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?