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Smoker Accessories

Wood is used to flavour the food that you eat when cooking it on the grill or in a smoker. You can use untreated planks of wood or chipped hunks of wood in a Smoker Tube or the Charcoal Tray. Below is a description of the most common kinds of wood available and what kinds of flavours they impart.

Alder:
has a light flavour that works well with fish and poultry. Indigenous to the northwestern United States, it is the traditional wood for smoking salmon.

Mesquite: has been very popular of late and is good for grilling, but since it burns hot and fast, it’s not recommended for long grilling times. Mesquite is probably the strongest flavoured wood; hence its popularity with restaurant grills that cook meat for a very short time.

Almond:
gives a nutty, sweet flavour that is good with all meats. Almond is similar to pecan.

Black Walnut:
has a heavy flavour that should be mixed with other woods because of the bitter taste it can impart.

Citrus Woods:
like lemon or orange have a moderate smoke that gives a light fruity flavour that is milder than apple or cherry.

Fruitwood:
either apple or cherry, gives off a sweet, mild flavour that is good with poultry or ham.

Grapevines:
make a lot of tart smoke and give a fruity but sometimes heavy flavour. Use it sparingly with poultry or lamb.

Hickory:
adds a strong flavour to meats, so be careful not to use it excessively. It’s good with beef and lamb.

Maple:
like fruitwood, gives a sweet flavour that is excellent with poultry and ham.

Oak:
is strong but not overpowering and is a very good wood for beef or lamb. Oak is probably the most versatile of the hardwoods.

Pecan:
burns cool and provides a delicate flavour. It’s a much subtler version of hickory.


We also sell whole planks for planking!

Planking. No not the silliness where you lay down in strange places like a board, but smoky food prepared upon untreated wood.

Historically, this all began in the Pacific North West where the natives would split their fresh caught salmon, bind it to some driftwood and roast it vertically, downwind of a roaring fire.

Really, planking is all about common sense, (unless you are talking about the internet fad, in which case it is the opposite of that). In fact once you know the basics it’s really all the same. There are really only four rules to plank grilling.

Soak

Always soak your plank for a minimum of 1 hour. Like marinating, you can soak your planks up to 24 hours. If you’re impatient or just plum forgot, 2 hours is sufficient. 4 hours is best if you’re being prepared. These times apply to using flavor enhancing liquids as well. 1 min, 2 ok, 4 best, 24 max.
Smoke

Always warm your plank on the grill before putting food on it.
Preheat the grill to the appropriate temperature, as per the chart below, and grill the plank for 3 to 5 minutes, turning once, or until you hear it start to crackle and smoke.

Heat     Temperature
High     550°F or higher
Medium-high     450-550°F
Medium     350-450°F
Medium-low     250-350°F
Low     less than 250°F

Flavour

Not only can you soak the plank with flavoured liquids, you can season the plank with coarse sea salt, herbs, and spices. You should never brush the plank with oil though, you may as well brush it with lighter fluid! Put new meaning to “now we’re cooking with fire,”.
Eat

You can eat off the plank you cooked on if you are careful, and have a well made trivet with feet. Preferably, transfer the grilled food to a serving platter and dunk the used plank in a bucket of cold water.

I think that the most important thing about grilling is to use your senses; all of them. Especially COMMON!

We have discussed, albeit one sided and I was doing most of the talking, the history and the how to of the plank. But what about which wood to use and what does it do? The below chart will give you an idea about the kinds of wood and what will come of using them.

Variety of Wood Density Flavour of Wood Suggested
Flavourant
Suggested
Foods
Alder Semi-hard Delicate and sweet Water
Chardonnay
Sauvignon Blanc
Riesling
Pinot Noir
Apple Juice
Lager
Ale
Vegetables
Salmon
Halibut
Arctic Char
Pork
Chicken
Fruit

Apple Semi-hard Fruity and sweet Water
Apple juice – ale – wine – cider
Chardonnay
Pinot Noir
Pineapple Juice
Poultry
Fish
Shellfish
Pork Chops
Pork Tenderloin
Veal
Vegetables
Fruit

Cherry Semi-hard Tart and fruity Water
Pinot Noir
Shiraz
Sauvignon Blanc
Chardonnay
Cherry Whisky
Cherry Coke
Cherry Juice
Venison
Beef
Pork
Poultry

Hickory Hard Bold Water
Beer
Burbon
Ginger Ale
Coca Cola
Apple Juice
Pineapple Juice
Cabernet Sauvignon
Pork – ribs – chops – bacon
Turkey
Ham
Steak
Game
Portobello Mushrooms

Maple Hard Sweet,
subtle, balanced
Water
Apple Juice
Chardonnay
Cabernet Sauvignon
Honey Brown Lager
Maple Lager
Poultry
Trout
Salmon
Arctic Char
Pizza
Steak

Mesquite Hard Sweet and strong Water
Cider
Pineapple Juice
Lemonade
Beer
Ginger Ale
Beef
Pork
Poultry

Pecan Hard Sweet and nutty. Water
Guinness
Cabernet Sauvignon
Merlot
Chardonnay
Apple Juice
Ginger Ale
Desserts
Fruits
Veggies
Mushrooms
Quail
Chicken
Turkey
Pork

Red Oak Hard Rustic – best paired with bold flavors Water
Cabernet Sauvignon
Merlot
India Pale Ale
Grape Juice
Cranberry Juice
Orange Juice
Beef
Game
Poultry
Cheese
Desserts

Red Cedar Semi-hard Sweet
Big smoke and flavour
Water
Chardonnay
Hard Cider
Pilsner
Dr. Pepper
Cherry Juice
Seafood
Cheese
Poultry
Game
Beef
Pork
Veal
Lamb
Fruits
Vegetables
Desserts

 

Safety is number one when it comes to planking. No doubt about it, hands down, my word is law. Again, common sense is key to this. Repeat after me; “Smoke good! Fire bad!”  So stay put, once planking starts, you’re there for the long haul. Phone, spray bottle, hose, and extinguisher are all good to keep on hand. Sing it with me people! “Smoke good! Fire bad!” And really the rest is just tips and tricks for planking fun.
Tips and Tricks

        Bark and soft woods like pine produce a bitter smoke and are more likely to catch fire. Be sure to remove all bark that you can (unless using the rough hewn circle planks) before soaking and using.

        Veggies and potatoes have a tendency to become runny when planked. Try to prepare them the day before if you can.

        The key to planking is consistent heat, so the grill used is your preference. Gas grills, you do not have to watch as closely. Charcoal you will have to monitor the heat levels and feed in more charcoal if you are grilling for an extended length of time.

        Planking creates more smoke than normal grilling, especially if you think about it too hard. Once again “Smoke good! Fire bad!”

        You can mix and match any wood with any recipe, but ALWAYS use untreated wood.

        If there is wood left, you can plank on it. Crumble off the charred bits into a smoker charcoal tray and use them to add more flavour later. You can rinse your still good plank with soapy water and use it again.

        If you’re unfortunate enough to not own a grill, or get caught in a blizzard and the grill is under 20 feet of snow (any less and we Canadians call you a wuss) you can plank in the oven using a roasting pan. After soaking, place your plank in a roasting pan that has been partially filled with water or other flavouring liquid. Remember to preheat your oven and use the chart above for the heat levels.

So that is it. I can’t think of anything else to tell you about planking, but if you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Happy Planking!

 

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