Monday, November 23, 2009

Wood Options for Smoking a Turkey

If you're planning on smoking a turkey for Thanksgiving, the wood you choose can make a difference in the flavor of your bird. Here are some things to keep in mind when selecting the type of wood to use in your smoker when smoking a turkey:

*Fruit woods like Apple, Cherry, Pear: I personally really like the subtly sweet, fruity flavor that wood from a fruit tree will impart to poultry. The delicate fruit flavor can be hard to discern if smoking beef or pork, but with turkey or chicken these milder woods will impart a lovely flavor without overpowering the milder meat.

*Mesquite: Although mesquite has become wildly popular, I'm not crazy about it for smoking turkey or other poultry because the smoke flavor can be overpowering and impart harsh, bitter notes. Leave the mesquite for the grill rather than the smoker, and it's better for red meat.

*Pecan: Pecan is lovely in the smoker, and works well with poultry including turkey. It imparts warm, rich flavors that are complex and rich but complementary rather than overbearing. It's especially nice with turkey when you're also serving stuffing, sweet potatoes, and other autumn foods that may include nut flavors.

*Maple: This is another good choice for poultry because of its sweet, mild flavor notes, plus the fact that maple flavor is an autumn flavor that complements other foods on the menu like sweet potatoes and desserts

*Oak, Hickory: Although you can use these traditional smoking woods when you smoke turkey, I find that their more assertive, robust smokiness can be a bit much for poultry.

If you're smoking a turkey for Thanksgiving, feel free to leave a comment to let us know how it goes, what wood you use, and anything else you'd like to share!

Zestfully yours,
Carolina Sauce Company

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