are readily available in any grill supply store. Most boxes are approximately 2-3 inches wide by 6-10 inches long. Remember, don't stuff the box! You need to leave room for the wood to breathe with the heat. Again, a 1/4 cup of wood chips should be your starting quantity. Most gas grills have a location for the box to slide in or will already include a smoking box as part of your purchase. If not, place your smoking box under the cooking grate and above the burners. If your grill still doesn't appear to have the room between the burner/diffuser and the grilling grate, then simply place the smoking box on the grate that is above the lite burner.
Q. "How do I smoke on charcoal grill?"
A. First, start your charcoal grill and let the fire die down. Then add your wood chunks to the charcoal. If you're using standard charcoal briquettes, you will need to add approximately 4-6 wood chunks. If you're using lump hardwood charcoal, then reduce the amount of wood added, as lump charcoal adds some level of smoke flavoring on its own. Remember, soaking the wood chunks first will provide much more smoke to your cooker. You may use either wet or dry wood chunks on the cooker/grill.
Q. "Is there any way to smoke without purchasing a smoking wood chips box or owning an actual smoker?"
A. Absolutely!! The easiest way to make a container for the smoking wood product is to use aluminum foil. Simply take a large piece of aluminum foil, fold it in half, and fold in each side, leaving an opening on one end. Place your Wood Chips inside, and fold over the last edge to seal the pouch. Poke a large hole in the center of the foil pouch, using a knife tip, tines of a large fork, or with a pencil/pen tip. This will allow for the smoke to escape and penetrate the food above. Remember, the aluminum pouch should be placed above the burners of a gas grill but under the grilling grate, or on top of the simmering charcoal briquettes.
Q. "How do I use the Fire Starters?"
A. Our Fire Starters contain a mixture of wood shavings and wax that allow for quick lighting of wood fires. This includes starting fireplaces and wood stoves! Stack the firewood tepee style, log cabin style, or any stacking method that has worked for you in the past. Set the Fire Starter on top of the wood and light the burlap wrapping. Our Fire Starters are designed to burn slowly for approximately 10-15 minutes. As the Fire Starter burns, the contents will cover the wood beneath, thus igniting the wood below. Our Fire Starters also work when placed on a single piece of wood.
Q. "What is plank cooking?"
Listen to Doctor Smoke
A. Planks?" are pieces of wood usually designed to be 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick that pieces of meat, fish, and poultry are placed directly on. Just like Wood Chips and Wood Chunks, planks can be soaked in hot water, wine, whiskey, or beer, to bring additional flavors to your food. They are also very pleasant without any added liquid flavoring. Try beef tenderloin on a plank, sea bass on a plank, turkey cutlets on a plank! You'll love this new way of cooking foods. The best part is plank cooking does not require a grill or smoker. A conventional oven is perfect for roasting all types of foods on planks. Most often, you can get multiple uses out of the plank. Simply wash the plank with mild soap and water, and then sanitize it with a formula of 1.5 ounces of white vinegar to 3 gallons of water. Be sure the entire plank is submerged in the cleaning solution for a minimum of 2 minutes for proper sanitation.
Q. What is the difference between a Single Filet chunk and a Double Filet wood chunk?
A. At Smokinlicious, we offer two custom cuts to our hardwood Chunks Double Filet wood chunks which are smaller chunks of hardwood approximately 3" in length and 2" thick, and Single Filet wood chunks -hardwood chunks that are 4" in length with approximately 1-5/8" thickness. The choice of Single versus Double Filet chunks is dependent on the make of the smoker. For off-set style smokers, Single Filet wood chunks perform exceptionally well. For smaller smokers like the Weber Smokey Mountain, Big Green Egg, Primo, Brinkman, etc., the Double Filet wood chunk is recommended. See Matcher your cooker Regardless of your selection, you can be assured that both variations of wood chunks are derived only from the heartwood of the tree.
Q. Why do you only sell our products by volume and not by weight?
A.The simple answer is the we CAN'T LEGALLY sell by weight! The National Conference on Weights and Measures -Uniform Regulation for the Method of Sale of Commodities, has very specific regulations regarding the sale of Stove Wood or Flavoring Chips. Regulation 2.43.(a) specifies that Natural wood offered for sale in packaged form...shall display the quantity in terms of cubic meters, to include decimal fractions of cubic meters; or cubic feet, to include cubic feet.
The nature of our Smokinlicious Wood is that it will continue to lose its weight the longer it is cut from the stump. Therefore, when the wood is initially processed, the wood will weigh more than when it is packaged for the customer. This is the natural seasoning process effecting the weight of the wood. Dr Smoke recognizes the importance of moisture and we attempt to process our wood orders as close to the time of shipment to maximize this level.
Smokinlicious does not advertise the weight of our products. In fact, the reason that we include the shipping cost into our prices is to eliminate this as a concern for our customers. If you find products on the market that are selling by weight, we strongly recommend you thoroughly investigate the product since the company may not be in compliance with the above regulations. In fact, if you locate a product in plastic bags and there is no moisture in the interior of the package, it could indicate that the product could be too DRY for your smoking application. Most products packaged in plastic must have a moisture level of less than 10% in order to prevent molding. Unfortunately, this is too low to allow the wood to re-hydrate.
Q. You seem to have a good source for a large number of hardwood species but I never see where you have any fruit woods available for purchase?
A. You are correct! We are located in an area that is often referred to as "hardwood capital of the world" because we have so many hardwood species native to our area. Although we do have some species of fruit wood tress growing in our area, we refuse to purchase this wood as we have been unable to locate a certified source that can assure us the trees have never been sprayed with pesticides or enhanced with growth stimulators. We recognize that many people prefer the flavors of fruit wood. This is what motivated us to find a safe, effective way to offer fruit wood flavors without compromising our position as an organic company. The result was a line of flavor-enhanced products that are made with all-natural flavorings designed with food application in mind. It is important to remember that what you cook over is as important as what your cooking. Try our flavor-enhanced wood chips, chunks, and dust today!
Q. What is Ash wood good for? I've never heard of cooking with Ash.
A. Your really missing out if you've never tried Ash wood for smoking or natural wood-fired grilling! What an exceptional wood! Most people don't know that Ash comes from the Oleaceae family also referred to as the Olive family. If you've ever sampled olives from different regions than you know what your in store for with this wood. It provides for one of the longest burn times in a smoking wood and imparts wonderful light flavors that are perfect with any foods. The best part is the natural oils present in this wood that result in some of the moistest meats, poultry and fish you'll ever sample.
Q. When I place an order, how quickly will my order be processed?
A. We process orders Mondays through Fridays on the day they are received. Generally, if an order has been placed prior to 1PM EST, the order will go out that day. We always provide the Fed Ex or USPS Tracking Number on the package via an email message, if an email address has been provided at the time of the order. Any order placed on a Friday after 1PM will process on the next Monday. If you ever have any questions on an order, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 800-941-5054! Our Products Order
|Your source for Barbecue Wood,
Wood Chips,Wood Chunks & Premium Smoking
110 North 2nd Street Olean, New York, USA 14760
Smoke Line Number: 1-800-941-5054 Fax Number: 1-716-372-0439