Cooking on Maple Wood
Cooking on Cherry Wood or Cooking on Maple Wood works nicely on their own. Each has a subtle fruity flavor that balances nicely with most anything. But they also complement each other as well as blend with other woods. Often the more dominate flavors like hickory, oak, or pecan can be overbearing and by blending them with the fruitier woods, you can enjoy the best of both. Cooking on maple wood with hickory works well with pork while cooking on cherry wood with pecan might be the perfect blend for that holiday prime rib.
Blending is proprietary to Kelly Craig and it offers a nice clean alternative to the mess of soaking chips. And believe me, there is a difference when cooking directly on the wood. The flavor is more intense - bold and robust. The stoking process helps retain those natural juices in the foods.
Mesquite is not usually associated with fish or poultry, but I love to use our mesquite smoked wraps with chicken, and salmon along with beef, and vegetables. This stems from a Mesquite Garlic Butter Salmon that was served at a fine dining restaurant in Berkeley, CA that I frequented for years. It was my "go to" lunch meeting restaurant for client visits. And so now, I cook most anything in our Mesquite Smoked Cedar Wraps.
Think of planks and wraps and the stoking process as another form of seasoning. Blending maple wood with cherry wood adds a unique, delightful flavor. And the same with maple or cherry with a hickory or oak. The fruity flavor balances out the stronger flavor that can at times appear harsh. It is suggested you try different combinations till you find what works for your palate.
Here are some nice combinations that get the KC family all stoked up.
Cooking on Cherry Wood/Maple Wood - While cherry has sort of a bold and earthly flavor, it is balance with the light smoky aroma of the maple. A nice neutral flavor for just about anything.
Cooking on Cherry Wood/Cedar Wood - Cedar adds a more woodsy touch to the bold and earthly flavor of the cherry.
Cooking on Maple Wood/Cedar Wood - Here the light smoky aroma of maple is complemented nicely with the cedar and goes well with chicken and some of the milder fish.
Cooking on Hickory Wood/Oak Wood - Hickory and oak are both bold in flavor and work beautifully together for those that like that robust, smoky effect.
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Individual Wood Flavors:
There are varying opinions as to what goes with what. But that purely depends upon individual taste. So, we suggest you try various flavors as well as combinations till you find what tastes best to you. But the following is a good place to start stoking.
Cooking on Apple Wood – very mild flavor with a subtle sweet fruity hint. Most consider ideal for pork but we recommend for most anything including game birds.
Cooking on Cherry Wood – another of the sweet mild and fruity flavors that goes with most everything. Tends to darken the meat to a mahogany color. Blends nicely with hickory, oak or pecan.
Cooking on Peach Wood – also infuses a sweet, fruity flavor like most of the fruit woods. Like cherry it also blends nicely with the stronger flavored woods and goes well with pork, poultry and small game birds.
Cooking on Oak Wood – this wood has more a medium smoky flavor. It is stronger than apple and cherry but milder than hickory and mesquite. Oak is popular with most meat or poultry. Again, blends well with the fruity woods.
Cooking on Hickory Wood – here you get a bold flavor often used to smoke bacon and ham. The smoke can be somewhat overbearing (pungent) but it too blends well with the milder woods. It is especially good with pork and ribs.
Cooking on Mesquite Wood – mesquite is the strongest flavored of the cooking woods. It burns fast and hot so is not recommended for smokers or typical “low and slow” barbecuing. It complements virtually any red meat but can be very effective with chicken and fish. Again, when cooking fast and hot. Kelly Craig also produced a Mesquite Smoked Cedar Wrap that is ideal for cooking anything that would benefit from the mesquite flavor.
Cooking on Grape Vine – has sort of a tart, fruity flavor that can work with poultry, small game birds, pork and even lamb but in small portions. Too much grape vine can be too tart.
Cooking on Pecan Wood – this is a nice compromise between fruity and “too strong”. It still has a hickory flavor but is much milder making it generally one of the more popular wood flavors in many areas of the country.
Cooking on Maple Wood – this wood is often used to smoke thing like vegetables and even cheeses. It emits a mild, sweet flavor that also complements poultry and small game birds.
Cooking on Mulberry – Mulberry is often compared to apple in flavor. It works well with poultry, fish and pork.
Cooking on Olive – most find this to taste much like mesquite but much lighter in flavor. This makes it a nice complement to poultry.
Cooking on Pear – like peach and even apple wood having also a sweet, fruity flavor. It can work nicely with pork, poultry and game fish.
Cooking on Almond – this has a nutty, sweet flavor that complement most all meats. Almond is considered similar in flavor to Pecan.
Cooking on Walnut - ENGLISH and BLACK – Gives off a very heavy smoke flavor. We suggest you mix it with lighter woods such as almond, pear, apple – the fruity wood. If used alone it can come off bitter. Good with red meats and wild game.
Cooking on Coastal Red Cedar – this is the only cedar to cook with. Most commonly used with seafood, especially fresh salmon. But it works nicely with chicken, vegetables and even fruit and can be blended with most fruit woods to further enhance those same foods.
Woods You Should avoid
Pine, redwood, fir, eastern cedar, cypress, spruce, elm, sycamore, eucalyptus, and liquid amber. These woods are high is resins and oils that generate a thick smoke that can cause meat to taste bitter and in some cases even make one sick.