Be a discerning smoker

Stepping outside on Saturday evening to go to my car, I was reminded of how wonderful grilling food smells on the cool, crisp, leaf-scented air. Ahhh! I just stood there for a few seconds and breathed in the mingled scents of the neighbours’ grilling pork chops and my maple leaf-covered lawn. A truly Canadian form of aromatherapy!

As I was driving away, I fantasized about how that aroma could have been even more enticing if my neighbour had added some wood chips to his grill as it was preheating to add a smoky element.

Smoke has been a growing flavour trend for several years, but now it’s being more clearly defined on menus and food package labels so that consumers can choose the type and intensity of smokiness they prefer. Besides the wide variety of regular wood chip varieties sold at most hardware stores, these new wood ‘biscuits’ are making adding smoky flavour to your food ever easier. All you do is add one to the grate as you preheat the grill. Once the grill is hot, the biscuit will smolder and fill the covered grill with great smelling smoke. Then, after you cook, you dip the spent biscuit in cold water and toss it in the composter. No muss, no fuss!

Truthfully, I think most home grillers can get good results using almost any combo of untreated wood chips, some water, a foil pan and food; however, aficionados who want to match their smoke to the most appropriate foods can use the following guide to help them:

Fruit woods (apple, pear, peach, cherry, persimmon): cooking poultry, fish, shellfish, pork (chops and tenderloin), veal, cheese and fruits
Hard woods (hickory, maple, mesquite): game, poultry, stronger cheeses, tuna and steaks
Soft woods (cedar, alder): salmon, arctic char, trout, turkey, pork (chops and tenderloin), creamy cheeses and fruits.

If you have more basic questions about wood smoking on a home barbecue, check out this post from earlier in the year.

Do you grill into the autumn or pack away the propane until spring?


14 Responses to Be a discerning smoker

  1. Rosa says:

    Wonderful! That’s one of my favorite aromas! I’m hooked on Liquid Smoke…



  2. Wow…here’s something I think I totally need to try.


  3. Never heard of this. We do a fair amount of grilling even in the winter, so will look into buying some of these. As usual, I learned something new here.

  4. I’ve only used these “biscuits” inside the Bradley smoker they were designed to work in. )More info at I do most of my smoking in the winter because I cold smoke, which is easier with a lower ambient temperature.

  5. danamccauley says:

    Peter, I was speaking to the Bradley smoker folks (they gave me the biscuits when I met them at the Canadian Independent Grocer’s Association show here in Toronto last week) and they are the ones who gave me the directions for using the biscuits on the grill so don’t be afraid to try this at home!

  6. Rebecca says:

    Thanks for these tips! We’ve just recently started smoking meat on the weekends, and this will definitely cut down on the trial-and-error.

  7. Cheryl says:

    Interesting. Our grill up and died about 2 months ago. So sad. We’ll replace it eventually, but we may wait until next spring.

    What’s actually IN those biscuits anyway?

  8. danamccauley says:

    Cheryl: The biscuits are 100% organic. THey are made from wood shavings which the packages says are 100% organic kiln dried hardwood and hydrolised collagen to hold them together.

  9. Natashya says:

    Grill into the autumn?? We are Canadians! We grill year ’round.
    I love the smoker chips, where did you find them? And, are they ok for propane BBQs? They would make a great stocking stuffer.

  10. danamccauley says:

    Natashya: these were a sample given to me by the Bradley folks when I attended the CFIG trade show last week. Expect to see them in independent grocery stores soon. Also, check out there website (referenced in Peter’s comment above) for info on stores.

  11. Cheryl A says:

    All year round grilling here too. One winter we needed steaks for dinner but it was about minus 40. So we moved the grill right next to the sliding patio doors – close enough to not be too dangerous. With the doors open we could reach the grill and keep our eyes on things, but we didn’t even have to go outside. I’m sure it was ridiculously unsafe, but those steaks were great!

  12. That sounds great I like to with charcoal whenever I can. If you want more recipes or if you want to take a look at the collection of tips I have for grilling you can visit

  13. Christine says:

    We grill year round that is my hubby’s job! I really want to get him into charcoal grilling and am going to show him this post!

  14. […] to other grilling related posts: • Smoke Chips • Smokin’ • International Grilling Atlas • Best Rib Recipe • Instant Read Thermometers […]

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